Our agent did a wonderful job of interpreting the desires/requests for our trip to Italy this summer and developing our input into a wonderful itinerary, full of unique experiences. As a family we traveled to Venice, Florence, Tuscany and Rome, flying home through Paris. Our days were well structured and very active as we took in the private tours of art exhibits, local sights and city walking tours--yet, with enough free time for a couple more leisurely mornings and also opportunities to explore, shop or enjoy the hotel amenities and/or additional sights. The hotels in which we stayed were unique, each with a touch of the local flavor and easily within walking distance to nearby city sights, restaurants and entertainment districts We would definitely recommend working with this company for your Italy vacation planning--they have a wide range of options and great connections to local tour guides and setting up or recommending unique experiences for you.
Our hotels were fabulous---the view from our room at hotel in Venice was exactly like that of a Italy Travel Guide--including the canals, St. Mark's Basin and dozens of moored venetian boats. We especially enjoyed the walkability of our hotel locations to many of the local restaurants and sights in each city location. It made our time enjoyable as we took our tours and explored extensively during our free time The most memorable experiences were our gondola ride in Venice, exploring the charming shops along cobblestone alleyways just outside our hotel, the morning breakfast buffets and our impromptu trip to the island of Murano via ferry. Our views overlooking the city of Florence at sunset from our hotel were breathtaking, including Saturday night Gregorian chants by the monks following mass. We also enjoyed on several occasions our hotel rooftop terrace-- in the morning with coffee or late in the evening to catch the evening lights and views. Each morning an exquisite breakfast buffet awaited, with attentive service and delicious croissants. We also recommend the Hall of Accademia (David), the extensive Uffizi Gallery and a truly one-of-a-kind experience -- a Venetian cooking class/amazing dinner with our chef in her private home kitchen and dining room. While in Tuscany we explored wine country and had a private tour, luncheon and wine tasting within a local winery--all led by the original family owners and staff. The medieval towns of San Gimignano, Siena, Montepulciano and others were captivating with centuries of history and postcard-like landscape views. The hotel had a wonderful infinity pool and exquisite dining each evening. Finally, Rome did not disappoint and the city came to life as we explored the historic city center, ancient ruins and the famed Vatican areas, including the Sistine Chapel. We loved the exploring the Coliseum, seeing Trevi Fountain and dining at the hotel's Circus rooftop restaurant at sunset. The train/transfer transportation were each pre-arranged for us and easy to navigate and made our connections effortless. Each detail was well thought through and carefully planned in our itinerary, allowing us to simply enjoy the journey. The recommendations for our hotels, guides and activities were perfect for our family.
Based on school and work schedules, we needed to travel in the summer months during late July and early August--September and October would provide cooler temperatures, as we had 80 - 85 F temps each day and really took on a great deal of walking (averaging 8 - 9 miles per day). Bus and taxis would allow less walking--yet, most days we really wanted to take in all the sights and explore along the way!!
When planning another trip--we would try to include more time (maybe 2 - 3 weeks!) to truly enjoy Italy as we explored more regions along the west coast, the Mediterranean region and into Sicily. For our first trip to Italy, our itinerary was perfect for our family to explore key areas in north/central Italy. Thank you for your recommendations and travel planning.
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