Our trip was awesome! Our Italy travel agent worked with us to make the trip the way we wanted it while giving us great suggestions to make it even better than we could imagine. She even took time out from her busy day to meet us with our guide in Florence so we could personally thank her.
Our drivers to/from airports, hotels, and train stations were courteous, helpful, and excellent drivers to navigate us through sometimes crazy traffic and the narrow streets necessary to reach our destinations. They even shared their knowledge of the area as we traveled, and some even had brochures of local events. They always helped with our luggage and had luxuriously comfortable vehicles.
Our guides were all local, knowledgeable, and educated about their venue as well as personable and generally helpful during our trip, some even escorting us to the head of lines for restaurants and bathroom. They also gave us ideas of things we could do on our free days. These guides were always prepared with our skip-the-line tickets to prearranged museums and events.
The B&B style hotels selected for us exceeded our expectations of charm, character, cleanliness, great breakfasts, and friendly helpfulness of their staff. They made us feel like family!
I can't think of one city or museum or activity that I would leave out, but there were so many things we could have done had we had more time. Many times we had to comfort ourselves with the mantra, "We can do that next time we come to Italy".
I am afraid the list of enjoyable and memorable parts is too long, but if you are willing to listen, here goes.
In Como, our guide on the boat tour of Lake Como was a fabulous introduction to Italy. Pointing out historical and present day celebrities, our guide enlightened us with past and present day uses of villas, castles, and villages. This relatively quiet town gave us a more relaxed atmosphere to navigate our culture shock and jet lag. Our hotel was very comfortable and strategically located. Thanks to our agent, we satisfied our trekking interests by hiking a trail we found after reaching a mountain village by cable car. The view of Lake Como and nearby snow-covered mountains was spectacular!
Our next venue, the Cinque Terre area in Liguria, provided the most unique area we discovered in Italy. Our B&B in Manarola put us high up with a view of the ocean, the rest of village below, and a close up of the national park trails on the mountain across from us which was filled with vineyards and olive trees. The laughing and royal seagulls seen flying overhead from our balcony and terraced breakfast nook completed the sense of how high up we were. Walking and taking trains between the five villages gave us a sense of community with tourists and natives alike. Our guide gave us a lively overview of the area and pointed out specific sites to visit. Luckily, I also discovered he and I shared a passion for horticulture, and he delighted me in answering my questions about local flora. This was a magical place!
Next was Florence, the city of the long awaited beautiful and amazing artwork and antiquities. It did not disappoint. Our first day was very relaxing as our driver took us on a tour of Sienna for shopping and the wine tasting in a vineyard in Chianti. There we also enjoyed a full lunch and were enchanted with the owner's tour of his wine-making facilities. As we really pushed ourselves to try to see as much as we wanted, it was very comforting to have our host and her mother to take care of us during this self-imposed frenzy.
By the time we got to Rome, we were a little exhausted. However, our guides made sure we saw Michaelangelo's works and others in the Vatican museum and St. Peter's. Staff at the hotel were very helpful.
Naples was our last stop. We loved the quiet, out-of-the-way, elegant hotel that was also convenient to the waterfront where we enjoyed restaurants, castles, and the ship transport to Capri. Awww...Capri. Even though the Amalfi drive was fantastic, Vesuvius was incredible, and Pompeii was astounding, our boat ride around Capri including the visits to all the Grotto's was the icing on the cake. We also ran out of time exploring the island, but it was a wonderful last day in Italy.
In Rome, our hotel was right next to a noisy busy tunnel of traffic. We might consider staying in a quieter area.
We saved money taking a flight from Naples instead of Rome. However, the Naples International Airport was not equipped that day to handle the large crowds as we waited to board the airplanes. There were no barriers to keep passengers separated into the different gate paths and unclear signs about where passengers should go to board their planes. As a result, passengers for 4 different large plans were crushed together and had to keep pushing across other passengers several times to get to the area where they could board their planes. I don't know if this was business as usual, or because of the June 2 Unification of Italy holiday. We might consider taking a train to Rome in order to fly out of their airport if we can be reassured that our experience would be better.
Each review is written by a verified traveler who was matched by Zicasso to the reviewed agency. Traveler must have purchased and traveled.
Zicasso matches you with the world’s best travel specialists.
Get Your Trip Planned
"Can’t say enough about this travel agent and her company. They truly worked hard to make our vacation a memorable one."
"The tour guides were wonderful and the drivers excellent"
"Excellent communication and well planned out trip."
Copyright © 2021 Zicasso, Inc. All Rights Reserved. CST 2124858-50.
Headquarters: 650 Castro St., Suite 120-447,
Mountain View, CA 94041, USA