I booked this tour when things were still a bit grim Covid wise with the hope that the anticipation would lighten the dark days of winter here in the UK. My first trip ( this was my fourth) with Amber, many years ago was their shorter trip of Tuscany, and I have always yearned to return. Well the Tuscany & Umbria tour totally delivered – Italy was pretty much opened up post covid – one still had to wear masks on public transport – so the plane in and on the tour bus – but apart from that, as far as I could see everything was back to normal. We were a multinational group of just 8 in a 28 seater coach – so plenty of room, the itinerary was well planned taking us to amazing places like Spoleto and Gubbio as well as the more familiar delights of Florence and Lucca. One of my personal highlights was the obvious delight and excitement of our guide Tiziana and that of the local guides and hoteliers in meeting again after the long covid hiatus. There was the usual thoughtful mix of well informed group tours and delicious meals balanced with personal down time. Thanks Amber – so glad you are back!
Tuscany / Umbria tour Comments Leave a comment
I’d like to take a moment to let you know how much I enjoyed Amber’s first post-Covid trip. Have to say I was a little cautious about booking the same Tuscany-Umbria trip I’d taken a number of years ago, but this trip was totally different from what I remembered. I’d recommend to anyone thinking about travel to consider repeating a trip they enjoyed before—places and people change. The positives included: Tiziana, and Giuseppe, as well as the small group of world travellers. Also enjoyed sharing dinner with both you and Sonia in Spoleto. I’m sure I’ll be on another Amber tour in the not too distant future.
This was truly a delightful tour with a congenial group of people, and I look forward to taking other Amber Road tours in the future. The tour design was very thoughtful, with a good mix of guided walks in the beautiful Tuscan and Umbrian towns we visited and free time to explore on your own. The local tour guides were all very good. We had wonderful food everywhere (wild boar ragu, pici!) and an education on the wines of the region from our tour leader, Tiziana. Tiziana knew all the towns we visited so well, and had lots of energy and enthusiasm and a great sense of humor, as well as sensitivity to how we were all feeling. Our driver, Giuseppe, was jovial, patient and friendly, and one of my best memories is driving through gorgeous Tuscan landscapes with Pavarotti and other Italian singers turned up on the van stereo. This was an amazing experience I’ll never forget.
The best tour we have ever experienced! Marielena was excellent as were the itinerary, hotels, local guides and food/drink. Great tour plan as the basic strength and Marielena implemented the role of tour director flawlessly. A joy to travel with her!
We had a wonderful time on the Tuscany/Umbria tour, our first time to visit Italy, and would strongly recommend Amber Road Tours to others. It was great being with a small group of travelers who enjoyed each others’ company as well as the different places and things we experienced. The walking tours were interesting and informative, and we loved the gourmet food and wine that were generously provided. Our tour manager, Tiziana, was exceptional in terms of her knowledge of the places we visited, helpfulness, and all around kindness and cheerfulness.
As expected, a well organised interesting tour. Our tour leader and driver were both exemplary.
We prefer small group tours and have had incredible guides and services and we think this was by far the best European tour we have experienced. The itinerary and hotels are what first caught my eye. And it exceeded all my expectations. Out tour manager Mariaelena was so awesome, fantastic person, knowledgeable, caring, organized, great relationships with local guides and restaurants, and great sense of humor. Not any less was our driver Guisseppe who knew the roads and traffic so well. His humor and laughter I will never forget, along with his singing. The pace of the tour, 13 days/12 nights with the day trips provided plenty of time (not rushed) and we saw so much of these beautiful regions. The lunches and dinners were unbelievably tasty and plentiful. Many different local and regional dishes with great wines at every seating. The hotels, all within a little walking distance to center of town and our favorite, in San Gimignano, is right in front of the cistern, smack in the center.. What a view from the rooms! All local guides were extremely interesting unique personalities of joy! If I had to pick a favorite it would be Marco in Spoleto. So passionate and expressive… What a character! Our group was small and had a great time and fun. It truly was as good as it gets and I can not make even one recommendation for improvement. Thank you so much and hope to travel again with you, and especially with Mariaelena as she is leading tours also in Sicily!
This was my second trip with Amber Road Tours and it was just as enjoyable as the first one. Our tour guide, Tiziana, was not only knowledgeable but she was also conscientious. When I came down with laryngitis she found a doctor in town to pay a visit to my hotel room. As for the trip, the hotels were first-class and the food exceptional. That said, I had a great time and I will continue to take tours with Amber Road. Cheers to Amber Road Tours!
Having travelled with large groups through Europe and Scotland, I thought I was done with group tours but wanted to experience Tuscany, so gave a tour one last try. I did some research, found Amber Roads, read glowing reviews from people all over the world and decided this was the company for me. I was right!
Tiziana, our tour guide was exceptional, so knowledgeable, organised, patient and above all, welcoming and friendly. Giuseppe, our driver also made the tour with his humour, singing, superb driving and patience. The tour took us to stunning hill top villages with local guides to give us more of the history of the region, the art works, churches and buildings. We then had free time to wander or shop. Nearly every day there was a group lunch or dinner featuring the local specialities, delicious wines and the chance to sit and get to know the other members of the group. I was travelling solo and was anxious at first, but Tiziana and the superbly organised tour made everything stress-free and an experience I will always remember with great fondness.
All other tours say goodbye on the last day and you are on your own, not Amber Roads! Tiziana farewelled every member of the tour and we were all taken to the next stage of our journey, some to the airport, some to train stations or hotels. I was taken to the door of my Airbnb in Florence. Thank you Amber Roads.
This was our third trip to Italy and the best thanks to Amber Road. The planning and follow up by Lisa was excellent. The trip agenda covered a lot! The best of Tuscany and Umbria were explored with our amazing tour director Tiziana and driver Giuseppe. We had been to some of the Tuscan towns on our previous trip but the local guides provided by Amber Road made the history and art come alive unlike doing it on your own. Our group (gruppo) made for comfortable and congenital traveling companions. The hill towns are “really high hills”but we all expended the effort with good humor. This was made easier with Tiziana’s knowledgeable and engaging direction. She made you feel apart of her region. She even helped me with my Italian. The meals were amazing and sharing them with a group made them more special. Before we started this trip we didn’t know if we would like traveling in a group now we can’t wait for our next Amber Road experience!
We loved our tour of Sicily 2 years ago with Amber Road, and thought that no one could exceed our tour guide Aldo in the areas of expertise, humor and attention to detail. We were wrong! Tiziana was absolutely wonderful! She was a fountain of knowledge, a wonderful teller of stories, and no question asked from our “gruppo” went unanswered. We toured the hill towns of Tuscany & Umbria, and enjoyed the combination of walking tours along with adequate time on our own to explore. The hotels selected for our stay were each unique in their own way, and all wonderful. Our group of 19 bonded from the start, and I’m sure we will remain connected now that we are back in the US. Having two excellent experiences with Amber Road Tours, we are already planning a 3rd. Thank you Jonathan & Sonya for putting together such an enjoyable experience for us, and to Tiziana who was a stellar guide. Oh, and also to Giuseppe, for his expertise in driving us along narrow and winding roads, always with a smile on his face!
A well conceived and organized tour of the Tuscany and Umbria regions, with a manageable small group, comfortable accommodations, and good food, that visited many of the most attractive sites in that part of Italy. Careful, skillful, considerate, good-humored driver, Giuseppe, did his best not to jostle passengers on the not always so smooth Italian roads. Immensely charming, delightful, attentive, and informative tour guide, Mariaelena, made it a truly unforgettable experience. Surely, the best tour guide ever. Nice dinner hosted by owners Jonathan and Sonya. Standout local guides Eleonora in Lucca and Marco in Spoleto, and excellent presentation by Antonella at the Brunello winery near Montalcino.
The tour exposed us to the colorful towns and villages of predominantly Tuscany and Umbria, traveling through majestic valleys and mountainsides.Our guide, Mariaelena, was kind, professional, experienced, and had a deep fund of knowledge of the geography and history of the territory. The food was marvelous. Best tour I have been on, first time I have traveled with Amber Road.
We have just returned from the fabulous Tuscany/Umbria tour, our third with Amber Roads. There is a reason there are so many repeat customers at Amber Roads — their trips are so well constructed, with the perfect combination of cultural exploration, dining experiences, and time on your own. The hotels, the experiences and the meals are all chosen with care, and the trip is incredibly well managed. We loved Tiziana, our tour leader, who was organized, fun, resourceful and truly excellent at every turn. She is a lovely person who really enjoys what she does, and it shows. It is hard to pick our favorite experience from the trip, but some standouts were Gubbio, where we arrived to the annual Festa dei Ceri, complete with an unbelievable race up a steep hill with teams carrying huge candles on their shoulders, and Spoleto, a lively city filled with art, ruins and charm! But then we also loved Assisi, and San Gimignano . . . one gorgeous and fascinating town after another! Our group of 10 travelers was really congenial and we enjoyed getting to experience this part of Italy with them. Thank you yet again Amber Roads for a wonderful experience — we look forward to another trip with you very soon.
Our second trip with Amber Road to Italy, and our second amazing experience! The scenery, the culture, the history, the art….shared by such knowledgeable, personable guides. The accommodations were wonderful, and the included meals delicious and such a nice representation of local specialties. Our fabulous tour guide, Tiziana, entertained us each day with stories and information about the towns we were visiting. She had excellent suggestions for restaurants, places to visit, and shopping during our free time. She was wonderful! We would consider our next trip with Amber Road based on which itineraries Tiziana might be leading – she is that good! We couldn’t have chosen a nicer group of travel mates, either. Thank you again for the attention to all the details that make your tours so appealing!
The Tuscany/Umbria tour was a great experience. The itinerary, hotels, meals, local guides, and, especially, our main tour guide, Tiziana, were all first rate. I would definitely travel with Amber Road again. I can’t imagine a better company to travel with anywhere in Italy.
As a well-traveled couple with high standards and expectations, we are pleased to report that Amber Road’s Tuscany/Umbria tour was spectacular and very authentic. It was well-paced and covered many destinations in the 13 days. However, we never felt we were spending too much time on the road. Our tour manager, Mariaelena was a fountain of information about all things Italy. She is a warm, caring person who gives 200% to her job and truly loves people. The hotels and restaurants were all excellent choices and the local guides in the various cities and towns were very informative. We could go on and on! Suffice it to say we will travel again with Amber Road and give them 5 stars.
This was our third trip with Amber Roads. We invited a group of our friends to join us and had a wonderful time. We had traveled with Mariaelena before and cannot imagine a more thoughtful, enthusiastic, or knowledgable guide. She is so warm and caring, and her love of this region is contagious. The itinerary took us to small villages that are hard to reach on your own. We often felt that we were transported back in time to wander medieval streets. The meals were fabulous and we were a group of foodies. The view from our hotel room in San Gimignano was so beautiful that it made me cry. As if it were not charming enough on its own, someone was playing a harp below our window. Thank you Amber Roads and especially Mariaelena for a wonderful experience.
My only two complaints are that I didn’t know about Amber Road sooner, and I still have to work full time so probably can’t do more than one of these per year! Seriously, I expected to love it, but it far exceeded what I imagined. Our tour guide, Tiziana, was wonderful – so warm, funny, informative, and a great multi-tasker. She would remember the smallest detail of an inquiry and never fail to follow up on it. Imagine that times 18 people! As many others have commented, there is an excellent balance between structured activities and free time. I’m sure I could have spent less for a large group tour that would have hauled me all over Italy in 10 days, but this was a far superior way to do a trip like this. The hotels, local guides, and variety of venues were excellent. And then there is the food! Even when we were on our own for some meals, the food was indescribable. I love to cook, so I’m not one to be happy with whatever is put in front of me just because someone else prepared it. The most difficult task facing me is which tour to go on next. Oh, and meeting the owners of the company while in Spoleto was a real bonus. They are lovely and seemed to be very interested in feedback from us. Learning about their process in identifying a possible new area to put out as a tour was interesting; an awful lot of research involved when finding suitable hotels, restaurants, guides, sites to include, etc.
The recent Tuscany Umbria trip was our first Amber Tour trip and it will not be our last. The trip itinerary was well thought out provided an excellent visit to this lovely part of Italy. Tiziana is a wonderful and caring tour leader and was always there to assist and answer questions. Local guides were excellent. We especially enjoyed the balance of free time to pursue our special interest and guided group time.
This was our fourth or fifth tour with Amber Road and this time we took our sons and their wives for their very first encounter with Italy. All I can say is that I thought there was no way the tours could be improved over previous years, but somehow they just get better and better. The food, the hotels, the itineraries, the tour directors, the transportation all seem to significantly improve each year. Quite simply, Amber Road is the absolutely best way to tour Italy, Everything has been vetted beforehand so there are no surprises. Great restaurants, wonderful side trips, no hidden costs, superb tour buses and incomparable dialog about the area, the history, the wines, the people. Nothing could be more enjoyable – yet I know when we return on our next Amber Road tour, it will be even better than the one we just completed. Somehow the Amber Road people seem to know just the right number of churches to visit, the right amount of exposure to history and museums so that no matter what your interests are, you are enormously comfortable with the planned itinerary – and if you are not, you are always free to opt out on a planned event and spend some additional time shopping or enjoying the local wines at the always plentiful sidewalk cafes. Each of the local guides that we had were absolutely incredible. Well educated, easy to understand and importantly, always entertaining. There are not enough superlatives to describe our tour and the fact that we can’t wait to sign up for yet another Amber Road experience should be proof enough that they are simply the greatest.
I joined this tour with two of my close friends after an exhaustive online search for a small group tour. We could not have been more pleased with our experience with Amber Road. Every step of the way, the company provided us with the info we needed to make sure our vacation was as memorable as possible. Upon meeting our tour guide Mariaelena at the Florence airport, we immediately knew we were in good hands. From that point until the day we were dropped off at our hotel in Florence, everything was taken care of. Mariaelena was marvelous – she is not only incredibly knowledgeable about Tuscany and Umbria but is just as passionate about making sure every one of us was comfortable and having a great experience. Her laughter was infectious and her teasing relationship with our amazing driver, Tiziano, kept us in stitches on our bus rides. The itinerary was very carefully put together to minimize time on the bus and allow us to really get to know the towns and villages. The hotels, restaurants and attractions we visited were fantastic! Even when we were “on our own”, Mariaelena always had great suggestions for where to eat and what to do and she seemed to magically appear even when we weren’t expecting to see her. In each town/city, we had a local guide. Some were better than others but all of them brought very detailed knowledge that you would not get otherwise. We had only 7 people on the tour so we had a small “mini-bus” which was very comfortable. Even in Florence with the huge crowds, we had tickets for the major attractions and were able to avoid waiting in long lines. We met Jonathan and Sonia (the owners) twice – once for dinner and then for breakfast as we were leaving Spoleto. It’s great that they try to meet with all of the tours that come to that region so that they can hear (and see) first-hand how their customers feel. We look forward to doing another tour with Amber Road in the future.
Just returned home from our second tour with Amber Road and to date, it was one of the best trips we have ever taken. Once again, the accommodations, group lunches and dinners were outstanding. We were introduced to local specialties along with wines of the region. These meals were leisurely and allowed time to socialize and get to know all of our traveling companions and Tiziana, our group leader. We were afforded more than ample free time in each town and always bumped into some of our group and found ourselves sharing a gelato or glass of wine while passing time. Each local guide did a wonderful job filling in all the details on each town, church or museum, adding their local flair making it more interesting. Our group of 13, along with Tiziana, was very compatible making the trip more enjoyable. We would love to travel again with this group in the future. We look forward to our next Amber Road tour!
This was the first land tour we had ever taken- we had done several small ship cruises and traveled on our own for many years. We loved this Tuscany/ Umbria tour and thought that Amber Roads was an excellent tour company. We never could have done this tour on our own… our superb guide, Tiziana, and our local guides, made the sites and culture come alive! The amazing country side and vistas, churches, food, wine, art, history, meandering back streets, and so much more made this a wonderful trip! There was a good balance between group tours and free time and we enjoyed meeting our traveling companions ( our group was 18). We also really liked the selection and diversity of cities and villages we visited – many off the heavy tourist track. Thank you Amber Road!
For a great tour you need three elements, a good guide, a good group and a good itinerary but not necessarily in that order; this tour had it in spades. Our guide Mariaelena was knowledgeable, great company and full of wonderful stories. A person whose enthusiasm bubbled over and set the tone for the trip. Tiziano, our driver, also added to the camaraderie with some humorous anecdotes. The group gelled like no other one we’ve been with, each person bringing so much to our enjoyment of the trip. As for the itinerary it included a number of the big ones, Florence, Siena, Assisi and San Gimignano but it also included a number of the lesser known towns like Gubbio, Orvieto, Pienza and Spoleto. These towns were an absolute revelation and changed our perception of the area with their charm and local flavour. In the smaller towns so much of local life came to the fore, religious processions, flag throwing, strange races and precarious bell ringing. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time, with local guides who really know their subjects and suddenly the museum of a local Contrade in Siena becomes available to you. Highlights, there were many, the hotels, the food, the wine but it was the little things that come back to you, happy days. It’s not many tours where the owners of the company drop by to see how things are progressing. I’m glad to say this wasn’t our first Amber Road Tour and it will not be our last. If you are thinking of taking a trip to Italy then make them your first port of call.