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.
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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.
Thanks for the fascinating newsletter… brings back many fond memories. I have been singing Amber Roads praises! It was an awesome trip. Thanks for the first class adventure.
Barbara and I wanted to let you know what a fabulous time we had in Sicily. Mariaelena was a fantastic host/tour manager and the various guides we had throughout the tour were excellent. We were all seasoned travelers, having done our share of travelling with various tour companies and I believe that Amber Road Tours belongs in the top three (as good or better than TAUCK). We chose this tour to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and we were not disappointed. The small size of this tour (14 good wine drinkers) made it manageable for all of us as and gave everyone an opportunity to get to know each other. The sights that we visited were well chosen, the restaurants were excellent, and the hotels were terrific. I forgot to mention one very important person, our bus driver. What a pleasant, patient and helpful person. Hopefully, we will be able to do another Amber in the near future. …..and thank you for letting us taste the many bottles of wine we consumed at the many restaurants.
Myron and I thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Sicily. Mariaelena is a wonderful, caring tour director. We couldn’t have asked for anyone better! She is so informative, has a terrific personality and is a delightful woman. The itinerary is perfect and we learned so much about Sicily and its history. The local guides, especially Laura in Palermo and Luigi in Agrigento and at Villa Romana, were most informative and interesting. And we can’t say enough about Giuseppe, our driver! He did his utmost to make our travels comfortable. Thank you for your help in arranging our stay on the Amalfi Coast (which we thoroughly enjoyed) and our flights to and from Sicily. We certainly will recommend Amber Road to friends who are interested in visiting a specific region of Italy. Thanks again for a wonderful adventure in Sicily.
My wife and I have now been on 17 tours and we can honestly say that yours was the best – just perfect. The itinerary was great, well planned out and just what we were looking for. Mario was splendid. All you could require of a tour guide. His concern for each traveller was obvious. As an example, we were the last to check in at the airport at the end of the tour and had the time to watch Mario round up the people for the next tour. We had said our goodbyes well before but could see Mario load up the coach through the window. When they were all accounted for and on board we saw Mario leave the bus and come back into the airport. He knew where to find us and had only come in to once again wish us well. A small gesture but typical of his approach to his job. We wished we were going off again with him. It was great to meet you and Sonya.
This was our second trip with Amber Road and, just like the first one, it was delightful. The Amalfi Coast is much more spectacular than pictures or movies can communicate. The towns of southern Italy, from Ravello, to Trani, to Matera and Ostuni are all beautifully scenic and have fascinating history, all of which was explained by our knowledgeable local guides. The hotel in Matera, once a cave dwelling, was one of the most unusual lodgings we have had anywhere, and the town itself is unlike anything we have ever seen in our travels. We enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow travelers from, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. Just as on our trip last year to Tuscany, the meals furnished by Amber Road, and that was many of them, were outstanding in the quality of the food and wine. Fortunately, there was enough walking during the day to counteract all the seafood, pasta and gelato! Our guide, Luca, was terrific. He was personable and helpful and most of all, patient. We appreciated him immensely. The quality and service of Amber Road Tours is truly outstanding.
My sister & I were on your recent tour Sept 29th. I loved everything about it. Mario was such a great guide. With his infectious smile & great laugh, he kept us thoroughly entertained. He handled everything on the tour with ease. The first night’s dinner in Lucca was top notch. It was just the thing to get us all together. We were instantly friends with everyone from that night and throughout the entire tour. I think my favorite day was the Northern Hills Medieval Walk. It was so nice to be the only tourists, or for that matter people, throughout the hike. Mario even climbed a fence & picked figs from a tree so we could sample them fresh picked. The lunch at Corno Rosso was fantastic. They treated us like royalty. I really enjoyed the small hotels off the beaten path. The staff at Hotel Ilaria were very friendly. The view from our balcony at Porto Roca was spectacular. And I loved the banquet room at Hotel Il Convento. It was great meeting you both and enjoying a dinner together. All your research for the tour made it a first class trip.
The Tuscany/Liguria tour was exactly how I wanted to experience Italy for the first time. My decision to choose Amber Road Tours really centered around the 3 night stay in the Cinque Terre. I love the ocean but surprisingly Lucca was my favorite town. This tour was very well thought out and organized. Coming from Vegas I know a great hotel and the hotels we stayed at were very nice. I’m a roamer and I love to walk so this tour was perfect for me. Hiking the villages was great!! The other towns were equally nice to visit. Carrara was high on my list and the quietness of Il Convento in Pistoia was very relaxing. And then there’s Mario, what a great guide…so charming, funny and knowledgeable. Sonya, thank you again for researching the location of the original hotel in Rome I was going to stay at and suggesting that I change it. Amber Road Tours is a great company.
We had a great time on the tour and it was better than we expected. A few years ago we had gone on a tour but it was a much larger group and was not as well put together as your tour was. We enjoyed your hotel & restaurant choices very much. One can tell that you and Sonya take pride in your business. Luca was great and should get a medal for putting up with all the “hassling” we gave him. Thanks again for a great vacation and Sicily will be our next destination.
This was our 3rd tour of Italy and our 1st tour with you. All we can say is “Perfecto”!!! You delivered exactly what we were hoping for: small medieval towns most people don’t get a chance to visit. Your attention to detail and caring was evident throughout the tour. Furthermore, what a delight to not have to pay extra for “excursions” since all local tours and locations were included. And, of course, Mariaelena made the trip doubly exciting for us as she continually gave us an education of the history of these small towns and their local culture. Bottom line: this is the tour to take if you really want to enjoy the beauty of Tuscany. Ciao.
I wanted to tell you again how much I enjoyed the tour and the experience of Italy it offered. Everything was well planned and paced, the accommodations excellent, and the meals delicious. Already certain images are rising in my memory: valley vistas and mountain-top villages, old churches and beautiful art, long tables filled with happy tourists enjoying Italy and food and wine. And then there was Mariaelena. As you say in your website, she is lovely and charming; she is also intelligent and informed, always concerned for the well-being of her charges, and both fun and funny. In my memory I hear yet her wonderful laughter. I hope to hear it again in person on another tour somewhere down the line.
Well, here we are, back to our “real” lives and fondly thinking, and still talking, about our time with Amber Road Tours in Italy! The trip was everything we had hoped for – organized, well planned, relaxing, invigorating, and thrilling! We showed up, and you took care of everything else! Every night we went to bed with our bellies stuffed with great food and our heads stuffed with all we had learned and seen that day. We felt so well cared for by Mario (Liguria) and then Mariaelena (Umbria) – they really went out of their way to help everyone on the tour get the most from each place we visited. Their recommendations for places to eat and things to see in our “free” time made it possible for everyone to customize their experience. The time shared with the group was wonderful – we thoroughly enjoyed meeting people with similar travel interests. There were lots of great conversations and laughs!
The hotels we stayed in were top notch – you’ve done an excellent job choosing the very best. The views from our windows frequently took our breath away! The group meals were an experience not to be missed. We tasted black truffles, wild boar, rabbit, guinea fowl – things we never imagined we’d eat. (Or drink – Prosecco, grappa, limoncello!) You’ve really gone all out to insure we had an authentic experience!
We fully intend to come back and continue our Italian adventures. Congrats for having such a well run company! It was a pleasure meeting you and Sonya. Charming doesn’t even begin to describe our experiences!
Bruce and I would like to thank you for the excellent planning and preparation you put into making our Tuscany/Liguria trip so memorable. Not a day goes by that one of us doesn’t begin our sentence with, “Remember when…..,” and we relive some wonderful memory of our trip. Our tour was the right balance between relaxation and activity – beautiful countryside on our Medieval Walk and the Cinque Terre, alongside the architecture and excitement of old Florence. The accommodations were top-notch (the view from our room in Monterosso was incredible!), the meals were delicious and so representative of Tuscan cuisine, and we couldn’t have chosen a nicer group of people as tour companions. Mario had everything so organized each day, and he went above and beyond to assist in any request we had. You could tell he enjoys what he does, and enjoys sharing “his Italy” with others. We are looking forward to touring again with Amber Road, and would recommend you to anyone looking for an incredible Italian experience. Thank you again for our wonderful Italian memories!
We Brits are not generally known for our effusiveness, but I would just like to thank you for a most fabulous tour of Tuscany and Umbria; fabulous food, fabulous itinerary, fabulous guide, fabulous everything! Such a seamless tour cannot happen without huge amounts of organisation and careful planning – we hope to see you in Sicily in 2011!
We can’t thank you enough for all that we experienced on our tour and we have certainly fallen in love with Italy. The small-tour experience was everything we had hoped for. We saw some less-touristy, out-of-the-way places and really got to see more of Tuscany than we would have on a regular big-bus tour. I have to tell you that breaking us up in to 3 smaller vehicles for Siena and San Gimignano was inspired. We felt like VIP’s as we were whisked up the hill past the other tourists who had to hike it. Your attention to detail and your personal philosophy that tours go on even if not full is to be commended.
We had a great tour with Mario and Carmelo. No wonder to us that you have so many repeat clients. Mario was a terrific tour director, providing many interesting facts and stories and some personal insights and vignettes about the places we visited. He was very entertaining. Carmelo was the ultimate professional driver. And the expert guides that added their knowledge to their explanations as we visited towns and wineries were also informative and entertaining. I also want to compliment you on your professionalism in the administrative area. You responded to our questions same day, and the payments and other details were handled without any problems. We think that you have a wonderful place to live: Beautiful weather, scenery that looks better than travel books and postcards, and gracious, helpful people all around. I would be happy to talk with anyone about our trip.