Hi Penny, Thank you again for organising such a wonderful visit to Florence, all four of us had a fantastic time and agreed that the balance of different experiences was exactly right. The day spent with you looking at some of the less well known art was terrific with no queues or crowds so we could really appreciate the different pieces, and your knowledge and enthusiasm greatly added to our day.The wine tasting and cooking days were great fun and we felt very spoilt being treated to such experiences. Thank you also for organising the appartment which was perfect for the four of us, and it was great to be so central. Hugh
Hi Penny Thank you so much for helping us to unlock Florence. It's such an amazing city and we just wouldn't have even started to scratch the surface without your expert help. What the kids loved best were all the 'back stories' about the city and its history - like the lion (we won't spoil that one for future guests) ! We can't wait for our next visit and an opportunity to get to know Florence even better - what a treasure trove !
Penny added enormous value to our 5-day trip to Florence. Her deep passion for the splendid art, history and culture of Florence allowed us to immerse ourselves in this wonderful city and surrounding Tuscan landscape. During visits to galleries, monasteries, restaurants, vineyards and beautiful gardens, she shared her knowledge in a subtle way allowing us to discover things that we would never have found through any guidebook. Thank you, Penny. We will definitely be back!
I spent a fabulous five days in Florence with Penny. I arrived at the start of the sales - I think saldi (sale) is my favourite Italian word and shopped. This is my second time in this beautiful city and as usual I just did not spend enough time there. The food was excellent, the Prosecco and wine wonderful and the company was beyond compare.
The wine tour was marvellous but then I do love red wine. The added advantage is that you get to see more of the beautiful Tuscan countryside and see how terracotta is made into all shapes and sizes. We visited a butcher with a difference and tested more wine. A fabulous lunch provided a lovely interlude from the strain of tasting chianti.
Penny knows the places to visit, the history, and the culture and I sampled all of that too in my five days. If you want to see the best of Florence then arrange a tour with Beyondtheyalladog. Would I go back absolutely will it be soon, well, it would be rude not to.
A simple "thank you" is not enough to express our gratitude to Penny Howard. As I looked back at the photos I took and the journals I wrote down in UK, I just could not thank her enough for the good things she's done for me and my friend Claire. There were so many days that she had sacrificed her sleep (even before 5am) and got up so early just to feed us and drove us to the station. If there's no passion, how could a person do that? But Penny has shown us her hospitality. She also let us leave our luggage in her house as we traveled around England with only backpacks. I just realized later how this was helpful when we had to drag the luggages with us to the airport. Not just so, when we said good bye, Penny even sent us to the hotel we stayed at the end of trip... and there were still more. I mean, truly Penny has done too much for us. 🙂 Me and Claire were like, "Wow! She's such a great host!" Definitely if there's any opportunity for me to visit UK or even Italy, I will still choose to stay at Penny's place again and set apart some days to participate in the activities she plans and designs! ^^
I've just spent a delightful few days in Florence thanks to the helpful assistance and great company of Penny Howard. Not only did she arrange lovely accommodation for me at a very reasonable price, but also acted as tour guide for myself and a mutual friend. Penny's passion for the city, its history and the many wonderful sights is a joy to witness and added to my own enthusiasm for Florence and its many wonders. Her wealth of knowledge and anecdotes made for fascinating visits to various churches, the Uffizi, the Duomo and elsewhere. We managed to see so much, without feeling at all rushed, which is ideal. And as Penny speaks Italian, it made everything so easy. We also shared some fantastic meals at restaurants that Penny knows, which of course just adds to the pure pleasure of being in Italy.
When I next visit Florence, I would love to participate in at least one of the many activities that Penny organises, including cookery courses and garden tours.
Thanks so much, Penny! See you soon!
My girlfriend and I don’t often go the organised tour route, thinking ourselves more the independent and intrepid type. However, we are so grateful that we took a friend’s good advice and booked a tour with Penny. It was one of the highlights of our trip to Italy.
Penny is a delightful host. She also has an incredible knowledge of, and passion for, Florence. Our visit simply wouldn’t have been as enjoyable or enlightening (and stress-free!) had we opted to rely on the travel book. It was all very organised and well thought out – accommodations, sights, dining recommendations and everything in between. As we only had 24 hours in Florence, Penny managed to pack a lot in, giving us a good appreciation of the city.
The tour was very fluid and Penny catered a city walkabout to our interests. We visited the main landmarks and museums, as well as some backstreets and less trodden spots. We especially enjoyed Penny’s historic anecdotes along the way; they added a layer of info and interest, and really brought life to the cityscape.
We’d happily recommend.
If you are a follower of Penny's blogs you will see one back in September for a restaurant in Pisa. We were those guests mentioned.
We were with Penny for four days and we can tell you if you want to see Florence culture with an extremely knowledgable guide then Penny delivers that service in spades. Pisa was a diversion we specifically requested, so in fact we learnt a massive amount about Florence in three days. We even took in an opera arranged and attended by Penny.
Best of all Penny speaks Italian so all those potentially awkward moments of trying to understand the written form and making verbal requests were expertly handled.
Using the services of Beyondtheyalladog is thoroughly recommended.
We have just returned from Florence having spent a delightful day with Penny Howard and Katie Campbell on an all day garden tour of villas near Lucca. Between Penny's organizational skills and Katie's expertise on gardens it was a memorable experience. Since it was a small compatible group we never felt rushed and it provided a nice break from the crowds and noise of Florence. Later, when we visited the Boboli Gardens on our own we were able to more fully appreciate them, recalling information we had gained from Katie. When one of the visitors was disappointed that "there aren't any flowers this time of year" - we remembered that gardens aren't just about flowers!
Thanks for a great time (and the photos).
My recent holiday to Florence was fantastic made so by the great help of Penny Howard.She arranged excellent accommodation at a very reasonable price, was a most informative guide always with a fund of anecdotal stories relating to the many art treasures viewed.
Penny organizes cooking and painting holidays also tours of the local gardens and wine tasting at the local Tuscan wineries.
She was always very friendly and most helpfull-----
CHE BELLA VACANZA!
PS will be in touch soon ref 2012!
I wrote quite a long message that unfortunately you have not received and probably because hit 1st submit not 2nd one. I thanked you for a wonderful afternoon with Lisa teaching who is delightful and great to learn more about Italian cuisine and have lots of new recipes. Lovely to meet the other ladies in the surroundings of your beautiful home, and great that John and Lisa's partner could share the gastronomic experience with us at the end. The tasters I brought home were extremely well received so I am under pressure to replicate!! A truly memorable experience all round. My taste buds are still a tingle! Thanks for all your hard work and adding your own personal touch of being a thoughtful generous and warm hostess whilst also making it lots of fun.
I have been trying to work out what the highlight of the five days was and all I can say all of it!! The ice cream, wine, and food alone makes you want to stay for ever. The people and the culture are amazing and Penny was an excellent guide showing me both the tourist trail but more importantly the things that you wouldn't see if you went for a break. The paper printing was really good fun and reminded how creative I can be. Thank you Penny for a memorable time and yes I will be back.
Hi Penny, thank you so much for your time with us in Florence. You showed us the real glamour of the city: the amazing paintings on the ceiling of San Frediano Mansion, the authentic Italian food, the hand-made Italian shoes, the histroy of the city, paintings at Uffizi .............. oh and Grome ice cream! I only eat pistachio ice cream after that! It's a great pleasure. Thank you again and wish you all the best!
Penny -- what a wonderful find you and your services are!! I have had several different cooking classes/demos in Florence/Fiesole, but today's with your Chef Lisa was the best by far -- incredible menu, easy to follow directions (and I don't cook!) and handout to take home, and tastes that were out of this world! In addition to learning and eating, we all had such a great time!! I'm ready to book my self and a visiting friend into your next
class--- Grazie mille!!! --Barbara
A little note to say thank you for everything you did for us on our recent visit to Florence; ensuring Dave's gelato cone and my wine glass were always flowing 🙂
Your tour of the city really brought it to life and made the whole experince much more engaging - we wouldn't have had half the experience without you.
I'm sure it wont be long before we're back, until then ciao ciao!
Kay and Dave
What a lovely write up about the restaurant and terrific picture of Barney and Renza!
Thank you so much, hope to see you again soon....
I think I’m going to need weekly deliveries from Macelleria Falorni, do they have such a program? The Finocchiona Sbricolona di Cinta Senese is Sooooooo good!
I want to give it to all my friends! But I can’t stop eating it, so they’re just going to have to do without!
Thank you for such a wonderful day and experience of Florence. We had such a nice time, and would definitely love to come again (we have to, the wild boar says so!). Your stories of the city were very memorable and we will certainly remember more than the Yalla Dog!! it's hard to pick out a favourite site, but David was amazing and if I lived next to those gardens I would go everyday! I also really liked your descriptions of the frescos of St Peter - I will remember the stories... And so much more - the cafe on the roof over looking the city, the bridges over the Arno and the beautiful concert. It was extremely kind of you to look after us so well, you are always so generous with your enthusiasm and your time.
what an incredible experience discovering the Chianti Classico region with you!! Just came back to Canada and to 'normal' life and missing Florence so much! The ever so informative guided tour of La Foce, the delicious meal al fresco and the visit of Pienza have made my Tuscany's adventure a truly life time memorable experience. Thank you, thank you for great time, wonderful company and enriching guiding! Until the next time..Ciao, Ciao
Got back home safely late last night.
I wanted to thank you for your kindness to me whilst in Florence.
It was a pleasure to share time with you and I thoroughly enjoyed the cookery course.
Lisa is lovely. She made it simple, fun and generously full of her ‘secret’ chef tips.
The recipes were easy to follow and produced really delicious food.
In particular I liked the way Lisa showed how to adapt the recipes to make many other enjoyable meals and ‘goodies’.
A very good value experience that’s given me some lovely memories!
I tracked down the flour, the biscuits and two pairs of the heat resistant tweezers (one pair for a friend).
I’ll keep in touch, if I may.
Thank you again.
Ciao - Ann