Heather C. – Classic Travel Tacketts Mills

"Heather--Jill and I felt like you deserve some feedback on our trip, so here it is. Feel free to share with Tommaso as you think best.Overall: A+++Highlight: completely unexpected fruit cake and champagne from you and Tommaso in Rome on our anniversary! Thank you so much! It made a very special day even more special!Comments: 1. Trip over went smoothly. For us, perhaps because we're tall, the economy plus seating was well worth the cost. We arrived early, had no questions at passport control and customs wasn't open! Waited about ten minutes for our driver and then a smooth drive to the piazza near the hotel because cars aren't allowed in the piazza in front of the hotel. 2. Enjoyed the Rome hotel a lot. Great location, great view, great windows that, when closed, really blocked out the sound from the piazza. Staff was friendly and helpful, and breakfast had lots of variety and was good. We'd gladly stay there again. 3. Our private driver for the eight hour tour was wonderful. He hit most of the places we wanted to see and offered a few great suggestions of his own. In fact, all of our private tour guides were so great, we've decided that private guides are well worth the expense. We'd recommend Rafael, Dace, and Marco to our friends. 4. Both the Vatican Museum and Borghese Gallery were awesome. Lines at Vatican were LONG, so having a reservation was awesome. And of course Borghese requires reservations. 5. All three train rides were on time and easy. Our cars were full, and luggage space at a premium. We'd travel by train again. Our drivers to and from Siena were on time, courteous, and friendly. In fact, our driver from Siena to Florence went off the direct route to take us to Piazza Michelangelo so we could get that wonderful view of Florence as our intro to Florence. 6. Hotel in Siena was quaint, in a good location, and very nice. We were glad for the extra room that having a suite provided. The ladies who ran the place were very nice, and the breakfasts were quite good. It was the only place that put a smiley face on Jill's cappuccino! We'd stay there again. 7. Dace was a terrific private guide. Her English sounded English! Her knowledge, enthusiasm, and willingness to answer our questions made the tour a great success. 8. We enjoyed the group bus tour to Montereggioni, San Gimignana, and a winery. The salesman at the winery was quite a showman...Luigi! Our stops were too short and we felt rushed, but still worth doing! 9. The hotel in Florence was very, very nice. Great gym, breakfast, and room. Staff was helpful, and view from room was great. We'd stay there again. 10. Marco gave us a wonderful private tour. Gave new meaning to the word extrovert! We loved him. 11. Academia and Uffizi were must sees. Having reservations was a must do...the regular lines were really long! 12. The Vasari Corridor group walk was interesting and we're glad we did it...but wasn't at the level of the private tours. 13. We did Piti Palace on our own and the rooms reminded us of Versailles. Opulent! Very much worth doing. 14. Hotel in Venice was also quite nice with a great corner room overlooking the Grand Canal and a good breakfast. The day clerk at the desk pushed tour tickets pretty hard. We were happy not to be in the middle of all of the tourists and would stay here again...others might prefer to stay closer to St. Mark's, etc. We just took the vaporetto! 15. Of the private tours, this was the closest to very good rather than great. The guide seemed a little distracted to begin with, then warmed up and we really enjoyed it. 16. The Murano/Burano/Torcello group boat tour was fun. Weather was good enough that we road on top. Glass blowing demo was not much compared to others we've seen but showroom was interesting. Burano was such a quaint little town. And the walk in Torcello was nice. Worth doing. 17. The gondola ride was disappointing. Our gondolier followed his buddy, and engaged in a non-stop yelling conversation with him for the entire trip. He didn't talk with us at all. While it was fun to see the buildings from water level, not much ambience. 18. We took a cab from the Rome train station to the hotel. The cab driver turned off his meter part-way there, and then charged us a ridiculously high rate. I refused to pay it and gave him what seemed reasonable. He didn't complain. 19. On our own, we did a tour for the papal general audience. Not worth it. Should have just gone on our own! 20. Driver was right on time to take us to the airport. We got there over three hours before flight time, and it's good we did! Stood in line for United's passport check, stood in another longer line to check in with United, stood in a longish security line, stood in a short passport control line, stood on a bus for quite some time until it took us to our gate area, after maybe 20 minutes stood in line to have ticket and passport checked by United to walk to the ground floor and board a bus for a drive to the plane where we slowly walked up the stairs to enter the plane!As I said, we had a really, really great trip. Many memories to last a lifetime. Logistics went so well it's easy to forget how much could have gone wrong. Many thanks to you and Tommaso for a vacation we'll always remember with great fondness! Jim and Jill "