“Hi Daniela and Matteo!
Two weeks home and we are settling back in to our normal lives. We’ve been boring everyone with details of the trip and pictures!
I wanted to give you my thoughts on some of the portions of our trip–I thought you would want the feedback.
Flying into Venice worked out well. We were very confused at first though–because we were on dry land–and looked like we were still at home! LOL But when we arrived at the Grand Canal–that all changed. We loved Venice–much more than we thought we would. The hotel was great, it was very quaint and lovely. The people there were great and we loved the breakfast and breakfast room (although we neglected to get a picture of that!) We were particularly impressed that the morning of our departure the bell boy loaded up all our bags and escorted us down to the water taxi in the pouring down rain. Antonella was an outstanding guide and some of my favorite pictures were taken on our walking tour with her. The Restaurant you booked for us in Venice was our favorite dinner restaurant of the trip. Once we finally found it. TWO BRIDGES–TEN MINUTES!!!!
All of the drivers and guides we had in Florence were great–and we were so glad that we had them. All of those arrangements you made were perfect to help make our trip stress-free. They were all so friendly and accommodating and knowledgeable. We learned so much from them. The shopping there was fantastic! As we already told you–we loved the apartment and the location was convenient with the restaurants and gelato stores around the corner. And you know we loved Francesca! Didn’t love the stairs! LOL However, we did not love the Mall of Florence itself. We agreed we probably wouldn’t go back there. But we aren’t sorry we went, because of–yes–the shopping! LOL
We probably should have done the Cinque Terre trip–but we weren’t sorry of that decision–because it gave us some time to rest and finish up our shopping!
The rental car arrangements were good–except that we had to get a larger car to fit all of our luggage and packages from shopping. Since I can drive a manual transmission–that was possible. Even the gal at the rental car office was great!
You were correct–driving in Umbria and Tuscany was do-able. But it would have been impossible without the GPS, and even with that we got lost more times that I can count! LOL LOL And those damn round-abouts were awful! But, you certainly have to be a little adventurous and flexible. LOL LOL
Umbria and Tuscany did not disappoint–the countryside was breathtaking. Pictures can no way do it justice!
Loved the castle, of course. And thoroughly enjoyed out evening with you!!
I think Mel and I both agree that the cooking class was the favorite of the trip. Although it is hard to pick out one specific thing–but we so much enjoyed that. Loved Wendy and Leonella–and the food we cooked. I made two of the recipes last weekend–and today I am going to make a couple others.
The only town we didn’t like was Assisi. It was difficult to get up to the city center–and all of the shops were the same–with the touristy, cheap type items for sale.
But then Montepulciano! OMG–our favorite city!! Restaurant you booked there was another favorite–it was beautiful–and they seated us in front of the window that looked out over the countryside. And the shopping was almost as good as Florence. And then San Gimignano and the lunch at the Farmhouse! We rated that our second favorite part of the trip! This lunch at the “farmhouse” was something that we will never forget! It was so much fun–and so different from anything else.
We were so pleased at what you planned for us. It all was so right-on–you “nailed it”! You understood what we wanted to do–and didn’t want to do, and planned it all so beautifully. I hope that it won’t be my only visit to Italy, but if it turns out to be–it will have been truly a trip of a lifetime! I want to return to other regions of Italy–but it will hard not to return to Umbria and Tuscany! And if I am fortunate enough to be able to return–you will most definitely plan my vacation!
Thank you so much. I hope that someday we will meet again!
Hi! It’s Melodie Finks, Diana Collums travel mate. I just wanted to thank you for planning such a fantastic trip for us.
Everything you chose for us was just what we wanted. The hotels, the restaurants, the guides, drivers, and activities were all great. I think I liked the Castle the best, and the restaurant in Venice. The cooking class was everything I hoped and more. I’m sorry we missed out on Cinque Terre but in our planning we didn’t factor in exhaustion. We loved Montepulcino, the restaurant was wonderful and I think that was one of my favorite towns.
The whole trip is still a blur, with my Mothers illness (she got to come home yesterday) I haven’t had a minute to relive all the fun but the one thing I have told everyone about was our dinner with you and Matteo. That was a wonderful evening and I think of all the things we brought home, your Dad’s olive oil is our most prized souvenir. It was so nice of you to give it to us and I can’t wait to use it.
As soon as things settle down I will be posting on the various forums and give glowing reviews of you and your company and of course Italia too! What a gorgeous country you have with such friendly, kind people. I can’t imagine a better trip ever.
Thank you again for all your attention and planning, I can’t find the words to adequately say how much I appreciate it.
Hope you and your family have a great summer! Hi to Matteo!
Diana Collum and Melodie Finks (Springfield, IL), MAY 2013