I can't say enough about our wonderful cooking class with Penny and Lisa Banchieri. We were grandmother, mother and daughter celebrating a 16th birthday in Rome and Florence,and the cooking class was an absolute highlight of the trip. Everything was planned to perfection, we loved the location, Lisa was a fabulous teacher, and on top of it all we had an amazing meal at the end of the class! After we returned home, we cooked the recipes Lisa taught us for our family. The food was good, but enjoying the memories of such a great experience was even better! Thank you so much!
I had planned a 4 day weekend in Florence for my partners birthday and a little R and R.
Knowing that it was a city overflowing with history it felt quiet overwhelming until I engaged with Penny to arrange our trip. Having listened to our likes and dislikes, Penny used her expert knowledge to put together an itinerary that was fun, and ensured that we left seeing all the key sites, and perhaps more importantly, having learnt so much about Florence's history past and present. Her intimate knowledge of where to eat and drink meant that we were speared any horror stories of over-priced tourist traps. Highly recommend anyone who is visiting Florence to contact Penny.
Testimonial for Beyond the Yalla Dog
We recently had the opportunity to engage the services of Beyond the Yalla Dog on our recent trip to Tuscany, and our experience was really tremendous. Penny’s tour of Florence was super organised and her intimate knowledge of everything Florentine, gave us a wonderful insight into this beautiful city. Despite the size of the group (being 20 with 9 children!!) she was able to coordinate tickets, a 4 course lunch and gallery tours without any hiccups and we were even able to keep the children engaged for the entire day. Some of us have been to Florence on several occasions but have never experienced it quite like this – having Penny accompany us was truly a great way to really get inside Florence.
Not to stop there, we also used the services of Beyond the Yalla Dog to organise a really memorable Tuscan Cooking Experience for our group on Boxing Day. Italian Chef – Lisa Banchieri – came to our Villa outside of Sienna with a carload of fresh food and over several hours, taught us the secrets to Tuscan cooking and pasta making. Of course we were able to enjoy the fruits of our labour afterwards.
This Tuscan cooking experience was one of the highlights of our five week holiday. One of our group described the day as “the most memorable she has had on a holiday”. We have brought all these experiences home to Australia and have made some wonderful pasta dishes thanks to Lisa’s excellent tutoring.
I cannot recommend Beyond the Yalla Dog and Lisa Banchieri enough. They were very patient – with our large group – and made this part of our holiday highly enjoyable.
Penny's knowledge of the history and locality are astounding, as a guide to the city of Florence 'Beyond the yalla dog' is unmatched. I learned more about the city in one day with Penny than I would have in a week as a tourist.
I have known Penny for many years and apart from being one of the nicest people you will ever meet, she is an incredibly professional person, who is passionate and knowledgeable about Florence. I am still getting over one of the best meals of my life arranged by Penny and her friend Luca! If you are looking for an authentic, unique and welcoming experience of this amazing City then I would strongly recommend Penny."
Penny you never cease to amaze me another great effort you have put into the news sheet. You will have a successful 2011, and I will be with you all the way.
We met Penny on October 7, 2010 in Florence for a wine tour that we had scheduled with her. What a wonderful day she and her driver, Filippo, had scheduled for us. It started with a tour of an Italian Terra Cotta pottery factory, a trip to Greve, two privately owned wineries. The first winery had a Tattorria where we had a delicious lunch. We got to tour both wineries and met the owner, David, at the first one. On the way back to Florence we were taken to see the sunset over Florence at Piazza Michael D'Angelo. What a pleasant surprise. On October 8, 2010 we met with Penny for a walking tour in Florence. Penney is so cheerful and has so much knowledge of the history in Florence. It was another delightful day with Penny. At the end of the day, she invited us to join her for "Tea" on Sunday afternoon at her apartment. I will say we were overwhelmed by her generosity. We had English Tea "Italian" style which was absolutely wonderful. Penney went more than out of her way for us. We would strongly recommend her as a tour guide when you visit Florence. Penney, thank you for showing us such a great time in Florence. We will definitely hook up again with you if we travel to Florence in the future. We consider you a new friend.
On arriving in Florence we arranged to meet Penny Howard , a english lady with a fountain of knowledge on the history of Florence be it a painting a statue a church or historic buildings.
Penny met us on the day after we arrived with no clip board but a big smile,she was the perfect guide. Penny pointed out all the good food restaurants a list of activites if you wished to take part. The plate painting looked impossible to do, recommended.
We thank Penny for a hassle free holiday, we arrived as strangers departed friends,
Thank you Mia Peggy Anthony.
Just wanted to thank you very much for all the fun in Florence last weekend. The Sat evening party was fantastic - great food, great singing (I even joined in sometimes), great company and great atmosphere in Luca's new restaurant. And the rest of the time was really enjoyable too.
Let me add my thanks to Penny and Glynis and Beyond the Yalla Dog for yet another great weekend. Everything was meticulously planned and wonderfully executed for us all to have a fantastic time. Highlights for me were the water colour workshop and Penny's party in Impruneta!
Thanks Penny for a wonderful time. Your generous spirit is becoming legendary. Fortunate indeed is anyone who chooses " Beyond the Yalla Dog"
Yes indeed what a great time - wonderful party - Florence as fascinating and lovely as ever - the plate painting was great and our plates survived the journey back - thank you so much Penny - you even got the weather organised!
Many thanks to Penny and Glynis for a really great weekend.Peter and I hadn't picked up a paintbrush since our schooldays. I certainly believed I couldn't draw or paint. By the end of the first day we had produced a painting of a Tuscan landscape ( and learnt about how paint reacts, blending colours and the effects of warm and cool tones to create a 3 D effect) and a still life of cherries. The following day we painted a portrait from life. There were at least bits of the paintings I was happy with and it has certainly inspired me to have another go soon. We've located a place in central London which does art supplies- so watch out Leonardo!
Penny made everything go so well. We had a great time at the social events organised by Penny ( who like all real holiday organisers has sorted out the problems for us and kept us going with frequent injections of coffee, tea, wine and ice cream) . And a wonderful weekend of partying together with friends old and new. We feel we are now getting to know the "real" Florence of the Oltrarno and there are lots of things to see and do even on our 6th trip there. Viva beyond the yalla Dog!! Hope you do another soon - and I may have a friend who would join a class in London, Penny.
SEI UNA PERSONA STUPENDA VERAMENTE è STATO UN ONORE CONOSCERTI SEI ECCEZZIONALE GRAZIEEEEEEEE"
after holiday in London 18.08.2010
The water color workshop with Alfonso Tejada in Florence was an extraordinary and inspiring experience. Penny was the most wonderful host one could have, always ready to help and advise. Her knowledge about Florence is remarkable.
My texts are totally in praise of Penny and her 'Beyond the Call of Duty' company and just to say a really big thanks from all of us for a great great holiday, 'find your inner strength holiday', challenge, fun, and such a good laugh holiday - plus we learnt a lot!!
Sally, Lucy & Emily xxx
I had a super time in Florence, made all the more so by making your acquaintance. The dinner with you, Ann and Cathy where I probably ate more pasta in one sitting than I have in a lifetime, was one of the many highlights of my visit! I can't wait to do it again!