Tailor made tours

Customer needs:
This woman had worked in the food service and catering business just a few months before arriving in Italy. During a 6-day stay in Florence she wanted to participate in various cooking classes to become better acquainted with the local Florentine cuisine.

What we arranged for her:
The travel agent, who is a friend of this woman, organized three different cooking experiences for her:
1. A cooking class in Tuscany, in the Mugello area, in the house of a woman who is happy to share her culinary knowledge with those from outside of Italy. She worked with the American woman to help her prepare a full five course Italian dinner which included antipasti, primo piatto, secondo piatto, insalata, and dolce. This included preparation of fresh eggplant antipasti, preparation of fresh pasta and sauce from all fresh vegetables, sautéing medallions of pork with local fresh herbs, a large fresh salad and for dessert, Tiramisu.
2. Pizza class in the home of an experienced cook who usually cooks for her family and occasionally engages in cooking classes for those from abroad. This included 12 different types of pizza, including how to make the crusts. There were even dessert pizzas!
3. Cooking class at a restaurant in Florence given by the restaurant′s chef. This class featured preparation of breads of the day, how to prepare fresh fish dishes and the making and serving of fresh pasta.

Conclusion: The American woman experienced different environments and situations:
- Cooking in a private home
- Cooking in a restaurant
And the opportunity to interface with the local people in their private home environments, along with the pleasure of seeing the Tuscan countryside.


What we proposed:
9:15 AM Pick-up at their hotel in Florence - private transfer to countryside close to Certaldo.

10:30 AM Beginning of cooking class with expert chef in Tuscany. Lunch at the end of the course would be the food that the participants prepared.

2:00 PM The day continues with a visit to Certaldo Alta, a town outside the tourist circuit and the birthplace of the poet Boccaccio. This town can only be reached by an exciting ride on a funicular which takes people up the incline to Certaldo. It is a Tuscan town not to be missed with many beautiful medieval buildings and delightful cafés and coffee shops.

3:30 PM Before returning to Florence, stop at famous San Gimignano for a walk amid the medieval towers, enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from atop the hills and have a look in the many local artisan shops while enjoying a cone of Italian Gelato.

5:30 PM Return to hotel in Florence.

Conclusion:
The Customers were enthusiastic about the cooking class and the driver′s friendliness. In a single trip they could take a cooking class, enjoy what they had prepared, and visit the medieval towns of Certaldo and San Gimignano.


Customer needs:
An American woman contacted a travel agent in Italy to book an excursion to Florence from Livorno. She wanted to book a private car and driver and reserve a walking tour of Florence just for her family. She told the travel agent that she would need to do some rest stops in the car during the walking tour of Florence because of her health problems.

What we proposed:
An English speaking driver picked up the family at the ship in Livorno. Along the way to Florence, he stopped at Piazzale Michelangelo in order for them to see a spectacular view of the city. He also stopped at the church of San Miniato which can only be reached by car.
After arriving in the city center, the driver accompanied them to the entrance of the Academy to see the statue of David by Michelangelo. Prior to visiting the Academy, they had arranged for the travel agent to purchase vouchers needed to enter the Academy without having to wait in line. Once there, they used the vouchers to pick up tickets and enjoyed the museum. After a quick snack at a local outdoor café, the tour guide met them and took the family on a walking tour of the city center with the car available when needed. At the end of the visit, the driver took the clients back to Livorno.

Conclusion:
The woman and her family were happy because they could use a private service at an affordable cost and she, because of her health limitations, could go back to the car whenever needed. If she had booked the same trip with the cruise company she would have found that they had only two choices: a large group tour by bus having to go at the large group′s whim, or by private car arranged by the cruise line at very high cost.

Customer needs:
This excursion was booked with a travel agent in Florence by an American woman and her husband. They wanted to arrange an excursion into the Chianti wine region for themselves and their daughter and future son-in-law. The 4 of them would enjoy the day sightseeing in Chianti.

They were based in Rome and wanted to spend a day in Tuscany.

What we proposed:
7:15 AM Private Transfer from Rome hotel to Rome Termini train station.  The train tickets would be reserved and purchased by the travel agency.

8:00 AM Departure time for the train from Rome to Florence.

9:40 AM Arrival at the train station of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. A 7 seat, private van and driver were to be waiting for the customers to take them to the Chianti wine region in Tuscany for the day.

11:00 AM  A visit and wine tasting at a premier winery had been arranged by the travel agent.

12:40 PM Continuation of the tour and stop in medieval towns (San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Greve). Snack and free time to visit the city centers.

5:00  PM  Return to Florence for a drive through the city to see some of the most interesting monuments in the city including the spectacular view from Piazzale Michelangelo.

7:00 PM Transfer to Florence train station  for return to Rome.

Conclusion:
While visiting  Rome, these people, through the use of a dependable Florentine tour agency, would spend an entire day in Tuscany  in the most typical region, the Chianti. They would experience a visit to a winery to include a  wine tasting,  and stop at  some interesting medieval towns.  Then, on the way back to Florence, before departing from the train station to go back to Rome, they would enjoy a  driving tour of Florence. They could not have done this without the travel agency arranging for an affordable  private driver and comfortable means of transportation for the day.

What we proposed:
We arranged for an English speaking driver with an 9 person van to pick up the client and his family in each port. Private tour guides were engaged for  archaeological sites and art cities. Itineraries were set up for each day and museums were reserved in advance.

Here is the itinerary:
Shore excursions from ports in Italy and France - June 4-5-6-7-2008
Vessel Name: Norwegian Gem
Number of participants: 7 persons (4 adults and 3 teenagers)

June 4 - Naples, Italy
Shore excursion from the port of Naples
Pick-up 8:30 AM
End of tour: 5:30 PM (9 hours)
Route:
Pompeii: private tour (2 hours)
Sorrento and Amalfi Coast
Free time for lunch

June 5 - Rome, Italy
Shore excursion from the port of Civitavecchia
Pick-up 8:00 AM
End of tour: 5:30 PM (9 / 10 hours)
Route:
St. Peter's Basilica, Spanish Steps and the shops around the Roman Forum and Coliseum, views from the hills of Rome, Piazza Navona, Pantheon,  Trevi Fountain, catacombs

June 6 - Florence and Pisa, Italy
Shore excursion from the port ofLivorno
Pick-up 8:00 AM
End of tour: 5:00 PM / 6:00 PM
Route:
9:30 Florence (3 hours private tour, tickets for 7 people for the Academy Museum)
12:30 Free time for lunch and shopping
2:30 Departure for Pisa
3:45 Pisa
4:30 Departure for Livorno
End of tour: 5:30 PM  (9 / 10 hours)

June 7- Nice, France
Shore excursion from the port of Villefranche
Pick-up 8:00 AM
End of Tour 2:00 PM
Route: Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo / 6 hours

Conclusion:
The customer could use just one tour operator who handled all the details and coordinated the various excursions and services (driver and transportation, tour guides, booking of museums). He did not have to wait in line to get into museums. He received advice on what to visit in each city.  This made his vacation much more relaxed and he was able to maximize his time in each port by having his days pre-planned.

Customer needs:
A customer who had visited Italy several times decided to treat herself to a month's stay in Florence. During this time she invited two close friends and two of her daughters to join her. She wanted her loved ones to enjoy and visit both Florence and Tuscany.  While in Florence,  she also wanted to learn the basics of the Italian language in order to be able to communicate with the locals in their language. She showed  a significant interest in the Italian cuisine and cooking. She was in her early 70’s and was a recent survivor of breast cancer.

What we proposed:
The tour organizer, who is also her friend,  suggested that she  choose a month in the low season and she chose  March. The first Monday of the month she began an Italian language course for beginners. During the week days, in the morning, the lady  was in school.  On weekends and on some  afternoons she would go with her guests on out-of-town trips to Tuscany where they attended several cooking classes.

Conclusion:
The client was pleased to have chosen an off-season time for her Italy stay so that she could share some of the locals’ experiences without being surrounded by big crowds of tourists. She chose an apartment near the Old Bridge, in the center, so as to limit walking. During the trips the customer made use of a chauffeur-driven car, driven by an English-speaking driver.   She was able to both practice her Italian speaking with the driver and also communicate with him in English.  She and her friends and family participated in cooking classes that had been pre-organized by the travel agency.    They were all very pleased to meet and learn from the local women who graciously invited them into their private homes for the cooking lessons.   Learning to prepare meals that were of the Tuscan cuisine was the highlight of these experiences.

Customer needs:
An American family (a couple and their 19-year old daughter) stayed in Florence for 4 days. They wanted to see the most famous monuments and museums in the city and they wanted to explore the Tuscan region.

What we proposed:
Day 1
9:30 Meet an English-speaking guide at the hotel for a 3-hour walking tour of Florence, to include the Academy Gallery (Michelangelo's statue of David) - The Museum was previously booked with vouchers provided.

Free afternoon

Day 2
9:30 AM 3-hour driving tour to see the most often visited surroundings of Florence to include a stop to experience the magnificent view of Florence from Michelangelo Square. The tour will resume to travel to San Miniato church, the old Etruscan town of Fiesole, and end with travel along the nice boulevards of ³Viale dei Colli² with the beautiful villas and parks.

Afternoon free to explore the wonderful shops, food and attractions of Florence.

Day 3
9:30 AM 8-hour driving trip to Siena, San Gimignano, and the Chianti wine Region of Tuscany, conducted by an English speaking driver who will give a general history of the area. Free time will be included to explore the towns.

Conclusion:
In a short time the customers acquired a good overview of both Florence and Tuscany. They had the convenience of using just one tour operator who had the expertise to coordinate the walking tours in the city of Florence, make reservations to any museums requested, and take care of arrangements for the out-of-town excursions to Siena and Tuscany.

Customer needs:
The four friends work in Fashion and travel the world for fun and shopping. During one of their stays they arrived at Pisa airport and departed from Florence airport. They were going to stay four days and asked to see Pisa, the most notable monuments of Florence and, above all, they wanted to shop at the outlets featuring such famous Brands such as Prada, Loro Piana, Versace, Gucci, Tod's, Dolce & Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, La Perla, Salvatore Ferragamo Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Hogan, Sergio Rossi, Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Giorgio Armani ...

What we proposed:
A driver with a 7-seat station wagon large enough to load the luggage awaited the visitors at Pisa airport. Upon arrival the driver took them to the monumental “Piazza dei Miracoli” in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. With a rented van and commercial driver, one can reach the square directly! After the usual photos they continued to Florence where they were to stay. The next day was spent with a guide, visiting the city and its major museums. A full day was devoted to shopping at various outlets outside Florence. The driver accompanied them and waited for them to take them to the next outlet center. The last day the driver accompanied them to the airport in Florence.

Conclusion:
The clients were pleased to see everything their Italian travel organizer had planned for them.. They also had a driver and guide who were comfortable and adapted well with the youthful personalities and life style. When they plan a trip to Italy, they always come back to the same tour operator who arranges all accommodations and tours to their requirements.

What we proposed:
A driver who would wait for the couple who were to arrive at the airport in Milan.
Transfers were proposed as per itinerary below:

09/11/2009 - 1:50 PM
Milan Malpensa - Lufthansa flight No. 3886
Transfer from Milan to Bellagio (Lake Como)

09/16/2009 - 10:00 AM
Transfer from Bellagio to Portofino
(Transfer time approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes)

09/18/2009 - 1:00 PM
Transfer from Portofino to San Casciano
(Transfer duration 2 hours)

09/21//2009 - 11:00 AM
Transfer from San Casciano to Florence
(Transfer time approximately 20/30 minutes)

09/16/2010 - 7:45 AM
Transfer from hotel to airport Amerigo Vespucci
(Transfer time about 20 minutes)

Conclusion:
The client worked with just one tour operator who booked and coordinated all the transfers. This way, he had only one contact person and it was easier for him to plan for his stay in Italy. It was also more convenient as he made a single payment for the multiple transfers.

His arrival was scheduled for Easter Sunday, one of the busiest times in Florence. He asked the agent to arrange a transfer from Pisa airport. Before arriving in Florence, he and friends traveling with him, wanted to make a quick stop at the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, and to have dinner. He also asked the agent to organize two private guided tours in the next two days and to secure reserved tickets for the Uffizi Gallery.

What we proposed:
The agency reserved a comfortable vehicle big enough to transport the passengers and their luggage. The driver waited for the customers arriving at Pisa airport at 7:20 pm and had to overcome the problem of a disruptive rain that was delaying flights in the area at that time. The group would have dinner in Pisa on Easter Sunday in a restaurant that the travel agent had previously reserved. They could also depend on having a Spanish speaking tour guide in Florence, despite the fact that their reservations had been made just four days before their arrival. Thanks to having the agent purchase museum tickets in advance, the group avoided standing in long lines. This gave them more time to see the sights of Florence.

Conclusion:
The gentleman who arranged the trip with his friends to Florence and Pisa felt relieved and at ease to be able to speak over the phone to the agent in Spanish. He had the advantage of reserving other services with the same travel agent and was able to safely transfer his credit card information in order to place a deposit for the services rendered.

Years before, the friends had used her services for art tours and for organization of excursions. The couple wanted to visit Venice, Florence, Rome and the Amalfi coast. They wanted good, clean, and fairly priced hotels in Florence and Rome, a hotel in Venice overlooking the Grand Canal and accommodations in Positano with a view of the sea.

What we proposed: Nice 3-star hotels were chosen in Rome and Florence, a small studio apartment in Positano right next to the beach with spectacular sea view, and a 4-star hotel in Venice with a room which had a view on the Grand Canal were selected. Concerning transportation, we reserved and purchased train tickets between cities while private car transfers were organized from the train stations to the hotels. We reserved tours with guides in Rome, Florence and Venice while in Positano the clients were free to enjoy their holiday. Museums were prepaid and vouchers given to the guides who presented them at the appropriate cashiers.

Here is the trip itinerary:
Italy trip from April 26th to May 9th 2009

April 26th, Sunday
8:00 AM Arrival at Fiumicino airport in Rome – American Airline” Flight # 236
A driver meets the couple up upon their arrival (he will be holding a sign with their name at the baggage exit)
Transfer from airport to central train station in Rome
10:50 AM train from Rome to Venice (two 1st class tickets ­ driver will have tickets for the couple)
03:17 PM Arrival at central station in Venice (get off at VENEZIA SANTA LUCIA!)
Take “vaporetto” in the direction of RIALTO bridge (it will be a couple of stops) ­ We recommend that it is more economical to buy a 2-day pass for the vaporetto.
Hotel in Venice

April 27th, Monday
9:30 AM private orientation tour of Venice (2 ½ hours) (Guide will meet couple at their hotel)
PM free time
Hotel in Venice

April 28th, Tuesday
Transfer to train station on your own ­ Take the vaporetto from the hotel to the train station ****AM train from Venice to Florence (duration 2h 40m)
11:43 AM Train departure Venice to Florence
2.23 PM Train arrival at Florence train station
Driver will wait at the end of platform with a sign
Private transfer from train station to hotel in Florence
Hotel in Florence

April 29th, Wednesday
9:00 AM private walking tour of Florence with Duomo and Academy,
Uffizi (reserved tickets for Academy and Uffizi)- 4 hours
*If the couple wants to go to the Uffizi later on their own, the guide will give them the voucher to collect the entrance tickets.
PM Free time
Hotel in Florence

April 30th, Thursday
9:30 AM pick-up at your hotel for 8-hour excursion to Siena and San
Gimignano ­ visit to winery and accompanying wine tasting
Hotel in Florence

May 1st, Friday
AM free time
3:15 PM Pick-up at hotel for transfer to train station
Train # 9439 from Florence to Rome (duration 1h 40m)
3.49 PM Train departure from Florence to Rome
5:29 PM Train Arrival at central station in Rome (Exit at Roma Termini)
Driver will be waiting. He will be holding a sign at the end of the platform
Transfer to hotel
Hotel in Rome

May 2nd, Saturday
10:00 AM 3-hour driving tour of Rome conducted by English speaking driver
PM free time
Hotel in Rome

May 3rd, Sunday
Day free to explore Rome
Hotel in Rome

May 4th, Monday
10:15 AM Private transfer to VATICAN CITY (luggage in the van)
10:45 AM There will be an assigned guide waiting 4-hour guided tour of St. Peter’s basilica and Vatican Museums
2:45 PM end of tour and private transfer to train station
Train from Rome to Naples (duration 1h 93m)
03:45 PM Train # 9366 departure from Rome to Naples
05:38 PM Train arrival in Naples
Exit at the stop NAPOLI PIAZZA GARIBALDI ­ this is an underground level. The driver is waiting, holding a sign.
Private transfer to Positano and arrival at around 7:00 PM
Porters are at “Parking DI GENNARO”*
*The driver will find the porters (the cost per luggage should be 4 euro)
Hotel in Positano

May 5th, Tuesday
Free day
Hotel in Positano

May 6th, Wednesday
Free day
Hotel in Positano

May 7th,Thursday
09:00 AM Driver transfer to Ravello for cooking class
10:30 AM Begin of cooking class to include lunch
3:30 PM End of cooking class
3:45 PM Driver transfer to Positano
5:00 PM Arrival in Positano
Hotel in Positano

May 8th, Friday
AM Free
2:00 PM Call porters from hotel. They are at parking “DI GENNARO”
2:30 PM Private transfer from parking “Di Gennaro” Positano to Naples train station Train from Naples to Rome (1h 21m)
04:54 PM Train departure from Naples to Roma Terminal
06:15 PM Train arrival in Rome
Upon arrival private transfer to hotel near Fiumicino airport
Hotel in Rome

May 9th, Saturday
You walk ­ moving walkway ­to the airport
2/2 and ½ hours before you must be at airport
8:00 AM Flight Rome/Madrid/USA with Iberia Flight 3609

INCLUDED ARE:
2 ½ hour private tour of Venice
4-hour private tour in Florence
Excursion to Siena and San Gimignano to include a wine tasting at a private winery
4-hour private Vatican tour in Rome
Private 3-hour driving tour in Rome
All train tickets as indicated in itinerary (2nd class, in the best trains) + two 1st class train tickets Rome to Venice
All transfers as indicated in itinerary (apart from Venice)
2 reserved tickets to Vatican Museums
2 reserved tickets to Academy
2 reserved tickets to Uffizi

Please note all guided tours and transfers are in English

Conclusion:
The trip was a success! All the drivers were courteous and on time. The guides very knowledgeable and fun to be with. Trains and private transfers from/to airport and train stations were perfect to travel in Italy.
In particular the customers appreciated the added value of the private transfers from the train station in Naples where they failed to get off. Fortunately, the driver drove after them and reached them at the next train station in Salerno. From Salerno he took them to Positano. The travel agent called the studio/hotel which was to close at 9:00 pm; in this case somebody waited for the clients to arrive so that they could get the keys.
They also loved the cooking class in Ravello. This was held by a lovely Italian “mama” with the whole family helping. The wine was served by her son-in-law, an expert sommelier. Lunch took place on a beautiful terrace overlooking the Amalfi coast.

Clients needs:
These clients contacted a tour company in Florence, Italy, after booking a Mediterranean cruise with departure and arrival in Civitavecchia. Before the cruise they wanted to visit Florence. Following the cruise, they planned to visit Rome and Venice. They had booked flights from the USA to Florence where they wanted to visit the city and some of the Tuscan region. Following this visit, they were to embark on the cruise in Civitavecchia near Rome. They would require a transfer from Florence to the ship's dock. The cruise would be a week in length. Immediately following the cruise, they wanted to visit Rome, the Vatican city and attend an evening of opera at the Baths of Caracalla. After Rome they wanted to explore Venice and stay there a few days. Before returning to the States, they had plans to leave two of their boys at a summer camp in Lignano Sabbia d’Oro for which they needed private transportation.

What we proposed:
This is the itinerary that the tour company set up for the two
American families of eight people:

Friday, June 3, 2009
3:00 PM Arrival at Florence airport “Amerigo Vespucci”and transfer to hotel
CITY JET - Air France flight #5042
4:00 PM Violetta meets you in hotel lobby (only those who would like orientation)
8:00 PM Dinner at “Olio & Convivium”
Hotel in Florence

Saturday, 4 July, 2009
9:00 AM 4-hour tour in Florence including Uffizi (reserved tickets), political center and Holy Cross Church Lunch
3:00 PM 2-hour tour including cathedral, baptistery, Giotto’s bell tower and Academy (reserved tickets)
7:30 PM Transfer to restaurant at Artimino
8:30 PM dinner reservations at “Da Delfina”.
Transfer back to Florence
Hotel in Florence

Sunday, 5 July 2009
9:00 AM van to Pisa and stop to see the Leaning Tower, cathedral and baptistery. Reserved tickets to climb the Leaning Tower.
Transfer from Pisa to hotel in Rome. Estimated arrival 4:00/5:00 PM
6:00 PM ­ 3-hour twilight driving tour of main monuments.
9:00 PM Driver delivers you to restaurant
After dinner you ask the restaurant to call you 2 taxis to return to hotel
Hotel in Rome

Monday, 6 July 2009
9:00 AM Guide meets you at hotel for a 3-hour walking tour of Ancient Rome including Coliseum and Roman Forum (you pay for entrance fees to Coliseum that day (have cash ready. They may not accept credit cards.)
2:00 PM Transfer Rome hotel/Civitavecchia
Ship “Celebrity Solstice” leaves at 6:00 PM

CRUISE

Friday 17 July 2009
8:15 AM Transfer Civitavecchia/Rome
9:45 AM meet with guide at Vatican Museums
10:00 AM 4-hour Tour of Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s
Important: Have photo ID to show who you are as tickets are booked under your names
2:00 PM Transfer to Galleria Borghese
2:30 PM you must collect tickets and pay 84 Euros total at the Galleria Borghese ­- Booking under your name
2:50 PM Guide meets you at cashier for private guided tour starting at 3:00 PM
5:00 PM After tour transfer to your hotel
8:00 PM Transfer hotel/Terme di Caracalla
Opera starts at 9:00 PM
Transfer back to hotel after opera
Hotel in Rome

Saturday, 18 July 2009
8:15 AM transfer to train station
8:50 AM Train Rome/Venice
1:17 PM Arrival at Venice Train station
Transfer by boat to your hotel
3:30 PM 2 ½ hour walking tour of Venice center
Free time for dinner
10:45 PM Embarkment on 2 gondolas
**** Be there 10 minutes early
Instructions: you embark from gondola pier “BACINO ORSEOLO” (behind St. Mark Square, in front of “Hard Rock Café”) 12 minutes walking distance from Rialto Bridge - Big holiday with fireworks ­- Italian champagne “spumante” served on Board
12.20 AM disembark
Hotel in Venice

Sunday 19 July 2009
8:30 AM Meet guide at hotel
9:00 AM Doge's Palace and secret itinerary (reserved tickets)
11:00 35-minutes gondola tour (2 gondolas)
Embarkment from Danieli pier (guide will take you there)
2:00 PM Private transfer by boat from your hotel in Venice to where the driver will meet you (4 persons: 2 adults + 2 teenagers)
2:15 PM transfer by car from Piazzale Roma in Venice to Lignano Sabbia d’Oro.
PM transfer back to Venice for 2 persons (2 adults)
****Upon arrival you follow the signs and walk to the Rialto bridge and hotel
8:00 PM Dinner booked at Conca D’Oro
Hotel in Venice

Monday 20 July 2009
9:30 AM transfer for 6 persons from Venice Hotel to airport (boat + car)
1:05 PM flight

Conclusion:
The two families had an original itinerary planned by the tour company in Italy according to their dates of arrival and departure to include the already booked cruise. According to their wishes, they visited Florence, Rome and Venice. They attended an opera at the Caracalla Bath in Rome and they accompanied their sons to the summer camp near Venice.
The day of their arrival in Venice was a local holiday in honor of the patron saint of Venice. The whole city was celebrating which was a unique opportunity for them to experience the local history and ambiance. They especially enjoyed taking a gondola ride at 10:30 PM to watch the fireworks on the lagoon at midnight while drinking champagne.

Customer needs:
Two American clients and their children aged 13, 11 and twins, 7 years old spent 10 days going to Florence and Rome during the Easter Holidays. They wanted to stay together, spend a conservative amount of money, and have good quality service and accommodation. They wanted to avoid the museums, but nevertheless wanted to make their trip memorable and fun.

What we proposed:
In both Florence and Rome we offered to book comfortable, centrally located apartments which seemed to be a better choice for families, especially in such a high season as Easter. They were to fly into Rome. The travel agent arranged for them to spend 5 days in Florence and then 5 days in Rome from where they were to fly back to the USA. A transfer by minivan was booked from Fiumicino airport in Rome to the apartment in Florence. From Florence back to Rome they would take the train. Upon arrival at the train station in Rome a driver took them to the Rome apartment coordinating the families’ arrival with the apartment’s staff.

In Florence they took two excursions:
An 11-hour excursion to Venice where they had free time to enjoy the city. Another excursion was to Lucca and Pisa. In Lucca we proposed a bicycle tour which we thought would be more fun for the children; after the bicycle tour on top of the Lucca’s fortress and through the city center, the driver took them to Pisa where tickets to the Leaning Tower had been reserved. In Rome, the two families chose to have a driving tour to the old Roman ruins because this was of great interest to the children. They stopped at the Colosseum, Roman Forum, an aqueduct and the catacombs.

Conclusion:
Crucial to their travel was that the clients contact a tour operator in Italy well in advance so that they could select reasonably priced apartments (Easter time is very busy!). The clients were very happy and could receive all the assistance they needed while there. They chose to rent a mobile phone with an Italian number so the travel agent could call them to check to see if everything was going well while they were in Italy. This also allowed them to call Italian numbers without having to pay long distance rates and gave them security in case of emergency.