For a detailed feedback, I can offer the following:
– The driver that collected us, in the two trips from the airport to our hotel in Milano, was not well liked by either group. Might have been a bit of our jet lag but he seemed to drive very fast and often over the centreline (is this a way in Italy to indicate to a car you are trying to pass that you want him to move over?).
-Your restaurant guide was very helpful, especially in Stresa where we used it a couple of times. Both recommendations were excellent.
-All guides were extremely knowledgeable but our favourites were Marianna Pirazzi (Lake Maggiore), Marco (Cinque Terre) and Roversi Manuela (Venice). Something about their engaging personalities that clicked with the group.
-For us, there was no need to book first class tickets for the return from Monterosso to Sestri Levante. It was a short ride.
-We were impressed by how prompt the drivers were – always early or on time. They were all very good drivers, informative and courteous. Only our last driver had limited English language skills to respond to our questions but we got along fine. The vans were comfortable and roomy.
-Our favourite activities were the cooking classes. The facilities were great – the hosts/chefs welcoming, informative, engaging and interesting. We were struck by how different the two classes were, the first in Rapallo exposing us to the complexities of preparing a wide variety of food for the restaurant itself while the second at the Winery Monterinaldi was focused on the actual preparation techniques of the dishes for our lunch.
-A close second was the visit to the Borromean Islands, particularly the beautiful garden of Isla Madre. So unexpected. We were visiting at the perfect time for the blooming flowers.
– Accommodation – other than the Castello di Spaltenna which was in the country, we felt all the hotels were well situated for both our planned activities/tours and for our free time. They all lived up to their 4 star ratings. The Castello was very luxurious but, for our group, probably a little to remote for our liking since we were not planning spa activities and the weather was not terribly co-operative for enjoying the countryside. Since we are all seniors, it was challenging for some of us to easily navigate between the assigned rooms, etc. Thankfully we were only there 2 nights.
– We appreciated the accommodation the hotels in Stresa and in Venice made for our early departures – the former opened the restaurant up earlier so we could have breakfast before heading out to Cinque Terre, the latter made up very generouss bagged breakfasts for us to take to the airport.
-Loved the availability of the iPhone. We used it quite a bit to navigate around various towns on our walks, to look up weather and tourist information, etc. – a great added feature of your tours.
Despite the cool/wet weather, our enthusiasm was not diminished and we all had a very memorable holiday in your beautiful country. Brian is putting together a souvenir photobook made up of our collective photos for the group. I have already sent him my ‘best’ and will pass on four to you of my favourites (I have ordered canvas prints of these for my cottage).”
Susan Hum-Hartley (Thornhill – Ontario, Canada) – MAY 2019