Perillo Tours, known almost exclusively for tours to Italy for 74 years, is expanding its offerings to include a tour of Spain for 2020.
Perillo Tours has specialized in Italy since its founding in 1945 by Joseph Perillo as a travel agency in the Bronx. Joseph Perillo, followed by his son Mario and now his grandson Stephen, worked hard to establish the name Perillo as synonymous with Italy. Stephen became president in 1997 and fully took over leadership of the company in 2003.
Perillo has always been essentially a single-destination tour operator. Stephen follows the spirit of his father, who, he said, “never wanted 50 destinations. I want to keep our supremacy to Italy. Our brand is synonymous with Italy and I don’t want to lose that.”
But although Perillo focuses overwhelmingly on Italy, the company has occasionally offered other destinations, including Hawaii, Costa Rica, Israel and Ireland, for short periods of time. The tour operator offered Spain briefly a few years ago.
“We like to give the clientele something fresh,” said Perillo. “They’re a ready audience after they’ve seen Italy with us. What happens is we have customers and travel agents begging for new experiences. We satiate their needs and then it’s time to get new customers.”
A permanent addition
Historically, Perillo has only offered destinations other than Italy for short periods. This time, however, the company plans to keep the Spain tour as a permanent part of the Perillo offerings. That sets the move apart from what Perillo has done previously. Stephen Perillo said he thinks the Spain tour is worthy of standing next to Italy in the Perillo pantheon on a permanent basis.
“I think it’s the best trip on the market, other than some trips that go for twice the price,” said Perillo. “The others in our price range are not as detailed, not as all-inclusive, without all these little details, the paella cooking class, the sherry tasting at the winery where the owner has his own art gallery with some of Picasso’s childhood art pieces.”
Stephen Perillo takes special pride in Perillo’s Spain itinerary because he personally spent weeks in the country working on creating the itinerary.
“Carlos, my guy in Madrid, and my nephew Devon and I spent weeks and weeks over there looking at things, doing all these little interesting things,” he said. “I learned about olive oil for the first time. I never really understood how it was produced before.”
The new “Deluxe Spain Adventure" itinerary is a 12-day program beginning in Madrid and ending in Seville with stops in Cordoba, Granada, Toledo and Jerez de la Frontera. The journey includes an exploration of the Prado Museum; tours of historical districts in ancient cities; and a variety of culinary experiences at restaurants along the way.
The schedule has built-in free time for personal exploration and includes a number of immersive, hands-on activities, such as a paella cooking class in Cordoba, a sherry tasting in Jerez de la Frontera, and a visit to an olive oil farm and an olive oil tasting.
The tour is priced from $3,595 per person double occupancy. Departures are set from March through October 2020. Perillo is offering a four-day extension to Barcelona for an additional $1,492 per person.