This was a terrific tour. The itinerary was a great mix of small towns off the beaten track and better known locations, interspersed with wine tasting, visits to tombs and monasteries. We can’t believe how much we covered in less than a week. The hotels were great, the food superb, our driver Carmelo was outstanding and the group was fantastic – we had a lot of fun together. What turned an already exceptional tour into something very special was Mariaelena. Her warmth, obvious care for all members of the group, terrific sense of humour, infectious enthusiasm for Tuscany and her personal insights into life in this part of Italy were just remarkable. She is a truly wonderful person and an incredible Tour Guide. Barbara and I usually like to travel independently and were not fully sure about signing up for this tour, however after this week, we have no doubt that we will be touring with you again very soon.
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We would like to say thank you for another memorable week in Tuscany [our 4th tour!], made extra special by Mariaelena’s magic touch! Carmelo our driver was also superb. Everything ran smoothly as expected, and we really enjoyed the company of all the other members of our small group. It was nice to see you both in Pienza-our favourite place. You can’t beat the view from our room there. We hope to see you again soon!
Just a brief note to say thank you for sending us off on a memorable journey with your best guide, Mario! What a great time we had with your tour company.
This was our very first Amber Road trip and certainly not our last. In my mind and in my heart, I can still see the spectacular views, feel the charm of all the magnificent hotels, reflect on all the fascinating history, and still taste the culinary delights of the regions. Being so in love with this beautiful country, it was my sixth trip (with several different tour companies), and my first time to the regions of Puglia and Basilicata. The architecture has left me in complete amazement. From the ancient cave dwellings in the “Sassi” of Matera, the white-washed houses of Ostuni, the rich Baroque architecture in Lecce, to the limestone “Trulli” homes, with their gray conical roofs, in Alberobello. I loved the small group of warm, friendly people, the unique itinerary where we found few tourists, the quaint and beautiful hotels, the fabulous menus that were chosen for us in our included meals, and the very knowledgeable local guides. Above all, our tour manager, Luca, and guest tour manager, Anna, proved to be exceptional – both being very accommodating and informative, with top notch personalities. We shared many laughs. You can hear the passion, for their country, in their voices and see it in their eyes. What a delight to spend two glorious weeks with them. Thank you Jonathan and Sonya, for creating Amber Road Tours, and for designing an itinerary, which for me, was the best Italy vacation I’ve ever had.
We had a wonderful time in Tuscany in June. Your well-planned tour removed all the usual hassles of negotiating unfamiliar roads and finding accommodation each night. We had a very relaxed holiday, due in large part to Mariaelena’s consideration for our comfort and enjoyment. Her sense of humour, approachability and knowledge made the tour a memorable one. [We are] deeply grateful.
The tour was every bit as advertised and SO MUCH more. Our group was congenial and our tour guide, Mario, kept us entertained and organized throughout. Our driver, Tiziano, was friendly, personable, and above all professional. I will AND HAVE strongly urged friends to consider Amber Road Tours. It is such a different perspective of Italy. Much more personable and you really feel like you get to know the history, culture, and people of the area. Each city had its own charm and the panoramas took your breath away. I don’t think there are enough superlatives for me to use in describing the tour and how it is laid out. Again thank you so much for the trip of a lifetime.
Over the weekend we received an email from Gambino Vineyards. It sure brought back so many great memories of our Sicily trip. The Gambino vineyards and winery on the slopes of Mt. Etna were beautiful. The tasting of their wines along with the local cheeses, meats and bread was a great way to end the day’s travel. Fortunately, we had the foresight to buy a couple bottles of their wine. Our balcony in Taormina was the perfect place to enjoy them.
As with our first Amber Road tour, the experiences were outstanding. The hustle of Palermo was exciting . . . the more time we spent out and about on the streets, the better it all became. The hotel was a welcome quiet retreat in the heart of the city. Mariaelena’s stories of the hotel’s history made it even more enjoyable.
Our memories are too many to recount here. The historical sites we visited were so impressive. The food was outstanding, both for our scheduled meals as well as the tour manager suggestions for “on our own” evenings. The hotels and inns were always more than just places to overnight. In addition to Palermo and Taormina, the hotels in Ragusa and Siracusa were really well done and in great locations.
Like our first trip with you, the folks we travelled with were all congenial and made the experiences even more enjoyable. We think some of that might be attributable to our driver, Giuseppe and tour manager, Mariaelena. Their enthusiasm and friendliness were contagious and highlights of the trip. We would love to visit again as we learned that Tuscany/Umbria and Sicily offer two very distinct and different experiences . . . both outstanding.
We had such a wonderful time on your Sicily trip this past May. Mariaelena is a wonderful asset to your company and she made our tour outstanding with her kindness , knowledge and warmth. Hope to travel again next year with you.
We had the time of our life. I loved the tour because it brought me to areas of Italy where both sets of grandparents were from. This was my seventh time to Italy but I had never been to Apulia or Basilicata or to Otranto, Lecce, etc… Your choice of lodgings was fantastic. The food was excellent, and of course, so much, but who complained??? Bruce and I had our 25th anniversary dinner on the terrace at the Villa Maria and it was perfect. I was very enlightened as to the industry and sophistication of this part of Italy despite all I had heard to the contrary. I was amazed at the vastness of the valleys and plains, the fruit and olive orchards and vineyards… I thank you and your crew for giving Bruce and I the best tour we have had in Italy ever…
Roberta and I have now returned from a most remarkable trip. We wanted you to know how very much we appreciated every aspect of our Tuscany/Umbria tour. For us this was a ‘bucket list’ item and the first escorted tour that we ever took. We had high expectations before it started based upon your agenda and your personal emails answering our every question. The venues, the hotels, the meals, the transportation, Mario, Tiziano, the local guides, our fellow tourists – all more than met our expectations. Meeting the two of you was icing on the cake! You even arranged for 13 days of perfect weather – thanks! You can be sure that we will encourage our friends to contact you if Italy is their destination.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Sicily this May. It was everything I expected, and more. The accommodations were superb on the whole tour (in Taormina it was hard to get yourself to leave the hotel and its grounds). The places we visited were well planned and interesting in every way. The local guides added much to the places visited. I especially enjoyed Luigi, the local guide at the Valley of the Temples – an Agrigento native and resident, who speaks wonderful English with a slight brogue. How great is that! Mariaelena is a great tour manager, leader, storyteller and a friend to all. Thanks for the great tour and your help with pre-tour reservations.
We had the time of our lives!
My clients couldn’t rave enough about your company and their tour – they loved it and said they would go on another trip with you anytime to anywhere! Thanks so much for taking such good care of them.
Thanks again, Jonathan, Sonya and Amber Roads for our wonderful trip through Sicily. Jerry and I loved our trip to Southern Italy last year with Luca and were just as happy this year touring Sicily with Mariaelena. She could not do enough for us and kept us laughing with her wonderful sense of humor. Since we came in a few days early Jonathan recommended Cefalù and what a great choice that was. We’re looking forward to the North Italy tour next year.
The tour was excellent. Well planned and flawlessly executed. The hotels were very good. The meals that you provided were wonderful. Mariaelena and Giuseppe were outstanding. She is a gem. The tour participants were very nice – a friendly and intelligent group. It did not hurt that the weather was perfect. I will do my best to spread the word.
We were on your Sicily Tour in April. Although we have done 3 tours with Odysseys-Unlimited and 2 with Archeological Tours (both US companies) and had very positive experiences, the Amber Roads Tour was the best experience we have had with a tour company. A superb tour manager, Mariaelena Ciacci, who is also a charming, wonderful person, made the tour very special. The group was small and congenial, the itinerary was varied and well planned, the accommodations very comfortable and the cultural heritage and architectural sites of Sicily were marvelous. We will enthusiastically recommend your company to friends and encourage them to see Sicily—it was a wonderful experience.
We had such a good time on the trip to Sicily. The trip was well-paced, the hotels most agreeable, the sights splendid and you were generous with wine and water at our included meals. Kudos to Amber Road Tours! Your website is appealing and drew many of us. The nicest surprise was getting a truly wonderful guide: here’s to Mariaelena!
Paul and I had been looking forward to our visit to Italy for quite some time…we had many dreams and ideas of what it would be like. The tour we took with Amber Road and our guide Mario lived up to all our hopes and dreams. From the moment we met Mario at Florence airport he was attentive and generous with his time. We stayed in beautiful hotels and the views at Porto Roca Monterosso and Il Convento were outstanding.
The tour was well planned with emphasis on each tour member being able to enjoy both guided and free time around the towns and cities we visited. The local guides were friendly and informative…with Mario adding his own stories about life in Italy for him.
Our driver Ubaldo was also a character to remember and drove us safely. We met interesting people on the tour and hope we added a “kiwi flavour” to the group. We are very pleased to see that Amber Roads will be conducting a tour to North Italy in 2012,,,,, you will probably see us there!!!!
I am writing to congratulate you on the wonderful Sicily tour which my husband and I have just enjoyed. This is in no small part due to the fantastic Mariaelena! Her warm and caring nature, her amazing knowledge and her love of her country are inspirational. Giuseppe, our bus driver, a consummate professional (and probably the safest driver in Italy) occasionally treated us to glimpses of his talent both as an opera singer and a comedian! The 11 day tour was well paced, with the right balance between guided tours, travel and free time. I would recommend this tour to anyone considering a trip to Sicily. Thank you, Jonathan, for your extra advice concerning other parts of our Italian holiday.
The trip was superb, stupendous!!!
Experiencing Sicily with Amber Road Tours was very satisfying. Everything that was promised was delivered. We received excellent accommodations and meals, great winery visits and of course experienced Archeological Wonders. Our specialist guides knew their subjects extremely well. Mariaelena [our tour manager] was professional in every way that matters. Through her efforts Janice and I feel that we have achieved some insight into the Sicilian culture and people far beyond the popular stereotypes we are exposed to in America. We were quite fortunate in having Ms. Ciacci as our tour guide, friend and mentor for twelve days. We will not hesitate to recommend Amber Roads to our friends and associates.
We were nervous about joining a group tour because we know Italy well and have travelled there independently often. However, this was no ordinary experience! Magnificent hotels, wonderful culinary delights, exceptional locations and a brilliant guide, all contributed to create one of our best ever holidays in Italy. The group was comprised of fantastic people who enjoyed each other’s company immensely. Amber Road Tours has designed a perfect package. Small and intimate was the theme throughout. Every detail managed brilliantly! Thank you for showing us so much more of Tuscany and Umbria. We are already looking at what Jonathan and Sonya can offer us in 2011! A più presto!
Our first trip to Italy was about three years ago, when my husband and I visited some of the major cities of Italy including; Venice, Florence and Rome. This year we decided to go back to Italy and focus on the Tuscany region, traveling off the beaten path, to experience the scenery, culture, food and wine. «Thank you!».That is exactly what we received from Amber Road Tours this year. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, the local guides in the medieval towns were very knowledgeable, the food was deliciously authentic, and we never ran out of good wine. Traveling with a small group was great and everyone was wonderful! Our tour guide, Mario, was absolutely the best! Along with performing his regular task as our tour guide, he was very informative, entertaining, and would go to great lengths to assist or accommodate the members of our tour. Mario gave 110% and helped make this tour a great success! We had a wonderful experience touring the Tuscany and Umbria regions, which is exactly what we wanted to accomplish on our second trip to Italy.
Our Sicily tour with Mariaelena and Giuseppe was a great introduction to Sicily with lots of interesting local information and detail. We could not have wished for a more knowledgeable guide and one so simpatica. Thank you ancora.
WOW!! What can I say? I have just enjoyed both tours back to back and cannot find anything but great things to say about Amber Road Tours! The planning is perfect, itineraries incredible, guides wonderful, drivers so skilled (thank goodness on those roads around Amalfi and Sicily), hotels so comfortable and interesting, local guides entertaining and educated, and the meals! Well I didn’t plan to eat all of every course but couldn’t help myself! The people on both tours from Australia, Canada and the States were great and wonderfully friendly and always included the single women on the tour! Jonathan provided so much information prior to departure with every contingency covered. Our guides, Luca and Mariaelena, were so informative, patient and entertaining and look after our needs quietly and efficiently! Nothing was too much trouble from Luca having to order 15 variations of coffee for us after dinner, including cappuccinos to Mariaelena organising a new bus for us overnight because the air conditioning wasn’t functioning as well as it should! Everything happened smoothly, quietly and efficiently!
I only wish you had tours all over the world but for anyone who really wants to experience the best possible tour of Italy I highly recommend Amber Road Tours!
Thanks again for the perfect tour. They just seem to get better and better. I especially liked the time we spent at the wine and olive museum. Of course I fell in love with Il Convento. My daughter, Ann, kept murmuring that it was just like a movie. As usual the food was exceptional and served in wonderful settings. Thanks for the lovely cocktail hour in Spoleto. It was great to see you both again and also to have Luca to make us happy and see that all went so very smoothly. I appreciated that Luca invited Ennio [world class retired driver] to visit us one evening. His replacement driver is very good, steady and helpful. Another thing I like about your tours is the good variety of life to experience. Hope to see you again.