This was truly a dream trip that far exceeded our expectations. Every aspect of the trip was first class - from incredible guides to hotels and transportation to activities. Our hotels were 4 and 5 star small boutique hotels, perfectly located that provided old world luxury as well as incredible service and comfort (including king beds!). Transportation included someone to meet you with a porter for bags at every arrival/departure, then private drivers in Mercedes Benz vans for every excursion. Business class travel on the fast trains between regions was comfortable and provided a glimpse of the countryside. The private tours were scheduled around our preferences and included "skip the lines" admission and great guides who were knowledgeable and entertaining. Activities were also scheduled based on our preferences and were always pleasant surprises - particularly the visits to local artisans (wineries, furniture and ceramic makers) and the cooking class. Our agent, owner of the travel company, was incredible to work with. Not only did she design a trip that provided us an incredible overview of Italy, it's almost as if she got inside our heads as to what would be the most memorable for us. Perhaps the highest compliment we could pay her is that we fell in love with the Italy she introduced us to.
First, by city/region: Rome - Private tour of Vatican with art historian: Amalfi - Breakfasts on the terrace overlooking the Med Sea and driving tour along coastal villages: Florence - Private city and Uffizi Museum tours with art historians as well as Tuscan Cooking Class Florence; Venice - Private tour of Doges Palace with art historian and gondola ride.
However, the MOST memorable was traveling through the stunning Tuscan countryside, then meeting and spending time with local artisans (makers of wine, furniture, ceramics) at their centuries old farmhouses/facilities, sampling their wares and meeting their families.
Nothing - everything was perfect, although we were unable to take the boat trip to visit Isle of Capri due to rough seas. However a couple of things we might add to the trip would be to ask our agent to choose and schedule our dinner restaurants. Although we were provided a number of recommendations, we would enjoy her ability to provide dining experiences unique to the region. I would also ask her to suggest shopping excursions.
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