I want to provide you some feedback from Beth & I on our recent Italy tour.
Overall, we LOVED the trip. It was a dream trip for us that we waited to celebrate in honor of our retirement from work. The package was originally more money than what we intended to spend but we loved the ability to help design our own trip and in the end was well worth it! What we liked was that it had first class amenities, no worry guidance throughout and provided unique participative activities. We were very pleased with the quality of the hotels, the guided transportation to each city and the quality of the people we dealt with; the two hiking guides were a definite highlight and your overall customer service/responses while on the trip was excellent. One of the most unique services we enjoyed was the providing of an Italy based smart phone to use on the trip. This was priceless in terms of communicating with you when changes had to made to the itinerary, plus was an absolute necessity in Venice when we used the map programs several times to find our way back to our hotel! It was also helpful in helping us navigate to some of the other towns sights. By also providing us with some minutes to call, it allowed us to check in with our family a few times. That was a definite bonus! A great plus to your service.
Hotels: Loved your choices! Except for Venice, we always had a great view out our deck or window, and most had a cool rooftop bar to have a nightcap and a great view of the city! Stresa , Radda, Florence & Positano were particularly spectacular. Unfortunately the rooftop bar in our Rome hotel was under construction, so we were unable to enjoy it. We were also amazed by the size (spacious) and modernness of the rooms in our hotels. Very new & comfortable. By and large also, each hotel offered an included breakfast, which was a very nice way to start each day.
Activities: we particularly loved the guided hikes in Tuscany & Positano! The guides were absolutely welcoming, providing us with great history and local stories. And the fact that they were long hikes, taking several hours or most of the day, made it more special. We were never rushed and we enjoyed every minute with them. The lunch made by Marco Antonio, in his backyard, was amazing. He was a fantastic host to us and we enjoyed his company. We still can’t believe this was included in the hike. Maurizio , in Positano, was also charming- he even showed us his personal farm, and when we return, we will definitely take him up on his offer to share some of his homemade wine (when in season).
Other guides: we also loved that our guides in Stresa (Daniella), Venice(Lara?) & Pompeii(Dolores) grew up in the town (as did our hiking guides). They were very proud of their heritage and it showed in their enthusiastic approach. We learned a lot from them & they were fun to be with. Our guide in Florence was informative, but we didn’t get the same feel as the more “local” guides mentioned above.
The stop at the farm in San Gemignano was awesome! Federica and her husband were great hosts-we got to enjoy a fantastic homemade lunch, sampling many of the foods they grow & make there- not to mention the wine! The fact that we were again not rushed, but had almost 2 hours to enjoy the food & company was very memorable, and a highlight.
Transit: the trains were very good- clean & comfortable, on time and easy to board & unboard. We loved being dropped off & then met for each trip- it took the worry out of finding our way.
We also appreciated you helping us get to Rome when our return flight to the US via Naples to Frankfurt was cancelled last minute. We are glad that you did the “right” thing by not charging us additional fees- especially given that our boat tour was cancelled in Amalfi & we declined some of the other activities.
Lastly, we also enjoyed the cooking class in Rome. We think there was a mixup somehow that day with the Tour (no fault of yours) and the class was larger than usual (according to them), but it turned out to be fun. The place where we had it was spectacular, and we enjoyed learning some of the history of Italian cooking, the chef, the use of his apartment in a movie, and a walk through the Jewish Ghetto. In the end, the food we had was probably the best we had on the whole trip.
Tickets/Vouchers: all worked out perfectly. We were glad that we had them and it got us easily into each site and on the right trains.
Activities: By far, the most memorable times occurred while we were participating in local activities. I would Look to include even more choices for participative activities in your plans if possible. The hiking , the lunch at the farm and the cooking class were definitely highlights for us.
I hope this is helpful. Again we were so glad that we found your agency and you to book our dream trip to Italy. We would definitely use you again and are definitely planning a return trip- perhaps with our whole family next time. We really felt like we “got to know” Italy and hope to return for fantastic wine, cheese & pasta soon. If I can provide any more details, don’t hesitate to ask.
Grazie e arrivederci from New Jersey!
Don & Beth”
Elizabeth Ard & Don Lynch (Monmouth Beach, NJ) – April 2016