Natarajan Family Trip

June 2023

Nicoletta worked with me to plan a short (6-day) but very nice trip to Venice, Florence, and Verona.  We are a family of 4 (our sons are 24 and 21 years old). We started in Venice and stayed at a very nice, centrally located hotel.  We had a gondola trip scheduled for the evening we arrived but it was raining.  I was able to easily reach someone at Nicoletta’s office and she rescheduled the trip for the following morning which was absolutely beautiful – probably the best weather we had the whole trip!  The gondola ride is touristy and my sons were skeptical, but it was absolutely worth it…’s touristy for a good reason!  We also had a city guide (Beatrice) in the afternoon who was very knowledgeable and fun.  We had done some exploring the day before, so she took us to a part of the city we hadn’t yet been to.  She also arranged for us to go to the Murano showroom in the city (not the island) at the end of the tour so we could buy some glasses and see a glass-blowing demonstration.

We took the high-speed train from Venice to Florence, which was smooth and enjoyable.  We stayed at another great hotel  (Hotel L’orologio) – very centrally located, and comfortable.  We had Emilia as a tour guide and she was also very informative and fun.  I booked tickets the following day on my own for L’Accademie (including the palace and the gardens) and Uffizi.  We spent the entire day visiting the galleries and walking all over the city, finishing off with a great dinner in the less busy San Niccolo neighborhood.
The following day, Nicoletta had arranged a rental car for us, which we used to drive around Tuscany and visit some small towns (Montepulciano, San Gimignano) and had a nice visit to a winery before heading back to Florence for dinner.

On our last full day, we drove from Florence to Verona, stopping at the Lamborghini factory and museum, which our boys really wanted to visit.  My wife and I enjoyed seeing some of the vintage cars.  We had to squeeze into a single “family” room in the hotel in Verona due to availability, but it was nice to all be together for our last night.  Verona was a surprise – we thought it would just be a place to have dinner and sleep before driving to Venice to catch our flight, but we really enjoyed walking around on our own and had a great meal there (Osteria Mondo D’Oro).  My son found the restaurant at the last minute and they were able to accommodate us.  Verona was much less crowded than Venice or Florence and although we didn’t go into any of the sights (the Coliseum was great to see from the outside and our hotel was a 2-minute walk away!), we really enjoyed walking around the city.
Our transfers from the airport/train station to our hotels in Venice/Florence were comfortable and easy – very nice cars and friendly drivers!
Nicoletta planned a very nice trip for us, in spite of my last-minute request.  We hope to return to Italy soon and, with Nicoletta’s help, see another part of the country!


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