2 independent reviews for Tour Northern Italy

Reviews for Tour Northern Italy

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review 6 Jul 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

We loved the Lake Como region as well as the Cinque Terre. We also liked exploring the little island of Burano!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Go with an open mind. Be ready to try something different, whether it be food, wine, or just walk to discover a neighbourhood off of the main streets. Also pack lightly as some of the train or bus stations do not have escalators so you will have to carry your luggage up and down many steps.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I do feel that by not adding yet another bus or car to the area had a positive effect on the environment. We also were sure that everything we purchased, i.e. gifts for ourselves and others, were made in Italy, including t-shirts!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was fantastic and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We are already talking about where we will be going next.

review 29 May 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Every destination was exciting to experience but my favorites were the Cinque Terra, Lake Como, and the bike ride in Lucca. It was very nice to stay in the apartments in Lucca. Gave a homey feeling to being there and the apartments were bigger and offered more conveniences than hotels.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

1. You really do want to minimize your luggage to 1 or 2 bags you can easily carry onto and off trains, up and down stair cases, and over city streets. 2. Take at least 2 digital cards for a camera because you will shoot a lot of pictures! 3. Make sure your ATM card is cleared to use overseas. Change to 4 digits. Have your banks phone number handy in case you need to call. 4. Consider bringing a walking pole(s) to use on the Cinque Terra hike. Light hike boots are best for the more difficult part of the hikes. 5. Bring a travel rain umbrella and lightweight raincoat. We used them a lot but hopefully summer travelers won't need as much. 6. Do bring some first aide supplies. Found I needed Ibuprofen, an ace bandage, cold tablets, sleep tablets, Band-Aids. You can buy them there but it is more expensive than what it would cost you at home. 7. Don't bring any toiletry in its original container but put smaller amounts in plastic travel containers. Again buying things in Italy will just cost you more. And keep your containers in plastic bags in case one breaks open in your luggage.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Most definitely. We used all public transportation. Ate at local restaurants that the leaders chose for group dinners. There exists a strict recycling program in Lucca. Spent the day at a small town in Piedmont that isn't often visited by tourists. Toured their winery and had one of the best dinners of the whole trip. Very glad to not tour around on a big bus and be identified as a "tour group" led by a leader with an umbrella, flower, or sign.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This vacation was simply splendid. Barbara was the best first tour leader I could have asked for. She is a true professional at her work and very thoughtful in her guidance of the group. I truly loved my trip experience. She did encourage us to write in any changes we would make in the itinerary so I will do that: I would have liked to spend another day in the Cinque Terra. One day is simply not enough. Another day would have allowed me to hike to all 5 towns and to have more time in appreciated each of their beauty. This was a place I very much wanted to see and I think it has a lot to offer. To allow that, I wouldn't have minded skipping Milan and going straight from Piedmont to Lake Como. Instead of staying in Asti, I would have loved to stay in or near the small town we experienced the wine tour. That would have made it a very intimate visit and the locals seemed to enjoy our presence there. I also would have liked another day in Lake Como. It was the nicest and most friendly hotel. The 5 towns really couldn't have been appreciated in one day along with 1 or 2 Villas. It is an hour bus drive there so 2 full days would be splendid. The trip to Pisa really wasn't that enjoyable. It was an option to go and everyone did but it became apparent that staying in Lucca was much nicer. I really enjoyed the bike rides even though the last one was changed somewhat due to the rain. I would, though, have liked the option to go off a little on my own since we are offered that option on a daily basis anyway. It was an important desire of mine to personally find a beautiful poppy field and take pictures. We found one in Lucca and I really wanted to stay longer there and make my way back on my own. As nice as the co-leader was about offering me some time, it didn't feel as if I had the option to choose to stay while the others went ahead. I think I should have had that freedom. On the 2nd bike ride there was another beautiful field not far from the road I wanted to walk there too. But again it didn't feel as if I could have the option to do that. I know the leaders are concerned about our safety and well-being but we do take a certain amount of risk and liability on our own each day. I would have liked to have the freedom of coming back on my own and spending some personal time with something important to me. I think what might be nice for the leader to know is any personal "goal" or desire in mind from each participant for their vacation. The leader can then be personally aware and help support those individual desires to occur. One of mine would have been to spend some quality time taking pictures at a poppy field. I would suggest a little more quality on some of the hotels. I know it would cost more but it does add to the enjoyment of a trip to have a nice room. Only a few rooms were actually challenging. I'm not sure how much more a 3 star hotel would raise the costs. There were many positive things about the tour. I offer my suggestions because I know you are always striving to offer the best. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the operator to anyone I know. In fact, I have!

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