We are back after a most wonderful trip to Italy, over our jet lag and back to our routines. But the memories will last a lifetime! The trip was well planned and everything went so smoothly. Unfortunately one cannot plan the weather but it didn’t really hamper our travels. It only rained heavily while we toured Pompeii but our guide Raphael was so good that we kept our focus on the ruins, not the rain. The only thing we couldn’t do was take a boat tour around Capri because, although the sun finally came out that day, the winds were so strong and the seas too choppy for small boats. We did get there on the fast ferry and enjoyed seeing the island and the exquisite views.
Our accommodations were amazing! Relaxing at Castello de Nero for two nights was a lovely way to start the trip. We had a beautiful room at the Helvetia and its central location couldn’t have been better. We loved the Excelsior Vittoria – it certainly lives up to its name, Grand Hotel! The setting on the cliff and the elegant interiors were incredible.
We had great drivers/ guides and were so glad that we weren’t behind the wheel! Our guide in Tuscany was Andrea was a delight – friendly, knowledgeable, and really fun to be with! He took us to his favorite gelato place in San Gimignano as well as other interesting stops. I must say that our cooking lesson at was a real highlight! We loved Simone who made the time so enjoyable while teaching us about preparing food and so much more. His joy was contagious and we left smiling and vey full. Maria, who took us around Florence the first day, was also terrific. She gave us such a thorough introduction to the city and we enjoyed spending time with her. We really enjoyed Renato who took us to the towns on the Amalfi coast and we hired him again the next day to take us to the olive oil factory and to see Maria make the mozzarella. Our driver Franco, who picked us up the first day and then drove us back to Rome the last day, was great! It was like seeing an old friend again and such a nice way to end our travels with him. (And we so enjoyed our last dinner at Castel Gandolfo!)
You took a lot of time to talk with us and help us plan this itinerary and your efforts provided us with a fantastic trip. We loved the country, the people, and of course the food and wine. Thank you so much – we look forward to our next Italian adventure!
Susan & Jim