We got back to Montreal yesterday afternoon after a SENSATIONAL trip to Italy. I , along with my husband and children, would like to thank you for having planned an extraordinary journey for us to discover Italy. It was a tiring 2 weeks but we come out of it with a desire to come back!! The trip was expertly organized and planned to perfection. The IPhone with Google Maps was the best tool to enjoy walking around, discovering the city and finding restaurants close to where we were. Great initiative to lend it to everyone! My family and I have traveled extensively and I would like to give you some constructive feedback.
All the guides were very knowledgeable and interesting. We had 4 guides though that stood out from the rest:
1. Maurizio on the Path of Gods was the BEST guide I have ever had. I have trekked across all continents and he was the most organized, professional and caring guide I have ever encountered. I believe that more information should be given to the travelers so that we know what to expect and can get prepared for it i.e. 9km uphill hike, very warm etc. It would also be wise to let the travelers know that it will be very warm and that maybe, for one day, a 7:00 am departure ( or earlier) might be better to avoid the midday heat. This hike was spectacular and should not be missed!! It was my daughter Gabrielle ’s favorite day of the whole trip!!
2.Cecilia in Venice with the wine bar visit was exceptional as well. We got out of the touristic areas and felt like Venetians. We got to know another side of Venice and she was a very warm and friendly person.
3.Simona in Florence was an encyclopedia of knowledge and the walking tour in Florence was captivating because of her descriptions and humor.
4.Finally Gian Luca in Pompeii, the last but not the least, was funny and what everyone expects from an Italian guide: charming, macho and funny. He made us discover Pompei in 40C weather and we would have asked for more!!!
The drivers were very punctual and professional. The only negative point of the whole trip concerning drivers happened on our first day: the taxi picked us up at the airport in Venice as planned and dropped us off at the water taxi. The water taxi, while on the water, told us that he could not go to the pier of our hotel so he dropped us off at the Rialto bridge and told us to walk straight on between two red buildings to our hotel Palace Bonvecchiati. Our Google maps app on our Canadian phones did not function well and you know that Venice is very confusing for tourists so it took us 30 minutes wandering around the streets with our suitcases to finally find the Palace and not the Hotel Bonvecchiati.
The Lamborghini factory visit was a hit with everyone!
The wine estate lunch near Siena was a great experience!!
The boat tour in Positano was fun but it would have been even more interesting to have a driver who described what we were seeing on the coastline and give us more details. Vincenzo, the boat driver, was a nice guy but needed a bit more knowledge.
And finally, Rome was great and it was perfect to visit it at the end of the journey. We even went to Caracalla to see La Traviata!!
The only part that could be improved was the food tour. I expected to have a guide who cooked and knew Italian ingredients. We had a nice 21 year old guide who brought us to different places to taste different foods but again, no in-depth knowledge that would have made the experience better.
Our only main disappointment was the Hotel Mascagni in Rome. The rooms were extremely small ( so small that we could not put 2 suitcases on the floor to avoid trippng on them), the bathrooms were also extremely small ( no counters and you almost stepped in the toilet when you were walking out of the bath\shower) and the beds were uncomfortable. We were staying in rooms 603 and 605. My daughter looked on the website and these rooms corresponded to Classic rooms and not Superior rooms as was inscribed in your accomodations document that you sent me. Would you look into it and come back to me? Maybe, a choice of a North American chain of hotels could be a good idea when visiting large cities for travelers from North America?
We love your country and we will definitely come back. You have been a great tour organizer and again many thanks for making our 2019 vacation such a success!!!
Elise Shoghikian (Mont-Royal-Quebec – Canada) – July 2019