Thank you so much for putting together a truly unforgettable trip for my family and I. We had the best time—so many memories!
Here are some of our thoughts:
Overall: Every single driver and guide we had was friendly and on time. We never had to walk around looking for a van driver or guide—everyone was easy to find, including the very nice woman who walked us from the train to the taxi boat in Venice. Especially with kids, this service was so helpful! No wandering around with our luggage trying to figure out where to go.
And the phone was a huge help because it gave us GPS for driving/walking directions and a direct line to you when we needed it.
Hotel Vu D’Or was a lovely place with a very helpful staff. The kids had a wonderful room with a balcony overlooking the pool which was really nice. Good breakfast and helpful shuttle bus to take us down to the main streets in town.
Boat Tour with Mama Mia boats: Luigi was friendly and a great tour guide and host. Beautiful boat! We had fun swimming and visiting Positano.
Pizza Making class with Villa Ida: GREAT day—we all loved this class. Beautiful grounds, fun pizza making and cooking class, delicious food to eat. Loved meeting Charlie and seeing his wine cellar (and hearing his stories and tasting his “Charlie Wine”!) The kids had a great time too. Had so much fun making pizza in Sorrento with this wonderful family that worked with you as well. We took a photo to say hello to you! Very fun day. Thank you!
****My only suggestion: Please let people know how far this Villa Ida is from the center of Sorrento—it was a long walk from where the bus let us off, and we mistakenly thought it would be near the Lemon Grove Garden (we didn’t realize the numbers differ from one side of the street to the other which is different from here in the US). We all thought the walk could be a challenge for older adults or young kids, especially in the heat. Some families may want to take a taxi instead of walking.
Pompeii: We loved Lello! My oldest daughter said that Pompeii was one of her favorite parts of the trip, and I know it is because he was such a great guide. It was HOT that day but he never lost his energy or enthusiasm for Pompeii, and he had a great way of including the kids in everything. We still use his trademark statement, “Are you ready to see something even better?” He also made sure we were connected back to our driver before he left us which I appreciated.
Residenza Frattina: Fabulous location!! We love Via Frattina and the streets around us which had great shopping, and were a close walk to both the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Very pretty hotel with a friendly staff. This is the first hotel I’ve ever been in which doesn’t charge for drinks in the mini bar, and we really appreciated being able to get a drink in our room whenever we wanted one.
Fabulous Cooking class with Monica: Very fun in a beautiful air-conditioned space with some interesting families who were visiting Rome too. Monica and her assistant Cornelia were very nice to the kids and included them in everything. Another great cooking class.
Vatican tour: Really liked our tour guide even though she had to break the news to us that the Pope had closed St. Peter’s Basilica to do a mass on Thursday, so we were unable to go there as part of our tour! But we enjoyed the museum and Sistine Chapel and all that she told us about them. She even told us about her favorite spot for lunch which turned out to be a perfect fit for a quick lunch.
Colosseum Tour: This guide was just “ok”—she wasn’t very enthusiastic nor did she specifically try to involve the kids in the tour. I’m still so glad we saw the Colosseum at night (it was beautiful, interesting, and not too hot), but didn’t find or guide to be as spectacular as the others we had.
Borgo Grondaie: The apartment (villa) we had was great! Lots of space and our own private courtyard. Wonderful staff there, with a delicious restaurant (we ate dinner there one night), sparkling clean pool, beautiful grounds. The only thing that didn’t work really well was the wifi (we had to be outside for it to work most of the time), but that wasn’t a big deal.
Palio Eve: As you know, we had a bit of a crazy mix up with our window seats for the Palio Trials. That poor woman was almost in tears trying to figure out what to do with us! But we still laugh about the man who ran down the street, grabbed my phone out of my hands to talk to you, and then yelled something at her which then lead her to frantically find an open window for us just in time for the race to start. We were just in awe at the scene of all those people in the square, the song they all sung, and the horses being parade around. It was really incredible.
Contrada Dinner: Wonderful! The Oca contrada was so welcoming, dinner was delicious (they even made our oldest daughter a cheese-less pasta), and it was a really fun night. We laughed that John bought 2 cocktails before the dinner started, went over to pick up our drinks and they handed him 6 drinks! Now that is hospitality! 🙂
Bike Tour with Marco: Marco and his wife were lovely, but I probably should have taken into consideration how hot a bike ride would feel, especially with the hills of Chianti, in July. Marco was a very good leader, but we ended up putting our son into the van after lunch so he could cool off. I think that if we were to do this again, we’d go very early in the morning, before the sun is high in the sky, and only stay out for 2-3 hours. Or maybe we’ll do it again when we don’t have the kids with us!
Tour with Uli—we were a little late to reach him because of traffic into Florence. ***Please note that the drop off parking garage for a rental car from Sicily By Car is actually past the office about 1/4 mile on the left. The address they gave you is the rental car office but not the parking garage.
But even with our limited time, Uli was great, taking us to see a few key spots and then joining us for lunch in the Mercato Centrale. We will have to return someday to spend more time in Florence because I know we only saw a very small part of it!
Venice: Avogaria Locanda: Perfect location away from any crowds. Beautiful hotel—the kids had their own garden area which was so pretty. Very comfortable room and loved that it only had five rooms. So quiet.
Loved walking around Venice. Our gondola ride was beautiful—the gondolier himself wasn’t very entertaining—he answered direct questions but didn’t really tell us about Venice on his own—but we still really loved the ride.
Hope this feedback helps!
Thanks again Matteo! We cannot thank you enough for putting together such a wonderful trip.
Christina Refford (N. Easton, MA) – JUNE/JULY 2016