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Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Colorado Springs...
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Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Mark Story, executive director of Story Land and Sea created a wonderful and thorough tour of Venice, Florence, San Gimignano, Rome and Sorrento. The itinerary was well defined ahead of time, his staff was quick to answer questions before and during the trip, the wine and Prosecco flowed well in the evenings and we made some great new friends in our 12-person group. He and his staff selected superb, location-oriented hotels that offered full hot breakfasts, quaint local restaurants for the first evening's dinner, and knowledgeable local guides for the morning tours. Afternoons were left open to do as we pleased. It was a great introductory trip that has whetted our appetite for more of Italy and other Story L&S Tours. I'm sure we'll become alumni clients. Have no doubts, you'll have fun. Make time for adventure, smell the roses, drink the Prosecco and kiss your companion-or an Italian, they are so beautiful! You won't regret it. Take lots of pictures so you can relive the adventure!

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Cambridge, MA
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1. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

I have just begun planning with Sherry Moore of Story Land & Sea and have found her a delight and know that

Rome-Amalfi Coast with Venice pre-extension will be fabulous. I hope one day they expand to Spain and

Morocco and Portugal.

Danvers...
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2. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Thinking about booking this tour for my 25th wedding anniversary in 2019, would love to hear feedback of your experience if you go with Sherry and Land & Sea. I have started a preliminary dialogue with her as well :).

Nj
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3. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

The tour offered by Story Land and Sea, IMO, does not offer much in the way of value for your money. At best you are given a half day of touring each day and are left on your own the rest of the time getting together with the group for dinner. The dinners and restaurants were nothing special and while there were choices for dinner you certainly did not order off the regular menu. Hotels were centrally located but were not exceptional.

All in our we felt that the trip offered by Story Land and Sea was average at best, The advertising led us to believe that it was something special which was not the case. Other tour companies offer you full days of touring, visit more places, and provide a lot more value.

We would not use them again.

Nj
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13 posts
124 reviews
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4. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

The tour offered by Story Land and Sea, IMO, does not offer much in the way of value for your money. At best you are given a half day of touring each day and are left on your own the rest of the time getting together with the group for dinner. The dinners and restaurants were nothing special and while there were choices for dinner you certainly did not order off the regular menu. Hotels were centrally located but were not exceptional.

All in our we felt that the trip offered by Story Land and Sea was average at best, The advertising led us to believe that it was something special which was not the case. Other tour companies offer you full days of touring, visit more places, and provide a lot more value.

Indeed, Sherry Moore is a delight to deal with and an asset to the company but we would not tour with them again.

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Dear Sharonharvardsquare: Story Land & Sea does go to Spain and features a portugal pre-tour trip. There are reviews on the trip available from the company. Are there any questions related to travel to Spain that I might be able to advise you on? From hotels to guides to trains there are many different levels of service and amenity to choose from in Spain.

Denver, Colorado
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6. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

njtravelersus: Respectfully, Story Land & Sea is not a traditional tour operator. Story conducts small group tours of no more than 16 travelers, conducts most of the sightseeing in the mornings with most afternoons free though not all (the overwhelming majority of travelers indicate very high satisfaction). Travel expert Arthur Frommer has described QueensLander, now Story Land & Sea's small group tours of Italy as the "perfect way to see Italy."

Story dinners are at unique restaurants and in fact do feature menus both from the restaurant and some times an insert designed by Story that feature the same entrees (primi, secondi, etc.) the restaurant offers - the benefit is there is a recipe from the restaurant on the reverse side. If a guest does not like the recommendations, they are free to choose from the regular menu. Story does not tour all day like traditional tour companies. Story features an approach to travel similarly to the slow food movement in Italy, with the expression of 'slow travel.' This means they are not hurried along to have each guest check off the next venue or experience.

The hotels are truly in the hearts of the cities and towns. For example, Venice features the 4 Star Saturnia & International - which continues to receive very positive reviews. It is ranked #36 of 385 hotels in Venice.

The hotel in Florence is the 4 Star Hotel L'Orologio - which receives positive reviews. It is ranked #33 of 419 hotels in Florence.

The hotel in Cortona is the 4 Star Hotel Villa Marsili - which receives very positive reviews. It is ranked #1 of 24 hotels in Cortona.

The hotel in Rome is the 5 Star Grand Hotel de la Minerve. Story uses their deluxe rooms only. It is ranked #200 of 1279 hotels in Rome.

Perhaps you will enjoy more traditional tour operators like Globus who offer fully-packed days, affordable hotels, and traditional dining plans.

Cambridge, MA
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7. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

You got it right about Sherry Moore, but not about Story Land value. If you want to tour all day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the end of it you'll be all confused about which Duomo in which City and feel like you were rushed. Take a different tour.If you want to have free time to find a wedding procession, a funeral procession, a good old protest parade and what amounts to the joyous life of people who are alive today, come along with Story. Tours like houses come in all shapes and sizes and costs. What sold me on Story is that other contender which sounded much the same (hotels itinerary etc.) called a small group 40. Story was 14.

What that means with Story is your not wearing a name badge, riding in a big bus, or going to restaurants that

accommodate 40. It's completely different in intimacy. You don't take these excellent tours because of the

bargains. We are just back from our trip and had the most wonderful surprises--like a Michelin 2 star lunch, a chef cooking for us in a private home on the Tiber River in Rome. The Story travelers keep coming back; they value a small group, fine hotels, ample free time to get lost in a city and people watch and discover the true essence of today, as well as the morning's historic perspective--a more 360 degree. A free afternoon or evening gives you the opportunity to do something not on the tour, the contemporary art museum, the opera, the main synagogue and so forth. Many can not afford StoryLand (like my own children and when I was their age), and I feel fortunate that I can and can understand the difference and value with comparably priced tours.

London, United...
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8. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

To be honest, this is for people who are really outgoing and have never traveled before.

Those who have been to at least five other countries will feel like they were let down.

If you have never traveled and do not mind spending a bunch more than going alone, it is worth it.

If you have traveled a bunch and feel confident about buying a local guide book or using a local guide then you will be disappointed.

Mark is a great man and gets along with everyone.

Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Hi Linda M,

Thank you for the kind compliment. I would like to post that many of Story's travelers are independent travelers who have traveled throughout the world but who express they are ready to have someone else worry about all of the details and arrangements. I can definitely see both sides of the coin. I don't want this forum to be an advertisement for Story, of course, so I want to make sure any readers know I will gladly give travel advice at no charge on any aspect of Italy or anywhere else I may have experience. Just private message me for advice OR post here or in a number of other forums on TripAdvisor.

Austin, Texas
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10. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Golly, I'm a bit surprised by some of the comments, but I'm not here to challenge anyone, as a person's response to an adventure varies from guest to guest. Before anyone suggests that I know nothing of traveling, may I submit that I have hunted internationally on 4 continents, have traveled on 6 continents and I lived in Italy for 3 years, so I have more than a passing knowledge of traveling. I wanted to take my wife to the areas that I thought best represented historical Italy. I stumbled on Story Land and Sea and their Great Cities Tour Italy, and it seemed to be what I was looking for. I also looked at other sites, but kept coming back to Story. I signed up and the adventure began. The tour consisted of Venice, Florence, San Gimignano, Tuscan Winery estate, Cortona. Assisi. and Rome. Tours typically lasted 4 to 5 hours and the rest of the days were free to shop, people watch, nap, sightsee on your own, or drink. Had the tours been all day, I would have become a historical, hysterical, lunatic by day 3. I'm glad we had time on our own. All the hotels were more than nice and had in-room safes, along with air conditioning. They were clearly on the very upper end of lodging options. Never judge European hotels by American standards as that would be a mistake. As for the meals, we all ordered off the menus and I found the fare to be very delicious. Was it gourmet? Maybe not, because the portions were more than satisfying and gourmet portions tend to starve me.. The tour captain took care of the hotels, transportation. tour guides, bottled water, tours, and the myriad of logistics that come with making an event great. This became a non-thinking tour where I wasn't responsible for anything. Thank you, Lord! A welcome change from the decades of the do-it-yourself tours that can stress one to the limit. This was first-class. But, I submit the Story Difference: Our flight out of Dallas was delayed by 3 hours (changing brakes or the what not) and our connecting flight was not to be. (Thanks AA!) The next flight out to Venice was a 12 hour difference. That's right, sports fans, we arrived at midnight instead of noon. Story personnel were with us the whole way. When we arrived at midnight (12 hours late) a Story representative was there to usher us to a nearby car. He delivered us to a boat which took us to our hotel. Tell me, what tour operation tracks down their wayward guests and puts them back on schedule? Name one! We also added the Amalfi Coast Extension. What a smart move. We toured Pompeii on our way down and called Sorrento, Italy our home base. We were in THE best hotel Sorrento has to offer. The views were breathtaking and we never tired of the view from our balcony. We added a trip to the Isle of Capri and had our private boat circle the island, looking at amazing water colors like the green grotto, before we landed to explore Capri and Anacapri. The views, the history, the experience would be hard to rival. In summary, this trip is not for everyone, and it's a bit pricey, but it actually exceeded the expectations I had set. My wife thinks I'm a hero (mission complete!) and I feel that the money was worth it. Not everyone will feel that way, so get as many views on the subject as you can. I recommend Story for this experience and hope that I can travel with them again. Happy travels!

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