I just wanted to take a minute to thank the both of you for the wonderful time we had in Italy this past September. The tour itinerary was well put together and offered a very nice variety of activities for us. The size of the group (and the quality of the participants!) was perfect, and we genuinely felt sad to leave. We also felt very well taken care of by Mario, our guide: he was funny, good-natured, and consistently went out of his way to make our travels more pleasant. I should also mention our driver for much of the trip, “Zio” Alfredo, who we found to be a kind and extremely patient man. My favorite place was Lucca because of its (medium) size and fascinating history; my traveling companions preferred the Cinque Terre because of the views and relaxing atmosphere. But every place we visited was grand in its own way…and, of course, the food was always fantastic. The wine and olive oil tasting events were also quite a highlight. Thanks again for putting together such a nice tour!
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Your Amber Road Tour in September to Tuscany/Liguria could not have been done any better. From our timely pick up at the train station in Lucca upon arrival to our safe delivery to the Florence airport for departure, from wonderful accommodations at all three locations, delicious food, abundant and excellent wines, to the superb local guides we could not have been more impressed or better served. But unreservedly our greatest praise goes to Mario, are constant companion, our fearless leader, our source of constant entertainment. His exuberance for life and constantly cheerful demeanor made this trip, this vacation immeasurably rewarding and immensely enjoyable. Many thanks to you & Sonya, and the wonderful people who are privileged to work with you.
I know you want comments on ways to make the tours better and I have really tried to find suggestions for improvements…but I can’t! Everything about the Tuscany-Umbria tour was perfect. Luca was a wonderful guide, hotels were excellent, food was delicious, our traveling companions were lots of fun and the variety and pace of the tours and sites visited was just right! I would do it all again in a heartbeat!
It was a pleasure to finally meet both of you in Spoleto. I had a fantastic time on this trip. The quality of hotels and restaurants were excellent. Our guide, Mario, was so charming and had us laughing every day. He even fixed my watch. What a guy! We all wanted to take him home with us. Carmelo, our driver, was very professional and made us feel so safe on this trip. He always greeted us with a warm smile. Thank you so much for giving me a memorable trip and I look forward to taking another Amber Road Tour soon.
Words are simply not sufficient to describe how amazing the Tuscany/Umbria tour was to me. It was everything I had hoped it would be, and so much more! For many years I dreamed of visiting the small towns in Tuscany to experience the Italian culture first-hand. You helped make this dream a reality. For 13 wonderful days I enjoyed spectacular panoramic views, outstanding foods and wines, charming accommodations, lovely hill towns, and the most congenial group of people I could ever have hoped for. Add to that our adorable and gracious Ennio and our intrepid leader, our prince of Umbria, Luca, and it was pure perfection. The only downside of our tour was that it will be nearly impossible for any future tours I may embark upon to measure up. Mille grazie a tutti!
It has been a month since we returned from our trip and we are still singing your praises. We have told everyone about Amber Road Tours and how you have tweaked the itinerary to make it absolutely marvelous. The real tribute to your planning is that:
1. Herb HATES group tours – we have always driven ourselves through Italy, Spain, Ireland etc. BUT he LOVED this tour.
2. We will definitely take another Amber Road Tour…..and believe me that speaks volumes.
We have great appreciation for what it takes to select these wonderful hotels, create an exciting yet relaxing itinerary and keep the price manageable. Thank you for everything. It was perfection.
We rate the April 2008 Tuscany / Umbria tour 10 out of 10! Wonderful towns and villages, hotels, food, wine and an excellent, safe and full of fun driver in Ennio helped make the 13 days so memorable and enjoyable. But best of all was enthusiastic and bubbling Maria. Her love of Tuscany was so powerful and infectious that it rubbed off on all of us. Her vast knowledge of history, culture and language was remarkable. She is a delightful, helpful and caring young woman and an absolute gem!!!!
Once again – THANKS FOR A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your tours seem to be unique and I wish you did them in a few other places as it is easy to find small group adventure tours (not for us) or specific interest (too single minded) but yours gives lots of breadth and interest and plenty of opportunity for additional exercise which meant we could get away from the crowds to some very special and quiet parts of the towns. And we just loved Maria Elena. She was so caring and knowledgeable in every way, not domineering but firm when needed, and lots of fun. She is a treasure.
We loved our tour of beautiful Tuscany-Umbria in April. You have put together an amazing tour, great hotels and the best tour guide – Maria Elena. She is so knowledgeable and great fun. We all loved her. It was so nice to be part of a small group and to be able to see all the back roads and out of the way places as well as the great cities. It was a pleasure to meet you both and we wish you every success at Amber Roads.
We have such fond memories of our trip and want to thank you again for making it so wonderful. The cities were great, the food was wonderful and the wine was even better. As usual, Luca was the perfect tour guide. You have really spoiled us with the past two trips to Italy — now we can never be satisfied with another tour guide!!
Because this was our first time in Italy, we didn’t want to have to plan our entire itinerary, find accommodations, rent a car, etc. Being on a large coach with 40 other people and staying at a different hotel each night was not an option we were willing to consider. We researched as much as possible on the Internet and typed in “small group tours in Italy” under Google. What a hit when Amber Road Tours came up – it seemed to offer the perfect itinerary and group size. The very best part of our tour was having Mario as our guide. His knowledge of Italy, passion for life, and fantastic sense of humour was infectious. Each day we were excited about what adventure he would take us on. We can’t say enough about our trip! Consider us your unofficial Canadian representatives for Amber Road Tours.
Thank you for another wonderful tour in Italy. This was so very different from other regions and other experiences. The Amalfi coast is so beautiful! And Puglia and Basilicata! The people were so unassuming and quietly gracious. The ancient towns so lacking in recognition and so far removed from “globalization”. The customs so ingrained in the people and the culture so rich in tradition. It was so nice to see a part of Italy lacking in the hustle/bustle, high fashion pressure and still taking siestas without fail. I like the fact that we got to dip our toes in three different seas. Our accommodations were, as always, just great. Of course, Luca did his usual excellent job of taking care of us and endlessly correcting our Italian. Jean Paul, our city guide, with his flailing arm gestures, his pacing back and forth and his vast knowledge of the history and politics of the area will never be forgotten. You two do such a great job of putting these tours together.
We have been home for a week now and find with the many times we are asked how was our holiday, that your Italy tour was the stand out time of the many wonderful places we visited and experiences that we had. The location and hence the atmosphere of the accommodation you choose for the tour adds so much to the whole experience.
I recall when we first met at Firenze, that you said if we like good food and wine that we will enjoy this tour. That turned out to be so true, along with a good deal of history. With the fortune of being part of a great group of 15 people from around the world that got on so well we would say we had a great time. We can’t express the satisfaction we got from our time with your tour. So thank you again!!
It seems incredible that 3 weeks ago we were in Tuscany. Full marks for the best tour. It was superbly organised & we have to hand it to you. Your choice of itinerary was excellent – how much more pleasant to go to some of the smaller, less well known towns than always the better known towns filled with large tourist groups who don’t, in my opinion, get to see the “real” Italy. The hotels were well-chosen, very comfortable & always in a good location within easy walking distance of many of the local sites & shopping areas. The view from our balcony in the Hotel La Cisterna in San Gimignano had a view to die for. And oh how I miss the Tuscan/Umbrian food… I am totally hooked – please don’t forget to send me recipes, Sonya! The restaurants we were taken to (as well as the ones Luca suggested when we were on our own) were unbelievably good. The joys of a small tour group is that one can go to the family owned & run restaurants. Luca, with his delightful sense of humour which he never let slip despite our endless teasing, is a first class tour manager, very interesting & very knowledgeable. He is never too busy to deal with any situation or offer advice. Ennio is a wonderful man & excellent driver, always cautious & seems to have endless patience. We were also blessed with wonderful weather & could not have asked for a nicer (& more fun) group of fellow travellers. We enjoyed meeting both of you & hope we shall see you again some time. Your Amalfi itinerary is enticing. I am very keen on doing this tour next year or the following. I do hope Luca will still be the tour manager. Thank you for the wonderful time we had. Wish we were back there now. Look forward to our next Amber Road Tour.
It’s been a week since returning from the tour and the wonderful memories keep going through my mind in sounds and pictures. Now I understand why people fall in love with Italy. The countryside is so beautiful, as are the people one meets along the way. The itinerary you planned was so unique and interesting and took us into beautiful hotels and local restaurants with great food and wine. The small group allowed us to get to know each other and what a great group of people – and what fun we had together!
Our guide Mario was the BEST! He was not only attentive to our needs and very informative, but so charming – and funny. We looked forward to his morning information on the schedule and his stories along the way as we traveled in a very comfortable bus. Being with a small group was absolutely the best way to go. To be able to see Tuscany through the small towns and walk through the countryside was very special for me. Thank you so much for giving me a memorable trip to Tuscany.
Our heartfelt thanks for organizing such a superb Tuscany/Umbria Tour (May 3-15/2007). Your local knowledge was certainly evident with your well thought out itinerary, and your choice of delightful accommodation and wining and dining experiences for the group. Luca, as our tour escort was a sheer joy. We appreciated Ennio’s capable driving and the fun he and Luca had together as we traveled along was infectious. Meeting you both in person made the Tour even more special for us.
We are so glad you included in the Tour a guided visit to the Torgiano Wine and Olive Oil museums, where, besides learning about the beginnings of both these industries, were able to view, from only cm. away, priceless ancient Etruscan and Roman artifacts, all beautifully displayed.
Top marks Jonathan and Sonya All in all you have given us the best quality tour we have ever had. Thank you again.
Jim and I have been home almost a week and we are still enjoying our Italy trip so much that it seems to be the vacation that keeps on giving. We visited places we would never have thought of or known about and learned so much more about Italy and her history. Thanks again for a wonderful vacation in Italy…..you two are very good at what you do.
I need to tell you what a wonderful and fun holiday I had while in Tuscany and Umbria. I read some of the comments of other participants with your tours and just can not come up with an original thought. I have to say that I agree with every positive comment made. It was the best time and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of it all. I will be looking forward to seeing what you put together for the Amalfi Coast and hopefully that will be something I can plan for in the future. All the care and attention you put into the tour comes shining through. Thank you for making possible such a wonderful experience.
…what cherished memories!! We were so fortunate to have such delightful travel companions however the trip could not have been such a success without your organizational skills, thoughtful tour selections and attention to detail – a credit to you both. As we said on departure it was a pleasure to meet you, to have experienced the professionalism and kindness of Luca and to have enjoyed the happy company of Ennio. Thank you all sincerely for such a wonderful holiday.
Thanks for the best trip we have ever taken. The itinerary and accommodations were excellent. Sometimes you have to wait until you get home to realize how good a trip was but we knew day to day yours was the best. We would love to take another one of your tours and will stay in touch. Thanks for all the good memories.
My Husband and Myself have just returned from travelling with Amber Road Tours for the second year in a row. Once again the Tour [Tuscany-Liguria] was wonderful. Well organised, with still enough private time to make the tour work. All the accommodations were excellent and in areas close to the centre of the towns. Once again the coach drivers where polite and drove extremely well sometimes on difficult roads. This time our Tour Guide was Mario, who was a wonderful happy young Man, who would be there for any of us at anytime. He had or found the answers to any of our questions, but best of all he made the whole group laugh. Thank you Jonathan and Sonya for your wonderful tour and we hope to join you again next year for the 3rd in a row.
Just wanted to let you know we had one of the best vacations ever with you this past month. The food was one of the highlights!!!. The restaurants that you chose and the menus we had were great. We thought our group was a great mix of fun and interesting people and certainly added to the intimacy of the trip. The towns, tours, and tour guides were terrific as well. We especially liked the Olive Oil Museum. We thought that Luca was well informed and extremely helpful throughout the tour. His sense of humor was refreshing. We like the fact that he took the time to try and help us understand Italian culture and language. Ennio was equally enjoyable, helpful and entertaining – he is an expert bus driver!! Thanks again for a fantastic vacation.
We have been home well over a week and can not stop talking about our trip to Tuscany/Lazio. We keep rereading our itinerary and remembering all of the places we visited. I cannot say enough about what a terrific tour you put together. We enjoyed the small towns so much, especially Pienza. The view from our bedroom window was unbelievable. One of the attached pictures of the valley covered in fog was taken from our window. We learned so much about the Etruscans and enjoyed the historical parts of the trip very much. The day we walked across the bridge to Civita di Bagnoregio was almost a spiritual experience. I would not have been surprised to see a winged dragon fly across the valley, it was so amazing. The cooking class with Enrico was so much fun. And of course enjoying the luncheon we had prepared was wonderful. I must tell you that what made the trip so memorable was the excellent service provided by our tour guide Maria Elena. She is a remarkable young woman. Smart, she knew her history of the places we visited so well. Charismatic, she seemed to know someone every place we visited, and they were all so delighted to see her. Maria took such good care of us, always making sure we were fine when we went solo for awhile. She patiently explained menus every day to us, encouraging us to try something new, like the wild boar, which I loved. The day we went to the medieval festival was something I never expected to see. The costumes and pageantry all so authentic, and the whole town involved. We had so much fun that day and the food and wine were great. We always felt welcome, never like a tourist or outsider, and I know it was because of Maria and her charming personality. It was like traveling with your best friend who wanted to make your visit a trip to remember all of your life. I also want you to know what a great driver and nice person Davide is. He was always so attentive to his driving and made us feel so safe. He would always jump out of the bus to give us a friendly hand out or help us in. We really enjoyed his company too. He took George and Joe out for an after dinner grappa one night which all the men enjoyed. So all that is left to say is thank you very much for sharing Tuscany with us. We will never forget this trip. We both hope to be able to take another one of your tours in a couple of years. It was so nice of you and Sonya to meet up with us on the tour at the museum and visit over lunch. We wish you much success for the future, you have a great company.
Having travelled a lot all over the world I can honestly say that this trip was one of the best I have ever taken. I was a bit afraid to join this “mostly couples” tour but it worked out pretty well. Tuscany and Umbria are two little jewels under the Italian sky.
I just loved the hilly countryside with those romantic little churches surrounded by elegant cypress trees. The many small towns we visited were as varied as the landscape and each had a charm on its own. Jonathan and Sonya made a fabulous choice of selecting excellent hotels and restaurants. We were lucky to have with us two incredible people: Carmelo, a friendly and patient driver, and our sweet Maria Elena, whose knowledge of Italian culture and history made this tour a memory for life.
The trip was fabulous, Maria Elena and the group made it a 13 day party and we loved every minute of it!