Just a few of our most recent Testimonials...
Hello, Laura - Well, THAT was the trip of a lifetime!
I don't have adequate words to tell you what a truly marvellous time we had. And the people you assembled as part of the package . . . . stupendous indeed! Massimo, Chiara, Gennaro, Mamma Agata, Lucia, the family hospitality in Sorrento, and the staff at B & B were all gems. The itinerary itself, was a great balance of structure, suggestions, and free time to explore the breathtaking suroundings. Great job on your part.
Again, my sincere thanks for all your planning and care with our trip. We will remember it always.
Cheers! Colleen in Canada
"I just wanted to let you know that we had a great time in Sorrento! The cooking class was terrific and the tours were great too. The mozzarella factory was lovely & she did an outstanding job. My only regret was that I didn't do more classes.
I had fun & really learned a lot. I'm planning on making one of the recipes tonight. Thank you so much for putting together a seamless itinerary...I would love to do another one sometime."
- L Feldman, Boston, MA
"I simply cannot tell you again how we had the most AMAZING time, thanks to you, in Italy!! Every single detail that you arranged was flawlessly executed, from the drivers that we had, to the classes that we took. We had a BALL!!!!!
Here is the "brief" synopsis of our time in the cooking classes.
We headed Monday for our pizza lesson to the garden of our teacher and host. She is a fantastic woman, a true Italian mamma. We were the only three in the class so it was MAGNIFICENT!!! Not only did we immediately feel at home (thanks to your kind words about us, Laura) but she was a MASTER, as well as being so lovely, really funny and just adorable. She taught us, hands on, for almost 4 hours!!! At the end, we had made three kinds of pizza (dough from scratch) including white pizza with sausage, traditional margarita, and a third with tomato and prosciutto and arugula. Then we prepared bruschetta (learned how to choose tomatoes properly), made melon wrapped with ham and caprese salad. As if that wasn't enough, we learned how to make two kinds of calzones with italian ham and ricotta and another with just mozzarella and basil...all from scratch!!! And we did so much ourselves!!! And then (gosh it never ended....) we made mozzarella en carozza, pesto and finally tiramisu. So crazy delicious. Then we sat under the stars in the garden with her family and ate....and ate..and ate...with wine and laughs! It was one of my favorite nights of my life to watch my 17 year old nephew, Tom and my husband Andrew eat and laugh and eat and laugh and eat!
Out again Tuesday to Ravello to Mamma Agata. Chiara was the PERFECT host. I must first say that I did not know that YOU were the reason her cookbook was done, Laura. WOW! What a GREAT SURPRISE!!!! As you know, the class was very different from Lucia's, not as hands on but hilarious and fun.The food was beyond belief, as expected. Among the many, many highlights was that we learned how to PROPERLY cook eggplant, something Andrew, Tom and I collectively despise, AND guess what?? After learning which ones to use, how to prepare them and cook them, we actually all liked it! Sooo crazy!! It tasted more like a lasagna noodle than anything. Not bitter, gross or mushy AT ALL. We were effectively stunned. Then we moved on and learned sausage and peppers over pappardelle pasta, eggplant parmiagiana, spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and olives, beef and pork meatballs (we agreed they were the BEST we ever had), squash flower fritters, lemon cake,....holy cow.
What an amazing time and I truly feel so blessed that I came across your website. Everything was just amazing. Not one single thing went wrong. I have given your name to 2 people since returning not more than 5 days ago. THAT is how much I enjoyed it. One of the women I shared your info with was someone I met in an Italian specialty shop the morning we returned (needed to immediately go buy everything for the recipes) and the other was to a friend of my sister's, who will be in Sorrento in the coming weeks.
Next, I am writing the trip advisor review. How can I fit all of the lovely things I want to say into just a few sentences? I'll find a way! Simply put, Bravo Laura.... bravo!!!! I send you my sincere best and my heartfelt thanks" P. Ryan, NYC
We had a fabulous time cooking and hearing about Rome's longest-running Neapolitan restaurant. We are very excited to make our own pasta, saltimbocca, ossa buco and marinated peaches at home! Thanks for providing an enjoyable, non-touristy experience for one of our days in Rome!
N. Stork - California
Adjectives like " fantastic, grand, marvelous, terrific" can't begin to describe my recent trip to Sorrento, Italy and the Amalfi Coast. And, I can't sing the praises enough for Ciao Laura!!! The arrangements were exceptional and went far beyond the ordinary for a travel service. Laura and her associates helped me locate a friend who lives in Sorrento that I hadn't seen for over twenty years!
The accommodations at the villa were lovely. They were well appointed, with modern amenities, and the owners/hosts were very gracious. The cooking classes Laura arranged were delightful experiences. Who would have thought I could actually make a pizza from scratch!
Meeting new people from around the world is a treasure, especially for a solo traveler. The package allowed for time for independent, as well as interactive activities. It was the perfect mix!
One of the highlights of the trip included the drive along the Amalfi Coast. I felt very safe with my driver, Massimo, as he maneuvered the curvy road while I marveled at the magnificent views. He was knowledgeable and helpful, and thoroughly professional.
Having worked with other travel agents in the past, I can say without hesitation that Laura is extraordinary! I felt we developed a friendship as we planned this adventure. I would definitely recommend her to others as they plan their Italian dream vacation.
- R. Mikles, USA
"The best part of our trip was definitely working with you! You helped me with so many details and made me so comfortable with the arrangements. I am very grateful."
- Paula K, Connecticut
Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you...for everything you did to make our trip unbelievable and unforgettable!!! We could NOT have been happier with everything. Thank you!!! I hope you keep in touch.
- H. Brunet & C. Williams, Dallas
"My wife and I recently visited the Amalfi coast for 7 days. We were based out of a hotel in Sant’Agnello. During that time we scheduled a winery tour to Avellino with driver, an Amalfi Coast drive, a wine tasting class in Ravello and what sounds like the same Sorrento Cooking Class through Ciao Laura. We could not be more pleased with everything. Each event was an amazing experience.
The Winery tour included a gourmet lunch and wine with wine paring and the 6 or 7 course meal was unbelievable! At your suggestion and through Ciao Laura we arranged for a private driver so that we were able to tour Positano, Amalfi and Ravello at our own pace without having to deal with the issues of narrow streets, parking, etc. The wine, cheese and olive oil tasting class “WINE TASTING with Gennaro - Sommelier to the STARS! “ was very interesting and educational and it included an excellent meal as well. The cooking class “Simply Delicious™ Hands-on Cooking Lesson in a Gorgeous Private Villa in the Heart of Sorrento!” was well organized and the food was delicious.
At both of the classes you arranged we met some of your other customers who shared their own favorable experiences with Ciao Laura with us. I also noticed a comment on Trip Advisor from frenchiek50 that spoke about the “included in the family” aspect of some of your services. I have to say that both the wine, cheese … class and the cooking class had this “included in the family” feel. In each case we felt like we were included as part of our hosts extended families. We got to see their gardens, in one case taste some home made wines and for a time we escaped the touristy feel that we sometimes get on these vacations.
It is rare these days to experience the level of service you provide. Here is one example of what my wife and I consider an exceptional level of service. There was a landslide that closed the road between Sorrento and Positano on the day we were scheduled for our Amalfi Coast drive that culminated with our visit to Ravello for the tasting class. While my wife and I were sleeping and having breakfast, etc. with absolutely no knowledge of all of this until the driver picked us up. You called the driver and let them know about the closure and worked out a plan to bypass the closure. What makes this pretty remarkable is that you live in Nashville, Tennessee and the driver was in Italy!
I don’t particularly care how you found out about the closure before the driver found out about it. All I really care about is that it was all handled before the driver came to pick us up. All my wife and I had to do was show up and have a good time. And, of course, pay the driver.
After the Amalfi Coast we spent a few days in Sicily. While at dinner one night, we struck up a conversation with some travelers from Mexico. They are frequent travelers and just been Rome for a few days and were disappointed with the level of service they experienced. We told them that if they want to really treat themselves to a wonderful experience in traveling, wine tasting, cooking, etc. they should let Ciao Laura make some of the arrangements. You really take the job seriously, handle it professionally and seem to have a knack for picking good people to work with in Italy.
Thanks for the professional work. On as scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, I would have to say your operation rates at about 15. I know my wife Deborah was as impressed and pleased as I was with the whole experience."
- Charles & Deborah, San Diego, CA
Thank you, thank you, thank you! We loved the class, the family were so warm and friendly and the food was delicious. I will recommend this to everyone!
- D. Brown, Owner of Just Cruises! New Jersey
We LOVED this family, the food, the lesson - everything was so wonderful - THANK YOU! My mother cried tear of joy when she saw birthday candles on her Tiramisu! Thank yoiu so much for arranging that as a surprise for her birthday!!!
- Mary in CA
"There isn't anything I can think of that would improve my overall experience - I loved it!"
- Gals in North Carolina
"The class was great..the villa/property was so beautiful and comfortable and relaxing. The whole experience felt so genuine and everyone involved was incredibly sweet and pleasant. If all of your excursions are of that high of quality, I salute you, and would definitely utilize your services again in the future. I will also take the time to post a review on Trip Advisor. Take care and thank you so very much for the wonderful experience. We will cherish it always."
- M DiMaggio, Atlanta, GA
"Our cooking lesson at the beautiful villa in Sorrento was amazing. The family was so warm, friendly and fun. It was the highlight of my time in Sorrento. Thank you for your help in arranging this time for us. I would recommend it to all who are visiting Sorrento."
J. Lessly, CA USA
"My husband loves to cook so this gift was a special present for him on our 25th wedding anniversary trip. I knew he would prefer the feeling of being amongst a family and experiencing the Italian life as well as the hands-on cooking of recipes passed down over the generations. We were pleasantly surprised from the moment we walked into the villa. The family was pure joy to spend the day with as each member welcomed us in their own way. The father taking us to his wine cellar was like experiencing a treasured art often disappearing with newer technology. The food was delicious (go prepared to eat a lot so as not to offend) and plentiful. They were eager to answer questions and visit about cooking methods and options. We were even surprised with a bottle of champagne and silver almonds to celebrate our anniversary! I couldn't have asked for a more special memory for this gift for my very special husband."
- N. Arnold, Texas USA
"Mama mia. We had a blast. What a great time. Awesome location and wonderful people. Really really great."
- C Singer & Family, Indianapolis, USA
I wanted to thank you very much for recommending and making the arrangements so that my daughter and I could go to this villa for our cooking lesson. We had the best time. My daughter thanked me so much for the experience. It was our favorite day on our visit to Italy.
The entire family was so warm and fun. We will recommend this experience to all our friends and online as well. In the future, whenever we visit Italy, we will contact you to help with our plans.
Thanks so much and hope you have a great year!
- D. Snyder, US Jan 2010
I want to tell you that our trip to the Villa was by far the most special day of our entire vacation. All of us: my kids, my husband, my brother in law and myself were blown away by the warmth and hospitality of the entire family.
We made great food and had a fabulous time. Thank you so much for all of your help and I have been recommending both you to all my friends and family.
- M Marcello, Canada - July 2010
Pierpaulo gave us a terrific tour of the coast, we had a great day!
- Rob M, New York
Pizza class was really fun and so delicious. Can't wait to have a party at home. The were right on the mark with all 4 of us and let us be a little creative!
- K Nowack, April 2010
Thank you so very much for setting up our cooking classes. We were very, very pleased with the classes and our accommodations in Sorrento and Amalfi Coast. We had a great time cooking at all our classes and learned a lot. We will definitely recommend you to our friends and family if they ever wish to experience a cooking vacation in Italy.
- Puentes Family, April 2010
"The pizza I made at the Pizza al Forno class was better than Da Michele in Naples!"
- K. Ayers, California July 2010
"I just wanted to write and tell you how terrific our class was. The hosts were both so welcoming, adorable and knowledgeable. We had such fun cooking and, of course, eating! It was one of the highlights of our trip to Italy."
- E. Siegel, New York July 2010
We had the most amazing time. The food was great, the wine was excellent
and the company fabulous. Our guide was well informed and the owner and
family of the winery was very friendly and welcoming. I shall certainly
recommend your company and the winery to my friends and family.
A. Vincent, Oxford, U. K.
Cheryl and I had the most wonderful time with the cooking class. It was probably the most memorable morning of a very memorable trip! Special thanks to Ale and to Mariegracia for the extra-special effort they so graciously put into making this so special for us.
Best regards, Lou & Cheryl - Delray Beach, FL
"Mozzarella tour was great! I've been on the Cabot Cheese Tour in Vermont and it paled by comparison. This was real hands on and the lunch was over flowing with variety."
- Mother/daughter, New England
"Thanks for recommending your pizza lesson with Mamma, it was the highlight of our trip to the Amalfi Coast"
- Avi from Israel
"Your service is outstanding and we will certainly recommend you to all of our friends. This was one of the best vacations we have ever taken - thanks for all you did for us."
- Students from Minneapolis, MN
"Mamma Agata was so sweet and funny! we loved the conversation with her and Chiara!"
- Shelly & Dean in Florida
"A cooking class with Mamma Agata and Chiara is wonderful - they really make you feel like part of the family and it was a great addition to our Italian experience! Grazie mille!"
- K Lording, Netherlands
"Mamma Agata & Chiara were a delight and the days were very relaxing. They welcomed us into their home and culture with open arms and a smile."
- P. Kaspar, CT
We had a fabulous time!!!
- S. Stevens, Nashville, TN
"This was an amazing experience. We were welcomed into a very warm and comfortable environment and I felt like I was part of the family. The food, tips, lesson, conversation, and laughter made this one of the best days ever."
Today was the most amazing day ever!!! The highlight of our trip and the best food we've had in Italy. I'm hoping Mamma Agata will adopt me so I could cook with her everyday. THANK YOU!!! I have given your contact info to several people we've met on the trip!
- H Brunet, Seattle, WA
"Everything was great! We all had a fabulous time"
- Family from Newfoundland
My mom and I had so much fun! Too bad we don't have the right kind of oven to make our pizzas at home. Everyone was so gracious and friendly! The setting is beautiful in a fabulous restaurant and the sisters (owners) rock!
- Mother/Daughter - Nashville, TN
The Pizza Making in Amalfi was really a wonderful experience from every perspective. I would recommend it to anyone. We were very well treated and my son, who is 14, will, I'm sure, always remember this great experience. Many many thanks to all the staff there.
- J. Rooney, U.K.
We as a group of eight were staying in Sorrento for one week. We decided to do the Pizza al Forno cooking class and it turn out to be the highlight of the week. They were the most wonderful fun loving couple, who know their stuff. We had a fun filled day learning all the trick of the trade. I am going to try and replicate the pizza at home. I would recommend anyone visiting in the area to do this cooking lesson.
M. Foley (and group)
Perth. Western Australia
"Driver and Pompeii tour guide. Excellent. Well worth the expense. Massimo even gave us a gift of Limoncello as a parting gift, provided umbrellas in the rain and finagled passage thru Amalfi Drive even though it had been blocked off for construction."
- P. Kaspar, CT
"I very much liked the market tour. Sylvia has made some excellent connections with the vendors and the warmth of their relationship was extended to her students. Sylvia expertly uses the market to convey the culture and history of culinary Italy in a most interesting and entertaining manner. The cooking lesson was equally excellent. I learned several culinary skills and honed others. The one on one concept was a good vehicle for the educational experience. Sylvia shared both skills and tips that I will apply with fond memories of my teacher. "
- Martha M - Florida, USA
"San Lorenzo Market Tour w/Sylvia. She was great and we learned so much from her. The market was fascinating. We would have gladly spent several days with her. She is a wealth of knowledge and we worked the whole time in her kitchen."
- Paula & Nicole, USA
I had the most special time with hosts on this tour and the accommodation was lovely, the trip Paolo took us on were breathtaking and great fun. The cooking classes were fab and included lots of laughs and I enjoyed the easy style and fun that we all had. All our dinners very well cooked (that would be our cooking - of course!) overseen by a great teacher. I would love to go back for more time and lessons in the near future. Five stars and thanks again for everything!
- M. Edwards - Australia
We had a wonderful time doing the cooking course - it really was one of the highlights of the holiday. Spending time with Paolo doing the art stuff in the morning, traveling to those old cities was amazing - the history incredible. Then what fun doing the cooking with Pat. She was a very good teacher and lots of fun.
The scenery was wonderful and the home very relaxing and beautiful - what a great spot. You really have a wonderful couple there who deliver a very enjoyable and unique experience and I can't recommend them highly enough. I would recommend the experience to anyone traveling to Italy.
- C. Ramsay - Australia
- Thanks for everything. We enjoyed the class and Carmen was delightful!
- Robert & Lynn - New York
The cooking lesson with Carmen was awesome. It far exceeded our expectations and frankly was far more than a cooking class.
We ran into both Amalia and Carmen separately just walking about the town. They were just both so charming and helpful not only for the cooking but overall tourist advice and information about the whole area and helped us learn more about their language and culture as well. All in all, this was the most memorable part of our trip…we had a blast.
- Lynde Family - Ohio
The cooking class (and subsequent lunch with what we had cooked) was of course the real highlight and it was amazing what we could do with a little encouragement, know how and the right ingredients. Alex enjoyed it way more than she thought and made some pretty damn perfect Ravioli. I particularly enjoyed the bracciole and we so enjoyed the Tiramisu that we took the spare one home to eat for dinner later that night. Anyway, that was the part of the day that Connie and Carmen did well and we also wanted to thank you for doing your bit very well.
The true test of how good a booking agent is is how they help you out and fight your corner when things do not quite go to plan and you certainly did that - your sorting the transfer and eventually coming up with the goods with the use of the pool etc was greatly appreciated and really helped make the day. Thank you!
- Ben & Alex, London
I just wanted to let you know that you were right, this cooking class was great! Jen and I had a great time, and we'll be sure to get back in touch next time we are in the Amalfi Coast.
"I wanted to let you know what a marvelous time my friend Leanne and I had at the cooking class with Carmen in St. Agata earlier this month. Carmen is a charming and extremely knowledgeable chef and made our experience one that we will not soon forget. We were made to feel at home right from the start and the food we cooked was amazing! Carmen has a beautiful hotel and kitchen. I would certainly like to return sometime soon and take a week long cooking school there."
- P. McCarty, Edmonton, Canada
Just back from our wonderful trip to Italy ..... I do have to say the highlight for my Mom and also for me was the cooking class.
Our chef was so wonderful. I can not say enough about her, she makes you feel so welcome, and her English is very good.The food we made was so good, this one local dish with beans and sausage was to die for!!
- Mother/daughter, Minneapolis, MN
Hello Laura - I am thrilled to tell you that my husband and I had the most wonderful time with the chef. She was so charming and funny and welcoming. And the FOOD - was so delicious. So much so that when we got home, we bought our own pasta maker and have enjoyed duplicating what we learned. Truly, when the day of the cooking class came, we didn't really know what to expect. It was so nice to have the class all to ourselves and to be able to be so hands-on with the preparation of our meal: bruschetta, fettuccini with two different toppings, pork loin with wine and tiramisu for dessert.Not to mention the appetizers she had ready for us and the two bottles of wine. PLUS, it was a truffle lesson, so we were happy about that. It was all so delicious and, again, FUN. It was the most perfect way to spend my birthday and it was certainly one of the highlights of our three weeks in Italy. Thank you so much for being the vehicle to connect us to our wonderful chef. I have told everyone about it and would recommend your site to anyone going to Italy (and some will be).
B deBos, CA USA
"Everything was brilliant and the food was exceptional. We have bought a pasta maker and having friends round so we can recreate the meal. I know it will be a success! Many thanks to Laura for all her help with getting this surprise set up and it was a complete success!"
- V. Napier, Scotland
"The entire staff was wonderful and to be highly recommended! The group attending the dinner actually applauded us (wow!) and stopped to make comments and request cooking tips before departing...
Thankfully, we've both had prior experience with large group cooking, so it was not an issue for us. Actually, we preferred THIS to a private 'lesson' as it was more 'real' for our style of cooking ...Additionally, Papa gave us a recipe to make lemoncello at home in the U.S. What a gracious group of people.."
- Travelers from San Francisco, CA
The food was very good, delicious really and your follow-up with our questions preceding the holiday was excellent. Thank you for everything!
- Justine & David, Belgrade, Serbia
"I enjoyed my trip to Sorrento so much that I can't wait to book my next Ciao Laura cooking vacation with you next year to either Sicily or Puglia. Thanks again!"
- Oakland, CA
"The chef and hosts in Sorrento were pleasant, helpful and kind. The food was way beyond delicious. It was a wonderful experience."
- San Francisco, CA
"We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and cannot wait to book another lesson with Ciao Laura in the near future! Thanks for everything!"
- Phoenix, AZ
"I've taken quite a few cooking lessons in San Francisco and this by far was one of the best I've ever taken! My classmates and I really got to be involved in every aspect of the cooking process and learned old world techniques that I never knew before!"
- San Francisco, CA
This is a great program for any one who is not a true culinary expert but still wants to experience the Italian cooking experience as well as those of us who love to cook and learn about the Italian way of cooking.
- Fairfax, CT
"The day at the winery in Caserta was amazing! We felt like we were family and not just visitors. The food was exquisite and the tour of the winery very informative. We loved every single minute of it and were sad to leave!"
- Couple from Quebec, Canada
What a wonderful experience! We loved every minute. Lots of good tips to take back to America. One could not find a better teacher. Stefania & Raffaella were were the best. We are so sorry our men were so late, but we women really enjoyed eating the fantastic food we cooked. So did the boys when they finally found us!
Thank you, thank you. We will tell all of our friends about you. Grazie!!!
- Maryland, USA
"First of all, thank you to Laura for being so wonderful and helpful in the booking process. You always responded extremely quickly and answered all of the many questions (both mine and my mother’s!) without hesitation. I felt that you genuinely cared, even though we have never met. Without you, my trip would not have been possible.
I have been to Italy several times, on my own, with family and friends, and for school, but with each trip I have always felt that there was something missing. I longed to feel that I was experiencing life as an Italian and not just a tourist – something I have discovered is extremely difficult, no matter how long you stay for or how many times you return to a city. My stay with Rafaella, Marcello and Francesca was, however, very different. From the moment Marcello picked me up from the train station, I immediately felt comfortable – something not always common when travelling as a female by yourself. I was welcomed into their home as if I was a relative passing through town. We cooked, we ate, we drank and I was given personal tours of the food market, parmesan factory and traditional balsamic vinegar farm. If you are reading this and thinking “of course you were given those tours, it’s what you paid for!” you would be right, but only in part. These are the things that the Bolognese are incredibly proud of, it’s part of their heritage and part of their daily life. I even remember Marcello passionately discussing, as only Italians can, with the local macellaio (or butcher) where the best mortadella is made. They opened their home, their life, their minds, their hearts and exposed me to a way of life I have never experienced. I left with their friendship, an indebting gratitude and although I was only there for a short period, part of me will remain forever changed because of them."
- A. Hall, Canada
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