This agent was the architect of our dream holiday in Italy. We came to her with an ambitious itinerary, which she shaped it into something far more realistic, reducing travel time and building in more activities and free time. We visited Stressa, Turin, and Tuscany, a pretty unusual itinerary intended to combine beautiful surroundings and good food and wine with a day trip to our family's village among the rice fields of Piedmont.
The itinerary our agent designed for us was faultless. We had no troubles over bookings, and she built in ample time for us to get to and from our numerous destinations. We knew very little about the areas we would be visiting, and we relied on our agent to recommend what we should do and see, and good recommendations they all were! We also appreciated the list of good restaurants our agent forwarded to us with our final itinerary and made great use of it. From the moment we exited the arrivals lounge in Milan we had the sense that we were well taken care of. At our first hotel in Stressa we received a cell phone for us to use on our holiday and a present of olive oil and beautiful balsamic vinegar from our travel company. Our agent was also kind enough to call and check in with us, and, on our last day in Italy, to call again and wish us well.
We opted not to drive ourselves in Italy, and so our agent arranged for drivers for us to take us on our day trips around Turin and in Tuscany. Well, the gentlemen who picked us up in Turin and Tuscany were so much more than drivers. They were the best of guides too, happy to share their ample knowledge of the places we travelled to. One was even kind enough to end one of our days by taking us to his own village and treating us to a (delicious) ice-cream from his favourite cafe. Our other guides in Stressa and Turin, were knowledgable and so pleasant. In fact, we had the sense that everyone who was given the task of guiding us through our holiday was more than happy to go the extra mile for us.
We had the pleasure of enjoying some really worthwhile private tours, the best option if you want an experience that's more personal. The best ones for us were a private tour of a historical rice farm lying just outside of Turin, and a tour of a cheese farm in Tuscany, including a lesson on making cheese! I don't think we would ever have found either of these places on our own.
Most importantly, our itinerary kept us busy, but not too busy. Our agent allowed for plenty of down time to relax and recharge ahead of our next full day. Extra important if like us you are travelling with your young kids!
The only change we might make if we could take our trip again is to exchange our full day in Turin with another day trip to an area outside of Turin. Turin is historically very interesting, and the Egyptian Museum, which we visited, is really quite spectacular, but it isn't the best city to spend too much time in with young children. Our daughter much preferred eating chocolate in one of the numerous chocolate shops around the city to staring at antiquities.
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