After two years of bringing local experiences to travelers visiting Asia, With Locals is expanding into parts of Italy, Germany, Spain and The Netherlands. They reached out and invited us to join one of their experiences in either Rome or Milan.
I was intrigued by the concept and asked my great friend, Canadian expat in Calabria and owner of Villa Segreta B&B, Ashley Tummon to make the trip.
Her review was mixed. Like me, she loved the concept but she wasn’t sure if she chose the “experience” that best represented a local’s take on the Eternal City. But enough of my rambling … here’s the review in her words.
With Locals is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects people and cultures through unique experiences.The concept is to give travelers an authentic experience in the place they are visiting by pairing them with local hosts who offer various activities.
Travelers gain insight by visiting hosts’ homes, sampling local food and talking about daily life. The experiences vary from horseback riding, to shoe making, to wine-tasting, private dinners and cooking classes. Whatever the experience, the goal is to get travelers and locals together to share in local life all the while making human connections. It’s about getting to know a country through its people, culture and food (which if you’ve taken a My Bella Vita Travel vacation, you know is something Cherrye and her team are passionate about!).
Last week I had the chance to sit down with a Neapolitan couple for dinner in Rome … they warmly greeted me at their cozy apartment, where we dined on food she had prepared in the traditional style of her home village. The parmigiana and lasagna were both delicious and the host is no doubt a fantastic cook. It was a fun night but I’d have loved for the couple to either have been from Rome or at least prepared traditional Roman dishes.
I’d love to see With Locals have some kind of vetting system where they can ensure a truly “local” experience for each of their offerings. I was hoping for a little more authenticity. However, the low price – our dinner would have been approx. €30 per person – is comparable to trattoria or restaurant dining and the experience was absolutely worth that.
If you find yourself in Rome or Milan and tire of restaurant dining, it might be worth checking them out. You just visit the website and can search their offerings, read reviews of previous visitors and choose the experience that sounds best for you. I encourage you to read the fine print for inclusions – and as you should always do in southern Italy – keep an open mind. You just might love it!