We envisioned taking an extensive, in-depth journey throughout Italy, but not being familiar with the various destinations, the highlights that needed to be visited, the hotel quality, and the general rhythm of life in Italy, we decided to hire a travel agency to work with us. It resulted in a very pleasant experience and we walked out of it with a clear knowledge of the country, the people, the surroundings, and, most of all, the excellent quality of food. We had a great time.
We wished to familiarize ourselves with the various regional differences and the tour prepared for us, although demanding quite a bit of traveling and moving around, was planned in a clever way, giving us time to rest after our arrival to each of our destinations, and allowing us time to breathe and take in the views in a leisurely manner. Italy is a very complex country and there is quite a lot to see and enjoy; yet, the trip was organized in a way the allowed us to get the essence of each region without overwhelming us. The points of inters were chosen intelligently and focussing in what shouldn't be missed. We particularly enjoyed the south of Italy and Sicily , so different from the northern cities. Sorrento, Capri, the Amalfi coast (Positano, Amalfi, Ravello) and our stop at the ruins of Pompeii. The Bernina Express tour was breathtaking. Milan struck us as a magnificent city. The rest of the tour de force cities (Rome, Florence, Venice) yielded the projected and expected art and history lessons, but Milan, in particulaaer, was an outstanding place to visit.
We had purchased tickets from the US to Milan ad immediately after arrival, we took a regional train to Venice. I would not do that next time. I would prefer starting the tour from the arrival destination. It's too much traveling otherwise from getting off the plane to hopping on a train until finally reaching a hotel. I would also travel lighter: handling our suitcases (although carry-ons) and other baggage became cumbersome as time went by.
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