Susan Murray

SEPTEMBER 2017

Good morning Emanuela,

Finally have a moment to tell you about our trip. We had a great time, it was very busy, and now we know what we would do differently the next trip we take! Thank you for all your help! 

Our time in Florence was absolutely fabulous! I am so happy that we chose to cancel Venice for the first night, it would have been way too much since we'd have no sleep. So I really enjoyed the two days of free time. We ended up walking all around Florence the 2nd day, and making it up to the Boboli gardens and Michaelangelo Square. The hotel was great, and our room was spacious, although we didn't have a view of the piazza, I ended up really liking the side alley view. We really liked the hotel and location, and would stay there again for sure. The breakfast there was one of the best we had in Italy. Our Best Of Florence tour with our guide Laura was really great and she was very keen, knowledgeable and personable, loved her. The group tour to Pisa was good, the guide was good and it was worth going, but I don't think I'd do that again, but neat to see. I loved Florence so much I would have loved spending that time there instead.

We had no problem with our car rental, or the driving to Rhadda. We were a little surprised at the region we were in, being in Rhadda in a hilltop town. We did find that it was a great, peaceful and beautiful town, but it was hard to reach in terms of getting anywhere else, which seemed to take about an hour to another town. I guess I didn't realize we weren't staying in the typical rolling hills of Tuscany and that Italy in general was so mountainous! Once in Rhadda, we did enjoy it! The hotel was fine and we did have a hills view which was nice.  It was spacious enough and we were glad we were on the end so no noise from the outdoor terrace. The breakfast here was also great and the staff serving and at the desk were very accommodating and helpful. Our wine tour with Paolo was one of my favorite days and he was great!! He drove safe, even though we were always in hilltop towns and on winding roads, I never felt unsafe. Great personality too and we loved listening to his expertise on the area and the wineries, we learned a lot!! Next time, we would stay in a place with an outdoor pool and in the rolling hills area as opposed to the hilltop town. But we did really enjoy it all the same! Loved seeing the countryside on all routes and such a stressfree way to get around the country. 

Capri - what can I say about Capri? You nailed it with the hotel!! And the room, it was so wonderful, the only thing I wish, was that we had more days there. Just beautiful and we will go back there and spend more time. It was too bad that the seas didn't cooperate with us and our boat tour was cancelled, but we spent a day walking around and enjoying the pool. We were one of the lucky ones and enjoyed the torrential downpours ;) on our way out of Capri but the boat ride was surprisingly smooth. At least the rain held off on our drive from Naples port to Marmorata, that was quite the trip over the mountains! Our driver was great though, we had him a couple of times and enjoyed talking to him. The Hotel Marmorata was great and we enjoyed the torrential downpours once again when we got there, but our room was so fantastic, we didn't mind spending the rest of the day there just enjoying the view and downtime. Apparently Italy hadn't seen rain in 7 or 8 months, so glad they finally got some! The tour of Pompei was good, but it was difficult to understand our guide and I can't recall his name. 

Rome was good, but too many tours for me, however Charlie loved it all. The guides were great, we especially liked our guide, however I can't recall his name now. The hotel was nice, and we loved the rooftop gardens!! Staff was wonderful too. 

All in all it was a great trip, but if we were to do anything differently, we'd have not tried to see too much and stayed a minimum of three nights in each location.

I hope this helps you. We had a wonderful time overall and would consider using Cultural Italy again for sure if we go back one day. Thanks again!

Susan