Our trip to Italy was fantastic! You did a great job planning everything for us to do. Our driver, Franchesco, was wonderful and so personable. He never stopped smiling and laughing and was so knowledgeable about everywhere we went and we were all sad to see him go. I told him if he's ever in Houston he will have a place to hang his hat and we will show him our city.
All of us thoroughly enjoyed the Saturnia Resort and wished we had more time there. Between the sulfur springs, Turkish bath, sauna and waterfall I swear my wrinkles disappeared! It was so relaxing to see everyone walk around in a robe all day until dinner!
I could kick myself for not making a massage and facial appointment when I had the chance because they were totally booked with no open appointments for anything, but that's my fault and I won't let that happen next time and I hope there will be a next time. The dinner that night was exquisite and the service was impeccable! We felt like we were part of the rich and famous..and it felt good!
Our hotel in Sienna, the NH Hotel Excelsior, was in a decent location and was quite nice with a large room and bathroom. We enjoyed our tour of the town and leisure time to venture out on our own. Each of the wineries were unique in their own way with all of the wine going down very easily. They all served us food whether it be a snack or a meal and everything was fresh and delicious!
As we traveled from place to place none of us could get enough of seeing the beautiful Tuscany countryside and a picture just can't capture the magnificence of it.
Stopping at several of the small towns was just perfect giving us an insight of how the locals enjoy life. It was impossible not to check out real estate ads just to see what our money could buy and boy it is a tempting thought to do just that!
One of the highlights all of us extremely enjoyed was the hands on Tuscan cooking lesson. The chef was so personable and showed us how to make a fabulous meal with such few ingredients. I think every bit of food we prepared was eaten with no leftovers. He had a friend come by who owned an organic winery nearby and we sampled all of his wines and he sent us back to the hotel with what was left in the bottles where we proceeded to finish them off in the hotel lobby while laughing and talking. We drank a lot that night!
The lunch prepared by the butcher was a definite experience. The meat just kept coming and each one was better than the last. I do have to say the Italians do like their meat on the rare side. I would have liked it cooked a few minutes longer, but it all tasted good and it was entertaining to watch the cooks with their preparations. The cuts of meat were something to see and we all left with our bellies full!
Our hotel in Florence, Grand Hotel Villa Medici was very nice. Our room and bathroom was newly remodeled with a nice contemporary style. The hotel was in a convenient location although a few of the streets that led to it seemed a little seedy and deserted to walk down at night. After one night of that we figured out which ones to avoid and got around just fine.
Our tour guide in Florence was very knowledgeable and it was obvious he loved what he did. Our free time was spent exploring which included the Accademia, Uffizi and of course shopping in a shoppers paradise. The market had changed quite a bit since I was there ten years ago, but I guess that's expected.
Lots more immigrants now selling products from China which is sad and I understand why the officials are trying to make some changes to help improve the situation. All of the Italian made pieces are so beautiful it's a shame to spoil them with items with not as good a quality.
Our farewell dinner at the Osteria Di Giovanni was a wonderful restaurant and the food was very delicious. You planned a perfect farewell dinner for us and I thank you for that. They even cooked one of our steaks medium rare and I couldn't get enough of it. From start to finish it was perfect!
Thank you again Tommaso for planning a wonderful trip for all of us to enjoy and remember forever. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime and we will have lasting memories of it forever. You did a fabulous job planning every detail to perfection. I would not hesitate at all to have you plan my next trip and will highly recommend you to friends and relatives. A big thank you goes out to your staff as well as I'm sure all of this could not be possible without them.
Hugs and Kisses,
Sandy V.Tutto Bene Winery Group Tour