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Spotlight On Italy's TFL ToursDecember 17, 2007 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor Travel Agent
TFL Tours (www.tfltours.it) was established in November 2006 and as quickly as July 2007, the Livorno, Italy-based tour operator joined Ensemble Travel Group’s On Location program. Prior to forming TFL, its team members worked together as tour guides for three years and along the way established contacts that would later allow them to create the unique experiences TFL is quickly becoming known for. Here, Managing Director Federica Tucci (pictured) gives us the details.
What destinations do you cover?
In general, we work all over Italy and with Ensemble we are considered experts in Elba Island and Corsica.
You can customize any kind of tour. What is the most popular request?
Special gourmet experiences. In Italy, you’ve got so much of this, but what we offer is different. Because we are located here, we constantly find people who don’t cook to live; they do it because it’s a passion. In Elba, we have a cooking experience with the owner of a local restaurant who meets with clients, shops with them and tells them the best kind of food to buy, then he prepares the meal and the clients watch. It’s exclusive to us and the client understands that it’s something that could not be found anywhere else.
What are some special places you have insider access to?
One is the Gherardesca Castle, which until a few months ago, was not even open [to the public]. We have been in touch with the noble family that lives there and they have decided to do a special tour only for our clients.
Other experiences of this kind could be special helicopter flights or a tour with local wine producers in the area. We’re able to create any experience on a subject that a client likes most. They tell us the dream and we make it come true.
What other services do you offer?
We cover a lot of things, even simple services like transfers and guides. We are quite good at selecting the best suppliers that we have around. Even if you ask for a simple transfer, the driver we select matters. The same goes for the guides. A guide in Corsica or Elba is not that difficult to find, but ours are always well selected. We select them one by one and don’t ever go with a guide that we don’t know personally.
What are some trends you’ve noticed among your American guests?
Most of the time they are looking for experiences. They like the idea of experiencing the local festivals—not just watching it, but being a part of it.
Every July and August, there is a famous horse race called the Palio (www.ipalio.org) that takes place in Sienna. It’s so popular and we have the chance to let our clients watch the race from the window of an apartment on the beautiful Square of the Campo and do it with the locals. We like putting the locals in touch with the ones who visit the country. That’s the best way to experience the country.