Travels with Taste Part 2: Reflections on the Greatest Little Travel Company You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

By Sarah White

This post is the second of a two-part series in which I reflect with Cathy Fleming, founder of Viaggi di Gusto (“Travels with Taste”) on how she found the best work of her life—and how we might take part in it. In Part 1, I interviewed Cathy. Now, let’s talk my experience traveling in Italy with Cathy in Fall 2021.

The other day, I was asked for my honest opinion about travel with Viaggi di Gusto by a prospective customer. His questions got me reflecting on my experience in Fall 2021 on the “Best of Italy” tour. That led to some reminiscing about my 20-year relationship with Viaggi di Gusto, the brainchild of Cathy Fleming, whom I’ve known since the mid-1980s.


In the early 2000s, Cathy and I were both eager to find the best work of our lives. We began meeting for coffee and mutual support. I was exploring personal history; she was looking for a professional pursuit that would allow her to reconnect with her love of Italy. A milestone birthday propelled her to found a company offering small-group travel experiences. (See my interview with Cathy for that story.) As a result of being there at the birth, I feel like a godmother to Viaggi di Gusto.

What did I tell that prospective customer? In a word, GO!

Expect a smaller group than most tours—20 travelers max—and accommodations that are comfortable, but not sumptuous. Expect to be among enthusiastic travelers, many of whom have toured with Cathy before and some of whom have come to travel together. People become repeaters on Viaggi di Gusto tours. And expect variety—some days you’ll be with the group, sight-seeing or enjoying a wine-tasting or cooking lesson, but you’ll have plenty of unprogrammed days to fill on your own. I spent my free days on the Best of Italy ’21 tour pursuing my interests, like visiting favorite places in the Cinque Terre and renting a Vespa to motor through Chianti.

Pasta-making lesson from Nonna Ciana, Le Pietre Vive, Tuscany

Why did I, a traveler who’s been to Italy several times on my own and am confident in my language skills, choose to pay for a tour rather than simply do what I’ve done before? Because I have always admired the energy with which Cathy developed Viaggi di Gusto. I’d heard about her satisfied travelers and I wanted to taste the experience myself. Because the Best of Italy tour was going to places I loved, and so, offered the perfect mix of certainty and novelty. Because, being part of the first wave of tourists into Italy following the country’s stringent COVID lockdowns was bound to be intriguing. (And it was.)

Now, I am thinking about traveling in Fall ‘2023 and beyond, again with Viaggi di Gusto. Because, as Cathy says, “demand for travel in Italy is up, up, up,” I’m thinking Sicily, which is a bit less discovered.

Come with me! Use this form to let me know you’d like to keep in touch about this idea.

If you’d like to contact Cathy directly about planning your own travel, click here.

© 2023 Sarah White

P.S. That header image on my blog? That’s laundry on the lines in Vernazza, in the Cinque Terre, Spring 2008.

-Sarah White

Click here to read Part 1, my interview with Cathy about Viaggi di Gusto.


About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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1 Response to Travels with Taste Part 2: Reflections on the Greatest Little Travel Company You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

  1. Thank you. I’m forwarding this to my travel buddies.


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