GEMS OF FLORENCE SITES &SHOPPING TOUR

MAY 5 – 9, 2018

 

THE INSIDER SCOOP

  • Experience a totally magical time on this fun-loving women’s tour in Florence.
  • Enjoy a personally created, bespoke tour filled with unique shopping experiences and lovely sites.
  • Scour out the most beautiful stores in Florence without wasting time. I’ve found them for you.
  • See, feel and experience daily Italian life in a non-touristy way.
  • Mix with creative artisans in the back street mazes.
  • Find unique items for your home and your wardrobe.
  • Live like a local, hang out in the Piazzas.
  • Enjoy finding bespoke items that you will treasure.

THIS TOUR IS EXTREMELY LIMITED, WITH ONLY ONE TOUR DATE FOR 2018 & ONLY 8 SPOTS AVAILABLE.

5 MAGNIFICENT DAYS

WHEN:

May 5-9, 2018

WHERE: FLORENCE, ITALY

4 magical nights staying in Florence in our private apartment chosen for its style and interior design.

Arrive early and take my Creative in Florence Tour or stay on in Florence after the tour and join me on my bespoke Villas and Villages Tuscany Tour leaving from nearby Lucca the following day.

NOTE: This is no cookie-cutter style of tour. I’ve got one magical sites & shopping tour in mind because I know the types of sites and stores that women love to visit.

IT’S FOR ANY WOMAN WHO:

DREAMS OF DOING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR HERSELF AND WANTS TO:

  • Share the fun of shopping for bespoke items with a group of amazing women in Italy.
  • Enjoy life in Florence and soak up the beauty of these amazing places.
  • Visit specialty stores to buy something special for your wardrobe, yourself and/or your home.
  • Visit some special sites to enhance your Italy experience.
  • Indulge in authentic Italian food and wine, every…single…day.
  • Rekindle her excitement and learn to create more for her life.

 Note: I want you to be explorers and adventurers with a carefree sense of fun.

GETTING TO OUR APARTMENT

We will meet at our accommodation on the day and from there the fun will begin. In the lead up to the tour, you will get all the details you need and the accommodation is an easy taxi ride from the train station, city centre or airport.

  1. Should I come with a completely empty suitcase?
  2. How can I sneak that extra pair of Italian boots into my luggage?
  3. Should I have a white wine or a red with lunch and dinner?

Once you have that out of the way, you can join me on Gems of Florence Sites & Shopping Tour of 2018.

HOW IT WORKS

I will be your host but not your tour guide and I want to make this clear right here and now. I am not a travel agent, nor a tour guide, I don’t speak fluent Italian (but I’m learning and I have the basics to get us by…half English & scattered Italian but that’s the fun of it) and I am not going to play mother (because I have done it for nearly 20 years and it’s tiring). I have this super itinerary planned, however, you will need to be a little independent and make your own decisions every now and then. I am here to make sure I create an 5 day holiday with all the major planning done for you. I have stores with design, creativity and lifestyle in mind and a special holiday that will go down in your history as one of the best times of your life EVER. Goody…now, what are we going to do?

  • 4 nights in stunning private accommodation in our apartment in Florence.
  • There is so much to see and do in Florence. that I have narrowed down the best areas and stores for you.
  • Accommodation will be in a shared room and bathroom.
  • You’ll also share the living spaces and kitchen so it’s like a girls weekend on steroids. This is the very best part and way nicer than hotel living.
  • 5 days exploring sites and stores of Florence
  • Explore wandering the streets searching for treasures and relax and
  • Enjoy meals and experiences with your new friends.
  • Loads of additional ideas for spare time activities.
  • All shopping and lists of noteworthy stores will be yours.
  • The women who came on this year’s tour said that friendships and fun were the best part of the tour.
  • Connect with new people and share special times together (over wine)
  • Come with friends or come alone…we don’t care. If you are fun, happy, easy to get along with then you are welcome.
  • So far women on my tours have been from Australia. If you are from another country contact me to see if I’m a good fit.
  • A welcome cocktail and antipasto platter at our villa.
  • All breakfasts at our accommodation (self-serve style).
  • 1 x Welcome dinner with wine at local, authentic restaurant.
  • 1 x Farewell dinner with wine at a local, authentic restaurant.
  • Selection of light snacks and refreshments in the apartment.

WHY RUN THIS TOUR?

I have been dreaming for years about creating a trip for like-minded women to travel and be inspired by the design, creativity, craftsmanship, colour and vibrancy of Italy. After visiting in Italy with women for the past few years this year on my Design Tours, I was even more convinced that the sites and shopping tour of Florence was something I needed to do specifically and there was nobody doing anything quite like this.

This is a sightseeing and shopping tour on a whole different level and it’s about bringing women together, sisterhood, forging friendships and enjoying an enviable lifestyle in one of the most stunning places on earth. As women, we don’t always give ourselves permission to do something special for ourselves and because I know that you are so busy and that you most likely wouldn’t take the time to plan something like this, I wanted to place it right in your lap.

This is an incredible opportunity to explore many of the most glorious stores and places in Florence, stimulate your design brain and nurture your inner creativity with a small group of fun-loving women. We can do all of this while wandering the lanes of Florence, giggling on the Piazza steps or chatting with Fabio by the fountain.

HOW IS THIS TOUR DIFFERENT?

We stay in large apartments and it’s kind of like a 6-day sleepover party where we all share a house. There are no boring hotel rooms where you are isolated and cramped into a shoebox. It’s all about experiencing true Italy, Italian decor and authentic accommodation together in style. Women say this is the best part of the tour and they’ve created long-term friends for life.

There are no huge buses, big bustling groups and guides with flags. This is a personal tour with 6-8 women in total and we are all about nurturing fun and frivolity within a small group. We are here to enjoy what each day brings, not checking off lists of “must see” sights.

You are not going to stand in long queues and waste your precious holiday time. We are going use every moment of your time in Italy to do unique and interesting things that big tour groups don’t do. We go behind the scenes to artisans workshops, savour wine in intimate trattorias and visit homewares stores so beautiful they will blow your mind.

This is different…it’s about seeing superb architecture, visiting beautiful stores and taking in some special sites (and of course the shopping…shhh this can be our little secret).

DAY 1:  SATURDAY MAY 5 – ARRIVE & REVIVE

We meet in Florence at our apartment for a welcome drink and antipasto before heading off to the enjoy the first afternoon of taking in the best sites and speciality stores in the city centre. We relax this evening over a drink in the piazza and our welcome dinner at an authentic Italian restaurant.

Today’s Lesson:  Buy once, buy well.

DAY 2: SUNDAY MAY 6 – ALLEYWAYS & ARTISANS

This morning after breakfast you’ll need to take a deep breath, for today you’ll be experiencing a full day shopping in some of the best areas in Florence. We’ll visit the gorgeous local artisan and bespoke stores and markets in the Oltrano area. This afternoon you’ll have some free time exploring the area further so you can take your time to find that something special for yourself or your home.

Today’s Lesson:  How to buy items that create a warm and welcoming environment in your home.

DAY 3: MONDAY MAY 7 – STORES WTH STORIES

Today we will head to the creative workshops to see where people create interesting items in the heart of Florence. Spend the afternoon visiting my handpicked sites of Florence before enjoying an evening aperitif in the piazza and winding down for dinner.

Today’s Lesson: How to create a vision for your future.

DAY 4: TUESDAY MAY 8 – HEAVENLY HOMEWARES

Today is all about homewares. We’ll head to some stunning homewares stores where you will find many beautiful items to take home as a memory of your tour. On the way, we’ll pass by some glorious and well-known sites. You will have a free afternoon to wander the local food markets or choose to spend time as you please.

Today’s Lesson: How to choose the right style for your home design.

DAY 5: WEDNESDAY MAY 9 – EXPLORE GALORE

Early walk for takers. We will head into the back streets in the Santa Croce and Duomo districts. We’ll spend time in the many stores in this area before enjoying the Baboli Gardens (optional). This evening we’ll come together for our farewell dinner to have some fun and continue with the laughter.

Today’s Lesson: Adding personality to your business or creative endeavour.

DAY 6- THURSDAY MAY 10 – FAREWELL FRIENDS

Today after breakfast we’ll say our farewells, shed a few tears and wave off our new friends. You can either continue on your travels (because there is so much to see and do in Italy and flights are very reasonable) or take my optional add-on VILLA’S AND VILLAGES TOUR following this tour. It’s on offer for a small group interested in experiencing the wonderful Tuscan country villages and enjoying Tuscan life in our beautiful villa.

I REALLY WANT YOU TO COME IF YOU:

  • Want to hang out with incredible women.
  • Want to learn more about creating a more interesting home.
  • You’d love to buy lovely clothing for your wardrobe.
  • You’re interested in beautiful homewares for your home.
  • Want to witness the beauty of the sites of Florence.
  • Dream of hanging out in a private Italian apartment.
  • Love having long, leisurely meals in beautiful places every day.
  • Want to reignite your creativity and design knowledge.
  • Enjoy meeting new people and creating memories with new friends.
  • Want to take time out from your business to renew your energy and make connections.
  • Love wandering down cobblestone streets and peeking into artisans stores

I’M NOT SURE THIS IS FOR YOU IF YOU:

  • Don’t like sharing a home with a group of amazing women (This is not hotel living)
  • Want every part of every day organised and can’t make decisions for yourself.
  • Are a drama queen when everything does not unfold perfectly.
  • You are overly sensitive and take life too seriously.
  • You want a big tourist group and guides with flags (this is not what we do).
  • You are not prepared for a little adventure and daily creativity.
  • You can’t tackle steps (Italy has lots of them) and a lot of walking.
  • Don’t want to eat and drink authentic Italian food and wine multiple times every day.
  • You are scared about what might happen to your waistline.
  • You don’t embrace having fun and taking in beauty each day.

NUMBERS ARE LIMITED

RESERVE YOUR SPOT FOR 2018

YOUR INCLUSIONS

THE 5 DAY TRIP INCLUDES:

  • A welcome cocktail and antipasto platter at the apartment.
  • 5-day tour in Florence.
  • 1 x Welcome dinner.
  • 1 x Farewell dinner.
  • 4 nights in a shared apartment in Florence.
  • All shopping excursions to bespoke stores and artisans.
  • All sightseeing excursions to sites of Italy
  • Any transportation required during the tour days.
  • All breakfasts in villa and apartment (self-serve style)
  • All design and lifestyle lessons.
  • A one-on-one phone call to help with planning if needed.
  • Private Facebook Group for Tour Participants
  • Your own what to Pack for Italy Guide.
  • Your Italy Guidebook…preparing for your tour.
  • Shared room or private if available.
  • Payment plan option available

Notes:

  • Lunches and two dinners are not included.

*The trip fee does not include your flights to Italy or your compulsory travel insurance.

HERE ARE THE PERKS!

EVERYTHING IS PLANNED FOR YOU

I have spent crazy amounts of time planning this tour so that all of the organising is done for you. Even though you will have time to choose what to do in your spare time, all the options will be laid out for you.

That means you can just enjoy coming to Italy without the stress!

PERSONALIZED SERVICE & SUPPORT

You are not dealing with a large company here. You are talking directly to me. I will answer your questions and help make the decisions so much easier. I am just a phone call or email away.

This means that if you are unsure about something, then you can just ask me directly. If I don’t know, I’ll find out.

TRAVEL PLANNING

I work closely with a travel agent who can help organise all of your flights and travel details. She will help find the best-priced flights on the dates that suit you best and at rates to match or better those you can find online.

Don’t waste time Googling, just ask me.

PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

As a special guest of my tour, You’ll receive an invitation to join my private Facebook Group for registered guests only. This is a great way to connect with others before you go, ask us questions and maintain friendships when you return.

This brings us together before the tour and makes staying in touch fun and easy.

HERE’S WHAT MY PAST GUESTS HAVE TO SAY

“Wow, where to start? I absolutely loved the tour! I’ve just re-read your dream “to create something unique and special for women, in a context of friendship and sisterhood”. Well, in my opinion, you nailed it!

As you know I travelled from Australia solo. There are many highlights. However, if I can only choose one, it would be the company of the lovely women on the tour (including yourself Carmen) who all shared the same passion for travelling to Italy on an adventure. Despite our varying knowledge of art, architecture, food and wine choices, the language, our health all being so diverse, we shared laughter and happiness together every day. It has been wonderful to be home and continue the contact with new friends and it is hopefully just the beginning of long lasting friendships.

The guided tours you organised Carmen deserve a special mention too. The guides themselves were delightful. I personally enjoyed the tours to the private studios to see first hand some extremely talented artists (and I’m not even an artist) however it was very personal and unforgettable. Having a chauffeur through Tuscany, again, brilliant. I felt like I was in a movie set so much of the day.

Leaving a family behind to go and travel is not easy for any mother. However, my husband, my teenage son and daughter are proud of me for going and doing something for myself. I didn’t expect that. They gained independence and faced some of their biggest fears like ‘separation anxiety’ and became more resilient knowing that mum can go away alone and she comes back happier and healthier than when she left. How good is that!”

– Sarah Byrne, Australia

I definitely had no hesitations in purchasing a Design & Lifestyle Tour. Carmen made me feel at ease from the very start and she was helpful in every way. Any questions I had were answered very promptly and with a lot of knowledge. The inclusions which were offered on this tour made the decision very easy.

It was a great opportunity to spend some quality time with other like minded ladies who enjoy travel and meeting new friends. It was so easy being “myself” and being accepted from the start. I had to pinch myself “several times” and kept telling myself it was great to be alive and to have this fabulous opportunity to be able to discover Italy with Carmen’s tours.

The organisation and Carmen’s attention to detail, but relaxed approach made these tours run to plan. Everything was very well organised, from our train travel, dinner reservations and not to mention our “Drop Dead Gorgeous” luxury accommodation which I can only imagine it would have taken Carmen months to source. I was not disappointed at all and with this said, I would not hesitate to take another one of her Tours in the near future.

I would definitely and with no hesitation recommend any one of Carmen’s Tours, as it’s a great opportunity for the “sisterhood” and a “once in a lifetime” adventure for the soul!

Carmen puts her heart and soul into creating these tours, making it a very memorable experience for me which I will always treasure and never forget.

Until next time Italy,

Diane, Australia

Did you have any hesitations about purchasing Carmen’s tour?

Initially, I did, only because I thought it was a lot of money to spend on myself and also the fact I was concerned about not being close by for my Mum. I had thought I would do the Tuscany tour and that Al would possibly meet me after but that wasn’t to be so considered it was a long way to go for 10 days so then decided to partake in the Italian Riviera leg.  

What changes did you see within yourself on the tour?

I learnt to just enjoy the time away and let go of worrying too much about others at home, in the knowledge that all would be well.

What specific things did you like best about Carmen’s Tour?

I thoroughly enjoyed time out with other women and just being in the present.  We all got on so well and there were so many laughs.

Would you recommend Carmen’s tour? Why or why not?

Yes, I would, you had planned and co-ordinated this tour so well and your wealth of knowledge and experience in regards to Italy made it so easy for those of us who had never been to this part of the world.  

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just to say that you are a very caring person & I appreciate all the effort & preparation you made to ensure this holiday became a reality for the likes of myself.  I will cherish the memories Carmen….so thank you.

Michelle Cross – Maleny, Australia

Italy, my happy place. Whether it be in a historical city, a quaint village on the water or in the rolling countryside, you will see beauty in everything around you. Not to mention the food, wine and accommodation. This was an amazing trip made even more special with the friendships that evolved. I loved it!

– Sharon, Australia

“I think for me the best memories I have are of the friendship shared. The laughing, celebration of birthdays, amazing dinners, deliciously different wine the friendships enriched, renewed and discovered, the caring of others, and the caring we had to do for ourselves. It’s hard sometimes to stop in your busy lifetime to be you again. To be just you, nobody’s wife, mother, employee, or boss, gave a sense of freedom, this itself was a really thrilling experience, and I think we don’t get to do very often.

We didn’t have to think about cooking, washing, meetings, school pick up, and to be away with a group of women was a great privilege.

As far as the trip, I loved Florence, every corner was a wow moment. The buildings, people, art, architecture, culture, did I say, the people? I loved everything about Florence.

The places we visited were spot on for me, the tour guides were such a great addition and gave such a personal insight to the places we visited, especially the artisan tour. The accommodation was also great in beautiful locations and very comfortable beds. Finally, did I mention the highlight was the friendship of women.”

– Michelle Smith – Brisbane, Australia

“I can’t thank you enough for organising the trip of a lifetime for me to Italy. You put so much thought and research into the trip and we did some wonderful things that I would never have thought to do, like the wonderful wine tasting lunch in Florence, the visit to the winery in the Tuscan region, visiting the artists in Florence and our many fantastic dinners and lunches throughout the holiday.

The apartments we stayed in were stunning and I have stayed in a lot of 5-star places in my life and they were by far my favourite digs.

It was just a groups of girls having a great time together and sharing a lot of laughter and making memories. I have made friends for life and can’t wait to do it again with you.

– Carmen Mearns – Sydney,  Australia

NUMBERS ARE LIMITED CLICK RESERVE YOUR SPOT

TO SECURE YOUR PLACE.

PAYMENT PLAN

SITES & SHOPPING IN FLORENCE

TOUR COST

4 PAYMENTS OF €521

Reserve your spot today.

€521 Euro DEPOSIT 

3 Monthly payments of €521

CONDITIONS
Please note that your deposit is non-refundable, however, is transferable to another person should your plans change.

DISCLAIMER | TERMS AND CONDITIONS

FULL PAYMENT 

SITES & SHOPPING IN FLORENCE

TOUR COST

€1895 Euro

Secure your spot today.

PAY IN FULL at a reduced rate

No more to pay

CONDITIONS
Please note that your deposit is non-refundable, however, is transferable to another person should your plans change.

DISCLAIMER | TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

DO I NEED TO DRESS SUPER FANCY?

No. This is a very casual holiday so you will need smart casual day wear, some walking gear and a couple of nice outfits for dinner. High heels are not necessary and not overly practical for cobblestone streets. Please travel light as you don’t want to be burdened with huge suitcases, plus there are many shopping opportunities to buy lovely things.

ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?

No. You will need to book your own flights because everyone is welcome to come no matter where they live and whatever carrier they prefer to use. Maybe you have frequent flyer points that you would like to use?  We are here to help you and with my own dedicated travel agent by my side, we can help with all your flight and travel planning. Just ask me.

DO I NEED MY OWN TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Yes. You must have your own travel insurance to come on the tour and will need to provide copies of the insurance to me prior to departure. Without travel insurance, you cannot join the tour.
CAN I TRAVEL PRIOR TO THE TRIP OR AFTER IT IS FINISHED?
Yes. You can definitely take advantage of being in Italy and head to any number of amazing places. We can help you with that. You may like to do the Ten in Tuscany + Revel in the Riviera Tour together (save by booking both) as they almost back to back with only one day in between. We can help with accommodation on that in between day.
DO I HAVE TO BE FIT AND HEALTHY?
Yes, you must be fit and healthy as the tours require a lot of walking during the day and Italy has a lot of steps. You also have to be responsible for carrying all of your own luggage as we are not staying in hotels with porters. If you suffer from any major illness or health issues that you cannot manage yourself with ease, unfortunately, this tour cannot provide the level of care you may need.
 
WHY AREN’T SOME LUNCHES AND DINNERS INCLUDED?
I want to keep the trip flexible and on some days we will choose to go and do our own thing which gives you the chance to eat when and where you like. If we do eat together on those meals, the women in the past tours set up a kitty to make payment at restaurants easy. This worked really well and made our lunches fun and stress-free. The last thing we want is nit-picking when it comes to payments.
WHAT IS THE STORY WITH ALCOHOL?
At the lunches and dinners provided, I will supply a few bottles of wine to have with our meal. Any other drinks you order beyond that will be at your expense. If you don’t drink alcohol then that is okay but please be aware that it will be a part of many of the lunch and dinner experiences and if you find it uncomfortable, this may not be the tour for you.
IS THE ITINERARY LIKELY TO CHANGE?
There may be a few little tweaks to the plan, but ultimately it will stay very similar. Plans change depending on weather, restaurant availability and group decisions made on the day. I like to have a solid plan, but I am also open and flexible to changes.
WHAT IF I CHOOSE NOT TO DO AN ACTIVITY THAT HAS BEEN PLANNED?
Please notify me prior to the tour if possible if there is something that you choose not to do. If you decide on the tour not to do an activity then that is perfectly fine however the tour will proceed with the planned itinerary without you. We can certainly assist you with alternative ideas.
WHO WILL I SHARE WITH?
Accommodation will be either twin or group share depending on the accommodation. If you are traveling with a friend, I will ensure that you are together. If available, you may request your own room at an additional cost. All accommodation is a shared villa or apartment as we are not staying in hotels.

If you want to add the Creativity in Florence, Gems of Italy Shopping Tour or Revel in the Riviera Tour to the mix then you can add it on to this tour. With only one day in between most of them, it makes things super easy for you to create your total tour experience to Italy. Find out more about the tours here.

NUMBERS ARE LIMITED

RESERVE YOUR SPOT WITH A SMALL DEPOSIT

YOUR INCLUSIONS

THE 5 DAY TRIP INCLUDES:

  • A welcome cocktail and antipasto platter at the apartment.
  • 5-day tour in Florence.
  • 1 x Welcome dinner.
  • 1 x Farewell dinner.
  • 4 nights in a shared apartment in Florence.
  • All shopping excursions to bespoke stores and artisans.
  • All sightseeing excursions to sites of Italy
  • Any transportation required during the tour days.
  • All breakfasts in villa and apartment (self-serve style)
  • All design and lifestyle lessons.
  • A one-on-one phone call to help with planning if needed.
  • Private Facebook Group for Tour Participants
  • Your own what to Pack for Italy Guide.
  • Your Italy Guidebook…preparing for your tour.
  • Shared room or private if available.
  • Payment plan option available

Notes:

  • Lunches and two dinners are not included.

*The trip fee does not include your flights to Italy or your compulsory travel insurance.

PAYMENT PLAN

SITES & SHOPPING IN FLORENCE

TOUR COST

4 PAYMENTS OF €521

Reserve your spot today.

€521 Euro DEPOSIT 

3 Monthly payments of €521

CONDITIONS
Please note that your deposit is non-refundable, however, is transferable to another person should your plans change.

DISCLAIMER | TERMS AND CONDITIONS

FULL PAYMENT 

SITES & SHOPPING IN FLORENCE

TOUR COST

€1895 Euro

Secure your spot today.

PAY IN FULL at a reduced rate

No more to pay

CONDITIONS
Please note that your deposit is non-refundable, however, is transferable to another person should your plans change.

DISCLAIMER | TERMS AND CONDITIONS

CLICK “RESERVE YOUR SPOT” TO ENSURE YOUR PLACE ON THIS TRIP.

THERE ARE JUST 8 SPOTS AVAILABLE.

BOOK OR ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS TOUR