Regarding our trip to Sicily, we want you to know that we had the time of our lives. Our tour guide Mariaelena was the best. She was so accurate informing us of our itinerary each day. She also made sure that the single people on the tour were not left out. For example when we were on our own for some of the meals, she made sure that she came and included them. We can’t say enough about the dedication to making everyone on the tour happy by Mariaelena. Even when we passed a town our Grandparents came from, she made sure to have Julio the bus driver slow down so we could get a picture. We felt the itinerary was perfect and we saw so much of Sicily, that was great. We will definitely consider using Amber Road Tours for our future trips. Mariaelena said she is from Tuscany but she knew more about Sicily than most Sicilians living there.
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Wow is the right word for our tour in Sicily. We are a bit skeptical by nature, so it’s tough to make us happy. Amber’s Sicily tour did achieve this impossible task. Local guides were interesting to listen to, excursions were comprehensive enough yet not boring, enough time to explore and soak in everything local on our own. We’ve heard a few reports that some rooms are better than others, but we thought it was quite good enough, always in the very center of everything, great for exploring. Tour itinerary was very well thought through, we saw quite a bit of Sicily, probably all the important sights. And (very important!) probably tried all the important Sicily foods and wines! I thought I don’t like pasta… Boy, was I wrong. We were 17, from Australia, UK and US, it was a lot of fun, not sure if we ever traveled with a better group. But in spite of all the above (and I quote from one of previous comments) the main reason everything was so enjoyable was our fantastic tour guide Mariaelena. Professional, passionate, knowledgeable, efficient, funny, friendly, warm – I run out of epithets. I guess we really liked our time in Sicily.
Sicily was belissimo! The culture, the history, the food! And don’t forget the wine! The tour (our first with Amber Roads) was wonderful largely in part because of our tour guide, Mariaelena. Sure, the hotels were good with great locations , the food excellent in charming restaurants, the group amiable and fun, the bus roomy to spread out in, but it was Mariaelena that really made the trip so memorable. Well done, Amber Roads! Hope to take another ART in the future. And as they say in Sicily–Amonini!!
This was my third trip with Amber Road and, once again, I was delighted with the entire experience. Our tour guide, Mariaelena, was exceptional in knowledge, enthusiasm, and helpfulness. The itinerary, choice of sights and restaurants was excellent. Amber Road attracts a fine group of travelers. This is especially nice for a single person who was welcomed and fully integrated into the group, as I was on the two previous trips. Thanks all around, including Liz who made some special pre-tour arrangements for me which worked out wonderfully.
This was our first experience with Amber Road Tours as well as our first time in Sicily. It was an amazing trip, one of the best organized we have ever taken. We can not imagine a tour manager any better than our Saverio Renda. He was very knowledgeable, flexible, humorous, and compassionate to our needs. My husband developed a cold & Saverio accompanied us to the local “farmacia” to acquire some medicine on his free time. Saverio answered our questions, whether it be about the complicated history of Sicily or the local politics and culture. The local guides were also amazingly informative and entertaining. The sites which Amber Road included on the tour were all very interesting and some were unusual locales we probably would never had seen on our own. The Salt Pans of Trapani, the puppet show in Siracusa, and the amazing mosaics at Piazza Armerina, as well as our tour of Taormina, the winery, and our cable car to Mt. Etna will always be lasting memories. Most of all, was the wonderful comaraderie of our group. Everyone bonded in our small group of 15 and many of us will have made life-long friends. Finally, the hotels of Palermo, Siracusa, and Taormina were exceptional. We will never forget the extensive breakfast buffets to prepare us for our days a foot. The local restaurants that hosted our group dinners were also feasts fit for kings and queens. Even dietary concerns were addressed for those who required them, like my husband. The trip was fabulous and we can attest to the detail oriented practices of Amber Road!
This was our first trip with Amber Road Tours. There are so many wonderful things to say about our tour. The itinerary that Amber Road put together was great. We saw such wonderful cities and towns with so much history that was passed on to us by wonderful local guides. It was amazing. The hotels were very good and all centrally located. All of the included meals planned by Amber Road were excellent. Our bus driver, Angelo, was great. He was an excellent driver and kept us all safe throughout our journey. Our final thoughts about our trip is about our fantastic tour director Aldo – well organized, full of knowledge, funny and a caring person to all of us. He is a great asset to Amber Road Tours.
This was our first experience with Amber Road Tours. We had been looking for small group tours of Sicily with a somewhat extensive itinerary and Amber Road Tours really came through for us. We had a group of 15 people who had traveled before and everyone got along extremely well. We were pleased with the itinerary, the towns and historical sites visited, the restaurants and the hotels. We stayed at each hotel at least 2 nights and traveled in a comfortable full-sized touring coach which allowed our small group to spread out for a relaxing trip. Nothing was rushed. We had a very good mix of planned excursions, included meals and free time. What really made this trip come together, other than the really good traveling companions, was our tour manager Saverio Renda and our driver Marcello. They both went out of their way to accommodate our every need. We couldn’t have asked for more. The individual excursion tour guides in each of the towns visited were exceptional as well and Saverio did a very good job of coordinating everything so that we didn’t skip a beat. Bravo to Saverio and the Amber Road Staff for an experience that my wife and I will never forget.
This was a wonderful trip, made especially so by the warm friendliness, knowledge and helpfulness of our guide, Saverio. He told us in great detail about the culture, local history, mythology, and geography of the land as we drove through it, bringing alive its beauty and multi-layered past. There were several medical problems within out group, and Saverio responded to each with compassion and professionalism. The driver, Marcello, navigated the windy, twisty roads with caution and vigilance — a terrific driver — and I loved overhearing, without understanding a word, his quiet chatter with Saverio, in the front of the bus, as we drove along and Saverio was not talking to the group. The places we visited were beautiful and fascinating, from the mosaics at Monreale and Piazza Armerina to Mt. Etna and the theater at Siracusa. Hotels were comfortable and well situated, with attentive staff and good breakfasts. I would recommend this tour to anyone who wants a combination of scheduled transportation and lodging, and time for independent walking.
Fantastic! Our tour throughout Sicily was quite amazing. The beautiful countryside, fabulous food, and intriguing back stories of the various towns and their history made for an adventure we hadn’t expected. From Palermo’s bustle to Segesta’s quiet dignity, through Trapani and the exotic town of Mazara del Vallo with its amazing food (one of my favorites) to another favorite, Siracusa and then on to Etna and Taormina. Plenty of things to see in between and the absolute pinnacle of the trip: Aldo and his sense of humor and knowledge base. I learned an incredible amount above and beyond what I had prepared or expected. In addition, we met fabulous people from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and our own US. I have to tell you: Amber Road Tours was an unforgettable experience.
Our tour director, Saverio, was interesting, knowledgeable, and had a wonderful sense of humor. Our coach, which was very comfortable, was capably driven by Marcello, who masterfully handled the wide variety of highways and byways of Sicily. As our cousin from Ferla told us, “If you could drive in Sicily, you could drive anywhere in the world.” Never a truer statement has been spoken!
The tour guides at each site visited were friendly, entertaining and extremely informative. All questions were fully answered by each one of them. All were very impressive in their depth of knowledge and in their ability to share it with our small group of only 15. We were glad that audio devices called “Whispers” were used so we could listen to the guides and still wander a short distance from the group in order to take photos of the many amazing wonders we saw.
The Centrale Palace Hotel in Palermo, Hotel Roma in Syracuse, and Hotel Villa Belvedere in Taormina were especially beautiful. The included daily bufffet breakfasts energized us each day for the planned tours. All of the included lunches and dinners were at wonderful restaurants with attentive staff and some of the most delicious food you will ever taste.
We found the private tour of the Palazzo Arezzo di Trifiletti in Ragusa Ibla to be very special, as was our visit to the Gambino Winery in Etna.
We witnessed Saverio’s caring personality on a number of occasions. He was particularly helpful to us in communicating with our cousins from Ferla, assisting in arranging our visit with them in Ferla. My wife was thrilled to see the home of her paternal grandfather and to spend time with her cousins.
Amber Road Tours provided us with an exceptional experience filled with lifelong memories.
My wife and I recently experienced the Amber Road tour of Sicily. We chose to travel with Amber Road because the company – especially the Sicilia tour- had been highly recommended to us. At the first gathering of our group we met fellow travelers who had come on the tour because they had had such good prior experiences with Amber. The overall guide for our particular tour was Aldo, who never ceased to amaze us with his quick wit, great sense of humor, ability to break into song at any moment and a deep knowledge of Sicilia. Aldo particularly impressed Marleen and I (apart from being a very nice man) because he took my peanut allergy so seriously. Throughout the journey he spoke to the chefs and staff and made sure that they understood the problem so that we would survive to take another Amber tour. Aldo was extremely flexible. When Marleen suggested that a few of us would like to visit the ancient Jewish quarter in Syracuse, Aldo got on the phone and within moments had organized a tour at the end of our day’s organized schedule. (Quite a few members of our group joined in.) Aldo also made us feel very special when he produced a key which opened the door exclusively for our group into several very interesting buildings, including a private, noble residence. In essence, Aldo managed to inject an element of joy and knowledge into our trip through the atmospheric venues we visited, the picturesque restaurants with glorious Sicilian foods, excellent wines, exposure to the country’s colourful history and the camaraderie Amber fostered in the members of our group. (I still can’t get out of mind the tune Volare – which all of us would break into from time to time under our esteemed conductor Aldo. The company on the trip was great: bright, interesting, from all over the map – Australia and South Africa. We always had so much to talk about. It was like travelling with good friends. The tour bus was comfortable. Our driver, Marco didn’t speak much English, but had a delightful, friendly disposition (as well as being a superb driver!). Local guides were excellent. The Amber Road Tour Office was most helpful and accommodating – and readily available – with a special mention of Liz Carr, who accompanied the group, her camera always in ready position and flawlessly made our arrangements. We miss her! In essence, Amber Road provided an excellent, high quality memorable tour and a captivating travel experience. We can’t wait for our next one.
Wow! What a great tour, and a well thought out itinerary. We heard about Amber Road’s tour of Sicily from a friend and all of our expectations were exceeded. The hotels were great, all in very convenient locations and with wonderful breakfasts. The restaurants for our group meals were excellent as well as the restaurants for dinners on our own. The people in our group were very friendly and a lot of fun. Our driver, Angelo, as well as the local tour guides were first rate. The help from the Amber Roads staff prior to our trip was very professional and efficient. However, the “icing on the cake” was our great guide, Aldo. He was very knowledgeable, very accommodating, and very, very funny and entertaining. He is a real asset to your company. We certainly will be traveling again with Amber Road.
We just completed your wonderful Sicily tour with Aldo. Our accommodations, food, local guides were excellent. The schedule was well planned leaving us welcome time on our own. We especially appreciated Aldo’s expert guidance, his flexibility, knowledge, humor and concern for our welfare. We also appreciated the timely assistance Amber Road provided us with pre and post tour reservations, transportation and information. We highly recommend the tour in particular and Amber Road in general.
We had the great fortune of running into Jonathan a year ago at a B&B in Newport, R.I. , just a few days prior to David’s open heart surgery. The brochures arrived shortly thereafter, and the we realized that there was no better time to embark on a tour to David’s grandparents birthplace after his heart healing was complete. Jonathan and his staff were very prompt in answering questions right away, and throughout, and we especially liked the fact that it was a small group tour.
There are no words we can use to describe this wonderful trip. In reading other reviews and comments, every comment I would provide is covered already! This was not only our first Amber Road Tour, but our first tour ever. And what a wonderful and wonderfully planned tour it was. The places that we were privileged to see, the placement of our hotel accommodations (stellar!), the shared meals at the chosen restaurants, our wonderful driver Angelo and of course our tour guide extraordinaire Aldo – the combination of all of the above provided us with the most remarkable visit to Sicily we could have ever imagined.
I don’t know how we would ever use another tour company, let alone be without our Aldo! His effervescence, his attitude, his helpfulness, his willingness to turn easily to Plan B (or Plan C) when Plan A didn’t seem like good timing, was done effortlessly. His humor at the dinner table and on the bus was second to none. We started coming up with “Aldo-isms” but they would be difficult to explain without his facial and hand expressions! We were thoroughly entertained from the very first meet & greet night. Our travel companions were mostly from the US, but also Australia and Canada. We all bonded wonderfully, and I feel that many will be lifelong friends now. From now on, for us it will not be “where” but “where is Amber Road Tours going?” and “where is Aldo?”.
We took the Sicily tour last month and quickly knew that all of the rave reviews by prior travelers were true. Sicily is a show in itself, but having the entertaining and wonderful Aldo as our leader was a great treat. Aldo is undoubtedly the best at what he does, and we were fascinated by his ability to be “on” at all times.
Amber Road has chosen great routes, great sites, remarkably fine hotels and tasty restaurants. This was our second Amber Road tour, and once again they assembled a compatible group of people from around the world, approximately half from the US. We all became fast friends, bound together by common feelings, the love of travel and by Aldo! It didn’t hurt that the weather during our tour was perfect. Thank you Aldo and Amber Road for a scintillating trip.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Sicily with Mariaelena. She worked very hard to keep us all informed and to liaise with guides, driver, hotels. We were very happy with the choice of hotels and restaurants. Thank you.
One of the best tours we’ve taken, and we have taken a lot. We had a wonderful group of people, 20 in total plus our bus driver Angelo and our Tour Director Aldo. Both were excellent. Aldo’ s love of Sicily and his knowledge of its people, history, and every day life added a richness to tour of Sicily. The hotels were beautiful and very comfortable, with friendly personnel, and delicious breakfasts. Also the location of these hotels were very central to the historical areas. We particularly like the fact that the last 3 nights of the trip were spent at the same hotel, in this case the Hotel Villa Belvedere in Taormina. The group meals were delicious. We would be remiss if we did not mention the great Administrative staff of Amber Road Tours. Every question was answered in a very timely manner; any concerns were quickly addressed. Bravo!! We definitely will be traveling again with Amber Road Tours.
I joined Amber Road’s Sicily tour in September. It was my third tour with Amber and it was marvellous. As we made our way around the island the wonderful legacy of Sicily unfolded before us – an incredible history of many cultures which are threaded through everything we saw and the delicious food we ate. One of the great positives of our tour was Aldo our guide – warm, funny and informative . His passionate love of Sicily was compelling. Last but not least was the vibrant mix of Australian, American, New Zealand and English fellow travellers. This tour is a must !
This was a truly wonderful trip. Aldo, our guide, was a gem. He was a bundle of fun while also being extremely well-informed. His wonderful sense of humour made every minute a joy and brought all of the travellers together in easy camaraderie. The trip was very well designed and each new place we visited brought new wonders and delights; so many that I can’t single any as a favourite. The accommodation was excellent and the food delicious. Sicily has so many treasures (not the least being Aldo) that I would recommend anyone undertake this trip. At the end of the tour, I felt I could’ve turned around and done it all again. Bravo Amber Road!
Well-chosen itinerary for the best of Sicily. Tour guide was fantastic and the group enjoyed one another’s company. The visit to the museum at Marzara del Vallo was terrific, as was the Villa Romana del Casale.
I would like to start by saying this was my first tour ever. I’ve been traveling for decades, on my own, and always grimmest at the tour groups I ran across. We’ve all seen them: a large, haggard group of people following the person with the red flag and looking like they don’t even know what country they’re in, much less what city. From the looks of them the Bataan death march would have been more fun. But having said that, our friends warned us about driving in Sicily so I knew we couldn’t do this on our own. I’m glad we took our friends advice, but even gladder that I found Amber Road Tours.
I think the factors that make A.R.T. a great experience is that they keep their groups small (ours was 19), they attract people who have traveled extensively and are open to new adventures (no whiners here), they have managed to find absolutely outstanding tour guides to conduct their trips, and last but certainly not least, no expense is spared in hotel accommodations or restaurant experiences.
And finally, what can I say about Mariaelena, our tour guide, that hasn’t already been said??? I dare you not to fall in love with her. Mariaelena looked after every need we had and still managed to spent individual time with each person on the tour. If you didn’t feel like hiking up the path to the church outside of Palmero she announced she would arrange for a taxi, or if you didn’t feel like walking to or from a restaurant in the evening, a taxi was provided. Truly, no expense was spared to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
We booked the tour with some trepidation because nobody we knew in Australia had previously travelled with Amber Road. From the first day our uncertainty vanished as we knew we were in the hands of a very professional company and tour director, Aldo. Our tour far exceeded our expectations. From the cultural and particularly the historical perspective, brought to life by highly competent and enthusiastic local guides our small group interacted enthusiastically because of their many shared interests. It is impossible to choose one location as a trip highlight as there was a constant stream of varied experiences and Aldo always seemed to produce some extra surprise. His enthusiasm, sense of humour and love of Sicily gave us an insight we could not otherwise have attained. The locations of the accommodation were well selected to allow maximum use of our spare time and the general standard of the hotels was good. The shared restaurant meals maximised our local regional cuisine experiences and Aldo always gave appropriate suggestions for independent dining. Not all travel companies place adequate emphasis on the importance of enjoying local cuisine; Amber Road fulfilled this aspect of the tour to our great delight. We will certainly consider travelling with Amber Road again.
This was our third Amber Roads Tour and as on previous tours we had a truly memorable holiday. Aldo Valero was a wonderful tour director, charming knowledgeable and very amusing. Mention must also be made of Marco our very competent driver. An absolute gentleman. Our local guides were also all special.
We loved the food and our hotels were great. We had a lovely group of people which we always find to be the case on Amber Road Tours and it was also great to have Liz from the Charleston office with us. It was also wonderful to meet again with Emily and Anthony who we knew from a previous Amber Road Tour. We hope to catch up with them again on future Amber Road Tours. We came away with an insight into Sicilian life and its amazing history that we would never have experienced had we done the trip on our own.
This was my first experience with Amber Road Tours and it was memorable trip and superb in the ways Sally, Emily and Anthony describe. Sicily’s sights and tastes are extraordinary, its cultural history and spectacular ancient ruins and monuments are really quite different from the rest of Italy. Aldo made it all come alive with his boundless energy, humor and (as Sally indicated) he made sure that every one of us was happy and comfortable. In addition to regaling us with historical descriptions, tales and cultural anecdotes, Aldo provided intelligent insight into Sicily’s current economic and social stresses. Our multi-national group of travelers were friendly and readily intermingled. Free time allowed for a variety of ad hoc explorations according to one’s choice, such as: in Palermo, a performance at the beautiful 19th century Massimo theater; in Siracusa, a visit to the fascinating archeological museum; a walking tour of the remnants of the Jewish section of Siracusa dating back to the 13th century; in Taormina, a visit to a Saracen castle above the city with lunch at a taverna overlooking Mt. Etna.
We have just returned from our wonderful Amber Roads Tour of Sicily, and are still basking in the glow! Sicily is truly fascinating, and Amber Roads does a terrific job of showing its many sides – we loved the ruins of Agrigento, Segesta and the Island of Motya, the stunning mosaics in the Cathedral of Monreale, and the charming towns of Ragusa and Siracusa, not to mention the incredible beauty of Taormina. This is our second Amber Roads tour, and we really appreciate how it achieves such a great balance – you see the sights with very informed local guides, while also discovering many hidden gems, and having time on your own to relax or explore. The trip was seamlessly managed by our wonderful guide Aldo, who is gracious, funny, knowledgeable and full of energy and love for Sicily. Together with wonderful fellow participants, he really made the tour memorable. With a small group, we never felt like we were in a herd of tourists, and we were able to wander and get to know this beautiful place. We feel like we really got to know Sicily, and want to go back for more. But first we plan to do another Amber Roads tour! Thank you for a terrific experience.