The Villa d'Este itself was lovely with all the fountains and gardens. However, there is little historic information that you get on the way. Our bus was divided into four groups that spoke English, Russian, Spanish and French. We had two tour guides whose translations sometimes overlapped and was very confusing and annoying.
That was a great tour. On the way, our guide, William, gave lots of interesting information on the history of all the places we passed through and stopped at. Once reaching the Castle, there was another lovely guide who explained in detail all we needed to know about the history of the castle itself, its owners, and the secrets of wine and extra virigin olive oil making, as well as the best techinques for wine tasting. Although as she said, she had been there for only a few months, yet she was quite the expert and very friendly as well. The family at the castle were also very cordial and hospitable. Definitely worth doing - I would not stop though at the small village we stopped at; it was so inconspicuous that I do not even remember its name.
The decision to book this tour was probably the best decision taken during our Florence trip. Having your own guide gives you the attention and level of detail and knowledge that you want. When you have possible the best guide ever, Ms. Anna Ristori, you cannot go wrong. She proved to be a wealth of information and knowledge about EVERYTYHING: history, art, culture, and even shopping and the best places to eat. Despite the fact that she literally poured out information, she was also extremely generous with all of our questions and we had lots of them Florence is quite a crowded city with tourists vying for the best spot to appreciate a work of art; Ms. Ristori took great pains to ensure that we had the best spot from which we could appreciate what we were looking at and also to be comfortable and hear her explanations clearly over the noise ofthe crowds. Most importantly, she is a kind and considerate person - my mother is quite elderly and cannot walk easily nor stand for long periods. Ms. Ristori made sure that my mother was always comfortable, found places for her to sit when we had been standing for a while. At the Uffizi Gallery, she made sure that my mother had access to the elevator and talked to the people in charge to make sure they were available to help, if need be. Cannot thank her enough!! She is the best. I do not know if you can ask for her by name. Also special thanks to our driver who assisted my mother getting in and off the car, and who himself was extremely kind and knowledgable. Thanks to both!
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