John R. – Italy Family Vacation

Emilia Romagna Bologna Asinelli Leaning Towers

Hi Tomasso,(I just received your e mail and it occurred to me that I never sent this note which I had written a week or so ago..)Just wanted to send you a note as a follow up to our trip. Overall, it was a huge success thanks to your efforts. I thought you might appreciate some particulars. The pickup by Michael for our family transport to Venice was very good. In retrospect, a train would have been fine, but it was nice to not have to worry about that on our first day. Michael was very pleasant and courteous.Hotel Canal Grande was fabulous. While it was not a 5 star (we didnt want a 5 star) it was really everything we wanted. The rooms were beautiful and the hotel upgraded our room to a canal view suite without any request from us. The view was amazing. The staff was wonderful, accommodating and very friendly towards our family. The breakfast was terrific and very adequate for our perpetually hungry group. This was one of the highlights of our trip. And I hope you pass this along to our friends at the hotel, especially Gianni, Natasha, and Roxanne.Our guide in Venice was Rosanna, She was excellent, friendly, knowledgeable and very warm to our family. I would have liked to spend more time with her.Dinner was great most places though Trattoria Aquasanta was our favorite (near Rialto). Right next to that restaurant was another well-known place called Trattoria Madonna. We would not go back there. Too big, too commercial, food was OK, service was poor. Really poor. Our guide in Verona was Katia something. She was very good, very friendly, and very knowledgeable. Our trip to Firenze on the train was nice. Our hotel, Santa Maria Novella, was nice as well, though I would definitely not stay there again. The rooms were nice, but far less appealing than Canal Grande. The staff was courteous and kind, though far less so than in Venice. The location of the hotel was nice and close to the train station, but Im not sure that is so important. The breakfast was excellent. What we did not like was the layout of the hotel. We had 3 different rooms on 2 different floors. Even that was OK, but the floors are actually broken up into different levels so you need to go up AND down stairs on the SAME floors to get from one side to the other, and elevators do not reach all the floors. We stayed there for four nights and were still confused when we left. The lobby and entrance areas were beautiful, but overall, the hotel layout was a bit annoying. Our guide in Firenze was Marco, I do not recall his last name. He was the best. He was extremely knowledgeable, very engaging, charming, warm, and friendly. Our driver to the countryside was very nice and courteous. He was not very engaging or particularly warm and this was just his personality, I feel. Christiano was helpful and patient, but not as wonderful as our other guides. Siena was great, though I wish we had a guide. San Gimignano, though clearly very touristy, was worth the trip. The wine tasting was fun, that specific vineyard was a bit of a disappointment based only on my expectations. I was expecting a grander place, but perhaps they are all like that. Our Hotel in Bologna was very good and it worked out quite well. The drivers for our last trip to the airport were timely and everything worked out fine.In all, this was a magical trip that my family will always remember and cherish. We cannot wait to return, and when we do, I will look forward to speaking with you again to plan another extraordinary trip to an extraordinary country. I appreciate all your patience in dealing with the various issues my family had to manage with respect to different arrival and departure dates, etc.Every day, we all long to return to Italy. We LOVED this trip, and we cannot wait to return. If not for education expense, we would be planning our next trip for the fall! Thanks again Tommaso to you and your very helpful staff, and good luck as your busy season returns!John