“Dear Daniela – I can’t believe we have been home almost a month from our trip of a lifetime in Italy. Daily, we find ourselves reminiscing about some aspect of the trip and recounting to our friends and family the absolutely perfect trip we had in Italy thanks to your high-end and personalized travel services. Your travel company had come highly recommended by our neighbors but never did we imagine that our Italy vacation would be as wonderful as it was. Every aspect of our trip was exquisitely planned … from the moment of our arrival in Venice to the day of our departure from Rome. Everything in between was magical … we will never forget our June 2015 vacation!
Our children had never been to Italy and Venice provided a great introduction to this wonderful country. The Palazzo Stern hotel, located right on the Grand Canal, was incredibly convenient to everything while being set away from the “hustle and bustle” of Piazza San Marco. We were located close to the water taxi and a Gondola stand and the neighborhood behind our hotel felt like an undiscovered gem that was welcoming to – but not overrun by – tourists. Our transportation to and from the hotel was impeccable – each time enabled by expert coach and water taxi drivers. Breakfast on the porch of the hotel on the Grand Canal was a wonderful experience and the hotel itself was quaint and beautiful. The tour guide that provided us a two hour walking tour of Venice even took us to her apartment building to show us where residents could “park” their personal boats! Our first experience with such a personal touch was just the beginning of a trip full of guides who wanted to ensure our trip of a lifetime was just that!
We traveled by train from Venice to Florence where we again were treated to expert transportation each step of the way. Stepping off the train from our first class, reserved seats and immediately seeing a driver with a sign with our name on it meant that we didn’t have to navigate the train station at all on our own. In Florence, we stayed at Le Ville Sull’ Arno located right on the River Arno. Like the hotel in Venice, this hotel offered a nice combination of being close to the city center (about a mile walk) but far enough away that we felt like we were really able to take a break. At the hotel we particularly enjoyed the pool, the bar, and the downstairs spa, the latter of which was a real oasis on a warm day. While in Florence we enjoyed English speaking private guided tours of the Uffizi and the Academia as well as an outstanding guided bike tour that took us up to the Piazza Michelangelo. Each of the tour guides that you arranged for us did an excellent job of tailoring our time with them so that our 13 and 15 year old daughters remained engaged! Your choices for dinners in Florence were particularly delicious – knowing each night where we were to eat after a full day of sightseeing was a treat in and of itself. A particular highlight of our time in Florence was our day trip to Tuscany. Our driver / guide for that day was amazing – on hearing of our love of wine he quickly arranged a visit to a second winery (Colle Barreto) in advance of our scheduled lunch and tour at Castello Monterinaldi. He was eager to show us the countryside, was a wonderful companion for the day, and even went out of his way to call the restaurant where we were to eat dinner and move the reservation for us to later in the evening. Not surprisingly, we returned home with a newfound love of Chianti, having taken advantage of the ship-to–home options at each of the wineries.
From Florence we traveled to Sorrento (via a train ride to Naples.) On our way to Sorrento we stopped for a guided tour in Pompeii. Here our English speaking tour guide took time to explain this fascinating city while efficiently ensuring that we maximized the two hours we had with her to the fullest. Our driver from Naples to Sorrento was particularly pleasant and personable, offering to stop along the drive at various spots that lent themselves to family photos and digitally capturing the moment for us. It was during our time in Sorrento on the day that we were to have spent a full day with a private boat and captain on the water and touring Capri that we appreciated your availability to help with last minute issues. We had to abruptly abort our trip to Capri mid course due to an unexpected storm and while other tourists using the same boat company had to figure out an alternate plan, we dialed you up on the cell phone you provided us for use during our stay in Italy and with your help we effortlessly returned to our hotel, waited out the storm and salvaged the day with a noon departure to Capri. The captain was most accommodating allowing us to stay out with him past the allotted 8 hours so that we could enjoy as much of the shortened day as possible. We greatly appreciated your availability to help us make the most of that day! The Grand Hotel Royal in Sorrento was just as their name implies – Grand! By far the best breakfast buffet of our stay in Italy, the grounds impeccably maintained, the pool, with its sea views, unmatched. Sorrento was perfectly planned during our Italy adventure in the middle of the trip to give us just the right amount of relaxation between cities.
Rome was our last city on our tour. Hotel 47 was a modern boutique hotel nestled amidst the ruins and quite close to the Trastevere section of Rome where our first evening we thoroughly enjoyed a food walking tour of local establishments. Getting to sample everything from wine, to pizza, to pasta and finally gelato was one of the highlights of our trip and certainly the most caloric! The four Italian men that picked us up at the hotel for the Vespa tour of Rome were the perfect combination of fun, knowledgable and respectful of one of our daughters initial fear of riding on the back of the Vespa. By the end of tour, she was overheard saying “faster”!!! The Vespa tour afforded us a wonderful opportunity to see the city limits and visit a few hidden gems that we would otherwise never have experienced. Extremely accommodating, they recommended a restaurant for lunch and dropped us there at the end of the tour. Right near Basilica San Giovanni where they knew we were headed, I would highly recommend it to you and your clients – Pinsa & Buoi Dei. You once again proved yourself fully at our disposal when we contacted you to let you know that our evening tour of the Colosseum had been cancelled due to flooding from an earlier storm. With only one day left in our trip and disbelief that we might not get to experience the Colosseum, you worked your magic and procured timed tickets for us the following day for general admission to the Colosseum. We would certainly not have been so successful if left to our own devices.
From hotels, to food recommendations, to private drivers and guides, you proved that your company is first rate – everyone that provided for us, yourself included, was professional, courteous, and prompt, ensuring a trip of a lifetime. We can’t quite imagine visiting any other European country and not having someone like you to plan our adventure. You have truly spoiled us! Thank you.”
Suzanne Hall (New Providence, NJ) – JUNE 2015