You want to come to Italy but you don’t know where to start? You’re not alone! Italy is made up of twenty regions that all have their unique character, style, food and dialect. And even if you know you want to see some of the big cities like Rome, Florence & Venice, you could spend a lifetime and never see it all.

So here’s where I (Lauren) come in. I moved to Italy in 2010 and have been working in the tour industry since 2013. I’ve arranged hundreds of tours for different types of companies (private tours, customised tours, group tours, food tours, Segway tours, you name it) and I’ve worked as a professional tour guide in Rome, Florence, Tuscany & Pisa. I’ve also written about travel in Italy for Romeing Magazine, Italian Insider newspaper in Rome, and more.

Maybe you’ve never been to Italy before and you want to make the most of your first trip or you have been many times in the past and want to see something new. I can help out in either scenario. And the best part is, if you’re planning to do tour, the trip planning rates listed below can be deducted so you don’t end up spending any more extra money on your trip!

How it works

In 2020 we had almost no travellers whatsoever so we are trying to restart our business as the world opens up again. That means that right now I’m offering anyone who wants a free 30 minute travel consultation, no strings attached. You can meet me on zoom or Skype and talk about where you’d like to go and what you’d like to see. I’ll be able to offer you ideas in the moment and will follow up with an email about what we talked about.

After that I charge a flat rate for tour planning that can be deducted from tours booked through Unlock Italy. Here’s what I mean:

Travel Planning Level 1: €50 (deductible)

If you decide to do 2 or more tours with us, this rate is deductible!

  • Free 30 minute call to decide if you want to pay a little extra for more travel planning
  • 1-2 scheduled phone calls to continue discussing your plans
  • unlimited email communication until we have everything sorted out
  • Extensive customisation of any tours you find on our site *Examples of “extensive customisation” are explained below
  • Itinerary ideas when not doing tours
  • Booking private guided tours through Unlock Italy
  • Booking drivers/transfers in connection with tours

Travel Planning Level 2: €100 (deductible)

If you decide to do 4 or more tours with us, this rate is deductible!

  • Get all the tour planning services in level 1 PLUS:
  • Free 30 minute call to decide if you want to pay a little extra for more travel planning
  • Full customised itinerary in pdf form. Each day will be mapped out with the suggestions we talked about, any restaurants booked, tours booked, train ticket timings, numbers and addresses. It will all be there in your pdf, one document that you can reference for everything. This doesn’t mean your entire trip is planned down to the last minute, it just means all the things you HAVE planned and some of the options you might like are all there in one easy to find spot.
  • Restaurant bookings
  • Train ticket bookings

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as “extensive tour customisation”?

Here’s an example of customisation with no extra fees: You’d like to do a tour of Ancient Rome but you already saw the Colosseum on your last trip. I’d suggest some alternatives to visiting the Colosseum that could go with the rest of the Ancient Rome itinerary.

*Here’s an example of customisation that would incur the first tier travel planning fee: Two members of your family love wine and food and two members love history so you’d like to combine a tour that starts with a museum for he two history buffs, then the other two can meet them and you all see something in the city centre together with your guide followed by a wine tasting of specialty wines.

What if I want to book tours without paying for tour planning?

No problem! You can choose from any of the tours on the site and I will set those up without any additional cost. These tours can also be customised without getting into the travel planning fee. I’ll just bring up this possibility if I see that we are going down that route so you can decide.

What if I don’t know how customised I want to make things?

You can always just send me an email and we can start the tour booking process and if I see you’d like more attention to customisation, I’ll let you know when we’re getting into the tour rate territory. I will never spend time customising things with you and then send you a bill! We will always agree in advance on whether or not to do that.

Lauren’s areas of expertise

Rome & Lazio Florence & Tuscany followed by Naples & Amalfi Coast, Venice & Milan. If you want to plan a trip in Calabria or the Dolomites, I will tell you now, I unfortunately can’t help with that at this time.

Why tour planning with me is unique

I am an American so there will be no language barrier or issues to planning with me but I’ve lived in Italy since 2010 so I know Italian and I know the country quite well.

I am a licensed tour guide with experience guiding since 2007 so I’ve had a lot of on the ground experience talking to travellers about their experiences and seeing first hand just what happens when you show up for a full day walking tour with a two year old (!).

I have worked in the Italy tourism industry since 2007, managing multiple tour companies from behind the computer screen, coordinating people’s tours and trips and working directly with guests and with travel agents.

I have written about Rome and Florence for numerous travel publications and blogs.

I still work as a guide in Florence, Pisa & Tuscany! So you can plan your trip with me and also plan a tour with me too.

My personal travel philosophy

You can’t do it all.

There is simply far too much in Italy to be able to see everything on your to do list. We can talk about how to see what matters to you

Mix it Up

One of the reasons I love Italy so much and why I moved here is because of the great variety. You can visit an art museum in the morning, do a food tour in the afternoon, wake up at dawn to go hiking or sailing in a beautiful natural landscape, discover artisan boutiques and craftsmen in the afternoon then head to the opera after dinner.

So while you see a lot of tours on this website, I don’t think that’s what you should be doing with all your time!

Get Off the “beaten track”

This is something I know most people want to do anyway and they just don’t know where to start. I hear a lot of people say to me “I feel so ignorant about xyz place” or “I know I should know more about that artist/site.” To which my response is: why should you? When do you have time to study Italian geography and Renaissance history? This is where getting the advice of a local on site can help so much in finding those hidden gems that will be right for you and that will make your trip extra special.

Go Slow, go Sustainable

In general I think a lot of travellers over do it and my advice for this is not to cut things out of your plans but to arrange them in a better way. Everyone is working within time limitations when traveling, whether you are in Italy for a few days or a month but the order in which you arrange things can make the difference between a fun trip and an overwhelming one.

One size doesn’t fit all

In our first conversation I’ll get an idea of what kind of traveler you are and will vary my suggestions to what will work the best for you. Most tour company models show a vast menu of tours that you can choose from but how do you know what’s right for you or what the best combination will be? When should you spend the money on a guide or visit a site on your own and save the guided tour for the next city? We’ll go through your itinerary

Plan for the people in your group

You’re coming to Italy and you want to see everything but you have a two year old and a member in the family is in a wheelchair. What can you do? There is no reason you can’t do everything on your list no matter who is in your group but I think it’s just important to plan with the preferences and abilities of those in your group so that you enjoy your time together in Italy.

Check out the Blog for more Italy travel ideas

Check out the Blog & Tips page for tons of free travel ideas and advice! I’ve put together the blog on this site to act as a resource for travellers trying to get their bearings. Everything is written by me and based on my personal experience. There are no paid sponsorships. Everything there is what I think could be the most useful information for guests based on the questions I’ve received over the years and my own interests as a traveler.

Write me an email to say hello and let me know what questions you have. I look forward to hearing from you!