Many thanks from both Marjorie and myself for our recent wonderful tour of Tuscany. You have an excellent operation combining local knowledge and contacts with itineraries and hotels carefully chosen to appeal to everyone and we enjoyed every minute. The small numbers make all the difference and we had a great group and enjoyed meeting everyone on tour as well as you and Sonya at the end. Once again thank you for the assistance and a superb tour – hope to try another one someday!
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Our “Week in Tuscany” was an amazingly beautiful journey through the hill towns and countryside of Tuscany, led by our incredible guide, Mariaelena. A native of the area, with a wealth of information about local history, culture and social issues, Mariaelena shared so much with us, from Etruscan ruins to towering fortresses, to local wines and Tuscan food specialties. She introduced us to her friends: chefs, shopkeepers, wine makers and craftsmen. She provided maps so that we could explore the classic towns on our own, as well as suggestions for sampling the regional cuisine at local restaurants–all this with tremendous warmth, an irreverent sense of humor and irresistible enthusiasm. Our small and diverse group of travelers came from several different countries, and we bonded quickly. We cannot imagine a more creative or comprehensive exposure to the many wonders of Tuscany. Our travel arrangements were beautifully planned and organized, our coach very comfortable, and our driver, Carmelo, skilled and charming. Our lovely hotels in Pienza and San Gimignano, with terraces overlooking the Tuscan hills, were unforgettable, and our shared meals delightful. Our final celebration–a memorable and delicious dinner, with Mariaelena and tour directors, Jonathan and Sonya, ended with laughter, tears, hugs and grappa! We were sorry when the tour ended (but grateful for the well-organized transfers to Florence) and hope to travel again with Amber Road Tours, knowing we would, once again, have an adventure to remember for the rest of our lives. With our profound thanks and best wishes.
Anticipation and expectation often outweighs the actual event – not this time! The week I spent in Tuscany with Amber was everything I could have hoped for and more. The itinerary had been carefully put together, wonderful places to visit, lovely accommodation and plenty of free time to soak up the atmosphere. Our tour guide Mariaelena was a gem, a fount of knowledge always imparted with a smile and peppered with little anecdotes. She went out of her way to make sure that we enjoyed ourselves, not only recommending great restaurants, but providing specialities of the region for us to taste. Carmelo our driver, ever smiling, always ready to find just the right spot for our ‘kodak’ moments, and driving us on beautiful, if somewhat narrow routes with consummate skill. Thank you Amber, the holiday maybe over, but the memories are not!
I wanted to write and let you know what a fantastic time I had on my Week in Tuscany Tour. This was my first trip to Italy and my first time ever taking an organized tour and I can tell you that it definitely will not be my last! The whole experience right from the start was great, from my communications with you when we were planning the trip all the way to the transfer to the airport in Pisa for my flight home. Everything about the tour was so well organized and thought out and I feel so fortunate to have had Mariaelena as my tour guide and Carmelo as my driver. The size of the tour was just about perfect as well, the group was large enough to be diverse and small enough to allow us flexibility and the ability to eat as a group at some amazing restaurants and visit some great vineyards. I think one of the best testaments to what a great time we all had on this tour was the dinner on the last night with you and Sonya. Even when we finally got back to the hotel, we still lingered in the piazza for a while not wanting it to end. I cannot thank you enough for making this trip everything I hoped it would be and I am already thinking about taking another tour with Amber Road Tours. Ciao!
The Week in Tuscany tour itinerary was well planned with plenty of free time, wonderful food, and great accommodations in central locations that lent to day trips into the countryside to visit other villages. And for the photography enthusiast – it was the best. We had a wonderful group of fellow travelers coupled with the best guide, Mariaelena, who made sure we were all well taken care of, and the trip was everything I had hoped. And not to forget our driver, Carmelo, who also helped make this experience a wonderful one! Thank you for such a quality tour.
Linda and I are finally winding down from what was one of the best trips we’ve ever had. I must say we’ve been blessed with being able to take very nice trips over the years so we have many to compare the Tuscany adventure. From my observation your management of Amber Road Tours occurs early on with the planning of the itinerary and attention to detail. What is refreshing is you appear to leave the actual day to day operation of the travel to your incredible tour guides. Linda and I have fallen in love with Mariaelena and are super biased. I cannot think of a better way to get the feel for such a beautiful area like Tuscany than by taking the back roads you so expertly defined. We got a taste of why the Tuscans are so proud of their incredible valley(s). We were treated to the outstanding food and drink of the area. By staying three nights in the wonderful establishments you chose we were not hassled with excessive packing and unpacking. I know I left something out because you covered all the bases and there’s nothing to suggest making the trip better. You can rest assured we will recommend Amber Road Tours to everyone we know that is going to visit Italy.
What a trip we had in Tuscany/Liguria! The itinerary, the accommodations and the food were great!! Kudos to Mario for being so very attentive to our every need. He is a lot of fun and really kept things going like clockwork. We were really impressed that he got up at 4:30 AM to make sure we got our early morning taxi to the Florence airport. Now that we know firsthand the quality of trips that you offer, we will not hesitate to recommend Amber Road Tours to our friends and relatives. Thanks so much for putting together exactly the kind of trip we enjoy so much.
Quite simply, it was a wonderful trip. This was my sixth trip overseas which involved a tour, and this one was simply the best. We liked the small group, the high quality of food and lodging, the varied destinations, and our tour manager Mario. He had personal contact with each person in our group every day, and worked hard to ensure that we were comfortable and that our needs were met. It was also important to us that we had free time to exercise, shop or simply decompress at a cafe with a bottle of wine. Thanks again for helping us to have such a great vacation.
I am writing to thank you for the great tour of Tuscany and Umbria I attended in late May. The scenery and sights were spectacular as is expected of Tuscany and Umbria, but add to that the great small hotels, small tour group size, great food and, last but not least, probably the best tour leader on earth! Mariaelena is phenomenal. (You could have her lead us on a tour of the Cloaca Maxima in Rome and we would probably enjoy it.) This was the second Amber Road tour that I have taken and I loved both. Besides a great tour concept, the tour leaders of each, Mariaelena in the most recent and Luca in the Amalfi Apulia tour, are a huge asset and big part of the success of the tours.
We experienced beautiful scenery, historic and delightful medieval and renaissance towns, amazingly situated and extremely comfortable accommodation. Our group meals were wonderful with the very best of some great Italian red wines (not only we two “token” Aussies but even Marie – a white wine drinker – were converted.) The wonderful “mother hen” Mariaelena interestingly passed on the history and culture of the region and at times the language- who will mispronounce bruschetta and Michelangelo again!. All of the above were important, but it was the people who really made the trip an unforgettable experience. Firstly Mariaelena- her individual attention and genuine interest in, and care taken of every member of the group was exemplary. We will always have fond memories of her warm manner and her expertise as our tour leader. She was more than ably supported by our affable Tuscan driver, Giacomo. It was also great to meet up with the company principals, Sonya and Jonathan both at Spoleto and at our farewell dinner in San Gimignano. Their warm welcome and hospitality complemented their superbly organised itinerary. Finally our fellow travelers- it was indeed a pleasure to meet and enjoy the company of some special people from the US and Canada. In summary it was a fantastic tour, extremely well planned and coordinated with more than a touch of luxury. Perhaps our waistlines were the only things to suffer!
We have been to Italy various times, always on our own. This time we decided to go with a group to learn more about the country and (let’s be honest) take away some of the hassles of traveling on your own. It was a great decision. We had a wonderful time visiting many small out of the way locations. During the twelve days we spent touring we saw and did more than we would have been able to do traveling by ourselves over twice that amount of time. All was first class from the hotels to the restaurants and guides. It was all a very personal experience. Our driver, Giacomo, was outstanding, going out of his way. Mariaelena’s love for her Italy was infectious. I honestly don’t think she ever rested trying to help our entire group day and night. An outstanding trip. We likely will do another trip with Amber in the near future.
Thank you once again for a wonderful Italian experience. We wondered how the tour to Amalfi Puglia would compare to the Tuscany Umbria tour we enjoyed last year and it didn’t disappoint. Different but just as interesting, we enjoyed the varied landscapes of the south, from the spectacular seaside vistas of the Amalfi Coast to the authentic fishing village of Trani. The food everywhere, from buffalo mozzarella to tomatoes to local seafood, was amazing: simply prepared and full of flavour. And Rob’s still talking about” filling up” at the wine pump he saw at our tour of the Primitivo winery. Other highlights were a harrowing local bus ride along the Amalfi Highway, the majestic temples at Paestum and our late night seaside romantic dinner of fresh mussels and pasta in Gallipoli. Thanks to the multi-talented Luca (guide, translator, comedian), the trip went off without a hitch. Thanks too for the Rome recommendations. We loved the Villa Borghese and were very impressed with the Vatican guide you recommended. We hope to see you next year in Sicily.
Many thanks for our wonderful tour of the Amalfi Coast to Puglia. On a scale of 1 to 10 this was a 20 – superb in every way. The small group, personal attention, fabulous itinerary, charming Luca with his sparking personality, infinite patience and incredible knowledge of all things…… We didn’t want to come home. Now we are planning a second tour with Amber Road.
I have travelled extensively throughout northern Italy, and your tour was a great way to see Puglia, a part of Italy that is less travelled and that I’d not planned to visit on my own. What makes your company a cut above others though is your attention to detail before and during the trip. Your suggestions for Naples, including the Hotel Chiaja were excellent. I also appreciated your very prompt and thorough replies to all my endless queries. Each stop on the tour was interesting and unique.
My, my, my, I am still in Tuscany in my heart and having a hard time adjusting to life back home. No one believed I would make it for two weeks, but I was not in the least bit anxious to return. I could live forever in such luxury as your tour provides. I have been to Italy many times and have never had such a lovely time. I am already planning the tour to Sicily in 2012. Due to your impressive research and the lovely Mariaelena, I have been singing your praises to anyone who will listen. Thank you for such a lovely holiday.
We had a fantastic time in Italy, everything met our expectations and we came home wanting to return… I would like to commend you both on such a well organised tour – it was the first time we had joined a group, having always done our own thing before and it was definitely worth every minute of it. The itinerary was great as was the pace, allowing us free time as well as group excursions. Mario was a very entertaining guide & made us all feel extremely comfortable. He went out of his way to ensure we all had a good time – even getting us to Milan on the right train after the tour ended! Thank you once again for all the help you gave us prior to arriving – we will certainly recommend your tours to all.
Thanks for organizing such a wonderful trip. It was very comprehensive, and the choices of hotels and restaurants were excellent. There were spectacular vistas either from the room or from the hotel terraces. The sites that we visited, the history provided by the guides, the activities in which we participated, and the food provided a very good representation of this part of Italy. Luca was an excellent tour guide. He was very personable, flexible, energetic, willing to answer questions and quick in finding substitute activities when rain or other circumstances precluded the original ones.
Many thanks for tailoring the tour to suit us-we expected to have to pay the taxi from Bari to Trani, but the driver was reluctant to even accept a tip! That’s a first for us! We enjoyed the trip – the highlights for us were Alberobello and Matera, especially because of the fantastic local guides, who made them so interesting. On this, our third Amber Road trip, the hotels were unique and comfortable. Luca was an excellent tour manager, making the whole trip fun and interesting. Hoping to travel with you again.
Thank you Jonathan and Sonya… you did it again. We really loved our second Italian tour with you. Touring the Amalfi coast and Puglia area was breathtaking and we thoroughly enjoyed the various towns in which we stayed. Claire and I never imagined we would enjoy spending a couple of nights in a Sassi cave dwelling which had been renovated to modern day standards complete with bidet. The Italian foods and local wines left their mark on my waistline, however I’m almost back to normal again. Our visits to the ruins of Pompeii, Alberobello with all its little Trulli houses, the underground grotto, the excavations and temples at Paestum, and the various churches and castles all with local guides of the areas far surpassed our expectations. Our Tour Manager Luca was brilliant as always, catering to our every need and nothing was too much trouble for him. He constantly kept us amused on the coach with his stories and updated with local information pertaining to the areas we were travelling. Your local guides in the various towns were very knowledgeable and informative in providing excellent historical information. Thanks again for our wonderful memories.
We recently returned from the tour of Sicily and unequivocally recommend Amber Road Tours. Our highest praise goes to tour leader Mariaelena — gracious, lively, informative, fair, caring, and attentive to every detail. The tour was carefully planned, well paced, and competently executed – from the beginning in Palermo, where the fusion of so many cultures took place, to the ending in the beautiful hill town of Taormina, perfect for a day of relaxation. We enjoyed the excellent small hotels, delectable group meals and the congenial company of our fellow tourists, who were open to all the new information and experiences. Sicily is a fascinating place, an island of many dimensions, landscapes, architectural styles, and a rich and varied history. The tour allowed us to sample its many aspects with outstanding local guides, our skillful and kind driver, Vincenzo, and the wonderful Mariaelena who has a passion for Italy and her work as guide. For people who don’t usually take group tours, this small and well designed tour is the best.
Thank you so much. We really enjoyed our Sicily trip and are telling everyone about it and also what a great job Amber Road does. Mariaelena was a pure joy. We are looking forward to a trip with you to Tuscany and Umbria.
We were delighted to join Amber Road again this year for the Sicily tour. Once again the tour exceeded our expectations. We would certainly recommend your tours to anyone interested in experiencing an exceptional small group tour in Italy. We were especially impressed with your tour leaders. Mariaelena on this trip and Mario on the Tuscany/Liguria trip were both outstanding. Your choice of hotels, schedule, content and attention to detail made for an enjoyable and unforgettable trip. We’re looking forward to our next Amber Road Tour. Thanks for a wonderful time.
I was lucky enough to be part of this fall’s Amber Road Amalfi/Apulia tour and my New Year’s resolution was to send my thoughts about the tour to you. I have only positives things to say about it. Luca is a wonderful tour guide: very responsive and helpful and good natured. He’s a gem. The local guides were also good. I especially enjoyed Giampaolo who had a really charming way of imparting his extensive knowledge of the places he guided. The hotels and the food were all first rate. The smallness of the group was also a big plus. We got to know everyone easily, getting around seemed so simple and it allowed us to stay in some really wonderful small hotels. And we were taken to a number of places that I would love to return to: Matera, Lecce, Ostuni, Trani. I guess I could go on and on, but I want you to know that I have already recommended Amber Roads to a two different people who are contemplating travel to Italy. And I’d like to also thank you, Jonathan, for recommending Santa Maria in Trastevere as a place to stay in Rome at the start of our trip. What a great place! Thanks so much.
Even after several months, Peggy and I still think fondly of our most memorable Amber Road Tour. It’s difficult to decide what we enjoyed the most. Certainly the charming, helpful, lovely Mariaelena, our leader, is near the top of the list. But so are the beautiful hotels, and the marvelous dinners and lunches. Our companions were most companionable. You chose the most lovely, sometimes unique, spots in all of Italy for this tour. We heartily recommend Amber Road Tours to anyone interested in small group travel, carefully and thoughtfully arranged, to the villages of Tuscany and Umbria.
You have arranged a very nice tour. The hotels were great, especially the locations right in the center of the old parts of town. I like the way the tour was conducted—Luca provide a short orientation tour, then we had time to explore the towns, followed by the official tour guide. Again, thanks for a wonderful tour.