Flavia on Jay’s team made this trip very special from start to finish. We had a fabulous time and all her recommendations were spot-on. Thank you to Flavia for all her planning, drivers, hotels, tours, food recommendations, places to visit, local information, and easy to contact. We fell in love with Italy.
I would highly recommend Wendy Perrin/Jay’s office/Flavia Cretella for your future trip to Italy. So nice when you can actually enjoy your vacation without any worries.
Venice: Left LAX 9/20 arrived 9/21 to Venice (Marco Polo Airport). Our flight from Paris to Venice was delayed and we let Flavia know so she could contact driver. Driver took us to Boat Taxi which took us to dock closest to our hotel. Loved our view and location of Hotel Antiche Figure. Flavia left nice welcome gifts in our room. A junior suite Room with Grand Canal View. And WOW what a view. Bonus—breakfast included. Group Walking tour of Venice on 9/22 with the most amazing guide. We had a private Gondola ride in the evening (a must if you have never done it). A little chuckle—gondolier did not talk much but put on a big smile at the very end of the ride for photo. We had dinner by the hotel which had a fabulous octopus appetizer and a great dinner. Tour of Murano Island glass museum/factory 9/23. Incredible on how they do the glass blowing. Headed back to hotel. Met with Flavia in person at the hotel. So nice to meet the person who planned the perfect vacation. Had the best “cicchetti” and wine at Ostaria Dai Zemei. No vehicles, bikes, scooters in Venice, just boats. Love walking through Venice.
Train station is across the canal from the hotel. Took out luggage over the bridge and caught the train to Florence 9/24. Driver picked us up and took us to Hotel II Guelfo Bianco. Breakfast included. Walked around Florence to see the famous sights, Duomo/Cathedral of Florence, Galleria dell’Accademia, Ponte Vecchio and surrounding areas. Many areas for food/drinks. 9/25 Florence Street Food Group Tour—amazing guide—which covered Sant’Ambrogio food market, Piazza Santa Croce, Santa Croce district and Panino al Lampredotto—great food & gelato. Guide told us about a great place for dinner with the famous Bistecca Steak. 9/26 Driver picked us up and took us to train station. Slight snag…our train couldn’t get to station due to a fatality. Called Flavia and we went to the train main customer service and they were able to put us on another train to Rome. Driver met us at Rome Train station and took us to our hotel, Charme Spain Boutique Hotel. Located in the perfect spot to get to many famous locations in Rome. Welcome to Rome Twilight Walk with Gelato Small Group Tour with another great guide. Guide gave us her favorite restaurant—which had the best meatballs (Polpette), pasta, wine and of course an Aperol Spritz. 9/27—took the metro to get to meeting place. 7:15 am early morning Pristine Sistine Early Entrance and small-group Vatican Tour. Amazing knowledgeable guide. All I can say is wow! Love all the history here.
Walked all around Rome-so many great places to eat & drink. Found a Michelin restaurant hidden in an alley—amazing food—Poldo e Gianna Osteria. 9/28 10:30 am Premium Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill group Tour—another fantastic knowledgeable guide. Walked all over Rome. Found another restaurant recommended by our hotel, which was fabulous. 9/29—Driver picked us up from hotel (we left our luggage at the hotel) at 6am and drove us to the Ryder Cup (Marco Simone Golf & Country Club). What a day…walked 12 miles all around the course, shopped for golf-related gifts. Walked off Ryder Cup property to meet driver, who drove to our hotel to pick up our luggage, then drove to Ryder Cup to get us, then drove to Civitavecchia and dropped us off at our hotel. Next phase—catch a cruise. Thank you for making our vacation special!
What a delicious time we had in Croatia with Jay’s team leading the way. The itinerary worked beautifully and my daughter and I felt that Jay really heard us when choosing hotels and experiences. We wanted to be a little out of the fray in Dubrovnik and he sent us to Villa Orabelle, where we swam in the sea just below the hotel with cliff divers, a cave to explore and lots of locals.
Besides swimming in the pristine waters in every city, our favorite experience was dinner at a private home, curated as if in a 5-star restaurant. Our local fixer, Anamaria Andrici, was SO wonderful. She planned an extra gratis wine tasting with 3 of her colleagues and some other clients at a new wine bar in the old town. It was great meeting her friends and chatting about local life and wine. They told us that Jay Ternavan kept them all on staff during Covid out of his own savings, lovely.
A surprise experience came when Anamaria booked an out-of-the-way restaurant called Lunga Mare in Hvar. The chef greeted us at the door (he has won multiple cooking awards) and after singing Happy Birthday to another diner, he sat down with us to chat, sent us gratis wine and desserts and his son drove us back to our hotel!
I have to add that the oyster tasting excursion by boat was so interesting, learning how they “farm” oysters and then we ate them along with steamed local mussels, yum.
By meticulous planning, Jay kept us away from the crowds in the city (by going on tours early) and into the countryside for wine tastings, sailing jaunts to a small village and top-notch guides for each of the 4 cities we visited. We felt totally cared for and would go anywhere Jay books travel.
Phil and I highly recommend Jay Ternavan. He arranged everything for our trip. We just had to give him some dates, places we’d like to visit and asked for suggestions from him and he came back very quickly with a proposed plan. He took the worry out of all our trip details and made our trip stress- and worry-free. Some of the excursions were included in the trip and he also recommended others. When it came to accommodation he suggested a few in each place we were staying and we got to choose the one that suited us best. All were fabulous. His contact in Italy was available every step of the way and kept in regular contact to see if everything was going fine. She even arranged for some gifts at our accommodation such as champagne on arrival. We loved all of the excursions, restaurants and places of interest he recommended. All the personal guides we had were fabulous. We have no hesitation in recommending him and plan to use him again.
I wanted to celebrate my eldest daughter’s graduation from high school with a family trip to Greece, a destination that was at the top of her wishlist. We worked with Jay and were thrilled with our experience. In the planning phase, he listened to our goals and travel style and really tried to understand the kind of experience that we wanted. He worked with us to try and avoid (as much as possible) the crowds and crazy pricing for Greece in June 2023. He recommended some destinations that were a bit off the radar, as well as making sure we hit the important highlights like the Acropolis.
The trip went off without a hitch. Every pick up and drop off was on-time. Cars were clean and spacious and drivers pleasant. Tour guides were fun and knowledgeable. Highlights were the walking tour of Athens, the Sirocco beach club in Milos, and especially the catamaran boat trip in Milos. This last was everyone’s favorite! The hotels were in wonderful locations where we could walk and explore a bit on our own. Jay’s onsite contact Maria was fantastic and accommodated all our last-minute request and changes. Would definitely recommend Jay’s office and will use again!