Hi and welcome to my humble internet portal.
My name is Marco. I was born and lived in Tuscany for many years before moving to England back in the distant early 80’s.
After gaining a Diploma in Travel and Tourism and whilst working for the Italian Tourist board in the West End of London, I noticed a small classified in the “Situations Vacant” of a local paper. The position was for a bilingual administrator, able to speak Italian and French, to join a rapidly expanding shipping company specialising in the transportation and logistics of antiques and works of art.
Starting off as the “tea boy” I soon rose through the ranks and was given the responsibility of co-ordinating and running the Italian side of the operation, including administering and attending Mercanteinfiera, the big international antique fair in Parma.
After nearly ten years organising collections and deliveries for international antique dealers and interior designers in and around Italy an opportunity presented itself. I was asked by one of my biggest client, a renowned American interior designer, if I would be interested in driving them around London and the UK.
It was something I really enjoyed and after amicably parting company with my old desk I soon built up a clientele. This gave me the idea of promoting Italy as a logical destination for sourcing and buying antiques, something which would allow me to combine the experience gained in my position as Italian shipping manager with my background in travel and tourism.
Although already popular with antique dealers and interior designers, most international traders would not venture much further afield then the Parma fair or maybe the well trodden routes of Florence, Lucca and Arezzo.
There are many couriers and guides out there, France, Belgium and generic tour guides which provide a general service for groups and tourists with an interest in antiques.
I wanted to go one above that and specialise in one field, Italy.
Concentrating on offering my service to the trade, I knew there was a gap in the market for someone with local knowledge who would be able to guide and advise clients on all aspects of buying and shipping antiques in Italy and that is where it all started.
Fast forward many years, I now plan and organise buying trips based on clients needs and budget. It could be a short weekend trip based around Tuscany or a full ten day tour incorporating places such as Naples, Ercolano, Rome, Fossano, Saletto, Venice and of course, the old favourites, Florence, Lucca, Arezzo. Not only I can offer a tailor made personal courier service but, once the buying trip is over I will also liaise closely with the shipper of your choice in order to make sure all goods are delivered safely to your door.
“Marco made my first trip shopping for antiques in Italy a huge success! With a thoughtfully laid out itinerary and helpful professionals in every city the trip was worry free.
His extensive experience handling the logistics of shipping antiques from Italy is invaluable. It might have been my first trip with Octopus Tours but certainly won’t be the last.”
“I have personally known Marco since 1999 and I have found him to be extremely knowledgeable in his chosen field. There is not much he can’t accomplish or organise when it comes to sourcing antiques in Italy. He has also worked for me for many years running our Italian side of the operation. This gives him a clear advantage when it comes to advising clients on the logistics of transporting the goods safely back to their country”
Alan Franklin Transport
“Marco has been invaluable in helping me with my last 7 buying trips to Europe with and without clients. I would not be able to navigate the markets and fairs of Europe without him! He is a pleasure to work with and goes above and beyond to handle all details in a professional manner.”
Ann, Dallas, USA
” I have been an antique dealer for over thirty five years and have had many tours to Europe. The best person that i have ever travelled or toured with on my buying trips is Octopus Tours. Marco knows everything there is to know about the antique trade and took us in many private homes to buy as well. It was one of the best trips we have ever done. Starting in Italy and then to France we bought wonderful things. I cannot wait to travel with Marco again. He is truly the best there is in this business.”
When it comes to antiques and fine art, Octopus Tours has taken the shopping experience in Italy (and beyond) to a whole new level.His attention to customer requirements is detailed and he has a good understanding of each persons own preferences.
“Marco, I truly think you are the best and I hope to see you with a Negroni in hand sometime soon! Thanks again to you and your team.”Ben@CarolineFaisonAntiques, Greensboro, USA
Should you and/or your clients be interested in a tour around Parma fair or anywhere in Italy or the UK (and possibly points beyond) Marco is your man. He can arrange airport transfers, hotels, meals, etc. I’ve worked with him for at least ten years and he’s been a great help to my business. And he’s no stick in the mud.”
Shane (Atlanta, USA)
Marco was a great help to our production team. He personally met us in Empoli, Italy, and gave us amazing tips on filming locations which were later incorporated in the show. His knowledge of Italy and antiques is second to none and he proved to be invaluable with the production of “Salvage Hunters” in Italy!!
I had the good fortune to discover Octopus Tours a year ago and since then Marco has guided me through France and Italy twice.The buying tours have been well planned and thought through, Marco left no stone unturned in my quest for my particular style of antiques and collectables.His knowledge of the Fairs and various dealers is comprehensive; he is well respected in the trade.Marco is a pleasure to travel with, I highly recommend him.
Anne/Founders of Rome