Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the 9-Day Best of Italy Tour from Milan Including Rome, Tuscany and Venice. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
We took the 9 Day Best Of Italy Tour from 24 April 2015 and overall were happy with the tour. It was a small group tour in a 25 seater bus and while it is called a 9 Day Tour it is basically 6 full days of touring ie Day one is simply arriving in Milan, Day two is mainly travelling from Milan to Rome with just one stop on highway for lunch at your expense and day three is departure from Milan. It does say that there is a tour of Milan on Day two but this is minimal because it is about a seven hour trip to Rome. Depending on what time you arrive or leave Milan determines how much of Milan you can see. The accommodation at all cities was quite good but hotel in Venice was a stretch to call it 3 star. The Hotel was beside the grand canal and s hard to get a reasonably priced hotel in this location no doubt. Driver Stephano and Tour Leader Pierre kept every thing running like clockwork and if any problems arose the Tour Leader was able to solve them. Some points to note maybe are as follows. In each city a city tax of around five euros per person is payable and this is not included in the tour price. Secondly no drinks are included with the evening meals that are provided and it would have been nice to have had a complimentary drink at the beginning of the tour or be told about the drinks before tour commenced. Thirdly the tour involves a reasonable amount of walking and one needs to be aware of this plus you are responsible for taking your suitcases to and from the bus and your hotel room. Breakfast at all hotel was excellent and all diners was of an acceptable standard. A tour guide is provided at all cities and towns but one may want to determine if this is needed in Rome and Florence as it takes up quite an amount of time and you may wish to see specific things yourself. Overall we enjoyed the tour.
Pier was a very good guide, it was his efforts that kept this score from being lower. Rome's guide was great, she came with whisper technology transmitter and personal receivers which gave all of the group the ability to hear her excellent incite on Rome. The other city-based tour guides worn a microphone and a single speaker hanging around their necks. Unless you were in the front of our pack of ~ 45 people (way more people than I expected in the group), you could not hear what was being described. Add to that our city-based guide in Venice really came across as not liking tourists. (without tourists what would she be doing?) Again Pier was great, well organized and able to pretty much keep our large group on pace.
Wasn't happy with any of the hotels and the meals included in the tour. The tour guides didn't have my name on their lists, I have never received messages in the hotels where and when I would be picked up next morning or where the tour is starting. I called on the numbers given in the voucher (the local operator phone), to no avail, no one ever answered. The beginning of the tour wasn't planned well. They picked me up from Milan on the first day of tour to take me to Rome by bus. The distance is a bit too long for a bus, the journey took 8,5 hours. I would prefer to go by train in the evening and spend 2-3 hours on the road and stay the whole day in Milan instead of spending it in the bus, wouldn't mind to pay extra for the train. In a few words - bad organization, wrong choice of the local operator
Very efficient tour. Nicole was an excellent tour leader. But our tour leader for the first 3days of our trip, Pierre, was very unorganized.
Many of the dinners are of very low quality, particularly in the hotel antares best western in milan. You are better off having dinner on your own.
Also in rome, the morning tour leader left us in the middle of rome by the spanish steps - without any transportation or direction on how to get back to the hotel. We were not provided any maps either - the leader in fact told us she didnt know how to get back - we had to figure it out on our own.
Other than that it was a very good well organized tour. Call ahead to see who the tour leader will be - if it i Nicole - you are in excellent hands - but if anyone else I would be careful. Also be wary of any of the included meals.
Too many places in too short a time. Tour guide always rushing us. Not much explanation, interesting information given to us while touring. In short quite lackluster.
I am glad that this review will be read by your travel team . I intended to write about this tour as in my 30 years of touring, I have never wrote to a company until now. So, this is a first. I know that there is no perfect vacation, but your local provider did not do a good job and this reflects on your company VIATOR. I took this tour because I had good experience with VIATOR in Arizona a few months ago. Also the travel is by bus which is convenient and not trains since I have recent problems with my knees And of course, because it is Italy. By the way, I had been to Italy 2 previous times.
This company is not organized . On the first day of our arrival in Milan, at the Antares Concorde Hotel, the reception had no idea about our involvement with GAR tours. From 10 AM until 7:30 PM there was no message nor posting from GAR tour . We thought that we may be in the wrong hotel until a guide came in at around 7:45 PM from a bus returning from Rome.. The next day, off to Rome. The trip took the whole day. You may want to look into this. A better plan would be to start in Rome as a whole day is wasted.
The Rome hotel was convenient but definitely not 4 stars . In fact all the hotels were subpar and in the category of 2 or 3 stars except for the Hotel Rivoli in Florence, which deserves 4 stars. The hotel was clean, the reception people were congenial and helpful and the food was very good. The Hotel Antares Concord in Milan is particularly egregious. The food offered was not edible , french fries and chicken that was so dry, our table had to ask for olive oil and vinegar to make it palatable and most finally just did not eat it at all. The hotel in Venice, the Continental, also advertised as 4 stars was not clean. The rooms smelled as if it has not been aired for several weeks and and the air conditioning did not work well.
I save my last comments on our tour guide Pierre. He may have been a good guide 30 years ago, but this time he is tired, old ,irritable and cranky. It is obvious he did not like what he was doing as even before you can ask him a question, he is already irritated. I call him an escort and not a tour guide. The guide in Sienna, Lucia was texting most of the time, gave little information and could not wait to finish the tour so she can join Pierre and eat gelato.The best tour guides were Laura in Assisi and the tour guides in Rome and Venice.
The bus was clean and the bus drivers were good and drove safely.
By the way, my comments are shared by the others in our tour and this, you can verify.
I think that your agency do better with the one day tours which we enjoyed,
I suggest that you have one of your staff take this 9 day tour and experience what it was like.
I regret to say that I probably will not take multiple day tours with your company for a while. This tour did not enhance your company at all.
Hotels were very nice. Rome, location at train station was sketchy at best, but rest were very nice.Beautiful area but very rushed 1 1/2 hours in Siena and Verona, more time needed. Guide was called tour escort and gave very little info. When asked about places said she couldn't tell us against the law. I think she just wasn't informed. First day to get tour we were not even notified about the time. We met people in lobby who said we had 5 minutes to board bus at 8:00. We had no idea. I had asked at hotel desk night before if we had any messages from GarTour and they said no. Nicole the previous guide who just rode with us on bus to Rome could have given us some info. Drove 9 hours to Rome from Milan to pick up tour with little touring info. We could have taken train on our own. Guide fair at best, was snippy at times. People joined and left at different times so inconsistent. Would not recommend disappointing for the price and for your reputation.
This is a 7-day tour, not an 8-day tour. If you start the tour in Milan as I did and the other reviewer, the first day is a half-day tour of Milan and then a bus ride to Rome. You get into Rome quite late in the evening. The very last day is an exact copy of Day One, which I don't understand, and the tour company and Viator do not recognize as a duplicate day. The rest of the tour is OK, but I would not recommend any tour that is advertised as being something that it is not. The description of this tour is, in a word, deceptive. Stay away.