FAQ

Please search our Frequently Asked Questions page. We’re happy to answer any of your questions, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for please send us a comment in our contact form.

Who are the people behind Casa Mia Tours?

Casa Mia was founded by Eleonora Baldwin and Gina Tringali in 2015. Together they have over 20 years of experience in culinary and wine tourism, and journalism.

Casa Mia specializes in privately guided food adventures, market walks, home cooking, and wine tastings.

Our local guides, sommeliers and cooks are committed to providing quality service with a warm and convivial approach to sharing our insider knowledge to Italy’s bountiful food and wine.

Logistics

COVID-19 SAFETY CRITERIA

We adhere to all local and venue rules and regulations.

Casa Mia Tours only operates tours in jurisdictions where touring is either explicitly authorized or where parties of up to 6 individuals are permitted to gather. We reserve the right to cancel a tour if regulations change quickly or if we are unable to procure tickets given occupancy limits.

We are only leading private tours – no mixed groups.

To minimize opportunity for contagion, we are not currently offering group tours. We continue to offer all of our tours privately, and have priced most of our tours to have more accessible pricing for smaller parties of 2-3 guests. As an added benefit, going private means the tour can be personalized to your specific knowledge and interests – something many of our private clients have come to love.

We require clients, guides, and suppliers to adhere to COVID-19 safety standards.

As a US-based company, we reference US CDC guidelines for the most up-to-date health and safety information. As of June 1, 2020, we require the following by all guides and clients.

Prior to a Casa Mia Tours experience, self reported attestation of the following:

  • Any quarantine requirements have been met.
  • No known exposure to someone who has shown COVID symptoms or received a positive COVID-19 test in the prior 7 days (including self).
  • Temperature check prior to the tour does not show temperature over 99.5°F (37.5°C).

During a Casa Mia Tours experience:

  • Correct wearing of face masks that cover the nose and mouth for the duration of the tour.
  • Frequent handwashing, supplemented by use of hand sanitizer – clients and guides alike are expected to bring their own hand sanitizer.
  • Appropriate distance (6 feet / 2 meters) between guide and clients at all times.
  • Car services are discouraged unless strictly needed as part of an excursion. If a car service is used as part of an order, it must have a partition between the driver and passenger areas. Car must be large enough to carry guide and clients with appropriate distance, likely one class larger than it would have been previously (i.e., minivan instead of sedan, minibus instead of minivan).

These standards are subject to change as per US CDC guidelines.

We are working to update our post-tour feedback survey to include questions about safety practices.

What’s the best time of year to schedule a food tour?

Our food and wine tasting adventures, cooking lessons, excursions and custom planned activities run all year long.

April through September are the busiest months, while December through March are great months to visit Rome as there are shorter museum queues and locations are less crowded.

August is a tricky month, during which locals leave for summer vacation. For this reason many venues, restaurants and businesses close for vacation. Casa Mia runs tours, classes and custom planned activities during the first half of August, but advises travelers that choice of tastings and places to visit may be limited.

What happens if it rains?

Our tours run rain or shine. The majority of the places that we visit during our food and wine adventures can shelter small groups during a downpour. In the event of a rainy day, we suggest wearing waterproof shoes and bringing a fold-up umbrella or one provided by the hotel concierge.

I’m celiac/vegetarian/lactose intolerant, but I still want to take a food tour. Can you help?

Of course! Our experiences can accommodate eating restrictions. Italy is well-geared to welcome travelers with food aversions and intolerances. Please notify us upon booking.

What makes your food tours different?

Casa Mia makes experiences entertaining, educational and culturally stimulating. Every private tour offered is led by a local expert, and designed to spark meaningful conversation and understanding.

I’m running late to meet with my guide/cook, what’s your policy?

Casa Mia always provides a contact number where your guide/cook can be reached. Please make sure you inform your guide/cook that you are running late.
Delays beyond 15 minutes are not made up at the end of the tour/class.
No-shows are treated as last minute cancellations and are non-refundable.

Where do I meet my guide?

The exact location of your meeting point is provided immediately upon booking. We hold all of our activities within easy reach of public transportation.

I am traveling with children, can they participate?

We encourage it! Our experienced guides enjoy involving children in the tasting experience, focusing explanations and discussions directly for the younger travelers in your party.

What is your tipping policy?

Tipping of guides and drivers is discretionary based on your satisfaction with the service. Guides usually receive a gratuity of 20% while drivers receive a gratuity of between 10% and 20%. 

Is there a standard tipping policy in restaurants?

We recommend leaving a 10% tip at restaurants. At the coffee bar counter, it is customary to leave 20 cents to thank the barista for your espresso. 

I would like to host a wine tasting in my vacation rental, is that possible?

Absolutely! Our certified sommeliers will travel with a selection of wines and accoutrements to your vacation rental, provided that the vacation rental is within the city limits.

Do you organize vineyard visits?

Yes! We offer vineyard visits in the regions of Lazio (the Roman countryside), Campania (Naples and the Amalfi Coast), Sicily, Tuscany (Chianti, Bolgheri, and beyond) and Emilia-Romagna (the hills of Parma and beyond).

Do you offer cooking lessons?

We do! We offer hands-on lessons in our cooks’ private homes, where you are welcomed like family. Classes culminate with a full Italian meal with wine, in the company of your host.

Do you develop food itineraries and take care of restaurant bookings?

Yes, we certainly do! After a brief chat, we design a detailed and personalized food itinerary for you, based on your food preferences and the areas you’ll be visiting.

What’s the best time of year to schedule a food tour?

Our food and wine tasting adventures, cooking lessons, excursions and custom planned activities run all year long.

April through September are the busiest months, while December through March are great months to visit Rome as there are shorter museum queues and locations are less crowded.

August is a tricky month, during which locals leave for summer vacation. For this reason many venues, restaurants and businesses close for vacation. Casa Mia runs tours, classes and custom planned activities during the first half of August, but advises travelers that choice of tastings and places to visit may be limited.

What happens if it rains?

Our tours run rain or shine. The majority of the places that we visit during our food and wine adventures can shelter small groups during a downpour. In the event of a rainy day, we suggest wearing waterproof shoes and bringing a fold-up umbrella or one provided by the hotel concierge.

I’m celiac/vegetarian/lactose intolerant, but I still want to take a food tour. Can you help?

Of course! Our experiences can accommodate eating restrictions. Italy is well-geared to welcome travelers with food aversions and intolerances. Please notify us upon booking.

What makes your food tours different?

Casa Mia makes experiences entertaining, educational and culturally stimulating. Every private tour offered is led by a local expert, and designed to spark meaningful conversation and understanding.

I’m running late to meet with my guide/cook, what’s your policy?

Casa Mia always provides a contact number where your guide/cook can be reached. Please make sure you inform your guide/cook that you are running late.
Delays beyond 15 minutes are not made up at the end of the tour/class.
No-shows are treated as last minute cancellations and are non-refundable.

Where do I meet my guide?

The exact location of your meeting point is provided immediately upon booking. We hold all of our activities within easy reach of public transportation.

I am traveling with children, can they participate?

We encourage it! Our experienced guides enjoy involving children in the tasting experience, focusing explanations and discussions directly for the younger travelers in your party.

What is your tipping policy?

Tipping of guides and drivers is discretionary based on your satisfaction with the service. Guides usually receive a gratuity of 20% while drivers receive a gratuity of between 10% and 20%. 

Is there a standard tipping policy in restaurants?

We recommend leaving a 10% tip at restaurants. At the coffee bar counter, it is customary to leave 20 cents to thank the barista for your espresso. 

I would like to host a wine tasting in my vacation rental, is that possible?

Absolutely! Our certified sommeliers will travel with a selection of wines and accoutrements to your vacation rental, provided that the vacation rental is within the city limits.

Do you organize vineyard visits?

Yes! We offer vineyard visits in the regions of Lazio (the Roman countryside), Campania (Naples and the Amalfi Coast), Sicily, Tuscany (Chianti, Bolgheri, and beyond) and Emilia-Romagna (the hills of Parma and beyond).

Do you offer cooking lessons?

We do! We offer hands-on lessons in our cooks’ private homes, where you are welcomed like family. Classes culminate with a full Italian meal with wine, in the company of your host.

Do you develop food itineraries and take care of restaurant bookings?

Yes, we certainly do! After a brief chat, we design a detailed and personalized food itinerary for you, based on your food preferences and the areas you’ll be visiting.

Pricing & Booking

What happens when I make my booking?

When you confirm your booking and complete payment you will receive an order confirmation containing booking details, the meeting point, the name and contact of your guide/cook as well as directions for how to arrive with available public transportation means.

What is your cancellation policy?

Upon booking, a 50% deposit is required. The balance is due one month in advance of the tour date. 

In the event that you need to cancel an activity with Casa Mia Tours, we will do our best to refund as much as possible as we consider every situation personally. If you must cancel your booking with us, please give us as much notice as possible. 

The price of all Casa Mia Tours food and wine tasting adventures, cooking classes and excursions is 30% refundable with at least 2 weeks’ notice. After this, all reservations are final and cannot be refunded.

Some private service providers (drivers, babysitters, etc.) we work with apply varying cancellation policies; customers will be informed of this prior to booking.

Note: We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance in order to safeguard your party from unwanted cancellations and fees that may incur.

Are gift certificates available?

Gift certificates are available for all our food and wine tasting adventures, cooking classes, and excursions, and make a tasty present for anyone who is visiting or is living in Italy.

Do your food, wine and cooking experiences include an insurance policy?

Casa Mia Tours does not take any responsibility and we are not liable for any damage caused through the use of services purchased with Casa Mia Tours, be it indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages (including but not limited to loss, theft or damage to any personal belongings). We recommend that all of our customers take out necessary insurance with a specialist insurance provider.

Why should I subscribe to Casa Mia Tours' newsletter?

Subscribing to our newsletter will keep you up to date with all that is happening at Casa Mia Tours: new cities, neighborhood explorations, food, wine and cooking experiences, plus articles, promotions, fun news and press. We cover stories about interesting people and creative initiatives in the cities where we are based.

Do you offer group tours?

Our food and wine tasting adventures, cooking lessons, and excursions are intended for private parties. Our time and knowledge is for you and yours only, since we believe that private tours are the best way to see, taste and experience the cities we service, at your pace, to your taste.
Should you wish to join a group tour, we suggest checking out
this trusted colleague’s site.

What payment methods do you accept?

We can accept payment via PayPal.me (click here), or CHASE QuickPay (click here)

Editorial

Do you accept sponsored posts on your blog?

We owe it to our clients and readers to be transparent and unbiased, therefore, no sponsored posts appear on the Casa Mia Tours blog, sorry. Opinions are our own.

Do you have a periodic newsletter?

Yes we do! To stay up to date on news, publications and events, delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our monthly eNewsletter here.

Purchasing Food & Wine

What foods can I bring home to the U.S.A.?

Most meats and fresh produce are prohibited. Processed and packaged foods are allowed, with the exception of those that contain meat products. Some aged and hard cheeses are allowed. Please refer to this government page or call the FDA at 1-800-216-7331. If outside the US, call +1-301-575-0156.

What foods can I bring home to the UK?

This website lists regulations regarding personal food imports into the UK.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOLM6lQlD1k

“Our newest oldest best friend in Rome!
We had the pleasure of taking 5 tours with Casa Mia - 3 food/neighborhood tours and also an Ancient Rome tour and a Vatican tour. All of the tours were absolutely EXCELLENT and highly recommended!”

OnamondUSA