A trip to remember for a lifetime! This trip was planned around our wedding in Siena, and honeymoon traveling in multiple cities. Wonderful attention to detail in our planning stages leading up to the trip. Our agent was keen to understand our interests and expectations, and based on this, suggested locations and activities that did not disappoint. Each step of the journey was seamless, from transportation to hotel check-ins. We were also given a detailed itinerary to keep us on track day-to-day, which included activity and restaurant recommendations. During the trip, our agent was easy to reach if we had questions along the way.
A note on the wedding: truly outstanding venue with brilliant customer service. Beautiful location with breathtaking views. All of the arrangements for stages of the pre- and post-wedding festivities were well-ordered, and the Italian photographer was excellent - our photos from the event are STUNNING. The wedding itself went off without a hitch, assisted by a partner of our travel company who coordinated day-of happenings. The flowers were fresh and beautiful, all in the colors and styles we'd discussed beforehand, the food was delicious and just as requested. All we had to do was "show up" and the team did the rest! Our guests had a lovely time as well and were also enamored by the venue.
Very pleased that we entrusted this wedding and trip to this travel agent!
The wedding experience was of course the highlight. The wine tasting at the venue was a treat for both guests and bride/groom.
Verona was lovely, and not a city we'd expected to enjoy so thoroughly (the bride has been to Italy once before, but first-time trip for the groom). Coming from the east coast US, it had a similar "feel" in terms of architecture and setup. But of course, it is quite a bit older! We visited two restaurants recommended by our agent which were some of the best dining experiences for all time. One included a "tasting" that was really more of a 10-course meal - we almost had to roll ourselves back to the hotel rather than walking, we were so stuffed! And, we toured the foundations of the building several floors below ground-- these date to approximately 500 BC I believe, what a thrilling little history lesson!
San Gimignano is always memorable. Some of the most beautiful views in Tuscany, I am convinced. We stayed at La Cisterna, which is apparently where "Tea with Mussolini" was filmed. Our room was very quaint/simple, but because the hotel sits on the city wall, your window opens to views that will stun. An unexpected treat was that a harpist was playing just beneath our window - very romantic way to begin the first day of our honeymoon! The dining room, and breakfast room, both at top of the hotel, have even better views on two sides - highly recommend eating there if you visit.
Another San Gimignano highlight was visiting Namsce Bazar, just outside the city walls. It is a custom leather goods shop owned by a husband and wife. It was a touching moment for me, as I originally visited this shop 10 years prior as a teenager and all that time have carried an exquisite wallet made by them. Of course, it was an opportunity to purchase a new wallet! The wife was there alone when we visited, and was just lovely to us. All their leather goods are stamped with their horse head logo (as an equestrian, this makes me quite happy), which ties into the history of how they started the business many years ago.
We rented an apartment for our stay in Florence, which was a great opportunity to experience Italian living from a local perspective. We picked up ingredients from local groceries and enjoyed cooking dinner "at home." The tours through Florence were very informative and pleasurable.
We ended the trip in Venice, which was of course beautiful as ever. Definitely recommend visiting the hotel across from the city for cocktails and views of Venice from across the water. If you're buying gifts for family/friends, the jewelry shops of course have endless selections to match any budget. Our only regret was not buying more gifts! (To have extra, unique items on-hand for gifting throughout the year.) When leaving our hotel on the final day, we departed in style in a private water taxi our agent had booked, which was a lovely way to see the city on a quiet, sunny morning without the press of other travelers.
We'd spend more time in Verona to experience the music culture more, and perhaps explore more of the residential side of the city outside the walls. We only spent two nights here and wish we'd planned more time.
We'd have brought warmer jackets! Our trip took place in late April/early May, and while there were warm days, the nights in certain places were quite cool. A spring trench coat was not warm enough.
We also would probably have packed fewer items, to have more room for souvenirs and wine, etc.
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