“Erica, We are just back from Europe and I wanted to let you know that we so much enjoyed our week…”
“We have spent almost 10 days in IL Rosetto. House is very comfortable with mixed modern and…”
-Leszeck - Roseto - July 2014
“What a wonderful set-up we had for ourselves, daughter, husband and 3 boys aged 10,5 and 3! It was…”
-Saratoga S. - July 2014
“Hi Erica! We just returned home from our lovely road trip. I wanted to thank you for finding…”
“Our trip to Villa d'Orcia was unplanned, but so wonderful that words don't do it justice. When…”
-Richard - USA - Villa d'Orcia
“Erica, We would like to thank you so much for providing the wonderful itineraries. We followed…”
“Thanks to Erica our month-long house party celebrating our 25th anniversary was nearly perfect…”
“Hi Erica! I just wanted to thank you for all of your help and assistance in making our trip…”
“Thanks so much for being so helpful ahead of time! We found the house (with no wrong turns!) using…”
“Hi Erica I must admit I was lost to the world of internet and so many options and struggling to…”
“Good day Erica. I wanted to thank you for your part in making this memorable trip happen. My…”
Hello & Welcome to my Website
It’s a pleasure for me to introduce you to Bespoke Countryside Vacations and Garden Trips.
“Bespoke” means made to order.
You can consider me a bespoke consultant.
I understand that this is your vacation, so I want to know what you want and how much of the planning or legwork you would like from me.
To help you answer these questions, have a look at the 'How to get started' Page
How to Get Started
How can I best assist you in your holiday planning? Does one of these options suit you?
- Complete: "I want to be spoiled with a holiday planned around my wishlist; I do not want to have to think before and during my holiday. I need everything planned, organized, prepared, including chauffer and cook."
- Planning, Booking, and Lots of Information: "I have a pretty good idea of the holiday I am after but I want you to put it together for me. I love being autonomous when I am on holiday; it is just the planning and booking bit I want help with."
- Find and Book a Vacation Home: "I only want your help in booking the right holiday home for me. I enjoy planning my own activities from there."
- Authentic Activities: "I have booked my holiday rental and planned my days out, but I want a cook to shop and prepare my meals and a driver to take me on all my day trips."
- Wow Me: "I have no time for any planning or organization. I don’t even know what the options are. Please put together a package that will surprise me."
Please see our contact form to let me know more about you and your vacation needs.
For the Itinerary? There are endless possibilities, but to help whet your appetite, check out:
Tuscany and Umbria Vacations
Trieste and Slovenia Vacations
The Complete Experience
"I want to be spoiled with a holiday planned around my wishlist; I do not want to have to think before and during my holiday. I need everything planned, organized, prepared, including chauffer and cook."
No more faceless hotels or generic packaged tours – just quality Italian vacations and gatherings tailor-made for you.
Erica Vaccari offers expert assistance for a truly authentic and customized experience.
Our trips are made to suit your needs, and adjustments can be made to allow for age, budget and other essential requirements. We offer:
- excellent knowledge of the local areas and unrivalled personalized assistance;
- slow travel, exploring the hidden treasures each area has to offer;
- a carefully selected portfolio of private vacation rentals set in rapturous surroundings;
- a carefully selected range of local guides and activity operators;
- personally accompanied by Erica Vaccari.
* For foreign language parties, a translator will come along.
"I have a pretty good idea of the holiday I am after but I want you to put it together for me. I love being autonomous when I am on holiday; it is just the planning and booking bit I want help with."
Once your wish-list is set, it’s up to me to deliver options which meet your budget needs and other requirements.
Maybe you'd like to take your extended family on an art or culinary tour, or make sure your disabled mother is properly cared for, or travel with children and you simply want a genuine experience away from soul-less holiday villages.
I realise it can be difficult to know how to start your holiday planning, especially if you do not know the area. So, the first step is to spend time understanding your vacation 'wish-list' and together we can design a tailor-made itinerary. Then, I book your accommodations, activities, courses, and tours you’d like.
Getting the most out of your precious vacation time is all about knowing the local area. My travel planning service will provide you with the best itinerary, and information on transportation, parking, events and restaurants that will make your holiday flow without time consuming 'mistakes'.
This service costs 2% of the total cost of your holiday booked - minimum rate €150.
"I only want your help in booking the right holiday home for me. I enjoy planning my own activities from there."
We carefully select vacation homes. Often, we are an exclusive agent for the homeowners, making our portfolio truly unique. We offer a range so that all tastes, interests, and budgets can be accommodated. All homes are set in graceful surroundings and offer the highest levels of enticing Italian hospitality.
Most even offer home-grown food and wine.
No holiday home is listed until we are completely satisfied that it meets our rigorous criteria.
- Are special yet fantastically ordinary;
- Offer lovely Italian scenery and access to the best regional cuisine;
- Have charming yet uncomplicated décor with no compromises on facilities and comfort;
- Are welcoming and friendly, with owners ready to help when necessary;
- Are clean and well maintained.
We look over each holiday home thoroughly before we give it our stamp of approval. In many cases, we stay at the home ourselves and use the time to explore the local area to make sure the surroundings meet our standards as well.
Anniversary, birthday, Wedding proposal, want to surprise your group with a scrumptious meal? Let our chef transform your special occasion into a memorable culinary event. Delicious typical Tuscan meals accompanied by excellent wines.
If you're spending your holidays in Siena, Tuscany and its region, or even just passing through, do not miss the Cooking Class with our selected chefs!
Private Guided Tour
Explore Tuscany countryside with the passion of a local expert guide, finding secret places away from the crowd.
Would you like to try the experience of "digging" a truffle out of the soil for the first time under the guidance of an expert truffle hunter and his dogs? Would you like to learn all the secrets of Tuscan truffles? Their characteristics, properties, differences, how to store and how to use them?
These trips are made to suit the needs of each party and are open to adjustments to allow for the groups age, budget and other essential requirements. Here is an idea.
Cotswolds Garden Trip
A week of slow-moving travel away from the crowds, discovering a British area of astounding natural beauty - famous for its landscape of sweet rolling hills, endless valleys dotted with sheep, romantic golden stone villages, marvelous castles, Roman ruins, and historical beautiful gardens.
Staying in Broadway, known as the Jewel of the Cotswolds, we will depart from our charming B&B each day, after a delicious and nutrient Full English Breakfast, to visit several gardens.
Some are world renowned like Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate, Abbey House, Bourton House, Rousham whilst others are rare and more intimate like Mill Dene, Uptonwold and Broughton Grange.
We will enjoy light lunches at river pubs and garden cafès. In the evening, we will explore the many charming villages, shop, or relax.
As well, we can sample great British cooking at highly rated Cotswolds pubs and restaurants.
Best time to visit is late May to mid July, and September to mid October for Autumn gardens.
A 7 night trip for a minimum of 8 travellers starts from €1550 pp inclusive of B&B accommodation, private minivan with driver, all light lunches, all garden entrances and guided visits. Flight cost depends on departure city and time of year. Allow about 200 euro for flights to and from Birmingham airport. Dinners are about €25 euro per day.
Contact us for details.
Lazio, Tuscia and Rome
A long weekend from Thursday to Sunday visiting Lazio's fabulous gardens - Ninfa, Villa Lante, Valleranello, Villa Borghese, Tivoli.
Tuscany & Umbria Vacations
We'll give you some ideas to get you started. Please remember we’re flexible to accommodate your needs. Here are some examples:
Each day, explore the best Siena and the province have to offer. Take along a quintessential Tuscan picnic along the way!
*Private Chianti wine tour with Siena's most fascinating wine conoisseur and writer, Dario Castagno;
*Half day cooking class with Nonna Ciana at her family's organic little farm; Enter a locals' home and learn to cook Tuscan recipes in a warm, friendly environment. And after the 4 hour lesson (which includes selecting and picking your veggies from the food garden) enjoy dinner (or lunch) together.
*A day in Val d'Orcia with a visit to Montalcino and its wineries, Pienza with its cheeses, ingenious architecture and romantic atmosphere, visit beautiful Sant'Antimo Abbey and listen to the Gregorian chants.
*A day in Florence exploring its least obvious corners with our charming, utterly passionate private guide Elena. Her deeply informative and inspiring ways of communicating the history, the arts and politics of the city will take you back 600 years and lead you to a totally different dimension. If history is not your thing... then try the best quality Italian gelato, visit an ancient paper maker workshop, a goldsmith's a leather worker... you name your passion and Elena will deliver accordingly! Elena is amazing at inspiring even the youngest travellers.
*An unforgettable walking day with fabulous Sara around Siena, discovering the land's hidden secrets and breathtaking views; Her deep knowledge of the countryside and its traditions will draw you into its past and make you feel part of it. Endless route possibilities, in Chianti, Val d'Orcia, Val d'Arbia. The scenery is so varied that no two areas will be the same, even at a short distance. Not to be missed the Acona desert, Montalcino to Sant'Antimo, San Quirico to Pienza... and marvellous Chianti. Route available for all fitness levels and age.
*Experience a visit to a Contrada museum and enjoy dinner with some 3000 contradaioli to savour their crazy ways!
* Take a guided city tour of Siena with one of the city's best established guides, Camilla, who will wittingly share the renowned Siennese gossipy ways to draw you into the city's real essence. She will skillfully and respectfully open up the city doors to allow for as much understanding of its nature as you will dare to ask. Fun, informative, lighthearted, bespoke.
* Take a sailing trip to the Tuscan Archipelago. You can take a one day sling trip to Giglio, or a multiple day trip on a private yacht. What a marvellous way to approach the Tuscan sea.
Trieste & Slovenia Vacations
Experience an utterly charming yet unusual Italian holiday on the NE border of Italy with Slovenia: laid back, slow, subtly beautiful land with untouched countryside, majestic architecture, fantastic wines, and a gorgeous coastline.
You will enjoy:
- A day climbing in complete safety on the well known 'falesie', or white cliffs, of Trieste.
- A donkey excursion in our beloved Karst countryside dotted with Europe's deepest and largest caves, some of which you can explore with our certified speleologists.
- A day sailing in the beautiful gulf of Trieste with lunch on board, viewing the romantic castles of Duino and Miramare from the sea.
- A bike tour in our treasured Collio, the famous wine making countryside shared between Italy and Slovenia, with lunch in one of the beautiful wineries.
- A night at the opera at Teatro Verdi, the small scale version of Milan's Teatro della Scala.
Less about Erica
Erica Vaccari was formally trained as a teacher of ESOL with a PG Dip from IOE, Univeristy of London. Since 2001, Erica has been in the Slow Travel movement, first as a Route and Property Manager with a renowned English Tour Operator specialized in accompanied walking holidays, then as a personal cook for private parties at Tuscan and Umbrian Villas. Since 2007, she has been the manager of this small Vacation planning business organizing bespoke holidays in charming villas and farmhouses in the countryside of Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here You can find useful answers to simple questions regarding your home rental, the booking procedure, general travel information.
1. How do I make a reservation?
Once you are ready to book, we will send you a link to a secure page of this website where you can accept T&Cs and make the online payment using our secure socket.
2. How can I pay the deposit?
You can use the online secure socket provided and pay with Mastercard or Visa, please note there is a 2,2% credit card payments charge applied on the amount to pay.
3. What time can I check into the house?
Check in is between 4 and 8 pm. Unless otherwise stated, late arrivals after 8.30 pm will be charged 10 euro per hour until Midnight. It is not possible to check in after Midnight.
4. Is it essential to have a car?
Most of our rentals are in the countryside. Some are close to a bus stop, so that you can easily get into the closest town. However, having a car means that you can make the most of the country side has to offer. The alternative is to book a driver.
5. How far in advance is it advisable to rent a car?
As soon as you book the house and the flight.