I had never been to Italy and wanted to make sure it was the trip of a lifetime in case I never get to go back. Our Italy travel agency was the first agency to contact me and the most responsive to my requests for more information, and for changes as we got deeper into the planning process. We had two issues with tours and they worked with us to resolve both quickly. When we returned to the states I received an email apologizing for the issues and promising a full refund for both tours even though we were able to take both, just at a later time. It would have helped to know ahead of time how long each tour should last and more about the trains and metro, but my son had been in Rome for 10 months so he was able to get us up to speed quickly on the best ways to get around.
It's hard to narrow down the list because it was all enjoyable and memorable. It's easier to say my least favorite which was Venice because it was extremely crowded and extremely hot and humid. There were at least 4 large cruise ships in the port so that could explain the crowds of people everywhere. We visited Rome, Florence, Siena, the Cinque Terra, Lake Como and Venice. In Rome we loved the tours and the history, but we also loved the cooking class. I've already purchased my pasta machine and plan to practice what I learned in the next few days. In Florence we enjoyed the tours but more than that we enjoyed spending time with a local chef who taught us how to make several variations of tiramisu. In Siena we enjoyed the chianti tours but I think the most enjoyable day was when played Wine Maker for a Day at one of the vineyards. In the Cinque Terra we enjoyed taking the ferry boat from village to village where we enjoyed great food and shopping as well as great scenery. Lake Como was nice and we loved our tour guide on the lake, she made our short stay in Lake Como fun and informative.
I would read and study more about what to expect and things to watch out for, such as kids at the train station who act like they're just being helpful and then they tell you that you owe them 10 euros for wheeling your bag to the taxi. I would also investigate the best phone options so I would be less worried about whether or not I was getting charged for roaming.
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