The trip was wonderful. Here are some of the highlights:
Guides - All of the guides were great. In Rome, Manuela was extremely knowledgeable and we were impressed with how she was very willing to be very conversational and not at all "teacher". She gauged the level of interest with the discussions and focused on what was the most important aspects. In Florence, Simone, had the same characteristics. This is very important so that the boys didn't feel they were part of classroom. Both Manuela and Simone brought the history to life.
Accommodations - Rome, great location. Florence, fantastic location for getting out and around the town. It's what I expected of a hotel in Florence.
Restaurant lists - I must admit I tend to forget names of restaurants we frequented. As in all cities, some were great, others adequate. I do have a recommendation on the restaurant list provided -- especially for Rome. It was helpful to have it sorted by cost, but it could be helpful to have a bit of "geographic" reference as well. But to be honest, we looked for places to eat off the the main streets, something that would appeal more to locals than tourists.
Pace - It was a good pace trip. I know I worked with both of you to establish how much "tour" and how much free time. It was the right mix. Our free time allowed us to explore much of the cities on foot and find some interesting and different locales.
Finding Piazza del Popolo in Rome was a pleasure. Away from the main tourist areas, but still plenty to do and see. Easy access from Metro station, actually got to see part of the summer concert series when we were there on Wednesday evening.
I've attached a few pictures. 069 - turning Circus Maximus into a concert hall for a Rolling Stones Concert; 088 "us" at the Vatican; 260, grounds of the beautiful winery Castello Monterinaldi - would highly recommend this location, was able to get a light meal "antipasti" along with the tasting, a very welcoming location; 267 the boys in the beautiful Chianti region.
Again, thank you Elena and I have and will recommend Cultural Italy and hope to use you again for future travel to Italy.