I wanted to give you feedback on the wonderful trip that Maria Landers arranged for us to take our niece to Italy as her gift for college graduation and acceptance into veterinary school. Maria was exceedingly knowledgeable and helpful in arranging a fabulous trip with outstanding guides, tremendous accommodations, and amazing experiences. Maria provided just the right amount of assistance, guidance, and recommendations in building the itinerary with me. It was a pleasure to work with her & I would definitely recommend her to friends who are considering traveling to Italy.
First and foremost, Christina (our contact while in Italy) was worth her weight in gold in helping us with the lost passport of my niece. She was very responsive to my emails and helpful assisting us to the extent that she could with the issue of my niece losing her passport (right off the bat we think on the last flight from Madrid to Venice because she did not have it to check into the hotel in Venice). Christina provided me with very useful information about the Naples consulate & replacing lost passports, and she was able to switch our activity days in Sorrento/Amalfi Coast due to us having to go to Naples to get a replacement passport for her & that switch worked perfectly. Having her as a contact gave me a great peace of mind during this turmoil.
Secondly, all the hotels were absolutely wonderful and we so loved our upgrades at both the Ruzzini Palace in Venice and the Grand Hotel Santa Lucia in Naples! Having views of either the Campo or the small canal from the rooms was enchanting at the Ruzzini. We especially loved staying out of the tourist areas and loved the quiet and residential feel of the Campo Santa Maria Formosa. We would definitely stay there again should we return to Venice (which I hope we do!) Glad that we could enjoy the suites at Ruzzini for 3 nights and wish we had more nights to experience the luxurious suite in Naples! The Hotel Capodimonte in Sorrento was lovely, perfectly located to walk into town, and the balcony overlooking the Bay of Naples was terrific! We spent as much time as possible out there.
All the guides/hosts were amazing. They were so very friendly, knowledgeable & excited to share their city/culture/experiences with us. All of them were especially wonderful with our niece Alex, who had the experience of her lifetime on this trip (despite the lost passport). Of particular note was Bruna who was our guide in Venice for the Basilica and Doge’s Palace. What a font of information & enthusiasm she is! It was a wonder we could keep up with her. We also loved the secret rooms tour with her. Nan, our cicchetti rowing instructor was so much fun & the cicchetti were delicious! We had a riot of a time trying to learn to correctly row. The most surprising was that my niece, who originally said she did not want to row when she first read the itinerary, was the first to volunteer at the experience and she was the best of the 3 of us! After that experience, I said who needs a gondola ride when we were our own gondoliers! Fiorella in Naples was a joy to have walk us in the city and introduce us to some really unique taste bites of Naples. Our niece still dreams about the “snowflake” pastry she tasted on that walk (frankly, so do I!). You definitely have curated the best guides for your clients and we greatly appreciated it.
While all the guides (including the boat captain) were amazing, perhaps the most valuable one was Antonio who was our guide on our hike along the Pathway of the Gods. Although he was a wealth of knowledge about many things along our hike including botany, he proved his utmost value when my husband took a rolling tumble off the path and fell 15 feet! Thank God he hit a landing or else he would have continued tumbling down the cliff and perhaps fatally so. Antonio immediately rushed to his aid and found an alternate safer way to rejoin our path, where he attended to my husband’s wounds. Although my husband suffered many lacerations, only 2 wounds in his leg were deep and fortunately, nothing required a hospital visit. We are seasoned hikers and this incident was quite unforeseen and shocking. Antonio was amazing throughout and as we slowly looped back to our start, he made sure that he stayed with my husband and made certain he was using a walking stick properly. Up to the fall, we all were thoroughly enjoying Antonio, the hike, and the scenery.
My niece (and we) fell in love with both Venice and the Amalfi Coast and we all loved the food we ate in the three cities that we visited. All of us felt that we could have spent longer in Venice because we love to walk, wander, and experience and Venice delivers all of that in a most unique environment on the water.
Truly, a memorable trip for us all, thanks to Maria!