I had very high expectations for this trip, especially given the cost, and I am pleased to report that the our Italy travel agency wonderfully met and exceeded everything I anticipated.
I was astonished at the polished and highly organized manner in which all transportation and tours were conducted. The drivers were all punctual, safe and quite friendly. The hand off to the tour guides was seamless.
I felt a genuine concern from them that we would get the most out of our holiday. It seemed obvious that they had all worked together before, knew exactly what to expect and were prepared for any possible difficulties or changes. They helped us with translations and even worked with us and our family members during our tour of Tivoli so that we could arrange a unplanned visit with our relatives there.
The tour guides were very well educated and were able to communicate their knowledge in a very pleasant and comfortable manner. We felt welcome to spend more time to explore at certain places if we wanted. It was as if the tour guides were there to embellish our unique interests, rather than just informing us what we should be paying attention to. We never got the impression that anyone was "on the clock" or that "time was running out".
The hotels were all wonderful and with one exception, the hotel staffs seemed to have been well prepared for our particular needs. The reservations at restaurants were fine, and the restaurants even knew which hotel we were coming from and would often arrange for directions or transportation.
The mobile telephone which I was loaned to me from our agency was a fantastic idea. It was very, very comforting to know that I could call for help if anything bad happened. And, actually when we accidentally missed disembarking the train at the Rome-Tiburtino station, the agency's office called me within minutes to find out what happened and to re-arrange a pick up.
I really cannot complement the agency enough. It was as if I had a family member looking after us the whole 2 weeks that we were in Italy.
I would like to especially compliment our personal drivers. They were fabulous drivers.
I think that I will remember most the walk in the soft rain to the Riviera restaurant our 3rd night in Venice. By this time, based on how we had been treated thus-far, I had a wonderful sense in calm and satisfaction in knowing that this would indeed be the trip of a lifetime; and that the remainder of the holiday would undoubtedly unfold in a memorable and extraordinary fashion. I was completely dazzled by the beauty of Venice, I had my family all with me, and I felt assured that the fantasy was just beginning.
I would probably spend at least one more day in each of the three cities which we visited.
I would consider altering the morning schedule to later times, as it seems that Italians do not finish their evening meal until around midnight.
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