My husband and I wanted this "trip of a lifetime" to Italy to go well and I didn't have the hours to research and then be sorry if I didn't choose right so our Italy travel company's customized travel plan was perfect! I had put my name into Zicasso to say where we wanted to go and 2 travel agencies that specialize in Italy contacted me to find out what we wanted to do (go to Venice, Florence, Assisi and Rome) and then they contacted us with their suggested itinerary. We chose our agency because theirs was a much more detailed itinerary and they definitely had a better knowledge of Italy. Our agency booked our hotels (which all included breakfast), transportation and some tours and we were on our own for whatever else we wanted to do.
Our agency provided us with a detailed itinerary summarized with dates, times and phone numbers on one page and in the packet were our maps, tickets and vouchers for trains and tours. We flew into Venice and had a map of where to get the private water taxi from the airport to our hotel. From the dock in Venice we were very close to our Hotel which was easy to find and in a GREAT location. The breakfast buffet was wonderful and service was very good. We chose not to take the gondola ride and instead used the public water taxis and toured Venice on our own for 2 nights. On the third day we met our private water taxi driver at the same dock to take us to the train station in Venice to go to Florence.
The first class train even had it's own computer for each person and lots of room. In Florence we were met by our driver with a sign with our name and driven to our hotel with a view of the Duomo where we stayed for 3 nights. This hotel had a private room and a shared suite with free snacks and coffee and tea and breakfast was around the corner at a pastery shop. We followed the map provided to the tour office and toured the Uffizi Gallery, Streets of Florence Tour and a very fun cooking class with 4 course dinner and lots of good wine! Our third day in Florence, we were met with a private driver at our door and driven around Tuscany, stopping at an abby and few small towns including Greve and eating on a veranda at a winery which we also toured. This was one of our favorite days of our trip.
We wanted to go to Assisi and our travel agent said they do not have a place to store bags at Assisi (though the other agent who contacted me said there WAS but our agent was right!) so she at first had planned a private driver to take us to Assisi and wait for us and drive us to Rome but instead we decided to take the train to Assisi and stay overnight and take the train to Rome the next day. The room in our hotel in Assisi had such a beautiful view we wished we had chosen to stay there another night!
After taking the train to Rome, our driver took us to our hotel which was just around the corner from the massive Victor Emmanuel Monument so within walking distance to all the major Rome attractions. This hotel had a private elevator that opened directly into our suite and a little deck with a table and chairs to eat outside. Breakfast was ordered daily and sent to our room (though they could not get our order right most days but the great location made up for this!) For our 5 nights in Rome, our only scheduled tours were the Ancient Rome Tour and the Vatican tour. All of our tours were with at most 10 other people and sometimes it was just us.
In the itinerary our agent recommended restaurants and other places to see in each location which we did take advantage of and we used the Rick Stevens Guidebook extensively. Our driver picked us up right on time at the hotel the last day to take us to the airport.
We loved that we had some support but could explore on our own! We highly recommend this Italy travel company!
The day in Tuscany and the great locations of all the hotels.
Perhaps stay another night in Assisi since we were there for less than 24 hours and it was rushed. There is not as much to see there but I had wanted to walk the countryside where St. Francis had walked and there was not time for this.
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