Friuli and Italy Beyond the Tourist Trail with Travels with Audrey

Planning a trip to Italy can be a daunting task for many. With all the options available, a simple search online can leave your head spinning. This is why people often choose standard vacation packages offered by larger tour operators. And while these tours have their benefits, they can also be redundant, offering an impersonal and less authentic experience. Luckily, Audrey De Monte and her husband, Manlio, offer a refreshing alternative with their brand, Travels with Audrey.


Travels with Audrey tour group
Audrey and her tour goers at I Comelli Agriturismo in Friuli, Photo by Audrey De Monte

At the core, Audrey and her husband’s philosophy is a dedication to reshape the way travelers experience Italy. They achieve this by offering intimate and bespoke tours, with groups no larger than 8 people. This allows them to offer a personalized experience to each guest, making them feel like family rather than a client. It also gives them the opportunity to connect with like-minded people who are also in pursuit of exploring authentic Italian life. Audrey says it’s not uncommon for guests to stay in contact with her and Manlio long after their vacation is over, which certainly speaks to the level of hospitality they offer to their guests. 

Another key factor that sets Travels with Audrey apart from other brands is a commitment to getting guests beyond the tourist trail. Many of Italy’s popular destinations have lost their authenticity in an attempt to cater to the demands of mass tourism. This means many hotels serve bacon, eggs, pancakes, and American coffee for breakfast. And while familiarity may give some a sense of comfort, it also robs them of a genuine immersion into the local culture. But Audrey can offer her guests an authentic experience without sacrificing comfort and security.


Audrey and Manlio are ready to make your dream vacation come true, Photo by Audrey De Monte

Travels with Audrey offers personalized consultations before booking. This meticulous process ensures that each itinerary is tailored to the individual interests of each guest. If you want to travel during the high season (May to September) it’s best to contact Audrey and her husband at least six months in advance. This will ensure that you get your first choice of hotels, restaurants, and activities. With the volume of tourists Italy sees each year, this step is imperative. 

It’s also important to start planning early because Audrey and Manlio go out of their way to craft unforgettable experiences that meet (and exceed) the needs of their guests. Whether you want to explore historic landmarks, sample authentic food and wine, or explore nature, they can make it happen! And though the cost of a tour from Travels with Audrey may be higher than the cookie cutter tours online, it’s worth the price tag. Audrey likes to say that opting for one of their tours is like choosing between a frozen TV dinner or a meal prepared by a chef.


Audrey takes her tour goers to a boutique winery, Photo by Audrey De Monte

Many of Audrey’s tours focus on Friuli-Venezia Giulia, an often-overlooked region. Located in the northeast of Italy, few tourists visit it despite all its authentic charm. Audrey’s husband is a native of Friuli and fluent in the Friuliano language, which is an added bonus for guests. This allows them to offer a full immersion into the local culture. As insiders, they know where to bring you, from dining at the best restaurants and visiting talented local artisans. 

At the forefront of a Travels with Audrey experience is a culinary journey through Friuli. Don’t expect to eat at restaurants that serve cappuccino after dinner, which is a big no-no in Italy. Instead, prepare to enjoy a post-dinner grappa at family-owned trattorias and osterias with your newfound friends. But your culinary exploration will extend into the countryside with farm-to-table experiences. Dining at a local agriturismo will allow you to sample the freshest ingredients in an unforgettable setting. 

Beyond the culinary delights of Friuli, Travels with Audrey explores the artisanal traditions of the region. Guests will visit local ceramic studios and see skilled artisans at work. Here, the goal is to honor and preserve age-old techniques, rather than mass production. The same is true about the boutique wineries you will visit with Audrey. These family-run wineries deliver unparalleled quality. And many fail to realize that Friuli produces some of Italy’s finest wines, making a visit to this region a real treat for wine lovers.


One of the many exquisite dishes you will enjoy when you join a Travel with Audrey tour, Photo by Audrey De Monte

Despite their passion for Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Audrey and Manlio also offer tours elsewhere in Italy. This is great news for anyone seeking to explore other select regions of Italy! These custom tours and self-guided tours are planned with the same dedication as the ones they lead in Friuli. With this option, you can enjoy your independence without all the stress that goes into planning a vacation of this magnitude. Travels with Audrey will ensure that you go beyond the tourist traps, even in Italy’s most popular destinations like Rome and Venice. Whether it’s tasting artisanal gelato in Verona, truffle hunting in Umbria, or exploring ancient Etruscan sites, the possibilities are endless!


A Travels with Audrey tour group enjoying northern Italy’s breathtaking views, Photo by Audrey De Monte

Many of our readers have visited Italy many times and want to go beyond the well-trodden tourist trail. Others have never been, but have long dreamt of visiting the bel paese. Whichever category you belong to, consider getting in touch with Audrey to discover your options. She is not only a treasure trove of information, but she’s passionate about making people’s dreams come true. There’s no sense stressing yourself out trying to plan a relaxing vacation. Audrey and her husband are like two friends or relatives just waiting to welcome you into their community. Don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more about the authentic experiences that await you! When you leave one of Audrey’s tours, rest assured that you will go home with a lifetime of memories.

To learn more about Travels with Audrey, be sure to visit her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Justin Patulli

Contributing Editor

Justin Patulli is a freelance travel and food writer with a lifelong passion for Italy. Driven by a love for his heritage, he enjoys teaching people more about Italy and its regional diversity. Through his writing he aims to paint a picture in his readers’ minds and momentarily transport them to Italy. Prior to his career in magazine writing and content marketing, he worked in the travel industry. This has had a profound influence on his work, allowing him to understand the dilemmas faced by the ordinary traveller

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