Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

This is our third trip to Italy with Andrea and her wonderful team. We approached Andrea with our “last-minute” travel urge of late September: We wanted to immediately fly to Italy for almost a month, during the peak season of October! We desired to revisit many of our favorite places in Rome, Siena, Florence and Venice. Andrea, Stefano and team delivered an amazing experience.

Obtaining bookings at top hotels during October was a challenge. In Rome, the Hassler and Eden were not available. Stefano suggested the Hotel Splendide Royal, which was fantastic. Moreover, we received a wonderful room upgrade, due to Andrea’s relation with the property. Likewise, our usual Florence hotels had been booked for months. Stefano suggested the Portroit Hotel, which again was a wonderful choice. As in Rome, we received an amazing Balcony upgrade, due to Stefano’s relation with the property! This special Balcony Suite would be highly recommended, since we were able to watch the Florence sunsets over the river each night. Spectacular!

Although we had an outline of places we wished to visit in each city, we did book a number of experiences, which were tailored to our interests in art, architecture and design. In Rome, we greatly enjoyed our private visit to the Galleria Colonna, recommended by Andrea and Stefano. Likewise, we enjoyed our private recommended visit in Venice to Palazzo Pisani Moretta.

In Venice, we stayed at our favorite hotel, The Gritti Palace. Andrea was able to book our requested room, with a balcony overlooking the Canal. Once again, not an easy last-minute booking at peak tourist time in Venice.

Generally, we judge our travel agents on how “problems” are handled during a trip. We are seasoned travelers, so we understand many issues will arise on our journey. However, this trip was like “clockwork,” without any issues. The itinerary was carried out with precision, as professionally and beautifully planned by Andrea, Stefano and their team.

Many thanks for the memories which are now part of our lives.

Originally planned in 2020 and then postponed by the pandemic, we recently completed a wonderful two-week early October trip to Venice, Florence, Rome and Positano, all of which was expertly designed and executed by Andrea and her team.

We have typically performed all of our own travel planning, so working with someone else to create an itinerary with this many moving pieces was a new experience for us. We began with an in-depth planning conversation with Andrea and one of her associates about what we were looking for (primarily a history and food focus) as well as our travel preferences. We subsequently worked through multiple iterations of our plan — asking lots of questions along the way. The team was extremely responsive, thorough, and patient in working with us. When all the planning was complete, we felt we had an itinerary that would make the logistics of moving around the country stress-free, allow us to visit many of the historical spots typical for a first-time Italy visitor, and provide some unique “off the beaten path” experiences. On all three counts, Andrea’s team delivered!

From a logistics standpoint, our trip was perfect. From the time we arrived at the Venice airport and were escorted to our private water taxi, to the last day of our trip when we were driven to our departure point in Naples, every encounter with a driver or travel assistant was timely, friendly, professional and courteous. Our boutique hotels were centrally located, but also very quiet, comfortable and relaxing.

It’s been well-documented that Italy has been very crowded with tourists, and this has seemingly extended the peak travel season into October. Despite the crowds, we were able to thoroughly enjoy the major historical sights due to the superb guides we were paired with. Advance reservations allowed us to skip most of the lines, and our guides were very savvy about finding ways to lessen the impact of the many tourists. Beyond helping us to navigate the crowds, our guides were historical experts, adding lots of background and insights about each place we visited and giving us a sense of life in Italy then and now.

Apart from the traditional historical spots, the experiences that Andrea’s office suggested and arranged were a major highlight of our trip. There were too many to list them all here, but they included a private demonstration with a master glassblower and a visit to a weaving factory in Venice, a culinary food tour in Bologna while in transit from Venice to Florence, a Tuscan cooking class at the home of a chef in Florence, a hike in the hills outside of Florence ending with an amazing picnic lunch at the villa of a family with a historical and current connection to local art, and a full-day tour of small-town areas near Positano — including an excellent private lunch in Tramonti. Extra bonus — thanks to lots of walking, we enjoyed all of these food experiences without gaining a pound!

More than anything else, it is the people we will remember about this trip. Time spent with drivers, guides, and hosts inevitably led to conversations about our families, our day-to-day lives, the things we have in common and the differences that make us unique. Although we will likely never see these people again, these interactions enriched our experience immeasurably and we will fondly remember these new friends.

The tagline on Andrea’s website is very fitting — “More than a Journey, an Experience.” Andrea and team added a great deal of value to our trip and made it so much more meaningful than it would have been had we sought to plan it all ourselves. We should also mention that a number of our guides and drivers made unsolicited comments about how much they enjoyed working with Andrea’s office. To us, this says a lot about an organization and reinforces everything we experienced. We are extremely grateful to have had such an amazing two weeks and would highly recommend Andrea to anyone looking to have an outstanding Italy experience!

Andrea and her team did an excellent job planning our trip to Italy over September 26 to October 11. We visited the hill towns of Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Rome. The pace of the trip was excellent, mixing what seemed like mostly uphill : ) walking with a guide and more relaxed days. The drivers were all excellent—I did opt to drive in Tuscany, but would definitely recommend using a driver on the Amalfi Coast. The guides were nearly all excellent.

We enjoyed several unusual experiences, including a cooking class at Tenuta San Francisco in Ravello and a visit to the headquarters of the Goose contrada in Siena, winner of this years Paleo horse race—even the Pope needs an invitation to enter the headquarters. The highlight of the trip was the pre-dawn Key Holder tour of the Vatican museums. Just the two of us got to open the doors and turn on the lights of the major galleries, including the original Bramante Staircase from 1505 that most Key Holder tours do not get to see, much less walk up. The tour culminated with our opening the simple door and turning on the lights in the Sistine Chapel! We got to spend 20 minutes by ourselves in the Chapel, a really amazing experience.

We felt very well taken care of and had a staff person to contact 24/7 if we needed anything, though fortunately nearly everything went smoothly. Mariana Micheli checked up on us and made sure the guides and drivers met us. I would definitely recommend Andrea’s office to anyone planning a unique high-end trip to Italy.

Andrea and her team helped us execute a perfect trip that covered three regions of Italy over 12 days. From the airport pickup when we first arrived till the day that we left Italy to come to the U.S., Andrea’s team took us to Lake Garda, the Dolomites, and the Italian Rivera, Santa Margherita. All aspects of the trip were well designed and executed. The properties that her team recommended were excellent and centrally located. Marianna, the Service Ambassador, was in constant contact with me and helped make last-minute arrangements as requested. I would highly recommend Andrea to other travelers!

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