We hope this finds you well. We must thank you for the efforts you and your team put forth for our trip. The individuals involved at every point of this experience were professional and extremely kind. Our guides did an exceptional job with the knowledge shared with us in every tour.
In Rome, Louisa and the driver (I won’t try to guess his name and apologize for not remembering his name) did an excellent job and except for a very long walk to the coliseum, a very memorable experience. The accommodations at the Hotel Lunetta were very, very nice (although the shower in the bathroom is very hazardous), the service and breakfast — exemplary! The location provided us with a real sense of the Italian lifestyle and many memories that will last forever. The meals at the restaurants you reserved for us were an education to the way Italians love food. We will be honest and say there is a learning curve for Americans in how to pace ourselves when eating. Our favorite in Rome was the cooking class. Igor & Monica were very entertaining and provided a very memorable meal we will try to duplicate. The Vatican tour was an education we never expected. Not being Catholic, our pre-conceived ideas of the origins and purpose of the Vatican were so misunderstood, we left with so much more clarity of the christian world. I could continue, but I will try to keep from writing a book.
Skipping to Venice, we both very much enjoyed this city on water. Such an amazing way of living. Very frustrating and easy to get lost following maps until you discover the correct bridges to cross. But, absolutely beautiful city. We enjoyed Antonella’s tour of St Marks Basilica and tour of the city and, of course, the long history of Venice was very enlightening. The trip to the islands was very nice and we have to share a story with you. On Murano, we were one of the first to line up for the demonstration and started a conversation with one of the gentlemen who worked there. After the demonstration, we were in the gift shop when he singled us out of the group and took us upstairs to the private showroom. Needless to say, we were speechless when he turned on the lights. The pieces that we saw by the various artists were exquisite and unfortunately, very far above our price range. It is one of the best memories of the trip. The Hotel Bonvecchiati was a very nice selection and the view from our room allowed us to watch the gondolas and hear them entertain their many passengers. Superb breakfast and services. Thanks for the setup at Il Ridotto for our farewell dinner. It capped off a wonderful trip. Our thanks to the two young ladies who escorted us from the train station and to the car to deliver us to the airport.
Now Florence…. First, the train ride to and from Florence — Absolutely beautiful countryside. We very much enjoyed seeing rural Italy, even at 200 mph. The trips were very comfortable. Lucca (probably incorrect spelling) met us at the train station and delivered us to the amazing Hotel Lucchese. He informed us that he would be the guide for our tour of Tuscany the next day and after the short ride to the hotel, Diana and I both felt very secure with him and looked forward to spending the day with him. We arrived early and the room was not ready, so we ventured down the street to have lunch and discovered a small shop to browse in for souvenirs. The individual inside was very friendly. We were determined to buy things that were Italian made and found many of the vendors in Rome pushing “made in china” materials and never wanted anything but our money. This young man took time to explain how items are designed and made and distributed and made us feel welcome. We had just arrived and told him we would definitely return to buy something from him before we left and we did. Upon returning to the hotel, we entered our room on the top floor, that not only was elegant, but opened to a full terrace with a view of the city of Florence and surrounding hillsides that was breathtaking. The view included the church where Michelangelo is buried and if we were in the room at the right moment we would enjoy the chiming of the bells. That afternoon Simone met us and took us on a walking tour through the city and described all the nuances that make Florence what it is. The incredible history and artifacts that remain are almost inconceivable. The statue of David was awe-inspiring to say the least. Al Quattro Leoni Restaurant was superb!
The tour of Tuscany with Lucca started with a stop at the plaza of Michelangelo overlooking Florence across the river from our Hotel. This view is spectacular! We then drove to a terra cotte manufacturer and enjoyed a tour within. The countryside and Lucca’s detailed information of the region and history was great. We stopped at a small market and explored a meat market as well as other shops and enjoyed the time browsing through the shops. Monterinaldi is fabulous and the meal was delicious! We enjoyed it so much we have a case of olive oil and wine being shipped to us. The staff and host were incredibly polite and patient and more than willing to allow us to enjoy ourselves. It was a wonderful setting and definitely the highlight of our entire visit.
Uffizi Museum was impressive and reminds us of what history is all about. Please send a very sincere thank you to L’ Osteria Di Giovanni and thank you, Matteo, for a perfect 25th anniversary dinner. This will only happen once in our lifetime and this will never be forgotten. The food was excellent, the staff was warm and friendly and the service was superb. Saying thank you just does not seem like enough. You are definitely a master of your trade at providing exactly what is ask for.
In closing, we want you and FuorITinerario – Discover Your ITaly, to know how satisfied we were with our trip. It was more than a trip, it was an experience. An experience marking a milestone in our lives that will stand alone as one of the most special moments together. Your patience and timely correspondence in setting up this experience with us is to be commended and is a standard which should be followed by all in the industry. Just our opinion, for what it’s worth. Molto Bene, Grazie!
Jim Bob & Diana Nall”
Jim Bob and Diana Nall (Shamrock, TX), JULY 2012