My girlfriend and I exclaimed repeatedly throughout our journey through Italy, "This is the best trip ever!" And while of course that had a lot to do with the stunning sights, foods, people, history, and culture, the trip was also so wonderful because of the great way our Italy travel company planned everything out. Due to our crazy schedules in the months leading up to our trip, my girlfriend and I had zero time to plan our vacation, and so we entrusted our agent at this company. We simply gave her a list of what we really wanted to see and do. She responded shortly (a week, I think?) with a fabulous itinerary, including all accommodations and transfers. Everything was done for us without any hassle! There were also a couple of instances where changes had to be made to our itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances, but the revisions that our agent made were even better than were originally planned!
Prior to our departure our agent provided us with a fantastic spreadsheet with our entire schedule and full contact details, and she also FedEx'd a packet of important documents and tips that were invaluable to us throughout the entire trip. Very professional and helpful.
All the lodging that was arranged for us was great. The locations of all the B&B's were conveniently close to major sights (our Rome B&B was literally steps from the Trevi Fountain, our Florence B&B had a VERY close view of the Duomo, and our Venice hotel was ON the Grand Canal!), and very comfortable. The transfers between cities/lodgings were prompt and seamless. We couldn't have wished for a more hassle-free trip!
The private to semi-private tours that our agent planned for us were wonderful. The tour guides were all very engaging and well-informed. Our favorite tours were of the Vatican, the Roman Forums and Coliseum, and the Accademia/Michelangelo's David, and of course the private cooking class in Florence was so much fun.
Florence was even more beautiful than we had imagined. We loved wandering the countless alleys of the old romantic city, and stumbling across surprises around every corner. The food there was incredible too (Fiorentine steak!!). Cinque Terre was also breathtaking. Considering how much pasta we had consumed in Florence, the strenuous hiking trails in Cinque Terre were a welcome and needed challenge. And we rewarded ourselves with some of the best gelato we've ever had. :)
We also watched La Traviata at La Fenice Opera House in Venice, on the same stage where it was first performed in 1853. Such a wonderful and beautiful experience, even for opera novices like ourselves.
Venice was of course very beautiful and its history was fascinating, but the city was a little too crowded with tourists, unfortunately. The Venetian food left much to be desired too. So our next trip to Italy probably won't include Venice (though we did take a side trip to the island of Murano to see the glass factories, and that was a lot of fun). Caveat: this is not a criticism against our travel company as we had specifically requested Venice to be a city in our itinerary to our agent. We would love to spend a little more time in Florence, and the Tuscany region in general.
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