We had a great trip! The attention to detail that our agent put into fulfilling our target itinerary was truly impressive! We wanted Milan, Lake Como, Cinque Terre and Lake Maggiore and maybe a quick trip into Switzerland, too, and our agent delivered it all!
We have lots of memorable elements of our trip. One that truly stands out, however, is receiving our phone when we arrived in Milan. The phone was our lifeline to our agent, who arranged the entire trip, but also our information center since it was pre-programmed with all our documents, key phone contacts, GPS, maps - whatever we needed. A great idea!
Other great memories include dinner in Milan at Al Pont De Ferr. We had a pre-selected menu that was truly unique and the presentation and knowledge of our server made it very special. The Chateau Monfort in Milan was great, too. Boutique hotel with lots of charm and a tremendously helpful staff. Our walking tour of Milan was so insightful and pleasant. Our guide really made it special. Watching the ballet at La Scalla was the opportunity of a lifetime. Our driver to Lake Como was very attentive and memorable, too. He even added a quick stop at his home town to our excursion.
Our driver to Cinque Terre and a few days later to Stresa was so attentive that he even had a Diet Coke ready when he picked us for his second leg. (He'd noticed it was what I'd had for a drink when he picked us up. Pretty impressive!)
In Cinque Terre, our guide, who checked us in was so nice as was everyone else there. We stayed in Manerola and visited all the other villages, too. Our guide was above and beyond with her level of service. Our local guide in Cinque Terremadded a lot of information and was a pleasure to work with - pleasant, accommodating, knowledgeable, everything you'd want. Dinner at Piccolo Marina in Manerola was great as was dinner in Corniglia at Osteria A Cantina De Manan.
But Stresa - ah Stresa was unbelievable! The hotel - Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees - was so ornate, so beautiful, so unforgettable. Each floor's corridor was like a museum. The rooms were like stepping into your own little palace. The islands in Lake Maggiore, the boat trip to Locarno (including a great lunch on the boat), the scenic railroad - were all standouts.
Everything was really great but if I was talking to a friend I'd advise them to not have dinner at the hotel in Stresa. It was good for breakfast but not so much for dinner. There are so many local restaurants! Have dinner at those. The only other comment might be to stay in Monterosso in Cinque Terre instead of Manerola unless you really like to hike. Manerola was a little steep for us (especially with a balky knee) but others might relish it.
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