Deborah (from New York) wrote me this note after her trip:
“You were the most intelligent, interesting, funny, passionate and generous guide I have ever experienced.”
I’m grateful to Deborah for her note and appreciative of the many enthusiastic, warm – and often loving – comments I’ve received from those who’ve discovered Umbria with me. Umbria is my passione and what joy to share our region’s endless wonders, to introduce visitors to the Umbrians. That joy multiplies in proportion to guests’ enthusiasm as we explore together Umbria, “Italy’s green heart.” Mille grazie!
Note: some comments are here below. You can read others here on TripAdvisor.
“Anne’s Italy provides an enjoyable, educational, enlightening and in many ways life-altering experience.
My wife and I have had the pleasure of experiencing Anne’s entertaining and intellectually-rich guidance in Italy on three occasions over the last five years- the first two with health professionals attending an educational intensive and the most recent with a small group of extended family. We have visited Spoleto and Assisi with her on these tours.
Her capacity to relate not only to all members of these groups with diverse professional and education backgrounds, but also to connect what she learns about the individuals in the group to the impact of the art and history upon these individuals directly, provided for a highly personalized experience.
Additionally, she subtly trains both the expert and novice in curiosity, artistic gaze, and emotional awareness as she connects history, philosophy, cosmology, and sociology into a rich multilayered narrative tapestry.
I would without reservation recommend Anne’s Italy to anyone of any background- cultural, religious, or philosophical. To be with Anne has been a gift, and the lessons learned remain with me well beyond my time with her. For me, the take home lessons have mostly to do with the power of narratives in their spoken and visual expressions, the importance of community from family to village to city-state, to world, and the Franciscan values of compassion, charity and hospitality.”
Michael Krasner, Rochester, N.Y.
“Dear Anne, You really made our trip to Umbria much more memorable. You opened our eyes to the artisitic, cultural, political and religious sigificance and history of every town we visited with you. And who can forget all the wonderful local meals and the special wine tasting you arranged both for our private and great group tours, and the great joy we derived from all the fun company? Truly, none of this would have happened without you! We are also most grateful for how you shared with us the benefits of your terrific network of personal contacts, from the very good guide you arranged in Orvieto, to the whipped cream master of Perugia, to the master tailor and more hospitable hoteliers of Bevagna. You took such good care of us. Gracie and ciao!!”
Betty and Jonathan
“Our family visited Assisi for the first time with Anne as our guide some time ago. We had a wonderful time, our visit enhanced with the details of Assisi that Anne shared with us. She even took us to a sagra–a festival with food prepared by the locals–and then a tour of her farm. This year, we joined Anne in Assisi for the Calendimaggio, a three-day medieval festival complete with music, astounding pageantry, parades, medieval games, and food. Anne arranged for everything. We began on a Thursday afternoon with the opening of the festival and, for the next two days, we were living in a time from long ago. She found us perfect seats with a great view of all of the festivities. She introduced us to her neighbors in Assisi who were sitting around us and, after a few hours, we had purchased the bandannas that identified us as supporters of Assisi Sopra, that part of town where Anne lives. When we weren’t attending the afternoon and evening portions of Calendimaggio, Anne took us on tours of local sites in Umbria. We saw the towns of Narni and Bevagna. During each visit, Anne gave us the history of each location and introduced us to local people, like the tailor in Bevagna, the butcher, the baker. The highlight of this year’s visit was lunch at Anne’s farmhouse. She lives off a dirt road far into the Umbrian countryside amidst dark green hills. The large stone farmhouse was restored, she told us, by her husband Pino, a stonemason. In fact, one day during a tour in Assisi, she pointed out a building that her husband was in the midst of restoring. The lunch was spectacular. We had antipasti, pasta, chicken with rosemary, homemade bread, desserts, and wine. Her husband joined us as well as some of the neighbors. Outside, the donkeys were braying and the birds chirping. It was a feast for our tastebuds and for our hearts, in a backdrop that could have occurred in the movies. Our trip to Umbria was truly outstanding, thanks to Anne and her skills. We feel we experienced the real Umbria: medieval festivals, tiny hillside towns, lunch in a farmhouse. Anne arranged everything to fit our desires and our budget, and it was a trip of a lifetime.”
Frank and Brit Carbone – San Rafael, CA
“Dear Anne, Thank you so very much for two of the most wonderful days we had during our recent trip to Italy. Our entire experience from beginning to end was incredible. The Spello wine tasting (food and song) was above and beyond anyone’s expectations. Your knowledge and profound interest in the history of Italy, and in particular, in Assisi, made it educational as well as totally enjoyable. The second day (Deruta and Perugia) with you Anne, was topped with that authentic Italian luncheon at an old farmhouse – enjoyed with the farmer and his wife! Truly something that very few ever experience; they were so charming and welcoming, it was obvious that they loved to share their home and way of life with total strangers. Anne, David and I have been on many guided tours; but this was our first experience with a private tour, let me assure you that there is no comparison, our daughter Lisa picked a winner when she chose you. Your love for all things Italian and your talent for finding the unusual seldom seen antiquities, make your tour unique. I could go on forever, suffice it to say that my daughter Lisa, her husband Greg Maloney, David and myself Will never forget our time with you. Thank you…Mille Gracie..”
David & Jacquie Nicks – Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
“Anne, thank you for showing us not only the ‘sites’, but giving us the opportunity to ‘experience’ the hill towns. Your knowledge of the region and the ‘hidden secrets’ on your tours made us feel that there is no other guide choice in Umbria—only Anne. We know without you as our tour guide we would not have been able to have this experience. Thank you Anne for introducing us to so many special people and making us feel a part of Italy.”
The Wolf Family, Carmel, IN
“Wow!! Anne is a truly spectacular guide! You do more than go on tour with her – you feel like you step into a living Italy! Her knowledge and her love of Italy made our trip very special. Something I will never forget. Many thanks to you!!”
Sally M. Higgins (16 yrs old), Indine Village, NV
“I spent 4 weeks in Assisi attending a language school. Anne suggested the excellent school and the wonderful apartment that we stayed in. She made the area come alive for us in a way that we have never experienced in any of our other 4 trips to Italy. She introduced us to the local cuisine, she spoke of the history of Umbria in a fascinating way, and she presented a vibrant way of viewing the numerous artistic treasures of the region. You can feel her love of the people and their values and their lifestyles as she makes the daily life come alive with her insights. She is truly one of the Umbrians, but she also has the perspective of an American. How fortunate we were to be able to have her to enhance our trip! We would never have been able to experience so clearly what it would be like to live in this amazing area without Anne. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her love of people makes her perfect for this job. She is generous with her information, sharing her recommendations for restaurants and activities, and whenever we had a problem, she had a solution. Even though it is hard to choose a favorite from our excursions with Anne, our wine tasting at Spello would probably be our favorite experience. We also thoroughly enjoyed her lectures on local life. We will make a visit to Assisi part of every trip to Italy, and we will make sure one of Anne’s tours is included in that visit.”
Kathy Surico, Dayton, OH
“We had the pleasure of enjoying your guided tour (for Tauck Tours) of Assisi and the surrounding Umbrian beauty. …I want you to know that your presentation was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip, not only your descriptions but how you projected your love of the land and the people. …I am most grateful for having had the privilege of listening to you. I shall keep in touch with you in the hopes that some day you will write a book of your wonderful experiences and your beautiful life.”
Cecilia Gallo, East Coast
NOTE FROM ANNE… a book is in the plans, but in the meantime, please read my Memoirs of Rural Life section.
“I thought I had seen all of Italy after visiting Tuscany and the major cities. But on this trip I discovered I had previously overlooked two of Italy’s gems: Umbria and Anne Robichaud. My new bride and I loved learning to cook Umbrian style in Anne’s cucina genuina. She showed us hidden secrets of Assisi, the private wine tasting in Spello was superb, and dancing to ‘Y.M.C.A.’ with a thousand Italians in the Assisi piazza after the medieval dinner (we were about the only non-Assisians there, as this was an event for the locals, not for the tourists) was a blast. Anne was obviously ‘in the know’ when personally arranging four of our lodgings (not just in Umbria). Magnifico!”
Kevin and Linda King, Atlanta, GA
“I spent a week with anne as a guide and the following is only a brief glimpse of the masterpiece that has left me laying awake at night losing myself in the vibrant colors of memories that weave themselves into a beautiful painting before me again and again. I arrived in Italy disappointed that we were not going to see rome, venice, or florence, but These clouds were cleared from my mind as Anne wove the history, it seemed, into the very land we looked upon. She is an absolute wonder to listen to, leaving you breathless as she explains the histories that have made Umbria into the beautiful land that has enchanted the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to lay there eyes to rest on it. The tour bus seemed invisible as Anne took us farther into the heart of Umbria. She is an invaluable asset (and person) to any company that is wise enough to hire her. An enchanted youth, Jordan Miller (age 13),
P.S. Something else one should know about Anne is that she dances with vigorous spirit. I first came across this fact when Anne took us to a local festival, a sagra, as it is called, and coaxed us to dance with her inexhaustable spirit.”
“Upon returning from a nine week stay in Umbria this fall several friends have asked us why we speak so highly of the day tours conducted by Anne Robichaud. After some reflection our most descriptive answer focuses an analogy with an onion. While most tour guides do a great job of explaining the ‘outer peel’ of a point of interest, Anne helps you explore the inner layers of what really made this site important. She is so knowledgeable about Italian art, architecture, history, religion, culture and food that she can only be considered an expert. As she peels away the superficial, she helps you gain incite to the true meaning of the Italian experience and particularly Umbrian and Tuscan. She continues to stress the people and in fact, wherever her tours lead, you meet the people. Whether the tailor of Bevagna, the Assisi Jewish survivor of the Nazi, the wine steward of Spello, or a cook in Todi, you meet the people of Italy. This then brings you to the onion’s core for surely the greatest benefit of traveling to Europe is meeting the people. Gaining that awareness of their way of life is invaluable. To the people of the Assisi area she is ‘Anne the American’. To Donna and I she is a friend, our Italian encyclopedia, and our ‘onion peeler’.”
Tom and Donna Morrison, Jasper, GA
“You’ve come to Umbria. You’ve heard beautiful things about it. You need to find where they are and what their history is. Anne, will show where to go, tell you what you need to know, take you to the sites to show and make sure you eat enough to grow. Don’t miss Anne. If you do, you’ll miss Umbria. Anne, many thanks.” Alan, Joey and Julianna Spievack, Cambridge, MA
“Our experience with Anne as our guide in Umbria was among our most enjoyable travel experiences. Each day, Anne presented us with a new aspect of ‘Italianism’. We covered art, architecture, politics, institutions, family life, religion, music and even a whole class on gestures. But walking the hill towns, with Anne was like walking as a native. We were given ‘inside’ insights and information with enthusiasm that is rarely seen in tour guides.”
Bruce and Sylvia Ross, Tiburon, CA
“I have taught for many years, I have led people on tours for almost that long, and I’ve had plenty of experience with others teaching and guiding. If Anne Robichaud is not the best at these, she’s very close to it. I’d never expected meeting an American to be the highlight of our months in Italy, but it was true.”
Dr. Roger Sale, University of Washington, WA
“Grazie Anne for everything you did to make Umbria come alive for our Catholic Medical Association conference participants. They caught your enthusiasm and remained excited about touring all the sites throughout the entire week we were there. We were impressed by how you could guide a large group of 54 people and make it seem as if you were talking to each one of us personally. Your explanations made us ‘experience’ the sites rather than just just ‘see’ them. Many thanks for great week we had together.”
Dr. Paul Dickinson, St. Paul, Minnesota
“One month in Umbria and the great good fortune to spend days with Anne… my favorites because I like to understand what I see. I know we missed a lot in the towns we visited without her. Highlights of our Umbria trip with Anne included: *watching the fabulous Calendimaggio medieval pageant, *touring the Narni “underground” church, …the gorgeous Nera River Valley and exploring its secrets, *in Gubbio …discovering locals practicing the ancient art of the crossbow, *a special tour of the medieval fortress in Spoleto, *shopping and eating: we always had splendid meals with Anne, she knew just what to order, *especially memorable was a lunch (feast really) that she cooked for us in her home. I was born with a shopping gene and also really appreciated the shops she took us into (at our request… her tours are customized to your interests) that sold high quality handmade products typical of the area.”
Nancy Davidson, Palo Alto, CA
“Our group of 5 well-traveled ladies had the great fortune of Anne as our guide. Our trip went from a simple 50th birthday ‘Italian getaway’ week to one of the BEST travel weeks any of us has ever experienced as Anne makes every moment an incredible travel moment. She enriched our knowledge and made us love Umbria! Her detailed knowledge of the language, geography and history is amazing , but never overwhelming. Anne guided us to special destinations … for sumptuous gourmet meals …a personal tour of a jewel of a palazzo… Anne has unending enthusiasm for what she is doing and it’s catching! We were constantly amazed at how much and how many of the local people simple love ‘Anna.’ As she accompanied us to special destinations in the towns of Spello, Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Spoleto, many, many local clergy, merchants, farm people, members of prominent families, etc. greeted her warmly and extended many unexpected courtesies to us because we were with Anne. We had the privilege of meeting and having tea with a charming elderly Italian noblewoman in her palazzo. We were treated with the warmth reserved for special guests.”
Peggy Worthing, Atherton, CA
“You have inspired me to take an Art History Course this summer. You so opened my eyes to look at so many different things that made the rest of my trip in Italy more interesting and educational… wonderful in your energy and presentation! You made us all feel at home in Italy and with the wonders of the Italian art.”
Barbara Nicholson, SF Bay Area, CA
“When in Umbria wanting a ride To tour castles and towns full of pride To see things medieval Spiritual and regal Just be sure to have Anne as a guide.”
George and Marilyn Strauss, Piscataway, NJ
“Dear Anne, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for many wonderful tours. You really helped make our trip as enjoyable as it was. You took us on many tours. You were very: polite, helpful, knowledgeable and most of all friendly. You took us to many places and gave us much knowledge that we otherwise wouldn’t have experienced. You were also kind enough to take us to your farm in the Italian countryside. You were also knowledgeable and patient enough to answer all of our questions. Once again I would like to thank you very much for taking us on these amazing tours. I would greatly recommend you to anyone that wants a private tour in Italy.”
Noam Pratzer (age 11), Toronto, CANADA
“Anne’s tours are a must for any traveler in central Italy. Spello was very special with Anne as a tour guide – and we attended a local festival with her in Bevagna – where we were the only tourists! Be sure to go the extra mile and have a TRUE Italian dinner made by Anne. It was the best Italian meal I have had – and such a pleasure to be in her home in the bellissimo countryside surrounding Assisi – and meet all the family.”
Graeme F. Byrd (19 yrs) Turlock, CA
“Touring Italy without Anne would be like Italy without pasta and Chianti. Her passion for her adopted country is infectious. Anne is a very intelligent, talented, high energy woman. She has exceptional people skills along with organizational ability and a deep understanding of Italians. In addition, she has a delightful sense of humor… wonderful!”
Dave and Jessie Emanuel, Grass Valley, CA
“Anne is great at making the cities, people and lifestyle of Umbria come alive and brought out many details which we would have otherwise missed. One of our trip highlights (her suggestion): an evening dinner visit to a small Umbrian hilltown in the middle of their annual medieval festival.”
Keith and Cheryl Kelley, San Diego, CA
” Dear Annie, Thank you for making Assisi the highlight of our trip to Italy this year. You are a remarkable guide and an even better person. We so enjoyed meeting you and spending the time with you that we did, and hope that we can return the hospitality to you someday. With love and best wishes, Jan”
Jan Jones – Administrative Associate to the Director
“The warmth of Assisi’s history, customs and peoples were given to us almost as one would give a gift....” Bob and Anne Williams, Jacksonville, FL
“We can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed the tours we took with you while honeymooning in Assisi! Let’s face it, it was a joy to meet you, let alone be privy to your immense volume of information and humorous stories. Everything about our trip to Italy was breathtaking, spectacular and unbelievable, but the tours with you and the people we met thru you and in Assisi are the most memorable things of our lives. Am I being dramatic? Well, I am and I have a right to be. Italy was so much more than we expected and we want everyone we talk to or whoever reads this to feel the same passion that we are trying to convey. After a week in Assisi it became a place where we would be able to live. Not many vacation spots can truly claim to be that type of property. Sure, there are beautiful beaches, cities, resorts, etc. in the world, but few can compete with Assisi’s charm and hospitality. Thank you for introducing us to a place where we will ache to return.”
Mary Jo and Victor Barbato, Fresno CA
“Thank you so much for the priceless day you gave us in Assisi. We’d like to tell everyone and anyone who is heading to Umbria to do whatever they need to to have you take them around. You gave us a feel for history, place, and current Italian life in Umbria that wove the whole experience together. We can’t wait to come back so that you can take us to more of Umbria. We had read about Assisi before we came, we all know a fair amount about medieval and Renaissance art – and you pointed out so many things we would never have seen or known on our own. Please post our communication on your website so everyone who logs on knows what a treasure you are!”
Jim and Susie Ratner, Zack and Debby Paris, OH
“If you really want to understand Umbria from the inside call Annie. She gives you the local flavor like no one else can. We couldn’t imagine having been in Assisi without her.” George and Diane Frankenstein, San Francisco, CA
“Anne truly made our guided tour special, especially for our two children, ages 12 and 10 who couldn’t have been tougher customers. I mean totally unsophisticated and lacking in attention span – so for this reason we didn’t do any other guided tours in Italy…but Anne amazed us by roping them and giving them ‘assignments’ while seeing the sights. It turned out to be a highly educational, yet fun day for all.”
Leslie Young, Oak Park, CA
“This tour was a stunning introduction to Assisi and Italian culture. I believe it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.”
Christopher Dawson, age 14
“I really liked the tour but the lunch was delicious. We had a lot of courses. I was so stuffed after!”
Molly Dawson, age 10
“We were very fortunate to experience a day with Anne Robichaud through a great recommendation. We met her early one morning in Assisi with six family members, and the city immediately came alive with richness. She captivated four children and parents immediately for the entire day. We learned the history of Assisi in the most exciting way and never felt overwhelmed. Anne enriched our knowledge and love for the hill towns of Italy. We met many local store owners and learned of their history in Assisi that we would have not known otherwise. Not to mention the wonderful things we brought home that have personal stories to them. We ate at a wonderful Umbrian family restaurant, and experienced a fabulous meal that we would not have been able to do without Anne. We were able to go underground through a private entrance that the kids were absolutely amazed with. We were all taken with the stories of St. Francis and the beautiful frescoes. We all absorbed so much art history in a way that one cannot through a book. Our only regret was that we only had one day with Anne. Her enthusiasm and love for the culture is very catching. We will be back for another Anne Robichaud tour as it was the highlight of our four week trip!”
A. Cerussi, Tiburon, CA
“As so many have said, our trip highlight was our day with Anne. That one day was not enough, but her knowledge and graciousness brings alive the history of Assisi… and… she knows everyone in town and they know her! Especially wonderful was the visit to her home to cook and meet some of her family.”
John Coppes, Hutchinson, MN
“The stories, cultural and linguistic insights of Anne brought Assisi to life for us and opened our eyes to things we would never have noticed ourselves. We particularly valued her insights into the legacy of World War II and the impact of the holocaust in Italy as evidenced in Assisi. Her discussions on Italian and Church history blended intelligence and good humor in a way that connected us to Italy and the past. It would be hard to imagine a day in Assisi without her.”
Paul and Terry Martel, Connecticut
“Words just don’t capture the depth of experience you weave! I decided it’s like visiting ‘Aunt Anne’s’ Italy… introducing us to your home town friends and partners in life, capturing the Italian spirit from the inside out. The meal (feast!) was delicious to the eye, as well as the palate! Focus on the local traditional cuisine made it all the more fun, along with the beautiful Italian pottery on which it was served. How did you produce all of that freshly made bounty so beautifully right before our very eyes? Magic!! Assisi was one of my grandson Jason’s favorite places. I believe it’s because of how you made it come alive… and he LOVED the dinner you prepared!!!” Helen Warberg, Portland, OR
“Anne Robichaud is a wonderful tour guide in Assisi! My sister and brother-in-law who had been to Assisi before, and dismissed it as a tourist trap, now say that ‘through the eyes of Anne Robichaud we now see Assisi for the charm, beauty and history that it so richly deserves‘.”
Diana Haynes, Carlsbad, CA
“Anne Robichaud should be crowned ‘tour guide extraordinare.’ …Assisi is a truly magical place and with the help of Anne we discovered even more magic. We began the day with a cappuccino and the story of Anne’s early days in Italy, some 25 years ago. Forget ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’: the real story is ‘Under the Umbrian Moon’. Fascinating and humurous. (How does one survive three years without a bathroom??) We were next introduced to the art in the Basilica San Francesco before our visit to the Church. She brought it all to life! At mid day we headed in our cars for a quick drive to Anne’s farmhouse to have a fabulous lunch. First stop… the local country grocery store for some red wine and bread. After a multi course meal and tour of the renovation of the farmhouse we went back to finish our tour …fantastic and magical.”
Sue Bruno, Darien, CT
“There was no question it was going to be a great day. After all, we had previously met Anne Robichaud during a private cooking class in our home as part of her winter whirlwind lecture/cooking tour of the States. When we glimpsed her hustling up the street to meet us in Assisi six months later it was as if we just said goodbye. The day with Anne was to be the finest experience of our three weeks in Italy. To her fellow citizens of Assisi she is ‘Anna the Americana,’ warmly embraced by shopkeepers, restaurant owners and residents. To American tourists she is a scholar, historian, comedian, public relations genius and, ultimately a fine new friend. If you want to find yourself in the kitchen of a typical country restaurant watching bread being prepared for the meal and then enjoying the smells and flavors as each course is served under the pergola, Anne is for you. This experience is all the richer as you hear the story of Anne’s wedding reception at this very place. After visiting the Cathedral, her walk through both the upper and lower sections of town brought us information on history, architecture, local gossip and an introduction to the many artisans of Assisi. Does any other tour guide end the day at the palazzo of a charming ‘ninety something’ Countess offering vin santo and biscotti? Of course not! ‘Anna the Americana’ (as the locals call her) has enough pizzazz to charm a city of Italians…. even with 14 Americans in tow.”
Linda Blinn, San Clemente, CA
“Anne not only covers the historical, artistic, and cultural highlights of an area, but she also introduces tour participants to artisans in the area. For example, during our tour of Assisi she introduced us to a maker of paper and books, a creator of herb extractions, and an artist who paints on glass. She also focuses on the needs of children (Anne was – and certainly still is – a teacher!). For example, in order to keep our two boys interested as we toured the Basilica of St. Francis, she asked them to spot all the animals depicted by Lorenzetti in his 14th c. frescoes. That night, we attended a sagra – a regional feast with music and food prepared by the local farm women – at her suggestion. And… our meal in their home was a highlight of our tour.”
Frank and Brit Carbone, San Rafael, CA
“The tours that you conducted were excellent and we were able to see and do many things that don’t happen with run-of-the-mill tours. The dinner, the wine tasting, the guitarist, the meat market, the paper makers, and on and on were just great….and the Calendimaggio festival. Never heard of it before, but all of our friends know about it now!!!!”
Frank and Sharon Sult, Hayesville, NC
“Anne, our tour with you to Assisi and Spello was the highlight of our first visit to Italy. My wife’s mother felt it was the absolute highlight of the entire trip because of your in-depth knowledge of the art, history and culture of Assisi. I will highly recommend your tour services to any of our friends visiting the Assisi region.”
Steve Boster, Ridgecrest, CA
“Anne, On behalf of my entire family (Paul, Judy, Mike, Liz, Moira, Megan, and Dan), I want to thank you for providing such a memorable Umbrian experience. Having read other reviews of your tour I know I sound like the proverbial broken record, but Assisi was stunning and the Spello wine-tasting was icing on the cake. Your passion for the region came through in every aspect of our brief time with you and I want you to know that you left an enduring impression on every single one of us. Pace e bene.”
Paul F., Plymouth Meeting, PA
“I feel so lucky to have happened upon your Spello Infiorate tour and Assisi was amazing! In fact, all the “extras” you incorporated into both tours made those days even more special… and I still say that the meal at your home was one of the best and we did have alot of fabulous food!”
Hattie Notman, Marion, MA
“The tour to Narni is one trip you MUST NOT MISS! I cannot count the number of times I have talked about what we saw and experienced that day. You will be awed by the beauty, shocked by some of what you will see, and never forget any of it. We were lucky to have spent several days with Anne while in Umbria and as they were all memorable, this tour is not one you will find anywhere else (or with anyone else!).”
Diana Brookes, Tarzana, CA
“I was lucky enough to be in the area for the unforgetable Festa di Ceri in Gubbio ( northwest of Assisi). It is an all day event with the religious procession in the piazza in the morning, to dancing to the wee hours in the same piazza! At the Corsa dei Ceri, Annie was more than our “guide”; she was our window into the way of life, the rythms ( especially afterwards at the dancing) of the Umbrians. Her personal narrative made it all come alive and somehow, she seems to know everyone, everywhere. But you will see why when you meet her. So, don’t go anywhere near Umbria without tagging along with Annie Robichaud as you will have “missed” Umbria.”
Jack O’Connell – Sharon, CT
“I traveled to Italy in the fall of 2008 with a group of nine women for 15 days…5 of those spent in my favorite hilltown, Assisi… and 2 of those spent with my favorite local guide, Anna! The event was the annual Festa of San Francesco, held in early October to remember the life and death of St. Francis. Even though I have toured Assisi with Anna four times since 2001, each walk was unique, educational, and fun…and the focus was different each time. On this occasion, we got to walk along back streets devoid of tourists, but full of images of Francis; interesting facts were shared about his life and times that guidebooks don’t include. We were prepped on the historical, religious, and cultural significance of all the “festa” events:. details of the special ceremonies and masses were explained, along with the schedule of musical performances to choose from later in the day. We were thrilled to be invited to Anna’s own home for the banquet meal which was included in the tour. Anna prepared the food for my group and two others who joined us; we enjoyed everything from antipasto to pasta to salad to meat and vegetable course and finally dessert, happily chatting throughout, admiring her kitchen and lovely ceramic serving dishes while savoring the tantalizing aromas of a freshly cooked farm-style meal. A tour of their land and their restored farmhouse made this a day to remember. When surveyed later about favorite experiences on the entire trip, each and every one of my ladies chose the Festa San Francesco days as #1…without hesitation! Brava, Anna. Tante grazie!”
Kathy Weeks – Tesoro Travel – Portland, Oregon
“Five years ago my husband, Winston, and I came on your tour of Assisi on the 4th of October for the Feast of St. Francis. I have thought of our trip with you many times and it brings back pure joy. Even when I listen to the audio tapes we made, I can still feel the riveting emotions flow through me when the trumpets sounded and the bells began to ring as the procession flowed toward the Basilica. Thank you once again for something that you do so easily, yet still brings back such sweet memories… how much we appreciated you.”
Carole Bumpus Austin, TX
“Go sopra!”, our guide Anne and the crowd from upper Assisi cheered. Sitting next to Anne in the stands, it was easy to get caught up in her enthusiasm, and cheer too. Calendimaggio is the Assisi spring festa, a beautiful festival of medieval pageantry, skits, singing and contests and Anne was the perfect guide. Her knowledge and passion for Assisi and the Umbrian countryside is unsurpassed. Our time with Anne was the highlight of our Italian experience. Thank you Anne for an unforgettable memory!
Betty & Jim Bruynell – Boston. MA
This has been such a special vacation. We feel like we were touring with family. This experience today with the blessing of the cheese breads is amazing. Yesterday with you and the procession with Jesus and Mary is beyond words – I’m so glad we met you and look forward to our return to Assisi again!
Colleen C., Herndon, Virginia.
What a special treat to see a culture up close. The blessing of the breads was beautiful! Everyone was so welcoming & friendly. But nothing was better than meeting Pepe & his wife – so, so wonderful!
Joe & Marianne H. and family, New Jersey
A wonderful experience to see how life is in rural Umbria! Good company & thoroughly enjoyable! –
Jane H., Perth, Australia
Very unique and lovely experience of rural life in Umbria! Thanks Anna! –
Barry & Madg M., Australia
What a treat! A glimpse into the Umbrian lifestyle never seen by most! How wonderful to visit Annie’s neighbors and her home…Thank you for the accordion show!
Cindy I., Napa, California
Fantastic Tours!! Your personal touch and unique local understanding is tremendous. Thank you!
Bill C., Herndon, Virginia
U.S. Cooking Classes
“The cooking event in our home with Annie proved to be one of the most lavish, decadent, and memorable parties we’ve ever given. All hands pitched in with vigor. Every dish, pot and utensil we owned flew about the kitchen in a crescendo of activity. Wine flowed, garlic sizzled, chocolate oozed and steam and laughter mingled overhead. At the end of the evening every guest chef sighed deeply, leaned back, settled their hands across a sated belly and gazed dreamily off toward Umbria. Magnifico!”
Terry Smith, Piedmont, CA
Whether the topic is Italian history, art, current politics or hand gestures, Anne’s lectures lectures are uniformly outstanding. They are so entertaining and well delivered that it isn’t until it’s over that you realize how much you’ve learned. Anne leaves you wanting wanting to rush out and catch the next flight to Italy.
Mike & Marge Bruno
“Anne Robichaud is one of our all time favorite speakers. Her knowledge of subject plus an infectious enthusiasm keeps an audience riveted and wanting a return engagement. A former President of our group said she was the best speaker we ever had.”
Laura Waste, President, Leonardo Da Vinci Society, San Francisco, CA
It’s truly been my good fortune to have Anne as lecturer and guide on many of my trips to Italy… a wonderful person, great personality… the best of any guides or lecturers I’ve ever had years of travel. She gives one that comfortable, welcome feeling… and she adds the extra touch, as you will be able to have entrance to sites unavailable to the general traveler. Through her lectures, you will learn to appreciate the charm of the people of these hill towns, their cultures and their strengths – and I was greatly pleased with Anne’s knowledge of the events and life of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare.”
Betty Chipman, Scottsdale, AZ
“Anne Robichaud is a compelling and knowledgeable speaker on many subjects in Italy. Each time I have heard her I have been captivated and have learned a lot! I am so impressed with her presentation which is informed, thoughtful, and full of wonderful stories of her life in the Umbrian countryside.” Carol Field, author of The Hilltowns of Italy, The Italian Baker, Celebrating Italy, Italy in Small Bites, Focaccia: Simple Breads from the Italian Oven, and In Nonna’s Kitchen: Recipes and Traditions from Italy’s Grandmothers.
Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)