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THE BEST EXPERIENCE - EVER!
The best experience – ever! Nancy and Damian from A’qto Cycling Tours are lovely people. Nothing was less than perfect on the recent 2023 Giro D’Italia tour. An excellent group of people, bikes were great, the riding was amazing, the food and wine better, and the scenery breathtaking. I loved every minute of it and will return for another A’qto Cycling tour, for sure.
I FELT LIKE I WAS ON HOLIDAY WITH FRIENDS
I recently joined Damian and Nancy on their tour of the wonderful Tuscany. Having never done anything like this before, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, both from a cycling and après cycling perspective. I have to say, both surpassed my expectations and more! The cycling was challenging but nevertheless a great experience. Tuscany is truly magnificent, and Damian took us on an adventure, visiting the most wonderful towns and villages of Chianti and Val d’Orcia. Ascending the long climbs, we were rewarded with amazing views of such a beautiful part of the world.
The evenings were a match for the daytime cycling. We were exposed to incredible food and wine, starting with aperitivo, as you do! Nancy and Damian were magnificent hosts, encouraging their guests to feel relaxed in each other’s company. Meeting new people and gaining new friends was part of the experience. As a single traveller I felt like I was on holiday with friends, thanks to our wonderful hosts. This isn’t your typical tour, it’s a very personal experience, and one that I loved.
Until the next time…
A 5 STAR EXPERIENCE FOR A NON RIDER
A 5 star experience for a non rider
Nancy and Damian have crafted a bespoke, authentic Italian experience which totally exceeded my expectations.
As a non rider I enjoyed guided hikes in the wonderful towns and surrounding areas. Nancy uses local guides who are passionate about their home town and incredibly informative. We experienced the beauty of the Dolomites on foot, visited a cheese farm near Bergamo and met some of the wonderful people living their daily life.
Taking the funicular to the top of Mount Baldo showed me some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen. The mountains of Lake Garda smack you in the face with their beauty. Seeing 50 paragliders jump off Mount Baldo with their colourful shutes to drift over Lake Garda was amazing.
We explored local lakeside towns via the ferry and enjoyed hearty (and healthy) lunches as a small friendly group of non riders. Nancy speaks the language fluently and aims to meet individually curiosities. She’s been doing this for 8 years so she knows where to go and who to speak to
Nancy and Damian have a chillax approach but you know everything is under control and the groups’ needs are considered. This sets a comfortable tone for the entire trip.
As someone who is GF, I really appreciated the great variety and tasty food throughout the entire tour – I never felt like I was missing out on authentic Italian cuisine.
Group activities with the riders included wine and olive oil tasting (so good!) and cheering on the cyclists in the Giro d’Italia during the tour. Even as a non rider, you couldn’t help but get swept up in the excitement of this international cycling event.
The quality and variety of the accommodation was excellent from a 14th century converted townhouse overlooking the cobbled streets of Bergamo to a modern lakeside boutique hotel in Lake Garda and our personal favourite, the chalet in Cortina – a colourful Arthouse chalet that punches colour and oozes cool everywhere you look.
We researched lots of companies before deciding on A’qto. This tour offers the best of both worlds. While we enjoyed the excitement of the Giro, we also experienced the different regions of Italy through carefully considered planning of meals, accommodation, transfers and all non riding activities.
For non riders, you’ll need to feel comfortable in small groups, happy to meet new people and enjoy walking. This is not the tour for individuals who aren’t team players and don’t want to share the lived experience and cultures of the Italian people. I was lucky to be with a group of non riders who embraced all that Nancy had on offer and together we created special memories.
We don’t usually go on tours, but this one gets a 10/10 rating – all the decisions are made for you and you realise that what Nancy and Damian have in store for you is exactly what you would have planned – only better.
THIS WAS THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME.
“Our A’qto Tuscany experience was superb.
Pursuing our passions of cycling, hiking, food, wine and all things Italian both separately and shared together made for a rich and memorable tour. The details set it apart – Damien’s meticulous, safe, fun, challenging and spectacular cycling routes; Nancy’s passion for culture, humour and sense of adventure; and their joint, uncompromising approach to quality (particularly food and wine!) – no stone was left unturned.
This was a trip of a lifetime, and hopefully the first of many with A’qto!”
Penny & Anthony
LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT. A'QTO IS A CLASS ACT.
Loved it, loved it, loved it. A’qto is a class act. I was a rider and my wife a non-rider on the Como, Stelvio, Dolomites tour. We both enjoyed the experience immensely. A relief for me that the non-rider activity was as well organised and run as the rides. Every venue – the hotels, restaurants and evening locations for aperitivo were beautiful and a credit to Damian and Nancy who hand selected them all. It really was a luxury riding holiday that I would recommend to everyone.
CAN NOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH.
My husband and I joined the Puglia July 2022 tour after a few reschedules due to COVID (reschedules which they handled brilliantly). The tour was a joy from start to finish. Meticulously organised, scenic rides, immaculate hotels and amazing dinners and experiences. Damian and Nancy are a dynamic combo. Damian is a natural cycling tour leader, routes were well planned and its an inclusive experience. The group naturally split and adapted to all levels of ability and with two guides, the second being Matteo (total champ) this wasn’t an issue. Nancy brings a wealth of knowledge about the region, the food and way of life. Every lunch and dinner was outstanding and I could not pick a highlight. We will be booking again in 2024, unless I can convince my husband (the natural cyclist of the two of us) to squeeze in a 2023 trip. Cannot recommend highly enough.
ALL UP 5 ★
We have just completed our cycling tour of Puglia with Damian and Nancy. Wow! We are already looking at another trip with A’qto for 2023. Damian and Nancy are masters of hospitality; friendly and inclusive, their choices in accommodation, food and wine were stunning and varied. The simple and interesting explanations accompanying these choices were appreciated and value added to the experience.
The riding while challenging at times gave us a true insight into the Puglia region. Damien gave detailed briefings at the beginning of each day and somehow kept us all together by coffee and lunch stops. Being a riding couple it was great to have a fairly equal gender mix on tour.
Nancy had amazing experiences in store for the non riding partners and then we’d all come together each evening for aperitivo and dinner.
All up 5 ★
Kate and Brad
I ENJOYED THE A'QTO TOUR SO MUCH MORE.
“Thanks again for a lovely experience. I just thought I’d give you my feedback and comparison after doing a tour straight after yours.
I enjoyed the A’QTO tour so much more.
The hotels were better.
The meals were better.
The smaller group was much nicer.
The non-rider program existed and was really lovely. (It existed on the other tour but it was basically following the riders around)
The rides started from the accommodation.
You and Damian really organised us and looked after us well and made us feel special. (On the other tour they didn’t really “host” their guests anywhere near as well as you guys do.)”
A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.
This was our second tour with Aqto and we experienced all the magic of L’Eroica 2022.
L’Eroica is a celebration of everything traditional through Italian warm hearts that comforts and challenges the rider.
A wonderful experience, a beautiful ride with heritage-listed white roads riding incorporating stunning vistas & towns of Tuscany.
Every stop had different delights specific to the region with espresso and biscotti in Sienna through to Ribbolita soup in Buonconvento.
Though my favourite experience was being invited to the Hunters lodge where we ate and sang with the locals, just one of the experiences that no one else offers.
Many can take you for a ride through the hills of Chianti but few will complete the experience and guide you as Aqto will.
Perfecto Grazia Mille
A TRULY AUTHENTIC AND HOLISTIC ITALIAN EXPERIENCE.
Damian and Nancy THANK YOU!
Your Puglia Tour was sensational. My expectations were very high, but you well and truly exceeded them.
Your tour offering has a number of points of differentiation. But I think the key one is your ability to immerse your guests into a truly authentic and holistic Italian experience that creates unique indelible memories.
The highlights were many; each day bringing forth its own unique WOW factor in showcasing the best each town and sub-region has to offer.
The quality and diversity of the food and wine were exceptional. The accommodation, wonderful! Through your deep connection with the owners of each venue, we were always greeted with welcoming open arms. I will always remember the way they made me feel.
A high point each day was coming together as a group (riders and non riders alike) in the evening for ‘aperitivo’; exchanging our stories and rich experiences of the day; always a time of much joy and laughter.
And of course, there was the bike ride. The bike riding was amazing. We especially loved that exhilarating feeling gliding across those beautiful rolling hills; our first glimpse of a shimmering cobalt blue Mediterranean Sea as we hit the coast was magnificent. The soft cooling sea breeze – a welcome delight.
Again, thank you both for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
WE CAN'T WAIT TO DO MORE TOURS
Having waited two years for Covid to ‘end’ we were very excited to head to Italy on the Como, Stelvio, Dolmites tour. We’d previously joined Damian & Nancy on a tour in Bright, Victoria so we knew the level of professionalism and dedication they are all about.
Italy was magical from the spectacular scenic cycle routes to the thoroughly delicious meals each night at carefully selected restaurants. The cuisine is a truly memorable part of the tour bringing the group together reminiscing about the days events.
We stayed in stunning accommodation again carefully selected.
The non cycle program is fabulous and Nancy goes the extra mile to make sure you feel part of the tour experience. Excursions included guided tours & visits to iconic sites, amazing hikes (so you can justify the amount of food you’re eating that night!) a cheese making experience and of course some shopping.
We were lucky to have our 21 year old son join us on this tour and he thoroughly enjoyed the challenging climbs and descents and the camaraderie of the group. Matteo & Stefano the two assistants on tour add to the dynamics of the A’qto group.
Damian & Nancy are true professionals passionate in what they do to give you the most unforgettable experience.
We can’t wait to do more tours in the future.
A SUPERIOR CYCLING, WINE AND FOOD ADVENTURE.
“The best thing about Italy is the people. Damian and Nancy support local businesses and employ the best quality staff. They set the perfect tempo both on the rides and afterwards and pre-meditate a superior cycling, wine and food adventure.
In addition, the non-riding partner program was carefully tailored and hosted by a beautiful soul and it gave me comfort to know that my mum was having fun while I was cycling. The only downside was I had FOMO!”
HIGHLY RECOMMEND A'QTO'S L'EROICA TOUR
Riding the Strade Bianche and hills of Tuscany through vineyards and olive groves is just magical. L’Eroica is a truly special event: a celebration of the joy of cycling (Although the organisers say it’s about the “beauty of fatigue”!) and vintage bikes with a festival atmosphere leading up to the big ride.
Damian and Nancy put together a great programme based in Gaiole in Chianti for riders and non-riders alike: days in the saddle or a variety of local experiences and evenings of good food, wine, and company.
We thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend A’qto’s L’Eroica tour.
This Was The Best!
We went on the 2018 L’Eroica Tour followed by a self guided cycling tour to Rome— both organised by A’qto. We could not have been happier. We have been on 4 other guided bike rides with different organisations, all of which have been good but this was the best. Warmth, great hospitality and attention to detail!
Jim and Clare
QUALITY IS OUTSTANDING
Quality is outstanding, the gear, the accommodation, the riding, the scenery and towns, the non riding program and of course the food and wine. Did I mention the food and wine well it deserves two mentions. This is a trip of a lifetime and an experience to be savoured. We did the Tuscany trip. What’s also fantastic is that if your better half doesn’t ride they also get an awesome experience. Nancy and Damian are superb hosts. Quality, quality, quality! I’ll be doing another trip.
EVERYTHING WAS SO MUCH FUN.
I had been looking forward to this tour for almost a year. Even though my expectations were very high, they were surpassed by the superb rides, the delicious food & wine, the unique accomodation (always at the top of a hill, so you can have the best views says Damian) and most importantly the attention to detail that Nancy and Damian bring to these tours. Everything was so much fun.
We had such a great group of riders, not all of the same ability, yet all of the same mindset – enjoy the ride, take in the spectacular scenery and push up every challenging climb and embellish your ride around the dinner table at night. It was the best riding experience of my life and I’ll be back for more with the A’qto Puglia already booked for 2020.
I highly recommend A’qto cycling tours if you are planning a cycle tour in Europe. You won’t be disappointed.