Our Client Reviews
Hi Ali, yes we had a great time and the weather was fantastic as well.
The guides and drivers were all excellent and knowledgeable and we enjoyed all of the tours. Everyone was on time and we had no issues. It was also nice to meet Claudia and helped with her being there for any issues and to update us on the next days schedule.
We liked the central location of all of the hotels as we had good access for walking and to transit and restaurants. The Rome hotel was our favourite and had the best breakfast. Siena was also very nice.
We did have our train to Siena get cancelled twice in a row so we ended up catching the bus to Siena but it worked out fine.
All and all it was a great trip and well organized with great guides and drivers. Thanks for all of your assistance.
We want to thank all of you for putting together a wonderful experience in Greece.
Ciao did well to place us in the chosen locations for the length of time you did. It gave us time to tour and time to relax. Any less time in any one place, we think, would have robbed us of the experience. We may have wanted, possibly, to spend one extra day in Athens, but we got to see the highlights, found ourselves some great places to eat and earned our achy feet at the end of the day.
Our timeline didn’t allow more time in Athens – so we may go back there again for a wee visit in the future.
Thanks, James and Gayle
Rita, Ali – First, we wanted to thank you for your help planning our vacation.
You were both responsive and helpful, and you helped put together a thorough itinerary that had a good mix for our family. The drivers and tour guides were all professional and knowledgeable. Claudia was wonderful as well. Overall, we had a very memorable trip and have come away with many great memories of Sicily.
Thank you, Gene and Elana
After a couple of weeks of recovery, I thought I would give you my review of the trip you organized for us. Overall, I was very pleased with the trip you had organized for us.
There were no problems with the hotel reservations, train reservations, car or boat transfers. The tour guides were excellent and very knowledgeable. They were all on time and very pleasant to talk to. Didi was excellent. She always kept us informed of the upcoming activities and ensured all the guides were on time. Didi was especially helpful when I misplaced the cicchetti and concert tickets in Venice.
All of the hotels we stayed in were very well located to the sights in the area. The hotels were very clean and provided good breakfasts to start the day.
Thank you again.
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!
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!
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.
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..
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!!
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…..
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.
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
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.
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!
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!!!
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!
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.
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 we 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
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!
Thank you so much! We LOVE Ciao Tours.
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!!!