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.
Comments Leave a comment
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.
I want to thank you for the great tour. I liked everything about it. The places we visited, the hotels we stayed in, the restaurants we ate in all were what I hoped they would be. If I were to pick my favorite places on the tour, they would be Matera and Ostuni. I did not want to leave either. The tour manager Luca is great at his job. He handles all types of personalities very well, is enthusiastic and has a great sense of humor. The local guides were all an asset to the tour. I particularly liked Giampaolo whom we saw repeatedly (Trani, Otranto, Alberobello). Again, thank you for the great tour.
Just a short thank you for creating such a wonderful tour of Italy. Often, after being away for a couple of weeks you are ready to head home. However, after our two weeks with Amber Roads we were not ready . . .leaving San Gimignano for the airport we wished, instead, that we were heading for our next village and another great adventure with Mariaelena and Giacomo. She was a real highlight of the tour and Giacomo was always ready with his personal observations . . both were real delights. The times you guys spent with us made the tour that much better. We could not have had a better experience for our first trip to Italy. Hopefully, your Sicily tour will be our next opportunity to join you . . but returning for the Tuscany/Umbria is really tempting. Thanks again for such a memorable tour . . .
I loved the tour, an opportunity to see quite a different part of Italy. You guys do such a great job. It was great to have Luca once again as our tour guide. He interacts so well with clients even when we try to teach him some of the Australian vernacular!!!
I loved Ravello, a lovely hotel with gorgeous views and opportunities to visit Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo in our free time. I was trying to pinpoint which place I enjoyed the most – amazing Matera, Trani and its Norman cathedral, Gallipoli, Ostuni and all the side trips. They are all so different which adds to the magic of the tour. You have the right formula for showing us the “other” Italy. Ciao…
Thank you for our second excellent Amber Road Tour. Our time in Lucca with the morning’s first cappuccino and the historic district’s ambiance was only the beginning of a great tour. Then there were the Carrara marble quarries followed by the Cinque Terre hike and the boat trips to San Fruttuoso, Portofino and Santa Margherita on that incredibly blue sea. The outstanding outdoor dinner in Pistoia at Le Botte Gaia with its beautifully lit old world atmosphere was unforgettable. Many thanks to Mario for his ability to always keep things running smoothly, for his sense of humor and providing individual attention to everyone on the tour. He always made a good time even better! Thanks for many great memories.
An incredible experience! As the tour ends, I wanted to thank you all and most particularly our wonderful guide Maria Elena and our astounding driver Vincenzo for a superb time. Sicily is a magical place, with its mix of cultural influences, terrains, foods and archeological wonders. But what makes the tour even more magical is the easy pace that still provides ample time to soak in the sites, yet time to explore, rest or recharge on our own. I cannot say enough good things about my Amber Road experience. Sufficed to say I am already checking my calendar to make time for my next Amber Road adventure.
We just came home from our second Amber Road Tour and once again we are singing your praises. We could not have asked for a better guide to Sicily than Mariaelena. She is smart, sweet, funny and attentive. She makes everyone feel that being a tour guide isn’t a job but her passion. Somehow you manage to attract individuals to your tours who are compatible with each other. There were participants from Australia, New Zealand and all parts of the U.S. and we all got along well and enjoyed each other. We love the balance between organized touring time and time on our own. Ditto with the meals. We thought that the meals that were included were very special (too much food, but special) and we loved finding our own little trattorias on the nights when meals were not included. In each city we visited, the local guides spoke English very well and were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what they were showing us. You provide a unique, small group touring experience that we think is perfection. We saw many other tour buses that were the same size as ours but had double or even triple the number of participants. Bravo to you for keeping the groups small and personal. Herb, who as you may recall, hated bus trips with groups, has loved both of the Amber Road Tours. Thank you again for all you do to make these trips so special. Also thanks again to Mariaelena – she is a gem!
Excellent time. Fantastic experience. Mariaelena Ciacci just perfection – efficient and knowledgeable and interested and interesting. The local guides also very good. Wonderfully organized. Thrilled that you took care of all local guides so that we would not spend any time wondering about tipping, etc. Loved that there was no hustle for shopping or going to specific restaurants. Will recommend you highly and wish you were in more countries! THANK YOU!
Our recent trip to Tuscany/Umbria with Amber Road was one of our best travel experiences ever–all we had hoped for and more. The back roads and small hillside towns of both areas afforded us spectacular landscape vistas and wonderful examples of the art, culture, and history of the country. Our guide, Mariaelena, was the most delightful tour guide we have ever had with a sparkling personality and wonderful sense of humor. She was a fountain of knowledge about everything Italian: history, culture, politics, food, wine and people. What a gem she is! She and our driver Giacomo were attentive and considerate at all times. We were amazed at the bounty of food and wine offered at the included lunches and dinners, and all of it delicious. The hotels we stayed in were also outstanding and a marvelous change from the ordinary European hotels. A few people have asked me if Tuscany was like what they had seen in the movies and I can only say, “It’s much better, you should go!” Thanks to Amber Road for offering such a great travel experience.
We really enjoyed your tour. When we were in San Gimignano, our last day there, looking out on the beautiful Tuscan landscape from our balcony window, Bob said “this has been the best trip I have ever taken, and I don’t want to go home”. Believe me, that’s a lot coming from Bob Jackson. We enjoyed seeing you and enjoying your hospitality in Spoleto. That was special having you there three days. You really impressed our tour group, which incidentally was a wonderful group. Again, we congratulate you and thank you for all you do for your guests on your tours.
I’m sure you have received emails from everyone who was on our Tuscany & Umbria tour in May describing how delighted they were with the tour. I too wanted to pass on my warm thanks to each of you for providing me with such a wonderful touring experience. The professional, courteous and kind service you provided was second to none. I don’t think I have ever experienced such a wonderful tour or such a great bunch of people on my travels! I have only great things to say to my family and friends about this wonderful tour and the time I spent in Italy seeing and experiencing the beautiful quaint villages and cities. I can see why you love this place and call it home.
I would like to say a special thank you to Luca and Ennio for your professionalism, knowledge and humor on the tour – it was just great! Your team has thoroughly spoilt me for any other tour I will do, as they will have to live up to some very high standards!