We now understand why this Italy travel agency is on Travel and Leisure's A-list. Simply put, we wanted the trip of a lifetime, and they gave it to us. From the care they took in planning our itinerary with us, to the quality of the guides they engaged, the cooking experiences, the tours (including some we hadn't thought of), arranging transfers, drivers, train tickets, they made this a stress-free anniversary trip for two. It was well worth the relatively small premium over small group tours. The four-star hotel selections (which we asked for) were perfect and well-located. The trip was delayed by COVID, and they kept us informed throughout the year-long delay and applied our deposit the following year.
They scheduled half-days of activities, allowing us a lot of time to wander and explore on our own and recover for the next day's wonders. Instead of being exhausted from tour overload, it felt like we got to see the highlights of Italy at a reasonable pace.
We chose them over the other company who made it through our decision process by asking, "Given our itinerary, what one activity would you add to give us a better sense of Italy?" They selected a food tour of Bologna during our transfer from Venice to Florence.
The Baccari tour through the residential parts of Venice and our guide. Her knowledge of wine and the local customs, as well as her relationship with the owners of the three places we visited was delightful.
Our two cooking classes, one in Chianti at Castello Monterinaldi (fantastic Chianti), and the one at Cooking in Florence with Laura in her home, after going to the market in Florence that morning, selecting our menu and buying the food for our dinner.
Our driver, substituting Castellina in Chianti for Siena after we lingered over our lunch at Castello Monterinaldi.
Spending a half-day (4 hours) with an archaeologist at Pompeii.
Our anniversary dinner after a day of souvenir shopping in Sorrento.
Our three days of touring Rome with our guide, whose obvious passion and enthusiasm for art and history was energizing in itself.
The restaurant next to our hotel in Rome. We now have a favorite restaurant in Rome. Go figure. We ate three dinners there, and they presented us with a free dessert on our last night for being so loyal. It wasn't just a matter of convenience. The food was really good and priced very reasonably.
A longer trip. Another day or two each in Venice and Florence, more time in Rome, and more time for the Naples Archaeological Museum. We scheduled a day without tours in Sorrento after visiting Herculaneum and Oplontis. We should have scheduled it after transferring from Florence to Sorrento transfer (rail to Naples.) It made for a long day, but we were still energized for our trip to Pompeii the next day. We slept on the drive from Sorrento to Pompeii.
We tried both the Italo and Frecciarossa train services, but with that experience behind us, we would have chosen to travel exclusively by Frecciarossa.
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