Puglia guided tours as a local. Interview with Antonella

Italy escorted tours

Meet Antonella, founder of Arrivederci Puglia Travel

Inspiring Puglia guided tours to experience Italy as a real local: Arrivederci Puglia Travel, small group tours organizer in Puglia combines a great passion for their homeland and international expertise.
Discover their business story through an interview with the founder of Arrivederci Puglia Travel, Antonella, who still today leads personally and enthusiastically every small group tour directly to the natural and cultural heart of Puglia, in Southern Italy.

Hello Antonella, thank you for being with us today!

As a founder of a travel company specialized in Puglia guided tours, would you like to share your business story?

Arrivederci Puglia was founded in 2013, from an intuition ideated from a shared vision. After my Economics Degree, my brother and I started to think about something of our own, a small family-run business in our native land, after experiencing our life abroad. Surely the entrepreneurial mindset that we acquired by our grandparents laid the foundation stone. Our economic background gave us the opportunity to carry out in-depth search and market analysis in the tourism field and relate it to our deep love for our roots, Puglia. Trying to harness the initial tourism potential we decided to bundle every cultural and natural facet of our territory and to design customized private trips and small group guided tours to Puglia.

What’s better than sharing our local community and lending our expertise to travelers who’d love to travel to Italy?

We have worked hard over the years, investing both in terms of finances and human resources, acquiring our know-how on books and on the field in order to become tour directors and flawless leaders and tour guides. Step by step we have created our own reliable and professional network, managed itineraries and tailor-made solutions. And here we are!

Addressing foreign travelers, which are the most important values you would like to convey through guided Puglia tours?

We lead every group tour in Puglia personally and accurately, thereby sharing our traditional values. Thanks to our life experiences abroad, we boast meanwhile professional skills and a far-sighted international perspective.

Our main goal and mission is to combine a warm, personal and familiar approach with accuracy, timing, flexibility and competence. Based on our belief, travelers are not merely customers but real people with whom we would like to establish a relationship through amazing Puglia tours and experiences.

After this overview, let’s go deeper: which are the unique features of your Puglia guided tours?

We are specialized in private and small guided group tours in Puglia that we can customize for each request in order to appeal to the customers’ minds.

We have always focused on small group tours between 8-10 people because we firmly believe that only with this format you can experience our Puglia tours at best and especially as a local.

Can you explain this “experience as a local” concept by giving us a real example?

Take for example restaurants that we choose for our tours: we collaborate only with known places where we are going to have dinner and lunch with our friends and family, so living like a real local, as an extended family, so to say.

In-between we study firsthand every route, timing, and transfer in order to enhance the real unicity of every place. Let me give an example. Alberobello and its Trulli is a must-see for every foreign traveler, but we don’t want to send our travelers to touristy spots. Going there and meeting an old woman who sun-dries tomatoes as tradition demands is a real niche experience. During our Puglia tours, we try to offer unexpected glimmers in fairly beaten paths that cannot be missed by our travelers, rigorously guided and hosted by locals.

At the same time a small group enables us to manage our itinerary giving our travelers the flexibility to enjoy their free time. For us, traveling does not mean flagging hotspots and filling every day’s tour to the top.
No rush and filled schedules: slow tourism and Italian lifestyle lie at the heart.

Free time also means deeper insights. Sometimes during their free time we ended up indulging together in a wine glass, speaking about our Italian aperitivo, typical recipes and customs. Once we were in Polignano a Mare and after the tour three ladies of the group asked me to bring them to a really local place where they could buy some fresh food. We went to the “mercato rionale”, the village market, a bust of colors, tastes and impressions. For one morning they put themselves in the local women’s place.

Tell us more about your first guided Puglia guided tours.

Our first launches were beyond expectations and created a huge impact.
I remember that for one of our first tours, we designed a food & wine tour which was not merely a nice vacation but an experience- and community-based personalized proposal.

Everything was defined down to the last detail, but it also turned out that unscheduled experiences amazed our travelers. For example, before having lunch in a wine cellar we ended up in the vineyards helping the countrymen with the hand-picking of grapes during the harvest period. We had great fun together and then eating at the same table with them, sharing our lives and passions. This craft experience was a daily and local scene that you cannot normally expect.

During this year, how have you reacted and adapted to unprecedented times?

The Pandemic has dramatically changed the world and the way of traveling we were used to. Like everywhere, also our Apulian community based on tourism has been hit and suffered the consequences. We, as a business, tried to cope proactively with these new challenges and didn’t stop our daily work in terms of Puglia tours organization and strategy.

We are keeping in touch with our guests and providing them with all news and information about how the travel situation is unfolding in Italy.

Furthermore, we guarantee our maximum flexibility if our guests need to cancel their trips for any reason, for Covid-19 travel restrictions or just if they don’t feel comfortable travelling in a specific period of time, considering the pandemic global situation.

Four our booking guests who need to postpone their trips, we issue travel vouchers to guarantee their payments and to use them as a credit to book upcoming trips.
Our “peace of mind measure” enables travelers to give very low down payments and rely on convenient cancellation policies. With our main providers we have focused mainly on enacting hygiene and health standards which comply with every effective regulation at a national and international level.

So, how do you see Arrivederci Puglia Travel in 5 years? According to you, what are the main challenges you will face in the future?

Small groups, tailor-made solutions, unique and reliable experiences are at the forefront of our guided Puglia tours. Solo travelers, families and friends will be eager to travel again after this long period of inactivity, and we will adapt to new travelers' needs, addressing new types of guests.

Our core business is Puglia tours, but we have a big dream in store: to broaden our network to other regions in order to meet our repeaters’ needs to discover other parts of Italy with us, personally.

In order to achieve all of this, we aim at strengthening our online presence and invest this valuable time to reach out a hand to our travelers, filling their minds with stunning places and traditions they can experience from home, sharing with them our amazing Puglia tours, before they will be able to come here and live finally everything in person.

Cannot wait to embark on a new local experience? Click here to find out more about the travel offer of Arrivederci Puglia Travel!

Italy small group tours