Friends in Puglia is a family run business, and a labor of love. We work directly with all of our clients and vendors, with no middle-men and no other employees. We are fueled by sharing the passion for this region with our guests, while simultaneously helping develop the tourism and economy to enrich the lives of our Friends in Puglia. We look forward to helping you have the experience of a lifetime.
- Tony & Jill
“Chi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa va finire” - Italian saying
"No matter where you go, you will always end up at home.”
If you ask Tony where the inspiration for Friends in Puglia came from, he will say that it is in his blood. His parents emigrated from Southern Italy to a community in Toronto where the traditions of the homeland flourished. Tony grew up speaking, living, and learning these traditions: the family making enough jars of tomato sauce in the summer to last them the whole year, the neighborhood being one giant extended family, playing card games and speaking Italian dialect over homemade grappa after dinner.
Like many children of Italian immigrants, his first trip to Italy felt like a homecoming.
Tony initially worked in tourism in the north of Italy in Tuscany. However when the opportunity to introduce people to Southern Italy arose, he moved to Puglia and fell in love with the stunning landscapes and exceptional food, but most of all the people. This love affair lasted 15 years working for the best travel companies operating in Italy and led him to create Friends in Puglia.
When traveling with Friends in Puglia guests benefit from the long relationships and exceptional reputation that Tony has cultivated in the region. Tony truly loves to showcase this unique area of the world with an authenticity that is unmatched.
Jill worked in travel and tourism as well, and went to Puglia in 2007 where, out of a movie plot, she promptly fell in love with the region - and with Tony! In fact they got married in Puglia. They have been living in this special place ever since, returning every year to share the region with their guests, continue building relationships and researching new experiences. It is now a family affair as their two children, Cosimo and Emilio, call both Italy and California home.