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Elsa, The trip you planned for us was wonderful! I could not have asked for more. I was on a 'roots' tour for myself - I am Italian from way back. I wanted to get a feel of the country. Venice, Tuscany, Florence, Rome and the Amalfi coast was Perfetto!! Your stewardship was just right - inviting us to come to the local place you know for dinner or not, as our choice, was a great idea.
I loved all the hotels, especially the one in the Amalfi Coast. I knew about all the stops except Ravello and that was a special wonderful surprise. One of my best photographs of the Italian coast is from there. It was fabulous being with someone who is a native Italian. The expert tour director for Hadrian's villa was exceptional. She was so knowledgeable, she made that portion of the journey so special. She was and archeologist who actually did some study for five years at the Villa - she said so i took a picture of a 400 year old olive tree and am going to put it in front of my little olive tree in front yard here in Austin so that it will know what it should grow up to look like! The restaurant in Tivoli was spectacular. The Villa in Tuscany was spectacular too! All of your expert tour directors were very good.
I am recommending your tour and Italian classes to any and all of my friends who are interested in Italy! My cousin from New York might like to go too! Thanks for your expertise, knowledge and savvy, I enjoyed a great 'roots' tour of Italy!
Carol L.

Tom and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the MOST AMAZING trip we have ever taken. I was skeptical about doing a group tour, but it turned out to be better than ever imagined. By better I mean spectacular!!!.
With you, Elsa, is obviously is the way to travel. Your group trips are small enough (12-16 people) that we all became friends/family during this time (this I really loved. you can't beat the intimacy of a small group!). From the time we arrived in Venice (one of the most beautiful places ever to lay eyes on!!!) until we departed from the Amalfi Coast (one of the other most beautiful places we have ever seen!!!) and EVERYTHING in between was the most well orchestrated trip ever!!! And the best part, We did not have to think of ONE thing. You seriously took care of all of your travelers' needs. Everything!!! So many excursions and bus tours. You have managed such a finely manicured trip that we were all able to immerse ourselves in Italy in no way that the general traveler could achieve. .
Your knowledge of Italy and the best spots to go are priceless, as some were off the beaten path that only a true Italian would know (Cave restaurant overlooking canyon as one example). I have been raving to neighbors and all friends how amazing this trip is. Including all my sisters. looks like we will be seeing you on your on our Sicily trip.. Can't wait.
Happy traveling,
Kris and Tom O'B.

Elsa's Taste of Italy Tour was an amazing buffet of history, beauty, and flavor ! ...
The hotels were charming, comfortable, and close to the heart of stuff to do. Her recommendations for restaurants were never touristy and the food - fresh clams, mussels, swordfish with pasta, ravioli, and Italian wine - yum ! Local guide gave us so much more than a book and in the context of interesting stories - a PHD in history and archeology, wow!
Elsa's roots in Sicily and experience in giving this tour made it efficient, kept it moving with lots of THE Italian amazing spots, and still allowed flexibility to do my own thing at times!
Venice, Murano, Florence, Rome, Pisa, Tuscany, Siena, Pompeii, the coast of Amalfi - loved it all! Thanks Elsa !
Thank you Carolyn J.

It was absolutely fascinating to see the ruins of Greek Theaters in 900 BC!
I sat on the same stones and walked on the same earth that Kings, Emperors,
and other history makers did even B.C.
! I slept in a hotel that was once a palace and shopped in a quaint little
town with amazing Sicilian souvenirs.
I saw beautiful gold-laden Catholic Churches that had mosaics and hand
carved pillars that told the stories of many years ago, such as Sampson and
Delilah, and ate fresh seafood while looking at the beautiful sea in Sicily!
Who wouldn't enjoy that?! Defiantly one to check off the bucket list.
Tamberly H.W.

Elsa's Sicily trip was a great experience. Well planned, and a lot of good suggestions for food and other things to do and see. It was great to see so many major areas and get a chance to know bits and pieces of Sicily while visiting spots you wouldn't find without being a local or having a top end guide. Had a blast and learned more than I expected.
Mat D.
Dear Elsa,
First off, thank you for all your help in the leading to the trip. I enjoyed Italy very much, and this trip has infused me with a desire to do more traveling. From the historical sites to the wandering around in each town to the fantastic Italian food, my eyes have definitely been opened to the possibilities of international travel.
Thanks you and take care,
Colin M.
Thank you for organizing such a great trip - Sicily was a wonderful surprise!
Jeanette, Keren, Lowell, and Matan B.
All went well.  Loved the oysters dinner for New Year's, and  my last night view from my window room of the mighty mountain Etna.
Anne B.

The 2012 NEW YEAR'S  trip to Sicily was wonderful. Something new and wonderful around every corner. Everyone was eager to help us even though we didn't speak the same language. Elsa and her family are gracious and fun to be around. The hotels were great and all the excursions are well worth the money. I'd go again in a heartbeat! It was tutto bene! Everything was beautiful, the food was fantastic and the people were gracious and friendly. I just sent you $ 100. That's your tip. Grazie! I'm saving my money for Rome trip 2014. Loved it. It was great!
 Becky R.
The New Year's Eve A Taste of Italy Austin Tour with Elsa Gramola was a trip of a lifetime!  I have always wanted to take a trip to Italy, so when the opportunity to travel to Sicily with Elsa came up, I quickly signed up.  The trip was beyond my expectations.  It is one thing to go on a vacation to another county and go site seeing, shopping and dining on your own, but it is an entirely different experience to have a resident Sicilian accompanying you to all the excursions and introducing you to all her favorite restaurants.  Elsa has insider knowledge on the best restaurants and hotels, and more importantly where to shop!  I especially liked the variety of the excursions Elsa planned for us.  For example, one day we took a bus tour up to Mt. Etna where we were having snowballs fights and drinking hot cocoa, and the next day we were strolling through one of most beautiful public gardens in sunny Taormina.  Next day we're on a guided tour of one of the oldest and most beautiful and divine churches I've ever have ever seen.  Next day we're hiking in Agrigento to tour ancient Greek Temples that are thousands of years old.  Every day was some new and exciting to experience.  The best part is that Elsa was there with the group and helped us with the language barrier.  When it was time to come home, I did not want to leave Sicily.  I never felt like I was in a foreign country.  In fact, I felt right at home.  Sicily is absolutely beautiful!  Vacation of a Lifetime!! You must go :-)
Cissi R.

Dear Elsa,
I had such a great time in Sicily!! Hope to visit again in the future!!
Michael Lisotta
Hi Elsa
Sicily is magical and we were fortunate to be able to see it through the eyes of a Sicilian. It transported us to the past glories of Greece and Rome and introduced us to a very mixed culture of Norman, Byzantine and classical antiquity.
Mt Etna was almost surreal with lava and snow mixed together, and bright sun and clouds fighting to control the weather.
We loved the trip!!!
Weather was with us all the way and everyone was friendly and helpful. Thanks
Lynn G.
Thank you for a wonderful Sicily trip.  From the Grecian temples in Agrigento to the Greco-Roman amphitheater  in Taormina to the market in Catania to the cathedral in Monreale to the cones of Mt Etna, it was all good.  And the food!   And your parents!  Thanks again for a wonderful trip.
Jim E.

Our adventure to Sicily was full of excitement,  family and fun. We went as a family of three to visit the old country. What a surprise we had, when we saw the Great Architecture, the Breath Taking Landscape, and the Modern Cities. We had the best tour guides to show and  explain to us everything. Elsa even found the old street where our great, great grandmother played as a child. We were able to have a day off to explore, which we hired a car service to take us around to another city. It was a holiday. The streets were basically empty except for us, the American Tourist and a pony driven cart. The poor hyper pony was running as fast as he could, with the two little boys laughing away. It was Spectacular!! We all had the best New Year Eve Party of family and friends. We all returned home a family of 12 hoping to return and visit more of our new found country.
Mary Jo Lisotta Dowling

New Year's in Sicily - Dec 27 2010/Jan 5 2011
The New Year's tour with a Taste of Italy in Austin (Elsa) was great fun!  Saw some awesome sights in Taoromina, Agrigento and Palermo, and the market in Catania was very cool.  The food was fabulous as well as the wine and had enough time on your own to shop, have espresso or just to roam around and get some really nice pictures.  Great people on the tour, a beautiful country and, of course, a wonderful tour guide, Elsa, made for unforgettable memories!!
Gaby C.
New Year's in Sicily - Dec 27 2010/Jan 5 2011
I had wanted to travel to Sicily for over 10 years, but I was a little unsure where to start.  When I heard about my friend and tutor Elsa Gramola's tour of Sicily, I knew it would be perfect for me.  Rather than reading guide books to find out where to go and what to do, I could have a native Sicilian showingme her home.  That's something that no guide book can do.  I appreciate the fact that Elsa's tour itinerary contained the right amount of planned activities and leisure time, which allowed us to venture out on our own if we desired.  The food was to die for, the wine was outstanding, and the scenery was breathtaking.  Now my only problem is trying to decide which of Elsa's tours to go on next.  Tuscan wine country?  Rome and the Amalfi Coast?  Venice?  Decisions, decisions :)
Jessica N.

New Year's in Sicily - Dec 27 2010/Jan 5 2011
This is my second tour with Elsa, so you can tell I was pleased  
enough with her guidance of a Rome Walking Tour to go with her again.
Elsa is always well organized and makes sure that events proceed  
smoothly.  For this trip her organizational skills were tested by  
the extreme weather that closed east coast airports around the time  
we were flying out.  Elsa made sure that everyone knew what was  
going on and how to regroup.  She stayed on top of the airlines and  
travel agent so we were all able to continue the trip with minimal  
disturbance to the original schedule.  Usually the weather cooperates.
Elsa structures her trips well and takes care to hire 
professional  guides for her planned excursions.
She allows a perfect amount of free time compared to other tours 
I've taken  of Sicily and Italy.
She is happy to make arrangements for you in advance so you can see  
sites or do things not included in her tour. She provides an 
abundance of advanced planning  information and opportunities to 
meet with her to understand what  will be going on for the trip.
I enjoyed bumming around Catania at New Year's in our free time  
without a personal advanced plan.  The travel books I brought had  
sufficient info for me to select sights to see and feel like I saw  
what I needed without a strict schedule.  It was nice to mingle  
among the locals- not many tourists come  at that time of year and  
at one point I had a whole Greek Amphitheater to myself at sunset- a 
highlight of the trip!
Experiencing the Catherdral of Monreale is definitely improved by  
not being packed in cheek-by-jowl with all the other summer  
tourists.  The weather in winter is not an impediment- there was  
some cloudiness, but there were some brilliantly  sunny days too, 
where Etna could be clearly seen smoking away.  I  like traveling in 
the off-season, and this tour was nice balance  between figuring it 
all out on my own and marching lock-step with a  big commercial tour.
Lorraine B.
New Year's in Sicily - Dec 27 2010/Jan 5 2011
Hi Elsa!   Holy cow - I was just starting to type this and they just showed Mt. Etna erupting on MSNBC!  How did we come so close, but missed seeing that...  It looks spectacular.
Well, besides that, my other complaint is the hard seats on the Continental Newark-Austin flight.  It was like sitting on a park bench for 4 hours. The AlItalia seats were much better :)
I had a great time on the tour -- what a nice mix of experiences that we couldn't have arranged on our own.  It was a nice group of people to travel with, and fun to meet your family and get some of the local experience.  Thanks!
Tim R.

New Year's in Sicily Dec 2008/Jan 2009
What a wonderful experience.!!  The country is beautiful.  We had our own personal tour guide - Elsa.  She knows her native country well - you can truly appreciate her love for it.  She is very organized, prompt, and well informed.  She also is a lot of fun!!!   Not speaking Italian - it is very re-assuring to know you have an interpreter on hand - and she is there.  The hotels were very well located.  I especially enjoyed the "local" restaurants and places she took us.  I'm ready to sign up again!!!   
Anne C.
New Year's in Sicily Dec 2008/Jan 2009
I recently spent the NewYear holiday in Italy with my sister and Elsa as tour host.
We had a wonderful time, the accomodations were great,
especially the hotel in Taormina, my favorite of the places we visited.
I must say each area had it's own charm and beauty, but the ampitheater
in Taomina is a not to be missed site to visit!!
I really did have a wonderful  time and loved each place we visited and you were exceptional.
Also, your daughter is a delightful young lady.
The only thing to change would be to stay longer!
If you want to bring back some of the delicious Sicilian wine be sure
and check your luggage as I did not and my wine was confiscated
at the first security check.
Take care and good luck with your future tours and busy life.
Hello to your Mom, Dad and Aunt as well.
Nancy H.
New Year's in Sicily Dec 2008/Jan 2009
Thanks for putting your heart and soul into your tours, Elsa.
Your passion shines above and beyond the ordinary.
Calla R.
New Year's Sicily Tour 2007-08
Fabulous! Marvelous! Incredible! A dream come true!
I loved the small group and plenty of personal attention
from Elsa. Well worth the cost. Elsa's parents are
warm, lovely people and Elsa did a great job of
preparing us for what to expect on the tour. The only
surprises were good ones!  By the way, Elsa, your
family is welcome at my house anytime!
ciao bellissima!
iris b.-sicily tour 2007-08
New Year's Sicily Tour 2007-08
Fabulous! Marvelous! Incredible! A dream come true!
I loved the small group and plenty of personal attention
from Elsa. Well worth the cost. Elsa's parents are
warm, lovely people and Elsa did a great job of
preparing us for what to expect on the tour. The only
surprises were good ones!  By the way, Elsa, your
family is welcome at my house anytime!
ciao bellissima!
iris b.-sicily tour 2007-08
New Year's Sicily Tour 2007-08
Ciao Elsa,
I will always cherish my memories of your beautiful Sicily and getting
to be there with my daughter.  We saw an awful lot.I especially appreciated
the small size of the group, your sense of humor and your tolerant and
compassionate way of dealing with different personalities, and the
wonderful chance to spend time with your lovely parents in their home.
Thank you!
It was wonderful to see the magnificent snow-covered Etna in the beautiful
light of sunrise on New Year's Day.
Oh, I got a great photo of you on the piazza in
Castelmola -- I'll get a copy made for you.
Ann G.
New Year's Sicily Tour 2007-08
The entire vacation was an unforgetable treat.
Best regards,
Garnet R.
New Year's Sicily Tour 2007-08
Hi there, I wanted to write and say thank you and let you know that I had a
really great time in Sicily.  Thanks again and I'll be sure to pass your
name along to my friends.
Allison S.

Tour of Sicily (June 12-20, 2006)

Thanks Elsa for a great time in Sicily!  The trip was customized to fit exactly what we wanted to do including the restaurant I had picked in the travel guide.  Also thank you for sharing your wonderful family with us.  My son and I felt very at home with them.  After seeing my Sicily pictures, my friends and family tell me what a great photographer I am but I remind them that the places we saw were just so fantastic that the photos were easy.

Anyway, thanks for everything and I look forward to another Italian trip.

Carlos G.


Grazie mille!!!!! The trip was a dream come true, everything was absolutely spectacular. I adore your parents, they completely spoiled me in their cooking and i still miss your mothers eggplant... i felt like i was living on cloud nine, seeing all the ancient architecture, everything was candy for my eyes...we truly were given a first class look at everything, i'm still amazed at all we saw and did...and ate!!! i look forward to the day that i will come back.

Leanna B.


Tour of Rome (May 26-June 3, 2006)

I had the pleasure of going to Italy this summer with Elsa as my guide.  Elsa worked very hard to accommodate everyone including changing meal choices so everyone got to taste their preferences!

The days were full of activities but there was also enough “down time” to be able to relax.  It was nice not to have to worry about where to book a hotel or which sites I might have forgotten to go to.  Elsa is a very hard worker and has a great sense of humor and I love her!

Carolyn D.-W.


I was pleased with the tour- think I did better speaking than I thought I would, and the food was wonderful!

I want to live there for a while...

Lorena B.


My trip to Italy was a wonderful adventure. the sights were breathtaking,the food was delicious and the people were colorful.  I enjoyed every minute and came home with many amusing stories to tell.  i am looking foward to returning to Italy, but this time with my husband. I know that he will love it as much as i did!!

Joanne Tadrzynski



Tour of Tuscany & Venice (May 27- June, 2005 & May 31-June 10, 2004)

I toured Sicily with Elsa and fell in love with the country.  There were so many beautiful sites to explore.  The people are friendly and very beautiful.  If you try to speak in Italian they will warm up and help you in their lovely language, most all of them already speak English.  Make the trip to Taormina it is a wonderful vacation spot for Italians.  There are many shops to buy anything you could imagine.  The food is world class.  Italian food made in Italy is far superior to the rather blasï¿¿talian food you will find anywhere in the states.  All of true Italian food is made fresh from fresh Italian ingredients.  You will gain weight.  The wine is spectacular and contains no “additives” which might give you a headache.  They already know that you are there to have fun, and they love to join in!

Steve J.


New Year's Tour of Sicily (Dec 26-Jan 2, 2005)

Sicily is beautiful !!! Davide and your parents are wonderful.

Lianna told Paul that this is the best trip she has ever been on! 

Wow that is a good endorsement from a teenager. 

Thank you for arranging the trip to San Mauro Castelverde.

 It was so important to Paul and Bob, to see where their family was from.

We are full of wonderful memories.  Thank you so much!  Mille grazie! 

Jean Z.


Sicily was the greatest.  Lianna wants to move there. 

She had a fabulous time and said she "felt a connection". 

Thanks so much for taking them out dancing all night on that last night. 

That really topped it off for the girls.  Bob and Jean loved it too. 

And I wouldn't say that they are exactly easy to please. 

The homemade nature of the tour makes it far superior to any plain old tour that someone can book.

Paul  Z.


Ciao Elsa,

Thank you for a wonderful experience in Sicily.

I appreciate all your attention to detail. 

My nephews are ready to go back!

Best of all thanks for helping me contact my family in Sicily.

Cheryl P.


I enjoyed especially the "cultural" evening on the last night with my high-heeled boots.

I was understanding Italian "pretty well" by the end of my visit.






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