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One of the more interesting new wrinkles in world fly fishing of late has been the emergence of Italy as a place for American long-rod fanatics to practice their passion. No one has been more responsible for that development than Claudio Tagini, an Italian who has relocated to the US and become an expert on Western US fly fishing while maintaining excellent connections in his home country. His business, we’ve told you before, goes back and forth across the Atlantic: He arranges fly fishing trips for Europeans out West and the same for American clients who want to fish in Europe, particularly Italy.

What occasions this new mention of his services is a rave review he just sent us from the wife of a client who took part in one of his new “chaperoned” fishing trips, which, you may recall from our report in the February issue, involve the use of trip facilitators who meet arriving clients at the airport and then accompany them and/or non-fishing spouses on cultural outings that augment the pre-arranged fishing activities. In all our years of publishing The Angling Report we have never received an equivalent rave about a fishing trip from the wife of an addicted fly fisherman. She writes:

“Buongiorno! Il mio cuore e in Italia! We are home, we are rested (sort of) and we can’t talk about anything else but Italy! Claudio, we had a fantastic time! Thank you sooooo much for the beautiful itinerary! Every place you had us stay was beautiful! We’d say, ‘Oh, we wish we could stay here for a week,’ then at the next place we would say the same thing! We can not come up with a favorite! We loved them all. Every person you had scheduled for us to meet was wonderful and very helpful, from the very start, with Clifford greeting us in Milan, Gianluca taking us to visit castles in the countryside and Daniella taking care of us in Tuscany and Umbria. Don had a great time fishing, and he actually caught fish. This was a dream vacation and the most wonderful 40th anniversary gift anyone could have designed for us! Grazie! Grazie!”

On receipt of this review, we asked Tagini for more details on where this blissful couple went and where they stayed. And here is what he wrote back: “The itinerary I created for them, as always, was conceived after the clients’ desires: He fly fishes, she likes arts and history and both like visiting smaller towns and off-the-beaten path villages in a non-touristy way. Other than letting me know they had already visited Florence and Venice, they left me free to set up an itinerary for them. It began with their arrival in Milan on September 11 and ended with their departure from Rome two weeks later.

“Milan is definitely not a typical Italian tourist destination, but it is easier to fly into, and it is rich in history and art. It has a castle in the center of town, and it is a city with plenty of good restaurants and specialty food stores. In Milan, I had them stay in a furnished apartment for three nights. After that, I sent them on a drive of just over an hour south of Milan. Here, they had a huge room in a Bed and Breakfast in the countryside near a medieval village. They visited castles and Roman ruins, and they ate local dishes, unknown even to most Italians. The husband could have gone fishing there but he didn’t because they both just wanted to visit the countryside.

“The next stop was Umbria where the husband went guided fishing twice, once on the upper Tiber and once on the Nera, while the wife was being accompanied on trips to Cortona, Norcia and other hill towns. On other days they visited Siena and San Gimignano on their own, following the directions and maps in the trip booklet I provided them. They ended up spending the last three days in Rome, where they had never been. They flew back home from there to California. The total cost of the trip for this couple was $6,578, excluding car rental and most meals, but including all lodging, two full days of guided fishing, six days of chaperone service and a detailed trip booklet containing maps, pictures of places, history, lists of museums and restaurants, etc. etc.

“The chaperone program works because I choose very likable, affable and eager-to-please persons. Most of them are friends, or persons highly recommended by friends. They are not ‘official tourist guides.’ In fact, they do not guide clients really; they offer companionship while moving along the streets of a city or along country roads that lead to a castle where, maybe, an ‘official guide’ is hired to tell them about the castle’s detailed history. My chaperones know the area where they live intimately. They know the local food shops and the small restaurants with great food and atmosphere and low prices. My chaperones don’t point an umbrella at a monument and tell you in detail what that guy did; they are there to show you the area where they live and to introduce you to life as it is lived by locals. I think I will offer this service to all my clients, not on a daily basis, but interspersed along their trip, as needed….”

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