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About Us

The Directors

Custom Tours in Tuscany is directed by mother-daughter team Vivian and Laura Kramer, who have been happily planning historical and epicurean adventures in Tuscany since 1991. The Chicago booking office is directed by Vivian, who travels several times per year to Italy to freshen her knowledge for each individually crafted tour. This enables her to give detailed explanations and great advice to clients as they plan their trips.

Laura, lived in Florence for more than 15 years and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She has a Master’s degree in art history with a specialization in Medieval Italian painting. She loves to recreate what it was like to live in Tuscany in the middle ages by getting a close-up look at the homes, art works and sacred places. She has collaborated extensively with well-known food writer Faith Heller Willinger (Gourmet Magazine, Condé Nast’s Epicurious, books Eating in Italy and Red, White and Greens, and PBS’s “Cucina Amore”).

Laura also studied wine in a 3-year accredited sommelier school (AIS). As food and wine are so dear to her heart (as they are to many of our clients!), visits to markets, food artisans and top wineries are strategically woven into the fabric of our tours. Laura heads a team of expert guides, both Italian and American, who all have similar backgrounds and passions for art-history, cooking, wine, antiques, walking, hiking, and shopping.

All the guides are completely fluent in English and Italian, and will enthusiastically for detour off the beaten path to discover Tuscany’s most enchanting hidden treasures. Tell us your interests and we will match you with the best guide for your adventure. Custom Tours in Tuscany works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine to make dreams come true.

Publications Recommending Custom Tours in Tuscany

Our many years of experience has made Custom Tours in Tuscany into the perfect guide service for satisfied clients from all over the United States. We are now recommended in:

  • Frommer’s Italy 2013 : “If you value a tour guide whose focus is customized to your interests, consider the offerings of Custom Tours in Tuscany…”
  • ACCESS Florence & Venice, Fourth Edition (page 13): “Custom Tours in Tuscany arranges customized historical, food/wine and shopping tours, day long walks in Florence, and driving excursions throughout Tuscany.” On page 145: Laura Kramer of CTT gives her “best list” of places in Florence.
  • WINE SPECTATOR magazine (Feb. 28, 1995): This was an issue devoted entirely to Florence. CTT was singled out as the only recommended guide service. “[CTT] is well-prepared to discuss the city’s art and architecture. [They are] also part of the food and wine network, a boon for those who love restaurants as much as churches.”
  • WINE SPECTATOR magazine, May 2000 issue on Tuscany