The day painfully started early and finished late. Just avoid the Chianti the night before. But wow what a day! the drive down past Napoli was long if not dull but that was quickly forgotten as soon as we saw the brilliant and breathtaking view of the Amalfi Coast. It was everything that we expected. We stopped in two main towns, Amalfi and Postatano. The towns were beautiful but had the feel of a tourist trap with busloads of visitors milling over the exquisite streets. But after Rome and Florence we were used to the clamor and photo blocking. Pompeii was everything we hoped for. Ever since I was a young boy I dreamed of walking through the streets, temples, villas and bordellos of Pompaii. It was everything I had hoped for and more. And to add icing onto the laver cake the Pompaii guide Guy brought the ancients to life with his animated stories and passionate descriptions of life in the doomed town. All together the tour was worth every lira, penny and cent. Our driver Max was great fun and made the day pass quickly. But with a small van designed for 6 passengers make sure you get a fun crowd who enjoys a bit of banter and harmless mixing. Our van was occupied with two other couples who made a remote parish mass seem like Woodstock. But I was a marvelous well organized tour that was a brilliant finale tour a delicious two weeks in Italy.
After seeing and feeling the crowds in Venice in the morning we were worried that the organized tour would be a bit of a bun fight. But to our pleasant surprise the the guide whisked us through the throng with the skill of a rugby forward heading towards that enviable try. The guides passion and knowledge and intellectual connection with the group was impressive. As an architect and student of history I fooled myself into thinking that I knew all there was to about Venice. But the tour left me reeling at how line I did know. The walking tour was well organized and fascinating. In the afternoon we were taken on a boat down the Grand Canal.this was a breathtaking and inspiring. The guide was passionate and engaging. Her explanation of the sites and the simple description of the evolution of Venice was a masterclass. We loved our three hours and will be back for more.
I don't often give full makes to events or tours but the full day tour in Florence was remarkable. I guess it helps when you have a wonderfully cultural and beautifully adorned gem like Florence to show off to bedazzled out of towners like us. Florence is a real gift from God. Our guides Fabio and Rosa (we did the full day tour) whisked us around with passion and dignity. Their wise and skilled description of so many exquisite works of art made me want to learn more. I studied Florence and Renaissance Art and Architecture at university and in true arrogance believed I knew a lot about Florence. But wow how little did I know. The ease in which Fabio and Rosa explained the Florentine passion and vision the more I felt like a school boy discovering Superman comics for the first time. What an adventure. Adored every second of the two tours. They were well organized and and extremely well chaperoned. I will be doing them again on our next visit.
Wasn't too sure what to expect from the cooking class. My wife is an F+B specialist whereas I burn water. But I have to say I had great fun. The chef was very patent (with me) and explained the procedures well and clearly. I had great fun and more fun eating the fruits our our labor. We had a fun group and next visit we will do the wine tasting and cheese classes as well. Highly recommended.
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