CRUISING AROUND ITALY
Kathy did a great job listening to our desires and making them into reality. She actually over delivered on her promises. Since we were weaving in tours around our cruise, Kathy was amazing in arranging tours, private boats and tour guides in each location.
Since Kathy was originally from the United States, she understands and communicates with her clients from that vantage point. The itinerary that she prepared was thorough and exactly what we were anticipating. I would highly recommend her expertise if you are planning a trip to Italy, especially if you are heading to Tuscany.
The villa (farmhouse) in Panzano she arranged was ideal for us. The views were beautiful and the location was very peaceful. The grandchildren loved the pool after our exploration of Tuscany. Everyone enjoyed breakfast every morning. The staff was very attentive and welcoming. The croissants were simply amazing, probably the best we tasted in all of Italy.
During our stay at the villa, we had a private chef cook dinner for our family. The food was wonderful and the views overlooking the vineyard added to the ambience. We would highly recommend the chef.
Using a driver is a must when visiting Tuscany. Our driver Stefano was always prompt and courteous. He picked us up at the Rome airport and took us to Montalcino for lunch and to visit Capanna, which is one of our favorite vineyards. We could enjoy the tours and wine tastings and relax knowing we were in safe hands for the trip home. We actually used his services again for a private tour to Florence and Pisa during our cruise.
For our visit to Siena we were extremely lucky that it coincided with the upcoming Palio. We became entwined with the local culture surrounding the race from the Contradas, parades and chanting, to the selection of the horses. We wish we could have stayed and witnessed the actual race. Our tour guide was awesome. She was able to keep the grandchildren engaged and interested.
Tenuta Casanova is a slice of heaven in Tuscany! Rita and Silvano hosted a private cooking class for our family. We prepared a full Tuscan meal from scratch. Rita was able to keep the grandkids engaged, they loved making ravioli and dessert! The food we prepared was so fresh, the ingredients came from their organic farm. We enjoyed the wonderful food paired with wines from their vineyard. Riccardo also gave us a tour of their wine cellar and the balsamic vinegars. This place is magical and should be a must for anyone visiting Tuscany. The food, olive oil, wines and 30 year old balsamic (we used it as syrup on the gelato) were over the top.
In Rome the private "Rome by car" tour was awesome. Our guide was wonderful and very informative. He hit all of the tourist spots for photo opportunities. Since we were on a tight time schedule to arrive at the port for our cruise, he did a great job maximizing our stops. This was a great way to see Rome in a day or in our case in the morning.
The private boat in Portofino was amazing. Our original plan was to visit Cinque Terre by boat. The captain recommended that we not travel south but head north and visit some small villages along the coast. We made the right choice. We stopped at a quiet cove and swam in the sea. We also stopped for lunch in a tiny village and enjoyed the ambience of being a local. Viewing the Italian Riviera, from the sea, was so beautiful and well worth the cost of the charter.
During our cruise we stopped in La Spezia and Stefano picked us up at the port and drove us to Florence where we spent the time climbing the Duomo and leisurely enjoying the city. On the way back to the cruise ship, we stopped in Pisa for a photo opportunity. Stefano was able to park very close to the tower and avoid the long walk that most tourists encounter. I always love to visit Florence and be surrounded with such an amazing deep history and the best gelato in Italy!
Our cruise ended in Ravenna. Kathy successfully arranged a car service to take us to Venice for a private tour and another car service to bring us to Tirano for the Bernina Express train to Switzerland the next morning. The Venice tour guide was amazing and we were able to see the major sights and watch a glass blowing demonstration. There were many moving parts involved and Kathy made them work flawlessly.
Skip P. - South Carolina, USA