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!
Tuscany / Umbria tour Comments Leave a comment
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.
One of the things on my “bucket list” was to go to Tuscany. As a birthday gift, my son and daughter-in-law gave me a trip for two with Amber Road Tours. My sister arrived from California and we were ready to go! We were picked up in Florence by our guide, Tiziana and driver, Ubaldo, who made this the trip of a lifetime. We cannot say enough about Tiziana’s professional, caring, attentive, warm, personality. No detail went uncovered and she went out of her way for us each day. This was a cultural tour that included many off-the-track villages; my son researched a long time and chose Amber Road wisely. We saw Tuscany and Umbria through the eyes of a proud, knowledgeable guide who was born and raised there, has traveled extensively, but came back to her roots. Her pride in the people and of her country came through strongly. It is humbling to stand on tiles and lean against walls that are centuries old. We had private guides in many of the cities we toured and the education we got on the art, history and culture of that early period in two weeks was like a college course. Each guide had pride and knowledge and was eager to answer all our questions and share their city’s heritage. We ate dishes and drank wine that was the specialty of the region we were visiting. We were so happy to meet the owners of Amber Road Tours, Sonya and Jonathan; It is so obvious in meeting them that much care has gone into every detail by Amber Tours and their guides to be sure food, accommodations, and all stops will provide a pleasant, unique, and memorable experience!
We didn’t respond immediately because we didn’t want to colour our comments with the amazing feelings we had upon returning to Montreal. However the bottom line is that this was the best trip/tour we had ever experienced. The reasons for us to feel this way became very clear a week after this tour ended. First there was Mariaelena our tour manager who aside from being very knowledgeable about the region we visited, was charming, friendly and my how she loves to laugh, which became very contagious. We laughed more in 12 days then we probably did over 12 months. Mariaelena had many anecdotes about life in Italy-besides sharing her own personal stories- which really gave us all an unexpected education. Our bus driver, Tiziano, is a wonderful soul with his own brand of humour and became part of our touring family, adored by all 13 of us, provided the smoothest drive one could hope for on the roads in these regions.
The tour was well planned, the hotels well chosen and the many meals we had together always were great culinary experiences and became the foundation for the 13 of us to magically gel as a group- in a way like an extended family.
The landscape was incredible and to truly appreciate it, one had to be on the bus with windows that were invented to allow travellers to enjoy the passing scenery. Tiziano would stop the bus from time to time to give us a chance to take photos or to simply admire what was in front of us. We never felt rushed and enjoyed some free time every day, which was a great way to balance our time. Finally, it was very nice to meet Jonathan and Sonya, the owners of Amber Road Tours, who are both humble, approachable and answered any question thrown their way.
We thought that the tour was outstanding! All of the details were carefully and thoughtfully attended to. Our tour manager, Tiziana, and our driver, Paolo, were professional but completely personable; knowledgeable, kind, caring and fun to be around. Tiziana provided a unique view of the region\’s history and culture — along with great and \”right – on\” recommendations for restaurants, shopping, and sites. The local tour guides were all wonderful — providing multi-dimensional perspectives and context for the sites. The group meals were outstanding and really gave a true taste of the regions. We enjoyed meeting Jonathan and Sonia and felt that this aspect gave a truly personal touch to the tour.
We truly enjoyed our Tuscany/Umbria tour. Luca was an exuberant and entertaining guide, and throughout the tour, we felt we received a genuine feel appreciation, and learning for the tastes, charm, and rich culture of the area.
The Tuscany/Umbria tour with Amber Roads exceeded our expectations. We were looking to see as much as possible without feeling rushed and there was plenty of time to explore and dine on our own. Traveling on our own, we never would have discovered some of the unique places such as the mountain village of San Momme, the dying town, the olive oil museum, and the world’s smallest theater, which were fascinating. The hotels were a nice mix of historic and contemporary. Our driver Tiziano expertly maneuvered the bus on winding roads that we would not have dared to tackle in a car. Luca, our tour manager brought the daily destinations to life with his colorful descriptions and commentary and he recommended the best restaurants, shopping and activities for times on our own. The local guides were very knowledgeable and provided more detailed histories. The smaller size of the group allowed us to get to know everyone and made the trip a pleasure-quite different than the large tour groups we saw along the way. All in all a very enjoyable experience and one that we would highly recommend.
I have been on many tours including Tauck, Smithsonian, OAT, Colette, River cruises……but this one tops them all. The boutique Hotels were wonderful. The group dinners were top notch…NO “rubber chicken” banquets. The best restaurants in town-each one better than the next with all the great local wine you could drink! The local guides were charming and entertaining….our tour leader Luca was honest and forthright and a delight. The group size manageable and generally congenial….certainly multicultural. When you hit a country half way around the world, you want a local experience, not a watered down “Americanized” visit. They will certainly see me again!
For first timers on any tour this was a very good experience. Tiziana is a wonderful Tour Manager, very knowledgable and took great care to keep everyone happy. Paolo (driver) was also a great man to have around, always courteous and helpful. The group fit together very well and enjoyed each others company.