What an absolutely fabulous, awe-inspiring, and completely enjoyable trip to your lovely country! Amanda, Emily, and I had such an incredible time! It was all that we dreamed of and so much more. You honestly could not have done anything to make it any better within the time frame we gave you!
I cannot say enough good things about you and your company. I hope you are able to read that review soon, as it was fairly thorough, and I don’t want to repeat myself!
To you personally, though, THANK YOU! It was truly an incredible once-in-a-lifetime, dream-come-true trip, and the three of us enjoyed every moment. You planned it so perfectly, and we even realized that the order in which we visited the four cities was perfect! In talking this past week, none of us have a “favorite” highlight or place, because there were so many wonderful experiences.
If there was any one thing we could have changed, it might have been the hotel in Rome, Hotel Mascagni. If we had stayed there first, we might have appreciated it more. But, the hotel in Venice was light, airy, and more modern, with a wonderful front desk staff. The hotel in Florence was luxurious, with an absolutely lovely view of the river, and a concierge and staff who only wanted to please. At the Hotel Mascagni, we had a dark, small room with a queen bed and a pull-out twin sofa bed that was lumpy and sagged. The air conditioning rattled loudly, and the bathroom was small and narrow. The front desk staff were okay, but not particularly helpful, and the night front desk man was downright grumpy. But, then we went to Positano and were treated to the most luxurious hotel accommodations, service, and food we’ve ever seen! It was heavenly there, and I personally loved the little garden nook down the path on their property!
Everything else…drivers, guides, tours, food, experiences…were a perfect mix for the three of us! There are three particular places I’d like to mention to you. You might be able to use them in your recommendations in the future.
- In Rome, the staff at Hotel Mascagni recommended a restaurant a short walk from the hotel. We went there, and it was just okay. But, we also walked right past another restaurant that looked interesting. We went there the first night, and it had incredible food, great service, and a lovely ambiance. We enjoyed it so much, and made such good friends with the waiters, that we went back our last night, too! It was La Locanda di Bacco Ristorante. The salmon, veggies, wine, and chocolate delight were all cooked perfectly! Both nights, we spent three hours at dinner.
- Hotel Palazzo Murat Restaurant – This is a Michelin restaurant, and it was our one big splurge. We had never dined at a Michelin restaurant before, and decided to treat ourselves on our last night in Italy. The food and service, was as you would expect…excellent!
- Finally, we discovered a small museum that it is fairly new, but totally fascinating. At the Hotel Murat, there was a paragraph in the booklet in the room about a “Mysterious Villa.” Apparently, when Vesuvius erupted, it covered over an entire community the size of Positano underneath the current site of Positano. In just the past few years, several rooms have been discovered, along with a level above that room which was a crypt from the monastery. Above that is the current site of the Santa Maria Basilica, just down the hill from the hotel. We went to the very small glass ticket booth across from the Basilica that afternoon, paid 15 Euros each, and had a 30 minute tour. No one else came, so it was just us again! It is called MAR (Museo Archeologico Romano) Positano. We went underneath the church first, where they have encased and enclosed the archeological dig in glass. In addition to the crypts and the artifacts they have found, we were able to go down one more level to see a dining room from the Roman villa from 79 A.D., complete with murals covering the walls and the crumpled walls. Then, we left and walked around a corner to another part of the villa. Our guide told us that another room has also been discovered and the dig is just starting on that one. Late that afternoon, we all went down to the swimming pool at the hotel. We looked over the wall, and were totally shocked! The second room we were shown on the tour was directly underneath the Hotel Murat’s swimming pool! This tour brought the story of Pompeii and Vesuvius full circle, as we realized how far the effects of Vesuvius reached. It was truly fascinating. If you recommend this to others, you might tell them that the rooms are kept at around 50 degrees F (very cold!) for preservation purposes.
Again, I can’t thank you enough! We love Italy, and we took away so many lifetime memories, and some life lessons as well.
I wish you all the best!
Laura Lamb (Carrollton – GA) – June 2019