Definitely a 5 star trip.
Sometimes an agent knows you better than you know yourself. We did a complete overview of Italy in 29 days. It was extraordinary. It taught me more about myself and what I like than any other trip out there. It taught me so much about Italy and its people.
To be fair, I was not excited to visit Italy(seemed 'old hat'), I chose this country because my daughter begged me to since she is a lover of all things Latin, her favorite, and I might add dead, language. So I allocated a whole month of my family's life to discovering all things Latin and to Italy.
Our agency from the start did an incredible job from logistics to selection of guides to hotel choices and food. We covered so many cities and got a flavor of so many things 'Italian'. Rome, Almafi,Pompeii,Capri, Anacapri, Positano, Chianti(Tuscany), Florence, Modena, Cinque Terre, Portofino, Milan, Lake Como, Verona, Venice.
We had cooking lessons, hiked, saw vinegar factories, made gelato, saw an opera(La Traviata), visited jewelers, the Lamborghini factory, boated and shopped. (I had to buy 3 extra suitcases and sent them home and this is outside of the wine, vinegar, and art that we had shipped directly). We ate and drank wine like there was no tomorrow and didn't gain weight. Portions sizes in Italy are perfect. We had reservations every night at special restaurants. Two places you cannot miss. In Florence, Enoteca Pinchiorri, you must get the spaghetti all chittara. I still dream about it. The second place is La Colombetta in Lake Como, the black parpadelle with shrimp is unforgettable. What I like about our agent is she really managed everything with such calm and professionalism. There were times I would fight back about a topic and she had to explain to me that it was the nature of the area and remind me that I asked for an overview of the country. This happened in Tuscany where we stayed at an incredibly picturesque resort, which is a medieval town redesigned by Ferragamo. I mean where could you go wrong with 600 acres of land and horses and a private vineyard? This is a moment of self-discovery. I cannot be isolated like this and not have a car, so in Lake Como, she helped us rent a car and that was SO MUCH FUN, if you are a fan of manual shifts and roads so narrow that only one car can pass at a time while winding up and down the foothills of the Alps. This was a harrowing highlight and a test of my children and nanny's nerves.
There actually was so much that our agent brought to the table that I cannot even begin to describe them all. Another example is how she has discerning tastes that she was able to chose the perfect glass family and blower to bring me to instead of the mainstays of Italy. To my delight, when I was in Greece the following month with my friend, who is the Director of Development for a major museum in NYC, who used to live in Venice and is on the board of Save Venice, she mentioned that she had bought her own personal chandeliers from this same gallery. Nice touch! From my experience here, I can tell you the differences in grapes, lemons, and where you can find the best of anything and where you should eat anchovies versus where you should eat pizza and where and when you should have different fruits and veggies. I know I haven't touch on history but that is because there is just too much, truly, between history, art and music, this review would be endless. Our agent taught me that there is nothing 'old hat' about Italy. It is a country that has so much to offer that I need to come back many more times. I already have a list of things to do including revisiting Tuscany in an convertible sports car with my husband and stopping at each vineyard along the way for two or or three nights to collect wine.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for an incredible trip and to remind me not to take things for granted. Also, please excuse typos and grammatical mistakes...
Need more time. Otherwise, it was perfect.
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