Where do I begin……We recently returned from a 12 day Mediterranean cruise. My wife and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and our niece and her husband were celebrating their 25th. Needless to say this was a special cruise.
I didn’t want the cruise excursions as I wanted it to be more informal and basically customize our own day. The three ports that I wanted a private tour for were Livorno, Naples & Rome.
About a month before the cruise I started researching private tour Companies in Italy. Let me tell you there are plenty! I started by searching Cruise Critic and in reading one of the posts came across the Company “Private tour in Italy”. The review sounded excellent so I did further research and found a link to trip advisor. The reviews on trip advisor were also excellent. One review offered further information on request so I contacted the reviewer and she had glowing praise for them.
I sent off an inquiry e-mail to Domenico, the owner of Private Tour in Italy and within hours received a response. We traded numerous e-mails over the next couple of weeks and he actually even called me once to clarify one of my questions. We finalized all of the details and he didn’t even require a deposit.
When we arrived in Livorno we were greeting by a lovely lady named Elizabeth. She spoke very good English and was such a pleasant person. Our original plan was to visit Pisa and then Florence. On a whim I had heard about how beautiful the little town of San Gimignano is. I had mentioned it to her and she adjusted the day so that we could fit it in. Everything was about us and what we wanted to see. Elizabeth was very knowledgeable about the entire region. The drive through the Tuscany region was breathtaking!
Our next stop was Naples. This was an important stop for me as there was so much I wanted to see in the Amalfi coast and we only had about 10 hours to do it. The day we arrived in Naples was also Ferragosto……a national Italian holiday so the roads were going to be very congested. I had requested Domenico for this particular stop as the Amalfi Coast is his specialty being that he is from Sorrento. I told him that I wanted it to be a special day for the four of us. He couldn’t commit being that it was a holiday but he would try.
When we arrive at the Naples port a well- dressed tanned man is holding up a sign with my name on it. He introduces himself as Domenico. We exchange a few words and off we go. We are about 5 minutes into the drive and my Niece spots a fruit stand at the side of the road and quietly says to my wife “look at those figs”. Domenico stops the car in the middle of the road, walks over to the fruit stand and picks up a bag of figs for us. From that moment on I knew that this was a special person. Our first stop was Sorrento where he dropped us off and let us roam around for a bit. Probably the best espresso coffee I had the entire trip.
From there we head to the beautiful town of Positano. Domenico takes us high atop the mountain to this unbelievable restaurant overlooking the Amalfi Coast. The restaurant was packed with people celebrating the holiday and also with people waiting to get in. The owner greets us and takes us to our reserved table overlooking the coast below. With-in minute’s food and wine start arriving at our table and didn’t stop until all seven coursed were served. It was probably one of the best meals we had ever eaten (and we’re Italian) and the view was just spectacular!!
We are enjoying our Espresso and Lemoncello when Domenico walks out with an anniversary cake for my wife and I. The entire restaurant starts to sing. After our lunch we walk around the restaurant to capture some more unbelievable views but also to see the surrounding land as they grow all of their own vegetables and raise their own animals.
Next we are on our way to Ravello, another beautiful town in the Amalfi coast. He allows us some time to wonder on our own. The last stop was the town of Amalfi, so rich in scenery.
Throughout the drive around the Amalfi coast he would stop the car whenever he would heart us say “that looks like a nice picture”.
Our day was complete as we were able to see all of the sites in Amalfi that we had hoped to see. On the way back to the ship I had asked Domenico how his wife and kids celebrated the holiday. He said that they had spent it on the beach. He gave up a day with his family to fulfill my request.
Our last private tour was in Rome. I wasn’t sure who we were going to get as Domenico has a couple of his people that he uses in Rome. We arrive at the port and head out to the waiting tour operators. Standing off to the side is this well –dressed tanned man…………..it was Domenico! He drove 3 ½ hours to the port so that he could do our tour. How is that for dedication?
In a span of 10 hours, we were able to see The Coliseum, Pantheon, St. Peters Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Domenico also took us to a restaurant for lunch (also friends of his) where we had the most amazing pizza. We ended the day with an Italian Ice cream right by the port.
Before the cruise Domenico had suggested a tour guide for the Basilica and Sistine Chapel. It cost us very little extra but we had absolutely no lines and our guide had a wealth of knowledge. He was able to tell us things that we never would have known on our own.
I can’t say enough about Domenico and his Company. His dedication to pleasing his clients is evident in everything that he does. He passes that same passion on to his other drivers as we felt that same passion with Elizabeth.
In summary, Private Tour in Italy made our vacation truly memorable and that lunch in Positano will leave a lasting memory.
If you want any further information feel free to contact me.
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