Charming Italy: Rome - Florence - The Castle of Verrazzano - Pisa - Venice

I'll start my review by saying a huge "thank you!" to the travel consultants of Italy Tours. Thank you so much, for taking into consideration all our preferences and for making our tour truly unforgettable. Our family trip started on a perfect early morning by our arrival to Rome. At the airport we were met by the driver who transferred us to the hotel. It was a beautiful and chic 4 * hotel in the heart of Rome, just what we wanted. The room was provided immediately (very important after a few hours flight)! After breakfast we met with our guide at the hotel lobby. Our tour began with the Coliseum. So gorgeous: we admired the Roman Forum, visited the Museum of the Renaissance and absolutely amazing places. After that, our guide led us to the Piazza Venezia - the heart of Rome and Italy. Trevi Fountain is really so splendid! And the Borghese Park - we sat down there to rest for a few minutes and watch the hundreds of photos that we have already snapped - everything was so magnificently charming that we couldn't stop clicking that button on the camera!

Here are a few of these shots. So, the first day in Rome:

The next day our tour of Rome continued. Accompanied by our lovely guide we went to St. Peter's Square. We had a walk around the area, and at 1 p.m. they opened the entrance to the cathedral and passage to the Dome. In just a few minutes there was a huge line of people waiting for the tickets, but we didn't have to worry because our tickets were already pre-booked by our tour operator Francesca. So we walked inside the Dome of the Cathedral.

By the way, the Dome of St. Peter is the second biggest in the world after the Dome of the Pantheon and it is really big and very impressive. Indescribable beauty! After this we had to climb the stairs for the top of the Dome that offers some stunning views of the Vatican, Vatican Gardens, Castel Sant'Angelo and the right bank of the Tiber. The higher we were going, the narrower and more inclined it was getting. And here we are: on the top, looking down, fascinated by the mesmerizing beauty of the city. There are no words to describe that view and the feeling it gives, this just has to be seen and felt!

We decided to go shopping on our third day in Rome. Francesca included in our program the main shopping street in Rome - Via del Corso which stretches from Piazza del Popolo to the central area of Rome - Piazza Venezia. Also she recommended us to visit the street Via Nazionale which has a large number of shops including Bata, Sandro Ferrone, Falco, Elena Miro, Max Mara, Benneton, Sisley, Francesco Biasia, Nanini, Giess. In a few words, my husband and I have been satisfied with the great variety of shops with quite good prices.

For the evening we had a reservation for dinner at the fantastic seafood restaurant "Ai 3 Scalini" that offers a fabulous view of Coliseum, excellent service and delicious food! Everything was so tasty that we had to eat it all and walking back to the hotel was a real challenge.

On the fourth day we left for Florence by train. The tickets were of course purchased in advance. Our transport was waiting for us at the station and we reached our hotel in Florence very fast. It was as beautiful as the hotel in Rome. After lunch we went to see the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Baptistery of San Giovanni. Our nice and experienced guide answered all our questions. After that, we walked through the narrow streets of the old town and entered the Piazza della Signoria.

The town is small and amazing, we couldn't stop taking pictures again. Every house, every detail - everything was so fascinating! This is the town that raised such famous people like Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, Michelangelo and many others.

The next day we walked through the charming Florence alone. This city will be interesting as well as for history lovers, artists of any kind, or just simple travelers. It's just impossible not to fall in love with it! Besides the historical and architectural landmarks, you will be certainly interested in the numerous shopping centers; jewelry shops and the famous Ponte Vecchio. Oh, you can admire for hours unique creations of the local jewelers. Everything was beautiful but very expensive, so we didn't buy anything.

We had a walk through the streets in the evening... and there is only one thing I can say: Florence by night is a must see!

As I already said, the travel agents of Italy Tours considered all our wishes, including wine tasting. Francesca organized an amazing trip to the Castle of Verrazzano (Castello di Verrazzano) in the Chianti Classico area. We tried 3 different kinds of wine and some Tuscan bread with olive oil. Perfect... slightly rotating the wine in the glass... inhaling the delicious flavors...but after making a couple of sips I had to give it to my husband. I am just not a drinker and don't like any drinks that are stronger than my coffee. We were invited to buy some wine after tasting. Oh, everything was great, and the view from there was absolutely fantastic!

After lunch, we went for a fast trip to Pisa. Trains run frequently, so we didn't have to wait for long especially because we have already had the tickets. In a few words, the city of Pisa looks dirty and poor. We found nothing else interesting to see besides the Leaning Tower and The Field of Miracles on which the tower is placed.

Next day. It is so nice to wake up with the thought that in a few hours we will be in one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world. If you ask any person to name the top five romantic words, one of them will be for sure "Venice"! Oh Venice! Mysterious, beautiful, romantic, charming... Venice is a city on the water, a truly unique one. As usual, we met with our guide at the hotel and rushed to see everything around. Venice just caught me with its narrow channels and gracious gondolas and gondoliers.

We were exploring the narrow streets, looking at the showcases with the mysterious masks and those graceful and elegant ornaments of glass... it was like magic! I thought that it would be a crime not to buy something, so I bought some Murano glass earrings for myself from Antica Murrina and of course souvenirs for all of my family and friends.

City of love... The first thing that came to my mind was "this is not a real city - these are some decorations from a musical or something", it was so beautiful, just like a dream! Venice is like Paris - the center of art, so many beautiful places that you'll need an eternity to count them all. Well, we didn't have the eternity, so we saw the most famous and most visited places of it: the Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica, Piazza San Marco, Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge. We learned so many things about the city as well as interesting stories about its people.

This is a truly romantic and gorgeous city of lovers that must be seen at least once in a lifetime. And most of people (or lovers, you choose) will fall in love with it from the first sight... and this feeling will last forever.

Oh, I can tell you so many things about it, but I still cannot describe all the emotions that this experience woke up in our minds and hearts. Also, we were so delighted with our program and our great guide that accompanied us through the entire trip. Everything was very well planned and organized. In just 10 days we managed to see so many historical sites of Italy and learn so much about its culture. We are so happy with the work of travel agents from Italy Tours, and the way they did everything: the great hotels, wine tasting, recommendations of the best places for shopping, transportation in every direction and finally for making sure that we didn't miss our morning flight back home! Guys, you are just great!

Italy Tours:

  1. Airline tickets (round-trip)
  2. Personalized tour scheduled by days and hours (individual approach to each client, taking into consideration any needs, preferences and requirements)
  3. Booking of Hotels in the selected cities
  4. Ticket reservations for guided tours
  5. Transfers according to the program
  6. Experienced and responsible guides
  7. Dinner reservations at a restaurant in Rome
  8. Leisure time. Recommendations for shopping
  9. Friendly assistance

Our unforgettable vacation in the Campania region

Our family took a trip to Italy in mid-July this year. It has been a long time since we wanted to get to the Campania but we've read many stories that this region has almost no beaches but we really wanted to have a swim in the sea at least a couple of days on the holiday.

So we decided to seek help from professionals. This is how we found Italy Tours. These guys suggested us a town near Sorrento - Vico Equense (10 km from Sorrento) and booked us a nice hotel right on the beach. Our travel agent Carol took into consideration all our wishes and made a very detailed plan of our trip. We loved it!

Now, I want to share with you our beautiful experiences and pictures.

Vico Equense

Vico Equense is a small town located on a tuff cliff as well as Sorrento. It is divided into two parts - Vico Equense and Marina di Equa that is at the bottom of the cliffs on the seashore.

The transportation service took us to our hotel - the Axide 4*. This is the only hotel in town that has its private beach so it was a perfect choice. The hotel has its own vineyard and orchard with pomegranates, lemons and tangerines. They make their own wine and offer it to their guests. Breakfast is served on the terrace, and dinner is on the terrace that is on the beach. What could be better than excellent food, fantastic view of the sea and the Mount Vesuvius? From Thursday to Sunday the restaurant is full of partying Italians that listen to live music! During our stay, the hotel hosted a series of meetings with the writers of "Libri sotto le stelle". By the way, we were really lucky! We got a room with a large terrace overlooking the sea and the Mount Vesuvius, the view was so stunning that you can watch it for hours... The boats in the morning, all the lights in the evening, and the amazing fireworks on the opposite shore that were shining every evening... everything was so beautiful!

Along with our guide, we visited the Church of Annunziata - the only Gothic Church of the Sorrento peninsula and the Giusso Castle that was founded by Angioino family. Vico Equense is famous for its meters-long pizza and its cheese "Provolone del Monac" which is produced exclusively in the mountains of Monti Lattari.

The testing of restaurants showed that the most delicious dishes are made in the coastal, tourist part. We loved the fish restaurant Mustafa (there, we first saw the "meter" pizza at a price of 20-30 EUR per square meter, depending on the ingredients). Carol advised us to visit a pastry shop "Dolce Vita" that has a great selection of cakes and an absolutely delicious Cappuccino Freddo!

Sorrento

During our trip, we have been in Sorrento for 3 times. The first time we went there by car, the second one by sea, and the third - by train. Carol took care of our transport so we didn't have to lose a minute. We loved this city! Surprisingly cozy, romantic and bourgeois.

Our guide took us to the Piazza Tasso - the main square of Sorrento that has a huge variety of restaurants. We loved the Monastery of San Francesco which is very close to the observation deck. Its story starts in the VIII century.

Next, we saw the Sedile Dominova (XV century). It is a squared loggia, opened on two sides with some large Romanesque arches. In the XVII century loggia was "crowned" with a dome covered with green and yellow majolica which gave the structure an eastern look. Previously, the most important local persons were meeting there to discuss the city and other problems. Now it's a men's club that has tables for playing cards. Also, there is a second room with portraits and diplomas on the walls and prize cups on the shelves that is arranged like a bar.

By the recommendation of Carol we went shopping to the Corso Italia, and for souvenirs on via Cesareo (you can find there everything: some amazing pieces of furniture with wooden mosaics, ceramics, tablecloths or shops with limoncello). We had to walk a lot to get to the beach of Sorrento but it was worth it! There is a fantastic view opening from it!

Naples

On the arranged day and hour, our guide met us in the lobby of our hotel and we went to Naples (by train). We visited the Neapolitan Chamber of Commerce, square with the Fountain of Neptune (Bernini) and Maschio Angioino castle (XIII century). We were enchanted with the Teatro di San Carlo! Also, we visited la Galleria Umberto that was built in 1900 to get rid of the "dark" lanes between the theater and Via Toledo. The gallery is built in a similar way as Milan Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which was supposed to symbolize the unity of the North and South. We sat on our zodiac signs, ate some great ice cream and drank coffee.

When exiting the gallery we got to the Trieste e Trento square and therefrom to the Plebesshito square and the Royal Palace where we saw the statues of rulers of Naples.

After that, we visited the beautiful Santa Lucia with its expensive hotels and restaurants, the fountain Del Immakolatella which is the symbol of Naples naval glory and the Castel d' Ovo (built in the 12th century). According to the legend, Virgil put into an amphora an enchanted egg and hung it all in a cage and as long as the egg is intact Naples is safe. Here we waited the hot afternoon to pass and went through every room of the castle.

After seeing the castle we moved for Chiaia and loved the area over the Vittoria! There are some very interesting houses and expensive shops all around. We had a stop in a cafe called Gambrinius, drinking their special coffee!

Cathedral Duomo di San Gennaro was waiting for us. It stands pretty far from the major attractions. To get to it, we had to get through Via De Protis, pass along (again) the Corso Umberto and then trough Corso Duomo that is half a kilometer of wedding dresses and shoes stores, oh, and veils of course! And here it is! St. Januarius with its beautiful neo-Gothic facade! The Cathedral was founded by Charles of Anjou on the bases of two ancient basilicas. Under the altar there is the saint's head along with two vessels with his blood and episcope is buried right in front of it.

From Vico Equense to Sorrento, Amalfi, Ravello

We got there by boat (which was booked by Carol). The first 20 minutes of sail sing were not impressive until we saw... the stunning Capri Island (pictured), then, at the entrance in Positano - the Li Galli Island.

After that, the boat took us to Amalfi Coast.

Ravello

After landing in Amalfi, we immediately moved towards the bus stop. The bus to Ravello was waiting for its last passengers. The serpentine road to Ravello is at approximately 350 m above the sea. People say about Ravello that it is closer to the sky than to the sea. We had an ice-cream-coffee in the main square, and then went to the Villa Rufolo (13th century) that illustrates in a perfect way the Arab-Norman style of the XI-XIII centuries. We saw the terrace where in 1880 Richard Wagner wrote a part of the famous "Parsifal". This beautiful terrace hosts an international music festival every summer.

Amalfi Coast

On our way back to Amalfi, we went to see the Cathedral of St. Andrew; there are buried the relics of the Apostle (by the way, there is one more version saying that those are in Scotland at the St. Andrews Cathedral). The very interesting "Paradise Courtyard" (13th century ) that has some wonderful fragments of frescoes and two paintings (one of them is a creation of Giotto), then you will see the crypt with the tomb of St. Andrew, and only after this you will get into the cathedral itself. After that, we relaxed on a tiny terrace of a cafe, went to a nautical gifts store for souvenirs and headed back to the port. What an excellent vacation! We returned home with some sweet memories, hundreds of lovely photographs and amazing emotions!

Our goal was to combine a trip to the coast with a dip in the sea. Thanks to Carol from Italy Tours the goal was accomplished! Thank you guys for the great emotions and experience!

Italy Tours:

  1. Airline tickets (round-trip)
  2. Personalized tour scheduled by days and hours (individual approach to each client, taking into consideration any needs, preferences and requirements)
  3. Booking of Hotels
  4. Ticket reservations for churches and museums
  5. Transfers according to the program
  6. Experienced and responsible guides
  7. Free time. Recommendations for shopping
  8. Friendly assistance