Florence, Como and Venice following friend's Tuscan wedding
Italy | Aug 21 - Aug 27, 2022

S
Suzanne L.
Gainesville, FL | Reviewed on Sep 03, 2022

Although he was not our original planner, Chris hopped right in and did a wonderful job of creating our Italian adventure. He communicated with us from the get go and always answered our questions/concerns timely. Transportation, tours and accommodations all went well. Athough the time was short, we felt like we were able to get a good feel for Florence, Lake Como and Venice, all special places that we would visit again.

Tours: We only had a few tours planned (unfortunately the... read more

Although he was not our original planner, Chris hopped right in and did a wonderful job of creating our Italian adventure. He communicated with us from the get go and always answered our questions/concerns timely. Transportation, tours and accommodations all went well. Athough the time was short, we felt like we were able to get a good feel for Florence, Lake Como and Venice, all special places that we would visit again.

Tours: We only had a few tours planned (unfortunately the museums were closed on Mondays in Florence) and Chris arranged several - one to the Accademia Gallery to see the David Statue and a walking tour of the city. I especially liked Deborah, the guide who lead the walking tour. She was very knowledgable and seemed to enjoy what she was doing. We were on our own in Lake Como which was nice not to have to adhere to a schedule. The food and wine tour in Venice was interesting but we felt the guide rushed through it as if she wished she were someplace else...

Transportation:
We had personal drivers for much of our trip. Cars were clean and comfortable. The bottled water provided was much appreciated. The drivers were all on time (actually early, for the most part) and even tho some did not speak much English, they had apps on their phones to help with communication. Our water taxi in Venice to the airport was a fun(and a little wet) ride. Maneuvering the train from Florence to Milan was a little tricky because nowhere on the board in the train station did it say Milan, but we went with the train number and time so we were ok. We had 2nd class tickets and the seats were quite comfortable. We thoroughly enjoyed our boat ride from Venice to Murano (extra charge) and tho we did not see a glass blowing demonstration, we found a gallery and made some beautiful purchases. We wish we had had more time there and also to go to the island of Burano.
We did not take a gondola ride, but used the city boat transportation both days we were there.
The ferry that took us from Como to Varenna was at times crowded but the scenery made it worth it.

Accommodations:
All were spectacular. I had changed a couple that Chris picked out initially based on my budget and they were well worth the upgrade. The Plaza Hotel Lucchesi in Florence had a most spectacular rooftop view of the city. The Palace Hotel in Como had a wonderful view of the lake from our room. The Hotel Antiche Figure in Venice was a small boutique hotel (no view from rooms) that was a personal favorite of Chris's and the couple who ran it was so kind and helpful.
Although we are not big breakfast eaters, all of the hotels provided abundant and delicious spreads each morning. And they thankfully all had A/C!!

Hotel Reviews
Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Florence

Our room was spacious and modern. Lots of closet space. We overlooked the river and the rooftop bar/small plates had a most spectacular rooftop view of the city. Bartender in the lobby bar was delightful.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Away from the crowds
Staff
All friendly and accommodating
Cleanliness & Comfort
Bed comfortable, good A/C and lots of room
Palace Hotel Como
Como

Perfect location overlooking the lake.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Lakeside view was beautiful. Short walk to everything.
Staff
There was a mixup with the number of rooms we and our friend were to have but it got straightened out with no issue.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Comfy bed and bathroom shower. Not the step up kind that we see so often in Europe, but a walk in shower that is more to our liking.
Hotel Antiche Figure
Venice

This is a small boutique hotel with helpful and friendly staff who went out of their way to assist.

Authenticity & Character
I loved the Venetian mirrors and light fixtures in the breakfast room.
Location
It is directly across from the train station and one of the water transportation stops. Walkable to just about everything.
Staff
Could not have been any more helpful and friendly. The owners really seem to enjoy all of their guests!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Room had everything we needed but the view was lacking (we faced the side of the building next door). Also, not a fan of the two single beds pushed together. Also, not a fan of the handheld shower wand.
Activity Reviews
Afternoon guided tour to Accademia
Florence

It was good, but very crowded at the Accademia making it a little hard to focus on what our tour guide was saying.

Best of Florence walking tour
Florence

I thought our tour guide Deborah was great! She was quite enthusiastic and informative about her city and I loved her accent.

Cicchetti & Wine Tour
Venice

This was a private tour, just me and my husband and the tour guide. She took us to several small bars and we sampled small plates/tapas and wine in the busy Rialto (?) section of town. The food was a bit exotic for our taste - anchovies, octupus, creamed cod etc but that was described to us when we chose it. Wine pours were generous. Although we enjoyed it, we felt a little rushed through this tour and it seemed like the tour guide wished she were someplace else.

Departure day
Italy

Our driver didn't arrive at the specified time, but the hotel owners quickly got a hold of him and he was there within 5 minutes. It was a fun ride to the airport. Once we departed the boat, there was a person at the dock to help us with our luggage, since the airport is a good ten minute walk away. This was helpful since we had a lot of luggage.

Welcome to Lake Como
Lake Como

We had free time in Como to explore on our own. We took the Funnicular up the mountain for the most spectacular view of the lake and the town. The line to get in was long and it was hot and the bathrooms were a bit shady, but overall we enjoyed the excursion. The ferry to Varenna was very long but relaxing. There were multiple stops along the way but we opted to stop in Varenna, which was awesome!

Local specialist: Chris Gravas
Chris
Chris Gravas
Local specialist in Athens, Greece | Reviewed on Sep 14, 2022

Dear Suzanne,

Thank you very much for taking the time to provide such a detailed review of all elements of your trip. We value such feedback very much, as we always aspire to improve our services and offer our travelers the best. Also, thank you for your kind words regarding my help in planning this trip for you, I really appreciate it.
You were all a pleasure to work with, yourselves and Roz as well, and I hope a get the chance to plan another trip for you in the future, perhaps in Greece !?

Wishing you all the best!

Kind regards,
Chris