Interview with Virginia:
Tell me a bit about yourself
We are a travel agency based in Verona and all around our region. We also collaborate with singular companies in Bologna so that we can cover more areas. We are a small agency and we provide a tailormade local experiences, we focus on both sides such as everyday tours where people can see the city and also taste the food & wine. We are both wine experts, I have done a WST certificate and Sara has previously spent a lot of time in the wine hospitality sector. We both know a lot about wines from the region and their history. We provide personal tours and focus on food & wine tours, we can find a local experience anywhere. We provide experiences to people who really want to get to know the essence of Verona and the surrounding region.
What inspired you to work in tourism?
For me, to be honest, it was because I couldn’t find a permanent job. I was working in a bank covering maternity leave and this is where I met Sara who was originally there permanently, and we became immediate friends. We talked about doing something different, I had previously organised a couple of weddings for some American couples and so had a little experience in organising and finding unique things to do. Originally, I wanted to continue with the wedding planning, but I soon realised I was more interested in hospitality. I would say that tourism is quite new here in Verona, in terms of more personable experiences and I saw an opportunity to do something about this. It can be difficult for tourists to find, for example, wineries that are open at the weekend for a visit or finding something to do on bank holidays when they can’t speak English. I realised that this is something that I could help out with. We are spoilt because we live in a very touristic city and so we decided to try it and make sure that we highlight the passion behind the types of experiences that we offer. We first starting do this as a hobby but eventually it turned into our fulltime jobs.
What makes your experiences special?
We put a lot of passion into our work. It is just be and Sara so anything that happens we are accountable and so we put all of our energy into making the experiences the best that we can so that people enjoy them. We want to take care of everyone and make sure that the tours that we offer are something we would personally like to do. We are always very focused on the details as well as quality over quantity. It is just me and Sara doing the tours so everything is very personable, we are not a big tourist operator. We have a lot of passion and I think that people can see that when they come on our tours. We have a very good relationship with all of our suppliers and make sure that we choose the small boutiques that are of extremely high quality but not extortionately priced. Even the wineries that we choose are boutique wineries and again the quality is very high, trust us we know what we’re talking about. In these smaller locations you really get to experience what it is like on a personal level. People want to travel now because of experiences and we do our best to say welcome to our city.
What do you love most about Verona?
Verona is a very romantic and walkable city because it’s very small. But you always have something to see and discover that you haven’t seen before. For me, as Verona hasn’t got many tour operators in, it is a good opportunity to be able to offer something unique. When I started this job my mum said ‘you know what in once month you will close’, I have been running these experiences with Sara now for over 2 years, it goes to show that there is still so much to see in Verona that people are yet to uncover. People want to travel now to do experiences not just for the location and we do our best to say welcome to our city.