Guest Book

The highest compliment you can give Ciao Tours is to recommend us to your friends, family & business associates.

"I nostri clienti sono sempre parte della nostra grande famiglia…grazie!”

  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016 & EARLIER

Hi Arlene & Laura,

In a nutshell, we had a terrific trip to Italy and are so appreciative of all the planning that you at Ciao Tours did to make our visit so wonderful!

Thank you so much for listening and being so responsive to our questions, desires & concerns.

Before time diminishes our trip memories, we wanted to share some specific feedback that you might find helpful which was sent to your email.
Please know that we are sharing these more extended comments in the spirit of giving feedback that may be useful for future client trips. These are all VERY MINOR criticisms because the overwhelming experience was incredibly positive!

As longtime independent travelers, we felt that Arlene and Ciao Tours heard our concerns about traveling during the pandemic and the global anti-Asian harassment (which we did not experience in Italy, even though there were very few Asian tourists and so we did stick out).

We felt safe and well cared for with Ciao Tours and Laura’s many check-in messages & calls. We said many times, what a pleasure it was not to stress out about how we would get from A to B, how much time we had etc. We were so impressed by every detail of your planning and we would not hesitate to plan another trip with Ciao Tours and to recommend your company to all our friends.

We made the right decision when we decided to select Ciao Tours as our Italy travel partner!

Thank you Arlene, Laura and your excellent staff and vendors!


H. Z. & L. S., USA, October, 2021

Good afternoon Arlene,

I just wanted to send you a note and let you know what a memorable experience my family had during our visit to Venice and Rome last week.

The planning, information and guides you provided made it a completely stress-free trip!

Our tour guides Sylvana, Giani and Thomas were incredibly knowledgeable, warm and welcoming! Even our driver in Rome, Donna, acted as a tour guide while she was driving us around!

Our hotels were perfectly located, and Didi kept in touch with us and responded immediately to any questions we had.

I knew it would be a wonderful trip based on our past experience with Ciao Tours, and I was so happy that we were able to take our daughters this time for such an amazing experience.

Thank you so much for all you do. You and your staff are the best!

Leslie Hillerich and Family, Fort Thomas, KY, October, 2021

Everyone at Ciao Tours,

We just got back from a three-week trip and wanted to convey how incredibly impressed we were with everyone at Ciao Tours. You did an excellent job setting up the itinerary, gave us extensive information and directions, and otherwise helped us be fully prepared for the trip.

Everything could not have gone more smoothly. We had no problems at all, except one that was not related to your company. However, Laura spent a lot of time resolving the issue for us, even though, as said, it was not related to the tour itself.

I could go into so much detail, but suffice it to say that you gave us the best trip of our lives—and we’ve been on some great trips.

I have already strongly encouraged three people to work with you, and there will undoubtedly be many more.

So thank you very, very much for experiences we will never forget.

Nic and Candace Baker, Roseville, MN, September, 2021

Ciao Tours were great to work with.  They helped us plan the ideal trip which included train as well as driving.

We packed allot of sight-seeing in the first seven days with train trips in between and then driving from Bologna to the Dolomites area.
We were going to see Padova (Ciao suggestion while driving) on way to Basano.
From Basano del Grappo we were to take train to Venice and then on own do Prosecco tour in Asolo, Grappa tour in Basano and then see Marostica.
From Basano we were to drive to Verona via Vicenza and then to Desanno del Garda and finally Milan with our own side trip to Turin.

NOTE: Ciao had their associate Didi with us daily to verify everything was going well as well as help with any problems.   Ciao provided drivers at key times.  I didn’t think  I needed a private driver but they were correct.  The driver and when provided was perfect.

The trip started with Rome (3 days there) with a side trip to Naples and Pompeii.

Hotel was Hotel Modigliani, excellent staff, a small boutique hotel located near Trevi and Spanish steps.  It is small maybe 12-16 rooms.  Wrote about it on Tripadvisor.  Both Ciao and the Hotel suggested the same 3 local trattorias.  We ate at all 3 and enjoyed them immensely.
The two days in Rome was with a GREAT GREAT Guide Valentina, PhD in Humanities with + 25 years experience.  She guided just my wife and I  through Old Rome ,  4 hr tour one day and a 6 hr tour of the Vatican.  Note: Because of the Conavirus, there were large crowds or any crowds in some of the sites.
She had a IPad which had a program with which she could point toward an area which we were seeing and show the 3D Model of what it the area looked like in its glory.  I had a course in Art during College but during our tour she explained much symbology of composition, the meaning of colors as well as why and who the figures represented.

The last day in Rome we took a trip to Naples for sightseeing in Pompeii.  The train carriage was business and very nice 1.5 hr trip to Naples.   A driver, Roberto, picked us up at the train station and took us to Pompeii where Michael, a guide for 15 years ago with a degree in Archeology, gave us a tour.  Some areas of Pompeii were closed for restoration while the baths were closed for Coronavirus regulation.  Pompeii had maybe 30 people which we saw.  Since we didn’t have the crowds, Michael had the opportunity to show us places which usually were very crowded and were his favorites.  After the tour, Roberto picked us up and gave us a tour of Naples with a stop for Neapolitan Pizza.  We could have done more, but we wanted to limit our exposure so went back to train station early.

We took a train to Florence and stayed at Hotel Faenza, see my TripAdvisor review.about a 6 minute walk from station.   The hotel walking is approximately 15 minutes from Uffzi and 15 minutes to Petit Palace.  Centrally located very clean.  In Florence, we did the Uffzi and Accademia on our own the first day and would have a guide and do Bobbli and Petit Palace on following day.  We had Luca as our guide and unfortunately, that day they shutdown on the museums.  He did the best he could and was very knowledgeable (+25 years experience).  He praised Ciao since its customer’s tended to be more flexible and want to experience a place not just see the same highlights.  Luca mentioned that a guide can get burned out explaining the same place , Uffzi is great place but you can only explain the same painting and sculpture with being bore.  Luca brought to the Petit palace area and showed us a MicroMosaic craftsman as well as a Hand Print maker.   The MicroMosaic was fabulous, would loved to buy one but a small 3×3 piece was 450 euros while the print maker had prints which we could afford and did buy one.  While in Florence, the Hotel helped us book our early return flight out of Bologna.  We returned early  since areas which we would have gone were shutdown.  Didi was helping us with the return change.

The original Bologna train was cancelled and we took a second one.  We were met by a driver and taken to Hotel Touring,  see my Tripadvisor review..  Great Location, great staff who with Didi’s help let us stay an extra day.  We were suppose to be there only one day but due to us canceling and flying out, Ciao arranged for the hotel to let us stay another day, even though hotel was being closed due to virus.   The staff at the Hotel were very supportive.  Bologna was supposed to be a Foodie Trip but we spoke with our guide Helena and changed it to include seeing sites which were open as well as food places.  Helena, I believe that was her name, also had +20 years experience.  She was very knowledgeable as well as fun.   We saw what we could and did some tastings.  I could tell the guide was disappointed that she could share more of her Bologna.

So how do I sum Ciao and the Italy trip,  perfectly planned with great Guides, hotels, sites and activities.  The flexibility of Ciao helping us in this unfortunate situation made us grateful that we used Ciao vs some other tour guide..


Tom and Joan Wyen, Anna, OH, March, 2020

Cannot recommend this company enough!!!

From start to finish the entire booking experience and trip were incredible. Arlene and her team are absolutely amazing.

We spent 2.5 weeks with our daughters starting in Rome and working our way to Venice. Every transfer, tour, hotel and recommendation were perfect. I could not have possibly pulled this off without Ciao.

They saved us so much time and headache. We had no worries ever and their local liaison Claudia was in touch the entire time.

Was a trip of a lifetime and one we will cherish forever!!!

Oh and our best friends also booked at the same time but in the opposite direction! We were able to meet up with them for one night in Cinque Terre. So special!!

10 stars!!

Thom and Besanger Family, Cranbrook, BC, August, 2019

Hello Arlene & everyone at wonderful Ciao Tours.

My Wife Janette and I just wanted to express our sincere gratitude to all of the fantastic people at Ciao Tours in Canada & on the ground in Italy.

This was our 2nd time using Ciao for our 2 week trip to Italy. Our 1st time was in 2010 for our Honeymoon which was equally fantastic, thus our returning to Ciao for this trip.

The travel arrangements, accommodations, food & sites to see were all on point and designed to fit our personalities and desires based on our conversations with Romina at Ciao who did a great job.

Thank you Romina for putting together such a perfect trip. And the guides in Italy & Ciao employees on the ground there were 2nd to none. The drivers were very professional, good drivers in very nice Mercedes’ and always prompt.

Didi checked in with us often using “WhatsApp” . If ever we had a question or needed anything Didi was only a quick text or call away. Thank you Didi for making sure we had a smooth trip all along the way.

Guide Michael in Naples was excellent and very knowledgeable. More impressive was his true love for his City. We could feel his pride, care and concern for Naples & Italy.

Alessandro was our guide at Mt Etna. The weather was not good the day of our drive and walking tour on Mt Etna but he still managed to make it a educational and fun experience. Again, he was very knowledgeable and proud of his Town.

Michele showed us all around Syracuse and yet again, a top notch guide with great love and knowledge of his beautiful Town and its historic sites.

Last but most certainly not least, Simone & Valeria who were our guides in Calabria, Cosenza & Rende. 4 generations of my Fathers family are from Rende, both my Grandmothers & Grandfathers. I provided some genealogical research I had to Romina at Ciao and she passed it along to Simone and him go to Rende and do further research to see what if any further information he could provide me on my family. Well, Simone & Ciao blew me away and provided me a priceless memory of which I can never repay them for. Simone was actually able to find the street my Grandfather grew up on and most likely the actual home. We walked the streets of Rende for an hour. We visited the Church where many members of my family were Baptized, Married and attended services. And then-Simone told us that he found a relative of my Grandmothers. He spoke to her Daughter who is a Police Officer in Cosenza and she said that her Mother would love to meet my Wife and I. Simone & Valeria took us to the home of the 83 year old Gilda (Pincenti) and we were greeted as family by her, her Daughters & granddaughters. We talked for hours using Simone & Valeria as translators and it was an emotional visit as my family in the US has long passed.

We shared stories, wine & food and words are simply not enough to thank Simone, Valeria and Ciao Tours for the once in a lifetime experience.

Until next trip…..

John & Janette Maltese, Scottsdale, AZ, January, 2020

Hi Arlene,  We hope this finds you and your family well at this very difficult time in our lives.

Ken and i want you to know that Italy and all of the wonderful people that we met last fall are in our hearts.  We hope that Laura and Claudia have been able to keep healthy as well as all of the guides and drivers who were so kind to us.

We should have written sooner but we do want you to know that the trip was fantastic. There was never a missed step from pickups, informed guides, accommodations, attractions and restaurant recommendations.

One thing that we added that we thought was amazing was the cooking class at Rosa del Venti.

We spent the better part of 5 hours with Barbara and Mama, we learned so much and had such a good time, lots of laughs and wine. They both hold a special place in our hearts as does Luigi, our driver on the Amalfi Coast.

It was truly a memorable trip and we thank you.

Take care, stay well.

Maureen and Ken Parker, Calgary, AB, September, 2019

Dear Romina, Claudia, and Everyone at Ciao Tours

From start to finish, it was a delightful experience. WOW!  Our trip to Italy was magnificent!!  How can we thank you enough?

You accounted for every detail necessary to deliver a flawless experience. You proposed diverse options and patiently handled all of our questions and changes  🙂

You created essential space between commitments for rest and spontaneous activities. We ate like royalty — distinctive, scrumptious meals, both fancy and casual.  Every single person – The Ciao Staff,  the tour guides, drivers, partners – they were classy, fun, fascinating, reliable, helpful — delightful in every way.   You managed our Assisi detour; you found a fabulous Vivaldi concert in Florence in response to our last minute request.  Our most difficult next decision will be to explore another country or to come right back to another region of Italy!

If I sound effusive, it’s due to our genuine enthusiasm and appreciation. You even managed to order perfect weather, LOL.  Every superlative applies.  No wonder you have been in business for 20+ years.  We look forward to recommending Ciao Tours at every opportunity.  “Siamo grati per la tua competenza e amicizia. Grazie per averci presentato in Italia! Torneremo!” — Thank you Google Translate

Lyn & George Pflaum, San Diego, CA, October, 2019

Good Afternoon,
I’m sitting here on a snowy afternoon wishing I was still in Italy. I have your book so I’ll just go through the places we were and make some random comments:

Sorrento – Amazing hotel. The balcony was stunning. The water was too high on the day we were at Capri to visit the Blue Grotto but we did take the boat trip around the island and then walked all over Capri. The drive on the coast was great and Enzo, our driver was most informative and entertaining. Did not like Positano – way too many tourists but could die happily in Ravello. Had a magnificent lunch at Da Salvatore. Also had great meals at Da Emilia and L’Antica Trattorias in Sorrento. Different environments but the food was great. Our tours of Naples and Pompeii were led by Michael who was so knowledgeable. The history part of me was very happy.

Palermo– Hotel was central and quite modern in style. Our guide was good, just not as good as Michael. Loved touring the markets. The day of our tour was also the Day for Climate Action which meant there were thousands of teenagers in the streets. The guide managed to shepherd us around them which deserved special commendation. The dinner reservations you arranged at Trattoria Biondo were fabulous. Also had another very good recommendation from the hotel.

Agrigento – Another superb hotel. Dragging our suitcases up that final circular staircase was certainly worth it when we stepped onto the terrace. There was a little mix-up with the guide as the assigned one didn’t show, but the lady who eventually came was very good although I did feel a little rushed at the end. La Corte del Sol – Loved this place. We did stop in Ragusa for lunch on our way but should have done some more research on it. Wondered around some but were not sure what we should have been looking for, Also drove into Modica but picked the lower town instead of the higher one and could not find parking anywhere so just kept on driving to the hotel. Loved the cooking class, but we were so full from the class we could barely eat supper. Lyle chops better than I do but I was better at making pasta. Totally enjoyed Syracuse. We wondered around on our own after the tour, then stopped at Noto on the way back. Quite liked it. Great place for a glass of wine on the main street. On another day we asked them to arrange some visits to wineries for tastings and they arranged two. One at Planeta came with a tasting and apertifs and/or lunch. We did not stay for the lunch but would, if I was doing it over. I think we were still full from the cooking class. The other winery was LaFavola. The woman who hosted was very interesting as was her story of the winery. If you could come up with a third winery to visit, that would make for a great day and all the wine lovers would be happy.

Taormina – The hotel was very good. I know there was a problem the first night because our room did not have a balcony, but they picked up our tab for dinner, including the wine. And…just down the hall there was a “public” balcony for that wing which we had all to ourselves that night. It’s a real touristy town but we enjoyed it. The day spent on Mount Etna was very special. The guide was incredible – as good as Michael but not being a science person I probably didn’t appreciate the depth of his knowledge. It was very windy that day so keeping out balance was important. That day was testament to the success of Lyle’s two knee replacement surgeries.

Tropea – No problem getting on the ferry. The hotel was certainly central and quite comfortable. The 3 stars must be for the size of the room which was small but otherwise the décor was innovative. There was a problem with the parking arrangements but fortunately Alessandro rescued us. Unfortunately, this was the only day that we had rain so although we did manage to walk a some of the beach in the morning and climbed to the sanctuary, the afternoon was spent on lunch with a good bottle of wine.

Matera – Loved it – would move tomorrow! The suite in the cave will stay in my memory forever. Great guide for the walking tour and the lunch at the end was a nice change even if my stomach was not particularly receptive. Had great dinners here – one recommended by the guide and your suggestion of Antica Trattoria Lucana. Also ate at the hotel which was excellent. Loved the omelets for breakfast.

Alberobello – This was an interesting place but as I mentioned on the phone, three nights here was too much. We arrived in the afternoon and did our tour with our least favourite guide of the entire trip. But after you have seen the trulli there is not a great deal to do. It is a convenient spot to go and visit other places but I think one night would have worked for us, leaving to visit the caves the next day and then heading to Lecce for two nights. A day trip from Lecce to Ostuni would probably work or stopping there on the way to Bari. Our guide in Lecce was excellent. I think we would have enjoyed the plazas, restaurants and shops in Lecce more than Alerabello. On the positive side, we did find a another restaurant for you in Alberbello – Favola in Tavola. It was recommended by the hotel and was excellent. Also holds about 18 people. Also ate very well at La Cantina.

Bari – I think by the time we got there we were tired and so just hunkering down at a hotel close to the airport worked for us especially since we had such an early flight to Malta.

That’s it. Hope this helps. If we ever decide to do northern Italy, will be in touch!
Thanks so much for everything. We will continue to recommend you to friends and family.

Ann and Lyle Dunsmore, Calgary, AB, September, 2019

Hi Romina,

Thank you for your hard work in making our anniversary trip to Italy a memorable one.  

Your attention to detail in organizing the schedule certainly helped make our trip run smoothly.  Guides and drivers always showed up on time and hotel and train reservations and car rental were perfect.

We particularly enjoyed having Luca as our guide in Florence and Lisa in Siena.  Both are enthusiastic about their respective cities and extremely knowledgeable.  We also appreciated the time Thomas spent educating us about the art in the Sistine Chapel prior to our visit.  It helped us appreciate and understand what we were seeing in the Chapel.  By the way, all the guides spoke very highly of Ciao Tours and how the company is unique in how it looks after its clients.

The high points of the trip for us were the special events you organized for us.  The cooking class in Siena with Lisa and Paolo in their lovely home and garden. They were so friendly and hospitable;  the wine tasting and lunch with Didi and Aimone, which made us feel very welcome in Siena; truffle hunting with Mario and Sandra, and the visit to Villa Cerna for lunch and wine tasting on the lovely patio beside the vineyard; all were memorable.  The Hotel delfi Orafi was wonderful, the service was superb and the location perfect! Our room at Hotel Athena was large and comfortable and we thank Ciao Tours for the upgrade which was greatly appreciated, as we were there for several nights.

If we were to do the trip again, we would definitely stay longer in Florence.  When we added Rome to the itinerary, we removed time from Florence which we probably should have removed from Cortona.  I think we would also drive from Florence to Lucca directly and spend some time in that area before heading to Siena. As it was, we didn’t make it to Lucca as the drive there and back from Siena in one day was not feasible.  We would also spend more time in the Chianti area. Driving was always an adventure, despite your driving directions and a GPS!  Google maps took us on some interesting detours 🙂

With Didi and Aimone at wine-tasting and lunch in Siena:

Again thank you so much for organizing our travel.  We would not hesitate to recommend Ciao Tours to friends and hope to have the opportunity to travel with you again.

Sherif and Corinne Alaily, Burlington, ON, October, 2019

Ciao Tours,

Molto bene! We had a fabulous time, accommodations were great, food was fantastic, weather “warm” and with a few exceptions everything we hoped for!

There is some feed back I would like to share and unsure if this is the forum you want or a call. Just let me know.

Anyway, we very much enjoyed our trip and would most definitely recommend you to friends and family!

Patrick & Anita Peterson, Omaha, NE, October, 2019

Dear Michela and Ciao Tours,

We had a wonderful time in Italy.  It was so nice to have Laura hold our hand when necessary and we thank her for her help.

The guides you provided were great; Luca in Firenze, Janet in Montepulicano and Michele in Assisi and Orvieto.  All obviously enjoy what they are doing and are well informed about their country.

We liked each place for different reasons, good food and wine everywhere!  Firenze was enjoyable but a very crowded big city.  We like the smaller places better and settled into Cortona easily. In hindsight, we should have stayed an extra day in Bellagio as we hated to leave there.

A few random comments:
• Transportation via the private drivers that you arranged was terrific and really appreciated.
• Visit to da Vinci Last Supper: While we enjoyed our visit, the guided group tour in Italian was wasted on us and wasn’t worth the money. I thought I saw that there was a tour in English earlier than our 10:00 tour but could be mistaken.
• Train travel in Italy was great and so easy!
• We made a mistake in not mentioning that we wanted to visit the Galleria dell’ Accademia di Firenze. We didn’t have reservations and there was a very long wait so we skipped it.
• From our base in Cortona, we enjoyed all of the activities that you planned for us but found that visiting some of the en route towns at leisure was too much for us. Guess we preferred a more leisurely pace. We skipped Pienza, Montalcino, Perugia, and Chuisi but enjoyed having lunch overlooking Lake Trasimeno. We had no problems with the rental car or navigation.
• The locations of all the hotels were very central, which we liked. We particularly liked the Hotel Pierre in Firenze and Hotel du Lac in Bellagio.

Thanks again,

Barbara and Richard Walsh, Pasadena, MD, October, 2019

Good Morning Arlene !
Thanks for your message.  We had an amazing trip – introduction to the basilicas/history/architecture in person exceeded expectations and our tour guides were knowledgeable & personable.

Being able to be guided through the crowds on a personal basis was much appreciated.

The scope of travel was quite an undertaking, but we are happy to have been able to experience it all.

The quiet of the agrotourism (esp. Rosa dei Venti) stays balanced the city crowds, and Cinque Terre area was a favourite.
All of our accommodations were also very comfortable!

Our driving experiences, however, were very stressful and we found the directions at times to be inaccurate, which got us lost and I’m sure elevated our blood pressure to unhealthy levels!
If we were to travel again in Italy we would recommend bus transportation between the destinations where we had the rental car.

It is good to be home again!  I’m sure we will reflect on our trip for many years!  We appreciated your expertise in planning our itinerary!

It was a pleasure meeting you & Laura & all your contacts & staff!

Kathleen & Ed Opal, Cranbrook, BC, October, 2019

Hello Romina:

We had a wonderful trip.  Finally getting over our jetlag.

All the hotels were in perfect locations and the breakfasts were great.

We really did appreciate getting picked up at all the destinations.

Enjoyed the high speed trains – it was nice to look at the countryside.

Enjoyed meeting Laura and having lunch with her.  She made sure we were taken care of.

All of our guides (Luca, Lisa, Antonella, Mike, Luigi) and all of our drivers were excellent and obviously love what they do.
They gave us information we would not have known especially at the Vatican.

The cooking class at Fattoria Terranova was superb.  The location in the hills overlooking the Amalfi coast was beautiful.
We did not need to eat dinner that night.  (love the aprons!)

Thank you Ciao for making our trip wonderful.

Ron and Sherry Kitt, Calgary, AB, October, 2019

Good Morning Arlene,
We so thoroughly enjoyed our time both on land and sea.

I must say that Mike and I are so thoroughly spoiled by our experiences with Ciao Tours that I’m not sure we could do it any other way should the opportunity arise again.

The guides were on point, knowledgeable and their English was excellent. As a former language teacher, who often traveled with students and had poor travel guides,  I can’t begin to tell you how that can make our break a tour. Being a language teacher makes me pretty tolerant of those who learn and speak our language, and our guides were exceptional.

We can not say enough about our private day tour in Tuscany, the winery,  our meal there. Excellent!

My only negative comment,  and perhaps one of which you have no control,  was the smell of smoke in transport cars in Rome. As someone very sensitive and allergic to cigarette smoke,  I did struggle with that on our tours and when transportation was needed. No doubt smoking is allowed in those cars. This was not true for our private cars in Florence. Other than that,  I have only the best and most positive things to say about Ciao Tours and all the guides.

Already missing the gelato and wishing I were in the hills of Tuscany.

Thank you again for your expertise and attention to detail.

Mary Jean and Mike Sremaniak, Carol Stream, IL, October, 2019

Hi Michela
Thank you for your email
We had a great trip.
The drivers Eduardo, Giovanni and Brando were all very good.
The guides Eleanor (Lucca)and Alberta (Siena) were fantastic.
We enjoyed Lucca and Siena very much and even ran into some friends from Calgary in Siena.
The two restaurants you suggested were very good.
Thank you for all your assistance.
We hope to go again to Italy someday!
Best wishes

Jonathan & Kathryn Horlick, Victoria, BC, October, 2019

Good Morning Arlene – thank you for the welcome back home. Thank you for taking care of the taxi issue in Florence our last morning. We had a great time on our trip. There were a few stressful moments to be sure but generally the trip went well. We are pleased that we did the trip and your guide book was excellent.

We chose to go to Italy because we wanted to see the Tuscany area and it didn’t let us down. It was beautiful! Our stay at La Valletta was great. Our hosts were super and our apartment was very nice. The one area we were concerned about before we left on the trip was picking up the car in Florence and making our way to Panzano. We had issues and I still am not sure how we made it to La Valletta. Someone was taking care of us! We made our way easily to the Florence airport following your instructions. When we went to pick up our car they didn’t have a smaller car as Pat had requested. They upgraded us to a larger car at no charge and we had to accept it or not get a GPS. Then leaving the airport, trying to follow your instructions, listen to the British accent on the GPS and read the signs all in Italian (can you imagine that? lol) and impatient drivers behind us honking their horns, we got off to a bad start. Anyway, we made it to Panzano and when we returned the car we had no issues. We drove right there! A little stress that morning was that we had a slow leak in one of the tires and Pat had to change it before we left La Valletta. Hindsight is wonderful. If we were to change anything re our schedule we would have had a day off the first day at La Valletta. We didn’t know we were going to have difficulty finding our way to La Valletta on the Monday so to have to make our way to Sienna early the next day to meet Lori was a little stressful.

The tours were very interesting and the guides were wonderful. The hotels were all very good. I think my favorite place was Venice. I was fascinated by life on the Grande Canal. I loved the hotel. I felt bad for the residents of Cinque Terra because of how many tourists were running around their villages. I felt like an interloper.

Pat really enjoyed Tuscany. He managed to pick grapes with grape pickers the one morning before we had our cooking lesson.

All in all it was a great trip. We will recommend Ciao Tours to any of our friends and family who want to make a trip to Italy.

Thank you to you, Laura and Claudia. Thank you for taking such great care of us

Patrick and Evelyn McQuaid, Emonton, AB, October, 2019

Arlene – a big thank you to Ciao Tours for arranging our vacation to Italy.

Touching down in Rome we were met by Deanna , our driver , who took us to Modigliani Hotel and provided highlights of Rome along the way. The hotel was perfect for our needs , small , close to everything and a very hospitable family run business.

Our guide , Antonella for the next 2 days was informative , personable and we had wonderful tours of the Vatican, Colisuem and Pantheon.

Off to Florence , we found our accommodation, perfect. The apartment was big , great location and very clean.

The guides and drivers we had in Florence again were wonderful … Alberto , Adel, Lisa were 5 star.

Our day in the Chianti region was spectacular visiting Greve , Castilina and the tour , lunch at Cecchi winery was a highlight.

On to Sorrento , we found the arrangements again were great. Coltur Suites while not a top end apartment was clean , met our needs and was all about location, location… that view of Marine Grande was outstanding!! Not the easy apartment to access at first , we found the walk to and from helped with all the great food we ate!! And the 7 restaurants , literally right there were outstanding family run and a delight to dine.
The minor snafu for our Capri trip was the only “oops” and we appreciated all Ciao did to make alternate arrangements.
The final days cooking lesson, lunch and tour at Agri Tourismo was tops.. a great way to wrap up our trip.

We can’t overlook having Didi available in Italy as our contact…. she was responsive , handled any questions , contacted us daily about next day drivers , guides , pick up times , locations etc.

We can’t emphasize how much we appreciated the intinerary you worked with us to develop , the tours, guides, drivers, accommodations and special arrangements made this a memorable trip for the four of us.

Thanks again

Doug & Wendy Morris and Ron & Tammy Kore, Welland, On, October, 2019

Hi Sue,
We had an absolutely wonderful time in Italy, and did not have any problems or unpleasant surprises of any kind along the way.

We have nothing but superlatives to offer when describing the fantastic job that Ciao did planning and executing our trip.

Everything they planned for us were exactly what we wanted, and every event and arrangement they made for us went off exactly as planned  – all of the hotels were great, the train travel was fun and easy, and the various events they planned for us along the way were all just perfect, especially the walking tours of Venice, Siena, and Florence with just us and a guide, the wine tasting tours in Chianti and Montalcino with groups of 8 in a minivan, the cooking lesson and lunch in a private home in Siena (one of the big highlights of the trip for us!), our lunch and wine and olive oil tasting with Didi and  the owner of the restaurant in Siena, all of the private transfers they arranged for us, and all of the help and advice they provided along the way (e.g., how to store our luggage in Pisa and get to the tower, being in regular contact with Didi in case something went wrong (which it never did!), etc.), and the ample free time we had to explore on our own during each part of the trip.

In short, it was the perfect trip for us and we could not have been happier with the help and advice you provided to us, and the fantastic tour that Ciao organized for us—it was everything we hoped it would be!

And, our flights on Condor didn’t get cancelled!!  Thanks again for doing such a great job for us.  Lastly, on both outgoing and returning flights to Frankfurt, Condor was able to put Sharon and I next to each other in Business Class, which really made a big difference on the flights.  All the best, Keith and Sharon

c/o Sue Flemming Adventure Travel Specialist, Edmonton, AB, October, 2019

Hi, Michela.  We were so happy with our trip, thank you for all the work you did on our behalf.

We so enjoyed the Italian crew: our drivers, Deanna and her husband (whose name we did not catch), and Roberto.  Deanna even gave us a history lesson on the way to the airport at 3 am!  Our tour guides, Thomas in Rome and Lisa in Sienna; as well as Didi, who we met for lunch.

They were very knowledgeable and friendly, and we so enjoyed our time with them. 

The accomodations were very nice and in good locations, and we also enjoyed the wine tasting/tour in Tuscany.  We All of your instructions and directions were easy to understand, and the GPS coordinates that you included were helpful.

The only trouble we had was at the train station in Rome (it took us some time to find Roberto, but that has more to do with the size of the station and how busy it was).

Every detail that you thought of contributed to a wonderful, stress free experience. We honestly have nothing negative to say.

We will not hesitate to book another vacation with you, we felt so well taken care of, and have recommended you to many family and friends.  Again, thank you so much for everything.

Don and Pam Hanna, Dawson Creek, BC, September, 2019

Buongiorno, Arlene!

Thank you for your Welcome Home note.  Yes, we arrived back home last night – everything went well; no problems at all along the way.  We are both a little tired today but feel much better than I would have expected considering jet lag, time change, etc.

There is NOTHING to apologize for with our accommodation in Florence.  You, Alessandra and Rossella looked after us so well, we had NO worries.  In fact, the apartment that Rossella put us in was spectacular!  It was bright, spacious and so well-located – a penthouse apartment overlooking Piazza della Signoria – how fortunate we were!!  AND, Rossella also welcomed us with a wonderful bottle of wine and the most beautiful (and delicious) fruit basket I have ever seen!!!  We certainly did not feel inconvenienced at all; as I told Alessandra, we felt and were treated like Royalty – it was a wonderful experience!  Rossella is so lovely; we are so glad that we were able to meet her.

Everything went extremely well the entire trip. 

From the minute we were met by Deanna & Orlando in Rome, we were so warmly welcomed back to Tuscany, it was a joy! 

So many highlights – meeting wonderful Alberto in Montepulciano (we missed him last year); having the charming, delightful Matteo drive us for 3 whole days; our terrific guide, Alessandra, in Assisi; the Chianti tour with Fabio (great guide and driver) and the Villa Cerna experience (I think this winery tour and lunch may have been the best ever, Arlene, and they have all been so good!) and our touring driver, Brando, for the transfer from Florence to Lucca was another wonderful Tuscan who welcomed us very warmly and showed us so much  – a great finale! 

AND, of course, seeing and visiting with Alessandra in Siena was the “icing on the cake”!  Thank you so very much for making this possible, Arlene, AND for the delicious “meal” and “tastings” at Eno-Ristorante – it was another delight!  Thank you ALSO for the beautiful aprons – I am still using the two you gave us from our cooking class in Siena in 2014 (they are indestructible, but seriously stained now!);  I am so happy to have new ones!!
We had so many wonderful experiences, I cannot possibly list them all!!  Thank you to you and all of your great team for making our 4th trip to Italy a truly amazing and memorable journey!!

Peter & I feels the same way – he told several North Americans we met along the way about the great people and amazing service of Ciao Tours and he is not one to give compliments easily, but in the case of Ciao Tours he does not hesitate!

Peter and Cathy MacDonald, Toronto, ON, October, 2019


Yes it is great to be back in Calgary.  So nice when you don’t have to rake leaves cause they are covered in a foot of snow!!!

All in all the trip was very successful and Ciao did a great job.  There are however few items that I would like to bring to your attention.

While I have told the group that we are our own worst enemy as the type of villa we wanted (4 bedroom; 4 bath, + + +) are not very common it Italy.  The villa itself  I would describe as tired.  There was water damage on the walls, the outdoor cushions were quite stained,  some of the furniture was quite worn, our shower leaked (not so it inconvenienced us but still), the kitchen was not well equipped (ie no American style coffee maker) and the main burner on the stove didn’t always work (again didn’t bother us but I think it gave Chef Laura some issues).  Two of our group also commented that the springs on their beds were quite worn.  One of the key photos of an outside sitting area shown on the website did not exist.  I believe the pictures are a few years old.  The road is also quite challenging & not quite up to gravel road status.  I was a driver and it didn’t really bother me but I could see how some people may find it a bit challenging, especially if you drive it for 2 weeks.

This was offset by the fabulous location, great pool and extremely attentive staff.  We had only to ask and they accommodated us to the best of their ability.  Lastly the wine produced at the winery was very good and I think we helped their monthly sales quite a bit.  We met the owner and he was quite accommodating.

Bottom line is we would not recommend the villa, and we do not believe that it is up to Ciao’s standards.

Lastly, the villa prepared meals by Laura & Francesco were unbelievably good and we could not have asked for anything better.
The tours and tour guides were enjoyed by all.

Everything was great with respect to our time in Varenna and Stresa with one small complaint dealing with communication.  From my discussions with Romina and what was written in our tour guide book, I expected the Lake Maggiore boat tour to be similar to the tour we had on Lake Como (which was fantastic, (other than the weather) both boat and guide).  What it ended up being was a tour of the 3 Borromeo Islands with private transfer by water taxi.  The tour itself was very good but as it was a great day to be on the water and I was expecting primarily a boat tour on the lake so I was a little disappointed.  The following day the tour of Lake Orta and the winery were excellent.

We thought that all of the tour guides and drivers were top notch and up to Ciao’s high standards.

The accommodations at Hotel Royal Victoria and Hotel villa e Palazzo Aminta were top notch in all respects.  The only negative on the Aminta and it depends totally on what is happening at the hotel and how light a sleeper you are is that the central stairway to the floors is open and sound travels so that rooms near the stairwell are more susceptible to noise.  We unfortunately were very close and on our first night a function in the lobby/bar area did make it difficult for me to fall asleep.  I commented on this to the hotel and we received a very nice note of apology and bowl of strawberries.  If we were back in Stresa we would definitely stay at the Aminta again we would just be more aware as to the location of our room.

All in all a great tour.  It is just too bad that Ciao doesn’t do other countries.  You wouldn’t happen to be able to recommend a tour company similar to Ciao for other countries would you?


John and Carolyn Armstrong, Calgary, AB, September, 2019

Hello Ladies –

I am still on a high from our recent trip to Italy!

Thank you so much for organizing such a terrific trip.  The attention to detail and the level of service was exemplary! 

Claudia was amazing with ensuring everyone was where they needed to be and was terrific at checking in with us regularly.  Our guides were well informed and on time.  Each transfer and tour was executed seamlessly.  It was a real treat not to have to look after these details ourselves.  The hotel location and amenities were great.  I have absolutely no complaints about the level of service or the travel arrangements.  The only suggestion I can think of is it would have been nice to have had hotel rooms with larger bathrooms (or ones with two sinks).  Having three females share one bathroom with one sink was inconvenient at times – especially when we had early morning transfers/tours.  Other than this minor detail, everything else was superb!

Thanks again for the great trip – we will all treasure these memories forever.


Richardson Family, Calgary, AB, September, 2019

Dear Arlene,
Helen and I thoroughly enjoyed our vacation exploring the Tuscany Region of Italy in September and would like to thank you for the excellent arrangements that Ciao Tours provided for us.

If we were asked to give a rating of your company’s performance, we would give it a Five Star Ranking on all aspects of the tour.

1. Staff – Your staff in Calgary and Cranbrook and were all very helpful in planning the trip, and Claudia in Siena was very good at solving any problems that arose when in Italy, was most attentive to our concerns and very warm and friendly to all of us. The WhatsAp application was a great way to stay in touch with Claudia.
2. The Guide Book you provided with all of the details of our specific trip was outstanding, giving us background on the places we were touring and on other places we could tour on our own. The driving instructions were very helpful in getting to some of the smaller towns, and we only missed a few turns on the way but never got lost.
3. The tour guides were all professional, friendly and informative and we were taken to many places that we never would have had access to on our own.
4. The choice of wine cellars for tasting various wines were excellent. The meals provided after the tastings were first rate.
5. The chefs Laura and Francesco prepared three wonderful meals and helped us with the proper choice of wine for each course. They were excellent chefs and treated us as family, even loaning us an American style coffee maker for the two weeks since the Villa did not have one. We all really enjoyed our time with them.
6. The Villa at Casa al Vento was a good choice for accommodation for a party of eight, and the staff at the Casa were very accommodating. We enjoyed their kitchen and wine cellar as well.
7. The Italian cooking class was a learning experience for all and a lot of fun. Vito the restaurant chef was very good at getting all of us involved and has a great sense of humour.

In summary, we had a great vacation in Tuscany thanks to your knowledge, care and experience and we thank you for that.

Alan and Helen Rankin, Calgary, AB, September, 2019

Hi Denise,

The trip was fantastic!

Overall we (Marceen and I) were very happy with the entire trip.  From our flights and connections to the hotels and all the tours, all were top notch.  I don’t think I would have changed any of it.

The only negative – other than loosing Ray during our trip – was that we packed so much into our trip we didn’t have any down time.  No time for the girls to stroll the cities and shop.  But we did that to ourselves.  We wished we would have had time for one more night in both Florence and Siena.  I guess we’ll just have to go back!

All of the walking tours and even the cooking tours were great.  They were interesting and fun.  I really go a lot out of them.  I would suggest them to anyone going.

We were very happy with you and Ciao Tours.  The organization, the transportation, the accommodations, and the information were what we expected and you all delivered.  Can’t thank you enough.

Having worked retail all my life I know that positive feed back isn’t something we always get.  We usually just hear the negative.

Honestly, I usually don’t do surveys because I believe that Corporate doesn’t want to hear the truth.  But in this case, there were no negatives.  Really a fantastic trip.

Grazie you all.  You all did a great job.


Alan Farsakian with Denise Donathan of Travel Shoppe, Fresno, CA, September, 2019

We all agree that it was a well planned, very smooth, spectacular vacation. So much appreciation from the three of us !

Mario Genovese and family, Englewood, FL, September, 2019

We have  traveled  to Italy many times with Ciao’s assistance since 2001 and have been absolutely pleased with their services every time.

When I tell others about Ciao, I always say “they do the work so we can enjoy the trip”.

They make recommendations about areas to see and we work together to plan a unique trip.

They make the hotel reservations, car rentals, and many other details.  They make recommendations about things to see in each area so we choose what interests us most.

The local guides they work with are very informative, pleasant, and speak excellent English. They know the history and details of the area; they’ve done their research. One of our favorite things is cooking lessons in private homes.  This last trip we had a lesson with Cristina Caretti in Modena, and it was a great experience.  She is very knowledgeable and an excellent teacher.

Ciao provides a personally customized way to travel and learn about Italy.

They are the best in the industry, trustworthy and professional

June and Ken Stewart, Rosevill, MN, September, 2019

Ciao to you both, Romina and Arlene;

We hope this finds you well.  We are barely catching our breath since May, but I want to give you the details you requested.

Truthfully, we were extremely happy with everything (as always) except for the time near Modena in the Agriturismo there.  You know of some of our troubles with lack of staff and communication, as well as the accommodations/views themselves.  Definitely not up to what I know are your standards!

The Siena hotel was over-the-top and glorious-our favorite of the trip, no doubt. We know that your upgrades and power within the travel community affords us the ability to reap the rewards of your years of hard work.

We appreciate you SO much!

We are hoping for another trip soon, and we will be in touch for our 6th time with Ciao Tours! 

It’s time to bring my children back for one more “family” trip before they are too old and busy with their lives to want to travel with mom!

Thank you for making everything wonderful, and for re-introducing Monica and introducing Mark to the Ciao Italy experience!  It was a joy! 


Nina and Lee Reeves, McKinney, TX, May, 2019

Dear Michela

Brent and I had a fantastic time in Italy and were so happy with everything Ciao Tours did for us.

We were pleasantly surprised with our hotel accommodations and all of our tours. Didi was there in a moments notice if we had a concern.

We were so pleased with everything that we have recommended Ciao Tours to many people here in Lethbridge.

Thank you so much for making our trip a trip of a lifetime.

Lucy and Brent Johnson, Lethbridge, AB, June, 2019

Dear Romina,

Our trip was wonderful. Tracy and I will cherish the memories forever. 

Ciao tours did an excellent job of arranging our trip and the service was excellent as well.

We enjoyed having Michael as our guide. He was very professional, knowledgeable,  considerate and fun to be with. He even managed to get me a wheel chair at the museum in Naples so that I could enjoy the tour without wearing myself out. I think that he is a huge asset to your company. Please give him our regards if you can

Our drivers were great. Very courteous and helpful. We especially enjoyed Emmanuel and Luigi. Luigi provided us with a lot of history about Sorrento and Amalfi.

Both The Ciliegina and the Plaza were excellent hotel beyond my expectations. We were very comfortable, the amenities were wonderful and we had delicious breakfasts.  The central location of each made it easy for us to shop and go to very nice restaurants. The musical show in Sorrento was  very enjoyable. Tracy and I were treated so nicely. We were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco aside from the included wine. We also given  great seats.

Everything about our trip was terrific. The only disappointment was our trip to Capri. Of course I opted to do that tour on my own and in retrospect, that was not a good idea for me given my walking limitations. I however was very enamored with the idea of going there. I wish that I could have seen more of Capri and been able to enjoy it more. It would be helpful for people like me to know that taking a taxi to the harbor is an option because purchasing tickets entails a formidable hike down to the actual harbor and ticket booth.

It has been a pleasure working with you Romina. Laura was very helpful to us once in Italy. I will keep in touch and send pictures. Please send me a picture so that I better meet you.

Ciao tours will be my first choice for future trips.

Warm regards,

Lydia Newton and Tracy Leann Perez, Plantsville, CT, September, 2019

Dear Arlene,

Our trip to Italy was the best vacation we have ever taken!!!

From the transfers to the hotels to the tour guides to our window on Italy guide book it went so smoothly. I couldn’t wait for the next day to see what was planned for us. All the tour guides were very knowledgeable about their city.

Each one had so much passion regarding their specific city and the monuments and history within. Any question we asked was answered with so much detail, it was like we were in school, learning about it.

All the drivers were prompt and drove us while talking to us and explaining what we saw out the window. The hotels knew who we were as soon as we arrived and were very attentive each time we passed by the front desk. The surprise of the hot air balloon that you, Giuseppe, Laura and Mike planned was an unbelievable, it was a wonderful anniversary present. The Guide book with our itinerary was wonderful, very detailed and explained everything we needed to know.

The details that were included in this vacation were delightful; the bouquet of flowers on the balloon ride day, the aprons for our cooking lesson, the picture from Laura, postcard from Luca, the cookies from Lisa, it all was totally above and beyond what we would have ever expected.

On behalf of Mike and myself I would like to thank you for the incredible trip to Italy you planned for us.

Yours truly,

Tracy & Mike Adams, Cranbrook, BC, August, 2019

Dear Arlene Ciao Tours Team,

Firstly, my apologies for the delay in writing this review. Life gets busy and you know the rest.

You deserve the utmost of accolades for the professional and hard work that you produce.

Please accept this 5 star review!

We had an absolutely spectacular time in Italy this year. Your team helped us to plan the perfect trip for my 40th birthday. The itinerary was detailed and personalized.

The attention to detail was amazing and so was your ability to incorporate our specific requests. We also appreciated your ability to handle requests on the fly in a quick and effective manner.

The hotels that were selected for us in Florence were phenomenal. Plaza Lucchessi is really something special. The rooftop patio is the most breathtaking that I have ever seen. Our dinners on both sides of the trip were exactly what we wanted – a true exposure to Florentine cooking. We loved La Maremma so much that we went back to have lunch. Parione was truly an outstanding experience.  The exposure to the Renaissance in Florence will stay with me forever (walking tour, seeing David etc.)

We really loved our Brunello focused lunch in Sienna.  Claudia is such a great person and we deeply enjoyed meeting her. She is very responsive to all requests and handles things very efficiently. Lisa was also a fantastic tour guide. She is a really interesting and passionate person.

Cortona is real gem. I would highly recommend it as home base for people looking to explore Tuscany.

As you will recall, we are wine lovers and wanted a deep dive into the wine and food culture of Tuscany. We toured a total of seven vineyards and they all complemented each other so well. The tours were all unique and contributed to our knowledge of the area. From the amazing wine at Ciacci, to the fantastic lunch experience and Avignonesi, to the beautiful Brolio castle, we had a fantastic exposure to Tuscan wine. The tour at Petrolo was also absolutely sublime.

The dinners were also fantastic and La Loggetta was truly memorable. Additionally, everyone should do the Tuscan cooking class with Ornella and Barbara; such and authentic experience and wonderful people.

All of the drivers and tour guides were exceptionally professional and punctual.

This is a great reflection on the relationships that you have grown in Italy. Many of the people that we interacted with (drivers, hotel employees etc.) spoke very highly of Ciao Tours.

This review is provided on behalf of all six of us. We look forward to exploring more of Italy with you in the future.




Porter Group, Calgary, AB, April, 2019

Hi Michela!

We had a fantastic vacation! We would definitely use Ciao Tours again and recommend to anyone wanting to travel Italy.

All of our guides were amazing. We are spoiled with the private tours now! Fedra was so kind and knowledgable. Dario was a delight and made extra stops for us to make our experience even better. I loved Lisa! I could have walked around with her all day. The only tour we weren’t fond of was the coliseum, partly because we got used to the private tours I think. The guide wasn’t great. So glad we had Thomas at the Vatican, we wouldn’t have seen half of what we saw with out him. Mike was so attentive for me in Pompeii, it was extremely hot so he made sure I was ok along the way. Enzo is quite chatty haha. But he was great the day we toured around the amalfi. He knew so much about the area. I think thats everyone!

All of the car transfers and train tickets were top notch. Loved the booklet, we looked at it multiple times a day.

The only hiccup was our driver in Milan took us to the wrong train station the morning we were getting to Florence but we jumped into a short cab ride to the correct one and it was no big deal. I told Didi just to keep her in the loop and she left us the cab fair at our Siena hotel!

This was greatly appreciated and just speaks to the customer service of your company. Amazing! Didi was also great! Always kept us in the loop promptly.

Thank you again so much! It was the best babymoon we could have asked for 🙂 A few years from now we want to take the whole family to Tuscany so I will contact you when that time comes!


Dana and Henry Rosoff, Brooklyn, NY, August, 2019

We had a great time.

Thanks so much!

Everyone was wonderful especially Irene.


Elena Longinotti and Family, Holmes, NY, August, 2019

Hi Romina,

Yes, everything went well and had a fabulous time.

Overall, the service of Ciao Tours was fabulous and will happily recommend both Ciao and yourself to anyone I come across who is looking to travel in Italy.

All of the guides – Sylvanna, Bernado (Bernie), Lisa, Thomas and Michael were all fabulous and shared so much knowledge about their respective cities.

Our heads were swimming with information after each stop.

The drivers were all great as well and was so nice to arrive in each city and have someone waiting to take us to our hotel.

Having the same driver, Enzo, for our entire time in Sorrento was nice as well. Was good to get to know him and really enjoyed our time with him.



Mark and Karen Shaul, Calgary, AB, July, 2019

Good Morning Ladies,

What a wonderful trip we had.  I had told Didi, each day we said “this is the best day ever”  and the next day we said the same!!

First of all Ciao took the headache out of the logistics of getting around in an unfamiliar place. I’ve planned many family vacations and this is the hardest part.

Next the tour guides……as you must know they are one of a kind.  Each one was unique.  They had wonderful personalities and their knowledge of their hometowns was amazing.  The back and forth conversations made this such a personal experience.

My son told me he learned more about food than he has until this point in life.  Considering that he is a Culinary student in HS that is a huge compliment.  We felt no stress at all, the tours just seemed to flow at our pace.I could really go on for pages and call out each person we interacted with. Even quite a few of our drivers were a wealth of information, driving from one spot to the next pointing out areas of interest and historical info.   They were all wonderful.  I kept thinking two cooking lessons was too much and was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.  Each one was a totally different experience and I am thrilled we did both.  Both couples were warm and friendly and we learned so much.  It was so nice to sit and have lunch with Lisa & Paolo.  And Roberto and Elisabetta were so welcoming, what a beeautiful setting.

We did venture out on our own and felt totally safe in the areas of our hotels.  Even going outside of Bologna to the Manerisi Winery, which is a small family run business we had a wonderful tasting, that  I would highly recommend.

You can be sure that not only will I be recommending both of you ladies, we hope to visit again in the near future.

Thank you for helping us make this a vacation of a lifetime!!!!


Falcone Family, East Rutherford, NJ, July, 2019

Thanks again for all the help we truly enjoyed our vacation and you made it much easier on us.

We will be sure to recommend Ciao Tours to anyone we know heading to Italy and we hope one day to return.

All of the people you arranged for us from drivers to tour guides were fantastic.

We are happily waiting for our flight home with a lot of fond memories of Italy.

Thankyou a Ciao

William and Heather Royston, Herndon, VA, July, 2019

Dear Arlene

We had the best trip!!!!!

Everything was top notch.  Hotels were perfect.  Tour guides were the best part.

All transfers were on time and professional.

We would highly recommend Ciao Tours to everybody.

Dr. Spark Corwin and family, Everett, WA, June, 2019

Hi Romina,

We had an amazing time! Although it was much hotter than we thought it would be.  No complaints given our weather in Canada.

You’re counterparts from Didi right through to drivers and tour guides were all awesome.

I loved that Didi would call or text to remind us of itinerary or instructions and made sure we understand.

Antonella was fun and so full of information and helpful. Hotels were awesome too.

The only suggestion I would have is to have some water/cooler with water available while touring. There wasn’t a lot of time available to buy.

Thanks so much for your assistance in planning this.

Perfect vacation.

I will definitely recommend your services.

Lynda and Serge Tucker, Mississauga, ON, June, 2019

Hi Arlene!

What a perfect Italy experience!! Not one thing needed to be changed for us.

Every detail was in place to make our experience run smoothly.

The hotels, tours, guides and suggestions were outstanding.

Italy was having a heat wave while we were there but we managed.

We have already been passing the word for your services.

Siena was probably our favorite although every location was great.

We can’t thank you enough for putting together our vacation of a lifetime.

Feel assured we will be in touch for our return visit!

Thank you.

Gary Olsen and Barbara Pilch, Doylsetown, PA, June, 2019

Our trip was fantastic!!

The detail and consideration that Ciao travel put into the itinerary was incredible.

We definitely will be recommending Ciao travel to all our friends. We have thousands of pictures that we need to edit, and look forward to reliving the entire trip again.

All our guides and support teams were outstanding.

Thank you again for our trip of a lifetime and please extend our thanks to Claudia and all the Ciao travel team

I’ll send pictures when we go through them

Bev and Don Whelen, Calgary, AB, May, 2019

Good Morning Arlene,

I so enjoyed working with you and your team on my client’s trip to Italy.

You certainly made me look good.  Everyone was so helpful, professional and just a joy to work with.

I was amazed how quickly you could recreate the trip once my client was cleared medically to go.

Ciao Tour documents are some of the nicest in the industry.

My only issue is that you only do Italy!!!

Lee Scheeler, Travel Experts / Proud Virtuoso Member , Rawliegh, NC, June, 2019

The tour was fantastic.

The things we loved and worked well:

#1 by far was Deanna – our driver – she was wonderful.  Deanna picked us up at the airport, drove us out to Scoppito to see my family and also to Montepulciano.  She made us feel welcomed and accommodated all our needs and wants.  Absolutely fabulous person – a must keep!

Claudia was an excellent resource and answered our every need and was friendly and helpful.  She served as an excellent touch stone through the trip.  We never felt alone or worried about where we were or where we were going!

I felt Ciao did an amazing job of giving us a taste of Italy in a short amount of time – it was exhilarating and exhausting but worth every minute.

Brief review of all:

Rome – our tour guide Antonella was a hoot.  She knows Rome and also knows how to get you places you need to get to – a real firecracker – which is absolutely necessary to get through Rome in 2 days!!  The hotel was in a great location and the hotel employees were very accommodating and gave us great restaurant suggestions.

Montepulciano – Our tour guide Janet was great – we enjoyed the wine tour and lunch!

Siena – The cooking lesson with Lisa and Paolo was truly for all three of us the GEM of our trip (besides seeing our family).  We felt at home.  We had made homemade pasta in the past but the ingredients that Lisa picked out were the freshest most unbelievably tasting ingredients ever. Eating with them in their backyard was truly a blessing and great experience.  The hotel was really nice and the perfect location.

Florence – the ride to Florence was beautiful and Alberto our driver pointed out some of the finer things in Florence since we would only be there four hours.  Our tour guide for Florence was Luca – he did the best he could with only four hours!  He took us to the best places and we enjoyed our short time there.

**Train to Naples – The only part of the trip we did not like was the train ride with all of our luggage. It was a fiasco! I would never do a train again with a lot of luggage. Our train was 45 minutes late in intense heat – no one to help with luggage or to ask questions about where to put the luggage – there is only a small place for luggage. This is something Ciao needs to warn clients about – if you have a large piece of luggage and a carry on for each person on a crowded train – disaster!!

Sorrento – walking into this hotel and hotel room made us completely forget the horrible train experience!!  This hotel was amazing – the town was amazing – we will return here for sure!

Capri, Amalfi – WOW!  just a great time – everything was perfect!

Luigi our driver was excellent! He really knows the coast well and I he took us to some amazing spots. He drove us back to Rome – we ditched the train!

It was truly a wonderful trip and we would most definitely recommend and use Ciao tours again.

Thank you!

Cataldo Family, Jamison, PA, June, 2019

Thanks Romina.

We organized a tour of Sicily through Ciao Tours.

From the first communication we had with them, it was clear that they focused on customer service and making the travel experience an excellent one. 

We worked with Romina Torta in organizing and customizing the trip.  She was extremely helpful and offered insights and very welcome comments about what we planned to do.

Once we arrived in Sicily, we were contacted by Didi Nota, who made sure everything went according to plan.

She communicated with us every day to ensure that all was well and to inform us about the following day’s activities.

The drivers were excellent, as was the accommodation. Sicily is beautiful and well worth a visit.

I highly recommend Ciao Tours and we would use them again should our travel plans include a trip to Italy

Thanks again.

Harry & Lynn Kingston, Portland, OR, May, 2019

First of all, we want to thank Claudia for all she did for us.

My husband and I have been on many tours with many agencies over the years, but Ciao tours AND Claudia has been by far our best experience.  I, personally, have been to Italy many times, however Claudia and Ciao had taken us to places I have never seen and experiences I have never experienced.

The Ciao Tours packet was very professional, explanatory and descriptive.

ALL transfers were professional, nice and on time and ALL guides were simply incredible.

We had wonderful, personalized tours of each place we had visited.  ALL hotels were amazing. Ciao had arranged for the best views and choices at each hotel convenient to the sites we had chosen to see.

We can not say enough good things about Claudia.  We had an issue with our rental car that had nothing to do with Ciao.  However, Claudia had helped us with this to the bitter end, staying late and communicating with me thoroughly with Whatsapp and by calling me.

Mille Grazie Claudia and Ciao.  We had the best time of our lives.


Matthew Bonin and Kelly Jago, Augustine, FL, June, 2019

Dear Arlene

The trip was Fantastic Exceeded our expectations from the excellent level and location of Accommodations, The transfers to Train, Hotels, Car rentals and Airports was appreciated as it made things comfortable for us.

We so appreciated Laura checking in with us and letting us know if there were any changes.  We had mentioned to her about our first winery not expecting us and I’m sure she contacted them to let them know about our private tour, as he was very apologetic when we returned.

The Scooter Driver In Ischia was giving us a discount because we mentioned Ciao tours. We decided not to rent a scooter as we were both not comfortable on it and had an excellent day walking and exploring.

We improvised on some of the optional tours like Piazza Armerina and Enna and did our own thing in Agrigento.

We have never done a customized tour and thoroughly enjoyed it, as our holiday was stress free.  You were amazing to work with and we wish we had been able to meet Laura however she had dental surgery and we understood she needed to recover.

Thank-you again and if you would like to have dialogue regarding our Feedback please do not hesitate to contact us

Kind Regards;

Sharon & Roy Schubert, Calgary, AB, May, 2019

Hello Arlene,

We had a wonderful time!  I appreciate all the attention to details—the gifts of various wines you arranged, the punctual service, the wonderful guides.  Everything on your end was awesome! 

The guides were very knowledgeable and of great help.  We loved Alberto, Giuliano, Mike, and Antonella.  Giovani was a good driver but did not add much to the day.  He basically just drove us to the locations and did not provide much information.  We were spoiled by Giuliano who stopped to explain things, told us about the area as he drove, and then actually walked with us at various stops telling us more about the locations.  Alberto, Mike, and Antonella were outstanding also.

We did have a great time at Fattoria il Viticcio and thoroughly enjoyed meeting Claudia and her daughter.

There were a couple of things in the itinerary book that could be written a little clearer for Americans (for example:  where it said “return ticket”, we say “round-trip ticket” so I didn’t understand the first couple of times I read the information).  However, overall the itinerary was a great resource as were the ongoing contacts with Didi.

I have already liked your Facebook page (did it while we were there) and even posted something thanking Ciao Tours for providing a great experience.  I will send pictures as soon as I get over jet lag and can get more organized.  We had another bad airline experience on our way home, so we got home much later than we planned.

Thanks again for everything!  Ciao Tours delivered every step of the way, you helped make our 40th Anniversary trip unforgettable!


Lolly and Fred Guerra, Kyle, TX, May, 2019

Hello Romina.

I would like to say that we enjoyed our trip immensely. We absolutely loved Italy.

We feel we got to know Didi even before we met in Siena. It was a tremendous comfort to know she was there if we had difficulties.

We really enjoyed meeting Didi and spending time with here there.

Every person that we met representing Ciao Tours, from drivers to tour guides, were excellent.

We only disappointed in one guide/tour company in Florence. Our guide at for the walking tour of Florence was late to the meeting place and clearly slowed down the tour down because a couple had gone to the office instead of to the meeting point. All of that was okay, but that particular afternoon was nowhere near the quality of the rest of the tours we took.

We loved our time with each of the guides and Claudia at Marcampo was a wonderful hostess!

We will most assuredly be recommending Ciao Tours to anyone who may be interested in visiting Italy.

Thank you for everything; it really did take all of the worries out of our vacation.

Twyla and Dave Murray, Calgary, AB, May, 2019

Hello Arlene,

Wanted to let you know that thanks to Ciao Tours, our family (6 adults and 2 children) had the best family holiday ever in Italy!

The staff (Claudia) and driver (Alberto) in Siena made our trip stress free. Can not say enough about Alberto, very professional, personable and patient with the children. The tours to Balsamic Tasting and Parma Factory were excellent.

Claudia kept in close contact with us to make sure our Itinerary was going according to plan.

Ciao Tours was an outstanding experience for our family.

Thank you so much for creating a tour based on our interests and your assistance in putting the detail to our trip.

There was nothing we would change on the trip. A totally positive experience

We will be contacting Ciao Tours for our next Trip to Italy!

Will make sure we “like” you on your Facebook page

Thanks again,

McGonigle Family, Pittsburg, PA, May, 2019

Hi Arlene,

Thank you for arranging such a wonderful tour of the Amalfi Coast.

The hotel was perfect with respect to location,service and cleanliness. The food was good as well.

Luigi, our guide for the Amalfi coast tour, was excellent. The boat trip to Capri was very good, seeing the many grottos, although we did find Capri to be touristy. Laura probably mentioned to you that we had to moor at the small marina, and eat at the very expensive restaurant, in order to not pay the mooring fee at the large marina. We are not sure if we had already paid the mooring fee and you had intended for us to land at the large marina. That is the only time we felt ripped off! (which is pretty good for Italy, in our experience!)

Our guide at Pompeii, Laura, was very informative and made the town of Pompeii in ancient times come alive. We did not seem to have the complimentary tickets to go up Mt. Vesuvius as indicate in our materials.

The path of the Gods was amazing, even with a few showers and clouds.

It was a memorable trip,and it was so helpful for us to have everything taken care of.
thanks again.

Nancy and Bob Engbloom, Calgary, AB, May, 2019

Good Afternoon Ladies,

How do you improve on perfection?

From the moment we landed in Venice until the moment we were delivered to the airport in Naples, our trip was everything and more than we expected.

Every transfer, every accommodation, every tour was exemplary. Your drivers and tour guides were a wealth of information along with being extremely helpful and accommodating.  The hotels that were chosen were always in an excellent location with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Having Didi at our disposal at a moments notice left us feeling safe and secure. She was always quick to respond to any and all of our messages.

We had set a pretty torrid pace for ourselves but still found time to relax.  We have tried to pinpoint the highlight of our holiday or our favourite experience.  If pressed for an answer it would probably have been the cooking class. There were so many other excursions that came to mind for their historical significance and the impact that each of us felt such as The Coliseum and Pompeii. Our walking tours of  Venice, Florence and Lucca were remarkable due to the guides that showed us through their eyes their great love for their individual cities.

If I had to make one negative comment or recommendation, it would have been nice if our gondolier sang.  That is certainly mentioned tongue in cheek. Mike suggested offering a six hour Coliseum tour might be a good option. He would have liked to spend more time there.

Many people have asked us about our trip. We are quick to share our experience along with high praise for CIAO.

Thank you Romina and Didi for taking such great care of us.  Our vacation was truly a trip of a lifetime and most of the credit goes to you both.

I will send you some pictures as soon as I review the hundreds that were taken.


Susan and Michael Goodrow, Calgary, AB, May, 2019

Hi Arlene, Thanks for your welcome home note.   We had a fantastic time in Italy.   Everything was so well organized. 

All the drivers (especially Deana who really took good care of us) were very prompt, professional and friendly.  Johnny was also very helpful in Venice.    Our tour guides Thomas, Roberto, Lisa and Silvana were all very knowledgeable, personable, and eager to please.   It was good to have Laura checking up on us.

The hotels all worked out well, we especially enjoyed the larger room we had our last night in Rome at the Rose Garden Hotel.

Thanks for all you did for us.

Trying to organize it all on our own would have been overwhelming for us.

Dianne and Dave Pearce, Calgary, AB, May, 2019

Dear Romina, Mona and I would like to express our sincere thanks from the bottom of our hearts and appreciation for organizing such a great trip that will remain engraved on the memory.

The role of Ciao Tours ; yourself and the team in Italy in producing such a fine itinerary is truly beyond description r role in producing

Every step was well planned; we were happy with the hotels and locations selected. Very warm and intimate relationship with the Italian team. All the places; were total class act; beautiful and unique; everything we were looking for. The Staff was friendly and professional. Everything was on time; transportation; hotels; tour guides and support when needed it.

I would like to thank Laura in particular; she tried her best to accommodate our needs; in Florence and Venice.

Thank you very much to all of you

I posted so many pictures on Facebook and to my pleasure some approached me to know more about the organized tour

I would highly recommend Ciao Tours to my friends
Kind Regards

Magdy and Mona Girgis, Calgary, AB,, May, 2019

Hi Arlene

Yes, we had a wonderful time!  Although we had some unseasonable weather, we made the most of it.

The trip was well planned out by your group and we were very pleased with all of the accommodations.  Our location in Venice was particularly important I think because we had the beautiful view and balcony.  It wouldn’t have been the same experience for us without that.  Thank you for that!

We found the guides and drivers were all very knowledgeable and accommodating.  If I’m perfectly honest, I would say that Thomas (Rome guide) seemed less enthusiastic than some of the others although it could  have been just the weather or the day.  One point that might be helpful for others having a guided tour in Rome is to let them know in advance that they are responsible for getting themselves back to the hotel from the ending point of the tour.  We didn’t have any issues as we just carried on and figured things out but it could be a bit daunting for some.

While we were staying in Tuscany, you had outlined a day for us to tour on our own in Umbria.  We heard about the thermal baths from someone while we were in Florence and decided to check that area out instead.  We spoke to the Manager at Villa Poggiano and she suggested a route that we might like to follow.  That day was really pleasant and different as we ended up seeing far less touristy places and it was a good change of pace and scenery.  I’d like to note that the Manager at Villa Poggiano was lovely…very helpful!

Every location had it’s own charm and we did so much in just two weeks.  We walked a lot but loved it.

Once we sort out our pictures, we’d be happy to add some choice ones on your Facebook page.

Janice Falls & Doug Bensch, Ancaster, Ontario, May, 2019

Dear Romina and Arlene,

We want to thank you so much for the amazing three-week Italy trip!

The organization that went into each of our stays — from drivers to tours to accommodations — was noticed and greatly appreciated.  Didi’s work behind the scenes and her regular contact with us while in Italy was superb.

Enzo in Sorrento, Fabio in Siena, and Deana in Rome were all professional and skillful drivers and guides, and we were especially pleased to have the same driver throughout the stay in Sorrento and Rome. Every tour guide was brilliant and helpful: Michael in Pompeii, Janet in Montepulciano, Alessandra in Assisi, Christina for the cooking lesson, and Thomas at the Vatican.  These are all exceptional people!

The booklet instructions were so helpful, and it was fun to have studied enough Italian that we were able to create some experiences on our own as well. We went to Sorrento’s museum and three tenors concert, ate at hidden gem restaurants in local neighborhoods, washed clothes at a self-service lavanderia, shopped at the Italian grocery stores, drove Ferraris and Lamborghinis “in our imaginations” at their museums, and so much more.

Wine tastings taught us so much about Italian wines. While one of Mark’s requests was to tour Sassicaia, we found out that we really had a much better experience at Ornellaia, according to local contacts in the Bolgheri region. Ornellaia is both a winery and, in essence, an art gallery. We highly recommend that tour if anyone ever asks. We also took advantage of a tasting at the spectacular wine cellar of Grant Hotel Continental in Siena. What a beautiful hotel and venue!

One of the best parts of having traveled in the past with Ciao, is that we were able to visit some old friends. Having had previous cooking classes with Maria Luisa and Eddo in San Gimignano, we contacted Stefano at the Agriturismo Poggiacolle to arrange a short visit and drop off gifts. Then it was on to his parents’ home in Piazza della Cisterna to do the same. Of course, “mangiamo” seems to be the anthem of all Italians, so were served polenta, pizza, and wine at their familiar kitchen table. “A snack,” according to Maria Luisa.  It was just lovely.

While it was certainly not a stain on our trip, our experience at the Acetaia Sereni was somewhat less than what we might expect in four-star accommodations. To be fair, we were there during the days their restaurant was closed, so staffing was minimal.  Lee already spoke to Didi regarding the concerns we had there.

The time that Nina, Lee, Mark, and I spent with family in the North was amazing as well. There is nothing quite as humbling as standing at the doors of our grandmother’s and grandfather’s respective birth homes, finding new relatives, and experiencing the culture from that perspective. Mama Mia, did we ever eat a lot of tortellini!

Mark tracked our daily steps and informed me that we walked over 130 miles during our time in Italy. Imagine what we could have done if it hadn’t rained a few of the days. We’re now back home working off a few pounds but reveling in the memories we made while gaining them. 

With deepest gratitude for a marvelous trip

Mark and Monica Plantan, Palm Coast, FL, May, 2019

Hi Arlene,

All this time, the memories of our wonderful trip have been percolating. It was truly the trip of a lifetime in many ways. We can’t thank you enough for all the superb planning done by Ciao Tours.

I have been telling everyone about your company and I liked your Facebook page quite a while ago – long before the trip. I enjoy the updates.

I want to make special mention of your two drivers – Deana and Luigi. They were both outstanding. They are warm, welcoming, professional and very knowledgeable. We enjoyed their company so much. (Both of them bought me coffee – Luigi at a place near Vesuvius, while Dave was climbing the volcano ….and the people looked up ‘iced coffee’ on the internet so they could make me some! Both drivers went above and beyond for us.)

We enjoyed Laura’s tour of Pompeii very much. She is a superb tour guide, who explained everything so well and brought everything to life. Our time with her was memorable. She, too, went above and beyond.

And what can I say about Claudia? We had many great communications with her, via What’s App and also by phone. She was terrific. We felt very well looked after. She was organized, kind and thoughtful. I missed Claudia after we got home

We loved the Amalfi Coast and the boat tour to Capri. The scenery was amazing in both places. Dave was struck by the incredible geological features – and surprisingly this became a favourite geological field trip for him. He was constantly pointing out different types of rocks, and looking up local geology info on his phone. For me, it was the history – I was keen on all of it. Luigi was great at talking to us on the Amalfi Coast drive. We learned a lot from him. The tour guide on the Capri small boat tour spoke less English – and we were the only English speakers on the boat. I hope they don’t advertise themselves as an English tour, because it really wasn’t. The people were kind, boat was comfortable and fun to be on, food was good – but he didn’t spend much time speaking to us in English – his language skills were so-so. Just our feeling about it. But – we did love the scenery on that tour, so we were glad to be on it.

The hotels you chose for us were wonderful. Hotel Minerva will live on in my heart for a very long time. It’s a magical place. So comfortable, so beautiful, kind people, very good food (those breakfasts!), etc etc. The view is breathtaking. Hotel Modigliani was most enjoyable for our last night in Rome. A lovely bijoux space with great people and a neat location. They made me coffee, and Dave tea, before our 4am pickup for the airport!

I haven’t yet finished sorting through all our hundreds of photos. That job will be coming up next. I’ll send you a few special ones when I’m ready to.

Once again, thanks for all your efforts. Our experience with Ciao Tours was everything we hoped for, and more! I will continue to spread the word.

Your extra kindness as a friend of Janet and Darryl was very much appreciated

Cheers and thanks –


Nan and Dave Lefebure, Salt Spring Island, BC, April 2019

Ciao Romina!

I’ll start by saying it was indeed a wonderful trip. So glad we chose Ciao Tours, I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own.

Thought I would give you a full break down,
I’m sure it can help you in the future (speaking of which, looking at possibly Sicily and Sardinia next year :-))

Hilton Rome airport
As expected. Is was our choice and glad we made it. Could walk 5 minutes to pick up our car the next morning. Speaking of cars, one lesson learned is that if you want an automatic, they
will give you a car slightly bigger than many of the roads you will encounter. LOL!

Grande Albergo delle Nazioni, Bari
Not a choice I would have made, saw nothing 5* about it other than the view. Initially they put us in a closet in the back, Laura was kind enough to arrange a move which helped a bit. The ac wasn’t
working properly and the restaurant was mediocre. We had to eat there because it was so far from town center (old town). We did make the walk after arrival but didn’t have the strength to do it again
for dinner. I would have preferred to be more central. Of course, that’s a personal preference. If I’m in a city, I want to be in the middle of it.

Masseria Mongio, Otranto
What a wonderful place with equally wonderful people. Would love to return one day during harvest. This was a great choice. Had dinner there one evening and it tied for best meal in Italy (more on that later).

Borgo Canonica, Ostuni
Very charming and such a unique experience. People were great, dinner was not. So looking forward after the dinner at the Masseria, it wasn’t anything close. They actually served Shane the blood vein of the swordfish.
It was so bad that on our way home from Ostuni the next day, bought takeout from a supermarket. Other than that, a great place.

Il Palazzotto, Matera
Absolutely beautiful cave room (open bathroom, eek!), totally enjoyed our stay here.

Il Castello, Praia a Mare
What an awesome place made even better by Antonio. Unfortunately, the beach wasn’t yet open for the season so not much to do. We did visit Scalea which was lovely. Antonio made us the most
fabulous candlelight dinner (tied with Masseria for best of Italy, lol). Since nothing close by was open, he also made us a dinner the second night (with another couple, great convo) of local meats and
cheeses. That said, this place not for all people, pretty rustic with very limited hot water. We loved it though (long shower not withstanding)

Hotel Minerva
Also not a choice I would have made for similar reasons. Beautiful view of course but would have preferred to be closer to town. Very long walk (uphill on the way back) so forced to eat dinner there twice.
First night was good, second night not so much so night #3, we walked down to town for a pizza. Restaurant wait staff was excellent, housekeeping was not. Found dirty glasses in the minibar which even after
calling, remained in our room for the duration of our stay.

Hotel Duca D’Alba, Rome
As expected for Rome, room was tiny but comfortable. People were great as was the location.

Phew! Now that that is over with, wanted to mention first that Laura is a dear. She was very helpful and kind during our stay. All transfers went smoothly and our guides (Silvia in Lecce, Lauriana in Matera and
Roberto in Almafi) were excellent. Weather unfortunately was not but we made the best of it and had a really great time.

Will like you on Facebook and send a few pics to you website as soon as I get them uploaded.

Thank you so much again for all of your hard work to make our holiday so special.

Best regards,


Susan and Shane Shapiro, Stratford, CT, May 2019

Good Day Romina.

What a wonderful experience we had and your booklet helped us almost every step of the way!  As many sights as we saw, we know Italy has so many more to be explored!!

We enjoyed the tours very much but found that identifying our tour guide was very confusing.  The reason for this was there are so many tours meeting at the same general area that it was difficult to know who our tour operator would be.  Perhaps if they held up a sign to identify what tour company they are hosting would help.  We were not the only ones confused….almost all tourists were confused at some point.  Tour guides would hold up a coloured umbrella or flag of some sort so you could follow them but identifying them in the very beginning of each tour was difficult.  But we managed just fine.

Another helpful tip would be to tell tourists the name of a reputable taxi to take to and from tour locations.  For example, when we left the Colosseum, we looked for a taxi and found one who charged us a flat rate of E18.  The next day, we took another taxi for approximately the same distance for E9.  The taxi driver told us to always get into a cab with a fare meter because the ones who have no meter are either not registered or will overcharge.  We will know for next time 

But overall we have absolutely no complaints whatsoever – none!

Our driver in Rome (a wonderful lady whose name escapes me right now) was absolutely incredible!  She knew so much history and pointed out so many things to us along our ride with her to and from destinations.  She was fun.  She was Rome-savvy.  She was great and she deserves a hug (which we both gave her when we left Rome!).

All hotel staff at all 3 locations were very friendly and kind.  Very helpful and helped us many times.  The hotels were perfect but the staff made our stay even better.

The tour guides were excellent.  Knowledgeable and helpful, funny and interesting.

Romina…we had a GREAT time and Frank and I want to thank you for helping to make it a GREAT vacation!

Once we hit Frank’s hometown, we had a well deserved break (my feet were very happy to relax!  ) and started our tour of his hometown and surrounding areas.

Thank you Romina – it was a wonderful and very memorable vacation!!

Best Regards
Frank and Cheryl Chiminello


Frank and Cheryl Chiminello, Calgary, AB , April 2019

Was an awesome trip. Italy is beautiful.

Overall experience was great .

I liked the facebook page.


Vince Bokenfohr, Acheson, AB , April 2019

Hi Arlene,

Thank you for the welcome home msg.  I was about to email you and tell you the wonderful vacation we had.  We we’re exhausted yesterday when arrive home.

Thank you for everything you had done for us. My wife and I really appreciate and enjoy this trip.  Thank you so much.

Yes I will find time to write my experience and post it on the link you provided.

I will recommend my friends.

Kevin & Aileen Tseng, Staten Island, NY , April 2019

We had a great time and appreciated the planning you did for us. 

The only disappointment was that our gondolier was busy talking to another gondolier in a boat parallel to ours.  So he barely said a few words to us.  One of the highlights was in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.  We couldn’t see the mass held in another part of the church.  Suddenly a choir of heavenly voices broke forth.  No one in the Basilica knew who they were but later when they sang on the square I asked and they are from a Pennsylvania high school. The good acoustics, the young professional sounding voices—such a treat!

Thanks!  Good job!

Jan Etnier, Madison, WI , April 2019

Hello Romina,

Andy and I would like to thank you for an exceptional experience in Italy!

There really wasn’t one hiccup. Deana was there waiting for us at the airport upon arrival and was early for each of the times we were to be picked up. She is a delightful character and we enjoyed her company and assistance very much. Daniele, our guide in Rome, was extremely knowledgeable, very interesting, and just a charming human being.  Daniele will be remembered fondly, for me, as the face of Rome.

Luca, our guide in Florence, was articulate, knowledgeable, and undaunted by the pouring rain. We enjoyed our time with him as well.

Paula was also delightful and we completely enjoyed the tour of Sienna, San Gimignano, and dinner in the beautiful countryside.

The guides provided such a level of richness for us – we are very appreciative and feel that our experience of Italy was exponentially deeper than if we had gone in a group –  and most certainly – if we had gone on our own.

And Didi was fabulous. She was ever-present in a non-invasive yet very reassuring way.

The level of activity was about right for us – the only exception would be the day of the visit to the Uffizi and the Accademia. We actually didn’t attend the Accademia that day because we were already overwhelmed by our amazing experience in the Uffizi and didn’t feel we had the chops to navigate the crowds we anticipated at the Accademia. (Tourists can be so rude! She says as a tourist 😉

We have only two minor comments we wished had been slightly different given our tastes. We didn’t fully enjoy our dinner at Taverna Trilussa in Rome nor our dinner at Trattoria Antico Fattore in Florence. We would have preferred a more intimate environment than either provided – and when we were there – it seemed few Italians were. We had better experiences at other restaurants in both cities.

We have two other observations that you may (or may not!) want to consider. You may want to advise people in advance of the difficulty navigating on foot in various locations. Ancient Rome and Sienna, for sure, come to mind but other areas as well. For people with mobility issues it would be very problematic. Perhaps you catch this with your questionnaire. As well – the only challenge we faced was around the VAT. You may want to consider putting something in your booklet about asking for forms when one is shopping for clothes etc and spending more than 155 Euro.

In any event, overall, it was an amazing experience! Our highlights were Daniele, the tour of Tuscany, and that everything was brilliantly orchestrated and managed.

If you need recommendations, testimonials, or references – you can count on us. Happy to chat more if desired.

It was, indeed, an exceptional experience! We are thinking next of the Amalfi Coast!

Best regards,

Jane Duncan and Andrew Dutton, Calgary, AB , April 2019

We had a great trip. Your company did a great job.

Very pleased. 

The guides were first class all the way.

The Oldham and Goodwin Families, Bryan, Texas, March 2019

Hi Arlene!

Had a great time n everything was very well organized.

The driver in Milan’s the best (that’s why we kept asking for him).

Bernie and Valentina were also great.

Your team did a great job. Especially got to thank Didi who’s attended to everything perfectly.

Only thing we didn’t enjoy as much was the hotel in Milan. Apart from the night when we were upgraded, the other rooms were too small. Next time we’ll definitely get the 5* hotels instead.

All in all a very enjoyable trip. There’s still a lot of Italy we haven’t explored yet so we shall return.

Will definitely contact you again for our next trip and also spread the word about your agency.

Thanks again to you and the team.


The Remedios Family, Hong Kong, February 2019


It was an absolute pleasure from beginning to end. 

We really felt taken care of and felt we received great local insight from the guides wherever we went.

Hotels were great, enjoyed the proximity to key sightseeing.

The only thing that went slightly wrong is we got off at the wrong Venice train stop.  It would be good to point out that there are actually two Venice stops.  I guess I was feeling a little too comfortable or  “handled”!   : ) I rectified the problem quickly, but we probably lost and hour.  Not a big deal.

Also, you have a big list of restaurants….would’ve liked your top 3 recommendations, denoted by stars.

Your tour book was very helpful and thorough!

Thanks again!

The Crane Family, Appleton, WI, January 2019

Hello Romina,

Andy and I would like to thank you for an exceptional experience in Italy!

There really wasn’t one hiccup. Deana was there waiting for us at the airport upon arrival and was early for each of the times we were to be picked up. She is a delightful character and we enjoyed her company and assistance very much. Daniele, our guide in Rome, was extremely knowledgeable, very interesting, and just a charming human being.  Daniele will be remembered fondly, for me, as the face of Rome.

Luca, our guide in Florence, was articulate, knowledgeable, and undaunted by the pouring rain. We enjoyed our time with him as well.

Paula was also delightful and we completely enjoyed the tour of Sienna, San Gimignano, and dinner in the beautiful countryside.

The guides provided such a level of richness for us – we are very appreciative and feel that our experience of Italy was exponentially deeper than if we had gone in a group –  and most certainly – if we had gone on our own.

And Didi was fabulous. She was ever-present in a non-invasive yet very reassuring way.

The level of activity was about right for us – the only exception would be the day of the visit to the Uffizi and the Accademia. We actually didn’t attend the Accademia that day because we were already overwhelmed by our amazing experience in the Uffizi and didn’t feel we had the chops to navigate the crowds we anticipated at the Accademia. (Tourists can be so rude! She says as a tourist 😉

We have only two minor comments we wished had been slightly different given our tastes. We didn’t fully enjoy our dinner at Taverna Trilussa in Rome nor our dinner at Trattoria Antico Fattore in Florence. We would have preferred a more intimate environment than either provided – and when we were there – it seemed few Italians were. We had better experiences at other restaurants in both cities.

We have two other observations that you may (or may not!) want to consider. You may want to advise people in advance of the difficulty navigating on foot in various locations. Ancient Rome and Sienna, for sure, come to mind but other areas as well. For people with mobility issues it would be very problematic. Perhaps you catch this with your questionnaire. As well – the only challenge we faced was around the VAT. You may want to consider putting something in your booklet about asking for forms when one is shopping for clothes etc and spending more than 155 Euro.

In any event, overall, it was an amazing experience! Our highlights were Daniele, the tour of Tuscany, and that everything was brilliantly orchestrated and managed.

If you need recommendations, testimonials, or references – you can count on us. Happy to chat more if desired.

It was, indeed, an exceptional experience! We are thinking next of the Amalfi Coast!

Best regards,

Jane Duncan and Andrew Dutton, Calgary, AB , April 2019

Thank You Ciao Tours for another wonderful, well-organized tour in Italy!

Our drivers were excellent-friendly, helpful and very skilled-Matteo Suti, our driver for three days while based in Montepulicano was exceptional. He was a traffic guide as well as an excellent driver and certainly went above and beyond. He showed us some special places that were not on the itinerary but he fit them in as time permitted.

And our Guides (except for Vinci) were wonderful! We learned so much from them and enjoyed their company immensely!

The apartments in both Montepulicano and Lucca were really good and the contact people unbelievably helpful!

But the Icing on the cake was out stop in Siena and to visit with Alessandra and having lunch, compliments of ciao Tours. As the expression goes, that was the Piece de resistance!!. The food and service at the restaurant were excellent (thank you again ) the visit with Alessandra was very special to us all-she is a real gem!!

Honestly, we could not have asked for more from this trip. But, of course, non of this would have been possible without Ciao Tours and their excellent, hands-on team.

Thank you, Arlene, Alessandra and all the team at Ciao Tours for making our return trip to Tuscany, an amazing experience!!!

Grazie Mille!!

The MacDonalds, Toronto, ON, September, 2018

Hello again Romina!

We had such a great time in Italy.  So many great memories!

As promised, here is some feedback on our trip:

What we liked:

1. Italy!!
2. The Ciao tours booklet.  Very complete.  Chockfull of great info.  Easy to follow along.  Lots of things to pick and choose from on free days. Kim found your restaurant recommendations particularly helpful.
3.  Being “followed”.  It’s amazing the peace of mind we got from Didi following us.  She helped with reminders, dinner reservations, logistics etc. It was easy to relax quickly knowing we had someone watching over us!
4. The pace of the tour.  With the exception of November 6 (see below), we found the pace of the tour pretty much perfect for us.  Activities in the morning, free time in the afternoon. Busy days, then free days.  You clearly put a lot of thought into sequencing the tour.
5. The cooking class.  A highlight for us.  We really enjoyed Paolo and Lisa!
6. Super Luca the Walking Encyclopedia.  Our guide Luca in Florence was so knowledgeable.  He kept our attention for the full 4 hours.  He adapted the tour very quickly to our interests based on the questions we were asking.  Great sense of humor, polite, well spoken, very good English.  All the guides were good but Luca stood out.
7. Hotel Metropole.  Five star and the breakfast was insanely good!

Some comments and suggestions:

1. November 6 was too busy!  It was the only day we could not do everything that was planned.  We did the 4 hour walking tour with Luca and the Uffizi but skipped Accademia.  Also, the amount of time allotted for Uffizi was not quite enough for us.  Too much to see in a few hours, our tickets were for a 4:45 reservation and it closed just after 6:30 (maybe off-season hours??).  Security on the way in took some time!
2. Hotel Pierre.  Room was nice enough and location perfect relative to the Duomo, Uffizi etc.  However, it was noisy (tourist market across the street) and the breakfast was really subpar.
3. Consider simply booking the car rental WITH the GPS included.  Realistically, the GPS is indispensable.
4. Consider explaining to people early in the process that only one person needs an international driver’s license because the car rental includes only one driver and to add a driver is something like 10 Euros per day (I might have the number wrong).  In our case we both got international licenses ($40 each at AMA here in Calgary), but said no the charge for the extra driver fees as we felt it was too much.  So we spent $40 we otherwise wouldn’t have.
5. Perhaps review opening hours for tours after November 1.  For example in Greve, Enotecca Falorni is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting Nov 1.  Most things were closed in Castellina for fall hours.  Still, beautiful to walk around!

Garzie mille mille for such a wonderful tour.  So well done! 

Neil and Kim

Neil & Kim Jobin, Calgary, AB, November, 2018

Hi Arlene,

Just heard back from Ken and Kim today.

They are so happy with the trip!!!  They said that everything was wonderful.

The hotels were great and the locations and sightseeing was fantastic.  The Cinque Terre was their highlight for sure.

They wanted to extend a huge thank you for everything!

Melane Gatzke, AMA Travel , Lethbridge, AB, October, 2018

Trip was wonderful and Alessandra was great about reaching out and helping us modify our trip with the additional request for the personal tour of the Coliseum. 

Enzo was a great driver and gave us some great tips on things to do in Sorrento and where to eat.

Both of the guides in Rome (Thomas and Irene) were terrific.  Michael also did a great job in Pompei and Naples.   Cooking experience was a lot of fun.

We could have gotten a little more complex in the dishes we made but the simplicity and great taste of the ravioli and sauce were definitely things we took back with us.

Francesca was outstanding and is a great teacher!

The only improvements I would make are:
– We’re used to queen or king beds vs. having 2 single beds pushed together but made up separately.  We requested queen or king but I’m guessing the hotels you worked with do not have those types of beds.  Let your customers know what to expect when they’re booking a superior double room.
– We booked our ferry to/from Capri the morning we were traveling there thinking it’s late in the season and we didn’t have to worry.  Unfortunately for us, we only got to spend a few hours on Capri since the latest ferry we could take back was 3:00.  I’d advise travelers to book the ferry well in advance.  I’d also advise them to plan what they want to see and possibly use the local taxi tour guides.  We did a lot of walking around, trying to avoid touristy places and wound up at the lighthouse (which didn’t have any bathrooms).
– The Victoria Hotel was in transition from summer to fall so even though it was unseasonably warm, they would not enable the air conditioner to be turned on so we had the windows wide open with a lot of street noise.  They had towel warmers in the bathrooms but told us they don’t use them until the winter.  First time I’ve come across that.

All in all, a fantastic trip.

David & Linda Kaufman, Wayne, PA, October, 2018

Hi Romina,

Thank you for putting everything together!

We honestly loved every minute of the trip.

Our favorite hotel was the Rose Garden in Rome and the tour guide (Daniele) was also amazing, especially for introducing us to Ristorante Archimedes, which is near the Pantheon, and is probably the best restaurant we ate at (twice!).

The lunch and wine tasting at Villa Cerna was also amazing and we shipped wine home because we liked it so much.

I can’t think of anything we didn’t like (aside from traffic!) and can’t thank you enough for all of your efforts to make our honeymoon amazing and unforgettable.

It was everything we wanted and more!

George Demos & Melissa Walter, Watertown, MA, October, 2018

Hi, Romina,

John and I had the Italy vacation of our dreams! Everything was perfect! Even the weather.

From the moment we were picked up at the airport in Rome and dropped off in Florence, Ciao Tours treated us first class.

Our hotel in Rome was quaint, clean and offered a very nice Italian breakfast. And it was within walking distance to all the main sights and shopping. It was nice to walk back up our quiet street knowing we would sleep soundly at night. Our hotel pick ups for a half day of tours were on time and precise.

Thomas was our guide in Rome and when he guided us to the front of the Coliseum and Vatican lines, I could have hugged him. Right then everything we paid to Ciao Tours was worth it!

I was able to walk the Spiral Staircase in the Vatican Museum and check that off my bucket list. Thomas’ vast knowledge of Italy was extremely informative and interesting. If we had a question – he had an answer.

The booklet that Ciao provided to us was invaluable. We used it daily and checked off things we did and what we could look forward to exploring.

Our rental car was ready and waiting for us and the drive to Tuscany was lovely. We stopped along the way and checked out Orvieto. Our accommodations in Tuscany was on a hill top overlooking San Gimignano. All around us were vineyards, forests and small towns to stroll through. I never went swimming in the infinity pool, but John did! One of our top 5 meals was at a Ciao recommended restaurant – Le Vecchie Mura.

In Montepulciano we met Janet who walked us through the cobble stone streets and gave us a great overview of the town. We did an olive oil tasting and ended up at a wine tasting where we had a delicious vegetarian lasagna.

On our drive to drop off our car at the airport in Pisa, we visited Pisa. We took the typical tourist photo of us holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From there it was a cinch to catch the shuttle train to the train station and relax in our first class seats as we set off to our next destination of Monterosso. This is a beautiful beach town and the local towns are so easily accessible by train. We did some hiking and took some beautiful sunset pictures.

From there we took the train to Florence and were immediately pick up and taken to our hotel. It was centrally located and grand and bit was within walking distance of everything.

Our Florence guide Luca was waiting for us and we hit it off right away. I really enjoyed the history and art and sculpture details and everything about Florence! Mostly it was nice to cross the bridge and visit some of the quieter streets and hear about the shops that have been in existence for years. Luca was good enough to point out the flood line markers through the city and again, if we had a question, he had an answer. It was fun to hear about how Italians think and drive and work. Italians are must more relaxed than we Canadians.

Again, we were picked up from our hotel and dropped off at the Florence Airport in plenty of time.

I would highly recommend Ciao Tours to anyone who is going to Italy.

– hotel accommodations were clean and quaint
– all tour guides were friendly and very informed on anything we asked
– we appreciated the personal touches and recommendations our guides provided to us
– all pick ups were precise and in nice clean new vehicles
– all restaurant recommendations were appreciated
– the booklet was extremely handy
– knowing we could call anyone at any time if needed, was a relief

I will summarize this for your facebook page.

Ciao Tours exceeded our expectations!

John Smeeton & Brenda Ostrom, Etobicoke, Ont, October, 2018

…and all those at Ciao…Garcia Millie…for making our stay and site visits something we’ll always remember with great fondness.

Your teams of guides and drivers were impressive.

My wife and David were never in Italy and although I was, I never experienced it in the way you presented to us.

Fino quando ci incontreremo di nuovo. 😊

James Pepe, Fredonia, NY, October, 2018

Hello Romina and Arlene,

I would like to say that on the whole, I was quite pleased with our trip and what we saw and did.

All of the drivers were very nice. The guides were also very pleasant and informative.

We really enjoyed Enzo who was with us 3 or 4 days…We even ran into him unexpectedly at the Naples train station where he also helped us out.

Nino was a great trek leader for the Pathway of the Gods. We were appreciative that we were able to change our schedule for that trek, as the day we originally were to go, rain was forecast… that would have made the trek impossible due to unsafe conditions. Thankfully, the day we went, the weather was perfect…So as a suggestion, I would state to clients that it is not a trek for any inclement weather such as rain or high winds. Also, stressing sturdy hiking shoes was wise. ( I could not believe how many people seemed oblivious to this! In general, the places we visited ALL required sturdy walking shoes! One often encountered
both uneven and/ or rough stone surfaces. Flip flops and flimsy sandals for hotel room only!)

I am glad we only spent approx. 4 hours in Capri. Though we really enjoyed the 12 people boat ride, the island, though pretty, struck me as an expensive tourist trap.

I really enjoyed Ischia ( 2 nights.) Though it too was touristy,  it was bigger and had other interesting places  like the castle , Sant’ Angelo on the other side of the island, to see.(We took a private taxi around the island with a pleasant elderly driver, paying 80 E total for approx. 3 hours. I was glad we did this.)

I think the hotels were all fine…I just need to remember that Italian tubs tend to be narrower, higher and seemingly a bit more dangerous to maneuver for some of us…I should have used the rubber mats! I also noted a few of the hotels did not have towel bars at all, nor did they provide washcloths.

I loved the thermal pool at our hotel in Ischia.

I really appreciated having Laura to call upon when any issue came up. She was wonderful and resolved any problem/ concern very efficiently and quickly.

Hope to make it back to Italy again!

Anna Tymowski, Northville, MI, October, 2018

Hi Arlene & Romina,

We had a really great time and would be happy to provide a reference to any of your clients if you need one.

This was the first personalized tour that we have done, and I don’t think we will go any other way now for a trip like this.

We loved all of the places we visited, and would not have changed any of the destinations.

A few points which hopefully you will find helpful:

• Your drivers that speak English and take the time to point out the sights and give a little education along the way are great.  Deanna (Rome) and Allesandro (Sorrento) were AMAZING!  We had a few that didn’t seem to speak English – the guy who dropped us off at the Vatican dropped us in the wrong spot, and didn’t give us any instructions – you may want to tell your clients if the meeting spot isn’t in the book, to stay exactly where they get dropped off.  We were talked into moving by Vatican information people (they said that the tour guides always met at a certain place).  Allessandra was able to fix this pretty quickly, but it was frustrating at first.
• We ate at a couple of really great spots that we thought you might like to try and include in your book – La Buchetta in Florence (Via De’Benchi) – it is a pretty small steakhouse – the owner was there when we were there and the food was great – one of the best steak meals we have ever had!  Sapori D’Ischia in Rome – this place is owner managed, very small and very close to the Rose Garden Palace (N19 Via Marche).  It was recommended by the hotel and was very reasonably priced.  The food, service and atmosphere was great.
• For people that want to drive through Tuscany, tell them to get GPS coordinates for everything before they leave – we didn’t have cell coverage in many areas and GPS coordinates seemed to work better than trying to use the GPS to find addresses or landmarks.
• The guides were really good – I particularly liked the one we had in Rome and Michael in Pompeii.
• The package that you sent (book, maps, restaurant recommendations) was great!
• Alessandra was wonderful and we really enjoyed meeting her.

Thank you for planning such an amazing trip.

Mary-Lynn Oke, Toronto, ON, September, 2018

Hi Romina,

I am happy to provide our feedback:

We were very happy with the overall trip and in working with Ciao Tours.

In the planning phase Ciao Tours was responsive and timely in responding to questions, and in providing information.

Once we were in country, Claudia was great about checking in via the phone, or using the WhatsApp.  She even called our tour guides/drivers a couple of times to check on us.  Very impressive!

All the hotel selections were excellent.

Our drivers in Perugia (Maurizio) and Sorrento (Alessandro) were very good.  The drivers in Rome did not have the English speaking skills as Maurizio or Alessandro.  The driver who took us to the Vatican was particularly difficult with communication.   With no advance notice, he pulled to the side outside the Vatican and shouted “get out!, Get out!”  which we quickly did, but it was awkward to say the least.   According to the guide, he had pulled over at a place that was forbidden so he got a ticket for doing so.   We asked the driver who picked us up from the Vatican  to drop us at the Treve Fountain, but understanding this instruction was difficult.   He figured it out and delivered us there, but the change of plan was obviously concerning to him.   Overall in Rome, the driver that took us to the airport on Friday morning was good.  I will say all drivers were on time.

Thanks again to everyone at Ciao Tours.

We had a great time, and can’t wait to return.

We will be sure to tell our friends about you!!

Randy and Becky Venard, Salinas, CA, September, 2018

Romina, with the Italy portion of our trip almost over (we finish with Mount Etna tomorrow), I thought I’d provide a few comments.

First, all four of us have enjoyed our time in Italy immensely.  We very much appreciate the itinerary that you put together for us.

You have previously received my comments regarding our Rome tour guide.  The rest of our guides were excellent.  In particular, Michael was outstanding!

Also, Didi was excellent.  She was always available to assist us very promptly, especially late on a Sunday night when we missed our connecting flight to Palermo and had to reschedule our airport pickup and the following day’s tour.  We checked into our Palermo hotel rooms at noon the following day after overnighting at the Rome airport (but that’s another story that speaks to Alitalia’s incompetence).

The itinerary did include some jam-packed days which didn’t appear to include any time for lunch, dealing with the inevitable GPS difficulties (since the Sicily road network is not 100% correctly recorded in Garmin software), road construction, traffic issues, etc.  In most cases, we managed by eliminating one or more of the suggested activities.  As an example, we visited Modica but did not have time to visit Ragusa and we chose not to visit Noto.

The itinerary for the day we picked up the Sicily car rental was too tight.  There was no margin for any delays in getting to the Palermo airport due to road congestion, and no allowance for the 45 minutes that one should expect for picking up a car rental (waiting in line at the rental desk, walking to the car rental lot, packing all our bags in the trunk for the first time, checking for scratches, setting up the GPS, getting familiar with the car, etc.).  We were 30 minutes late arriving for our wine tour/tasting.  Fortunately, it all worked out okay.  We then spent 2-1/2 hours with our guide at Selinunte (instead of two hours).  It was dark by the time we found our hotel in Agrigento.

The Naples Archeological Museum was incredible, especially with Michael’s insight I would recommend that anyone visiting Pompeii also get to this museum, with Michael as the guide.

We also spent an hour at Herculaneum.  It was very worthwhile.  We were able to fit it in since the Pompeii hiking trail was closed due to heavy rains about 10 days prior.

The Villa Romana del Casale was amazing due to the incredible mosaics on all of the floors.  We arranged a 90 minute private tour upon arrival.  The same day we made it to the Agira Canadian War Cemetery which was very moving,  Its location – overlooking Mount Etna and below the hilltop town of Agira – is spectacular.  We probably spent an hour there.  There was lots of driving that day, including the inevitable GPS missteps and road construction issues.  We didn’t have time to stop in Enna (as it was, we arrived back in Agrigento around 6:00 pm).

We observe that your itinerary was sometimes missing the hotel address (or at least the street number).  This caused us quite a bit of grief on a couple of occasions since we didn’t know how to input GPS coordinates into either my Garmin GPS or the GPS that came with the car and we couldn’t find the hotel name listed in these GPS units.

Thanks for all of the efforts of both your entire team and yourself in putting together a great trip!

Greg Hyatt, Caglary, AB, October, 2018

Good morning Romina and Laura,

Overall, we can’t say enough regarding our experience with Ciao tours. Our trip to Italy was fantastic and we are so grateful to Ciao tours who made our trip stress free and extra special.

Everything was so well organized and planned out perfectly with the dates and expectations we provided you.

We had an amazing time and our customized personal plan made every step easy and enjoyable.

Our goal was to experience Italy in an efficient and organized way to maximize every day away. Our trip was a balanced mix of guided tours, arranged private transportation and lots of free time to explore on our own. We had the most efficient and rewarding experience because of Ciao.

Guides: All of our guides were exceptional and had incredible knowledge and understanding of their community, history and culture. We had a total of 19 hours of  customized private tour guides that contributed to our overall learning and enjoyment of each city we visited.

The value of having a guide can not be put into words and we believe it is impossible to understand the depth of Italy without them. Money well spent for a thorough understanding of each area.

Accommodations:  Overall, each accommodation was great, the locations were central and perfect for walking and exploring. We appreciated the smaller boutique style hotels/agriturismo that Ciao recommended and booked for us. We only had one concern with a hotel room in Sorrento which was immediately corrected by Laura after night one (thank-you). The major problem was the room was directly above the roadway which filled the room and hallways with exhaust day/night. Our change in room made our stay very enjoyable.

Private transfers/transportation:  We had numerous transfers from airports, train stations and hotels. All of our drivers were on time and exactly where our itinerary said they would be. This eliminated all the unnecessary stress and lost time that typically follows you on a vacation with many location changes.

Special thanks to our drivers Gianni (Chianti) and Giovanni (Amalfi) who toured us around for full 8+ hours a day.

Restaurants: It was a nice touch having reservations at a few of our destinations plus the additional recommendations in our guide. We love food and were always seeking the best places possible. We did find some great places that you may want to add to your list. The dinner reservation in Florence (Osteria Cipollarossa) was not our favourite. Staff (at the time) didn’t care if we were there or not and the food wasn’t like the others. I do recommend eating at the market for lunch or dinner. A place nobody should miss in Florence.

Laura kept regular contact with us the entire trip and everything ran very smoothly. Having someone available in Italy (if needed) was a great comfort. We were very happy to meet Laura and share a wonderful lunch in Sienna.

We have nothing but great things to say about Ciao Tours and will recommend you to all of our friends and family.

We thank Ciao tours and the amazing team in Canada and Italy.


Dean and Monique Mearns, Red Deer, AB, October, 2018

Hi all,

We had a great time thanks, saw and experienced lots, didn’t get to see all on our itinerary as we just didn’t want to be driving all day from point to point.

Was surprised by how much beautiful countryside there is.

The food – so amazing, lovely people other than some drivers when they get behind a wheel – funny!

Loved Rome so much, we were so happy to have our last night in Rome, we went back to a favourite restaurant and were not disappointed.

We think our next Italian adventure might be further south including Sicily, although we didn’t see Lucca and Cinque Terre so maybe back to see what we missed.???

Thank you again for the itinerary and support throughout the trip.


Barb & Scott Wiggins, Toronto, On, September, 2018

Hi Arlene,

Jim and I want to send a big thank you for making our Sicilian dream holiday come true.

Everything was perfect.

The hotels, the drivers, the wine tastings and excursions will all be unforgettable.

Laura was also great checking in with us daily to make sure everything was ok. And Jim was touched by your thoughtful birthday cake.

Thank you again Arlene for another fantastic Italian holiday!


Marie Peart & JIm Gaiger, Toronto, On, September, 2018

Hi Arlene,

Our trip to Italy was awesome !

You and Claudia did a fabulous job with all the details that made the trip so easy and enjoyable!

I will definitely recommend Ciao Tours if any friends are looking for travel assistance.

Thanks again for the great service.


Carol Prescott and Cheryl McDade, Watertown, MA, September, 2018

Good morning Arlene

Thank you and your team for putting together such a great itinerary.

We had a great time.  It was so nice to meet Claudia in Sienna.  The wine and olive oil tasting was a lot of fun and Informative.
We had the most beautiful lunch and tour at LaValletta.  Most memorable.  We loved it and the tour of Gagliole winery.

We went to Casanova winery which Enzo , our driver, suggested.  It was great.  They also make balsamic vinegar.  They had truffles.  The lunch was great.  We sat outside and they had peacocks roaming.  It was another great place for lunch.

Also, in Sienna, we walked by a cooking school and  Claudia made a reservation for us.  We did that our last night in Sienna.  It Fonteguista scholars di cucina.  After making 3pastas, 3 sauces, a mushroom chicken dish and cookies.  We went to his restaurant and they served the food and wine.   It was a lot of fun.  They emailed us all the recipes.

Anyway, everything we did was memorable and a lot of fun.  Thanks again.


Brock & Sandy Winter, Calgary, AB, September, 2018

Dear All:

I want to send a big THANK YOU for all you did to make the Orlando family vacation fabulous. 

From the moment I contacted Ciao tours I knew we were in  hands.  The Grand Rivera Hotel in Sorrento far exceeded our expectations.

It was a beautiful location, accommodations deluxe, and we received wonderful service and the meals…outstanding. It was wonderful to relax on the terrace after a long day touring.  The staff could not have been more delightful.

I must mention the drivers who picked us up and toured with us especially “Enzo”  who was very knowledgeable about Sorrento and the surrounding areas and  went above and beyond in helping us locate our relatives.

All our drivers were prompt and the vans very comfortable.

Our stay in Sicily was most enjoyable too.  We enjoyed the wine you sent and the hotel’s  location and staff were very good.   Our Palermo guide was so knowledgeable and we enjoyed our tour with her.

Big big thanks to you Didi who quickly responded to our questions when we reached out to her for assistance.

It was great to know we had a contact right in Italy who we could contact for help when needed.

All in all,  we are all so glad we dealt with Ciao tours.  I am hoping to be able to contact you again with our next Italian family vacation.

Orlando Family, Monroe Township, NJ, September, 2018

Hi Romina,

The trip was great! 

We never had any issues, trains, transfers, accommodations and tours were all fantastic!

Thank you so very much for everything, we hope to go to Italy again some day!

Elekes Family, Calgary, AB, August, 2018


The trip was absolutely spectacular.  All of the tours and guides you arranged were the best.

My daughter and I had the best time ever.  She has been inspired to drink red wine (not sure that was the best result), eat figs and prosciutto, and to take up marble sculpturing.

I have attached some of our favorite pictures from Florence.

Darrell and Desiree

Danyluk Family, Denver, CO, August, 2018

Hi Arlene

Thank you for your note and thank you for all you and your team did to arrange a fantastic vacation for us in Italy. 

The kids, Kristie and I all had a great time and made many good memories.  Here are some random thoughts while the trip is fresh in my mind…

• Riserva di Fizzano was a good spot overall.  The restaurant / food was both convenient and very high quality.  We had breakfast there most days and at least a couple dinners.  The front desk staff was friendly and helpful with local logistics.  Our rooms were clean and tucked away, giving us some privacy.  The pool was a huge hit with the kids and they were in there most days.  We found the location to be “decent” but not as optimal as Borgo Iesolana given we seemed to spend more time on winding roads.  Twisting roads are an inevitable part of Tuscany, but our little ones had a tough time with some of it.
• The Tenuta Fanti Winery tour was interesting, but not as interesting as our tour / tasting at Badia a Coltibuono.  The latter had loads more history, including an amazing cellar.  Fanti, on the other hand, provided us a delicious lunch and wonderful wine tasting and their host was gracious and informative.  Their wines were great too (we brought a couple bottles home)!
• Our lunch in Siena was very nice.  We were running late but Laura was very accommodating.  I thoroughly enjoyed the food and wines at Gallo Nero.
• As you can probably imagine, our cooking lesson with Lisa and Paolo was a highlight.  They remembered us from our prior cooking lesson and enjoyed meeting our girls.  The kids LOVED the lesson and got right into making ravioli and summer tiramisu.  An added plus was that the kids, who are normally fearful of dogs, had an opportunity play with Lisa and Paolo’s two dogs and significantly improved their comfort level.
• Riding bikes in Lucca was also a big hit, but with travel time we didn’t get to spend as much time exploring as I would have liked.  Definitely age appropriate spot for our kids and would like to go back.
• The hotel in Florence was beautiful, though less family friendly than the Riserva.  They had us set up in two adjoining rooms at the end of a hall which was perfect.  The location of the hotel was also excellent.  Our first time in Florence (in 2004), our hotel was closer to the main square, but adjacent to a scooter rental place so incredibly noisy.  In contrast the Castri 1874 was quiet, modern and classy.  The included breakfast was a huge hit with the kids.  If there was a downside, the pool was (understandably, given the location), tiny and really just a giant hot tub for adults so the kids didn’t get to swim.  Having said that, I definitely recommend this spot.
• Lisa gave us a great tour of Florence and took the kids interests into account.
• Childcare on Kristie’s birthday was EXCELLENT.  Our sitter was a university student who was fully fluent in English, had spent time in the US and Scotland, and arrived with a huge bin of activity stuff for the kids.  They had a blast and were nagging us to have her back on Sunday night too.
• Ora D’Aria delivered on high expectations.  We had tasting menus, spent a small fortune, and left very pleased with the entire experience.  They seated us with a view directly into the kitchen and the chef made regular appearances tableside to introduce dishes and check in on us.

Thanks again for coordinating this trip for us for the 4th time!  The headaches with the EUR payment wire are in the past – and the nice bottle of Chianti you left for us was most kind.

All the best


James Obright & Family, Toronto, Ontario, July, 2018

Hi Arlene,

Just wanted to thank you for everything. We have a wonderful time.  All of the tour guides and drivers were well informed.

Laura checked with us everyday, it was nice to know she was a phone call away.

We loved the hotels and the locations in each town was perfect. I have already recommended Ciao Tours to a friend.

You guys did an excellent job.

Thanks again,

Marilyn Hallaran & Family, Copperas Cove, TX, June, 2018



We had a great trip and thank you for all of your help and extra special thanks to Alessandra with the last minute changes with our drivers.

Everything was so well organized and we certainly learned so much (like to pack light next time 😉)   We are very satisfied with your service!!

Thank You again!!


Patrick Hiller, Atlanta, GA, July, 2018

Bravo Ciao Tours!!

Just returned from a two week tour of Italy. Claudia, our Ciao rep, provided exemplary service from arranging transfers and tours to recommending restaurants and even offering to make dinner reservations.

One of the highlights of our trip was our wine and oil tasting lunch where we go to meet Claudia in person and have some time to chat.

All our transfers were seamless; the tour guides in each city were phenomenal. The accommodations were lovely.

Thank you Claudia, and Ciao Tours for arranging an amazing trip

Stuart & Cindy Littman and Glenn & Janith Lichtman, Owings Mills, MD, June, 2018

Hello, Romina!

Our Italy trip was one of the most wonderful experiences we have ever had. 

It was such a special time and I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful planning.  EVERY SINGLE person we encountered with our transfers, hotel, etc., were amazing.  Our guides were wonderful – it was all like a dream!

I’ve already recommended Ciao to two couples who are planning trips this year.

We can’t thank you enough and we’re already looking forward to our next visit.

Monty & Andy Vest, Kirkwood, MO, June, 2018


We had a fantastic time!  It was the perfect mix of organized guided tours and free time to explore on our own.

Guides: All three had an incredible knowledge of their respective cities which helped contribute to our overall enjoyment of the art and historical sites we were visiting.

Hotels:  Danieli – amazing views, service and location.  Upgraded our room to a signature suite because our room wasn’t ready when we arrived.  It felt like we were staying at a museum.  Degli Orafi – Perfect location, clean and modern, very friendly and helpful staff.  Rose Garden – Large, clean, modern room.  Location was a little farther from the areas we were spending most of our time in Rome.  We were charged 30 euro for a 5 minute call to Alitalia which was mildly irritating, but overall a nice hotel.  I wasn’t as impressed with some of their front desk staff as the previous two hotels.

Transfers/transportation:  Our initial transfer from Venice airport was about 30-45 minutes late.  Since the wifi wasn’t working well at the airport, this created a little anxiety – we didn’t have a good way to communicate.  The contact that accompanied us via the water taxi was apologetic and seemed to have a legitimate reason for being late.  That was the only minor issue.  All drivers were professional and vehicles were clean.  Our driver for the day in Tuscany helped arrange a second winery visit which was an excellent choice…

Laura kept regular contact with us the entire trip and everything ran very smoothly.  It was exceptionally organized which created a stress-free trip.   This was important to my wife and I since we didn’t have a ton of time to plan.

Thank you very much for helping make this a memorable trip. 

We have nothing but great things to say about Ciao Tours and will recommend you to our friends and family.

Mike and Dana Gentile, Chesapeake, VA, July, 2018

Ciao Romina!

Our trip to Italy was simply amazing from beginning to end!

It was everything we’d hope for and more, thanks to all your hard work and care. There were so many positives and highlights to it all! The Itinerary was exceptional. Everything was organized and planned out very thoroughly.

The activities were very informative and enjoyable. We especially enjoyed the various wine tasting sessions and the cooking class at Guardastelle. Thank you for the aprons. What a nice touch and keepsake of our time in Tuscany.

The Accommodations were very nice! All were of high standard, very comfortable and conveniently situated. We must say though, Guardastelle was our favourite! … so beautiful and quaint; a true taste of Tuscany. A BIG thank you goes out to Susanna and Fausto!

So nice to have our own private Guides and Drivers through our time in Italy. All were very courteous, always on time and extremely knowledgeable and proud of their area. Hats off to Luca, Lisa, Janet, Laura, Thomas and of course, Enzo (we all enjoyed his exuberance and love for life!)

A special thanks goes out to Didi for always looking out for us and helping in any way she could to make our time in Italy go smoothly.

When you asked for feedback we really had to put our heads together on this. Just a couple of helpful suggestions we came up with:

Adding small maps in the itinerary to go along with the directions to meeting places.
When meeting to go over the itinerary, that maps are looked at as well.
May want to encourage future clients to invest in a data plan for direct communication with guides and drivers.

We have highly recommended Ciao Tours to our families and friends and will definitely continue to do so.

Once again, it was an amazing trip and we thank you! A future trip is definitely in order!

Doug Sheets, Lynn Peacock, Mary Lou and Bruce Grahn, Calgary, AB, May, 2018

Good Morning Arlene…

Our trip was amazing. Busy but amazing.

I felt like I blinked and it was all over. Time goes by so quick when you’re having fun.

I was amazed at the beauty of the Amalfi coast and Sorrento, loved visiting the Colosseum and ancient city in Rome, absolutely love Florence. Our hotel was perfectly situated for us to shop and explore the city. I thought that Chianti country was beautiful and really enjoyed our wine tasting and tour.

Ciao Tours really knows how to put trip together. I would highly recommend and will definitely refer anybody I know who is looking to plan a trip to Italy.

Everything from the drivers to the hotels to the tour guides were all perfect. 

The staff at Palazzo Viturri were amazing. We found them to be very helpful and friendly. We Actually like them the best!

Thanks so much for all your help in planning this once-in-a-lifetime trip for us.

Kim Lewis, Blairmore, AB, July, 2018

Dear Arlene.  The trip was fantastic and everything went very smoothly.  You all did a great job!

James Grow, Reston, MA, July, 2018

Hi Arlene,

Giuseppina and I would like to thank Ciao Tours and all their staff and all drivers and guides as this was our best vacation we both have taken and we have travelled extensive over the years.

Why did we wait so long to visit Europe? Well we won’t wait long as we are starting to plan our next trip very shortly.

Everyone we come into contact with was welcoming, understanding and always accommodating to us, we never felt out of place and learned so much about many new things.

From Josie and myself, thank you again for a great tour experience.


Ivan and Giuseppina Osti, Maple, ON, June, 2018

Hi Arlene,

My family & I had an amazing trip and that is in large part to the perfect execution of our itinerary by Ciao Tours.

Your company met every detail of out itinerary without one hiccup.

The reliability of all the info you supplied to me was exactly what happened in reality. The Tour guides in all our cities were amazing. Each of them, in their own way made visiting the tour sites so interesting and were so educational but in an engaging way. My family learned so much and enjoyed seeing so many world renowned historical sites.

Our trip was stress free b/c all the details were taken care of by your company. I will definitely recommend your Tour Company to everyone I know.

Thank you for taking such good care of me and my family.

Melissa Mendelman and Family, Calgary, AB, June, 2018

Arlene, We had a fantastic time!

Everything went smoothly with all the drivers, guides, and hotels. Rome was great and the itinerary you mapped out ran without any glitches.

The drivers and guides were very pleasant and knowledgeable.

Our only problem was the airline strike in Italy. Thanks to Laura notifying us, we were able to work out  an alternative flight before going to the airport and being stuck. Laura was fantastic throughout our stay in Italy! We were in contact from day one, and she checked with me each day to make sure everything was right. She was especially helpful that last day to alert us of the flight situation and arrange transportation the next day! Having Laura there in Italy was not only great piece of mind, but as it turned out, essential to us to facilitate our return home!

Ciao tours did a fantastic job!

We thank you for arranging such a wonderful holiday for us.

We have already recommended you to many friends and hope they will use your services too!

Until next time!

Dave & Denise Borowski, Fairview, PA, April, 2018

Hello Romina,

The trip was wonderful!  The private tours went well and I would certainly take this approach again in the future.  It was nice to be able to pass up the long lines.

All of the hotels were good, especially in Rome and Venice.  The hotel staff in Rome were very friendly, kind and made us feel very comfortable.

The rooftop area is a nice extra benefit. The hotel in Venice was very nice.  The arrangement we had for the two rooms right next to each other worked very well.

The drivers were professional.  The tour guides were well informed.  I would suggest having the free time/time on our own after the scheduled tours.  Sometimes the tour guides would have additional suggestions as to what else we might want to do on our own after the tour, but we would be leaving the next day.

The winery in Florence was beautiful.  Unfortunately, it was rainy the day we were there but it was very nice.  I would have liked to have spent more time in that area and would probably let go of the long drive to Pisa to do so. In our itinerary, it stated that we would have first class arrangements for both trains.  Although we had first class from Rome to Florence, we did not have first class from Florence to Venice.  Although this was not a major issue for us, it was misleading in the itinerary.

I would pass on the coffee at the hotel in Venice.  We did not feel that we were dressed up enough to stop at such a nice hotel, so we were uncomfortable when we went inside to order coffee.  With the trip on the train and boat, we dressed more casually for a day of travel.

One other minor suggestion, is to make the booklet you send with the details of the trip a bit smaller in size.  It would have been nice to be able to fit it in my purse but it was to long in length.  We liked having it with us because of the many suggestions for things to see and recommended restaurants but it was awkward to carry.

These suggestions are very minor.  Overall, the trip was very nice and every detail was well planned out.  I would definitely plan another trip with Ciao Tours if I go to Italy again and I would happily recommend this to others.

Thank you for everything,

Bergman Family, Buffalo, MN, May 2018

Hi Caterina,

We had a fabulous time! We are so grateful to Ciao and all you and the entire team did to make our trip so wonderful.

We had great drivers (especially Francis! Giovanni and Deana) great tour guides (especially Alberto, Lisa, Janet and Laura) and all of our accommodations and restaurant recommendations were great. Francis became a member of the family as he was with us the longest. He was so accommodating and thoughtful! Giovanni was also great even waiting with us at the Naples train station to make sure we got on the train ok and helped us with our luggage.

Claudia was the best always checking in with us and concerned about how my parents were doing. I could always ask her questions and make changes to our plans as needed. She was always so responsive. Very glad we got to meet her while we were in Siena at the beginning of the trip.

The apartment accommodations in Siena were probably more than we needed and were a bit out of the way from getting into Siena (we needed to take taxis). We loved Villa Poggiano the best and the beautiful Tuscany countryside. Our hotels in Sorrento and Rome were also nice and perfectly located.

The detailed itinerary was our life line and had all the info we needed and helpful advice.

If we had any complaints it would be our tour of Rome. The bike race was going on which made it challenging to get around but Deana seemed to always find a way. Paola however was not very good. Overall not a very pleasant experience in contrast to all the other guides that were very interesting, engaging and very accommodating with my parents.

Despite our tour guide, we still enjoyed Rome as we got into the Vatican and were even able to see the Pope!

All in all, a fabulous experience and we would highly recommend Ciao to anyone. We hope to go back some day and spend more time in Tuscany. We will certainly look to use you again.

Thanks again for all from the entire Iannetta family!

Iannetta Family, New Providence, NJ, May 2018

Hello Arlene, Romina and Claudia;

Straordinario    Gracie

We would like to express our sincere thanks to each of you for making this such an amazing experience.  Italy is absolutely beautiful.

We enjoyed the food, culture and sights. Thank you for sharing Italy with us.

From our first contact with Arlene to our goodbye with Claudia, we have received outstanding communication, support and advice.

From the beginning, we enjoyed planning our trip and your suggestions were helpful and right on the mark. Having Claudia touch base with us while we were in Italy was reassuring and welcoming.

We even put her to the test by not finding our driver in Florence at the train station.  In no time at all, Claudia was able to get us together.  She kept us updated on all changes.  She was amazing.

Now that we are home we have returned with many precious memories because of your professionalism and commitment.

Don & Betty McDougall, Okotoks, AB, May 2018

We arrived home from our trip yesterday and just wanted to reach out and thank you for arranging such a wonderful time in Italy.

It was absolutely perfect and exactly what we were looking for.

All of the drivers and guides were wonderful and your arrangements made everything incredibly smooth for the entire time we were there.

We can’t thank you enough!

Jonathan & Callie Storch, Schaumburg, Il, May 2018

Romina and Arlene,

Grazie, grazie, grazie.

We had a fantastic time on our first trip to Italy. Even though the weather was more Vancouver like than we would have preferred we were still able to enjoy and experience the best of the regions we visited.

Having the transportation between cities, the transfers and tours prearranged removed  much of the stress and allowed us both to relax and take in the physical and cultural beauty of Italy.

This being our first experience with Ciao and  private arranged tours, we were happy to have our personalized guidebook and the services of an in-country representative. Didi was very responsive to our questions and requests as well as being proactive with reminders and additional information. Was a very nice resource to have available.

Our drivers were on time, helpful and professional.

The guides – Thomas, Luca and Ilaria. Each had their own unique style, yet a collective passion for sharing their individual knowledge of their city’s art, history and culture. They each offered suggestions on things to do, restaurants to visit and generally made us fell comfortable and welcomed.

The Hotels – great locations , comfortable beds and fully functional showers and good breakfasts with plenty of choices.


The GPS in the rental car was a godsend, it saved time looking for signage. The car was changed to an Audi A4 but it was a pleasure to drive on the twisty Tuscan roads. The car rental got off to an inauspicious start however. When we picked the car up, I guess I took the wrong exit leaving the parking garage and got stuck between the gates at the pay station. Luckily I found the help button on the machine and after a short explanation of the situation we got rolling to visit  Orvieto and Montepulciano then onto San Gimignano.

Felsina winery was most definitely a highlight of our trip.  We arrived 45 minutes early and immediately caused the young man at the desk some distress with our arrival.

They quickly recovered and proceeded to entertain us for the next 4 hours with the food, wine cellar tour and jeep tour. We certainly were not rushed and were served an additional food and wine course!!!!

The realization that we had made the right choice in tour companies was when the chef at Felsina brought out our desserts and mine was without yogurt because they heard I had lactose issues. The attention to detail by Ciao and Felsina helped create a very special holiday.

Best dessert – Tiramisu – Ciribiri – San Gimignano !!!

We had such a great time I’m sure we will be availing ourselves of your services again to visit more of Italy. Thanks again for a very memorable vacation.


Kevin & Tricia Carver, Langley, BC, May 2018

Hello Romina and Arlene,

I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time in Sorrento.  It had been seven years since Karin and I first visited Sorrento, and it was just as picturesque and charming as we remembered.

Our apartment was in the perfect location to explore the centre and we enjoyed visiting many of the restaurants and bars.

Our activities were all well organized and fun.  A couple of things stood out to me.  First, the chairlift to the top of Capri was amazing!  The view was so spectacular it was almost unbelievable.  Second – the trip along the Amalfi Coast, especially Positano, was also amazing.  My only regret is that we were so close to the coast seven years ago, and didn’t visit.

In planning and organizing our trip.  I continue to recommend you to anyone I know who is traveling to Italy, because your service is the best!

Thank you so much for your help

Judy Epp, Calgary, AB,May 2018

Bon Giorno,

The Cardarelli Family wanted to thank you for a wonderful trip to Italy!

Ciao Tours did an amazing job putting together a trip for a family who has never traveled to Italy.

Upon landing in Italy, having instant contact with Didi Nota was tremendous, and her coordination with me for pickup/drop off times, made things move very smoothly, thank you Didi! The tour guides in Rome and Florence were outstanding and every driver we had was courteous and provided helpful information during our stays in Rome and Florence.

Every detail of the trip Catterina coordinated was well planned and it took a lot of the pressure off of me, so I could enjoy the experience with my family and not be overwhelmed with getting tickets, transportation, hotels, etc.

A very special thank you to Catterina for coordinating the renewal of our wedding vows with Fr. Gregorio in Santa Maria Maggiore. Having our 3 sons with us in one of the most beautiful churches in Rome, I’m emotional again just thinking about it. Thank you!

We all agreed we would highly recommend Ciao Tours to anyone interested in going to Italy, whether they’ve been there before or first timers.

We hope to return to Italy again and we would definitely contact Ciao Tours to begin the planning process. Until next time, Ciao!

Ed, Patti, Matthew, Andrew and Stephen Cardarelli

Cardardelli Family, Wilmington, MA,May 2018

Dear Romina:

Didi was great — it was a wonderful service to have someone in Italy to talk to when we needed some assistance.

All of the transfers were wonderful and very helpful — the drivers were friendly and courteous.  Our pick up from the Rome airport (Deanna) was a great way to be introduced to the country: she made us feel at home.  The boat taxi and host Gianni who led us to our Venice hotel was one of the highlights of the trip.  It was spectacular.  The Gondola ride was a let down: grumpy Gondolier.

We enjoyed almost all of our small tours immensely. Some of the highlights were the one day Tuscany tour (outstanding) and the private walking tour in Verona with Elisabetta — she was wonderful.  The only one that seemed a bit tired and crazy was the Venice walking tour — that guide needs a holiday herself.

We enjoyed our hotels for the most part.  Rome was very good, Verona was clean/central, and Venice was the best (a beautiful room).  The Florence hotel was generally good except for a couple of things: not a good location in not a very nice part of town, and the beds were perhaps the worst we have ever slept in in a hotel.  That would be our one real complaint about the trip.  The breakfasts in all the hotels were very very good!

Ranking our favourite cities we would say: 1. Rome  2. Verona  3 Venice  4. Florence (I think we were influenced by where our hotel was located).

The trains were great — very nice indeed!

The booklet was a great help — thanks so much for that.

Overall, a very memorable trip, full of amazing moments, never to be forgotten.

Thanks again Romina for helping us with this wonderful trip.

All the best.

Robert and Susan Osborne, Calgary, AB, April 2018


Sorry for the delay in responding to you.  We had a fantastic trip and found all of the arrangements provided by Ciao Tours to be first class.

Everything ran perfectly for us…the transportation was timely and professional, the accommodations were excellent and the tour guides were very knowledgeable.  I would recommend you to others and have already done so.

We had no problems with any of the arrangements provided by Ciao.  Thanks for following up with us.


Dan & Michelle Miller, Eric, PA, April 2018

Hi Caterina!

I want you to know that the trip was superb!  Judy, Rebecca & I had a fabulous time.  Your arrangements were perfect for what we wanted.  Loved the hotels in Venice & Moltrasio.  Although the apartment in Castellina in Chianti was not “fancy,” it was great!  It was well-located & the surrounding area was beautiful.  The restaurant on the property was very good for dinner.

The events that you planned for us were terrific!  We enjoyed the vineyard & olive grove tour, tastings & lunch.  The cooking class was so much fun, & we love our aprons!  The truffle hunt was a great adventure!  So much fun!

The only confusion was at the vineyard/grove.  Michaeli did not know that we were to do the tour part.  However, he quickly re-organized & took us for the tour through the vineyards & groves & showed us the wine cellar & how the oil is pressed from the olives, etc.  Even though he somehow missed the full communication, he was totally accommodating, &, if he hadn’t said something, we would never have known!

For me, the highlight was the scenery in Tuscany & all the activities that we did there.  I think that Judy & Rebecca thought that Lake Como was their favorite.

From the many things I had heard about Venice, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it there, but I really loved it!  I expected to love Lake Como & Tuscany, & I did!

Thank you for putting this trip together for us.  It was terrific!

Matyas family , Bonita Springs, FL, April 2018

Hello Ciao Team,

Just wanted to follow up from the Warren family Italy trip a few weeks back. I have been traveling for work the last few weeks but wanted to send a note to the team.

First off… Thank you so much… It was such a wonderful trip. We had the time of our lives and built memories that will last forever. The Ciao team did an amazing job with every last detail.

Second… SHE SAID YES!!!!!! Liz and I are getting married!!!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help with the engagement. Your team was so great and thoughtful and kind to help me with the overseas details. I could not have asked for anything more. It was perfect….

I wanted to share some photos from the engagement. Take a look and know that your hard work and creativity made this special event in our lives possible.

Thank you again, great job!!!

Greg Warren

Greg Warren, Costa Mesa, CA, March, 2018

Hello everyone at Ciao tours.

We had a great time in Italy (how could you not!!)

My time in Milan was great, and I enjoyed my walking tour there.  It was very informative and helped me get the most out of my next couple of days there.
Lake Como was great – but we did miss our tour there. As we aren’t regular users of public transit, we made the mistake of not realizing that the subway trains operate on a different schedule on Sundays.  We arrived at the station and had to wait a half hour for our train – which made us miss our train from Milan to Lake Como by just five minutes!!

Laura was a great resource to have as she was able to contact the guide and tell her that we had missed our train.  We did meet the guide when we arrived, walked for fifteen minutes with her and got some good info.  The remainder of the day we roamed around on our own and it was beautiful.

Verona was terrific, loved it there and the Hotel was perfectly located.

Venice was awesome and the hotel on the Grand Canal was very special.  The staff at the hotel were extremely helpful.  We felt like we were staying in someone’s home.

Overall it was a great experience, guides very good and the hotels excellent. 

It was very reassuring having everything planned out for us and I think we got the most we could have out of our short trip. 

Would love to go to Italy and stay longer – maybe next time!!!!!!

Thank you for all your help .

Mary-Anne Lyon, Calgary, AB, March, 2018

Dear Ciao Tours

After careful research and a strong recommendation from friends we chose Ciao Tours for our long anticipated trip to Italy.

The strengths of this organization appeared in the early conversations with Director Arlene Schroh.

Arlene listened carefully to the interests, enthusiasms and limitations we conveyed to her. She then designed a plan and modified it as our conversations continued. There was always the opportunity to let ideas settle in and change with circumstances.

About 4 weeks before our departure we received a booklet outlining our trip with great detail.

Lots of additional information and recommendations were also included for us to prepare all aspects of our trip.

Once in Italy we encountered the extraordinary array of resources Ciao Tours put at our disposal.

These included: a personal and very accessible local contact . carefully chosen, conveniently located and comfortable accommodation . courteous, competent and very knowledgeable drivers . well prepared tour guides.

All were there to welcome us and orient us to the magnificence of Italy.

We were then free to enjoy our tour at the pace that felt comfortable and enjoyable to us.

A delightful trip!

Mary & Hazel

Hazel Lambert and Mary Bird, Toronto, Ont, April, 2018

Hello again Arlene.

I would like to say thanks from both of us to you and to Laura and to the rest of your crew for setting us up with an excellent trip.  The itinerary worked perfectly for us—the pace and logistics were just about right.  It turns out we probably should have added a day each to Venice and Florence to have an easier time covering the two cities.  We will know better the next time.  And everything you planned for us came off like Swiss clockwork—drivers and guides and train schedules all came together seamlessly.  You all must be professionals at this!

As to specifics:

Hotel in Venice (Palazzo Stern) was fabulous—good location with a view on the Canal, upgraded room, great service, quality breakfast, quiet but convenient location—it was our favorite.
Hotel in Florence (Pierre)—was just ok—smallish room and a bit noisy in the night.  Breakfast ok, not great. Location was excellent, so it worked for us.
Hotel in Sorrento (Grand Riviera) was excellent.  Room was small but nice balcony and views, and the staff was superb—meals were high quality and kind of like an old-fashioned summer resort, white glove, old world service.  The facility was very nice—probably the best place in Sorrento.
Hotel in Rome (Victoria) was very nice—large comfortable room and good location in a nice part of Rome.

Your drivers were a pleasure to work with.  Francisco in Tuscany was so well-mannered and accommodating.  Cathy had him changing course and adding San Giamigamo to our day, and he took care of it easily and cheerfully. Luigi in Sorrento was tireless in taking us around (Pompeii, train transfers and a day on the Amalfi Coast). He seemed to know everyone in town and set us up with a couple of nice restaurants in Sorrento and in Ravallo.  The other drivers we didn’t get to know as well but they were fine too.

The guides were all so professional and accommodating to our interests.  Cathy really hit it off well with Lisa in Siena—she was like a friend showing us the sights in her home town, and Luca in Florence was so well versed in the history and made the city come alive with his passion for the art and architecture and the people.  We also liked Sylvania in Venice and Laura in Pompeii.  This approach for us fit very well with our interest in getting to know each place and then go on our own for the remaining time in each location.

A special word for Laura your partner—she stayed in touch constantly and performed a couple of special requests when we needed them—(e.g. embarrassingly I left my coat in the room in Florence and she had to track it down and was successful in getting it delivered to me in Sorrento). It was great to know that she was overseeing us a bit while we were in country.

So I’ll close by saying we were very satisfied Ciao customers—-we got all we asked for and more.  We will be sure to recommend you to a few of our traveling friends……

Ken & Cathy McGill, Ocean Isle Beach, NC, April, 2018

Hi Arlene, We had a GREAT time!

It was so nice to meet Laura too…. The restaurant that she took us for lunch was one of my favorites during the whole trip.

We cannot thank you all enough for the experience we had in Italy.

Sunday mass was terrific!  So memorable to have mass in Italy! Karen enjoyed everything!  The only thing that was challenging for her was all the walking. But overall, she had a great time as well.

I have to say, out tour guide from Sienna… Her name was Lisa.She was my favorite in the entire trip. And the hotel in Sorrento was so nice…. Thank you so much for the upgrade!

Thank you for everything!  We did refer your name and Ciao Tours to a few people already. Hopefully, they contact you when they are ready to make the trip to this beautiful and diversified country.

Mike & Anita Warren and family, Trabuco Canyon, CA, March, 2018

Hi Arlene,
Just a quick note to say how perfect everything was for our trip to Rome.

The guides were as near perfection as possible and Deanna, our driver, was so kind.  There is no way, especially with my limited mobility, that we could have seen what we did with the tour.

Seeing beautiful things is one thing, having someone explain the origin and meaning of what we are seeing is another level of experience altogether.

Thanks for everything,


Sarah Morris, Alabama, March, 2018

Hello Arlene!

My husband and I want to thank you for making this trip memorable.  We had a WONDERFUL time and all the drivers and tour guides were very attentive, professional and friendly.

Thank you!!

Sonia & Ramesh Mirpuri, Colon, Panama, February, 2018

Dear Arlene,

There is not a high enough number for me to rate Ciao Tours.    I am so fortunate to have found you in my internet search when planning this trip. Thanks to you and your staff, there are nineteen people who will cherish many fond memories of their Italian experience.

To you, thanks for listening to what we wanted to accomplish, to providing many options until we found just the right mix, and for patiently guiding me through the process of coordinating our trip.  And to your staff many thanks for assisting with all the details.

It was very evident, through all the days of our trip, the relationships you have built and fostered with your vendors and contract personnel in Italy.  Every one of them shared your commitment to make this the best experience possible.  It is a real tribute to you and Lara for the company you have created.

Our tour guides and escorts along the way . . . . again, the absolute best.

To Luca-many thanks for sharing your passion for art and knowledge of Florence with us.

To Lisa- your tour of Siena, on a blustery but sunny day was wonderful (especially when we found temporary comfort in a slightly warmer church)

To Naima- we not only appreciated your immense knowledge, but loved your sense of humor and putting a human spin on Italian life.  Always keep that wonderful smile up front!

To Janet-thanks for making all those hills in Montepulciano worth the effort! For those who only knew Italy through “Under the Tuscan Sun” you certainly expanded our horizons, strengthened our leg muscles, and led us to our just reward, Montepulciano wine!

To Cristina-Last, but not least!  Your calmness in the midst of confusion, your phone which seemed to contain the numbers of anyone we could possibly need, working your magic to accommodate a bucket-list Ferrari test drive, and above all, your immeasurable and invaluable assistance to one of our travelers in a medical emergency.  You were with her and her family, almost 24/7, guiding them  through the Italian medical system, coordinating travel insurance issues, and most of all, with lots of kind words and tender care throughout their ordeal.  We also owe an extreme debt of gratitude to your family and friends for being so understanding an accommodating.

Our accommodations . . . all excellent with very attentive staff.  But a special thanks to Umberto, who was right there with Cristina through the medical crisis and to his staff for their initial response and follow-through at the time of the incident.

Cooking classes . . . entertaining, enlightening and above all, delicious!

We can’t thank you enough and we would highly recommend Ciao Tours to anyone looking to experience Italy.

Jeanne Marie Patterson, Kentucky Orchestra, Lexington, Kentucky, October, 2017

Hello Arlene,

I thought you would appreciate a quick report on the trip to Italy that Ciao Tours organized for Beth and I. As you know, we dreamed of travelling to Italy for decades. We love Italian food, wine, art and music and as we discovered, we also love the Italian people! You should be very proud of the work Ciao Tours did in making our trip perfect.

You may recall we contacted Ciao Tours when we become frustrated with trying to organize the trip ourselves. Working with Ciao Tours was the best decision we could have made. You removed the stress from our three weeks in Italy and allowed us to relax, have fun and better understand the culture, the history and the people.

Since this was our first trip, we wanted to visit Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Florence and the Tuscany hill towns with private guides chosen by Ciao Tours. Rosella in Rome, Luca in Florecnce, Lisa in Sienna, Enzo on the Amalfi Coast and Allesandra in Assisi all added so much value to our experience. We witnessed so many other visitors wandering around these beautiful towns and cities trying to follow maps to find the hidden gems while our individual guides walked us through these places and explained as much or as little as we wanted.

We traveled across Italy for almost three weeks and on no occasion did a driver or a guide not show up on time, the quality of our hotels and agritourismo’s were well above average and the restaurants Ciao Tours included in our daily “travel bible” were all first class.

Rosa de Venti, the Tuscany agritourismo where we stayed for six days was particularly beautiful, a perfect hub for exploring Tuscany and Umbria in our rental car. The cooking class with Barbara and Ornella is a high point, such wonderful people & food.

The region of Emilia Romagna, where we spent 3 days at the Cavazone agritourismo, is less visited, offers the best food in Italy and we really enjoyed our tours of the Parma ham and Reggio Parmagino plants. By the way, when we got a flat tire due to my not wanting to plow into a group of Italian cyclists on a country road outside Reggio Emilia, your in-country staff, Allesandra and Claudia made changing cars quick and simple. They actually checked in with us every day were in-country.

We all have high expectations when we go on vacations, especially to a sensational place like Italy. In three weeks, I can say honestly that Ciao Tours’ performance was outstanding. You made our visit a trip of a lifetime and when we return to Italy, we will be having Ciao Tours organize our trip.

Thank you so much to you and all the great people you work with!

Bill & Beth Bennett
Cranbrook, BC

Bill & Beth Bennett, Cranbrook, BC, October, 2017


You are the best. Who better than Ciao Tours to craft an exceptional and unforgettable trip to bella Italia!  

Yet again my clients have returned from Italy with nothing but praise for Ciao Tours.   As a travel professional I have worked with Arlene and her staff for several years  to create truly exceptional journeys to this beautiful country; and we have never been disappointed.

I can bring an idea to Arlene and her planning professionals, and a truly unique journey begins to unfold.    No detail is overlooked, and every request is fulfilled.   There is no “cookie-cutter” response at Ciao Tours!

Each member of the staff, in Canada and in Italy, is a gem.   The Italian-based tour managers and all the local guides are exceptionally well regarded by travelers and locals alike.

Your love for Italy is apparent, and your desire to convey that sentiment to our clients is visible in everything you do, from a welcoming phone call to assistance in finding a unique dining experience, and so much more.

Accommodations are exceptional,  transportation arrangements are carefully organized, and sightseeing and local tours are insightful and creative.

You have found the formula for creating a uniquely gratifying experience for our travelers who visit Italy – one they will never forget, for all the right reasons.    Don’t change your philosophy!


Marcia Gilbert, Travel Shoppe, Fresno, CA, October, 2017

To Ciao Tours, Arlene and Marcia,

First off, thank you for putting together such a wonderful and memorable trip to Italy. With your help and Marcia’s as well, it was a dream vacation.

All accommodations, drivers, transfers and tours went off without a single issue. Our guides and hotel staff had nothing but positive things to say about you and Ciao tours. Didi ,in country, was very helpful on more than one occasion; it was great to have her as a resource and to have her assistance.

Our guide, Luca, was fantastic and loves Ciao tours. He said you always have things organized and really likes the location of Hotel Pierre. Luca was one of the best guides we had out of all of them. He is very smart, full of information and a pleasure to be with, a great city tour. Florence is a beautiful city, as I’m sure you know.

The Rosa dei Venti agritourismo was one of the absolute highlights of the trip! We both agree that if we could only go back to one place in Italy it would be Rosa dei Venti, no question about it. It too was in a great location for visiting the many smaller cities and gorgeous countryside. The property itself is so well taken care of and thought out. It’s hard to believe it’s as old as it is. The main highlight is Barbara. She is one of the nicest, warmest, and caring people you will ever meet and what a cook! The family cooked meal by her and her mother, compliments of Ciao tours, was nothing short of a five star meal. Thank you for that! It was perfect after the drive to have a fabulous meal with wine prepared for us and delivered to our apartment to enjoy. She has written a cookbook with recipes and a story about the property that we had to buy five of, four for our four daughters and one for us. We had no trouble filling our time there visiting other towns and relaxing on the property. We could have spent a week or more there easily.

The drive to and tours of Pompeii and Herculaneum were great, loved both of them. Our guide, Mike, was equally as good as Luca was. He was very knowledgeable and easy to be with, very personable. We are glad that we had him in Naples as well.

La Ciliegina in Naples was another perfect location. The only thing I could knock it for is they could have better signage to find it. There was a small sign outside pointing in a general direction but you had to find a second sign that told you to go down a short alley, sort of, and get on the elevator to the third floor. Other than that, nice staff. It was a smaller room but very nice. A good breakfast on the roof top area. There was also a nice Jacuzzi on the roof, which we had all to ourselves in the evening along with live music from a hotel or club across the palazzo. We enjoyed a very good city tour with Mike; he is one of the best guides we have ever had! The traditional pizzeria you had us reservations at was everything I hoped it would be. I love the true Italian pizza. Although we only spent a partial day and a night and another partial day in Naples, we thoroughly enjoyed it. I could spend most of a day in the national museum. I’m sure we could spend a couple of days in Naples and not be bored. We never felt unsafe in Naples, but never did anywhere in Italy as far as that goes.

Thomas, our guide for our city tour and Vatican tour, was extremely easy to be with. He was very knowledgeable and flexible to whatever we wanted. We had a great time with him! I can see how a person could spend a portion of their life in Rome and never see it all, but we gave it a hell of a shot. We experienced great food, people and sites both touristy and off the beaten path, we loved it! We could have obviously spent more time in Rome but we are satisfied with the amount of time we had. We did throw coins in Trevi Fountain in hope of returning.

Another huge thank you to Ciao tours, Arlene and Marcia for making this a true dream trip for both of us.


Larry and Paula Graves

Larry and Paula Graves, Fresno, CA, October, 2017

Dear Arlene,

Just a quick note to thank you and your company for the amazing job you did to make our vacation perfect.

There was not one thing missed.

The time you spent with me on the phone to ensure you knew exactly what we were looking for was instrumental for making this a trip of a lifetime!

Connecting us with Alberto in Florence was a great call!  He was amazing, not only his knowledge of Florence but the connection that he had with Nino was awesome. He went above and beyond and the tour he set up for Nino was exceptional, it was one of the highlights of the entire trip!

Didi was wonderful, she kept in touch so we knew exactly what was happening when we changed locations.

The hotels were fantastic, very clean and the staff was always top notch.

We cannot thank you enough for making our trip to Italy so enjoyable.

Thanks again and we will definitely recommend Ciao Tours to anyone traveling to Italy!

Lorry and Nino Fabbro

Lorry and Nino Fabbro, Peachland, BC, October, 2017

Sorry for the delay Romina. Overall feedback & the most important thing for you to take away from this message is that……….WE LOVED IT!!!

We all had a great time & were well taken care of.

We did setup a few too many activities. Some of the days were quite packed and very early wake up calls.

1st day in Palermo the walking tour was excellent!! The side trip in the afternoon to Monreale was too much. We got back to the hotel after 7:00PM to quickly change and go for dinner so in hindsight we would not do that trip. With traffic it took about 45 minutes to get there and again to return.

Next day drove to Erice & the oil olive grove. Erice was good, the olive oil tasting was fantastic!! Great lunch, a lady guitarist & singer serenaded us in an Italian country style outfit. It was great!! We all bought olive oil & souvenirs!!

We had 2 drivers that day with 6 in one car, 3 in the other. It was Marco & Fabio & they were a separate highlight of the day. Super funny, informative, brought us to little local shortcuts so we could bypass the lineups to washrooms. They sang, danced & we all had lots of fun!!They were also scary drivers – very fast, passed other cars with not lots of space but it was all good!!

Agrigento – we didn’t really too much of the town but did other tours here. The tour of the Valley of Temples was excellent. A couple of people had seen Greek ruins before but many had not and it is quite spectacular to the eye. The tour guide was excellent!!

We had that tour in the morning and a wine tasting in the afternoon. The wine tasting was also excellent & again we all bought wine and wine souvenirs. The single ladies REALLY liked the wine master!! Only drawback was that the vineyard was quite far away took much more than a hour to get there. We all kind of though the driver got lost? The driver (Sergio) was good but he didn’t really speak English & even Gaby speaking in Spanish had great difficulty. There were a few times when we were at a stop when we asked local that spoke English to ask Sergio about some questions we had. He couldn’t really tell us anything about where we were going or what we were seeing.

Cooking class was the next day & it was great!! Loved the lady that led the class – Annalisa

Hotels were all good. Agrigento had a resort feel to it. You stayed at the hotel and everyone had dinner there at night (all the guests did). There was as young girl & guy that were waiters and an older Gentleman that was the Head Waiter in a tuxedo. Super pleasant and by the end of 3 nights we were all taking Facebook pictures with them.

We met Anna from Ciao Tours at this hotel & she also helped us with Sergio before we left.

We all like Taormina the best! Super pretty, picturesque place!! This hotel was probably the nicest.

We didn’t do the Salt mine tour but instead did the Turkish steps. We were also supposed to go to Ragusa & Modica but we had Anna tell me we didn’t want to go there. It would have made for a 14 hour day. We met two ladies on the Mt Etna tour that told us they were really nice and you needed to spend more than an hour or two there, you could easily spend a day or more.

Texted with Didi every day but didn’t have any problems or issues that she needed to work. Its just nice to know someone is there to contact.

So other than a couple of days that were a tad too busy & a driver that didn’t speak English, again……..we all had a great time!!

For just Gaby & I, she had a wonderful birthday celebration & we loved Sicily & would go back there!! Although my 1st choice to visit on our next visit to Italy is in the Dolomites 🙂

Lastly, thank you very much Romina for all your help & work you did to help me organize the trip.

Rick Trow

Rick Trowe Group, Calgary, AB, October, 2017

Hi Arlene,

I would just like to say that Marcella and I had a great time in Italy.  Reflecting on what we did and saw is like experiencing the trip again.

We must compliment you and your staff for all of the wonderful things that you planned for us.  Everything went like clockwork and Claudia was always in touch to make sure that our trip went smoothly.

The guides  that met us in every city were very professional and personable.  As well all of the people who helped us with the transfers from airports to hotels and to train stations were all very courteous and prompt.

We highly recommended your company to people we met in Italy and to friends back in Canada.

Thank you for making our trip to Italy very enjoyable.

Our Warmest Regards,
Marcella and Wes

Marcella and Wes Dolhun, Calgary, AB, October, 2017

Hi Arlene,

We are back! Thank-you so much for everything.

We had a fantastic trip! Didi was wonderful. She checked in with us whenever we changed places and helped us out a few time when we were terribly lost.

We loved Italy and really liked the tours and guides (except one) that  you arranged for us.

We learned a lot about ourselves and what we do and do not like when traveling. We especially loved having Josh with us ( although that was the quickest 52 hours ever). We hired a boat and driver for the day. He took us over to Capri and showed us all the grottos ( we skipped the blue one). He found us a sweet spot to go swimming in the Mediterranean.

Oh yes, the cooking lesson was FANTASTIC! Maria-Luisa and Eddo were so much fun! After I go back on carbs ( taking a  break for a while), we will try some of the new recipes.

Thanks again so much!

Sue and Ron

Sue and Ron Rampone, Kelowna, BC, October, 2017

Dear Arlene and Alessandra,

We just wanted to thank you both for organizing our trip to the Amalfi Coast.  None of us would have made this trip without your help and we want you to know how much we appreciate all that you and the rest of the Ciao Tours team did for us.

The apartments in Sorrento were exactly as described and the location was ideal.  Serena, our contact was excellent and even when she wasn’t at the other end of the phone, there was someone on duty who very quickly resolved any issues we had.  And, of course, the views from our balconies were magnificent.

We also wanted to tell you about a restaurant that we went to in Sorrento – Ristorante Bagni Delfino, 216 Via Marina Grande.   We went there for dinner on our second last night and it was so good we all agreed this was the place for our last dinner in Sorrento.  Everything was excellent – the food, the service, the hospitality and the ambiance, and all at reasonable cost.  This restaurant is at the far end of Via Marina Grande and we probably would have missed it if we hadn’t been out looking for it.  It is highly recommended in two guide books for the area – Rick Steves and Frommer’s, so we thought it was worth checking out.  We were not disappointed and thought you might like to know about it for yours and your clients’ future travels.

Again, Arlene and Alessandra, thank you very much for arranging such a beautiful holiday for us!
Peter & Cathy and Phil & Ruth
(The MacDonalds)

Peter & Cathy and Phil & Ruth MacDonalds, Toronto, Ontario, October, 2017

Dear DiDi,

Buongiorno!   We are  finally back home and settled into our normal routine after what can only be described as a fabulous once in a lifetime trip to Italy, Sicily and London.

Planning this trip we wanted to have a relaxing, easygoing visit, no rushing to be here or there at a predetermined time or day.

Ciao Tours did a great job in fulfilling that desire!  Yes, things were preplanned but each day the plans were carried out at our pace and any adjustments as to time and activities was handled without any fuss.

It was so thoughtful of you to meet us at our hotel in Seina and take us to the wine and olive oil tasting and treating us to the delicious food at Eno-Ristorante.  I am still telling friends of the ravioli I had that was light as a feather and so delicious.  We think of you and that evening each time we use the Goccia d’oro olive oil we bought in Cantina in Piazza wine shop.

The booklet with each day’s planned activities along with any vouchers or tickets etc necessary was most helpful and reassuring to us as it was our first (hopefully not our last) visit abroad. Every detail was explained and mapped out along with restaurant suggestions and attractions in the vicinity.

From the day we arrived at Rome airport and Orlando was there to pick us up and help with the luggage, our trip was very well organized and carried out.  Each and every one of our drivers and guides were excellent and did their best to make our holiday memorable. They were all courteous, attentive of our needs and wishes as well as sharing a wealth of information about the places and things we were seeing.

They answered questions and gave us insight to so much history and traditions of Italy and Sicily!

The only time we had a problem was with the wine tour accommodations whereas we ended up on a large bus with over 65 people instead of the minivan with no more than 8 or 12 people.  As soon as we explained to you what had happened, you took measures to see that what could be done was and we appreciated that.

The accommodations at every location were very nice.  Each had its own unique style and the diversity was refreshing.  We would be hard pressed to choose which we liked the most in regard to city and accommodations.

We both agree Ciao Tours staff are the very best and we wholeheartedly would recommend your expert services to anyone visiting Italy.

We certainly have done this with all our local friends and family.  Please feel free to use any part of this note as a recommendation for your services.

Thank you so much DiDi for making our trip a wonderful experience. It was so thoughtful of you to check in with us at each stop along the way to see how we were doing.  It meant a lot to us knowing we had a friend to turn to if need be. Thank you too to all your associates at Ciao Tours who helped put together our itinerary for our Italian Holiday and for the many unforgettable memories we will always cherish.

With gratitude and deep appreciation and the hope that we meet again,

Carol Gilberti and Tony Barella

Carol Gilberti and Tony Barella, New Hartford, NY, October, 2017

Good morning Arlene,

First, I would like to thank Ciao Tours and Anna for making my holiday more than I expected!  It was well thought out and organized in every aspect.

Our drivers always met us punctually and were very friendly while offering  a wealth of information.  I never felt unsafe on the roads while in their care.

All our Tour Guides were extremely knowledgeable in every aspect.  In fact I thought they went above and beyond in sharing their particular areas of expertise!

Our accommodations were absolutely fabulous, all of them showcasing their love of their cities and country.  At each of the hotels the check-in process was very quick and efficient, I believe because of Ciao Tours’ care and planning.

A couple of highlights for me were the tour to the olive farm and being shown how they make their oils.  I certainly never expected such a wonderful ‘light lunch’!   The other highlight was our day at the farm and our cooking lesson (thank you for the lovely personalized apron!) with Nonna Luisa and her family.  The other highlight was taking the train onto a ferry! Who knew this was even possible!

Arlene, I can’t thank you enough for the ‘hosted dinners and events’. That was very kind of you and I know all the ladies appreciated them as much as I did!

Although I loved being busy touring, etc., it would have been nice to have a bit more shopping time.  Also, having a bit more time on the Amalfi Coast and a bit less in Sorrento.  I know it is a juggling act for your people to try and incorporate everything, but that is the only thing I would change.

My thoughts on our Tour Leader, Anna.  She did an amazing job and is a very good representative for Ciao Tours.  She treated everyone with grace and kindness, always looking to see how she could make our time in Italy the best experience possible.  She treated all the drivers, guides, hotel personnel and  restaurant people with a high level of professionalism.  From the interactions I witnessed, she was treated the same by them.  Ciao Tours has a very good reputation!

Thank you again for putting this tour together, making it one of my best travel experiences ever!

Denise Pallesen, Woman's Only Tour 2017, Cranbrook, BC, October, 2017

Hi Arlene,

Thank YOU for planning a spectacular tour!  We knew it was going to be great, but you exceeded our expectations! 

It was amazing how everything went according to plan.

I loved that the itinerary had all of our information in it plus the additional information for restaurants, shopping, points of interest, ect. for each city.

We used it every day.  Alessandra was  AWESOME and VERY  helpful throughout our stay.  She was available for questions and made me feel like I had a friend in Italy!

We also enjoyed each and every guide!  They were all very knowledgeable and friendly, going out of their way to make our day special.  This was the best vacation we have ever taken!!!!!!!

Thank you so much,


Heidi & Rick Dombrowski, Phoenix, AZ, October, 2017


We had a ‘trip of a lifetime’ … Italy was the perfect choice and Ciao Tours was the perfect coordinator!

It was comforting to know that Claudia was there if anything went awry … but nothing did!

Transfers, tours and train and car reservations all went according to the master plan and Claudia checked in regularly.

It felt like we had a trusted friend close by who would sort things out if necessary!

Our tours and guides were second-to-none.  More telling, was the respect that the guides have for Ciao Tours!

The itinerary booklet  that you put together for us was a wealth of practical information … all the little details, that helped us to negotiate the country as if we were Italians.
And speaking of Italians! … we were kindly and warmly welcomed at every turn.

It didn’t hurt that we had stunning weather for the whole three weeks.

We had a nice mix of cities (Rome, Florence) country (Tuscany) seaside (Amalfi Coast) … hard for me to pick a favourite, but Rob said, hands down, it was Positano for him!

I took so many beautiful pictures … they will be a happy reminder of all the fantastic places we saw.

What a way to celebrate our 30th anniversary …

Thanks to you and the team.

You made our dream a reality!

Jane & Rob Moore, Richmond Hill, ON, September, 2017

Hello Romina,

Thank you for planning our recent trip to Italy. We enjoyed our vacation very much.

The transfers were all excellent, on time, reliable and pleasant drivers. Our tour guides were all very good. Especially enjoyed the guide at Pompei!

Our accommodations:

Turin very good, great location.

Cinque Terre, clean, good location, helpful staff…..however our room had no view at all.
May have upgraded if we had known. One floor up the view was great.

Cortona agritourismo, nice rooms, beautiful grounds, wonderful staff. We really enjoyed the truffle hunting excursion! The only comment I would have is the agritourismo was a long drive from everything. I felt like we did a lot of driving.

Sorrento, Bristol hotel. Very nice, walking distance to everything. We had a great room the first 3 nights (rocom 624 or 625? The black and white room) but had to move our final night. I would request this room!

Thank you again, we would recommend you and Ciao tours to anyone.


Devora and Samuel McAuley, Calgary, AB, September, 2017

Thank you Romina.

Our trip was excellent.

Venice was our favourite place we visited. It is a fascinating city.  All the things we saw were amazing on the entire trip.

We love Italy and its rich history. All our guides and drivers were excellent. I will say, if I would of had Alessandra as my teacher throughout my school years I would have done a lot better. She took a complex subject and made it very understandable.

The truffle hunting day surprised us a bit, there was a lot more there than what we were expecting. It was a vey cool day and vey interesting hanging with Mac and his family. Loved that day.

There is a lot more to see in Italy and it will stay on our list to visit again in the future.

Steve Dawson, Calgary, AB, September, 2017

Hi Arlene,

First of all THANK YOU and your entire team for a wonderful time in Italy.  We so enjoyed out trip and everything was just outstanding!  Let me say – if you guys ever need a reference please do not hesitate to contact me, I would be happy to do so.

I know you were asking about good and possible needs improvements so I can give you a few thoughts.

1. Your team is great – starting with you, accounting and Laura.  You did an outstanding job putting together the trip we wanted!  and it could not have been better.  Having Laura available provided a calming sense of support as we made our way around Rome and through the train stations.  I really liked the way she told us who we were meeting, driver or tour guide, as it made things that much easier.

2. Valentina was an amazing tour guide and I really liked having both days with her, it provided some nice continuity to the experience.  She was also great in changing the plan a bit and meeting at the Coliseum to start our day through Rome.

3. We did do a hop on, hop off bus tour on our free day.  It was about a 90 minute route and really gave us a better sense of the lay out of the city.  If there was one thing I would have done differently it is that.  We should have done the bus first day so that we better understood where things were in the city.  Starting day one with the Vatican was great, but was a little confusing in terms of where we were and so just walked back to the hotel.

4. Enzo our drive in Naples and Amalfi was fantastic.  Very nice man, excellent driver and super organized.  Really felt comfortable with him taking care of us which he did so well.

5. I know we added Pompeii at the last minute and what a great idea!  Michael was just outstanding as a tour guide.  If I was sending a friend there I would ask that he be their guide.  It was probably the highlight of my trip and I think number 2 for Margot.  He was fantastic and the site is just amazing to see.

6. Positano was everything we expected and just a fantastic time.  We did manage to book a boat to do the coast and that was awesome.  We cruised for the whole day, swimming, stopping for lunch and just enjoying the scenery and weather.  Our boat cruise company was excellent and we thought, great value.  I again would highly recommend this experience in case you want to team up with a boat company there.  They book up so fast!

7. Rose Garden was a beautiful hotel.  Loved every minute of it including the location.  Can’t wait to go back to Rome because we know where we would stay.  Posa Posa is very nice but as you may know, a little dated now.  We also had to change rooms after the first night because the room they wanted to give us was not available.  (Our one pet peeve but in no way the end of the world.)  That said the views from Posa Posa are second to none so based on location high high marks for the hotel.

I hope this helps.  Again the trip was just fantastic and we are still talking about it every day.  Thanks again and look forward to organizing our Tuscany, Millan, Venice experience with you soon. 😉


Chris Makuch & Margot Jordan, Toronto, Ontario, September, 2017

Hi Romina,

It is a bittersweet feeling to be home as we had such a wonderful trip that we are already talking about when we will go back.

But, for now, we have to get our bodies and minds, back on track and get things caught here at home.

I have talked about Ciao Tours to some friends who want to look into your help for their future travels to Italy as I know they will also greatly benefit from your expertise.

I have also made note to “like” you on Faceook and I will look on Trip Advisor, too and if you are listed there, I will definitely give you 5 stars.

Have a great day and talk soon.


Mike & Mary Craig, Orangeville, Ontario, September, 2017

Dear Caterina

Thank you for the “welcome home” email.

We really enjoyed our trip to Italy 🇮🇹 and it was particularly comforting knowing that Ciao Tours had provided such a comprehensive and thoughtful itinerary for us to follow.

Starting with the hotel transfers from the airport and to the train stations to the walking tours and excellent guides provided, the driving directions and suggestions for points of interest and restaurants. Having the train tickets ahead of time again helps with the anxiety of not knowing the language and functionality in a foreign country. The attraction tickets that were attached also helped us plan our days.

The Ciao Tours itinerary really tried to think of everything ahead of time to help avoid any problems which could occur.

In particular, the wine/oil tastings were exceptional and especially the cooking lesson with Marie Louise and Eddo was exactly the Italian experience we were hoping for.

Obviously providing information about our interests at planning time really helped provide an itinerary which directed the activities towards our interests.
In particular , the Agritourism stay was exactly the Tuscan experience we were hoping for. One of the biggest comforts we felt while in Italy, was to have someone living in Italy contact us throughout the itinerary to ensure we were on track and are safe and satisfied with our accommodations etc.

We used Didi a few times during train cancellations and when we had inquiries etc. Didi was an excellent resource and as we said, was very comforting.

We think the only thing that we would have added to the trip would be the addition of transfers from the train stations in Milan and Venice, as both arrivals were extremely crowded arrivals and confusing.

I would have gladly added the transfers for every city as they were very convenient and extremely appreciated after a very long flight/train ride.

Thank you for providing such a comprehensive itinerary and making our Italian dream trip a reality. We will certainly recommend Ciao Tours to our friends and family.


Denis Taillefer and Elaine Ayers Alexander, Duncan, BC, September, 2017


Thank you and the entire team at Ciao Tours for organizing such a wonderful trip for Shawna and me. 

We thourougly enjoyed our time in Italy and look forward to going back again.

The drivers and guides were exceptional, the restaurant recommendations were always good, the hotels were great and the wine tastings were unbelievable.


Bob Redden

Bob and Shawna Redden, Calgary, AB, September, 2017

Dear Arlene,

The short story is that we had an absolutely fabulous trip to Italy.  We could not be more pleased with Ciao Tours and the way our trip together and the consistent follow up provided by Claudia during our trip.  She is absolutely fantastic and a lovely person.

The guides exhibited tremendous knowledge of each of their respective cities.  One common trait between each of the guides was that we felt like each of their tours was their first one; they give the same tour to different parties day after day but do not lose their enthusiasm or pride for their cities.

Thank you.

Leriche Family

Leriche Family, Fernie, BC, August 2017

Dear Caterina,

Thank you very much for designing such a fabulous visit to Tuscany. Honestly, I have never seen a tour company provide the services you do. The best!

Grazie Mille

Judy & Bill

Judy Kovas and Bill Svensson, San Tan Valley, AZ, August 2017

Hi Arlene,

Thank you for checking in – yes we did have an amazing, wonderful time in Italy!!

Thank you to you and your team for putting together this fabulous trip for us!

Honestly, everything went off without a hitch.  Laura was in constant communication to confirm pickup times and answer questions.  The accommodations were great.

The tour guides were absolutely top notch!  You could tell that they have a passion for history and the culture and they gave us so much information and brought everything we saw to life.  We especially enjoyed our time with Luca in Florence.

It was a amazing memory to last our entire lives.

Thank you so much.

Sawicki Family, Surrey, BC, August 2017

Hello Arlene, Didi, Claudia and Romina!

I’m hoping that all the gals have by now sent you their feedback!   They assured me they would!

By all accounts, it was a magical trip indeed!   We all still talk about it as one of the best of the seven trips we have done together! 

I think the consensus is that Soprabolzano and Rosa dei Venti both get a 10!

But, the rest of the trip was fabulous also.   But, it seemed that those two places, were the most restful and peaceful.

Thanks to ciao tours they were strategically placed after lots of busy times before and after.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely and laughed a lot amongst ourselves and with our guides and drivers, and of course we ate wonderful food.

Even though they all said they did not want a cooking lesson, the morning with Barbara and her mom, and then the whole family still brings a smile to all of us!

Thank you again to all of you!  I have passed your name on many times!  I will not hesitate to recommend ciao tours!

Be well, and ciao belle,

Lucia merlo

Lucia Merlo, Calgary, AB, May 2017

Hi Caterina, We enjoyed our entire trip in Italy.  Thank you for making our vacation a relaxing, stress-free holiday. 

Your coordination of the details and having the itinerary and vouchers made it completely worry-free for us.

People ask us what our highlight was and we have to give them a highlight for every location we were at.

A few things that you helped with to make it a great trip for us are:
–  Transfers to hotels:  Having someone navigate us through busy airport and train stations when we were travel tired helped to ease the stress of watching out for our belongings while trying to orient ourselves to a new place
– Guides: We were really impressed with Roberto, Lisa and especially Thomas.  We learned a lot from them and got to see all the sights that were on our list – plus lots more.  Having them work their magic through crowds and line-ups was a time-saver that allowed us to do more than we would have been able to manage in the limited time we had at each of the locations.  We appreciated their candidness when speaking of current affairs, politics, etc. in Italy.
– Schedule: The train and tour times all worked well for us.
– Accommodations:  We really liked the locations of the hotels and the comfortable feel at each place and the helpfulness of the staff.  Our stay at the Rosa dei Venti was especially memorable as we were treated as one of the family.  The cooking class was fantastic and the first-night dinner was very welcoming and special.

A couple suggestions:
– Directions:  Itinerary directions were a little confusing to us (some due to terminology and phrasing) and also because we ran into road obstacles, so reverted to our GPS and phone maps.  Having said that, having the GPS coordinates provided for some of the key spots was very helpful.
– Maps:  It would have been beneficial to have the maps you provided beforehand to assist with planning (proposal time).  We are still glad we have them to refer to after the trip.
– Current Information:  We would have appreciated having more current information regarding our hosts either in the itinerary or mentioned by our Ciao representative.  Our itinerary had mentioned the family-run business at Tuscany, but we found out in conversation that the father had passed away the previous year.  This caused an awkward moment because this was still fresh in their minds.
– Itinerary: Due to our busy lifestyle, we found we did not have enough time to thoroughly review the itinerary in advance of our travels and therefore may not have gotten the fullest value of the suggestions and tips that were included.  For example, having restaurants selected in the various locations.
– We did find out in our travels while talking to others that we needed to purchase the tickets for the Florence Duomo or bell tower climbs a few days in advance as they sell out.  This would be a good tip to include in the itinerary.

Our Italy experience is certainly one of our highlight trips we’ve taken.  Ciao Tours was instrumental in making this special for us and we’ve recommended you and will continue to recommend you when speaking with others about our trip.  Thank you to all the staff!!

In appreciation,
Deb & Dave

Leimert & Lucas, Red Deer, AB, May 2017

Thank you, Ciao Tours, for guiding our family through our first trip in Italy.

We had a fantastic time!

The tour you designed for the 4 of us was the perfect mix of country/city, activity/relaxation and organized tours/free time.

From the moment we arrived in Venice, to our departure from Rome we were well looked after. 

Our private tour guides in Venice, Sienna, Florence and Rome were full of information and a pleasure to spend time with.  The gondola ride in Venice, cooking lesson in Volterra, hiking in Cinque Terra and our guided tours were only some of the highlights of our trip.

All of our accommodations were perfect. 

We loved Italy and we will definitely be back, booking another Ciao Tour to see the southern part of this beautiful country.

Dave, Stacey, Isaac & Emma

Grimes Family, Kelowna, BC, May 2017

Good Day Arlene, We had a great time in Italy and felt very well taken care of by Claudia.  There were so many highlights.

Our accommodations were perfect and the service at each location was also very good.

The Balsamic lunch was one of our high points.

All our guides were of the highest caliber.  They all were attentive to us, and seemed to form our tours to best suit us.  They were incredibly knowledgeable and were able to give us the “inside info” that would only come from years of experience and a true love of their cities. 

The Opera in Verona was very good.  Aida is a LONG opera.  The setting was stunning.  Because of our seats, were we told that pants were a must for men.  We were able to be a bit sneaky and move to some very good floor seats in the first intermission.

We learned that men do not have to wear pants in the Vatican since the new Pope came to power.  The shorts do have to come to the knees.  This made it a bit more comfortable in the heat.  Our guide told us this the day before we went, so I was able to adjust and wear shorts for our tour.  I would suggest putting this in your info for future clients.

All in all, we had a wonderful trip and have already spoken highly of your company to several people who are looking at doing similar trips to Italy. We will strongly recommend your services in the future.
Pat Klassen

Pat & Denise Klassen, Kelowna, BC, July 2017


We thoroughly enjoyed our first trip to Europe! The boys enjoyed as well. Luc, our eldest, speaks Italian and was an immense help throughout the trip. Matt and my husband narrated lots of videos, quite funny. Matt’s favorite part was Monterosso, as he’s a surfer and quite active. He jumped off the rocks at the beach and could have hiked the whole way through all five villages.

I am so thankful we did not have to concern  ourselves with figuring out logistics, purchasing and arranging tickets and transportation. Each person we interacted with was helpful and professional.

The only thing I would have changed would be to have not spent the day in Pisa; instead having the additional time in Monterosso.

Thank you so very much for making our trip memorable. We got a taste of the different cities and each was unique.

Ceci Family, Yorba Linda, CA, July 2017

Hello Arlene,

Although we have  not met, Nathan and I are indebted to you for the trip of a lifetime in Italy. It was the best and could not have been better.

Thank you so much to you and your staff for putting together the fantastic itinerary for us. And the “Window on Italy” booklet was the BEST! The detail for each day, event, restaurant, etc. made everything so easy. Whenever I proudly show the booklet to anyone they are so impressed and frequently say “Who did this?” Great job!

Believe me Arlene, I could go on and on and on about the trip and Ciao Tours! We found that when people in restaurants, hotels, etc. knew we were associated with Ciao Tours they knew how well your travellers are treated by you and they continued that fine service.

Of course,  many thanks for the upgrades and special  dinners. The reserved table in the  Grand Hotel Riviera in Sorrento was wonderful!

As with many things that we saw, words cannot fully express our sincere thanks.


Gerald and Nathan

Gerald McConaghy, Lethbridge, AB, June 2017

Hi Arlene :

We did have a wonderful time – highly credited to your identifying our interests and then making great suggestions and pacing to enrich our holiday.

Our guides were excellent – very informative and intuitively sensitive to our needs:
–        Rosaria for introducing Sorrento;
–        Nino – truly a Guides Guide – for the Walk of the Gods and introduction to Amalfi;
–        Paola  for her spirited interpretations of Pompei, Herculenium and Vesuvio – and for accommodating a spontaneous visit to the wondrous Cathedral in the present city of Pompeii.
–        In Napoli – Paola was again amazing – animating the museum tour and also providing an enjoyable  and memorable walk through the textured and vibrant city as we returned to the boat.

We also wish to especially note our Driver Ciznia,  She was fabulous in getting us around to locations on our Vesuvio day – thereby making Paola’s efforts easier – and for us creating a calm and relaxing journey.

With gratitude for everyone’s efforts,

Peggy and Bill

Bill & Peggy Wittman, Mississauga, Ontario, June 2017

Good morning Romina,

We have been home a week now, and thoroughly enjoyed our whole trip.

This was our first time to Italy, what an amazing place.

We choose Ciao tours by reviewing their webpage, and we were not disappointed.

Ciao tours delivered exactly what we asked for in our customized tour. All of the drivers and tour guides were friendly and extremely knowledgeable.

Ciao tours gave us more than a 100%, more likely 150%.

All four of us would highly recommend Ciao tours to family and friends and would call upon you for another trip.

Wayne and I will always remember our 40th wedding anniversary in Italy.


The Brooks Family, Vancouver, BC, May 2017

Hi, Arlene!

I am writing to say thank you very much to you and your whole team for all your efforts in planning our vacation and looking after us on our trip.

It was without doubt our very best vacation! 

Many of our friends have asked what was our favourite place but I find the question impossible to answer because truly each place we visited was special.

Everywhere we went we were well looked after by the hotel staff (they were always aware of any travel arrangements too) and all of our tour guides were exceptional.

Ciao Tours is clearly a very highly regarded company throughout Italy and certainly Dewayne and I are two very satisfied clients! 

Pam and Dewayne Penner

Pam & Dewayne Penner, Cranbrook, BC, May 2017

We really enjoyed our trip!!

We will definitely call you when we make a return trip to Italy!

Thank you for taking such good care of us!

You exceeded our highest expectations and we will definitely refer our friends to you! 

Thanks again,
The Johnson Family….Nancy, Chuck, Katie, and Sarah

The Johnson Family, Hartselle, AL, May 2017

You all did a fantastic job planning and executing our anniversary trip!!

Everything went very very smoothly and all travel and tours were on time and staffed with great friendly people.

The hotels were excellent as well.

We enjoyed every minute and we will recommend you highly! 

Thank you again and please send Claudia our thanks as well.


DeAnne & Thomas Keady, Cary, NC, May 2017

My husband and I just returned from our third trip to Italy (always using Ciao Tours for our adventures).

As with our last two trips, this trip was flawlessly planned and executed by the team at Ciao. 

Didi checked in with us all along the way, and our drivers (DeAnna, Alessandro, and Jerry) and tour guides (Thomas in Rome, Michael in Pompeii, Elisabetta in Verona, and Valeria in Milan) were top notch! We also enjoyed two wonderful cooking lessons (fabulous Cristina in Modena, and Chef Lucca at the Hotel Florida in Lake Garda), and a food tour in the Modena region that exceeded all of our expectations!

Ciao is our “go to” travel company for Italy!

Their attention to detail is incredible, and we feel a sense of “family” because they pride themselves on the relationships they build with their contacts in Italy.

We are already planning our next trip, and cannot wait to call Arlene to get started!


Nina & Lee Reeves, McKinney, TX, May 2017

Good morning Romina,


We had a fabulous holiday!

I want to thank you & your team for working out all the details, we throughly enjoyed everything.

The best was we didn’t have to worry about anything, as you had it ready & prepared. Our tours went wonderfully and we feel very blessed that we had been recommend to Ciao Tours.

We will & have already recommended you & your company.

Please thank Didi, it was fantastic to have a contact in Italy looking after Us.

Thanks you for blessing me & my family,


Bristow Family, Saskatoon, SK, May 2017

Our 22 day Sicily and southern Italy trip was a dream.  After the first debacle with my passport on day one, all else went great.

I have to say: Thanks to Ciao Tours for handling us as total VIPS.  We were not sure what to expect.  This trip was just Peggy and I, no group and custom to us.

Our drivers surprisingly came on time everyday in their shiny black Mercedes. Pino, in Catania Luigi, Naples airport to Sorrento Alessandro Mario,for 9 hours for Ravello, Amalfi and Positano.  Also 7 hours from Sorrento, to Caserta and Rome our last full day.Gino (Luigi) Ciaramella for Sorrento to Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius and wherever we wanted him to go.

They were handsome intelligent well dressed men who were bilingual that acted as our personal assistants and drivers for the day.  Problems could easily be handled by our driver or our agents Laura and Claudia (here in Italy).

We often went to the head of a line at tourist spots and had special tables waiting in some restaurants.  We did not deal with buses , taxis or trains, just the boats around Sorrento.

Every tour guide had a college history degree and was highly intelligent. Alessandro, at Mount Etna (not the driver) Federica,at the Cantina Marilina Winery in Noto Sicily.  Michael La Ferla, in Siracusa (lived in Philly for awhile Temple College) Ester, in Catania Laura, in Pompeii Simona, in Naples  Michael, Castera

The cooking class with Francisca at Fattoria Terranova, Sorrento. We also hired our own trip with Fulvio Esposito as a guide on a rugged hike at Capri.

The hotels were in the areas that interested us.  We could choose 2,3,4 or 5 star service hotels.  No matter what you pick, they are all clean and positioned just right. Other than the one Siracusa hotel with an AC problem (which Laura intervened), it was corrected the next day.

If you want to see Italy right, contact Ciao Tours.  They have offices in Canada and Sienna Italy. They will customize a trip in your budget, and help you find whatever you are looking for in Italy. They can give good suggestions or totally do it for you.  However they do not make your flight plans, but everything else they handle.  Go big or go small they can do it.

We would highly recommend Ciao Tours. They get 5 stars from the Blues!

Glenn & Peggy Blue, Wrightsville, PA, May 2017

Caterina, Arlene and Didi,

We would like to thank you for a wonderful trip to Italy.

It is the first time that we have used an agency to organize the entire trip for us, and it was amazing.  We loved all the hotels and the Agriturismo Il Palagio.

It was so nice to be greeted at the Florence airport after a long flight from Calgary and delivered to our first hotel.

We have recommended your agency to several people, including the other passengers on our Sail Croatia cruise, which followed our Italian adventure.

A great trip

Jane & Bill Hay

Jane & Bill Hay, Calgary, AB, May 2017

Hi Arlene, thank you!

It was an amazing trip and we both thank you for guiding us through it with such care and excellence!

Gail was indeed surprised, a once in a lifetime experience for her!

We could see, as the trip went on, evidence of your expertise and the value you gave us with outstanding guides, and prompt transport.

Thank you and best wishes!

Paul & Gail Mclain Lugowski

Paul & Gail Mclain Lugowski, Cloves, CA, May 2017

Thanks Romina, we had a very nice time and it has been a pleasure to work with you over the last few months.

Laura and Claudia were great, I appreciated the check-ins.

I discussed with Claudia that one of the drivers wasn’t the best and she appreciated the feedback. He was quite opinionated and inflexible. However, most of the hired guides and driver were great in particular Alberto in Florence, what a very intelligent and knowledgeable man.

Special credit goes to Gustavo who walked our daughter through her check in and gate, then came back and helped the rest of us manage through a cancelled flight. He stayed the whole time, then walked us through the airport so we wouldn’t miss our re-booked flight.  This took a couple hours. A very kind man, say thank you to him once again.

Shelley Zagajewski & Family

Zagajewski Family, Calgary, AB, May 2017

Buongiorno Romina!

Thank you for your welcome home email.  We are still lost in memories of our recent experiences in Italy and adjusting to being back home.

It was an amazing trip!  So many places and so much to see and do.  Still processing much of it.

Claudia was wonderful and we both appreciated her support and assistance.  It was so helpful to get her phone calls when we arrived at a new place and sometimes we required her guidance.

Would be happy to provide feedback on our experiences.  Can’t think of anything negative ….. just need a bit of time to collect our thoughts.

Steve took hundreds (and hundreds) of photos.  It was a dream for him and he took so many beautiful artistic photos.  We would be happy to share some of them with you and he will definitely “like” Ciao Tours on facebook.

We will be in touch.


Lorri & Steve

Lorri & Steve Simone, Calgary, AB, May 2017

Hello Romina, It was a fantastic vacation!!!!!!!!!!

As far as feedback is concerned, let’s start with the good stuff:
• We found the process of working with Ciao to design our vacation pleasant and professional
• Everything was extremely well organized – we simply followed the book and supplied maps and everything happened like clockwork. We felt very well taken care of the few times we needed help – Didi was there and took care of everything
• Hotels were all centrally located and served as great hubs to explore from

Of particular note: Rosa dei Venti (Agriturismo in Tuscany) and La Ciliegina in Naples were outstanding!!
• Our guides (with one exception listed below) were friendly, knowledgeable, and clearly passionate about Ciao and their jobs

Potential areas for improvement:
• We found GPS coordinates for parking and hotels extremely helpful (provided in book for 80%+ of locations).  Wherever possible, update guide to provide GPS coordinates for remaining areas
• Our Vatican guide was only so-so.  You could tell this is a hobby for her – when she was not speaking with us she appeared to be checking personal social media on her phone
• The day trip to Capri, albeit one of the highlights of our trip, was a little oversold.  We were unable to visit the blue hole as there were too many tourists and the Limoncello ‘tasting’ was only one small drink.  That said – it was still one of our favorite days and we would recommend to anyone.  The small group tour was a great way to meet new friends!
• We loved Pathway to the Gods and would recommend to anyone.  That said – none of the recommended guides were available (we spoke with four of them) and the tour companies were booked solid, so we decided to do it on our own.  As experienced travelers, we were fine, but for the less experienced travelers they should have a guide and we recommend Ciao book this in advance as part of the package rather than leaving it to the client to try and find one

Thanks again for everything – we will highly recommend Ciao to any of our friends planning a trip to Italy.

Scott & Angela

Scott & Angela Ackerman, Rewood Meadows, AB, May 2017

Hi Arlene, we had a wonderful trip.

We enjoyed every location for each special thing for the various regions.

Our guides in each location treated us very well and were very good at telling us all there was to know in each location.

There was only the one thing we would change if possible shorten our time in Pisa.  Also I would try to communicate better regarding the flight number so when we were delayed we could’ve helped out our driver sent in Rome.

We would definitely go to Italy again!

Lynne and Steve

Lynne & Steve Newhouse, Cranbrook, BC, May 2017

Romina it was so nice to receive your phone message when we got home on Wednesday night.

We most certainly will be forwarding some pictures on to you.

Rosa dei Venti was a gem.

We most definitely will be recommending Ciao tours to anyone who wants to travel to Tuscany.  As well, we still want to go back with Karen and Larry, hopefully next year.  I will be liking and commenting on Facebook.

Next time I go to Scarpones I will check to see if you are free for coffee. I would like for you to meet Bryan as well, for he had a much deserved vacation.

Again, many thanks.

Lynne Weseloski, Calgary, AB, May 2017

Hi Romina,

Jesse and I had a fabulous time on our trip! Everything was very organized, thought out, and all of our experiences were fantastic. The tours were all excellent, and we especially loved the cooking class in Sorrento and the private tours in Rome and Pompei. The hotels/apartment and rooms were all great and Claudia was very helpful. The only thing we would say is that we probably didn’t need a private transfer in Florence as our hotel was so close to the train station, but overall we had an amazing experience! Thank you so much for all of your help and advice, it really made our trip one to remember. We haven’t saved any of our pictures yet, but we have many great ones!

Thank you again!

Krista White, Calgary, AB, April 2017

Hi Arlene We had the best time ever! The Castle was the bomb…. I will get something posted asap

 Thank you so much!  We LOVE Ciao Tours.

Jerry Mooney and family, San Diego, CA, January 2016

The trip was fantastic and both Ron and I returned with wonderful memories – here a quick synopsis of our trip.

Rome:I think I can speak for Ron when I say that we fell in love with Rome – it is a lovely city and very easy to get around.

The tours to both the Coliseum and the Vatican were great. Thomas (our tour guide) was very patient with our questions and stopping for photos, etc. When we finished at the Vatican – Ron and I walked back to our hotel which was a very enjoyable walk along the Tiber River. We managed to take in La Traviotta and The Three Tenors (St. Paul’s Within the Wall), Opera Highlights (Basilica di San Vitale) and then the opera Nabucco at the Terme di Caracalla which was definitely a highlight as they used the ruins as a part of the set. The Rose Garden Palace was a lovely hotel and quite close to everything. The Crypts & Catacomb tour was nice but it felt rushed and probably something that we could have done on our own as it would have allowed more time – we actually went off on our own after the final portion rather than stay on the bus.Other highlights were, of course, Trevi Fountain which has been refurbished – unfortunately, the Spanish Steps were being cleaned, etc. but we did manage to see the area. Piazza Navona was lovely as I’m a huge fan of the Dan Brown books/movies J

Sienna:The wine-tasting tours was great – especially Andrea, the wine guy. The gentleman that provided the first wine tasting when we arrived was lovely and we actually went back to the restaurant across from his shop for dinner on the second night. They were all very informative and the bus trip to the different wineries was very scenic. Lisa, I believe, provided a afternoon tour when we first arrived which was great but we felt that after she showed us the town there wasn’t much else to see.

Florence: Quick opportunity – would have been nice to have more time. Ron and I both enjoyed the high-speed trains – 300 km/hour – wow. Being a lover of speed I think I could certainly enjoy driving the highways of Italy and could imagine driving my Volvo C70 along the Amalfi Coast. Bernardo, I believe was our guide, he was very informative and a delight. As mentioned more time in Florence would have been nice as we really didn’t get to see anything else in the Academia Gallery except David which, of course, was spectacular.

Sorrento: Fabulous – the boat tour to the Isle of Capri was a highlight – Alfonso, the boat owner, provided a lovely experience as well as the group was enjoyable. As a group we opted not to do the wait for the Blue Grotto but instead enjoyed two dips in the Mediterranean as well as enjoyed the Green and White grottoes. If any customers ask – the walk from the boat drop off to the top where the bus would take you is only 2900 steps (both ways) – a relaxing climb and provides lovely scenic views.Our hotel was located away from the main part of Sorrento which meant that we didn’t get to explore the area as much as we would like – didn’t feel like walking after spending each day doing a tour. The hotel had a lovely view from both our room and restaurant area. We found another restaurant not too far away which we visited for supper. Great food and lovely walk to cap off the evening. Tour of the Amalfi coast (Positamo, Amalfi and Ravallo) was lovely but did seem rushed – the scenery was lovely and our guide managed to slot in a boat tour along the coast line. Ravallo peaked our curiosity as it appears to hold a yearlong music festival. The noise from the crickets was a lovely reminder why perhaps Carlo Collodi decided on a cricket when writing Pinocchio J

Naples/Pompeii:Would have liked more time in Pompeii as I feel that we just scratched the surface – as indicated less time in Sienna may have allowed more time in Pompeii. Our guide for that day was very informative as well as our driver Emiliano.

Food: overall the food was wonderful. Enjoyed a taste of limoncello as well as grappa. While in Rome every night was capped off with lemon gelato.

Definitely would return to Rome and the Amalfi Coast – next time Milan and Venice.

Thank you for arranging everything and Ciao Tours was very accommodating and did an excellent job in making our first trip to Italy enjoyable and memorable.

Bev & Ron Garnett, Lethbridge, AB, July 2016

Ciao Arlene, Romina, e Didi!

Simao a Bari, stanchi e Sani! Abbiamo restituito la machina, e quests sera andiamo fare la pizza con Silvia!

Vi ringraziamo tanto tanto per il nostro bel viaggio.

Okay, enough of that!

We want to thank you Arlene first of all….and Romina and Didi!   You did a great job on our trip.

Right from the beginning we had confidence in all of you.   You proved us right. We really have no complaints whatsoever. Everything was so well planned and our itinerary booklet was fabulous!

The hotels were excellent ( except for room 136 at Taormina!)

Your guides were fabulous! They were on time, accommodating, intelligent, and very interesting and helpful.

We are now in our room at le Nazioni with a marvellous view of old Bari and the ocean! What more do we need.

Arlene, would recommend your Ciao Tours to anyone at all, really.   And I’m happy to be travelling with your help and your teams’ help again next spring.

Ciao for now, and again, GRAZIE TANTO!

Albert & Lucia Merlo, Calgary, AB, October 2016

Hi Arlene, sorry we haven’t replied yet!

We have done a lot of travel around the world, but this was hands-down the best trip we’ve had in our lives.

To be honest, at first, I was a little hesitant about having private drivers, private tours, and everything organized by a third-party, we have never done that before.

I have to say, it was worth every penny and more. There were no headaches or worries, no concerns about getting ripped off for getting lost.

The itinerary, duration of stay, areas visited, tours, accommodations, everything was perfect.  We really don’t have any constructive criticisms, everything was so organized and clear.

We have been spoiled for all future travel!  We have already highly recommended your service to close friends and family, and will continue to do so.  Grazie mille!!!

George & Karen Zimakas, Niagara Falls, ON, October 2016

Good morning Arlene,

Sorry for the late response, just wanted to let you know we had a great holiday overall.

Many highlights for us! I think if I ever go back which I know I will, I will have a day or two in Venice without tours just to get sleep and get your bearings.

Thanks again for everything the memories will never leave me! Tara and I both said what an incredible trip. Wish we were still there!

Arlene Stjerneberg, Comox, BC, October 2016

Hello Romina!

We had a wonderful time! We were very happy with the service from Ciao tours. Our hotels were amazing, everything very organized. We really enjoyed our wine tour and cooking class, probably our favourite days.

This trip did start off a bit rocking with our transfer to Rome and almost missing our train but we made it with literally seconds to spare haha! Cliff had a problem with a faulty Segway that he spoke to Laura about and she mentioned a possible refund on that tour?

All in all we would highly recommend your service to any of our friends and family. I will send a few photos. We even found the cashmere shops in Florence and I came home with a beautiful scarf.

Thank you for all of your hard work and thorough service. I really enjoyed working with you.

Bonnie & Cliff Russell, Saskatoon, SK, October 2016

Good Morning Romina,

On behalf of Lesley, I would like to thank you and your company for providing us with one of the most memorable vacations we’ve ever been on. As you know this was a “bucket list” trip for us and Ciao exceeded our every expectation.

All of the hotels, guides and transfer people you provided us with were better than we were expecting. I do not want to give you a step by step accounting, just be confident that we were extremely pleased from start to finish.

With regard to individual observations… the dinner with Maria Luisa and Eddo was definitely a highlight and we are honoured and privileged that we were her only guests for the year.

With regard to planning, we probably could have used another day in Venice and another day in Florence. Venice was so unique we could have explored it for another day and not seen everything, Florence the same (also Lesley and Nancy could have used more time in the leather market 🙂 ).

 The Felsina winery was very interesting, seeing where and how the wine and olive oil was fascinating, the only thing that could have improved it was during our wine tasting and light lunch we were provided a private room..great… but we were not provided with an itinerary for the meal i.e how many courses, how long it would take etc. also, the olive oil and wines were provided to us but with no instruction as to how to taste it properly or what we were supposed to be doing.

The person helping us left the room and did not give us a wine or olive oil tasting lesson.

If not for the fabulous lunch the day before in Sienna where we were taught by an expert we would have been on our own and would not have enjoyed the experience half as much. This was a minor thing for us but for future travellers who do not get the benefit for the lunch the day before i can imagine the experience would not be that enjoyable.

 This information is only provided to you so you can know what is going on on the ground at your various service providers, it did not in any way lessen the overall experience.

 In conclusion we would once again like to that you and all of Ciao Tours for a wonderful once in a lifetime trip. We would highly recommend you company and please feel free to us any or all of this email and an endorsement.

Craig & Lesley Lawrence, West Vancouver, BC, September 2016


Bess and I had a trip of a lifetime to Italy with many wonderful experiences.

Thank you!

Howard & Bess Pearse, Calgary, AB, October 2016

Hi Arlene,

Wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful vacation.

We loved every bit of it. Ciao Tours did a fantastic job arranging the entire trip. All arrangements went off without a hitch.

All of the hotels were excellent but are favourite was the La Minervetta in Sorrento. That place is amazing. One of the most unique and beautiful hotels we ever stayed in.

The guides and drivers were really good and the vehicles were in great condition. The arrangements you made for the car rentals and train tickets worked perfectly. The train ride from Catania, across the Straits of Messina and thru Calabria to Cosenza was really interesting and fun. While we expected beautiful scenery in Sicily and weren’t disappointed, we were shocked by the beauty of Calabria.

I also want to offer special thanks to Claudia for keeping tabs on us. It was a great feeling to know that if we had a problem we could call Claudia and she would get us thru it. 

If you have any questions, please contact me. Otherwise, thanks a million for all you did to make our trip extra special.

Tony & Cathy LaRocco, Downers Grove, Il, October 2016

Arlene, Just wanted to say thanks again for helping make our Italian trip a success for the second time. 

Your choices of places to visit were excellent based on our desires and needs.

The hotels that you suggested were perfect and the guides were helpful and enthusiastic. All the information that you provided us with was relevant and useful.

Our “Italian experience” was wonderful and, I believe, would not have been as much a success had we not had the guidance and expertise of Ciao Italia Tours. 

Rick & Cathy Klassen, Cranbrook, BC, October 2016

Dear Arlene,

Lucca guide Eleanor from my home town Vancouver was special treat! All driver guides arrived on time and were very knowledgeable enjoyed our time with them all.  Villa San Michele WOW loved it for lunch! No trouble with the trains very fast moving!

Hotel Bristol very elegant but super friendly Sorrento great !Our day with Nino discovering Amalfi coast, Ravello & Amalfi, lots of fun nice man!  What a zoo so many tourists!

We enjoyed Teatro Tasso Sorrento musical.  Thanks for that surprise. Siena Hotel La Villa beautiful and everyone very friendly. I must say that breakfasts at all Hotels were super good didn’t need lunch most days. Our morning with Lisa very nice in spite of the showers.  Very friendly. Great walk about with her.  Met Alessandra had great time at Eno-Ristorante.  Lovely man gave us great wine tasting before lunch with.

Alessandra thanks to Ciao Tours!  Very much liked your Alessandra very kind to us. Took us to our hotel good thinking after the wine tasting!

Mike enjoyed all the wine tasting!  In Pienza  bought some of their Pecorino cheese very good.  Mike did buy Chianti wine to take home. We both loved Siena & enjoyed our time there.

San Gimignano was very nice had lunch at Ristorante Peruca built in old wine cellars.

All & All Great trip Thanks Ciao!  Have been telling everyone must go with Ciao only way to see Italy!

Mike & Geraldine Sharun, Nanaimo, BC, September 2016

Buongiorno Tutti:

I cannot express properly in this context how much it meant to me and how much your organization of that trip was absolutely perfect.

Everyone asks if I went by myself and my reply is “yes”, but not really. Ciao was with me the whole way and I never really felt alone.

From the book and all your instructions, information, pre-booked tickets – absolutely fabulous!

Even the cell phone – maybe one day I should get one and not be so “old-fashioned” huh??!?

I could go on and on but I will end this epistle and just say that I would proudly recommend you to anyone so thank you for the trip of a lifetime!

Yours sincerely, Sheri

Sheri Robb, Duncan, BC, September 2016

Hello Arlene,

It was a great trip and Didi made sure everything ran smoothly. You and your team did a great job for us. Thank you.

Scott & Karen Paly, Ashville, NC, October 2016

Going to Italy and booking Ciao Tours has been the highlight of my life and I  will definitely recommend us to other people in the future.

I am so impressed by Didi, and we loved being looked after by her on a regular basis. I call her my “Guardian Angel”. ☺

I am so extremely impressed by the guides we had (Valeria, Esther, and Alessandro) to the point that Andrea and Mona want would like to send them some gifts from America.

Thank you Again!

Andrea San Filippo, San Diego, CA, March 2016

Tour guides for each trip were knowledgeable and helpful.   Very great part of our experience.  Also very flexible to our needs.

The cooking lesson was so nice and really gave us a feel of Tuscany

The private transfers and drivers were so very very helpful.   We could have confidence we would be going in the right direction.  That was much needed for us.

The hotel in Venice was lovely and felt like the four star we signed up for.  Also the Tuscany accommodation was a perfect location.

The accommodation in Cortina were nice because of the people and food. I would prepare people for it being old and somewhat rundown but such a nice feeling of skiing community.  We liked it.

The wine tasting was nice and we enjoyed being with Claudia.  We weren’t even that disappointed that it was just wine and not olive oil as originally promised because it was so so lovely and the person working with us was great.

The train arrangements went perfect without a hitch.

We loved our trip and couldn’t have done it with out you all.  

Bagwell Family, Traverse City, MI, March 2016

The trip was fabulous thank you. You made it very easy to get around the instructions were great.

The Apartment in Venice was beautiful, the breakfasts were wonderful, location was great and they cleaned the room everyday! The kitchen however only had dishes and a stove, no pots and pans, oven, microwave, kettle or toaster, still we would recommend it. Hotel in Florence was also great in all regards. Apartment in Rome was perfect, very conveniently located near a coop.

The tours you recommended were good, we especially loved Lucca. All the guides and drivers were terrific and very helpful. Several of them said they appreciate working for you. Our guide in Rome, Antonella was exceptional and very helpful. She gave us great transit info so we never took a taxi once. She read us very well and showed us exactly what we wanted.

We were a little disappointed with Pompeii, very crowded this time of year. The brochure Gartours provided says one “language only tours” but they picked up someone at lunch who only spoke Spanish. The tour guides did the best they could but having to wait for things to be explained in two languages really slowed things down. Between how busy it was in Pompeii and having to wait for them to talk in both languages I don’t think we saw as much as we could have. Aside from Pompeii we would totally recommend everything. I don’t use Facebook but will ask my sons to like you.

Melanie Bourdon & Family, Winnipeg, MB, March 2016

Incredible holiday!  Thank you so much for arranging such a fabulous tour of Italy!

The tours, the transportation and all the events were incredibly well organized; everything fell into place flawlessly.  The guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic; they were flexible, making our tours personalized and tailored to our interests.  We had so little time in Italy, but you made the very most of every minute we had.  It will be a trip we will never forget.

We highly recommend Ciao Tours to anyone who wishes to experience Italy in a most unique and exceptionally enjoyable way.

Anna & Peter Stys, Calgary, AB, May 2016

We had a wonderful trip, thank you.  Everything Ciao Tours planned for us in Venice was superb.  We loved the hotel and its location, our tour with Silvana was great and left us wanting more so I would probably say we could have done another 3 hour tour on our last day because there are just so many hidden treasures to discover!  And Silvana is very knowledgeable – it was a pleasure to meet her.

I guess if there was one thing I would change it may be the gondola ride.  Not sure it was worth it and our gondolier only told us a little bit of what we were seeing, and was on his cell phone a bit.  It wasn’t really anything special although the boats themselves are beautiful.  But we really enjoyed seeing Venice.  It’s truly a wonder.

Our bike trip through Sicily was also great, definitely lots of biking but we saw many, many interesting historical sites as well, and the food was outstanding!  All in all it was a fantastic holiday, thank you all so very much.

Cindy & Tom Mellings, Calgary, AB, May 2016

We have returned from our trip to Italy and want to thank you and your team for the spectacular trip you all planned for us. We turned to you on the strong recommendation of my parents, whose experience a few years ago was similarly excellent.

The trip, as laid out by Ciao Tours, allowed us to experience things we never would have otherwise experienced. The wine tour and lunch in Chianti region at Castelnuovo Berardenga stood out as a real highlight for us, but there were so many other experiences that enriched our tour, they’re simply too numerous for us to mention.

The accommodations were all outstanding, the tours excellently organized and conducted by knowledgeable professionals, and the logistics of the travel from location to location all were outstanding. So enjoyable was our experience that we will no doubt be returning for further exploration of that beautiful country. And Ciao Tours will be the first call me make.

Thanks once again for pulling together such a superb trip for us.

Terry Kellam & Michael Gelmon, Vancouver, BC, May 2016

First of all we like to thank you for putting the itinerary together for us and to Alessandra in keeping in touch with us and making sure everything was in order while we were in Italy.

It’s my first experience with Ciao Tours and you certainly impressed me tremendously with your professionalism and your customer services.  

I must also thank and congratulate Arlene on putting together Ciao Tours and having such wonderful staff.  I wished I had met and thank both you and Alessandra in person.  But it has been a pleasure talking to both of you via eMails and phone.

This was our family’s first trip and hopefully not our last to Italy.  Even though we ran into couple days of foul weather conditions, overall we had a wonderful time, the beautiful scenic tour of the Amalfi coast; the ancient ruins, the beyond description St Peter’s Basilica, the incomparable arts, the beautiful fountains and monuments in Rome; the tranquil but busy towns and sceneries of Cinque Terre and the surrounding areas; the numerous and exhausting museums in Florence; the magical Venice; and not the least Italian cuisine.  It was beyond description and I was intoxicated with the history, the culture and scenic beauties of Italy.   The cancellation of the Capri trip and touring Venice in thunderstorm were disappointing, but when it was time to leave Italy, I had this conflicting feeling, on one hand I was very tired and felt 18-day was simple too long for us; but on another hand I wished I had more time to explore everywhere we had visited, particularly a 1-day trip to Tuscany was simply too short.  I would have stopped right here and finished with a heartfelt thank you.  But you did ask for my comments on the services and here are some of my post-trip thoughts on Ciao Tours services:

  1. All the hotels are conveniently located.
  2. All the drivers/transfers and guides were excellent.
  3. It was our first time to Italy and we had no knowledge of the Italian rail system at all.  The first train trip from Naples to Rome was without incident.  However, our second train trip from Rome to Monterosso was eventful and panicky: there was, if everything is on schedule, a 18 minute interval between trains, but in actual fact there was less time as the first train from Naples to La Spezia was late.
  4.  The booklet Ciao Tours provided was very helpful.  We followed some of the suggested walking tours in the booklet and had dinner in some of the suggested restaurants.  But with the era of smartphones and tablets, I found the booklet a bit heavy and inconvenient to carry around.  The booklet has to be produced using a word processing software, you might want to explore the possibility of a version that could be downloaded to a smartphone or a tablet.  Then you could even link web addresses and maps/directions to restaurants and points of interest.  Then you could offer your clients the options of hard copy or e version.

It’s a rambling eMail and I would end by once again thank you for arranging a wonderful trip for our family.

Fred Lee & Family, Toronto, ON, March 2016

Hello, and thank you! Sorry but I do not subscribe to “Facebook” so I will not be able to follow you on that service.
Regarding the trip, all of your representatives were excellent and proved to be helpful, extremely pleasant and very knowledgeable.

We met Didi on a soggy afternoon for the luncheon / wine tasting in Siena and she was great, also your guides in both Siena and Florence were excellent and provided in-depth information, context and history; as well information on the best gelato vendors – my granddaughter was delighted.

The villa in Pergine Valdarno was everything expected and more because being located right on the village square gave us a sense of belonging and the residents were friendly, pleasant and welcoming.

The owner Irene was everything you could wish for in a gracious and welcoming host, she was always available and offered many really excellent side trips which were not touristy; also we had 2 extremely delicious meals at her house along with family members and other guests.

The vehicle rental company was easy to deal with, but certainly a lot less formal/ professional than the others ( Budget/Hertz/ Avis) in both their none existent pre-rental preview of the vehicle and the return process, there was no one to check the vehicle in or go over the vehicle to check for damage and or a full tank which was a bit disconcerting. The vehicle operated without issue but was not clean either inside or outside on pickup.

The vineyard tour was excellent and the people were marvellous, it got rave reviews from everyone.

The cooking class in Cortona was very good and Barbara and her Mother were gracious hosts and excellent cooks, but significantly less hands on than the dinners with Irene.

The hotel in Florence was perfect and the location was excellent, but finding it was the challenge. The clerk at,check in, said its not unusual.

Finally I would like to thank Romina for her patience and for putting together a really memorable trip.

I will most certainly recommend your service to others, I was very pleased with all aspects of the tour!

Philip Evans & Family, Toronto, ON, June 2016

We had a wonderful time!! Tour was wonderful and we meet many wonderful people. Didi was wonderful to check on us!

The only spot for improvement would be the hotel in La Spezia. Location was great but they were not able to properly handle all the tour groups they had at the hotel at one time. They ran to of coffee cups, water, silverware and it took forever to get someone to help. I did share this with Gar Tours via survey. Otherwise trip was perfect.

Your travel itinerary was spectacular and the best I have seen. All the details were priceless!!! I will be recommending Ciao Tours to all my friends! It was wonderful working with you and I look forward to working with you again. I have attached a photo and will definitely like Facebook page! 🙂

Misty Rigas & Family, Rome, GA, June 2016

Thank you to Arlene and all the staff at Ciao Tours.

What a team! Everyone is so nice and really goes the extra mile to make sure your Italian vacation is a wonderful experience.

We went to Rome for 3 days and had a great time. Thomas, our guide for 2 days, was very knowledgeable and a great companion. Hotel Cecil, was very clean and the staff always friendly and helpful.

Tiffany & Dave Kapsha, Cranbrook, BC, June 2016

Hi Caterina & Romina, Thanks for all your efforts in making the Ciao Tours part of our trip very special.

We couldn’t have been more pleased with the locations of the hotels you selected in Rome, Lake Garda and Milan.

The Tuscany stay was better than either of us would have ever suspected.

The combination of B&B, wine producer and restaurant in Volterra was so fantastic. Our cooking class was fun and we enjoyed the dining experience at Claudia’s family restaurant (Ristorante Del Duca).

On the note of restaurants we were so thrilled with the ones you picked for us. Particularly in Volterra at Ristorante Etruria and Bice Ristorante in Milan we were treated to above and beyond good service.

The only notable challenge we had was trying to get a good sleep in Italian beds. The hotels we stayed in had either hard or harder mattresses. It might be worth some time for you to source out in future any hotels that brag about comfortable mattresses.

We will be sure to send people your way.

Jeff & Michelle Simpson, Calgary, AB, June 2016

The Perez family had a wonderful time in Italy.

The tours, transfers and apartments were perfect.

Claudia was exceptional with reminders and staying in contact all the time. She was lovely to talk to and we felt secure talking to her on every subject matter. The booklet that ciao tours put together was an excellent reference to Rome and Florence. Just loved it!!!

In terms of making suggestions: the tour guide for the coliseum and Vatican was rushed and we were in the sun too much. It would have been better if she had a pamphlet explaining the paintings on the Sistine chapel instead of standing out in the sun, as I witnessed other tour guides. As a result, my daughter got heat sickness and I couldn’t see the Vatican.

But otherwise an exceptional vacation and will be recommending ciao tours to my family. Thank you again.

Perz Family, New York City, NY, July 2016

Hi Arlene, Thank you, thank you, thank you! We had such an amazing time in Italy thanks to Ciao Tours. It was so comforting to know we had nothing to worry about everywhere we went with friendly people always on hand to pick us up and wonderful Claudia checking in every time we arrived at a new destination.

We were always pleasantly surprised by our accommodations and the staff at each location were wonderful – especially Claudia at the Agritourismo near Volterra, such a beautiful location.

Of course there were many highlights to our trip: Rome and the fabulous tour guide Valentina along with our concerts where we got to see Andrea Bocelli twice in one week – even Pope Francis was at the Rome concert! Venice was better than expected (although the trip from the train station to the hotel for the taxi was tough dragging our suitcases as I always over-pack – I’ll know better next time!) Vaporettas were so easy to use and a great way to get around. We both loved Tuscany and will spend more time there next time.

Until the next time Arlene and of course we have recommended you to everyone we know.

Freda & Kevin Walshe, Calgary, AB, July 2016

Hi Arlene, Just wanted to tell you how much we appreciate you, Laura and the whole organization. Everything was absolutely perfect. This was the best holiday Karen and I have ever had.

Every time we got to a new place there was a new experience or adventure. When we landed in a new place Ciao Tours was right there to make sure we got to our hotel or on the train or to the airport.

The accommodations exceeded our expectations, every hotel was clean, elegant, well-managed and the people were friendly and helpful.

Our tour guides Thomas, Luca, Lisa, and Silvana were knowledgeable, interesting and really nice people to spend the day with. We both believe that without the guides we would have been looking at things we know nothing about. It was nice have everything explained to us so we understand the history behind the artifact.

We had a nice time with Laura at the wine and Olive oil tasting. She is not only a very nice person, but she made absolutely sure we were safe and comfortable at all times.

I have told many people already about Ciao tours so maybe you will get a referral in the future.

We would like to thank you and Laura for making our 30th anniversary a memory that will last forever.

Rodger & Karen Woodhouse, Nelson, BC, July 2016

Hi Arlene, Thanks for your note. The trip was fantastic. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Admittedly, we probably would have put Rome on the front end of the trip and just headed home after the Villa as it was tough to gear ourselves up again to get back into hotels, walking tours and finding restaurants, especially in the oppressive heat.

That said, the Ciao tours components were all fantastic.

The mask making was a real highlight for the whole family and not at all what I expected. It was quaint and incredibly authentic and the girls were tremendous. They even finished off our masks and dropped them off at the hotel.

I know you didn’t book our hotel but he Hilton Stucky was a real highlight for us as well. So easy to get over into the main attractions but so nice to be able to get away and hang out by the pool and the incredible view…just feedback for maybe some families looking to have a retreat from the chaos and heat in the summer.

The Gladiator school was really just a function of everyone being out of gas and the logistics of where we were staying. Beautiful hotel but not very convenient. The fact that it was free and a 5-star did help though.

Again, we were so impressed by the fact that everything worked out and was on-time and without hassle. We will certainly send anyone your way, even from CT, to help plan their trips.

Scott & Sharon Boyd, Hartford, CT, August 2016

Hi Arlene. We want to say Thank You so much for our wonderful experience with Ciao Tours. From the moment we arrived in Italy everything ran as smoothly as possible.

And even when it didn’t (i.e. Siena!), it was handled so quickly and did not negatively impact our experience at all.

Lisa was a wonderful tour guide in both Florence and Siena. She spoke clearly and slowly so we could hear and understand everything she was saying. We were so thankful we were with her in a small group instead of the massive tour groups we saw.

The information she shared with us made our experience in Florence so much more special. She was so patient with our children as well, which made the tour that much better. In Siena, she handled the large group so well.

Everyone came away with knowledge of Siena and the Palio, which of course led to betting all the next day as to who would win the race. We can’t say enough good things about her.

Didi handled the Siena day so well. We were able to enjoy our lunch and still have the tour with Lisa, without ever feeling rushed or pressured. It made us feel so safe to have her following our journey and checking in with us at each stop.

All of our drivers arrived on time and with car seats (with the exception of the last trip to the airport, but a minor detail).

We were so impressed with all of our accommodations and loved them all for different reasons. The hotel in Florence was excellent for the location, large room, great breakfast, and the amazing roof top patio (which we sadly didn’t explore until our last night!).

Hotel Metropole in Santa Margherita was exactly what we needed after Florence. The kids LOVED the beach and the pool. The food was excellent and the room had an incredible view.

Podere Marcampo was such a wonderful experience. Claudia was so welcoming and the kids took to her right away. The views from there are like nothing we’ve ever seen before. We loved the pizza making and wine tasting. The food at the family restaurant was one of the best meals we’ve ever had.

Overall, we had such an incredible experience and one that will stay with us for a lifetime. It was daunting heading for such a journey with a 3 and 5 year old and we couldn’t have had a better time.

We wouldn’t change a thing, and can’t thank you and your team enough for the wonderful job.

PS-We’re so sad to see what’s happening in Italy right now with the earthquake and many, many aftershocks. We hope everyone from Ciao tours and family is safe.

Ryan & Sally Boyd, Calgary, AB, August 2016

Hi Arlene, Daniel and I sure enjoyed our journey. He was quite thrilled with everything we saw. The guides in each city were most helpful. It was great to see the sites and hear the history of all we were observing.

Roberto, in particular, was amazing and incredibly helpful with all his suggestions. Didi was super about checking in with us regularly to make sure all was proceeding as planned.

Thanks for your meticulous planning. We’d definitely recommend your services to others.

Paola & Daniel Picone, Kelowna, BC, August 2016

Hi Romina, Our trip was fabulous thanks to you and all of the great planning. We enjoyed each hotel and the tours were very comprehensive. All three guides, Thomas, Ilaria and Luca were very friendly and certainly knew their “stuff”! Our drivers, Diana in Rome, Andrea (though he didn’t really drive us in Venice), forgot the nice lady’s name who took us to the train in Venice and Luca, who took us to San Gimignano from Florence were also very nice and helpful.

And Alessandra was most helpful too – even when we made a mistake and got off the train too soon on our way to Venice. She told us what to do and all worked out fine – it added a little unexpected excitement to that leg of the trip! She was always there if we needed her.

This was a wonderful trip and we couldn’t have been more pleased.

Kathy & Steve Heilig, Arlington Heights, IL, September 2016

As with all things GOOD, our trip ended all too soon. Thanks to Ciao Tours for another memorable trip to Italy – 3rd time traveling with Ciao Tours. And special thanks to Claudia who was always in the background making sure that things went off without a hitch. PS: We can confirm that there are NO bad Italian wines!

Michael & Delmarie Rosseker, Calgary, AB, April 2015

Hi Arlene. Laurie and I just wanted to let you that we had a fabulous trip to Rome. Didi had already called by the time we got to our hotel so we connected right away. Christina was extremely knowledgeable for our walking tour. She put everything into context which was really helpful. Laurie and I were wondering if she could let us know what we saw on our walking tour in particular the names of the churches that we visited. She was great for the Vatican tour as well – again very knowledgeable. We did the Borghese Gallery on our own but I think we would have preferred having a guide. The audio tour was confusing at first but it also lacked information on many of the pieces. We loved our trip to Naples and in particular our trip to Pompeii. Michael was excellent and brought the whole place to life for us. We would have missed so much if we had gone on our own. He promised to send us a summary of what we saw which we would appreciate receiving. He suggested we do this through you. We really enjoyed our drivers Francesco and Sylvia. Both were very good drivers which you have to be when driving in Rome. They were very professional and punctual. We would ask for them again as well as all our guides to help us with our next tour of Rome. Thank you for making our trip special.

Katie & Laurie McCunn Smith, Calgary, AB, March 2015

Hi Arlene! Just wanted to thank you for everything you and your staff did for my clients. They were in today and raved about the trip. She said everything was perfect and there wasn’t one thing she could find fault with. My client said the cooking lesson was fact everything was. And she said your staff contacted them at least once a day, and when the issue with the airport arose, they called her at least 3 times. She said because of that, she never worried about anything. So thank you again for doing such an amazing job for my clients. I hope I have the opportunity to send more clients your way, down the road!

Sherry Rooks (Travel Plus), Whitecourt, AB, May 2015

Good to hear from you Ylenia, Yes, we did have a fabulous time. People ask me what I liked best and I have to say I liked it all best! I would highly recommend Ciao to others because of your attention to detail, your follow-up (through Didi) in Italy, and the quality of your guides. We can see you have built a strong relationship with them: several commented that they love working with you and one noted she appreciated that you come to Italy every couple of years or so. Their knowledge is fantastic and they seem to be well respected in the tourism industry (based on how they interacted with people in different venues). Barbara and her family were very welcoming: we both loved the cooking course. Barbara’s family came to share the meal. A couple that goes there often also joined in so it was a great conversation group. Oh yes, thanks for the aprons. One of the great things about having private tours of busy places is that you can avoid line-ups. Even when there were line-ups in places where we had tickets the guides were able to scoot us around them: Thomas was particularly good at that. We would strongly recommend the tour of the museum in Naples: it is a fabulous way to pull together all that you see in the archaeological sites. The guide there (name has left me) was great. Even though Naples is not all that pretty we appreciated walking through town with him and getting a feel for a totally different city.

Jean & Leighton Miller, Calgary, AB, May 2015

Thank you and all of your staff for organizing such a lovely trip! We enjoyed every minute of it. The private tours (and the guides) were exceptional. We truly appreciated how much more we learned and saw with the private tours. The hotels we stayed in were high quality and central to so many sites and activities. The villa in Volterra was right out of the movies. We spent a lot of time on the veranda enjoying the view (and drinking wine of course). Claudia was such a lovely lady and very helpful. The wine tastings were also out of this world – such great food and wine! We couldn’t have asked for a better trip. Thanks for the perfect weather too! Again thank you for making our anniversary trip one we will never forget!

Jolene & Jeff Senn, Oscoda, MI, May 2015

Hi Arlene, I just wanted to thank you and everyone at Ciao for all your help with our trip to Italy. My experience was limited to the last few days and principally with the walking tours but as per our last trip with you to Italy everything was fantastic.I ‘ve coped Laurie in case she had anything to note but I would specifically say that I found the tours with Giovanni absolutely exceptional. He is a pleasure to walk around with and learn from and his knowledge of Florence/Italy and its art, history, architecture and culture was encyclopedic. The entire group of us really appreciated both his knowledge and his warm delivery style and ability to help with questions. So, thanks very much again for your kind help and we look forward to reaching out to you whenever we find it is time again to get back to Italy (which is becoming one of those places that is always in the back of your mind as a place that is a great pleasure to travel to).

Ross Bentley & Laurie Robson, Calgary, AB, May 2015

Hi Ylenia! Wow… We had the most wonderful vacation!! It was clear Ciao Tours had put great effort into making our 20th anniversary trip so special. Our accommodations were great and even our rooms within the hotels seemed to be especially chosen for us. We had great views and peaceful nights. All of our tour guides were highly informed, engaging and overall charming. It was the stories not read in tour books that we loved the most and each of them offered one or more such stories. Our drivers were amazing! They were always on time, informative and overall kind and thoughtful people. Hearing from Laura gave us great comfort. Although we stayed fairly close to our plan, we knew Laura was there to help us through any changes or bumps in the road. Highlights definitely included our cooking class with Claudia and biking trip. One area for improvement was our trip to Capris. Our boat operator failed to mention that buses operate sporadically to town and we were led to believe that we could easily accomplish Anna Capris and Capris in 3.5 hours. However, it took us over an hour to get to Capris by bus. Had we known, we would have got a taxi or perhaps a taxi could have been arranged. Other than that, our trip was well thought out and perfectly executed. We would and will recommend Ciao Tours to anyone interested in a magical vacation to Italy. Thanks so much!

Neil and Lori Dunsmore/Smith, Calgary, AB, May 2015

Arlene, Claudia and Ciao Tours staff Before the memories fade of our wonderful holiday in Italy, we want to thank you again for the exceptional service you provided us. Any small problems or questions we had were resolved almost before they appeared. Your advice on restaurants, transportation, etc. was excellent. Laura introduced us to authentic Tuscan cuisine and she and Francesca became a welcome part of our group during the evenings they provided dinner. Francesca even presented us large group photos of each meal. We thank you all. An additional “Grazie” for the wonderful drawing of the main square in Siena which was presented to us for our anniversary. Unfortunately we were not in Siena long enough to accept Claudia’s offer of a tour of this beautiful city. Some of us did spend some time there and were fascinated with it’s Main Square and other charms. We would love to go back someday to see the horses race.

Mills Family, Calgary, AB, May 2015

Hello Ylenia – We had an absolutely wonderful trip. All the hotels were well located and well appointed – good size rooms with modern spacious bathrooms. The hotel near the Rome airport (The Golden Tulip) was a pleasant surprise – beautiful outdoor pool and bar/ restaurant – it made our final night of our trip really enjoyable, when we expecting your run of the mill boring airport hotel. It was so nice to have all the travel arrangements taken care of and have drivers pick us up upon arrival. All of the drivers were very pleasant – the only exception was the driver that picked us up at the airport on our arrival into Rome on our first night. I can’t remember his name, but he spent the entire drive on his cel phone, sometimes juggling two phones and must have had at least 10 conversations on his phones, while driving at breakneck speed! Fortunately, he was the exception. Our guides Antonella, in Rome, and Lisa, in Florence, were both so informative and very nice. It was invaluable to have guides like this when there was so much to see. Our wine and olive oil tasting in Siena was so enjoyable and it was great to meet Didi. Our driver to and from Siena, Marco, was so pleasant and a wealth of information. I’m so glad that I took our neighbours’ recommendation and booked through Ciao Tours. The trip was worry free and everything that Ciao planned for us was top notch. Thank you so much for all your help! I could never have planned this trip on my own.

Jim & Katherine Hathaway, Calgary, AB, June 2015

Arlene, I recently returned from an amazing trip with five friends to Rome, Tuscany and Florence (the Bentley/Robson trip) for which you arranged much of the touring and transfers and I wanted to take the opportunity to say what a truly fantastic trip it was and how much I appreciated the obvious care you took in making the arrangements. From the moment we were picked up at the airport in Rome, through a week of travel and touring, right up until the last driver dropped us off at the airport in Florence, we were exceptionally well looked-after. The hotels you arranged were superb and the drivers were all very professional, courteous and kind. In particular, I need to single out both Tomas, our guide in Rome, and Giovanni, our guide in Florence for very high praise. Their encyclopedic knowledge of all things art, history and architecture was outstanding and made the trip an absolutely unforgettable experience – I only wish that I had the memory capacity to remember half of what they were able to impart about the tours on which they took us! I felt that I was on tour with educators, not just “run of the mill” tour guides – they weren’t just going through the motions of standard tourist facts, but their love of their subject matter was evident in their ability to impart so much knowledge, answer our many questions with patience, and be generally wonderful and engaging. Please pass along my thanks and appreciation for making this a trip I will never forget. I know that it cannot have been easy dealing with the logistics of making arrangements for our group, maintaining the secrecy, and addressing needs or demands of a group of six women, and for your patience and care I am truly grateful. I am holding on to your business cards with the clear plan that I will be calling on you to help me make arrangements for my next family trip to Italy – a trip I hope we will be taking next summer/fall – and I will be recommending that anyone I know who is considering a trip to Italy, get in touch with you and Ciao. Thank you so much Arlene for everything you’ve done.

Lori McMorran, Vancouver, BC, May 2015

Hello (finally) Ylenia, We are now settled back in Canada, and are in Kelowna, where the weather is very, very hot. Thank you so much for your note and we are more than happy to let you know what we thought of our Ciao tour. It can only be summed up in one word AMAZING. I will give you a brief overview of our trip – hope that’s ok! From our very first steps on Italian soil your staff (Ottavia) was incredible. We were over an hour late arriving into Venice and as it was so busy we had lost our water taxi booking but Ottavia got onto her cell phone and managed to pull out her very many strings and got us to the hotel in style. Our room at the hotel was disappointing, but our introduction to Claudia was just brilliant, she called front desk and within an hour we were in a much lighter brighter room. She is an incredible lady as you will see later! As you know Caio did not pick this hotel, we did. Our guide for our tour, Silvana, was very distracted by La Biennale but we had an enjoyable tour with her. All connections from Venice to Milan were perfect (even down to Ottavia carrying a suitcase over a very large bridge!). We arrived early pm and were met at the train station and taken to our hotel, where 40 minutes later we were met by Valeria who gave us a very detailed tour of Milan, she was such a joy to be with and her knowledge was exceptional. We had tickets for the Last Supper the following day and she gave us all the information that we would need for then also. We loved her. The hotel was very nice in an excellent location. As we pulled into the train station in Milan, Claudia was on the phone to us to say that our driver was meeting us outside the barrier rather than inside the barrier – her timing was incredible. On then to Parma, where sadly our hotel, Hotel Palace Maria Luigia, was not of a 4 star quality and the staff and room were very poor. However our room did have a view over the rooftops, even if it didn’t have working air conditioning! Would not recommend it. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Parma and our private tour of the food valley with Christina was superb. We loved being with Christina (sadly we didn’t get the name of our driver) she was a wonderful guide for the day and we enjoyed all three visits, the dairy (our tour guide Anna from Consorzio Parmigiana Reggiano was an incredibly knowledgable and great fun lady, about cheese and Canada!!), the pig farm and delicious lunch and the vinegar farm. Excellent day. The car pickup in Parma went smoothly, again thanks to Claudia. We arrived at the office to find no one there, but Claudia was on it and within 15 minutes we were on our way. On into Tuscany to Guardestelle. Such a good recommendation, thank you. We had asked for a large apartment which we received, but sadly it was in the very bottom (basement) of the building which unfortunately made it very dark. Having said that we had a lovely outside table which was perfect for a glass of wine and even the one night we cooked dinner! If we were to go back we would not pick this apartment. I see from the Guardestelle website that they do not actually have this room (Andromeda) on their site. But this did not stop us from enjoying Guardestelle, which we loved. Susanna and Fausto were wonderful hosts and we had such a fun afternoon at our cooking lesson and we have our Caio aprons to remind us – thank you! The town of Poggibonsi, on the way to Guardestelle, has terrible driving directions, we went around it about 3 times, and since we have been home we have discovered other people who found out the same thing!!!! We got lost finding Siena, but that was our fault – we followed GPS rather than Claudia’s detailed instructions! Unfortunately there was no map with our package, and we ended up inside the walls – not good! I had come down with quite an ear infection and the incredible Claudia came to my rescue. She arranged for me to see her doctor and she came with us and took care of everything. She then came with us to our wine and olive oil tasting with Ameone (sp?) which we loved. Ameone was such a fun person and VERY knowledgeable, we thoroughly enjoyed our wine and olive oil tasting. We cannot remember the name of the restaurant where it was held, but it also was excellent. That afternoon we spent touring the city with another one of your great guides, Lisa. Our wine tour at Felsina was also another excellent recommendation. Our hotel in Florence, Hotel Pierre was excellent, again the perfect location. We met our guide Giovanni on our arrival day and had a very good tour of the city, he is a very knowledgeable guide. On to Rome where we were met by our driver Valentino, who was prompt, friendly and excellent on the several times we used him during our stay. Highly recommend him. Our hotel, Rose Garden Palace Hotel, was again excellent, in a very good location, even if it was just across the road from the American Embassy! Our tour guide Antonella was exceptionally knowledgeable and we had two great days with her touring the city. We cannot speak highly enough of Claudia, she followed us by phone every day of our trip, she ensured everything was as it should be and that we were happy and safe! A truly wonderful lady, who we thank with our whole hearts for making this trip so special. The whole trip was incredibly well planned and everything worked very efficiently. We feel that we had a wonderful experience discovering Italy and would not hesitate to recommend Ciao to all our friends, in fact we have already done so on many occasions. Last but not least is you Ylenia, you were so very kind and helped me plan my thoughts for our trip so well, we REALLY could not have done this without your help also. Thank you. Best regards and I will take you up on the offer of coffee when I get back into town!

Mr. & Mrs. Hughes, Calgary, AB, May 2015

Arlene, All I can say is WOW! Everything you put together for us was simply fabulous. Didi, Thomas, Lisa, all the drivers/transportation, everything went off without a hitch! My family of 6 went on to London on our own and really felt what a difference it makes to have help from experienced guides and drivers. I’m seriously amazed at how you were able to put together such a wonderful experience for our family. It is a trip we will never forget, and will definitely contact you the next time our family is in Italy!

Graner Family, Minnetrista, MN, June 2015

Hi, Arlene, What a pleasure it was to travel with Ciao Tours and know that all the details were taken care of – tours, travel arrangements, accommodations. All we have to do was enjoy ourselves. We very much appreciated Laura being in touch with us many times during our stay in Italy. The cooking class with Claudia at the Ristorante Del Duca was exceptional!! We certainly were hands-on but I am not sure they served our pasta to anyone! All the guides and drivers were exceptional. We were able to see so much more than we would on our own and they were all so knowledgeable. It was a pleasure spending time with each of them. The only downside was having to return home when there was still so much more to see. However, there is always another time!

Roy & Diane Ponte, Calgary, AB, June 2015

Hello Caterina!  We had a wonderful trip! We are so happy that we chose Ciao tours! It was very very hot but we persevered. All of our tours and tour guides were very interesting. The trains were great. We loved all of the hotels and we especially liked the convenient locations close to the trains. The car was very nice but a little tricky at times driving standard. The driving directions were very good – we would not have been able to do it without them. We really appreciated Claudia keeping in touch and contacting us at every new hotel. It was very nice to meet her too. We had just the right amount of time in each place. We are already thinking about our next Italy trip! Maybe we will use you again. We will recommend you to our friends.

Myra & Roman Mushka, Edmonton, AB, July 2015

Dear Arlene, My apologies in the delay getting back to you. I can’t believe that summer is almost at an end. I really wanted to thank you and your entire team for putting together a memorable vacation for our family. Your team took such good care of us. Claudia was always checking in on us, making sure that we were well tended to. Your guides, Michael and Antanella, were excellent. They were polite and very knowledgeable. And most importantly they knew how to captivate our children’s attention. Our kids still talk about them!! This has been one of our best trips and that’s because you and your team. I really wanted to thank you!! I will happily recommend you.

Matovichs Family, Toronto, ON, June 2015

Hello Grazie, Thank you for your “welcome home” email. We had a fabulous trip but unfortunately arrived home with colds so on top of jet lag we are a little slow getting back into our normal routines. Our experience with Ciao Tours has been fabulous – everything our friends said would happen did and we loved it. We were met at the airport as planned and then a call from Didi greeted us as soon as we arrived at our room in the Victoria Hotel. From there everything went exactly as planned. We enjoyed our guide, Paola, and does she know her stuff – history, religion and how to get her clients around!! We got a real education but were happy there was no exam. We were returned to the airport in plenty of time to make our flight to London and our driver (Deana ? sp?) was excellent at giving running commentary both on arrival and departure. The hotel was very good with attractive restaurants and bar (roof top) but location was a little far from the core and after 4 hour walking tours was too far to walk back to and we found ourselves using cabs. This wasn’t a problem for us but some guests might like to be closer in. We would certainly use Ciao Tours again and will not hesitate to recommend your services. Thank you for helping to make our trip the success it was!!

Dick & Sue Williams, Calgary, AB, September 2015

Hi Arlene, What a great trip, we had a perfect time. Our first night in Venice, we got lost trying to find our way back to our hotel…..too much fun and too much wine. Venice was really enjoyable and getting used to the water taxi was actually pretty easy. Your choice of tours again was very good. Our entire trip from Venice to Florence by speed train went well. Your organization skills are fantastic and having representatives from your company at each city was very good, they always called to check up on us. Didi’s commitment to making sure everything runs smoothly was awesome and we thank her for that. We really liked Florence and your day trips along with our personal guides worked very well, Roberto was great. Renting a car from Florence to Tuscany was a riot. Talk about getting lost…remember European action with Chevy Chase going around and around on the turn abouts well that was us until we read all the names then took the right way. We found our way to a wonderful apartment in the Tuscany valley. Wow, Monia, the owner, was outstanding. She made sure our stay was perfect even offering us to help ourselves to their fresh vegetable garden. We cooked a few meals in our well equipped home and drank many glasses of wine. Your choice of tours were a blast and very informative. This valley of grapevines was very relaxing and mind soothing and a huge change from the very busy cities of Venice and Florence. Our final leg of our trip to Rome was a little long and very busy on the freeways but we managed and returned the rental car without a scratch. Our Rome stay was organized very well. The location of our hotel was perfect where we were able to walk everywhere. The Coliseum and Vatican where outstanding we were very happy all our tours were skip the line because some places the lineups were 4hours or longer. We have to mention that the restaurants were very accommodating to ensure my wife had gluten free meals. One restaurant even went out and bought gluten free pasta to be prepared the following day, what a treat that was. The restaurants name was Angeletti, it is just around the corner from the Hotel Duca d’ Alba. Our trip was fantastic and we thank Ciao tours for coordinating a tremendous trip that we will never forget.

Greg & Diane Harty, Brooks, AB, September 2015

Good morning Didi and Arlene, Andy and I are back at home this morning. I just wanted to say what an absolutely wonderful experience your team provided for us on this trip. Andy and I have so been looking forward to taking this trip for such a long time and every expectation was exceeded thanks to your team. We never worried about where or what to do at any time, the book provided was so informative, and the personal guides were all incredible. Also, the communication from Didi throughout the trip made us feel very confident that if something were to go wrong, we had someone available that could help at any time. I can’t thank you all enough for the lifetime memories you provided for us. We have already mentioned Ciao tours to several people we met along the way on our trip and will continue to do so in the future. I hope to contact you all again in the future to plan another trip of a lifetime! Thanks again,

Leslie & Andy Hillerich, Covington, KY, September 2015

Hello, Sorry for my delay in responding. It always seems like there is so much to do when you get home. Shawn and I have gone back to work to and it is very busy. What a spectacular trip we had. Laura was fantastic. Always called to make sure we were doing okay and that things were going well – great communication. This was a very nice touch. Some of the hotels said to us that no other tour company does this so it made us feel proud. I don’t know that there would be anything to change. We were so pleased with how everything went so well. The guides were awesome and they sure knew their stuff, we never had to wait for any pickups – the drivers were always there on time. The tours we had arranged were great and so educational, the book you gave to us was super great. So easy to follow. I have already “liked” your face book page. We would highly recommend your services to anyone who asks us about Italy that is for sure. Till the next time. I hope one day we will meet again. Thank you so much for all you did in arranging a very special holiday for us. We enjoyed it very much. Once we get our pictures organized I might send you a few….

Margaret & Shawn, Calgary, AB, September 2015

Please pass along our sincere gratitude to all at Ciaotours for making our 30th wedding anniversary custom private tour of Italy such a wonderful experience! After much research we chose Ciao tours because they seemed to have a real connection to Italy. This was our first trip overseas and as inexperienced travelers, we would be relying heavily on their knowledge. From our first inquiries, through many many emails, to planning our itinerary and putting together some last-minute romantic surprises Ciaotours exceeded our expectations. We spent 2 weeks in Italy and experienced the romance of Venice, walked with Renaissance masters in Florence, sampled wines in a castle in Tuscany, watched the sun rise on Vesuvius from our balcony overlooking Sorrento, toured the dramatic Amalfi Coast and lived La Dolce Vita in Rome. Ciaotours made our dream vacation a reality. Our accommodations were impeccable and centrally located for easy access to the sights, train travel and transfers were easy and well executed. Restaurant recommendations were all spot-on and our guides… well we wished we could have spent more time with all of them. Silvana in Venice thank-you. The rose-petal shower on our gondola ride for two brought tears to my wife’s eyes. Roberto in Florence thank-you for sharing your knowledge, the sunset walk up to Piazza Michaelangelo you suggested was spectacular and for defending the volunteers being disrespected. Danielle, for showing us Tuscany and Chiara our gracious host at Castello della Paneretta in Chianti, grazie ! Nino, our guide for the Amalfi Coast, thank-you for lunch in Scala, you are a true gentleman and fellow romantic. Tomas, we could not have hoped for anyone better to guide us through Roman history thank-you for letting me have my moment in the Sistine Chapel, I may or may not have wept. Last but not least, the omnipresent Laura, thank you for checking on us throughout our fantasy and your help with my romantic “surprises”. Grazie, grazie mille ! For an authentic and worry-free Italy we would recommend Ciaotours to all. Ciao!

Patrick & Paulette Chaisson, Courtice, ON, September 2015

Hello, thank you for the welcome home. We had a great trip, Ciao did a wonderful job for us. We would recommend you to anyone. There are two things you should know about. The driver who picked us up at Florence Airport was very rushed for personal matters as far as I could make out. He left us and our luggage on the corner of the block where the Pierre Hotel was situated, about 100 meter from the hotel. I felt he should have helped us into the hotel with our luggage. The staff at the Pierre was wonderful, the service was great, breakfast was great, even the room was great – very comfortable. However, room 107 I believe, was known by the staff as something of a problem. The only window looked out on a wall about 1 meter away, so it was very dark, also a major drain ran somewhere next to the room, there was the sound of running water all night. If we were there longer, I would have asked to have the room changed. But, the trip was great. These are not complaints, they are simply things I thought you should know about. We would definitely use Ciao again and we would definitely recommend you to friends visiting Italy.

Ron & Mary Ann Leach, Calgary, AB, September 2015

Hello everyone. We are back home after a trip of a lifetime. Italy was always somewhere we wanted to go and it exceeded all our expectations. It was wonderful from beginning to end and so nice to have Laura there to check on us and to know she was available in case we needed her. I know you were not well and hope you are feeling better again, thanks for everything. Haven’t downloaded our camera pics yet but these are some favourites from our iPhone. We think you all did a wonderful job arranging our trip. We were concerned about large groups on our tours but they were a perfect size. Our only issue was our two day tours in Rome as they were quite large and our tour guide Angelo although very nice and informative was very hard to understand and hear if at the back of the group especially at the Vatican. If we had any recommendation it would be to have two ear phones rather than one as might be easier to hear without traffic and other noise in our other ear. We want to give BIG thanks to our tour guide Diego(spelling might be wrong) He was amazing and definitely made the tour to Tuscany our favourite part of the trip. Would highly recommend him and have a pic of him below. So easy going and fun plus we learned so much. Marco who was our tour guide for Isle of Capri was also excellent. I believe it was Renzo that took us to the airport in Rome and he ended our trip perfectly. He was wonderful. Your attention to detail was exceptional. In closing, thanks Arlene for all your arranging and help. Your booklet was perfect and made it so we didn’t have to worry about a thing. Thanks Ciao Tours, would highly recommend you to others and hope to use you again one day.

Peggy & Harry Donnelly, Kelowna, BC, September 2015

Couldn’t have asked for a better time and planned tour, than what Ciao did for Lois and myself. Except the 1 day of rain, of course. Everything was as described in the Ciao agenda / itinerary, and there were absolutely no surprises along the way. All guides were fantastic, very knowledgeable and fun to be with! The one small item that you may not have encountered before was the transition between Civitavecchia cruise terminal to the Maggiore car rental location. Seems the taxis were only looking for the big ticket rides into Rome, and wouldn’t give us a 5 minute ride into town. However, we found a “boss” of the local tour company hawkers (trying to sell day tours into Rome) and he took care of us in his Mercedes ….. we tipped him well. Other than that, we will definitely plan another trip thru Ciao and can’t thank you enough for putting such a wonderful itinerary together for us!!! CIAO Bella!!!

Bruce & Lois Thompson, Pickering, ON, October 2015

Hi! What a wonderful, perfect and delightful vacations! Everything went well, drivers were there at the respect time, guides were awesome and very knowledgeable. The itinerary you made for us was just to the point, not to much just enough for one day. It was not over crowed with too much activities. I’m already following you on Facebook! We can’t thank you enough! Looking at the photos, there’s nothing that could have been done differently! Again it was a perfect vacation! Thanks to the team! Everyone that I had contact with were friendly and delightful! No complaints at all!!

Maillet Family, Bouctouche, NB, October 2015

“Touring Italy with Ciao Tours was the best experience in travel we have ever had. Because of their keen attention to detail, the usual stress associated with foreign travel was non-existent!  Their drivers are excellent – courteous, friendly, prompt and very skilled. We were able to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Tuscany! The tours, lunches and cooking class arranged by Ciao Tours were first class and unique. We went to places we never would have discovered on our own. A very special thank you to Alessandra in Siena. Throughout our stay she did her utmost to ensure our first trip to Italy was the best vacation ever! Thank you Ciao Tours!!

Cathy & Peter MacDonald, Toronto, ON, September 2014

Hi Arlene! As promised, we wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful trip! We were pleased with all aspects of the trip. The hotels were well-situated, had spacious rooms and helpful staff. The booklet you gave us, is not only a beautiful memento of our trip but was exceptionally helpful because of its level of detail and suggestions. Thank you! We made it through Tuscany on the strength of the directions in the booklet without a GPS! Didi was also very attentive by checking-in with us every few days. She was also very responsive to any email communications from us. It was comforting to know that she was available to us and making sure that everything went smoothly. The drivers were also very good. Everybody was on time, the vans were clean, the drivers polite and friendly. The last driver, (Deanna) was particularly impressive. She was not only a great driver, but also acted as a bit of a guide as we drove to the airport. The private guides added so much to our enjoyment of the trip! They were all very professional and knowledgeable about the cities and the areas we visited.However we wanted to particularly single out Bernardo in Florence. He was exceptional! He was so interesting and entertaining with anecdotes about Michelangelo and Leonardo… Not to mention that he is a very nice man! I would recommend him to anyone going to Florence hands down! The highlights were definitely my birthday gondola ride in Venice (with our serenading gondolier Mattia!) and the cooking evening with the Michaelis! I have attached a few pictures of the trip. The view from Podere Sant Elena was fantastic! Thank you for organizing such a varied and entertaining trip for us! Thank you for the wine, the book and the aprons! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Diane & Orest Koblansky, Toronto, ON, September 2014

Hi Arlene, Just a note to let you know that the whole trip was beautifully planned and went off without a hitch. Many thanks to your team here for all the planning and attention to detail and mille graze to the team in Italy for all their time and attention and for taking excellent care of us and making sure we were always where we were supposed to be.Deanna is lovely and friendly and we had good chats with her as she pointed out some interesting history of Rome during our car rides. Alessandra in Siena – great lady -what else can I say. Loved talking to her on the phone as she called us to check on every stop during our travels. So helpful and friendly – I have to meet Alessandra in person one day!!! Our tour of Napoli would not have been the same without Michael, cannot say enough about how interesting and knowledgeable he is about that whole southern region let alone Napoli. He was a great teacher and was always making sure we were OK with the walking what with the heat and humidity – we are NOT used to!! Michael’s knowledge of history was amazing as he showed us through the National Archeological Museum kept us entertained for sure. He showed me to some great shopping where I got a couple gifts, to a great place for lunch and to an excellent pastry shop where I got the best sfogliatelle. Was so kind and a genuinely awesome person to spend a day with. In Roma – Our Crypts and Catacombs Tour with City Wonders was excellent. Rebecca our tour guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and you could see that she genuinely LOVED her job as tour guide. We want to give Rebecca a huge shout out and if there is any way we or you can do this Arlene, please let me know. This tour was awesome and fun and saw the most amazing things. Our tour of the Jewish Ghetto, Tiberina Island and Trastevere was very cool as well. We all really enjoyed it and our guide (can’t remember his name ugh….) was great as well. He passed on so much information and knowledge and it was so interesting, time just flew by. Guiliano was the driver that dropped us off in Napoli and then was with us for the two days on the Amalfi coast. Also a very kind person. He made sure we saw some of the most amazing sites like the Emerald grotto, the Fjord in Furerro and gave us great suggestions for our lunches. Gave us lots of time in Ravello & Amalfi and then in Positano the next day to sight see and shop etc. Our tour of Assisi was also excellent – we loved that town such peace and calm and our tour guide (also named Alessandra) was also a wonderful lady who shared so much knowledge and history with us – she was excellent. I would go back there in a heartbeat. Again, many, many thanks to your Ciao team for everything. We and an excellent vacation and totally stress free due to the pre planning and arrangements made by you and your team. Wish I could thank them all in person – will have to meet you one day for sure!!

Best regards and a big Italian hug to you all – – – ciao and mille graze ……

Carla, Stephane & Ryan Picone, Trail, BC, September 2014

As we set out on our journey to Italy never could we have imagined the exceptional service that we would receive from Ciao Tours. There are so many people who we would like to acknowledge. It began with Arlene and colleagues who arranged an adventure of a lifetime. From the time we arrived in Venice our contact Laura called us on every stop to make sure things were going well or to tell us what to expect the next day. Our tour guide Lisa in Siena gave us a sense of the pride that goes on as the people of Siena were preparing for the Palio. Our wine tours were amazing with colorful characters and fabulous wine. Our cooking class with Lisa and her husband Paolo was so much fun. We were treated like family and made some amazing food. We’ll never forget Bernardo, our guide in Florence who was more like a story teller as he gave us a history class like no other. When our friends left us in Florence we carried on and went to Sorrento. The Hotel Cristina had a breathtaking view of the bay of Naples. Our private driver Sal or O’mericano as he’s known to everyone in Sorrento was a gem. He drove us down the Amalfi coast stopping in Positano and Ravello. It was a day that we’ll never forget. As we look back at all the things that we did we’re happy that we booked with Ciao Tours and will do it again in a heartbeat.

Carmen & Robert Imbrogno and Kim & Garry Allen, Calgary, AB, August 2014

Hello Arlene; Overall our trip was wonderful. We will use our Ciao itinerary to comment on each of the legs of our trip. The Itinerary was INDISPENSABLE! The restaurant recommendations were very helpful and excellent with the exception of one. We spoke with Alessandra about this – Antica Trattoria Da Bruno in Pisa. MONTEPULCIANO/SIENNA/TUSCANY Fabulous ALL AROUND. Our tour with Janet was fun and very informative. The Villa was exquisite as were the breakfasts. We had our Anniversary dinner at La Grotta which was on your list AND highly recommended by Janet. It did not disappoint. The drive through Tuscany was wonderful and we managed to navigate the streets of Sienna to our Hotel. We parked the car at the FREE parking at Pollicino and used the bus to get into town and out when using the car to tour the area. Worked very well and actually ended up getting two free rides as the bus had stopped for us but we had not yet purchased the tickets! Very kind bus drivers! The Felsina wine tour and lunch was wonderful. Great tour of the vineyards and cellar and an excellent “light” lunch…. not so LIGHT! Delicious. The one day Tuscany bike tour was great. Riccardo was prompt at our hotel. The bikes provided were very high quality. He drove the “support” vehicle and we rode. Riccardo did an excellent job of planning the flattest route possible as we had requested through Alessandra. Brian covered 60Km including back up into Sienna and Nancy 40km. ( was continuing to deteriorate in health) The picnic lunch prepared by Riccardo was very well done. The wine tasting and hosted lunch with Alessandra was fun. It was very informative and the Sommelier was great fun. The meal was lovely. Our cooking lesson with LISA and PAOLO was FABULOUS. Probably the highlight experience of the trip. We felt so privileged to be guests in such a beautiful Tuscan home. The hosts were SO warm and welcoming! Oh and bonus, we learned lots about life in Italy! Our driver to the airport was prompt. The VAT reimbursement program worked marvelously and we saw our credits on our Visa within a month of our return. It was very much worth the effort of the paperwork. All in all, our Ciao tour experience was a great success. We have been, and will continue recommending your company to all of our friends and colleagues.

Nancy & Brian Sulzer, Calgary, AB, May 2014

Arlene, Thank you for the note and the follow-up. We had a great time in Italy. The services provided by your team were exemplary. Laura contacted us multiple times to make sure we were getting the service we were expecting. Both Roberto and Valentina were excellent and very passionate. The help with the train connections once we missed our original connection from Switzerland was very helpful. Laura provided alternative trains and their associated numbers for a Florence connection. Without the train number we would not have made the connection. The departure boards do not state Florence as a destination. Without the number we would not have known to catch that particular train. The information was invaluable and we did not even request the assistance. Laura offered without our asking. Thank you for your services and we will refer your services to anyone we may know that is planning a trip to Italy.

The Brown Family, North Carolina, July 2014

Dear Arlene, In short…we were very impressed! Everything went exactly as you printed it in the amazing trip book you provided…several people commented on the quality of the book as I pulled it out on many occasions; in restaurants, hotels or when looking for a particular site. It really never left our side. Venice – The night Jackie and I got there we ate at Acciugheta…WOW. What a way to kick off our time in Italy! Silvana was very good and we all enjoyed the fish and fruit markets in Rialto. Gondola ride was really great! Boy is it different than the last time I was in Venice 26 years ago! Still it was very cool do to the trip…. Felsina wine Tour – First thanks for the car! It ended up being a manual Peugeot station wagon and I loved it!!! Wow did I have fun driving those roads….we had to swap who got to ride shot gun as those in the back tended to feel a bit queasy with the windy roads…but I loved it! As you know we loved this tour with Irene..she rocked with the kids…I think Taylor may have had a little crush! The light lunch was anything but….amazing! Loved the wines, olive oil and the cellars! The kids really liked Brolio Castle and walking around it. We finished in Radda for some Gelato then hoofed it back to Villa Poggio di Gaville…for a swim in their monstrous pool with a nap. Rimini – We really loved it here. For sure more of an Italian resort town for Italians but they took us right in! Again Taylor and I were glued to TV’s at the local café/bars cheering the European teams on! Too bad Italy was not in the knockout round…it would have been crazy! We did a morning trip to San Marino that was enjoyed by all. Rome – Wow and Wow. Right from Deana who, as you know, was our driver to Thomas (Rock Star) to Olympia our Gartour guide…it was way cool! We loved Deana…she threw little tips to us and filled us in on some of the sights! Thomas was amazing. Deana said he would be and he was. He knew just how to play to the kids, told jokes, filled us in on his life in Rome and in short was most pleasant! It tipped him 30 Euro…hope that was enough…he deserved it! Gartour was perfect for us on the Vatican tour…by that time the kids could not have done another tour! The headphones allowed them to wonder a bit and still take it all in! BTW all the write ups and information you put in the book are invaluable even more so after you have seen it all! We love Ciao tours and I am so glad Ro referred you! We will be telling anyone we meet, who is going to Italy, to consider using you! We also really appreciate the extra transfers you threw in…It really meant a lot and was greatly appreciate!

The Lynas Family, Calgary, AB, June 2014

Hello Arlene, I have had a chance to chat with everyone in the group since they’ve returned. These are general comments from everyone as all agreed that everything about the trip was superb. First of all, they really loved your very professional ticket and itinerary booklet. Everyone commented on how unusual it is these days to receive nicely presented information. So often tickets are just e docs now, and it’s nice to have something a little more substantial to refer to. They liked the extra details in the booklet, especially info about the electricity and internet services available as none of them had travelled here before. We all agreed that we could not have had a better little hotel that the one you booked us in. We enjoyed the family owners, and we loved their breakfasts! They were kind enough to have all our rooms ready early so we could check in immediately, and their son carried our bags up the stairs. Every one of us had a different room, so we all eagerly went to each other’s room to check them out. My room mate and I particularly liked ours. It was a very small room, but we had the cutest little balcony to sit on for our morning cappuccino. The rooms were clean and the bathrooms modern. Everyone was very happy. the property was located in a very convenient spot, and even though there are lots of twists and turns in the footpaths, we all managed to find our way around easily. it was an excellent experience here. Everyone thanks you for the wine. They were all different bottles, and we actually had some left over for the cruise. So we took it onboard, and toasted on our cabin balconies as we sailed past St mark’s Square. That was a lovely memory! The gondola ride was a great experience for first timers. Between us all I think we took over 500 photos in that 1/2 hour! It was nice to go along some canals that were less traveled and busy and gave us a good idea of the kind of atmosphere we would experience in the next few days. The private walking tour of Venice was the highlight of the trip for everyone. Silvana was a wonderful guide. She speaks perfect English and explained the customs, and all about life in Venice. she explained the history of the city and gave us all sorts of interesting information about the city. All of us enjoyed her tour and we were happy that we met her in the beginning of the trip. She took us over to St marks Square and wanted us there for 12 noon to see the Basilica illuminations, but unfortunately it didn’t happen because of the death of a VIP in the city. she had another appointment and had to leave, but suggested she come back a few hours later to go into the cathedral and do a full tour of the building. We all eagerly accepted the offer, and she gave us a very informative tour. We all appreciated her wealth of knowledge and her love of the city. she certainly went above and beyond for us. So overall, an excellent trip! As you can imagine, we all were glad we were staying on the island. Very convenient, and you just get the feel for the city much better. Thanks again for your expertise and your enthusiasm for my small group. You made me look very good!

Kelsey Janssen, Expedia Cruise Ship Centres, Duncan, BC, May 2014

Hi Ylenia – What can I say? David and I had a trip of a lifetime, however I’m trying to figure out how we can do it again! This cannot be our only visit to Italy. The guides: You have partnered with the best. We particularly enjoyed Chiro (spelling?) in Sorrento, he made sure that we had fun, saw the important sites, shopped at the best spots, and that we had a wonderful lunch with a great view in Ravello. Dave & I & Chiro sang Italian songs to pass the time when traffic slowed down, and then Chiro gave us a CD with these Italian songs. We also thoroughly enjoyed our drivers Orlando and Diane in Rome, Simona in Sorrento, our guides Thomas, Valeria, Raphaella, Bernardo, Lisa and Alessandra. We enjoyed talking about Italian politics, world/Italian economy and general life in Italy with all of your guides and drivers. Each one of your guides were full of personality. Without the guides, we would not have learned as much as we did about the sites that we visited. They are each incredibly knowledgeable and all so passionate about their cities and Italy, and that added something special to our tours. One of our favorite days in Tuscany was visiting Siena. The restaurant where Ciao Tours graciously hosted a lunch was so interesting (An Etruscan home/wine celler? Doesn’t get any better than that.) The lunch was one of the top meals that we had in Italy, the history of Siena is so interesting (contrades of the palio). Getting to know Laura was a highlight for both Dave and I. She is a very special person, we enjoyed talking to her so much, her passion for Italy is engaging. Another favorite day was visiting the Fattoria di Felsina where we had a great lunch with very tasty wines and a tour of the vineyard and the cellar. Irene was our hostess, we enjoyed talking to her about wine, food (we fell in love with pecorina fresco), Italy and politics, and she also has a passion for her country. And of course our lunch at Rosa dei Venti was very memorable and was a very delicious meal, both Dave & I felt that we were being treated as if we were an invited guest to their Michele family home. The Italian people are wonderful – so warm, friendly, and passionate about life. And the food– everything tastes better in Italy – chicken, bread, butter, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Thank you very much for planning this trip for us. It was perfect. If CIAO Tours has potential customers who are looking for a referral, please feel free to contact us for this. Also if Laura or any of our friends in Italy are ever in Calgary, please feel free to pass our contact information to them as we would love to hear from them again.

Vivian & Dave Baldwin, Calgary, AB, May 2014

Hi Arlene, we would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude for planning our wonderful vacation to Italy. We had a fabulous time and experience! Didi was awesome and would check on us regularly, as well, all of your extended team members and partners were professional, courteous, personal and had expertise in their respective field. They all ensured we were comfortable and had a great time…

Thank you once again!

Sarosh & Baku Wakia, Calgary, AB, May 2014

Dear Arlene, I have to say that our trip was FANTASTIC! It was the trip of a lifetime for our family. We had been planning on going to Italy for many years. Ciao Tours made the trip “stress free” which was most important to me. I would have been the one to do all the planning and I didn’t have the time nor the knowledge. You have great connections and all of your “people” from Didi to our personal drivers were so helpful and thoughtful. Everyone was wonderful and we were truly “taken care of”. It was worth every penny we spent. We all agreed we would not have changed a thing. We all loved the fact that the guides could get us into the museums and cathedrals ahead of the long lines. Being an accountant, I am very detail oriented and so is Ciao Tours. It meant a lot to us to have everything planned out down to the smallest detail.

As you know, your name was given to me by a client of mine. They had used Ciao Tours so many times that I knew we needed you to plan this trip. We had an idea of what we wanted to see and you made it all happen perfectly. I have already given your name out to others here in MN. My husband and kids kept thanking me for arranging the trip. I couldn’t take any credit as Ciao Tours did it all. Everything happened according to your “resource guide”. It was our bible! We had it with us every day.

The apartment in Rome and all the hotels we stayed at were perfect. We had the best guides in Rome, Florence and Venice. Bernardo is the best – he made Florence so interesting. He is so passionate and knowledgeable. My college age boys really connected with him. He is a gem. I had never done a trip with personal drivers and guides. We learned so much from the guides that you could not have learned from a book.

We found many of your suggested restaurants and our guides also gave us names of restaurants and suggested sites to see. We were never disappointed. The food was marvellous. Our cooking class was so fun – great food, wine and Lisa and Paulo were awesome. Italian food and wine is the best!

Mark and I will go back to Italy and will be calling you for the next trip planning!

Thanks so much for making our trip the best vacation we ever had!

Ciao Tours is the best!!!!

Tricia Maddox & Family, Minneapolis, MN, May 2014

Gail McKernan and Brian Morwood-Clark, I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank Ciao Tours for arranging such an amazing trip to Italy for us! The way I look at it, normally we’d have spent huge amounts of time researching all of the below items had we not gone with Ciao Tours, and still have had some uncertain conclusions. Ciao Tours clearly knows what the best elements of an Italian vacation are, from every aspect. Putting our trust in Ciao Tours far exceeded our expectations and gave us memories that we will never forget. Our recommendation to others would be – you only have so much time in life. If Italy is on your bucket list, make it easy and special with Ciao Tours.

  • Accommodations – We loved the boutique hotels and agritourism you selected. Each was in an optimal location within a short distance of everything we needed, staff were friendly and the rooms were lovely.
  • Transportation – sometimes moving locations in a foreign country can be stressful, but the arrangements made really saved time and took the worry out of this part of our vacation. Our drivers were always on time and provided great introductions to the places we visited. And their driving skills were top notch as I know I would never survive driving in Italy!
  • Guides – I’d never thought of having a private guide before, but I would definitely do it again! Each of your guides was very knowledgeable, and approachable, as it’s easy to ask questions and really understand what they’re telling you when you’re one on one. For example, Thomas in Rome was very professional, provided personal perspective on things and his stories really brought the things we saw to life. We don’t feel like we missed out on seeing anything!
  • Support – Laura was exceptional at finding us and checking in with us along the way. Although we had no problems at all, it was good to know that she was there.

Thank you and your team, again, for a fantastic vacation.

Gail & Brian McKernan, Vancouver, BC, May 2014

Arlene, The trip to Italy was a 10+ and in large part because of your services. Nancy and I both believe there is any way we could have enjoyed our trip as much as we did without your attention to detail in the planning portion of the trip.

The hotels we stayed at were what we asked for and were great….especially the locations. After you listened to what we wanted to see and do in Italy, you planned each day to perfection with the arranging of personal drivers, taxi’s or train tickets. The resource book with our daily itineraries was so helpful as it walked us through our plans for each day. Your tips on how long it would take to go from point A to point B was always right on. We never stood around and waited for anything! The helpful suggestions for restaurants and places to see was invaluable. We looked through that every day no matter what city we were in.

The one day when we were in Siena (sp?) we used the resource guide to find one of your suggested restaurants. It took us awhile to find it, but when we did it was awesome. Our waitress knew Ciao Tours and knew you. The service and the food was exceptional. I could go on, but the main thing is we loved working with you, your staff in Italy, the contractors like our personal driver in Italy…..they were all exceptional. Your fees are well worth every cent we paid. Without a hesitation we will use Ciao Tours on our next visit to Italy and without hesitation will recommend your services to anyone we know traveling to Italy!!!

FYI – DiDi did reach out to me several times while we were in Italy to check in and make sure everything was going as planned for us. Our conversations were short because as I stated above EVERYTHING went flawlessly each day and I only had good things to report when she called. It was nice to know that she or someone was a phone call away there in Italy if we needed it.

Thank you for all of your help!!!!!

Van & Nancy Erickson, Minnetonka, MN, May 2014

Our Dear Arlene: On behalf of our group we would like to say thank you so much for the wonderful tours and contacts you provided for us in Italy; and especially for the exceptionally professional guides and drivers you sent our way.

Our whole group agreed that Ciao is a company we would recommend to any of our friends and family. Our contact in Italy, Laura was in contact with us every step of the way during our 3-4 weeks and couldn’t have been more helpful. The fact that 6 of our family returned to the Naples/Sorrento area a second time and spent a second and third day with Ciro our guide-driver, was a real bonus for us. He became like one of our family.

The very professional tour book, you specifically produced for each of us, was the envy of many other tourists we met along the way. We passed on your contact information to them. We used our guide book a lot when we were traveling on our own to our next destinations by train. The tour book was really a reflection of all the work you put in to help custom design our tour to meet our needs.

Touring Italy is a fond memory for us and we are so lucky to have found your company’s website.

Please pass on our thoughts and thanks to Laura (your Italian director) and all your drivers and guides in Italy who made this a special holiday for our group.

Arlene, thank you again so very much!

Barbara & Tom, et al (Palmer Group), Edmonton, AB, May 2014

When returning to Italy Ciao Tours will certainly be a part of our trip. We especially appreciated the knowledge of our guide which deepened our experience. Also the hotel in Rome was wonderful, the location was perfect and the staff were professional and efficient. Your communication and organization was exemplary. Look forward to traveling with you again.

John & Dorothy, May 2014

First, let us say how much we appreciate your effort in making our Italy vacation fabulous. We really had a great time, and much of that was due to Ciao Tours. At our age, we want someone available to guide, direct and teach us as we go. That is exactly what we received, and we’re so glad for the experience.

So, we are going to write a nice review of Ciao Tours in Trip Advisor. We want other people to realize what good planning will mean for their tours. We are very glad that we used Ciao Tours!

Thanks very much!

John Bodenburg & Nancy Helmer, Florida, May 2014

Everything was great! We had a great trip, love Italy!! Ciao people were all very nice classy people I was very impressed with them all. Didi was always checking in with us the people we had as tour guides were excellent, fun & informative! We loved having the private tour guides. Next time we would have added a private guide for the Uffizi in Florence as well. The Castle in Chianti with the lunch was over the top! We had our driver take us after to San Gimignano (spell?) and another town afterward. We went on our own to Sienna the next day. We loved San Gimignano & Sienna! Thank You so much for everything, & for our birthday surprises! We took the bottle of wine for Georges birthday and went to the square where the statue of David is and drank it there and watched all the people! It was very fun!

Can’t Wait to go back!

George & Jane Tamberi, California, October 2014

Hi Ylenia, We did have a wonderful time in Italy and Ciao Tours played an enormous part in how smoothly everything went, from the private tours to the train rides. We also appreciated Claudia’s calls at every new destination checking to make sure all was well. It was also very nice to meet her for lunch and put a face to the pleasant person on the other end of the phone. We would definitely use Ciao tours again and would and have already recommended them to others who are interested in traveling to Italy.

Linda & Willi Schmid, Calgary, AB, September 2014

Hi Cristina and Didi, I am finally settled in Vancouver so I have a moment to tell you how wonderful my trip was. I have to tell you first how much I have bragged about your company, the way you set up our itinerary, how helpful it all was, all the personal touches like Didi calling us and checking to see if everything was OK upon arrival at Rome. Thank you so much Didi for paying that $1.50 ticket for us. Such a small amount of money and so much stress!!! I didn’t want to get a fine. We couldn’t back up our car and get into another line as there were cars behind us beeping their horns. As well, thank you for keeping in touch with us by email immediately. I never felt deserted or stressed. Your service was great! I really appreciated it as we were in a strange country with different rules. I am sorry that we missed out on Assisi but the stress of driving (getting lost and no GPS to guide us) to Siena then to Cortona was too much. We did not want to get on the road again with our car to find a parking lot, etc. Don’t know what to tell you other than that…..Two 60 year old women trying to find their way around Italy!! ha ha. My only complaint would be Maggiore Car Rental. No wonder there was no line up there. They were very rude. Gave us a GPS that was not in English, then gave us another one that had no directions to use it. They would also not come out and help us with it. It wouldn’t take the coordinates or the address you gave us to get to Siena or Cortona. When we got back and explained the situation about the GPS they didn’t care and said we had to pay for it anyways. All of the hotels you chose for us were great but the best place of all was Relais La Corte dei Papi. We had a little house to ourselves, an outside patio and we were close to Cortona town….easy to find for us! David and Gabriola his mother were such wonderful people, always helpful and so friendly. Tuscany was my favorite of all the places we went to. The biking throughout the Tuscan area was unbelievable and the lunch that Ricardo made us was delicious…prepared by a man….who could ask for more. The Truffle Hunting was another over the top experience. Unbelievable….They were the nicest, kindest and so down to earth people and when you see how hard they work, yet how happy they are, it just wants to make your heart melt for them. Mac drove 3 hours to get us and bring us back and in between showed us an experience of a lifetime. The train rides were comfortable and thank you for recommending first class. Having all of our tickets ready and being able to bypass all the line up for tours was totally first class service for Ciao. I cannot thank you enough for the best service ever for my bucket list trip of a lifetime to Europe. I have never been there, didn’t know what to expect and you made my travelling so much easier and comfortable. You were worth every penny I paid for this trip and for all the trouble you went to set up our plans I think we purchased a great deal!! Thank you so much and if I ever go back to Tuscany I would definitely use your services again. Thank you Cristina and Didi again for your close attention to our trip and you can be sure that I will be recommending you.

Vicki Stinson & Mavis McLeod, Vancouver & Calgary, October 2014

My husband and I had a “dream trip”. It became a reality when we booked with Arlene of Ciao Tours to leave for Italy September 22 to October 25, 2015.  We were not world travels so it was going to be a great adventure in more ways than one. In January Arlene came to the house. She asked us what our dream trip would be. She listened, suggested and planned the most amazing trip, a rip of a lifetime. It was filled with days of tours, day s of res, cooking classes, 18 days of car rental to visit the beautiful countryside and unique towns. Private tour guides and drivers showed us Italy’s history and charms. Our accommodations were first class, offering beautiful views great location and very helpful staff. The guide book with itinerary was so appreciated. In it was helpful trips daily tours and suggestions with “spot” on directions for driving or walking. It contained brief descriptions and history of each town, where to park, eat and even contact phone numbers. The “3” cooking classes were the highlights for us, my husband especially. We also renewed our wedding vows in San Gimignano. It was made even more special by Arlene herself and Maria Luisa sharing the day. The weather ever cooperated as it was one of the nicest falls experienced in years. I could go on and on. It felt and still does like a dream. Our trip was beyond our expectations all thanks to Arlene and her “team”. A truly memorable lifetime adventure.

Joanne & Tony Chilton, Cranbrook, BC, September 2014

All we can say about Italy 2014 is WOW !!!!!!.

We thought last year’s trip was the best — and it was when it came to BIG cities. This trip was the BEST as it was completely different in that it introduced us to “rural” “small town” Italy. We certainly received an education in Vineyards/wine, olive trees/oil and cheese making from experts in those respective “‘crafts”. We started with Venice as we had not had our fill of this magnificent City in 2013 — well, we will need to go back as we have discovered that there is STILL a lot more to discover. Last year we challenged you to equal or exceed the 2013 trip, especially the weather we experienced in 2013. We don’t know how you managed it this year but we had a phenomenal trip along with phenomenal weather for our 2014 travels (an unbroken string of blue skies and warm sun). Bologna was certainly not on our ” bucket list” but it was truly a great experience — cheese, balsamic vinegar, and best of all, the agrotourismi of Elizabeth and Roberto and their “nonnas”. The experience making, and eating pasta under the watchful eye of Nonna Giorgi should not be missed. Bologna is a wonderful area and has a great old town — it is a worthy addition to anyone’s bucket list. . The undisputed highlight of the trip was the truffle hunt in Village of Pettino Mack, Franchesca and their extended family were gracious, accommodating, and more than willing to go out of their way to make sure he had a great time……………and we DID!!! Searching out truffles was left up to three Brittany Spaniels with more energy than can be imagined — they found about a dozen truffles in short order. We highly recommend scrambled eggs with fresh grated truffle sprinkled on them, accompanied by generous amounts of Prosecco in a meadow high in the hills of Umbria surrounded by about 200 sheep and their guard dogs (Mack and Franchesca have about 400 sheep, and thirty- four dogs) We learned (once again) to make pasta (eggs and flour and a lot of kneading and rolling) which was cooked for us as a part of a FABULOUS meal served outside at the family home — and yes, plenty of great wine finished off with the obligatory “grappa” (definitely an acquired taste). Our stay in San Gimignano was fabulous. It’s a great area to explore and get to know. The scenery is second to none, the people are friendly, and the history of the area provides an excellent learning experience. All in all our visit went flawlessly — planes and trains were on time, great weather (see above), excellent side trips (cheese making, balsamic vinegar production, prosciutto curing, learning to make pasta, touring Enoteca’s and riding Vaporettos in Venice, and the walking tours hosted by the most excellent guides). We finally were able to meet Claudia — at last a face to the voice on the telephone! Thanks for making our trip safe and memorable, Claudia. Thanks to Ciao Tours for another Great Trip We are already planning to visit Cortona in 2015!!!

Michael & Delmarie Rosseker, Calgary, AB, October 2014

Dear Arlene and Ciao Tours Team Members: It is a real pleasure to write you and provide some feedback on our experience with Ciao Tours. You and your team were instrumental in making our recent trip to Italy a total success. We are currently experiencing post trip depression which, in itself, is a testimony to how well the Ciao Team did in helping us plan and execute our trip. First and foremost, we would like to let you know that planning the trip with you and your team was first rate. Ciao Tours is thoroughly knowledgeable about Italy and provided us with lots of terrific advice. Added to this is the wonderful “guide book” that you assembled for us which made it unnecessary for us to lug around other weighty tomes. Your book provided rich insights into each of the places that we visited. As well, by including travel tickets and museum vouchers in the book, we never had any confusion as to “where stuff was”. Second, the people that you have on the ground in Italy are very special. Each guide we met was professional, knowledgeable, personable, punctual and generous with his or her time. In addition, your team member, Didi Nota, made us feel connected to Ciao Tours by checking in with us every so often to make sure we were doing well. It was a pleasure to meet her in Sienna where she performed outstanding simultaneous translation duties at a private wine and olive oil tasting. Third, you have some wonderful contacts in Italy when it comes to cooking schools! We thoroughly enjoyed our agritourism visit to Rosa dei Venti located near Cortona. What a magnificent Tuscan villa with the most accommodating hosts we have ever met. Stefano and his sister Barbara were wonderful and having an opportunity to explore Tuscan cuisine with Barbara and her mother was truly outstanding. Our private visit to Daniela’s Cooking School in Rome was another terrific experience. Daniela was an excellent teacher not only in helping us create a unique meal but also in helping us to understand regional differences in food preparation. As we noted on Trip Advisor, cooking should always be this interesting and fun. Finally, we are timid travellers. This was our first trip to Italy and wanted to enjoy the trip and minimize the stress of travelling. Ciao Tours made this a reality. Transferring from airports and train stations to hotels was made simple. Bypassing long lines at various galleries and museums was made effortless by Ciao. We will return to Italy. There is so much to see and experience. When we do, we can assure you that you will receive a call from us to help us figure out the best way to do it. Thank you for all that you did.

Walt, Jo Gifford & Harry Cumming, Toronto, ON, September 2014

Dear Arlene, May I extend a huge thanks to you and Joanne for putting together such an excellent tour experience for Sue, Leslie, Joan and I in Italy. With the limited time we had, it could not have been more perfect. You gave us a whirlwind tour of so many places, all uniquely different. It was the ‘best’ taste of Italy. All of the hotels were superb , with excellent locations, staff and amenities. The Ciao tour guides were absolutely outstanding. Thomas in Rome, Luca in Florence and Lisa in Sienna generously shared their knowledge with us. Our heads were spinning at the end of the day, as we tried to absorb all the historical facts, stories and anecdotes. The Ciao drivers were also excellent and got us to each hotel and destination safely and on time. The icing on the cake was of course, the marvelous weather. It made the boat tour around Capri an enchanting experience. We all will be basking in fond memories of Italy for years to come!

Donna Jopling & Friends, Calgary, AB, October 2014

Grazie Mille!! A thousand thank yous would not be enough to express our gratitude for organizing such an exceptional trip! All of our accommodations were ideally located, had friendly staffs and the included breakfasts were delicious! In particular, the apartment overlooking Sorrento Bay and the Agriturismo in Tuscany were amazing. We felt like we became a part of the community! Our private Tour Guides were wonderful ambassadors for their cities. Their passion, knowledge of their city and their personable approach helped us truly appreciate and understand Italy so well. Please pass on our appreciation to Silvana – Venezia, Valeria – Milano, Lisa – Sienna, Roberto – Firenze, Michael – Napoli, and Thomas and Deanna – Roma. Friends have asked us what the highlights were but there are so many incredible memories! From our private boat ride, “Aperitif” at Palazzo Stern, and dinner at Osteria Ai Do Farai (Venezia), the amazing Cooking Lesson with sweet Claudia and Ivana at Ristorante Enoteca Del Duca in Volterra, the Wine and Olive Oil Tasting with Iome and Alessandra (Sienna) – who knew how important corks are? – to viewing the Last Supper (Milano), seeing the real David (Firenze), and the ancient sites in Roma, every activity was truly remarkable. Many other tourists were so impressed when they saw our special, personalized Ciao Tour booklet! We had everything at our fingertips – train tickets, car rental vouchers, attractions information and vouchers, local history, restaurant suggestions and, more importantly, the directions to each new lodging were very precise. A special thank you to Alessandra for checking in and ensuring things were going well. It was simply 5 Star treatment! We will definitely book another Italy visit with Ciao Tours!

Glenn Dobie & Heather McKenzie, Cranbrook, BC, October 2014

Morning Arlene, We cannot thank you enough, our Hotels were amazing, Tour guides so knowledgeable, we saw things that we know we never would have seen without them. Our transportation and transfers went off without a hitch. We definitely would have spent some wasted time in Venice if not for the young lady who met us, sorry I can’t remember her name right now.

We got together over the weekend to look a pictures and one comment that came up was that we wished Ciao Tours worked with other counties.

So needless to say we have passed your name on to others, one friend in particular will be contacting you shortly. I will send you a few of our pictures shortly just to show you what a wonderful time we had!

Thanks again so much!!! Until we go to Italy again, thank you!

Sue & Mike Loeffler

Thank you Arlene!

We had an absolutely amazing trip. The details provided were wonderful, the walking tours lovely (we especially enjoyed our Sienna tour with Lisa), the cooking lesson so much fun (and delicious), all of the accommodations were excellent (especially the Agritourism) … we LOVE Italy!

Thank you so much to everyone at Ciao Tours for all of your hard work – it truly was a great vacation!

Raylene & Rob Charron

Hello Cristina,

Thank you for your email. We had a wonderful time in Italy, much thanks to Ciao tours in making our trip as enjoyable and stress free as it was. The itinerary was an informative reference, and a nice touch, thank you.

Our driver, Deanna, was at the airport to greet us and my fears were alleviated when I discovered she waited for us even though our flight was delayed. We appreciated all of her historical and local information that she shared on the way from the airport. She also had a car seat for the baby and that was also appreciated. We opted to take only the Baby Bjorn carrier with us and it was the best way to travel with a 5 month old. Strollers, car seats, etc. would have been too cumbersome with all the steps; trains and planes.

We were able to pick up our Roma passes without any problem and were able to skip the long lines at the Coliseum. Next time I might fore go the pass if I was only going for a few days as we weren’t able to use it to its full potential. Because of the location of our hotel (Hotel Artemide) we were able to walk almost everywhere.

Our tour to the Vatican City went without a hitch and our tour guide, Tomas, was fabulous. His knowledge of the history and symbolism of the Vatican was remarkable and thoroughly enjoyed by all. He was able to make it interesting for the young members of the family as well. We also appreciate his effort as well as Ciao Tours, in getting the extra ticket for Rebecca at the last minute. The train tickets were great and we were able to get where we needed to be without any problems. It was the best way to travel.

I would like to thank you all for the great care and detail you took to make this a most enjoyable trip. I would strongly recommend your company to friends and family.

Darlene & Bryan Howg & Family

Hi Cristina,

We had a fabulous time. Everyone in our group thought the tours booked through Ciao Tours were phenomenal and we were so glad that we had worked with your company. The tour guides were knowledgeable, helpful and we really enjoyed each one of them. The Rome hotel location was absolutely perfect. The hotel staff was helpful and welcoming. I would recommend this hotel to anyone.

The wine tour day was probably our favourite. Sienna was amazing and Leisa was a fantastic guide. Her passion of the area was evident and made our time there very special.

Claudia was wonderful and connected with us a few times while we were there. Which made us feel like they were ready for us and everything would go smooth.

Thomas took us around Rome and we hired him for a few extra hours. He was free for the afternoon so he stayed with us until 5:00. He was very knowledgeable and made the day so enjoyable. He really took us under his wing, showing us how to navigate the trains and made us feel safe everywhere we went (crossing streets in Rome can be quite interesting).

The restaurant that you had suggested and made reservations at what perfect as well. We had an awesome night dinning on the patio, eating great food and drinking wine. It couldn’t have been better.

We did end up taking the train back from Lecce to Rome instead of hiring a car. The train was the best way to travel. However, we did have a great day driving to Lecce, stopping in Pescara for lunch right next to the sea. It was fabulous.

Thank you so much for your connection to great people in Italy to make our short trip so enjoyable. We did make the most of it and decided that we would just sleep on the plane ride home. Which we did.

When I go back with my family, I will definitely call you again to arrange a new Italy experience.

Michele Simpson

Arlene and Cristina,

We have arrived home safely! a bit exhausted but happy. Thanks again for everything. It was a busy trip but needed to be in order to see everything

Great Family Memories to treasure. Didi was great keeping in touch with us throughout Italy. The guides were fabulous!

Reynolds Family

Hi Arlene,

Our drivers were great, especially Ciro, took full advantage of the trains and boats whenever we could. Didi, checked in on us at every location and did a great job.

All in all a great trip, thank you so much for your help in planning, it was hard for me, as I research my hotels pretty thoroughly when I travel (a little OCD), but I’m glad we booked Positano otherwise may have been a little disappointed in the hotels selected, however, having traveled to London, Paris, Moscow, St Petersburg, and Prague I know the 3 and 4 star are so much different than the US.

My daughter is a photographer and took over a 1,000 pictures. She is busy with wedding season but here are a few pictures, I’ll send you more when I receive them.

I have a couple of people that I will be referring to you for trips!

Vicky Treais

Hi Arlene,

We had an excellent trip and Alessandra was very helpful – thanks to you and your team for putting together a great program and for the continuous support. We will strongly recommend your service for other Italy travellers that we know.

Ken & Denise Grondin

Hi Cristina,

We had a great experience with Ciao. All of the staff, guides, and pre-arranged events were excellent The suggestions that were made were regarding our trip planning were very useful. I have suggested to a couple folks who are planning to go to Italy in the next few months to contact Ciao.

Brad & Tracy Heck

Dear Arlene and Cristina,

My wife and I would really like to thank Ciao Tours for putting together a wonderful holiday for us. We were in Italy for three weeks all told, and we packed a lot in. We started in Rome, and then travelled to Pompeii, then onto Sorrento. We toured Capri, and the Amalfi coast, including Positano and Amalfi. We then went onto Florence, and then Venice. From Venice we rented a car and drove to Modena, where we saw all things Ferrari. (It’s a guy thing). From there we went to the Cinque Terra and then onto Pisa, and continued into Tuscany, where we saw San Gimignano, Volterra and Siena, and then drove back to Rome to return the rental car.

Everything went right according to the plan laid out in our itinerary.

Every place we stayed we showed up at the hotel and everything was in order, they were expecting us, and we had no unpleasant surprises. The accommodations were all first rate. In Sorrento, especially, we had the best room in the entire hotel, thank you Ciao tours for that little surprise. When we left Rome, we had to meet a driver at the train station in Naples, and no problem, he was right there on time, waiting for us. Our train tickets were all handled for us, no problems, our vouchers for all of our bus/walking tours were all handled for us, no problems. Our guides whisked us to the front of all the line ups, we didn’t have to wait in any long lines (that was very much appreciated at the Vatican, let me tell you). The guides were all very professional and spoke fluent english. We had to pick up a rental car at the airport in Venice, and it was all handled, no problems. The driving directions in our tour book were very accurate.

I could go on and on, but suffice to say every single detail of our holiday had been handled expertly and professionally. It was only after we got back home, and we had a chance to reflect on the holiday, that we came to realize just how much work Ciao tours had really done for us behind the scenes, and it became apparent just how much thought they had put into planning our vacation. They even carefully managed the pace of our holiday. We started off very busy, with bustling cities like Rome and Florence, activities every day, a very busy schedule. Busy, yet not overwhelming, they were careful to leave us time for ourselves to explore places on our own. However, near the end of our holiday, the pace was much more relaxed and laid back and we had more time to ourselves to take it easy. I think that was better than if it had been arranged the other way. While in Italy, we met other people that had planned their own vacations, and they were constantly sweating all the little details and worrying about their next moves, where we had none of those worries, everything had been handled for us, we just had to show up and have fun. We even got a phone call from Didi at every single destination, right in our room, checking up on us and making sure everything was in order. That was a really nice touch. We got to meet Claudia in Siena for our wine and olive oil tasting afternoon. How many tour companies go out of their way to dispatch an ambassador to meet you personally on your travels? That’s red carpet service in my books.

I would highly recommend anyone considering an Italian vacation to book with Ciao, and we’ve already recommended Ciao to several friends. Thanks once again to all the good folks at Ciao Tours for planning a memorable vacation for us.

Lorne & Lori Stafford

Dear Cristina! Ciao has spoiled us for travelling any other way. The assistance with transfers eliminated the usual travel stress and all of the people that helped us were very friendly. Thanks for making this a holiday we will always remember!

Sandra, Colin, Connor & Justin

Hi Cristina, We are very sad to be back – Italy was amazing. I would first like to thank everyone at Ciao for organizing such a wonderful and memorable experience for us. Beyond a shadow of a doubt you exceeded all of our expectations. The materials you gave us and the support you provide allowed us to travel through Italy with ease.

Thank is about it. I have told many friend and colleagues about Ciao.I think you can expect a call from at least three or four people that will be planning Italian vacations next year.

Thanks again for everything, your entire team is amazing.

Jackson White

Arlene, The guides were great and everything went exceptionally well. Francesco was amazing on the Vatican tour. Very smart and one of the best. Not a single glitch. We will definitely use Ciao tours again.

Neil Devhand

Arlene, we had a great time. And thanks for all the organizing. it was all very efficient with no glitches.

Kate & Shelley MacNeil

Dearest Cristina,

Thank you very much for your welcome-back note. In short, my Italian experience with Ciao Tours was WOW!

I’ll be sending out a more comprehensive note over the next few weeks (currently – need to focus on my team and work) – but know that I’m coming back from my Italian experience with the heart and head filled with amazing memories. I am a fan of Claudia ! She totally surprised and delighted me throughout the journey .. Very well done – I truly felt like a very special guest ! Grazie mile.

Genevieve Comtois

Hello Cristina and Arlene,

What can I say – WOW!! We had the experience of a lifetime and loved every minute of it. Thanks to Ciao Tours for making our 30th wedding anniversary celebration our best anniversary to date. The itinerary was so well laid out and worked like a charm, everywhere we went we had the wonderful Ciao Tour rep Claudia checking in on us and making sure we had all the right contacts and were pleased with our excellent accommodation. Sorrento and the balcony and sea view accommodation exceeded our expectations.

The tour guides demonstrated a passion and great knowledge of the beautiful cities we toured. Our cooking experience with Paulo and Liza was top class and they treated us like royalty, can’t wait to try out some of the recipes. The drivers were very courteous and friendly and such a welcoming surprise to see when we landed at each destination.

All in all I have and will continue to highly recommend Ciao Tours to all my friends, it was worth every penny.

Thank you both for making this such a wonderful experience for us and I showed Sandra and Colin McGuire our photos last night and praised your great tour company, they can’t wait to take off in a week or so to Italy.

Best of luck and a sincere thanks from both Kevin and myself.

Freda Walshe

Hi Cristina,

Thank you for your note. We had a wonderful time in Italy and our tour was a great success – nice people, excellent guide and driver, and a wonderful itinerary. We would certainly recommend Ciao Tours and hope to travel to Italy again sometime.

Meg Crawford

Hi Cristina,

We had a fabulous time as you can imagine. All in all a really great trip thank to you all at Ciao! I won’t hesitate in recommending you for a single second!

Wendy Carey

Hi Arlene:

Thanks again for organizing such an amazing trip for us.

Diane & Steve Szetela

Hi Arlene,

Thanks to Ciao for a wonderful trip – it was aptly named Italy 101! We saw allot of Italy, it’s wonderful culture, history, and people. We probably walked a minimum of 5-6 hours a day, slept like babies at night with great food and wine in our bellies ! We had fantastic weather except for a few showers. We loved the food in Rome and Tuscany the best. Any restaurant that we went to that you recommended was excellent – we also went to many off the beaten path and it is hard to have a bad meal in Italy ! All of your guides were excellent – Antonella was fantastic, a very genuine and dramatic Italian with incredible knowledge,( I loved Rome, surprised myself how much I loved it) Nello, a character ( an hour tour of Pompeii, in my opinion would be adequate), Lisa in Siena is fun, knowledgeable and passionate about showing you this great place, ( one of my favorite places) Luca in Florence was fantastic, Silvana in Venice was lovely. They all brought Italy alive for us and gave us the knowledge to understand the history, culture and people – I always asked them to start in the market as this is the heart of the people for me! The horse meat counters and cow’s intestines and stomach linings gave me pause, but learned about why people ate this!

Arlene, Simone was lovely, and a great driver. I loved Tuscany and Rosa dei Venti – this is a very special place with a very special family. I was sad to leave there! Barbara, Stefano and her mom are delightful and perhaps the most genuine hosts I have ever met in my travels. Their home and land are magnificent, the cooking lesson was lots of fun and it was very special to have my daughter and her husband there with us. Thank you for the breakfast foods and wine. While we were there, we went to Cortona, Montepuchiano, Pienza ( that valley is stunning) Siena and several other little places that we discovered. We met some friends from Seattle there also and cooked a wonderful dinnerin our apartment.

Didi was great and very helpful. We had a great time at the wine and olive tasting and lunch – the wine master was a fantastic guy and I think that I understood every word he said in complete Italian- ( of course that could have been the wine!) I could be a Tuscan without difficulty.

Thank you and Didi and all your fantastic guides and people on the ground there!

Cathy & Doug Good

Dear Cristina,

We had a great time and everything was great thank you! Italy is amazing!!!

Kelly Sembinelli

Dear Arlene,

Yes we had a wonderful time and are ready to go back. Maybe next year. I’m just now getting caught up on garden and house work so I’ll take a few minutes to report. Everything was as promised. Our pickups were on time and Laura was most solicitous. I’m also glad you suggested we stay in Positano rather than Amalfi. All the hotels were very clean and comfortable and all the breakfasts were satisfactory.

Robert & Madelyn Cacchione

Good Morning, Arlene

Ken and I would like to send you this note of appreciation for all of the effort and diligence put into out trip to Italy from you and all the staff at Ciao Tours. Thomas was exceptional as our guide through the Vatican and around Rome the following day. We found him extremely knowledgeable and energetic!

Our walk through Venice, with Silvana, was informative, full of history and sense of wonder at life on waterways.

Florence was truly a wonderful city to view through Lucca’s eyes. He has such passion for his great city, showed us places of craftsmanship where one would not normally go.

The driving day through Montalcino with driver, Marco, was wonderful. To get into the country and see the beautiful land. We asked many questions of Marco, and he was so amiable and expressive in his knowledge and views.

It was so nice to meet up with Claudia, after having spoken with her many times on the phone. She was very attentive and supportive.

Lisa in Sienna, also showed her passion for the history of the city and the art. Talked of family life, compared notes on same.

We really enjoyed our tour with Janet.


Hi Cristina,

We had a fabulous time. Everyone in our group thought the tours booked through Ciao Tours were phenomenal and we were so glad that we had worked with your company. The tour guides were knowledgeable, helpful and we really enjoyed each one of them. The wine tour day was probably our favourite. Sienna was amazing and Leisa was a fantastic guide. Her passion of the area was evident and made our time there very special.

Claudia was wonderful and connected with us a few times while we were there. Which made us feel like they were ready for us and everything would go smooth.

The restaurant that you had suggested and made reservations at what perfect as well. We had an awesome night dinning on the patio, eating great food and drinking wine. It couldn’t have been better.

Thank you so much for your connection to great people in Italy to make our short trip so enjoyable. We did make the most of it and decided that we would just sleep on the plane ride home. Which we did.

When I go back with my family, I will definitely call you again to arrange a new Italy experience.

Michele Simpson

Dear Arlene,

Thank you and the rest of the Ciao Tours team for the memorable experience in Italy. We asked that we be “babysat” and we got our wish – Laura made sure that we felt safe, looked after and entertained. Signor Aimone Piazzi stole the day in Siena with his discorso on vines. Kudos to Ciao’ guides – Silvana, Lisa, Luca and Thomas were very knowledgeable (and being an art and history buff, I made sure that I tested them with some sneaky, esoteric questions…). Podere Sant’ Elena in Tuscany was exquisite. Oh, yes, and driving in Italy… your driving instructions literally saved us in Pisa when our GPS kept repeating “turn left after 800 yards” for the umpteenth time…

Sonja & her cousin Deanna

Dear Arlene and Cristina, The tour you arranged for us was PHENOMENAL!!!!!!” We’ve been back in Canada for a month and are still marveling over it. It was the BEST, and this will present a problem for you. We are planning another trip to Italy in 2014. How will you ever exceed our new expectations?

On our 2013 trip everything went flawlessly. It all began with our extremely “fuzzy” wish list in Calgary, culminating in an extraordinarily detailed itinerary and “turn by turn” navigation instruction. Thanks to the Ciao Calgary staff for a job very well done. In Italy, airport pick-up, hotels in all our travels were excellent – can’t say enough about the Hotel Palazzo Vitturi in Venice – trains were on time and we’re not sure how you arranged 14 days of blue skies and sunshine!

Our “personal” guides were fabulous – Thomas in Rome led us through the Vatican and the Streets of Rome in an effortless and delightful mix of art, history, politics, and popular culture. Luca in Florence possesses an intimate knowledge of that wonderful City. He knows it inside and out, from where to buy the most expensive shoes to finding the best Gelato in town, including where to find a Valentino Rossi (Italy’s TOP motorcycle racer) T-shirt for our Son. Monica provided a wonderful insight into aquaculture – the Venice fish market is a must see – and provided us with enough insight into the convoluted street/canal system that we were able to find out way (most of the time – only getting lost a couple of times). And, oh yes, she does know how to “get to the front of the line in a “crowded” St. Marks Square. We also briefly met Silvana at our scheduled Gondola ride. She was able to cut through some minor red-tape and language issues, ensuring that our Gondola Ride was perfect.

We did not ever meet Claudia, but she was ever present – by mobile telephone – making sure we arrived where we were supposed to, when we were supposed to, checking on our accommodations, and our itinerary, and also helping us to find Valentino Rossi souvenirs. It was reassuring to know that she was always available and watchful.

It was a memorable trip and we look forward to returning to Italy in September 2014. Thanks to all at Ciao Tours.

Michael & Delma Rosseker

Hello Arlene, Sorry to be so late in getting this to you. Time flys the older you get. My husband and I were so please with the trip to Italy and the detail to planning that was involved. The souvenir itinerary book a “GREAT” idea. I have told so many people about Ciao Tours and I hope to get some extra business from my continuous ravings about our trip, I would love to go again and you can be sure you will be at the top of our list. You and Maureen did a wonderful job and I can’t thank you enough.

I have enclosed a picture of Luigi and I overlooking the Amalfi Coast. I noticed your name in the cookbook so I hope you enjoy it.

Bev & Luigi D'Agnone

Hi Arlene,

I wanted to THANK YOU for the amazing trip that you put together for James and I. It was our first time to Italy and we will definitely be going back! The hotels and the tour guides that you had lined up for us were extremely helpful and professional- Franceso at Hotel Vitturi in Venezia helped us out quite a bit with local customs and attractions. He also went out of his way to ensure we were taken care of when 70% of Venice was under water.
We will for sure be recommending Ciao Tours to anyone who’s planning on going.

Thanks again!

Mika & James Nakashima

Kimberley and I want to say thank you to Ciao for the excellent job they did setting up our dream tour through Italy. I know that we didn’t really know what we wanted and couldn’t give you direction but you still did an excellent job of pulling the tour together.

Our favorite city was Sienna, our favorite people were at Marcampo/ del Duca. We tell more stories about the cooking lesson than anything else.  (even driving in Italy which I very much enjoyed once I figured out directions)   Highlights would also include the hotel in both Florence and in Sienna were fantastic, perfectly located and very friendly and helpful. The hotel in Rome was also very good, we just didn’t spend as much time there as we did in the other places. I was a little disappointed with the accommodations in Cinque Terra, The room was ridiculously small and I honestly could not turn around in the shower. I do realize this was a late addition to the tour once we found out we had a couple extra days. That said, Cinque Terra is absolutely beautiful and we would definitely recommend it and return.

One aspect of the trip I would recommend to anyone, particularly novice travelers like us, is the guides through Sienna, Rome and Florence. Rome, In particular was memorable.

In short, the trip lived up to our expectations and was worthy of a 25th anniversary gift yo ourselves. I will carry the memories forever.

I believe that the trip was a success due to the insight and professionalism of the staff at Ciao. My early conversations with Arlene and the in person meetings with Caterina set the stage perfectly.
I want to make particular note of how much we enjoyed dealing with Alessandra. The day spent with her at the wine tasting was fabulous but far more important was the care and attention she gave us , everything from helping with dinner reservations to assuring me the train tickets were in order. I can sometimes get a little worked up and she managed to keep me calm throughout the trip. I can’t thank her enough.

Thank you again, We anticipate going back to Italy and will not hesitate to make you our first call!

Murray & Kimberley Schmidt

Hello Didi, Ron & I arrived home safely on Thursday; importing colds along with souvenirs. We are just getting back to normal now.

We have such wonderful memories of our time spent with Ciao Tours.

It started with Deanna picking us up from the ship to transport us to Rome where Thomas waited to show us the sights. Thomas was superb. His knowledge, that he generously shared with us, his foresight to have pre-bought tickets for the Coliseum so that we could go right in, the restaurant he recommended for lunch everything was first rate. We cannot express our thanks enough that we had the good fortune to have Thomas escort us to Rome’s highlights. We saw more and learnt more in one day that others we talked to had done on a number of trips. Everything was so incredible and interesting that our day flew by so fast. We also wanted to thank you for the taxi fares that were included for us in Rome. I had twisted my knee the day before and was challenged to get around. The taxi made it possible to get in all the sights we wanted to see.

Naples turned out to be a very busy city in the morning so Lino took us to Hurculeum which was a real treat and then on the Coral factory. A treat for us was to try a pizza in Naples in one of the restaurants recommended by our guide. In the afternoon we got a city tour and escorted back to the ship. A good day.

Venice – we met Hillary at St. Marks Square and she toured us through all the small streets, bridges off the beaten path. We also got to go into the St. Marks Basilica. The most important point for me is that Hillary, like Thomas knew all the history, all the details, all the stories and kept us captivated. We had wanted to see not only the common tourist spots but also the local spots and Hillary did that for us. Showing us the markets with wonderful fruit, vegetables, fish (some of which we had never seen before) and meat shops. She is so personable. That night at dinner one of our table companions that was an airline attendant that had visited Venice many times and started asking us questions about things he didn’t know. Hillary had taught us so much that we could answer all his questions.

Your tours made our holiday for us. Thank you so much.

Dianne & Ron Stewart

Follow up on our AMAZING TRIP:

All hotels/villa you chose were great. Tour guides were great. Cooking class. bike ride and olive tasting were also well chosen. Totally a great trip!!!

Thank you soooo much for an amazing trip to your great country. We will be back sometime for another planned trip to Italy.

Joanne Lennon

Thank you, Christina. We had the most amazing time in Italy and a lot of it is because of all the help we received from Ciao Tours.

The guides, Adriana in Rome and Silvana in Venice were excellent and they showed us so much in such a short time. Their knowledge of the history of each city was astounding and only added to the awe we were already experiencing.

The drivers were reliable and helpful in sharing their knowledge of various points of interest as we passed by. All arrangements for tickets were in order and the information booklet provided was very much appreciated. All in all, we felt well looked after and didn’t need to worry about a thing while we were travelling.

We also appreciated your efforts in trying to contact us in Italy even though we weren’t carrying cell phones. Somehow you always managed to make contact – amazing! We would highly recommend your organization to anyone travelling to Italy.

On behalf of David, Irene, Doug, John and Elsie, thank you again for helping to make this vacation so memorable!

Rita Janzen

I am writing this letter to express how impressed I was by our amazing trip to Italy with Ciao Tours!

Even before we left for Italy we received a welcome package with a travel bag, customized guide book, maps, hotel brochures, and travel tags.The detailed tour book was custom made for our tour and generated excitement over our upcoming trip. I traveled with 4 people (myself, my husband and two girlfriends) and none of us had been to Italy before so we didn’t know what to expect. Ciao Tours helped us to prepare for our adventure.

Once we arrived the detailed directions and well planned ititnerary helped to make our trip run smoothly. It was also nice to have a contact at Ciao Tours to call just in case we needed help or missed our train. Our contact was Laura and she was so wonderful. She called us right away when we checked into our first hotel in Rome and was so welcoming and excited for us. She checked in with us at each hotel and made us feel so special. We requested a last minute change of plans as we wanted to squeeze in a trip to Capri and Laura made it possible. She was so amazing!!!

Our accomodations in each city were wonderful. We enjoyed our breakfast everyday and the staff was very friendly and informative. What we really enjoyed most were the individualized tours by our informative and energetic tour guides. We had Antonella in Rome and she was very efficient, full of life, knowledgeable and fun. In Pompeii which was unusually hot and pretty miserable our guide Luca was one of our favorites because he made Pompeii come to life and we almost forgot how hot it was that day. He was great! In Sienna we had Lisa Barbagli who educated us on the history of Sienna including the famous Il Campo and the celebrations in the differect sections of the city based on the winner of the races.

We could imagine the races and crowds of people gathered in the center of the city during the famous horse race. In Florence we had Luca Santiccioli who was born in Sienna but also a proud Florence citizen. He gave us a wonderful walking tour and such detailed information about the history of the two powerful families competing for power in Florence. Luca had so many recommendations of the best restaurants, and gelato places which we loved. Last but not least we ended in Venice with Silvana Bortolini. She was so amazing as well and provided us with so much history and information during our walking tour of the city. She also gave us the best recommendation of my favorite meal in Italy so I am extra grateful to her.

We had a very special and memorable trip thanks to Ciao Tours and will definitely be coming back to visit Italy hopefully soon! Grazie Ciao Tours!!!

John & Lori Chang

Arlene, I wanted to tell you how wonderful our tour was last year. You have completely spoiled us for future travel. We absolutely loved all the arrangements that you had made for accommodation, transportation, activities and guides. We have extolled the virtues of Ciao Tours to all our friends and will continue to do so every chance we get.

Peter & Marie Lewin


Overall, your staff were great! Didi and Claudia were wonderful and were there if needed. They called and checked up on me, and although I didn’t have any concerns, it was nice to have a ‘voice’ close at hand if needed. Would I use Ciao Tours again ~ absolutely! You and your team were wonderful, took great care of me as well as my group, you ordered sunshine for our trip…. it was fabulous! The girls had a great time and enjoyed it.

Celina Mason

Hello Caterina;

YES I did and I received a GLOWING, AMAZING review about Ciao tours. He LOVED you guys, you were AMAZING and went above and beyond in every way. My client could not stop raving about everyone he encountered from your company and I will DEFINITELY be booking with you again in the future and I have told everyone in the office about it so you will probably be seeing some more Crowfoot AMA bookings. Thank you to you and everyone for taking such fantastic care of my clients. The fact that the tour guide went WITH my client to the police station to translate and help them out when things got stolen from their luggage (which was an upsetting time for them) was so impressive to me. I really can’t thank you enough!

Sara Woods, AMA Travel Calgary Crowfoot

I am writing this letter to express how impressed I was by our amazing trip to Italy with Ciao Tours!
We had a great time in Italy. Highlights were Tuscany and the tour at the Gagliole Winery. Our cooking class with Lisa and Paolo Bosco was fantastic! The food was incredible and they are a wonderful couple. Venice was very crowded and it was very hot the whole time. The guides were all very good and answered lots of John’s questions. The sailboat was awesome and everything worked so well. Thank you for everything and all the special touches in our rooms. The calls from Didi were so nice. Thank you!

Jill & John Myer

I wanted to send you a note to thank you for arranging our recent trip to Italy – we had a wonderful time with lots of memories to cherish forever – all of the arrangements made by you (apartments, drivers, guides, cooking lesson etc) went off without a hitch – I would highly recommend you to anyone travelling to Italy, in fact , I have already recommended you to my friends thanks again and we’ll contact you again next time we travel to Italy !!

Lisa Moore & Family

Hi Cristina,
We had an amazing time in Italy. Hard to be back. I certainly miss having wine with my meals, my morning espresso and the amazing food and sights.

Absolutely loved Italy, and the work that your team put in made it extremely enjoyable and stress-free. I would not hesitate at all to recommend Ciao Tours to anyone wanting to travel to Italy.

Thanks again for everything! Looking forward to returning to Italy, hopefully in the near future.

Erin & Mel Colborne

Arlene, just a short note to thank you and your team for arranging all the details for our recent trip. Everything was wonderful.

We had a great time with Nadia on our Vatican & Ancient Rome tour days. She was a wealth of information and such a great personality. We thoroughly enjoyed her. You can tell she loves her job.

Our accommodations were great. The drivers were wonderful and friendly.

PS the restaurant reservations in Rome for our first night at La Giara da Marco was excellent. So good we went back for dinner on our last night in Rome as well.

Thanks again to everyone on your team that made our trip such a memorable experience.

Sandy & Brock Winter

Hi Arlene, Just wanted to send you a note to thank you very much for arranging our tour of Italy.

We had a fabulous time, due very much to your arrangements and your wonderful staff in Italy.

They were with us every step of the way and so very personable and helpful!! Claudia and Didi are terrific.

Thank you again for all your help, and we will recommend you to anyone travelling to Italy, as will Dean, Cliff and Veda who were also very pleased with your service!!!

Kathy & Lyle Cook

Thanks Arlene it was a great trip and worry free. All of the hotels were very nice, and the guides were very friendly and informative. And a special thanks to Didi who was in contact with us on each and every move. You obviously have a great organization that is first class you must and should be very proud of it. Again Thanks to all.

Dean & Kathryn Cook

Hi Arlene,
We received your telephone message as well yesterday, we returned safe, sound and tired Saturday afternoon and are back at work going a little crazy trying to catch up.

Thank you and all of your staff who made this one of the most enjoyable, fantastic trips ever, a dream come true honestly. You have an incredible team, from Didi in Italy to all of the guides and drivers etc. etc. They were all just super!

I know we would not have had the same experience if we had not chosen Ciao Tours, you made it easy for us and we learned so much, no travel book would have filled us with the information and history the guides did.

We have several people already asking for your information and will continue to pass it on.

Edie & Kevin Sellick

Hi Arlene, I know I’m a bit late but I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our trip to Italy this fall. Special thanks to our tour guides – Thomas in Rome, Luca in Florence, Silvanna in Venice and Lisa in Sienna. Each of them were passionate about their city and went out of their way to make our experience special. The hotels were were great and we were totally impressed with all the care you and your staff went to to make sure all the details were taken care of. Our personalized guide book was accurate to the smallest detail and took most of the worry out of our trip – I didn’t know that was possible for us! There were many others not mentioned that helped along the way and each one made our trip special, all the way down to the proprietor and his wife in that special restaurant in Rome that you arranged for us. So glad it was close to our hotel! We also really enjoyed our wine tasting and lunch at Eno-Ritorante where the older gentleman was unique and full of character. you and your staff were great! Please pass alnong our thanks.

Trent & Judy Taylor

Hi Cristina,

Our trip was great! The tour guides and drivers arranged by ciao tours were excellent and really did give us a great background of the areas toured and guidelines on how best to spend our time when not assisted by a tour guide.

It was a pleasure to meet Alessandra and did appreciate her attention to us while travelling. Although we did not seek her attention it was nice to know that she was there should we have any concerns that we needed addressed.

We had a great trip! Thank you for your attention and we will recommend ciao tours to our friends!

Karen & Peter Stickls

Hi Cristina, we had a great time and we were really impressed with the service from Ciao Tours.
The chauffer was on time at the Ship dock and when we flew out of Rome.
The Guide in Rome, Gracia , was fantastic. Her knowledge and the way she guided us around really made our two tours very memorable. We watched other so-called “private tours (12-20 people) with headphones and that would have driven me crazy.
Can’t wait to do another tour. Need at least a week in Rome to see everything. I also want to visit Venice and Florence, especially for the Opera in Florence. I think there’s an annual Puccini event.
Thanks for everything!

Dave & Avril Rogers

Hello Ciao tours,
We just wanted to say a huge thank you to you all for making our first trip to Italy everything we dreamed of and more. All of your staff were so pleasant to deal with and we greatly appreciated having Didi check in on us every time we moved locations. It was nice to know we had someone in the country we could contact if we had questions or needed any recommendations. Although, the independent tour we took was so well organized we did not need any help.
Overall, we were very impressed with the level of detail and organization that you created for our personal trip to Italy. Travelling to this new country was completely stress-free for us and we were able to just enjoy every day to the fullest. We would recommend Ciao tours to anyone travelling to Italy (and have already!) Thank you for making our first trip to Italy so memorable, we’re sure it will not be the last. Grazie!

Steve & Lauren Melnychyn

Cristina thanks for your note. Our trip to Italy was absolutely outstanding and an experience of a life time. The tour you put together was outstanding and your staff in Italy were all first class.
We thank you very much for the outstanding memories created during our trip.

George & Laura Croft

Arlene, I just wanted to say Thank You for putting together an outstanding trip to Italy.
Everything was wonderful from the professional guides , tours, wine tastings , restaurants ,hotels and the places /things you suggested to do . Our contact in Italy ,Claudia was very responsive , helpful and a great resource when needed.
The directions to and from various destinations throughout Italy were very accurate and easy to understand. Even more accurate than our GPS.
This is the second time my wife and I had the pleasure of working with you and your team and again you exceeded our expectations.
Our trip was outstanding and we can’t thank you enough for helping make our vacation so special.

Gerry Calabrese

Good Morning, Arlene,

Ken and I would like to send you this note of appreciation for all of the effort and diligence put into out trip to Italy from you and all the staff at Ciao Tours. Thomas was exceptional as our guide through the Vatican and around Rome the following day. We found him extremely knowledgeable and energetic!
Our walk through Venice, with Silvana, was informative, full of history and sense of wonder at life on waterways.

Florence was truly a wonderful city to view through Lucca’s eyes. He has such passion for his great city, showed us places of craftsmanship where one would not normally go.

The driving day through Montalcino with driver, Marco, was wonderful. To get into the country and see the beautiful land. We asked many questions of Marco, and he was so amiable and expressive in his knowledge and views.

It was so nice to meet up with Claudia, after having spoken with her many times on the phone. She was very attentive and supportive.

Lisa in Sienna, also showed her passion for the history of the city and the art. Talked of family life, compared notes on same.

We really enjoyed our tour with Janet, in Pienza. Was so interesting to have views from someone who lives in one of the smaller hillside towns. The town itself has stunningly beautiful views!

Again, Thank you to all, drivers, transport people and especially the guides who truly brought the vibrancy of history to life.

Marilyn & Ken King

Hi Arlene,

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that i have spoken to my clients, Jim & Linda Lamb, about their recent trip to Italy. They had a great time, were able to see what they wanted plus more. They were very pleased with your services and said their guide in Venice was “awesome”. I want to personally thank you for helping give them a “trip of a lifetime”. I appreciated your time and patience as we were planning everything and I (as well as the Lamb’s) will certainly recommend your company to anyone looking for tours of Italy. Many thanks!

Bev Moess, Tier One Travel


Just a brief note to let you know how much we appreciated the planning that you did for our trip to the wine country of northern Italy. The guides that you organized were great, and the accommodations were excellent. Altogether, it was a most enjoyable holiday. In fact, the other couple travelling with us said that it was the first holiday that they had taken that they didn’t want to end! Please pass on to Claudia our thanks for her help in Italy. She was available to help when we asked, and her “mother hen” phone calls to us to make sure that all was well made us feel like someone knew how much hand-holding we needed. Let’s see… you organized our trip to Tuscany. Now Piemonte. When we decide to do the South of Italy, we will be in touch! Many thanks!

Richard & Maureen Swift

Hi Arlene,

I wanted to thank you again for coordinating our fabulous trip to Italy. Claudia was fantastic and would call us just about every day making sure that everything was okay. We had the most beautiful weather. It only rained a couple of hours in Verona and a few hours one day in Santa Margarita. We were so lucky !!! Probably our two favorite places were Lake Como and Monfore D’Alba. We especially enjoyed the Grand Hotel Tremezzo and the Villa Beccaris. They were fabulous in every way. The little town of Monfore D’Alba was charming. There was a Marco Polo festival going on and the entire little town was decorated. Thanks again to you and Claudia for making this truly a memorable and fabulous trip for us.

Cathy & Tony La Rocco

Hi Arlene and Ciao team,

We are back from Italy and we LOVED every single second of it! Thank you for all the hard work and organizing your team did. The booklet that was put together of our itinerary was so helpful. We had that book with us at all times, it had all the details we needed. Once we landed in Venice Luca was waiting for us with a sign at the airport and helped us get to our water taxi. After the long flight is was nice to come off the plane and know there would be someone there to take care us. Laura called us when we arrived at our hotel in Venice and followed us through our trip touching base with us at each of our stops. We have such a wonderful time and enjoyed each place. It was a good mix of city and country and of tours and down time on our own. The organization of it was perfect. You made our trip easy and carefree. Thank you so much!

Tammy & John Shewciw

Buon Giorno, Arlene!

I just wanted to send you a note to let you know how much Michele and I enjoyed our trip to Italy. I can honestly say it exceeded my expectations! Italy is a beautiful country with friendly people, delicious food and great wine (not to mention the history!). Michele and I were so pleased with our itinerary. Although we only had two weeks, it felt like we were able to experience so much; from sipping wine in a castle in Chianti country to touring Florence with Carlo, to hiking through Cinque Terre and finally scrambling around the crazy and unique city of Venice.

Any chance I get I tell people about the wonderful service you provide. Our trip would not have been half as good if it weren’t for all the hard work and planning done by everyone at Ciao Tours. We did not have to worry or think about a thing. You had everything covered. All we had to do was be up everyday to enjoy new sites and experiences. OK, I’ll admit, the trains stressed me out a bit, but it’s healthy for one to leave her comfort zone every now and again!

Caterina did a great job reviewing our itinerary with us before we left. We really appreciated her calling to follow up as soon as we returned home. All the drivers were exceptional as well. They were always on time, with clean vehicles and pleasant to talk with. You were not kidding – Marco is extremely handsome. I’d have to put him in the top 5 best looking males I’ve seen. Hee Hee.

And, finally a BIG thank you to you, Arlene, for all your patience as we hammered out our itinerary 67+ times, put the trip on hold, fired up the trip again and phoned & emailed you numerous times with questions and changes. You were always very accommodating and fun to chat with on the phone. Thank You and Take Care!

Deanna Steiger & Michele Peterson

Hi Arlene,

Thanks for your kind note and for all your efforts in making the arrangements for our fantastic Italy trip. Travelling on a long-haul flight with a 17 month old is not an experience I will repeat in the future, but once we actually got to Tuscany, everything was wonderful. Thanks again for all your help with the arrangements – it was a great trip!

James & Kristi Obright

Hi Arlene,

Well we’ve had a week now to get over our jet lag. I’m not sure why coming home is always so much harder. I just wanted to send you a note to say a big huge ‘THANK YOU’. We had such a fabulous trip and we owe it all to you, Laura, Claudia and everyone else at Ciao tours who organized everything. From the accomodations, to the tours, to the transportation, everything went so smoothly. There is honestly no way we could have had such a wonderful time without your help. We were taken care of beyond our expectations. The hotels were first class and the tour guides felt like you were hanging out with a good friend. We learned so much about Italian history, which was absolutly fascinating.

Unfortunatly the weather did not cooperate in Siena but as Lisa, our guide, said “Shit Happens”. She was so cute. I hope Claudia was not offended when we decided so skip out of the Palio dinner. After the busy time in the previous 3 citys, the cancellation of the trial and the poor weather, we just didn’t feel like waiting around for the dinner. We watched the Palio on T.V. the next night and it was very cool. We also really enjoyed Volterra, what a neat little town. The cooking lesson was a highlight for all of us, what fun! The only thing was it was perhaps a bit long for the kids. It was about 5 hours in total. I didn’t end up getting the recipes from Ivana, I was hoping you might be able to get those for me. What a beautiful spot they have and they were so hospitable.

It was amazing to finish the holiday at the Cinque Terre. What an incredibly beautiful place and our hotel was amazing. We were able to relax and enjoy the views and hike between the villages. I honestly cannot think of anything you could have done to make our trip more enjoyable, we will recommend Ciao Tours to anyone we know that is going to Italy. I only wish we could use you for everywhere we want to travel!!

Thank you again for everything you have done to make this a trip of a lifetime!!!!

Wendy, Jason, Kara & Cale Downey


I wanted to let you know that we were very impressed by your organization of our trip to Italy. Your drivers and knowledgeable guides did an amazing job – always on time – always personable. We felt very secure and relaxed. The accommodation was excellent. It was a pleasure to be in “old town” in the sites we visited… it made the experience all the more memorable. For us it was “The trip of a Lifetime” (except that now I have the travel bug and I’d love to do it all over again next year).

You can bet that we will be recommending your organization to anyone we know who wants to see Italy.

Bev Dahl & Dan Kilburn

Hi Caterina,

I must compliment you on choosing hotels that were very convenient to the activities in each of the cities we visited.

Our cooking lesson at Zeppelin in Orvieto was one of the highlights of the trip for all four of us. We had so much fun cooking with Chef Lorenzo and his interns, and by the time we sat down for lunch we were stuffed! I would HIGHLY recommend this to any of your clients. The same can be said for our wine and olive oil tasting in Siena. It was great to meet with Laura, who is so proud of her hometown, and have her come with us to the restaurant to introduce is to Alessandra, who led our tasting. We also really enjoyed our tour of Florence with Giovanni. He was so knowledgeable it was unbelievable!

Venice was another highlight of the trip for me, and Hotel da Bruno was in an excellent location. Your advice to buy a card to ride the vaporetto was very good and we enjoyed touring the city this way. We also enjoyed a tour of one of the glass factories in Murano, courtesy the hotel.

We really appreciated Laura checking in with us throughout our trip – it was nice to know that if we needed help we could get in touch with her easily.

Thank you so much for your work in getting everything organized for us, I will certainly recommend you to anyone I hear of planning a trip to Italy!

Judy Epp

Hi Everyone!

We just wanted to drop you a line and share with you are feelings about our Italy trip. We are so glad that Jay and Evelyn gave us your contact information! What a pleasure being picked up at the train, taken to our hotel, taken to and from the train again, and to and from the hotel. Didi was amazing, calling us and making sure all was well, it’s so nice to know that you have someone to call.

Thanks to everyone at Ciao Tours, Arlene, Didi, et al, we had a fabulous trip! Next time we go we will call again, and we will be sure to tell our friends about you


Viner Family

Hi Arlene

Just wanted to thank you and all of your colleagues here and in Italy for an amazing trip! Deb and I had the trip of a lifetime. All of your suggestions and directions were just what we needed to have a wonderful time. I can’t say enough how great the trip was. All of the guides and drivers were very special people. We loved our wine tasting and olive oil teaching in Sienna. The hotels were amazing. Many thanks for all of your work and care in planning our trip.

Many thanks!

Pat Lamb

Hi Caterina & Arlene!

We had the perfect honeymoon! It was everything we hoped it would be. Everything you arranged for us worked out great! It was so nice to have someone like Laura who was checking in on us to make sure everything was OK.

Thank you so much for all of your help in planning our vacation. We had a wonderful time and can’t wait until our next trip!

Tracy & Wylie

Hi Arlene,

Sorry I missed your call this morning. Yes, our trip was absolutely amazing. Our only regret is that we didn’t book our whole time with you! Truly enjoyed our walking tours, wine and olive tasting. Our time in the Tuscany area was a welcomed calm after riding a bike on very busy narrow roads along the Amalfi coast. Thanks on behalf of us all!


Dear Arlene,

Franco and I just arrived back in Calgary last night from Europe. We wish to thank you and all your associates for again planning a great trip to Italy. We had a wonderful time, saw many beautiful sites. The view of Mt. Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, from our room, was breathtaking. All the drivers and tour guides we met were all very kind, helpful and professional. Also we very much appreciated the periodic calls that we received from Claudia, she made us feel well taken care of. Thank you all very much and we look forward to our next adventure in Italy.

Franco & Luisa Imbrogno

Hi Caterina,

thanks for your email, just wanted you to know that we had a great time in Italy and again Ciao did a first class job for us. All the guides, drivers, hotel were outstanding and made our trip perfect. I look forward to another trip to Italy soon I think it will be family trip with our school aged kids.

Cathy McClelland

We are now back from our fabulous holiday. We all had a wonderful time. Your choice of hotels, itinerary, tours, tour guides, drivers was outstanding. Italy is now one of our favourite spots!

Thanks for taking the time to put such a great package together for us.

Jan, Hans & Daniel Jonasson

We want to thank you again for helping us plan our wonderful adventure through Italy.  We both feel that this was one of the best trips we have ever been on……… partly because we were in romantic Italy but mainly because you helped us organize such a terrific itinerary. We saw all the things we wanted to see (and more), drank loads of great Italian wine and ate way too many carbs!

From our walking tour in Rome to our wine tasting at Verrazzano winery the fun never stopped and as an added bonus we learned so much about Italy. I can sum it up with one word….priceless!

Ciao and grazie,

Evelyn and Jay Hamiton

I just wanted to let you know what a great time our group had in Italy. Your arrangements were absolutely perfect!  Our hotels were all terrific, the information you provided for trains etc was invaluable and your booklet was never out of reach !  I can’t thank you enough for ensuring that everything about our trip went smoothly.  We traveled “without a hitch”, thanks to you.  I will definitely recommend you to anyone I know who is thinking of travelling to Italy.  First class job, and we want you to know that it was much appreciated.  This was a trip of a lifetime for my husband and I and you definitely added to our experience in a very positive way.

Mary-Anne Lyons

e had a fabulous time!!!  I would love to tell you all about it.  We can’t say enough good things about Ciao and how well organized everything was.  Thanks again for arranging everything.  It was awesome!

Susan & Richard Sawka

We had a “fantastic” trip. There was nothing that could have been made it better. Travelling the way we did with all plans made and someone in touch with us was like having Mom always there.

We have recommended your company’s name to many of our friends and they are planning to be in touch. My favorite bit of information I like to tell them is that women have the company so every detail is taken care of.

Thanks for everything to you and Laura.

Helen Miller

We’re back home, and getting readjusted from our trip.

Roberta and I just wanted to tell you that everything was terrific and all your connections went off like clockwork. Even the part I was most concerned about: being met in the lobby of Hotel Bruno at 4 am and water-taxied to the airport.

Your rep there was most congenial, got us loaded onto the boat and off to the airport, with great efficiency. In fact, Claudia, the staffs of both hotels, and their locations and arrangements were all great.

Ever since our Tuscany trip, I’ve sung your praises to anyone who even mentions going to Italy.  And I certainly intend to keep doing so.

Jim McMahon

Arlene, I just wanted to thank you and Ciao Tours for a wonderfully organized trip! Evan and I had an amazing and unforgettable trip together. From being picked up at the airport, to the phone calls checking up on us, to people meeting us (Venice) to orient us, to being picked up at 3:00 am to go to the airport…we were so well looked after. Everything was wonderful. Thank you SO much again for all your work!

Maureen Moore

Hi Arlene,

We really did have a fabulous time in Italy-but, really what is there not to love!  There were sooo many people and places that made our honeymoon incredible – I really must say Antica Torre was absolutely exceptional – I have never had such great and friendly service in my life.  I would recommend that hotel and the people who work there to anyone – in fact I have been raving about them.  Just so you know – one lady in particular went out of her way and bought Mike and I two bottles of their room scents – over 150. euro without giving her any money until we got back to Florence that evening.  So amazing and such great staff!

Thank-you sooo much for everything – for your wonderful staff who were amazing and we were very appreciative of Claudia checking up with us and on us.  She was great!  Couldn’t be happier about our experience and of course can’t wait to go back.

Kate Hamilton

Dear Arlene,

I wanted to take this opportunity to personally, and on behalf of my clients, Keith & Helen Herzog, thank you and your staff for the wonderful tour arrangements you completed for us at the very last minute before the Herzog’s departure for a month long journey to Europe including two weeks in Italy.

Meeting over lunch last week, Keith, Helen and I talked in length about their experiences in Italy, The Herzogs had only good things to say about the troup arangements in Rome and Tuscany and found all the guides to be personale, completely knowledgeable and ver professional; the felt very comfortable in every situation and that the level of ease and comfort contributes to a very satifying outcome. Everything worked pretty seamlessly for my clients and thier time in Rome and Tuscany was greatly enhanced not only by the tour arrangements you provided them but by the support of the staff who were available to welcome them and answer any questions along the way. Please pass along their thanks to your crew in Italy for a “job well done”.

My thanks, Arlene, for helping me work out all the details on short notice. That kind of response and outcome will make it easy to call you first when I am planning special programs for Italy.

Marica Gilbert, Winsome Travel
Hi Arlene,

I know this note is far overdue, but I did want to send you a note after our conversation to thank you again for a perfect vacation.You and your staff made our trip to Italy something we will never forget.We keep talking about when we are going to go back again and we have only been home for 3 months!

Everything in the trip was seamless, from the drivers picking us up at the airport, to the check-in at the hotels, to the tour guides. Both Francesca and Luca were fabulous tour guides! They made sure that we knew all the highlights of Rome and Florence and they were both so well educated in architecture and history. They could answer all the questions we had and more! Excellent service by both!

Tuscany was so special and made even more special by staying with Sylvia and Pablo! They were the most amazing hosts and truly made our trip to Italy spectacular! They gave us directions and tips everyday to the must see places and all of them were worth visiting. Our meal on our first night was so delicious and we were made to feel welcome from the minute we arrived.

The breakfasts everyday were lovely and so tasty and what a view each morning…we are missing that so much! The most special evening was our cooking class and dinner, what a perfect way to celebrate turning 40! I am still dreaming about that cake and the fun we had that night.

Lastly, the wine tour day was awesome! Touring Barbi and Fontodi in one day with the most amazing food and drivers to get us to and from was impressive.

And to have birthday cake at each location, well that was over the top…I think everyone was getting tired of my 40th by the end, but I must say you truly made it memorable!

Overall, I cannot say enough about the tour and the people that work with you along the way to make everything run smoothly. We would definitely recommend your company to anyone wanting to see Italy and truly take in its unique wines, food, history, architecture and more.

With much appreciation,

Michelle McKenna

Hi Arlene,

Buon Natale!

We enjoy your newsletters very much and we are as delighted by your success as you are.  From the perspective of two of your customers, Roberta and I want to thank you and all of your staff for the wonderful travels and excellent attention we have invariably received.  Your success is richly deserved.

Our latest Rome/Venice arrangements were superb.  Our earlier Tuscany trip was complicated, but executed flawlessly.  Neither of us will ever forget David, within a short walk from our hotel, or the agriturismo location overlooking San Gimignano.

I’m sure there are many others who join us in saying a resounding thanks for all of your efforts.  We sing your praises to every serious traveler we talk to.

Thank you all, and Merry Christmas!

Jim & Robata McMahon

Hi Arlene Thank you for your note. We had a wonderful trip and really enjoyed Italy. Everything was great and your organization was very professional in everyway. Each part of the tour was right on time and very well organized. Thanks again for making our 8 days go by far to quickly. Thank you!

Gord & Michele Brandon

Good Morning Arlene, The trip was wonderful. This is our first time staying at a bed and breakfast and I can say with confidence we started at the top of the bed and breakfast experience. Silvia and Paolo could not have been better hosts. We can’t thank them enough for allowing us dinners in their home – it made all the difference. Getting around Tuscany was very easy. Our tour to Sienna was wonderful and the guide you sent to us was friendly and of course knowledgeable. A pleasure to spend the day with. Thank you for your assistance in setting up an amazing holiday experience.

Erica Lebbert

Buon giorno Cristina, I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving; Once more I want to Thank You for the tour you put together for us ladies. All the staff were very knowledgeable, helpful, and fun to be with…. We would like you to pass our Thank You to Claudia, Lisa, Axlesandra, Marco, and to Mirko who was always on time, and very good at his job. He was also very entertaining and reliable. Thanks again Cristina to all your co-workers and you for putting a tour together for us that quite honestly we will never forget .

Christine Lakusta

Hi Christina Overall we had a wonderful trip. People ask us what the highlight was and it is hard to sum up. We loved the hill towns in Umbria and Tuscany. Madis villa is beautiful and in a really nice location.Our guide in Rome, Antonella, is a beauiful person. She was a joy to hang out with for those 2 days. We would go back to Rome in a heart beat. All of your arrangements were great and the staff at all of the hotels were very helpful. Thanks again.

Peter & Shannon Kidd

Dear Ciao Tours, We enjoyed a vacation to Italy this fall organized by Ciao Tours and wanted to let you know what a fantastic time we had. We spent fifteen activity-filled days travelling in a foreign country confident that everything was planned and organized to the last detail. I have no doubt that we wouldn’t have managed to do or see even half the things we did had we tried to plan this trip on our own.

Jennifer Vézina & Howard Brekke

Hi Christina, I had a bit of time this afternoon so I thought I would send this off to you before I let is slide too long! As I said – we had a terrific time. Please tell Claudia that we really appreciated all her phone calls and concern for us! What a super nice person she is!! You all are! And you all do your jobs very well. I believe that your organization of the trip is what made it so enjoyable. All your suggestions were spot on! It was great! Keep up the good work and I will make sure the word gets around!! Ciao!!

Kathy (Marion & Devon) Bauer

Fabulous! Lots of laughs, great food, magnificent things to see and do. Ciao was great, especially the cooking day in Tuscany (probably the highlight of the trip but there were many)!

Susan Fraser

Dear Arlene, My thank you note is saved on my computer as, “the best, the best, the best”, and honestly, (I feel so guilty saying this as I am ½ Greek, and the land of my people Greece would certainly disown me) – but truly Italy and all the arrangements made by Ciao Tours – well, let’s put it this way, I cried when our Italian Summer holiday book arrived – unbelievable the detail, the information and the first week we returned I cried every time I tried to explain about our incredible trip; I so wanted to be back to the land of my new people! A thousand thank you’s for a very, very memorable trip, all courtesy of Ciao Tours!

Marina Tuthill & Meredith (MiMi) Hardie

Hi Arlene, Our trip to Italy was incredible. Thank you to Ciao Tours for helping make a dream come true for Tony and I. Everything was made so easy for us and there was very little we would have changed. The tour guides were fantastic. Thank you again for making this trip a memorable and special one.

Cathy LaRocco

We wanted to express our appreciation for the great job you did on organizing our fantastic trip to Italy. Your care and attention to detail inspired confidence in all your arrangements. Our accomodations were not only clean but very conveniently located. Your directions and transfers were accurate and minimized our wait times as well as stress levels.

We were pleasantly surprised by Laura’s genuine concern and follow-up during our travels throughout Italy. It was reassuring to know that we had that support in the event of any problems.

The people that you lined up to assist us in making the most of our trip were gracious and helpful. While in Sorrento, Maurizo enriched our drive down the Amalfi coast by adding a lot of color with his stories and descriptions of the local towns. We had one of our favorite meals in a restaurant that he suggested in Ravello. We gained a new appreciation for Italian olive oil and wine from Alessandra’s knowledgeable presentation. She was particularly charming and gracious as she explained the finer points of enjoying Tuscan cuisine. Rita was an absolute joy to tour around Sienna with. Her pride and knowledge of Sienna’s history, culture and politics and the joy she took in sharing it with us was obvious. Eddo and Maria Luisa made us feel like we were part of their family for the cooking class and dinner that we enjoyed afterwards along with their daughter and grandson. And yes, Tammy, this was a highlight of the trip for Mark as well. Thanks for talking him into the cooking class. Mark and Eddo also seemed to share a common love of good Italian wine.

Once again, thank you for all the assistance you provided in making our trip such a wonderful experience.

Mark & Heather Kolaczek/Sommers

Dear Arlene et al,

We’re back, safe and sound with a host of happy memories to savor in the weeks ahead.  And many many thanks to all the planning and work all of you have done on our behalf.  It was such a wonderful trip and we were all so impressed with every aspect of the planning process and the final itinerary is so professional and detailed…a real keepsake!  It was this attention to detail that made it unfold so smoothly.

I can’t say enough how well the trip went, thanks to your planning and detailed explanations.  We ALL had the trip of a lifetime …. And the family is still speaking to each other!!!  It was a great celebration of  our 50 years together!

Thank you all from all of us.

Verna, Bryan, Kathryn, Tricia, Gordon, Emily & Erin (The Pryce Family)

It has been two months now since Melissa and I returned from our amazing Honeymoon. We talk about Italy constantly. I am still not over the food and I fear I will never recover. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for introducing us to Italy. Melissa and I were engaged for four years and have been together for eight. From the first time we discussed what a dream honeymoon would be for us we both dreamed of Italy. It is very rare that reality exceeds expectations, especially when you have dreamed of something for years, but that is exactly what this trip did. There is absolutely no way we would have had the opportunity to make this trip a reality without Ciao.

Tammy and Arlene, you are some of the warmest people I have ever met, I mean that sincerely. The experience you gave my wife and I will last us forever. I have nothing but positive things to say about the places we stayed, the tour guides, the personal transportation, the drivers, the restaurant suggestions, and all of the materials you sent us. Overall, your dedication to detail and the attention to the travelers thoughts and feelings is what made this trip so special. I really can not put into words how this trip effected us. I know for a fact there is no way we would have ever traveled all over Italy without your help. Thank you so much.

Jimmie & Melissa
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