Mike & Julie Deschenes

Hi Alessia:

Venice-Once we arrived to Hotel Al Codega everything was fine.  The hotel and staff were wonderful and very helpful.  We really enjoyed Venice.  The tour guide to Burano and Murano was excellent and very informative.  We really enjoyed the glass blowing and lace demonstrations and both islands.  We also enjoyed our best of Venice tour, the guide provided was very informative, professional and friendly.   We highly recommend the tour.    We also appreciated and enjoyed the Venice tasting tour, this introduced us to a lot of new foods and beverages.  We really enjoyed our guide and learning more about Venetians.   The guide went out of her way to show us things of interest and to assure we had directions to where we were going next.  
The transportation to the train station the next morning was very helpful and appreciated.  We would not change anything about our time in Venice.

Cinque Terre
Monterosso Colonnina Hotel was beautiful and the staff was extremely helpful.  They were wonderful and provided extra support to us while we were dealing with my broken foot.  They went above and beyond to help by providing ice, opening the door late at night when we returned to the hospital and breakfast upstairs.  Our guide Emanuela was extremely friendly and informative.  She adapted her tour very easily to accommodate my limitations.   We took the boat tour and it was fabulous, highly recommend it. 
We picked the rental car up in La Spezia took a 1.5 hours to pick up the car.  The car was fine.  We really liked Hotel Casolare Le Terre Rosse.  The hotel and grounds were beautiful.  We also enjoyed dinner there and recommend there restaurant.  Again the staff were all very friendly and helpful. 
The wine tasting at Castello di Verrazzano in Greve in Chianti was our favorite wine tastings.  The tour of the castle and the winery were wonderful.  The staff were fun and informative.  Really enjoyed how they combined the wines and food together.  The food and wine were excellent.
We also enjoyed San Gimignano and  Siena.  We enjoyed riding bicycles around Lucca (the top).  We stopped by Pisa but very congested and crowded so we did not stay.   We would recommend offering a cooking class and maybe some other guided tour in this area.  

We dropped the car off at the airport; that was an adventure.  We stayed at Hotel Mona Lisa, which was very nice and again the staff were all very pleasant and accommodating.   We enjoyed the wine and oil tasting very much!  It was fun and informative.  The guide was very engaging.  We really enjoyed our tour of the best of Florence again the guide was excellent and very accommodating to our interests and needs.  We highly recommend this tour.  
The Hotel Napoleon was one of our favorite hotels due to the décor and staff.  We enjoyed the wine tasting and meeting they provided and also dinner there.   Outside the hotel was not the nicest but the location was conveniently near ancient Roma and the subway.  We did a hop on and off bus tour the first day to get a feel of the City it was okay.  We would recommend a driving tour of the city to do this to help tourists get oriented to the city.  Our tour of Vatican City was great and again the guide superb.  She was amazing and again very accommodating.  She was very friendly and extremely knowledgeable.  We really loved this tour.  On our own we toured the pantheon-we did the audio guide tour and really enjoyed this as well and recommend it. 
The tour of the best of Ancient Rome Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Capitoline Hill was the best.  Again the guide was an expert, very knowledgeable and informative.  This is a tour not to miss and we think we had the best guide for this tour. 
The Frascati Wine Tour from Rome was entertaining and more of a wine sampling then a true tour. 
We think we would of preferred to leave Rome the same day Denise and Ann left Italy instead of having another day in Rome. 

Amalfi Coast
Hotel Prestige was very nice and again the staff very friendly and helpful.   Took bus to Pompeii – Driver was excellent.  Guide (Fabio) provided information in English and French to people on tour – impersonal and rushed tour.  Took bus to Vesuvio with a new guide.  Guide talked (in French and English) on ride to Vesuvio – rather impersonal.   Caught bus for Tour of Amalfi Coast Guide (Melani) provided information along trip – very personable, made trip fun.  The bus driver was excellent.  Highly recommend this tour and the guide!   Restaurant Il Rifugio highly recommend –food was excellent and the staff were wonderful, very engaging and friendly.  
We could of easily spent another day or two in this region.  Lovely area. 
The hotel was wonderful  but somewhat inconvenient since it was not near the town, restaurants, or bus pick up for our tours.  The hotel offers several tours including Pompeii, Vesuvio and Almafi Coast.  

In general, we loved the trip and it was everything we hoped for and more.  Italy is a beautiful, amazing and welcoming country and Italians are incredible, nice and accommodating to all the tourists.   We were very impressed with the all of our guides, the train system, hotels and restaurants.  We highly recommend Cultural Italy and Alessia!  
Alessia thank you so very much you did an incredible job planning our trip, making the arrangements and supporting us while we were there.  You are truly wonderful and amazing and we are very grateful for all the time you gave to make this trip so special for us.  


Mike and Julie Deschenes