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Mario Fortini

I am 42, born and bred in Rome and I love to travel; during my life I've had the chance to travel extensively around the world and came to the conclusion that Italy is a unique place, with endless attractive destinations; I live between Rome (my head office) and Cambridge (UK) where I have a company branch and when I don't work, I love to travel, playing football and everything food related!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Everywhere in Italy, in terms of location, I have in-depth knowledge of each of the 20 regions and I can offer assistance with the most diverse activity requests; My philosophy is to take the stress out of traveling. My work has taken me all around the world to countries where I don’t know the language or how the simplest things are done, like buying a bus or train ticket. Therefore, I bring every element of your trip into my direct responsibility - from flights to private taxis, to high-speed trains, to private tours, to the water taxis of Venice, and all types of accommodation in between. We can also include restaurant bookings as part of the itinerary and as a food-lover, I’m eager to share my own personal favorites. Every minute should feel like you are on the vacation of a lifetime, and we are at the end of the phone throughout the trip if there is anything you need to discuss. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I started my own travel agency 8 years ago. I grew up in Rome and then worked in both tourism and international travel throughout my career. Despite Italy being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, I genuinely believed that there was a lack of opportunity for travelers to truly experience its beauty, culture and Italian passion. I felt that too many people were experiencing vacations that are impersonal and mass-produced causing people to miss out on the stunning jewels that fill every region.
It was with this in my mind that I created Bellarome, and as we have grown it has proven to me that my intuition was right. Referrals by friends and family and repeat customers make up over 15% of our clients each year, which we feel is a great testimony for a young company that continues to grow. I created a team of specialists, including tour guides in each region, and each one of us enjoys sharing our knowledge to help our clients divert away from the well-trodden tourist routes to discover the hidden gems of our cities and countryside.

Italy genuinely has too much to discover in one lifetime. Even for focused trips to one or two of the most beautiful cities, 99% of the wonders of that city or region will go unseen. Even as a Roman, I continue to discover new treasures – a sculpture in a church or a family-run taverna, or even an entire museum.

It is for this reason that I work with clients to understand what their true passions are and tailor every element of the vacation to meet this. This includes listening to what pace they wish to take their trip and understanding the interests of each member of the party - whether it’s a couple, a family, or a group of friends.

This approach has led to unique requests and working in partnership with our clients has helped us to better shape what we can offer to others. I enjoy the challenge of making someone’s dream come true."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"For those passionate about nature and food, we have arranged truffle hunting with Massimo and his dog in Tuscany, or fishing trips from the small Sicilian island of Favignana. These aren’t commercialized trips for hundreds of tourists, but real experiences joining skilled experts as they share their livelihood and craft.

These are also my own personal favorite vacation experiences as there is no better way to understand the natural beauty and see how Italian culture, people, and food have evolved with such variety and diversity across the regions. For those who love history, archaeology, art, and architecture (whether you are an expert or someone who simply enjoy seeing and learning), we work to understand your specific interests then build the itinerary to meet this. More than once I have been strolling through Rome with my tour director (acclaimed as the best tour guide in Rome) and he will point out an ancient Roman site that has only just been discovered. These are yet to be added to the places of interest where millions of tourists will visit in the future. Visiting Palermo, I’ve been blown away by the melting pot of cultures that have come together on this island - and the unique influence on the architecture, the food, the language and most of all the people. For me, the most satisfaction comes where we know we have created the memory of a lifetime.

Each year we will help a hundred newly-weds create their own unique experience as their first vacation as a married couple. We have arranged for more than a few couples to stay in an 1100-year-old Tuscan Castle surrounded by olive trees, overlooking Sienna. This still ranks as one of the most special places I’ve stayed myself while touring some of the smaller cities of Tuscany. We have also helped people discover the regions and heritage of their ancestors, sometimes meeting relatives for the first time as part of their trip. We work hard to ensure that off the beaten track you will still discover the beauties of a region, usually only known to the locals."

Featured trips & expertise

Village of Savoca
Best of Sicily: Palermo, Syracuse, Taormina, & Catania - 14 Days

If you have two weeks and a thirst for Sicilian sunshine, delicious street food, and fascinating culture, then this is the trip for you. Spend four days exploring Palermo's diverse history, shopping at bustling markets, and relaxing on sunny beaches. Visit Syracuse—home city of mathematician Archimedes—and explore the Old Town of Ortygia, then head to Taormina to hike Mount Etna and catch a performance at the ancient Greek Theater. End your trip with a street food tour and sunny views of the Ionian Sea in Catania. 

White and blue churches over Santorini's caldera
Discover Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete - 14 Days

Delve into Greece's modern culture and ancient history with this exciting itinerary. Immerse yourself in Greek mythology in Athens and Delphi before beginning your island hopping adventure. Explore the picturesque streets and inviting waters of Mykonos and the volcanic island of Santorini, with a stop at the sacred island of Delos along the way. Then head to Crete for more fascinating archaeological sites, hiking in the mountains, and visits to traditional villages before returning to Athens.

Aerial view of Oia on the island of Santorini
Discover Athens & the Cyclades - 7 Days

Pair historic Athens with the sun-soaked beaches of the Cycladic isles with this weeklong adventure. Begin in the Greek capital with the Acropolis and a local neighborhood tour. From here, ferry to Mykonos for relaxation and nightlife under the island's famous windmills. The grand finale is Santorini—gleaming white cliffs, caldera views, sunset cruising, and wine tasting await.

Rome
Italian Highlights from Rome to Cinque Terre - 8 Days

From artistic Florence to the famously beautiful National Park of Cinque Terre, this week-long highlights tour will give you a taste of some of the best that sunny, charming Italy has to offer. Explore Rome's ancient monuments, soak in the beauty of the Tuscan countryside, and visit vineyards, food shops, and incredible restaurants along the way.

Florence, Italy
Highlights of Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples - 14 Days

Discover the sights and delights of Italy on this two-week highlights tour. Explore the floating city of Venice, the Renaissance jewel of Florence, and the Eternal City of Rome. Ride a Vespa through picturesque Tuscany and discover the stunning Amalfi Coast. Soak up the culture, food, and wine while you fall in love with Italy.

Recent trip reviews for Mario

Mike

Italy, Italy - Jul 14 - Jul 26, 2019

Traveler: Mike M. - Local specialist: Mario Fortini

Who knew Sicily was so amazing?

We did Ischia, Procida, Palermo, Ortigia, Taormina and Valletta.
Also had some other highlights en route to those locations.
All in all--amazing cities, each with their own personalities.
I would recommend Taormina and Ortigia the most--since they were most authentic, less touristy (except Taormina does have a cruise ship terminal which makes the city swell at midday.)

Our guides were all terrific. Salvatore showed us around a gorge that is north of the Noto... read more

Who knew Sicily was so amazing?

We did Ischia, Procida, Palermo, Ortigia, Taormina and Valletta.
Also had some other highlights en route to those locations.
All in all--amazing cities, each with their own personalities.
I would recommend Taormina and Ortigia the most--since they were most authentic, less touristy (except Taormina does have a cruise ship terminal which makes the city swell at midday.)

Our guides were all terrific. Salvatore showed us around a gorge that is north of the Noto area, as well as Taormina, and was incredibly knowledgeable and personable.
Francesco was our guide for a boat tour around the islands of Ischia and Procida and he was amazing. Friendly, down to earth, un-rushed.

We did have some miscommunications with one of our drivers being late to pick us up from airport, but Mario from BellaRoma Vacations made up for it and comped us the value. Mario was also always available via Whatsapp/phone, so that helped as well to keep things running smoothly.

Would recommend and return to Sicily in a heartbeat--who needs to go to the overcrowded Rome, Venice, Florence when you've got Sicilia!

Discover athens & the cyclades - 7 days, Greece - Jun 9 - Jun 16, 2019

Traveler: Jose V. - Local specialist: Mario Fortini

We have a great experience working with Kim Kim and specially with Mario Fortini our guide. Mario went above and beyond, not only by booking and coordinating our trip to Italy and Greece, but also he follow up all the time in our transfers, connections and difference places we visited.

Mario is a true trusted travel advisor and very knowledgeable. He truly enjoyed that we got the best out our trip and experience fully the places we visited. Mario gave us very good advise all the time and... read more

We have a great experience working with Kim Kim and specially with Mario Fortini our guide. Mario went above and beyond, not only by booking and coordinating our trip to Italy and Greece, but also he follow up all the time in our transfers, connections and difference places we visited.

Mario is a true trusted travel advisor and very knowledgeable. He truly enjoyed that we got the best out our trip and experience fully the places we visited. Mario gave us very good advise all the time and work in advance every detail that allows us to really enjoy the trip with all the family.

Our trip was quite challenging, because we visited several places in the North of Italy (Milano, Torino, Portofino, Lago Di Como and the Swiss Alps) and also Greece (Athens, Mykonos and Santorini).

We built beautiful memories as family and all the places are must see, but we specially enjoy Portofino, Lago Di Como, Belagio, St. Moritz (Swiss Alps, Bernina Express Rail Tour, highly recommended!), Mykonos and the memorables Phira and Oia in Santorini. Among many other good things, Mario booked for us a catamaran cruise day in Santorini, highly recommended, since you enjoy the view of the cylades islands from the see, plus the captain gave us a great history lesson of Santorini and its myths, plus you are able to enjoy the great Greece cuisine on board.

Thank you Mario and Kim Kim team, our trip to Italy and Greece was a blast!

Caroline

Italian highlights from venice to sicily in 20 days, Italy - Jun 18 - Jul 8, 2019

Traveler: Caroline J. - Local specialist: Mario Fortini

Mario was extremely helpful in suggesting places to go for our 3 week holiday in Italy.
He was invaluable while we were away and was on call the whole time. Of course, problems occur when you are overseas, and Mario was there to translate and fix problems for us..... which included a flight delay that meant we missed a tour!
Thank you Mario for all your help!

Italy trip, Italy - May 28 - Jun 8, 2019

Traveler: milissa z. - Local specialist: Mario Fortini

Mario did a great job with our trip! His planning took all the stress out of our visit. From the transfers, to the guides, to the trains, everything was perfect. We loved our guide, Julia in Florence. She was very informative and catered our tour to our tastes.
David in Venice was extremely knowledgeable and again, catered the tour to where and what we wanted to see.
Our Murano, Burano and Torcello tour out of Venice was awesome. A great way to explore the islands.
Loved our tour of... read more

Mario did a great job with our trip! His planning took all the stress out of our visit. From the transfers, to the guides, to the trains, everything was perfect. We loved our guide, Julia in Florence. She was very informative and catered our tour to our tastes.
David in Venice was extremely knowledgeable and again, catered the tour to where and what we wanted to see.
Our Murano, Burano and Torcello tour out of Venice was awesome. A great way to explore the islands.
Loved our tour of Pompeii. Enrico was a wonderful tour guide. Had so many interesting facts and made the tour one of the highlights of our trip.
In Sorrento, we had a wonderful private boat tour to the Blue Grotto, Capri, and the coast off Sorrento. Our boat guides were Nello and Francesca. They were absolutely amazing and so much fun. Would highly recommend them.
In Rome, Paulo showed us around Ancient Rome. Again, very informative and interesting. Loved learning about Ancient Rome and all of the history there. We were then treated to a wonderful dinner in Rome. Amazing.
Would HIGHLY recommend Mario and Veronica for any travel plans!!

Tour of italy, Italy - Mar 25 - Mar 30, 2019

Traveler: Robert C. - Local specialist: Mario Fortini

Our trip to Italy was fantastic! We saw so many sites in such a short time that it was all very exhilarating yet overwhelming! Our plan was to see and experience as much as we could on this trip so when we come back in a few years, we will know where we want to spend our time. Mario did a great job putting this together!

Venice was a phenomenal city, and while we explored and got lost on our own, the private guided tour with Davide was priceless. He took us to and through places we would... read more

Our trip to Italy was fantastic! We saw so many sites in such a short time that it was all very exhilarating yet overwhelming! Our plan was to see and experience as much as we could on this trip so when we come back in a few years, we will know where we want to spend our time. Mario did a great job putting this together!

Venice was a phenomenal city, and while we explored and got lost on our own, the private guided tour with Davide was priceless. He took us to and through places we would not have found on our own, and helped us to embrace the local culture in a way we wouldn’t have understood with his help.

Florence was just OK, for us. We much more enjoyed the day trip to Pisa and the Cinque Terre region, and will definitely return for a longer stay in that area.

Rome was exceptional! The colosseum was right near our hotel, so we visited it casually 3 times in addition to the tour! The classic and imperial tours were combined with Ricardo, who went over and above to make sure we knew the history and the culture we were walking through. He treated us like family, and we could have spent the entire day wandering the city enjoying his company! Shortly after we toured the Vatican with Paulo, whose knowledge of the past and present of that location was very impressive! He moved us swiftly yet considerably through the crowds to stop at the best locations.

Pompeii was well worth the extra effort to get there and witness the ruins first hand. Our guide was local to the area, and knew many other people in the city so that helped us better navigate the area as the crowds were large and hard to move through in such tight quarters. He was able to take us to places the other guides were ignoring that we felt were the best parts of the visit! A shout out to Claudio our transfer driver who made the long car rides more enjoyable, and kept our luggage with the vehicle so we did not have to worry about it while enjoying our day trip!

Overall, everything was exceptional! There were a few minor hiccups, but those led to a more enjoyable experience for my wife and I. We will definitely be traveling again to not only this area, but many other places around the world, and we intend to use kimkim again for the next adventure!

Sincerely,

Robert and Patricia Carnicom

Italy trip , Italy - Nov 13 - Nov 17, 2018

Traveler: Justine M. - Local specialist: Mario Fortini

It was a wonderful experience. Mario & team assisted us to customise our trip to the needs of my 4yr old and 65yrs+ parents.
We were a bit pressed for time but our stay in Florence was the best.
Guide Paulo at Rome was very thorough and detailed at all the various historic sites.
Was a great trip.
One thing to note was at some point there was not transport arranged n we were a bit confused about it. Nonetheless arranging ourselves was not tough.