Tours & Getaway Testimonials

While it may seem like a once in a lifetime opportunity, we have been lucky enough to take part in “The Tuscan Experience” twice. We first went in 2008 & returned in 2012 with friends who had seen our photos and heard our stories and were keen to experience it first hand. The Tuscan Experience, hosted by the very warm, friendly & knowledgeable Renato Di Stefano, is a truly amazing and memorable experience.

It is hard to choose a highlight as everyday brought a new highlight. Day excursions exploring nearby towns such as Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca and Pienza, trips into Florence for a private tour of the Uffizi Art Gallery & to do some shopping, a private tour of a local winery followed by a home cooked lunch & wine tasting, a visit to a cheese factory, a tour of the Carrara Marble Quarry where Michelangelo sourced his block of marble to sculpt the statue of David and an overnight stay on the unique Cinque Terre. These are just a few of the many excursions and highlights we were fortunate enough to experience.

Equally enjoyable were the days we spent closer to home just lazing around the pool and the beautiful villa we were lucky enough to call home for two weeks, cooking pasta from scratch and picking up some cooking tips on authentic Italian dishes from Renato who is a wonderful and passionate cook, walking through the picturesque countryside to the nearby towns of Tavarnelle and Barberino for a morning coffee and accompanying a local guide and his dog on a search for truffles. 

”The Tuscan Experience” is a truly amazing and unique experience and I would have no hesitation recommending this tour to anyone wanting to experience the real Tuscany.
— Annette & John Burkett

Suspend reality…. Renato’s Tuscan tour provides the real Italian dream. Immerse yourself and live la dolce vita. Meet the locals, love the villages… and fall in love with the amazing cities and lifestyle.

Time to really ‘live’, not just visit – and to make lifelong friends, including some with four paws – if you wish.
Sleep under the Tuscan skies, learn the traditions. Love the food and wine

My heart remains in a very special part of Tuscany, thanks to Renato and his wonderful network of locals who are his lifelong friends and colleagues. This trip simply is ‘the best’ – add it to your bucket list.
— A. Holden

A small group of 12-14 are hosted by Renato on this wonderful tour of Sicily - embracing history, food, culture, wine and chocolate.

You have not tasted arancini until you have indulged in Sicily, the UNESCO listed sites, ancient Greek temples, the Baroque style of architecture - but for me the drive up to Mt Etna was a reality check on what an earthquake means, seeing all the lava which is used to make the roads and the submersion of a house.

Another delight was seeing Inspector Montalbano’s house - if you have not seen the TV series, indulge yourself. And a visit to the oldest Chocolate factory in Sicily - tasting included! Taormina - history, shopping - it is all in Sicily We are feted with only the best guides and expert driver, Enrico, and host Renato.
— Kate

Renato’s tours in Sicily are unforgettable. Indeed, I remember so much more of them since I’ve returned home as they are quite overwhelming at the time – within his safe, capable, knowledgeable and fun arrangements, care and guidance.

Share the best of Sicilian history, culture – especially music, literature and art - relaxation, food and wine, and camaraderie.

Both of Renato’s Sicilian tours – through his contacts, knowledge and love of all things Italian – are truly life enriching and affirming.

Not to be missed.
— A. Holden

This is a wonderful weekend away staying in beautiful Tuscan like accomodation 45 minutes out if Adelaide in Port Elliot. Our time was spent soaking up the surrounds enjoying amazing food prepared by our wonderful host Renato. You can be as hands on as you like in the kitchen learning about cooking Italian food, the culture and the people or just spend the time relaxing. It was a perfectly indulgent weekend away - 5 Stars!!!
— Cath White, on 'A Taste of Italy in SA'

Renato brings his infectious and sincere knowledge and love of all things Italian – especially cooking and people – to a sumptuous, special location that is truly a surprise touch of Tuscany in South Australia.

Learn a few words or practice the Italian language; see an Italian chef at work, try Italian cooking under Renato’s guidance, or relax with an Italian aperitif or wine while lavish meals are prepared; then love the fine cuisine and wines. Guests can be as active and involved, or chilled and romantic as they wish.

I loved making new friends and enjoying memories with those I already knew. Can’t wait to return!

— A. Holden

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy “The Tuscan Experience” more than once - each time brings new experiences and I say to anyone reading this -

Stop the life you live everyday and give yourself permission to Live the Dream of this unique 2 week immersion in Italian life. Suck in the culture & history the food & wine the sights & smells.

The tour is enhanced by the fact you are part of a small group, only unpack once for the 2 weeks, trips out to Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and all the other places start by being picked up at the door of the villa and returned back where you will find your chef Marta preparing your dinner, free cooking lessons with her or a gin & tonic outside watching the sun set over the nearby village, staying in a 15th century villa surrounded by olive trees and vines in the Tuscan countryside - expert drivers and tour guides - all hosted bythe inimitable Renato. You become part of the small village of Tavarnelle - 2km from the villa and can mix easily with the locals

Be impatient for this tour as I was - you will not be disappointed.
— Kate

Food & Language Class Testimonials

Re The Italian Cookery Class that Jenni and I attended together.

It was absolutely fabulous and exceeded all our expectations! We had a fantastic group of people that all got on so well together and all participated in the class. It was such a relaxed, casual and very chatty environment and everything was beautifully presented and made for a very happy and satisfying Saturday afternoon.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the 4 course meal was totally delicious! The Totino Wines were very nice too, and paired well with the good food. Renato was an amazing chef and teacher and was such fun too - we certainly learned a lot from him and many ‘short cuts’ to make cooking at home easier.

Thank you to his assistant Katia, she was kept very busy throughout the day and looked after us very well. I have never attempted to make my own pasta, but after learning the techniques, I will definitely will be ‘giving it a shot’!

Jenni and I came away enthusiastically planning a trip to Waverley Estate, Tuscany and Sicily!!!! Thanking you for the amazing cooking experience - we loved every minute of the day.
— Jill Watt

I have been attending Renato’s Italian language classes for well over 10 years.

Renato focuses on giving you the encouragement, motivation and confidence to speak. His Italian lessons are fun, interactive, engaging and practical, creating a relaxed learning environment.
— Joyce McGregor

Whether you have had a whimsical thought or a burning desire to learn Italian - here is where you start! And there is no pressure - small classes means extra attention.

I have been learning Italian with Renato for some years now and it has become a weekly meeting with friends where we learn whilst sharing food and wine. But not only do you learn the language, you gain an insight into the culture and history, where and why events happened, the geography of the country and the foods of each region. And then Renato will take you there!

Learning Italian has changed my life. It is such a pleasure to be in Italy talking with Italians and being understood. I did it and so can you!
— Kate

Learning a language in a very relaxed, friendly space sharing food and wine with a teacher who is patient and makes the class fun. It prepared me for a future trip to Italy and challenged me in a good way to learn new things, learning the language and the culture of Italy. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
— Cath White

This Italian cooking class is the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon - food, wine, hands on or not preparing a 3 course lunch and then delighting in it’s consumption. There is nothing like this hand made pasta - I didn’t really like pasta before this - and you are given all the recipes to follow and then take home and try yourself - and I have cooked them so that is proof of how easy they are.

Renato is your host and chef extraordinaire, making the day fun and unforgettable. I commend this pleasure to you.

I have given vouchers for this indulgence to friends for birthdays & Christmas.
— Kate