Reading through your Comments Pages, everyone, without exception, have praised their Amber Roads Tour – for the planning, the seamless organisation, the exciting time to somewhere new, the quality of the staff, the exposure to new and local foods and wines, interesting co-travellers and to the happy times they had. Our wonderful Tour to Sicily proved no exception, with all things coming together to make it an exciting and rewarding trip. As a Tour Leader, Aldo was outstanding. He is right up there with the best! We are already cruising your website to make plans for 2016, 2017, . . .
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Amber Road Tours made Sicily a dream come true for us. We’d traveled with small groups twice before (to Greece and northern Italy) and had great experiences, but Amber Road’s tour was superb. Sicily had been on our wish list for years and the more we researched it, the more of it we wanted to experience. Amber Road’s was absolutely the best and most inclusive itinerary we found. We arrived two days early and thanks to Lisa were booked into the same room in the Centrale Palace we’d have as part of the tour, so we didn’t have to move, a nice touch not offered by other tour companies. At Jonathon’s suggestion, on our first day we went to Teatro Massimo and had a terrific tour of this beautiful opera house. The next day we went to Cefalu by train, the hotel’s location made it simple, and the final tour information provided by Amber Road made it simpler still.
Our tour manager Aldo made every day a party and an adventure with no hint of the behind-the-scenes effort it takes to make everything run smoothly. Our local guides’ passion added greatly to our appreciation of ‘their’ cities and sites. And every day we were amazed at our driver Fabio’s skill as he maneuvered our 40 passenger bus up and down winding switchbacks and through spaces we’d have thought wouldn’t accommodate a VW bug (showing my age here!) Extras included three sites in Ragusa not open to the general public and a small ‘tourist eruption’ of Mt. Etna, (well, maybe the eruption wasn’t arranged by Amber Road, but it sure gave our photographs more drama.) Compatible fellow travelers, perfect weather, great hotels, delicious food, and an itinerary to die for…. we will travel again with Amber Road, that’s for sure. Picking the tour will be the only difficulty. Thanks Amber Road!
Several members of the tour have already commented about Aldo, our excellent guide, and the overall value and balance of the tour. The group itself was delightful – very compatible. I don’t think that any of us had been on an Amber Road Tour before. I appreciated being exposed to the multiple layers of historical eras and the contrasts among the cities, small towns, and countryside. Specifically, Ragusa was delightful, well worth a 2 night stay. The Roman Villa was amazing — I wish we had stayed longer there. Erice was also worth a longer stay and I wish the tour had formally included visiting the salt-museum north of Marsalla. (I did go there, on my own.) I was glad that I went 2 days early to Palermo, in order to explore the complex city. The tour could have omitted Monreale (which duplicated the mosaics/paintings in the Palatine Chapel) and instead included the magnificent Cataldo and La Martorana churches, which are located close to the hotel. Noto made an interesting contrast to Ragusa, and Syracusa contrasted with Palermo, but was much less interesting (aside from the cathedral, whose Greek columns remain prominent). Clambering around Mt. Etna was fun, but the time allotted was too short. It was nice to relax in Taermina at the end. Great trip!
This tour was better than advertised, which is a rarity in the travel business. Tour Director Saverio Renda and his driver, Fabio, both did an outstanding job and were a pleasure to travel with. The program was well planned, well organized and well executed. Most appreciated were the small size of the group (19), the later than usual morning departure times, the comfortable and well-located hotels, the knowledgeable and friendly local guides, the tasty meals, the friendly service, the sufficient free time and the absence of “extra” excursions for sale. We commend the management and staff of Amber Road and expect that they have not seen the last of us.
We had never done a tour before, thinking it wouldn’t be for us. On the warm recommendation of some friends we thought we should give it a go for Sicily. It was almost everything we expected. The itinerary was especially relevant, the organisation and timing perfect (down to the toilet stops!), and the balance of organised and free time right. A special mention to the different tour guides for the day, so knowledgable and passionate, and also Aldo with his fun, humour and insight into the culture and way of life of the Sicilian. Such rich and remarkable history ! We hope to do another tour soon with Amber Road.
Sicily was wonderful and the tour guide, local guides and bus drivers were exceptional. The pacing was perfect and the roomy bus a treat. So much to be learned about its illustrious history, peoples and the land itself. With olives , grapes , citrus, wheat, almonds, and so much more to see as we traveled the countryside …we were in awe. Aldo paced his information well, allowing time to absorb and created a relaxed and fun experience.
From beginning to end, this was a fabulous tour. Aldo was an exceptional tour leader, knowledgeable, energetic, unfailingly upbeat. The local tour guides were uniformly excellent. And the bus driver Francesco was astounding. We loved the food, the accommodations, the itinerary. The weather gods were with us so despite torrential rains in Sicily, we mostly eluded them. The layers of history in Sicily are amazing. Recommend John Julius Norwich history of Sicily before you go.
We found the tour of Sicily exceeding our expectations. Our tour manager, Aldo, was exceptional. He provided us with information about the Sicilian culture, food, and their way of life and he was also a lot of fun. The local tour guides in each area spoke English and were very knowledgeable about the places we visited. Our bus driver, was an expert. Not only did he drive carefully, he was patient and we felt very safe in his capable hands as he traversed the small roads with a big tour bus. The archeological sites we visited were without a doubt some of the best we have encountered and once again, the tour guides were experts in their field of study. This was a memorable holiday and I will be traveling with Amber Roads in the future.
The tour lived up to all our expectations and Aldo, the tour manager, provided an excellent insight to the past and present Sicilian life, food and culture. The hotels, food and transport were of a very high standard and the local guides were without exception first rate. Anyone looking for a small group tour combining archeological sites and Sicilian culture should seriously consider this trip. The amount of travel, the places visited, the spaciousness, comfort of the coach and the expertise of the driver all contributed to making our first visit to Sicily a memorable experience.
We chose this tour because it was the most comprehensive we had found to Sicily. We were not disappointed – the itinerary, the hotels (chosen for their centrality) , the meals (wine included) were really great. Our tour leader, Mariaelena, was extremely organized, informative, well paced, warm and humorous as she tried to impart the complexities of Sicilian history and mores and really went beyond the call of duty to ensure everyone had a breakfast on the day they left, even the really early starters i.e. 4am. I can heartily recommend this tour.
Having been back for a week or so and reflected on our trip – We wondered if it was worth posting – as our experiences really mirror that of all the others! We had long wanted to visit Sicily and had looked at a number of tours before deciding on Amber who had already shown us an amazing ‘taster’ in Tuscany last Autumn. I really valued the thought that had been put into the itinerary – it covered all the major sights as well as a few surprises – with a good balance of ‘structured’ and ‘down’ time, although Its not for those who want a relaxing break! A special mention for the food – every dinner was really special and it has been hard adjusting back from the four and five course menus! Mariaelena was a wonderful tour leader, informed , fun and so caring for our welfare, and Alessandro was the only driver you would want in Sicily with the rollercoaster twisty roads – remaining calm and cool even under provocation.
We keep dreaming of Sicilia. Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you that the overall tour was exceptional. The country has boundless beauty and is visually spectacular. Food, wine, the towns, cultural diversity, etc. all make it a very special place. Saverio Renda, our tour manager, was fun, knowledgeable and a real asset to learning more about life in Sicily and its history. Our driver, Fabio, was flawless in navigating those difficult switchback roads along the way. This being our second tour with Amber Road (Tuscany-Umbria in 2013), the expectations were already set. We were not disappointed. And, you cannot compare the two. For pure Italian, it’s mainland Italy…for a cultural explosion, it’s Sicily. Bravo!
We took Amber Road’s tour to Sicily because we had had a wonderful AR tour to Amalfi and Puglia several years ago. And the tour of Sicily certainly lived up to our expectations! All the arrangements were well orchestrated, the local tour guides were excellent, the sites were extraordinary, the excursions were memorable, and the food and wine–well, what can one say? Mariaelena was a superb tour manager, and she deserves special praise for her creativity: when a fire closed the archaeological site at Segesta, she and the local guide came up with an on-the-spot trip to Trapani, which turned out to be a delightful surprise and a chance to see a town that was totally unexpected.
We had a truly fabulous time on our recent Amber Road Tour of Sicily !! Our tour guide, Saverio, was exceptional throughout the tour, both in his knowledge of Sicily’s culture and history, as well as his presentation of information and delightful sense of humor. We looked forward to greeting him every morning, with great anticipation of the day’s events that included fantastic meals, beautiful scenery, and detailed information that provided a deep appreciation of Sicily’s rich history. Our hotel accommodations were very impressive, both in terms of comfort and cleanliness. I also want to acknowledge Fabio, our bus driver, who navigated the narrow streets of Sicily with great expertise. I would definitely recommend Amber Road Tours to anyone who would enjoy a small group experience, high quality accommodations and superb restaurants. This tour was the very best we have ever taken !!
I just returned from the Amber Road Tour of Sicily [September 10-21, 2015], with Saverio Renda as guide. It was an absolutely wonderful tour that I shall never want to forget! As a guide, Saverio is not only very knowledgeable; he is also well-organized, efficient, and caring. He’s also a very enjoyable companion with an impish, slightly mischievous sense of humour! I highly recommend him! The various local guides we had were impressive and really made the site visits very meaningful. The restaurants for the group’s dinners, chosen by the Tour were without exception marvelous feasts featuring local specialties. And the hotels, too, were as good as I had hoped, clean, well-located, well-equipped, and with friendly, helpful staff. Finally, a word about the pacing of the tour. The pacing was, I think, as good, as restful, as could be expected, given that it takes us on a pretty complete tour of the island in just under two weeks. It was certainly strenuous; but we had plenty of time to rest and relax, and plenty of time to be on our own, if we so wished. I enthusiastically recommend this tour!
We just got back from a wonderful eleven days in Sicily. I don’t know what I was expecting but this tour was exceptional and a very good value. Our tour guide, Mariaelena, was knowledgeable, extremely pleasant and able to handle any of our requests or concerns in a professional manner. Our local tour guides were also very good with easy to understand English and a thorough knowledge of the local area and history. We have been to most of the other areas in Italy but the food in Sicily was absolutely the best! The meals that were provided as part of the tour were all different depending on the region we were in and delicious. The wine tasting was an added plus. We are looking forward to taking another Amber Road Tour.
Our first trip with Amber Roads, and a wonderful experience. It was meticulously organised every step of the way. There was a wonderful mix of hotels, ranging from the traditional to family-run to beautifully modern. The local guides used on the frequent walking tours were extremely knowledgeable with an excellent command of English. With the well-structured organisational basis of Amber Roads, Aldo, the Tour Manager, was then ‘the icing on the cake’. He was exuberant, extremely amusing, brilliantly organised and seriously professional. Nothing was left to chance and he went out of his way to organise ‘extras’ such as the Godfather and Montalbano tours which were not part of the itinerary. His knowledge of various aspects of life in Sicily today was both interesting and informative. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one we hope to repeat with Amber Road.
We travel often and have visited much of Europe. However, no other tour has come close to this. I was in awe of the beauty of the island, the charm of the hotels and the quality of the food. Our tour guide was warm and charismatic and brought our group of 14 together. There were lots of laughs, wine and fun along with in-depth facts and information on each town we visited. The trips to Ragusa Ibla, Siracusa and Mount Etna were definitely highlights. The days were well planned with reasonable start time in the morning and plenty of free time. The organized dinners were all delicious with plenty of food and drink. A few of the people on the tour (including us) asked for special tours and Aldo helped arrange them all and followed through to make sure they met our expectations. Also there were people on the tour that had special dietary needs and Aldo ensured there were no issues there.
We are already planning our next trip with Amber Road and would give them 5 stars for the best trip ever!
Our May tour to Sicily was a beautiful and exciting trip. It started with our arrival at Rome airport and learning all flights were cancelled due to an early morning fire in the terminal. Not wanting to wait to be rebooked and not knowing when and if we would depart for Palermo we decided to take the 12 hour train Rome-Palermo. Though the ride was long it turned out to be a pleasant experience. We communicated by e mail our plans to Jonathan at Amber Road Tours and we were notified that Saverio Renda our tour guide would pick us up at the train station to take us to the Centrale Palace Hotel. We arrived at Palermo train station after 11pm. Saverio was a welcoming sight after traveling over 30 hours. We also were pleased with a meal of salads, cheeses and wine waiting in our room courtesy of ART and the hotel. The next day we were rested for the first full day of our tour. That evening Saverio informed us that we and another couple whose flight was also cancelled were invited to “At Tetti” the hotel’s restaurant for the dinner we missed on the first evening. We greatly appreciated the extra measures Amber Road Tours did to accommodate us in our situation.
What’s not to love in Sicily? There are the Palermo and Monreale churches with the elaborate gold mosaic pictures. Erice, Marsala, Ragusa and Ortigia were charming towns. We enjoyed walking by the Greek temples and ruins. How exciting to see a red lava streak from Mount Etna on our first evening in Taormina. Walking on Mount Etna followed by the wine tasting was another great day. It was fun walking through the street markets with beautiful fruits, vegetables and fish and hearing the fish mongers banter. All the group meals were excellent. Marco our bus driver guided us through the narrow roads carefully. Saverio was an excellent tour director and always smiling. Wishing to be on the blue sea in Ortigia, he set up a boat excursion and lunch for our group for a small charge.
I believe Amber Road tours provides what they advertise: small group regional tours with good hotels, great restaurants and leisure pace.
Just the best! Everything about our tour was outstanding. Aldo was the most wonderful leader, funny, charming, knowledgable and exceedingly efficient. We would follow him anywhere and look forward to doing the southern Italy trip with him in the future. Our group of 13 was diverse and got along beautifully. We feel like we made an amazing group of new friends who we intend to keep in touch with. The pace of the tour was excellent as we never left before 8:30 a.m. The local guides were terrific, a wealth of information and easy to understand. Can’t say enough great things about the tour, the guide and Amber Road Tours.
Home and still basking in the memory of our recent trip. Since this was our first trip to Sicily and our first small group tour, we weren’t sure what to expect. But we were definitely happily surprised!
The group of 13 was mostly American, with one Australian and one UK couple. Culturally diverse, we all got along very well and that certainly added to the enjoyment of the trip. The tour leader, Aldo was the BEST-fun, interesting, very accommodating and so knowledgeable! We’ll miss him. Fabio, our driver, kept us safe and secure. The local guides were excellent. The itinerary was full but there was also time to explore or shop on our own. Sicily is a great destination-varied history, beautiful landscapes, interesting archaeological sites and museums. Taormina was the most beautiful place-we should have added a day or two there!
All in all, an A+ vacation. Would we use Amber Roads again?-Definitely!
This was our first tour with Amber Road and it gave us a marvellous insight into the history and culture of the successive waves of conquerors of Sicily who left their imprint in its rich heritage of temples, theatres and churches. Over our 12 nights there, that we saw so many of its major monuments, visited so many outstanding beauty spots and enjoyed most agreeable hotels, with plenty of fine meals and good wines – without feeling rushed or hassled – is a great tribute to the excellent planning and organisation of this tour.
A major contributor to our enjoyment was our erudite and entertaining Tour Manager, Luigi Migliore, who was able to bring to life the impact of Sicily’s rich history on today’s inhabitants and who, with the help of specialist local Guides, gave us a good understanding of the ways life changed over the centuries…….and even the impact of Commissario Montalbano on tourism today! Luigi was good at gauging the interest levels and occasional tiredness of our little group of eight, from three different continents, and was happy to adjust schedules to fit our moods and the climate.
We most certainly hope to travel with Amber Road again
The entire tour was lovely. Luigi, our tour guide was informed, fun, funny, helpful and caring. Every hotel was perfect. Clean, well staffed, very 4 star. The local guides were all well informed and kept us interested with good stories about what we were seeing. Every city was different with lots of history and Art, charming walkways, very good food. I told my friend about this tour so she joined me. She was so happy with everything. She had never had a tour be so excellent. Nor have I. Our small group – 8 people – made our trip very cozy. Easy to get around, quick in and out of the small bus and easy to get pleasant seating at restaurants and we were able to hear Luigi when he was speaking. I have a friend whose grandmother was Sicilian. When she heard I had been to Sicily she peppered me with questions. Her husband has been wanting to take her to Sicily. I know that she will be so happy with Amber Road Tours and Sicily. I certainly still am!
I just finished the Sicily tour and wanted to share it was a spectacular trip. Luigi is awesome… The trip was just perfect in every way… Don’t change a thing.. Really, I can’t say enough… I’m booking my next trip to Croatia/Bosnia for 2016.
Peter and I can’t say enough about the excellent service and the wonderful tour we had with Amber Road Tours through Saverio Renda, and of course our driver Fabio. They are truly a team in their own way. Saverio was forever smiling, professional in every way, easy to understand and just a gem to be around. Great employees are hard to find in any profession, but they do stand out!