Thursday, February 5, 2009

One Step Closer

One Step Closer was created for those who don’t have the time, the patience or the contacts to organize their own trip to Italy. We specialize in Florence & Tuscany, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi coast, Venice but have contacts also in several other minor but not less interesting centers such as Ravenna, Padova, Verona, Bologna, Palermo.

After almost 10 years of business we are proud to say that we have strengthened our skills in customizing tours and offering unique experiences in Italy to our clients. Our efforts have been rewarded by having been mentioned on several publications throughout the years: Wine Spectator, Forbes, Travel and Leisure just to mention the most famous. We have also been listed in the well known Andrew Harper Collection and Hideaway Report now for 4 years.

Our company can also arrange special events: from weddings to small conferences or corporate events, as well as a simple birthday party. We always offer the maximum degree of flexibility in helping our clients: from just providing flowers for a wedding to arranging the whole event.
Customized itineraries

Nowadays the notion of “customized itinerary” is abused and everyone seems to offer this service. Nevertheless, there is a large difference between selling a customized itinerary and carefully arranging one. In order to arrange a customized tour one needs the synergy of two knowledge: of the country (city, region etc) and of the client.

All of us at One Step Closer were born and raised in Florence (from a partly American family): we know our city, our region and our country and everything we suggest stems from our direct experiences. We never sell a tour without knowing personally the guide, the itinerary and each place our client will be visiting.

The contact with our clients is very careful: asking about their interests, listening to their comments on our ideas and taking into consideration all the aspects of their trip. That’s why we need to work with a bit of notice, in order to have the time to impeccably plan everything making sure that no small detail passes unseen.

Our guides are experts in each field (art historians, landscape designers, wine consultants etc.), are fluent in several languages, have experience in sharing their knowledge and are pleasant people to be with. We like to think of ourselves and whoever works with us as your friends in Italy. We try to combine as closely as possible expert, client and activity and in order to do this we tend to ask many personal questions to our clients such as age, kind of group (family, friends, business etc), disabilities, personal interests.

We will also be on call for the duration of their stay for any last minute changes, requests or emergencies.

Throughout the years we have specialized in planning trips for families with children of different ages. The concept of children’s museums and activities that are specifically created for kids is still not that common in Italy but we have seen that children can have fun sightseeing . It’s all a question of “selling” it to them in the right way. We have had many happy families that were amazed at how much their kids got out of the visits and actually asked for more (gelato is an excellent resource for instance). You can’t obviously put them through 5 hours in a museum but they usually hold out better than their parents. Many parents have confessed that they have learned more from a tour with their kids than in other occasions.


HOTELS: We will be glad to provide a list of recommended hotels which you can book directly or we can do this for you and include this in the price of the tours.

VILLAS: We do not arrange holiday rentals but we will be glad to give you contacts of companies that specialize on this and whose properties we feel are up to our clientele’s standards.

The only property we manage directly is located in Camporsevoli, a village in the southern countryside of Tuscany, an hour drive from the most important Tuscan cities as Siena, Arezzo, Montalcino etc. The property is an ancient hamlet and there are two available villas for rent. You can see the website

Special Events

We can arrange small conferences, single social events for bigger conventions, weddings and anniversaries, birthdays and any event that needs celebration. Each event deserves its own venue: a medieval castle… a museum after closing hours… or what about a former train station? We work with selected catering services, photographers, musicians, conference service agencies and even tailors, hairdressers and florists.

Our assistance will cover the first stages of the organization by escorting the clients to visit the venues, as well as the smallest details as helping to decide the right color of the tablecloth that will match the flowers previously chosen! Our job ends taking part in fist person to the event to make sure that everything will go smoothly.

We work on a planning fee basis which depends on our degree of involvement in the organization of the event, so that each price of the various services is clear and net to the clients.

We have worked with alumni groups and board members of the most important universities in the United States (Yale, Cornell, William and Mary, Loyola Marymount), planned events for important corporations (Boeing, Citigroup, Renault), arranged trips and visits for museums (Huston Museum of Natural Science, the National Museum of Women in Art, Washington)

Some examples …

We have just said that every tour we arrange is unique and personalized according our clients’ requests… nevertheless sometimes you may need to know what we organize in practice to have some ideas of the activities in each city!

Guided tours in the art cities: in Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo, but also Rome, Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto, Naples, Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii, Venice, Verona, Padua…and many others! Our guides can spend a half day or full day with you.
Price depends on the city – consider an average of 300 euros for a half day and 600 euros for a full day.

Cooking classes: our cooking teachers are not professional chefs but simply Florentine ladies who like to share their passion for cooking with their guests. For this reasons the class takes place at their home in Florence. Clients can meet the teacher in the morning, go shopping with her to a local market to buy all the necessary ingredients to prepare a typical Tuscan lunch! The lesson will end eating their creations together with the teacher at lunch. Price 500 euros up to 4 persons including shopping.

Art Class: This is usually fun for families with children! Our clients will have the opportunity to learn the different art techniques once used by Florentine artists to create their masterpieces. Water coloring and sketching will take place around Florence to give them the opportunity to learn live techniques. We pick a spot that is particularly suitable for the season (i.e. shade in the summer and sun in winter). It is interesting to join the learning of a technique (ex. Fresco painting) with seeing some of its highest moments in the monuments around town.
Gelato Tasting: one of the most famous “gelaterie” in Florence will open its secret doors to our clients. The owner will explain how gelato is made, how it was started and – most importantly – guide you through a tasting of their wonderful gelato. All of this held in the backstage “kitchen”. Price: 40 euros per person

Artisans and workshops: If you are interested not just in shopping but also in learning the process and the history behind the creation of an object explained by the artisan himself inside his “bottega” (workshop), we can arrange paper making and pottery making and many other interesting experiences. Price to be determined according to the activity and number of persons.

Perfumes making: You will be visiting the atelier of one of the most famous perfumes creator in the world who “customizes” the essence for his clients by a long interview with them to understand their “soul”. The place itself is worthwhile the visit and you will be introduced to all the secrets of perfume and essence making. Price will be given upon request

Private collections and private openings: we can arrange a private visits to the Vatican museums after its closing hours. Our clients will have the opportunity to be the only visitors of one of the most famous museums in the World. We can also arrange private openings of collections, palaces or gardens which are normally closed to the public. Prices will be given upon request.

Shopping tours: A personal shopper will spend the day with our clients showing them the best places to purchase local artisans’ products (pottery, leather, linens, paintings …). This can be combined with the above mentioned tour of the artisans and workshops.
If you are a “fashion victim” we can arrange daytrips to the nearest Outlets center where you can buy Prada, Armani, Valentino and Ferragamo at discounted prices.
Price depends on the number of persons.

Wine tours: We have special access to wineries located in the Tuscan countryside which are usually closed to the public and open their doors exclusively to our clients and friends. Our wine consultants will introduce you to the uniqueness of the different wines and their particular flavors. The areas of Tuscany where we usually arrange these activities are Chianti and Montalcino. The tour can include visits to little towns or places of particular interest in the neighborhood. The tour can be also food oriented (oil and cheese producers, butcheries, vinegar producers, herbs shops..) or shopping oriented (pottery, ceramic, leather etc).Price depends on number of persons – itinerary – and distances.

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