Martha, Brian, Fred, and Nancy’s Trip to Italy
Before I forget and get back into the swing of my hum drum life here in Georgia, I wanted to take a few minutes and give you my thoughts on our trip.
First let me just say that Italy was wonderful and it was so nice not having to think about anything in terms of transfers, guides, etc. We had fantastic weather so we were very fortunate not to have to think about that.
When I was handed an envelope by our first driver from the airport in Rome to our relocated hotel I had a feeling this was going to be the first in a line of many changes. Thank goodness I was wrong. As much as the Rose Garden Palace was a great hotel (we stayed there on the last night), the Grand Flora Marriott was a great second choice. The location was perfect, the hotel staff was the friendliest and most helpful, the breakfast was wonderful and the location of breakfast on the roof of the hotel made for a great backdrop.
It was nice to have drivers as driving around Rome and Italy ourselves would have been suicide. As much as I loved one of our drivers, we did have to ask one to slow down.
The Villa Cicolina in Montepulciano was beautiful. The setting is gorgeous and the rooms are very quaint. I enjoyed that hotel very much. The wine tasting at Castello Monterinaldi on the way was very special. It was nice to have our own private lunch and tasting. The other private tour outside of Parma was also very special. I think we learned that we do better in smaller groups than in large crowds.
Had I put more thought into the timing of this trip, I would not have gone in the peak tourist season. Even the small villages were tourist traps and very crowded. Also, I would not have booked so much. On paper, it really didn’t seem too much but having just done it, it was way too much. And, I am saying this for the four of us. I am sure other groups would have liked to have done more. I think the four of us enjoy relaxing with bottles of wine and scotch and just hanging out.
The Hotel Bernini in Florence was a nice hotel too. Great location! The rooms are decorated in a medieval theme with velvet on most surfaces. Very dark with very little natural daylight available; The bathrooms were great. 🙂
The tour guide we had for Rome (John Luigi) was great. We all enjoyed his tour and he knew how to share just enough information to not be overwhelming. Julia in Florence was also very good. We told her up front how our brains were already fried from the Rome and Vatican tour. She was very sweet and enjoyed our time with her very much. Fred and I are going to write a book on “How to See the Uffizi in 15 Minutes.” 🙂 By the time we finished with the Academia with Julia, Fred and I did not need to see one more painting or sculpture. Having said that, I loved David. Wow! That was amazing!!
I had arranged a private tour of the Vatican through the Rose Garden Palace hotel in Rome. Our guide, Antonio, certainly knew his stuff. However, it was way too overwhelming and the amount of people allowed in at one time made the experience almost awful. There were so many people in the Sistine Chapel I thought I would scream. I am only telling you this in case you need a tour guide for the Vatican. He really knows his history and everything there is to know about art. My goodness, he should be a professor.
Overall I think we are all very pleased with our Italy vacation and are thoroughly depressed that we are back home. Looking forward to our next adventure!