First of all, we want you to know that we had an AMAZING time and experience in Italy!! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and believe in large part that this was due to your fine services.
I was going to provide our feedback by topics rather than a day-by-day breakdown.
Drivers and transfers:
I would have to say this aspect of the trip was nearly perfect. Each one of the drivers was on time, knew where we were going, and helped with our luggage which made the trip seem extra special. It is also nice when you do not have to worry about finding your way around an unfamiliar place.
**The only slightly disappointing experience was the when driver from Sorrento to Naples offered to take us to lunch after Pompeii. We were expecting a small Naples pizza restaurant (we thought we had communicated this to him) and instead we were taken to a large bar or dance club which had marginal service and unappetizing food. Everything we ordered was stale and seemed like it was just “warmed up.” This was definitely not the Naples pizza we had hoped to eat and experience. We felt the pressure of trying to stay “on time” and probably should have said something to our driver or asked to be taken elsewhere. Maybe it might help to encourage your clients to feel more comfortable to do so.
Guides and Tours:
The guides that you selected for us were exceptional and knowledgeable. Each spoke good english and were very pleasant to spend time with. We never felt rushed by any guide and noticed that they were not just focused on the amount of time they spent with us.
Venice – The female guide was very nice and easy going but still had a wealth of information about Venice. However, we did not like the pressure to buy that we experienced at the Murano glass shop. After the brief tour in the workshop, we were slowly led through 10 different showrooms. We really had no intention of buying an expensive glass piece and the time spent in the showrooms was probably 30 minutes. We are glad we went over to Murano and enjoyed the taxi ride but did not care for the heavy sales pitch aspect of this experience.
Milan – The company that you selected did a good job once we were on the tour but they were not very helpful at their check-in office when we were trying to locate where the bus was parked for us to join. Overall, it was a good experience and we enjoyed viewing the Last Supper.
Florence – museums – This guide was our least favorite. He was very knowledgeable but his education in philosophy came out as he talked too much about why art was created or its meaning versus just enjoying the art.
Cinque Terre – The company that you selected did a very good job. We had around 10 members in the group spread over two vans. The lunch choice was nice and even though we moved around a lot we still got to enjoy the villages. The two guides were also very kind, helpful, and knowledgeable in helping us to understand the local traditions,
Florence – Cooking class – This was one of the most fun outings of all and we would not have found it without you! We walked the market with the male chef/owner and once we got to the kitchen we worked with the other owner, Laura. It was enjoyable to learn Italian cooking from a team so knowledgeable, prepare our meal in steps, and then dine on our “handiwork.” Attention was also given to several small details which continued to ensure we had a quality experience.
Wine tour – This was such an enjoyable tour, tasting, and lunch. The staff was very friendly, knowledgeable, attentive, and even funny. The lunch and views were better than expected!
Cheese Farm – We decided not to attend.
Capri Island- Our guide was a nice and easy going fellow. It was also a big treat to meet and spend time with someone who was fifth generation of living on the island. The visit to the island was much more enjoyable with a guide.
Amalfi Coast – This guide was a very nice gentleman and we had a great day with him. He even took us to a family owned restaurant “off the beaten path” for lunch. The views were truly amazing and food equally as good. It was a very nice day and tour of the island spent with him.
Pompeii – Guide did a very good job of helping us understand the ancient city and how they lived. The time with her felt a bit rushed overall and we feel more time on a tour with a guide (inside Pompeii) might should be considered.
Vatican – The guide did a very good job of guiding us through the museum so that we saw the highlights and had time to spend in the cathedral. Overall, we felt he did a very nice job.
Ancient Rome Walking – She did a very good job as a guide and knew the best locations to take us to so that we got outstanding views from and of the ruins. Our guide was also patient with us in explaining the colosseum function and the culture of the time.
Hotel Al Codega – Venice – Very nice hotel but a little hard to find at times. However, we appreciated that it was close to everything so I would stay there again.
Spadari Al Duomo – Milan – Very nice hotel that really fit into the feeling of the city. Great location to encourage us exploring at night on foot.
Santa Maria Novella – Florence- Very pretty hotel in a great location. However, the bed was SO INCREDIBLY HARD that we would NOT recommend staying there. It is the hardest bed we have ever felt!! It was so hard that it prevented us from getting adequate sleep at night.
Villa Le Barone – Panzano in Chianti – This was probably our most favorite hotel! It was a visually appealing and well appointed hotel and grounds. However, the villa’s location high above the valleys made it something special. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on property, eating in its restaurant, and relaxing in the common area. The staff was both pleasant and very accomodating. Another highlight was when we were in a nearby town marketplace talking to locals and discovered Antica Macelleria Cecchini . We were able to secure a reservation for dinner one evening which resulted in such a huge treat and fun experience for us. We were curious as to why it is not a “recommendation” from you since it was so close to our villa.
Hotel Antiche Mura – Sorrento – Beautiful hotel in another great location.
Hotel Mascagni – Roma – Nice hotel with a great location to attractions and shopping.
**Overall, we think you made excellent choices for each location and accommodation. The only one we would NOT want to return to would be Santa Maria Novella due to how very uncomfortable the bed was. Again, we probably should have asked for a new room after the first night but after very long days we simply did not want to pack up, move and unpack.
We found the train travel at the level chosen to be very comfortable and easy to understand. It was a great way to move across the country in comfort and still be able to see the countryside as we moved from city to city.
Daniela – We had both a special and memorable time in your country and the services you provided were outstanding! Everyone was on time, knew what was expected or where to take us to. You helped us enjoy hotels and experiences that we would have never found on our own. We love experiencing new places, food, and cultures. You did your best to make sure this would happen. We also really appreciated never having to waste any of our time lost or trying to plan the next activity. We enjoyed our visit to Italy and hope to return one day! We will definitely contact you when planning our next trip there and plan to highly recommend your services to our family and friends in the future.
With kind regards,
David and Debra Graham
David and Debra Graham (Garland – TX) – October 2019