We have arrived in Bellagio and enjoyed a really nice meal (with a great view of Lago di Como) on the terrace of Hotel Du Lac.
There was an issue which occurred during our stay in Venezia which I was going to save to let you in our intended feedback at the end of the tour. However, I thought it might happen to another client so I changed my mind to let you know sooner.
Despite the weather being wet and cold (conditions we are very much used to in The Netherlands), we had a very good time in Venezia. We really enjoyed staying at Locanda Avogaria, the uniqueness of the old republic of Venezia and its restaurants. Although not on your recommended list, Osteria Oliva Nera near Rio San Lorenzo was superb from the service through to the food. We have been traveling a lot recently and have not come upon a family restaurant of such high quality for a very long time.
Our only issue was with our afternoon tour of St Mark’s Square and Basilica. Our tour guide was clearly already tired after a full morning taking two separate larger tour groups and despite his enthusiasm as a local Venetian telling us about his childhood home and its history, it was very clear that when it was time to tour inside St Mark’s Basilica, he did was not keen so we forewent our already paid for fast track entry tickets. The snaking queues to enter were long (despite the lateness of the afternoon and the wet weather) so we agreed with his suggestion and moved on.
In retrospect I think we could have entered the Basilica ourselves first in the morning instead of waiting for the tour to do so and I suggest that for your future clients who are in Venice for a couple days and whose tours start in the afternoon to do this themselves (as long as they can get fast track entry without an official tour guide).
Our brief run through tour of Milano was great and we found Davide to be a very engaging and knowledgeable tour guide. It was short with only 3 hours but was enough to whet our appetites and we will definitely be returning there for a weekend trip over summer.
Finishing our stay here in Bellagio tonight with a luxurious meal at Mistral (of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni). Not in everyone’s price range but worth every dollar spent (including the service and view). Thanks for booking the restaurants for us.
The apartment is very practical and well situated. It’s nice to have access to a kitchen and a laundry machine.
Also highly recommend for your future clients to Lago di Como to use the local ferries to visit all the adjacent towns. Menaggio in particular we liked with the number of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
For our car transfers thus far, none of the vehicles have come with child car seats or simple booster seats for our daughter – Amelie.
The drivers have all been there promptly (and very well dressed) and we have no complaints but would it be possible for them to have something so Amelie can at least see above the window line so she can avoid being car sick?
We arrived in Firenze with great efficiency thanks to the driver you arranged for us. The car seat for Amelie made a world of difference for this leg of the journey. Just stopping at Pisa was a really good decision. We had enough after half an hour. We had the same driver who picked us up from Bellagio and I thought he was very helpful.
The Hotel Margarita was a nice place to stay at. The Suite at the top was nice because it gave access to the rooftop balcony.
Cinque Terre was very worthwhile and despite the tourist season not yet peaking, it seemed very busy. It almost felt like one big theme park (as they have in the USA) but with better quality food and coffee. The tour guide Diego was lovely and very knowledgeable.
The delay of 30min to yesterday’s Vatican Tour worked beautifully!
Nicola is a great storyteller and gave us everything we needed to know before we stepped foot into the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.
Michaela was a great guide to take us through Ancient Rome the day prior. She was very patient and took us on a very nice route. We didn’t get taken past the Trevi fountain or Pantheon (it was easy enough to do ourselves but it would have been nice to hear the background behind them) although I can understand there is only so much one can squeeze in a short period of time.
In Florence, staying at Francesca’s Alfani apartments was great and the central location served us well. Our highlights of Firenze tour with Anna-Maria was fantastic also.
The trips to San Gimignano and Siena were great (only marred by the inconsistent weather).
Not sure about the Tuscan wine tour though as although the lunch was very good. It seemed the winery was a bit understaffed to cater for the number of groups that went through. It didn’t have that personal touch to it like the rest of this trip as wonderfully been.
We are in Sorrento at the moment after a great day seeing Pompeii. Sofia is an excellent guide.
The archaeological museum in Napoli was something we could have missed after all. I wouldn’t suggest it for your future clients if they are going to see Pompeii anyway. Maybe I found it disinteresting because it was crowded with school children combined with some contemporary art exhibitions (Batman, Alien, Superman and Yoda from Star Wars) unrelated to the topic of ‘archaeology’. Perhaps if Sofia (our tour guide) was there with us to direct us to what we would see later, it might have made it a different experience. Also a lot of time was wasted arguing with a guard at the entrance over whether the tickets we had were valid or not. He had no scanner on him so he made us go queue up at the ticket booth anyway. There the ticket officer said our tickets were valid and we did not need to exchange them for new tickets. That was about 30mins of the 90mins we had in total to tour the museum. I hope my explanation helps you for future clients.
The Residenza Frattina in Roma was very well located. The women in the group enjoyed the proximity to shopping whilst the rest of us went sightseeing on foot.
The service at the hotel is very good (especially at breakfast) and the complementary minibar is a standout feature. The rooms although decorated lavishly suffer from old furniture, poor ventilation, plenty of access for mosquitoes and partially obstructed piping. I would be hesitant to want to stay there again. We walked by many newer hotels that had new cafés & restaurants attached to them that I would consider trying next time.
Seth & Melissa Ung (Leiden, NL) – APRIL/MAY 2016