Frequently Asked Questions
Below are details to know before you depart, and answers to frequently asked questions. If you think of any others, please ask.
Please check the weather before you travel. If you’re not sure what to expect, ask us. Please bring light clothing for cooking and comfortable walking shoes for touring. The kitchen and bedrooms are air conditioned and heated. The pool is not heated. For tours to Sicily, weather is always cooler on Mt Etna, regardless of other weather and likely requires 2 layers.
What to wear:
Please dress comfortably. This is not a formal event. Please wear clothing you are comfortable walking around in (especially shoes) and that allow a range of motion. Bring layers for the evening such as a light weight jacket/wind breaker or a sweater. In the kitchen, closed shoes are recommended. Tomato sauce between your toes would be a little messy. If you would like to walk around the villa or countryside, please bring shoes you can get dirty. There will be time to change between events so don’t worry about getting a little sauce on you in the kitchen and changing afterwards. In our Sabina vacation at the end of the walking tour in Rome, we will go directly to a trendy rooftop restaurant for dinner (weather permitting), without an opportunity to change. Jeans or comfortable slacks or skirts and slacks for ladies are appropriate. Churches do not allow “short shorts” or tank tops or strapless tops in any of our vacations. Guests frequently get a little dressier for our last night’s “Arrivederci Dinner”. Again, this is not formal!
Cell Phones and Communications:
If you do not have international service on your phone for Europe, please contact your service provider to start it and or pick an international plan for usage. Data can be expensive so review your options with your carrier before you leave. Texting is more reasonable. You may wish to purchase a temporary phone or SIM card at the airport once you arrive in Italy. Many visitors use a texting App such as WhatsApp, which is free. The villas and hotels are equipped with free WiFi.
Please make note of our phone numbers in case you need to notify us of delays or travel issues:
Mike Di Girolamo’s U.S. Cell +1 727 560 7430, Mike Di Girolamo’s Italian Cell +39 333 539 7803, Giuseppe Micheletta’s Cell +39 348 476 3809 Riccardo Bombelli’s Cell +39 344 118 8673. When dialing in Italy to Italian or US numbers, press 0 (zero) and hold it until it changes to a plus sign. When in Italy and wishing to dial the US, press 0 (zero) and hold it until it changes to + then “1”.
Amenities, Electricity Converters and Chargers:
Please remember to bring an electric current converter for any appliances you may bring, including your cell phone charger.
The villas/hotels are equipped with blow dryers in each room and there is an iron/ironing board for clothing and clothes washer/dryer if needed. All rooms have robes and slippers. We also have an honor bar with a wide selections of wines, Prosecco’s and liquors for cocktails. Wine is provided during all included meals in and out at restaurants.
Converting Cash and Currency/Credit Cards:
We would recommend that you convert some cash into Euros for incidentals before you arrive at the your destination. Generally, cash conversions at the airport are the most expensive way to convert with both commissions and fees. Large Banks will convert with advanced notice (maybe a week). ATM transactions in Italy usually offer the best conversion rate. However, please contact your bank in advance to make sure your ATM cards are activated for Europe and turned on. Please follow the same advice for any credit cards you may want to use. When using an ATM or Bancomat, we recommend using one in or at a bank, not a generic ATM.
Food and Beverages during your stay:
During your stay, we provide a variety of foods to reflect the best of Italian cooking, including regional cuisine, and both traditional and more contemporary cooking. Please inform us in advance of and food allergies or intolerances.This is a culinary vacation so please expect a variety of foods. All food and beverages are included except as specifically notched on certain tour itineraries outside of Sabina. This will include extensive buffet breakfasts, multi-course lunches and dinners, including at restaurants, tea, coffee, a variety of waters and wine during lunches and dinners. An honor bar is made available for cocktails, mixers or additional wine between and after meals for your enjoyment at reasonable cost.
Tipping During Your Stay:
Tipping of waiters at restaurants is included. Tipping of co-host, villa staff and cleaning staff, guides and drivers is not included but welcomed and appreciated. Normal tipping protocol is to provide a tip at the end of the week to the host, who will then take care of tipping the villa staff, cooks, drivers and co-host(s). This is similar to a cruise ship. The total tip is fairly divided among those who contributed to the enjoyment of your vacation. Generally, we see guests tip in the €150-€200 per guest range.
Location of Villas/Hotel:
For private transfers or shipping, let us know if you need a specific mailing address or location for drivers.
Airport, City Hotel, Train Station Transfers:
While you may have provided flight information, please let us know if there are any changes. We will coordinate airport, train station and hotel pick up times based on grouping some of our guests’ arrivals and hotels. Sometimes initiating cell service in a new country takes a little while. Once we have received all passenger’s transfer information, we will communicate with you the week before the location and time. This can vary by the number of guests, arrival times and availability of drivers. Drivers will hold up a La Cucina Sabina Sign at each location.
Departures will be scheduled after your arrival. Please contact us as soon as you know of any travel changes or interruptions. Bags are sometimes temporarily lost by airlines. We suggest having some clothes in a carryon in case your checked bag is delayed.
Check your passport! Your passport must have more than 90 days before expiration by the end of your trip!
Covid Protocol Requirements:
Travel restrictions between Italy and most countries have essentially been eliminated as there are no longer testing and vaccination requirements.
If You Are Ill During Your Stay:
If during your week you feel ill, let us know as soon as possible so that we can get you tested and then take precautionary measures to isolate as soon as possible for your own safety and those of other guests. If you test positive during your stay or at the end of your stay, we will assist you in finding appropriate lodging for isolation at an Air B&B or hotel that suits your needs and budget. This is dependent on availability and your preferences. If you have Covid assistance insurance, you would need to notify your carrier on what they require for coverage and the proof of testing they will require and then you can proceed accordingly. They may have preferred facilities and budget guidelines.
Traveling and touring within Italy. Is it safe?
For all our vacations, our groups are in our vehicles exclusively for our excursions. In all our vacations, hotels and villas are exclusive and with high cleaning standards. Cooking demonstrations are exclusively for our group as are winery visits, tours and other excursions.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR SATISFIED GUESTS
The Perfect Italian Culinary Vacation