This is a long due recognition for excellence in travel planning, I have taken two trips to Italy with Andrea Grisdale and her team, and wouldn’t consider another one without them.
They have all the connections you would need to have any kind of wonderful experience you might not even think for yourself, from diner recommendations, private tours (one of their drivers was a personal friend of Ferruccio Lamborghini, and got us a private tour of the museum without any reservation or prior schedule!), hotel upgrades, and in case of an emergency they will got you covered. (I left my laptop in Venice and they helped arrange everything to get it back to our hotel).
Summer 2013 and May 2016
We spent a fabulous week in Florence right after New Years. This was the second time we used Andrea and and her team and they once again did a great job.
The planning stage with Andrea, Creta and Stefano was fun. We were offered some interesting things to do while on vacation and after some back and forth, we arrived at our itinerary. From that point, they finalized everything and got us set to travel by sending additional information on the food and culture of Italy.
Once in Florence, we met Tanya, our tour guide, Tanya was a great tour guide who we had the pleasure of being with for 4 days. She not only took us to the various sites, but she was extremely knowledgeable about what we were seeing. We loved our time with Tanya as she was able to impart her vast knowledge to us in a conversational manner so that we could ask questions and offer our observations. Tanya also shared some cultural knowledge with us on such things as where to shop and what to look for when searching for restaurants in which to eat. In addition, Tanya was always checking with us to make sure we had everything we needed.
Another highlight of the trip was Andrea’s team arranging for us to take a cooking lesson with Stefania. Stefania was very friendly and took us through a local market to shop for the food with which we were going to cook. Stefania was a gracious host at her house and she made us fell very welcome We learned a lot from Stefania and are looking forward to entertaining our friends with some of the dishes we learned to make that day.
Another great thing that Andrea’s team does is they have Grazia and Nicole on duty to call 24 hours a day if we needed anything plus they checked in at various times during the trip to make sure that everything was going well.
A great service offered by Andrea’s team is their VIP airport experience. They have a person meet you when you arrive and meet you at the airport before you depart. This made everything easy, especially with our luggage and the VAT refund process.
In conclusion, we had a great time and want to thank Andrea and all her staff at IC Bellagio. We appreciated all of their efforts in making sure we had a great vacation. There is no doubt that we will engage Andrea and her team for a third time when we return to Italy.
Andrea and her team were amazing.!!!!!!The hotel that I stayed in was one of the best, cleanest, and the staff were so accommodating. The area was exactly what I was looking for. It was quite and close to Bellagio. I asked Andrea if I can learn and practice the Italian language in this trip. The area she chose was excellent fit to what I desired. The driver that picked me up and dropped me off the airport was extremely professional and the drive was very comfortable. The private tour guide by Rita was one of the best tours I have had. Rita was amazing. I had a day with the owners of the hotel at their house for Pizza. Home made pizza!!!!! It was great to know them and to know the history of Palazzo Del Vicere (The hotel I stayed at). I enjoyed every aspect of this trip. Thank you Andrea and team for making this happen. God bless you all and I so appreciate such great team like this. My next trip to Italy Andrea and her team would be the team to go to for sure. Thanks Wendy Perrin for recommending Andrea and her team. Great choice!!!!!!!
Our cruise was cancelled at the last minute. Andrea and her team had already been hired to plan our post cruise trip; we jumped into action and asked them to help us plan the 7 day cruise portion in a very short period of time and they delivered for us extremely well. I was particularly impressed with Grazia and our “in country” support. When the weather didn’t cooperate, we were able to move our tours around, when we wanted our transportation changed, it happened, she was responsive and amazing to work with. The properties were amazing and the tour guides were excellent.
Andrea Grisdale and her team at IC Bellagio was focused on who we are to help design an experience that fit our style and interests – so they took the time to ask questions up front and then to present options. They communicated regularly and responded very quickly during the entire planning process.
On the trip, they stayed in touch to ensure all was gong well. Since we had no changes, requests or issues, we did not really need the support but it was very good to know it was there.
What truly set them apart was the actual experience we had. Everything was very well done – the hotels were superb, the guides were very knowledgeable and personable (as were the drivers) and the recommended tours / experiences were both well organized and definitely tailored to our preferences. We also had enough “down time” built in to enjoy some places on our own.
For anyone either taking a first trip to Italy or who wants a tailored experience that requires very little effort on their end, I would not hesitate to recommend Andrea and her team at IC Bellagio. Please note, this is not the least expensive option but in my opinion, it was worth what we paid to have a worry free high end experience.
Andrea Grisdale and her Lake Como-based team did an amazing job for us. She arranged for our stay at a beautiful, private villa high in the hills above the town of Bellagio. The views of the Lake from up there were stunning. The property was brand new with every modern amenity and even had a swimming pool. There was more than enough room for all of us. It was a short walk to town from there as well. On one of our days there she arranged for a private guided boat tour of the Lake with a visit to the famed Villa Balbianello from Star Wars and James Bond films. Her restaurant recommendations were superb. We appreciated her responsiveness to details and her very timely responses with email communications. We were never left wondering or hanging for information. That to me is a hallmark of a great travel specialist. She and her team fit that bill to a T!
My husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in April 2015 in beautiful southern Italy (Positano and Capri). Andrea Grisdale, of IC Bellagio and her staff planned and orchestrated a trip of a lifetime complete with safe/knowledgeable drivers, fabulous hotels with extra perks, and special encounters with the local people. Several of our favorite activities included cooking lessons with Mamma Agata, a private tour of the ancient city of Herculaneum, a cooking lesson and farm tour with the owner of Don Alfonso, and a very memorable lunch along the Amalfi coast at Lo Scoglio while transferring to Capri on a private yacht. We can’t wait to go back!
In the past I have typically planned our own trips, but for the last few years I have utilized the services of 3 other travel experts recommended by Wendy Perrin (Entree Alaska, Costa Rica Expeditions, and I’m currently working with Pierre of Nicaragua Adventures on a family trip over Spring Break). I would HIGHLY recommend IC Bellagio, and the other travel experts list above, to anyone looking for a unique, customized travel experience. Why stress about the small details when you can let the experts do it for you!
This past summer my family and I enjoyed a wonderful trip planned by Andrea Grisdale and her team. Our requested itinerary included time in Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Capri and a week in Sardinia in a rented villa together with experiences that were more off the beaten track than a more traditional family vacation. Altogether, the trip was a bit more than three weeks in duration. We had traveled and toured through Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany and Northern Italy on a number of occasions before and were looking for something different and geared to some of the interests our kids have (who range in age from 9 to 18). Andrea and her team delivered! Some of the more notable experiences included a private bike tour from Rome out along the Appian Way to see ancient Roman aqueducts (some still in use today) and a stop at a 500 year old farm house for cheese and wine, a private Gelato making lesson, a private guided tour of areas of Rome less frequented all while riding on Vespas, a guided hike in the hills above the towns of Ravello and Amalfi, private cooking lessons at a Michelin-starred restaurant to private boat trips to explore the beautiful coastlines of Amalfi and Sardinia. Andrea and her team did a fabulous job of listening to the types of activities that appealed to us as a family, the kinds of hotels we prefer and did an excellent job of suggesting experiences and properties that responded to our preferences. The only aspect of the trip that fell slightly short of our expectations was the villa we rented in Sardinia. Andrea and her team do not do much villa work on the island and are less familiar with areas outside of the Costa Esmerelda (we wanted to be in a less touristy area of the island). Don’t get me wrong – it was absolutely fine – just not of the same caliber accommodations that she was able to arrange on other portions of our trip (which were all truly exceptional). Because Andrea and her team did such a good job of suggesting experiences and events that really showed she listened to what we like to do and the types of things that we enjoyed from past trips to other countries, I plan to call Andrea and her team again the next time we visit the Amalfi Coast, Central or Northern Italy.
My husband and I went to Rome and Florence in September 2015. We had a wonderful and memorable trip . Andrea and her team put together an excellent itinerary that included 5 star hotels along with 5 star tours. All the drivers, tour guides and assistants were professional and friendly and went out of their way to make sure that we were well taken care of. I agree with all of the previous reviews posted on this website. If you want to experience the best of Italy , then Andrea and her team should be your go to travel specialist.
We were very pleased with our Trusted Travel Expert. Our stay at Villa Cora in Florence was extraordinary! We loved everything about it—the service was superb, the food fabulous, and the room was divine! Thanks so much, will use you next time we travel for sure. We had an incredible time.
My husband and I traveled to Italy from 9/13-10/1/2013 started in Milan, Lake Como, Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento. We had an extraordinary time with the help of Andrea Grisdale and her team, our travel through Italy was flawless. With Andrea’s help we had the vacation we wanted and within our budget. She was absolutely wonderful to work with. The restaurants she recommended to us were fabulous. We always had a contact number and name 24 hrs a day in case we needed help at any time. This was the most comforting of all. Any time we travel to Europe in the future, Andrea will be our first call.
Andrea and the IC Bellagio team organized all of the logistics for our honeymoon in the Amalfi Coast (Sept 2015). Every aspect of the trip—from planning to enjoying—was entirely flawless and stress free. We enjoyed every element of the trip that ICB touched—every driver, boat captain, tour guide, etc. was friendly, on time, professional, knowledgeable and with a great personality. ICB definitely has the pulse on what the best of the best is in the area.
We couldn’t have been happier with the level of service provided by Andrea and team.
The best part was that they are entirely flexible with their planning services. My wife and I wanted to plan some of it ourselves and rely on ICB for their expertise where needed (such as transfers). ICB worked with us and went out of their way to understand what we were doing on our own to ensure a seamless vacation and that their planning meshed with ours—they really cared about making sure we had a great vacation above all else.
Andrea Grisdale is incredible. However, she did my intake discussion and then handed me off to someone else, who handed me off to someone else at a different stage who then handed me off to someone else for completion of final documents who then handed me off to someone else as an on the ground contact. As a result of the multiple people involved–there were many issues with the planning of my trip that I ultimately had to escalate to Andrea to resolve. while each event and hotel they planned was wonderful, they did not all work together. for example, the hotel they recommended for our wine tasting was at least 30 minutes away from anything we did on those days and no restaurants in the town were open on the day we arrived. the same thing happened with the hotel we were placed in at Lake Orta–most of the area restaurants were closed on that day. There were other equally nice/priced hotels for the wine tour part of our trip that would have been better located. The reason why I selected a local travel agent and did not work with my usual US based travel agent is that I assumed someone local would understand which hotels would be best located to the tours they scheduled for us. additionally, our guides were told requirements requested by “the client” which were never requirements of ours or even discussed with me. Thankfully, when that became apparent, our guides were able to adjust on the fly. However, we would have had an even better experience if we were asked to provide our actual requirements instead of the travel professional on Andrea’s staff making them up. this experience was completely different from my previous experiences working with other travel professionals recommended on your WOW list (which were amazing!)
I just returned from the Amalfi Coast and had the MOST amazing trip ever. Our agent, Andrea from IC Bellagio and her incredible team of experts organized a flawless trip through Positano, Ravello, and Capri. We had the best of the best of everything, including the drivers, dinner reservations, tours, private guides and especially the hotels. I literally can’t thank them enough for making our summer vacation so memorable. I can’t wait to go back to Italy again!!
Andrea Grisdale put together a fabulous trip to Italy for us. From beginning to end, our experience working with Andrea was great. All of the properties she recommended were outstanding, and the guides she provided were not only local experts but also people we enjoyed being around. Andrea’s work was top-notch!
What a pleasure and a stroke of good fortune to discover Andrea Grisdale and her team at IC Bellagio! From our initial coffee in NYC to toss around some ideas to the many emails that followed, I thoroughly enjoyed planning our week (June 2015) on the Amalfi Coast and Capri, which was a surprise to mark my husband’s 50th birthday. Andrea’s team asked all the right questions, attended to each detail, and created an itinerary that combined heavenly experiences that brought together all the elements I was looking for: relaxation, romance, fun, adventure and extraordinary food and service.
We especially loved our time at the Hotel Le Sirenuse in Positano and the Hotel Don Alfonso in Sant’Agata, Sorrento. While I was looking for a WOW experience in terms of quality and service, I have no doubt that Andrea has the breadth of knowledge and contacts to create any kind of itinerary and experience to suit each client’s desires and budget.
I cannot imagine how we will top this trip. But I’ll be 50 in a few years, so I am sure we will try! Thank you, Andrea and IC Bellagio!
My husband and I were referred to Andrea for our trip to the French and Italian Riviera in January. We couldn’t have been happier with our service.
The itinerary was just what we wanted—places, hotels, etc. The guides and drivers were knowledgeable, considerate and likeable. Andrea’s people checked in with us throughout our trip, which was very comforting.
We highly recommend Andrea Grisdale, IC Bellagio, the guides and the drivers.
Andrea and her team at IC Bellagio helped us plan a wonderful two-week visit that started in Florence, then went on to a week in Tuscany at a villa at Castello di Casole and then on to Piemonte where we stayed in wine country at Hotel Villa Beccaris in Monforte d’Alba and ended with a few nights at Lago d’Orta at the historic (and restored) Villa Crespi. After interviewing Andrea on the telephone to ensure a good “fit” before our hiring IC Bellagio, we were surprised when she turned around and extensively interviewed us and learned about our interests, past travels, and goals for our trip. She and her team sent us some options for various parts of the trip and then, once we had narrowed down the geography, we discussed many options for guides, excursions, hotels, meals, etc. Our final itinerary was outstanding and included some special activities, such as an opportunity to go out truffle hunting with a leading truffle hunter and his dogs in Piemonte. Our guides were local, personable and very knowledgeable, and open to tailoring tours to our interests. We have traveled worldwide for forty-plus years and IC Bellagio is one of the top travel experts that we have worked with. Their attention to detail is fantastic and they really know Italy and have access to unusual activities and top guides.
Andrea Grisdale and her wonderful staff at IC Bellagio made our first trip to Italy wonderful! We could never have done it so nicely on our own. Having private transfers and guides saved us lots of precious time and also made our days so much fun and stress-free. After our guided tours we had plenty of free time to roam around, shop, and visit the fabulous fun cafes for our afternoon aperitivo.
All of our drivers and guides were born in Italy. They were so very knowledgeable and friendly and proud to tell us many interesting things about Italy and the sights they showed to us. They all went above and beyond the call of duty.
Since my husband and I were traveling alone, we wanted the comfort of knowing we had back-up if we needed help of any kind. IC Bellagio gives their clients that peace of mind by providing a back-up person and number to call in each city you are visiting. Our contact person called us early in our trip to check on us and see if we needed anything. We certainly appreciated that level of attention from ICBellagio. We did later call our contact person when our Venice hotel put us in a nice room but not quite as nice as we expected. We called the front desk and asked for a nicer room, and they said none was available. We called our contact person from our cell phone, and she made a quick call to our hotel front desk, and we were immediately escorted to a bigger nicer room.
IC Bellagio arranged a private boat ride from the Venice train station to our hotel and then on the departure day we had a private boat take us to land where a private escort met us and escorted us thru the Venice airport and personally checked us in and took us to our gate. Making that transfer from the Venice hotel to the Venice airport by ourselves would have been stressful for us. The transfers by private boat across the canal were magical.
IC Bellagio also provides their clients with an extensive list of recommended restaurants in each city you visit. They even gave us several pages of detailed information about Italian wines and Italian menu items. We found that information very valuable when
ordering from Italian menus.
We are telling all of our friends and relatives who plan on traveling to Italy to plan their trip thru Andrea Grisdale and her fabulous professional staff at ICBellagio. Our trip was absolutely perfect!
Having just turned 60, I thought I had “done Europe” in every way possible, from backpacking as a young man to travelling to various countries while stationed in Germany during the cold war to self-planned vacations. But, I had never travelled with the help of an outstanding travel advisor like Andrea from start to finish. What a fabulous trip.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it was for my wife and I to have been gathered up and whisked away without anything to worry about. The people Andrea provided as drivers, guides and connection assistants were all courteous, respectful and knowledgeable and were on time every time. I would specifically like to recognize Anna who was our guide for the Lake Como tour. She was so fun and full of life. She had a wonderful personality and the ability to mix her expertise with a congeniality that made the day very enjoyable for us. Alessandro was our driver from Verona to Venice. He took us to Soave, and while we had lunch he went out of his way to call and arrange for us to meet a local artist whose painting was on the wall in the restaurant.
The Villa D’este was beautiful and was our favorite hotel during our trip. The Gritti Palace was also beautiful and was so grand. We feel like we got to stay in two of Italy’s best hotels. We did not particularly care for the Palazzo Victoria in Verona, but that is understandable wedged between the other two grand hotels we stayed in. The Palazzo Victoria was just a bit too modern for us and the room appointments were a little cheap looking. The Affresco suite was just too cavernous for us.
All of the restaurants were fabulous. Could not have been better. Coming in November really was a perfect time because we felt like we were the only “tourists” around. We had all of Italy to ourselves.
We won’t travel to Italy again without Andrea.