My daughter, wife and I had an excellent trip to Southern Italy organized by this travel agency. They developed the itinerary based on our time frame and I just had to add one or two requests and I ended up going a little cheaper on a couple of the hotels where I knew we would have limited time. This travel agency has an intimate knowledge of the region and were able to provide insight that only someone who lives there could provide. In addition to the high level ideas and hotels, they selected drivers and guides that were clearly heads and shoulders above the average that one would run into. We had transport arranged at every stop and didn't run into a single logistical problem. In fact the owner of the travel company, at the last minute during our trip, swapped the day we were to take the ferry to Capri because the weather looked better the next day - all handled without us lifting a finger.
Frankly, I was nervous about dealing with an agent through the internet (to this day, I have never spoke with anyone at the travel agency - just emails) especially when I realized that they were collecting all of the funds for the trip up front including hotel costs. I even contacted Zicasso to confirm their policy protecting against fraud (I didn't actually figure this out completely but thankfully I didn't have any issues). I guess we are all prepared for the worst when dealing over the internet.
We were largely hitting a number of highlights (read "tourist spots") in Southern Italy because our 14 year old had never been. The organization for these was very good but there are limited ways one can organize a guided tour of the Colosseum. I asked our travel agency for ideas of something we could do for a couple of days outside of the cities and we were sent to Chianti. This was more "off-the-run" and the logistics were just as good. We did a couple wine tastings privately with the owners of a couple vinyards as well as an afternoon horeseback ride and did a day cooking with a wonderful chef at a small estate near our hotel.
These are the types of events that are highly dependent on the individuals that are guiding you, teaching you, etc and these individuals were extremely friendly (something you don't always find in high traffic tourist places) and real experts. I was very happy with the activities - the felt very bespoke and we never felt like we were on a tourist conveyor belt.
We tried to put too much into one trip. 15 days and mostly 2 days in each spot. We were ready to come home by the end. We also did this over March break and while the crowds were much smaller than the summer, the weather was quite cool the whole time. It was actually unusually cool due to some unusual weather that had just blown through Western Europe. Would have been nice if it had been average late March temps.
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