Our tour of Italy was everything we wanted it to be and more. Having never visited Italy, along with only 10 days at the end of August before dropping my daughter off in London for study abroad, I challenged our travel agent to craft an active agenda to maximize our experience. The agent inquired about our preferences (i.e. city center vs. countryside, accommodation preferences, individual or group activities, etc.) and then came back to us with a bespoke agenda along with several options for hotels and tours for us to select from.
Having older children, ages 21, 19, and 17, who are very active and enjoy exploring city centers we requested our accommodations be centrally located. Our agent chose memorable hotels, which provided us impeccable service, for us in Rome, Florence, and Venice. Our agent also recommended 3-hour city walking tours (which included fast past to major museums) at each location, specifically with private guides, so that we could learn/experience the most of each city at a pace that we could manage. The city guides he selected for us were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable across a wide range of topics (i.e. history, art, local cuisine, etc.). They were a joy to talk to, and were incredibly accommodating in terms of pace. They also were able to offer excellent recommendations in terms of restaurants and other sights to see and things to do.
Usually traveling that much in such a condensed period of time is exhausting. However, the travel accommodations were all first rate. We experienced prompt pick up at all airport, train, hotel lobbies and water taxi docks. The vehicles we traveled in were all new and the drivers were all dressed professionally and very helpful with both luggage and noting to us points of interest along our routes.
One of the main reasons I selected Zicasso was their site offered a variety of agendas for us to explore. Recognizing Italy has so much to offer, our introductory Italy agenda was as follows:
In Rome, the combination of ancient city walking tour of Rome in the morning followed by a nighttime Segway tour in the evening allowed us to learn a great deal about Rome both by day and by night. The segways greatly expand your travel zone plus viewing the Roman Colosseum at night, from a hilltop, is something you’ll remember.
In Florence, the energy of the merchant markets along with the variety of food available. I would highly recommend the pizza/gelato making class (great instructors) along with a wine tasting tour in Chianti. Our driver recommended a private winery, Poggio Amorelli, which served us a great lunch along with a appropriate pairing of their wine.
In Venice, the tour of the canal via water taxi. Venice is a city best viewed from the water.
And last but not least, I need to commend our tour guides for taking such good care of us. They shared wealth of information and went above and beyond to ensure that we had a memorable experience.
There isn’t much to complain about our Italy vacation. The only tour that didn’t meet our expectations was the food tour in Testaccio. Our expectations were to gain a better understanding of the culinary culture behind Italian cuisine assuming there would be some samples. What we learned was that during the month of August most of Italy is on holiday so only 10 of approximately 50 market stalls including surrounding restaurants were not open for business. We ended up using the time to tour the local area ending up at the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta which boasts an incredible view of St. Peters through a keyhole.
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