"Karin’s exquisite photographs do not over represent where her travels take you, Neither does her enthusiasm overstate what your Italian experience will be if fortunate enough to go on one of her trips. Because of her unflagging desire to truly discover the Italian people, their spirit and their ethos, she has approached the country as a non tourist.
This embrace comes naturally to Karin. No one is a stranger, even in a foreign land. She gravitates to those who are passionate about what they do and how they live. In turn they are endeared by her response to them and her infectious personality. She has crisscrossed its various regions, sometimes alone. This has afforded her an intimate look at their way of life, often spending days at a time with a family, or a newly made Italian friend. And these friends become yours as she brings you into their lives. Giancarlo, our driver was just such a man. As was Silvia who gave us our tour in Florence. She was lovely. Karin finds these people and we were enriched. Karin loves Italian food and wine. Her favorite culinary haunts became the trail we followed. Somehow on Easter weekend she had reservations for us at a seaside table in Cinque Terre, overlooking the swimmers and sunbathers below. I’ll never forget it.
This approach of hers is the platform from which she plans a trip....romantic at its core. But organizational skills are still a must and I found Karin’s thoroughness beyond impressive. As she fine tuned the itinerary, she maneuvered through the nitty gritty logistics of travel connections and reservations with acumen. In the weeks leading up to my trip, she emailed regularly with updates, and new information. And what fun it was to have this cheerleader constantly sending me new photos or articles to read. Karin made the trip come alive long before departure day. And this attention to detail was constant throughout our travels. Yes, she was enjoying Italy each day along with us, but always with the eye of a leader, making sure our needs were met and our time table honored. We moved from car, to train, to boat to airport seamlessly.
In essence, to travel with Karin is to have the independence and good feel of solo travel without any of the headaches. She’s a pied piper. She laughs, she smiles and you will too."
"Intimate tours describes this experience perfectly. We stayed in places where the hosts were warm and welcoming and we met many friendly locals. The guides Karin arranged for us were fantastic, fun, personable, and knowledgeable. Of course the food, drink, history, and scenery was out of this world! We sampled many different places around the region, and really had an amazing taste of Southern Italy. The whole trip was full of highpoints, the best part for me was exploring the coastal towns and swimming in isolated spots in the Adriatic Sea."
"Karin invited us to join in her Italian holiday. We discovered friendly, comfortable places to stay and marvelous choices of restaurants and bars. Our three Italian guides were charming and knowledgeable, creating unforgettable images of the history and daily life of a very special region of Italy. Because we visited a number of different towns, we had a lovely overview of the area. For me, exploring the ancient caves surrounding Matera and seeing the remains of thousand-year old frescos was a special moment."
"Traveling with Karin is traveling with a friend. Her enthusiasm about every aspect of the trip is infectious.
We stayed in 4 different accommodations while traveling, and each one had their own allure and I'd stay at any one of them again. Just lovely.
She offered wonderful day trips every day of the trip but also let the travelers go off on their own which was great to have that as an option.
Karin does her research! She does so much planning ahead of time, that we weren't deciding what to do, or where to eat each day. It made the days effortless for us travelers. Whether Karin had been at the restaurants we ate at, or it was her first time as well, they were all excellent. Seriously, excellent.
I will definitely travel with Karin again and have already recommended her travel service to my friends. Grazie mille, Karin!"
"Karin was an immense help in the planning of a special trip I took with my mother to Siena and Florence this past September. During the first part of our trip she connected us with the fantastic Giancarlo who took us on some wonderful side trips to explore Chianti and Montepulciano and the stunning Tuscan countryside. He was a kind and gracious guide who showed us one magical place after another. We soaked up the local history along with of course a delicious pasta with wine. It was so great to be able to travel by car with my 80 ear old mother and go at our own pace. Karin also pointed us towards some amazing places to eat while in Siena which were all amazing!
In Florence, at Karin’s recommendation, we stayed at a hotel in an old palace in authentic neighborhood right on a little plaza. The hotel had a gorgeous terrace overlooking the city and had to be one of the best spots ever for a late afternoon apertivo. At night the square was a buzz with locals eating and drinking and socializing. On our last night we sat in the square listening to a woman singing opera. Staying at this gem was a true highlight of our stay in Florence.
Karin had so many fun ideas for our time in Florence, from visiting the leather school, artisan districts, historical sites, and museums to steering us to some fantastic place to eat. The only problem was finding time for everything! She also connected us with another amazing guide, Silvia, who brought us to many off the beaten path places while teaching us a lot about the history of the city. She also showed us her favorite gelatoria in the city - always a good thing!
We had such a fantastic time on our trip to Italy, in no small part because of the wonderful recommendations we received from Karin. She really has an amazing eye for authentic and life affirming experiences. For my next trip to Italy I’ll be sure to seek out Karin’s guidance again! She was fantastic! Thank you so much Karin!!"
"Karin Mallory, our more-than-enthusiastic tour guide, had done her homework! Taking into consideration our interests, she planned and led us on a thoughtful, cultural, and scenic trip to Tuscany, Italy. What fun! Don’t be afraid to tell her what you would like to see and do at what pace. Giancarlo, our trusty, charming driver as well as Silvia, our local tour guide in Florence were the best! You never have to worry about finding a particular village, an interesting place to eat or stay, a parking space or, for that matter, driving with the speed or craziness of many of the locals. Just enjoy the experience!
One of our favorites included our personal cheese-making tour with Giancarlo on a family hillside farm overlooking a verdant, rolling Tuscan valley. From our initial mingling with the sheep to the finale, an incredible lunch including several different wines, the family-made pecorino cheeses accompanied by delicious vegetable sides, the whole experience was fabulous! This cross-cultural exchange was clearly fed by shared enthusiasm on both sides.
And if you have not seen or heard of The Cinque Terra which includes five villages tumbling down hills to the deep waters of the Italian Riviera, don’t miss it! Again, you have a choice- you can rigorously hike to see the villages or take a train.
Indeed, Karin had done her homework and had lots of good suggestions, but she is willing to dovetail your desires to hers. The intimate exchanges you build into your itinerary with Karin and her Italian associates is the key to better understanding the Italian culture."
--Brooke and Wick
"I want to go again!"
(Stephen wrote this after seeing photos and a description of the trip to Naples and Sicily that we will take in the Spring of 2019. Stephen is signed up to go on a trip with me this coming October, 2018. I love that he wants to "to again" when he hasn't "gone" yet! -- Karin)
"Traveling with Karin Mallory is a treat! I spent three weeks in Italy with her in Oct 2018 which was amazing & I have signed up for another trip to Puglia and Matera in October, 2019. We started out with four days of exploring Lake Como together, which has been a dream of mine for many years. Karin found gorgeous accomomdations in the quaint town of Varenna overlooking the lake & just steps away from lakeside shops & cafes. A favorite treat was an Aperol Spritz at a local cafe watching the sunset over the lake. Karin organized a private lake excursion, which is a must. There is nothing like seeing the sights from this vantage point. Karin's picks for dinner reservations in Varenna were incredible. Amazing food, intimate settings & the opportunity to meet strangers & have a delightful evening. Can't beat it!
Her combination of easy going personality, tenacious research & her passion for food, travel & adventure creates incredible opportunities for wonderful & unexpected discoveries of "off the beaten path" treasures! I had so much fun & met so many lovely people all because of Karin. And I learned alot about packing! I brought the smallest bag (not counting Karin!) & my advice is go smaller if you can. There's a lot of schlepping up stairs & every pound counts!! Plus you need room for treasures to bring home!
This is a fabulous way to experience Italy & Karin makes it delightful!"
I’m not really sure where to start. Being in Italy with you was one of the easiest and most enjoyable travel adventures I’ve ever had. As I’ve said on a couple Facebook posts, your passion, your heart, your energy, your research savvy and sense of adventure made the experience truly, exceptionally authentic in every possible way.
I’ve traveled extensively, been to Italy several times, and rarely have I seen or done the things that you made happen. I’d happily and enthusiastically travel again with you anytime, anywhere.
Thank you for a most remarkable experience. I’m telling as many friends as possible about you, friends who, like me, would never “go on a tour”. Because that’s not really what you provide. You’re the best friend who’s done all the legwork, made things happen, searched out the unique experiences. You’re simply the grooviest travel partner I’ve ever had. And I’d like to share that experience, and you, with dear friends, people I care about and love.
The trip was, very simply, amazing. Thank you. I do hope to travel with you again."
-- With gratitude, Stephen
"An amazing trip thanks to your outstanding research. Parma was a particular favorite of mine and would love to return. Of course the experience at Charlot and Luca's was an incredible experience, something I will never forget .... and would never experienced without you.
If I had any criticism, you’ll laugh, too much food! I really enjoyed the break at the pizza bar and would suggest some more breaks . I hasten to add I lost 2 pounds! Just shows you how fresh the food was and how bad food is in America!
Thank you for some incredible memories!"
"My trip to Italy was truly magical. Karin’s passion and appreciation for Italy, food, learning, culture and life are contagious and make for an unforgettable travel experience. Travelling in a small, intimate group allowed the trip to feel very personal and supported the development of great travelling companions, friends and memories. The luxury of Karin organizing all the details meant that I could easily relax and immerse myself in what Italy had to offer; from mountainside medieval villages, to the bustle of Florence markets, to the charm and wisdom of artisan cheese makers and weavers, to cooking lessons at fabulous agritourismos, to the search for the most delicious gelato, to the colorful seaside of Cinque Terre. Karin thought of everything. If Italy is somewhere that you have dreamed about experiencing than this is the way to do it!"
--Heather J Geoffrey Owner/Artist, Ouroboros Studios
" I was hesitating going to Italy at first. I had many thoughts running into my mind about not knowing the language. I have been wanting to go to Italy for many years and now I had the opportunity to go with Karin. Karin is an incredible planner. I could not have done it without her thorough organization. I did not have to worry about anything from hotels to private tours to trains to taxis. We got to Florence, Italy and stayed a couple nights. We went on a tour with a Silvia, a private guide hired by Karin. We got to know a little about the Florence history. Silvia was wonderful guide. We travelled to Cirque Terre by train. It was so scenic! We visited all 5 Terres. My favorite spot was Vernazza. I love to explore in this regions. I love the biking through many tunnels in Levanto. That was just beautiful. Later we had a private cooking class in that town. We stopped in Lucca for a little history of Lucca and lunch. That was really fun. Then we were on our way to Bagni di Lucca. Beautiful place! We stayed for three nights and explored neighboring towns and connected to local people by cooking with them, helping to make cheese and visiting a traditional weaver. Karin hired a private driver for three days and he spoke English very well and was fun to travel with. After three nights in Bagni di Lucia we went back to Florence and had time to browse around city markets looking for leather, cheese and olive oil.... We met so many locals. Artisans. Cooks. Historians. And had incredible authentic adventures because Karin's trip was so well- planned. If it wasn’t for her, all these things wouldn't have happened. I felt connected to the culture because of her well planned trip and her love of Italy. Her itinerary is right on the dot. I felt safe and trusted her with my vacation. She is so energetic and such a happy person. She never complains or whines about anything. She is very easy-going. Next trip, I would like less hiking and more downtime. That is the only thing that I would change in my trip."
"A small travel group is a must for me, that is what appealed to me about Karin initially. Then I read the itinerary and I was hooked! This trip was amazing! Karin is a high energy, well-organized, and knowledgeable guide. Hiking among the vineyards, a cooking class in an ancient mountain village, and biking along the coast were some of the highlights from this adventure. We visited artisans, had a personal driver, and ate at exceptional restaurants. Our accommodations were lovely. Karin planned fascinating tours and experiences along our journey. I highly recommend Karin's small tours! I can't wait to join her again in Italy!!!"