Easy, Breezy Italy

Loved, loved, loved receiving this feedback from Jaime and Matt!  Not just because they had such a fabulous time in Italy, but because it was the little touches (great guides, fabulous and reliable drivers, pre-arranged train tickets, and helpful concierges) that made such an impression on them. Anyone can plan a trip to Italy, but a true travel professional knows how to make it all seamless so that you can just relax and enjoy the ride 🙂

Hi Ann!

We can’t thank you enough for your amazing planning expertise. Our trip was wonderful and your itinerary made it so easy.  I could have seen us making some mistakes with language barriers and perhaps booking trains and maybe making an error so we both agreed it felt so nice to have a professional take care of all the arrangements so we could just relax and enjoy!! Not to mention the hotels were amazing and in great locations.

I’ll start with Aer Lingus… really nice flight, the red eye on the way there was a bit difficult. I was a zombie pretty much the first day but we did push through as you recommended and I was fine the next day. On the way back, Aer Lingus was a bit hard to find in the airport in Venice but we also arrived 3 hours early so we had to wait for them to set up their check in. That could be a bit confusing for people if they arrive early like we did… also Aer Lingus seemed to share check in space with Jet Blue. The flight back was much better as we got back around 8 pm from Boston and it was really 2 am for us so we were able to go right to sleep and then wake up this morning being fully rested and ready to go to work. It was helpful that we cleared security in Dublin and when we made it back to Boston we were already done. It was nice you gave us a heads-up because that could potentially be a bit confusing it seemed like we had to go through twice.

Our driver who met us at the airport in Rome was wonderful and awaited us with a sign with our names. Made it super easy and nice to have someone waiting. He even bought us a cappuccino since our driver was running a few minutes behind schedule but our driver was amazing! So helpful, informative and spoke great English… I would definitely use Rome Cabs again!

River Palace was awesome! The people at the desk were so helpful and informative. They gave us a complimentary bottle of wine. The hotel was in a great location. We felt very safe and were able to walk to sites. The concierge provided a map and circled places of interest, called cabs, and were just generally friendly and helpful. It really felt like a little home for the few days we were there. I loved all the detail you provided on the itinerary about local city tax and credit card for incidentals… etc… just helped us know what to expect. The concierge also confirmed our tours for us!

We loved our tour guide for our Colosseum tour. His name was Gigi he was so passionate about the information and very funny! The only thing I would say about this tour is again we arrived very early to the meeting place and were a little worried because it wasn’t an office it was just a park, but as soon as it got closer to the time of the tour we saw plenty of people also waiting, i think initially we just weren’t sure we were in the right place.

Our Vatican tour was also really great, we liked that the meeting place was in an office and we actually showed up right on time for this one so we were very lucky it was easy to find!

Next we set off for the Naples train station. We were happy you shared to be vigilant. We didn’t run into any problems but we did witness a man take advantage of some ladies traveling alone. He grabbed their luggage despite their protest and took the bags on the train, then he stood there until they gave him some money and when they gave him one euro he was not happy and let them know it!! Just another heads-up story for people about the train station. He wasn’t in uniform but wore clothes very similar to one and was sort of an imposter, asking to see people’s tickets to try to confuse them into thinking that he was an employee and then grabbed their bags and demanded tips.

Next we met our absolute favorite driver!! His name was Carmine and he was just the sweetest! He was practically giving us a tour on our drive and was super friendly! The only thing was we thought we could pay by credit card and he said it was cash only so we were just happy we had enough…

Posa Posa was a great hotel in Positano. It was more basic and more beachy feeling with a tile floor and just basic furniture, did not have a luxury feel like the Rome hotel but we were happy with the mix. Plus, the balcony was amazing! We literally woke up to a view of the sea, it had a table and chairs out there so we were able to sit and drink wine and relax!! That was our same view for the breakfast each morning as well! The people working at this hotel were also very nice and helpful with anything we needed. It was a great location. A few restaurants in Positano that we greatly recommend are di Vincenzo’s, Constantinos, and a very cool experience where you get taken to a place without a menu and they serve you a 6 course meal for 40 euros made by “mama” called La Tagliata. We hiked the Path of the Gods while we were there and took a boat to Capri which we recommend. Our driver back to Naples was also very nice, (he knows you) Fabrizio.

honeymoon couple in front of Italian grotto

The trains that you booked were fast and easy. We loved not having to purchase tickets and just having to hand them to the staff!!!

Our Florence hotel was amazing!!! So swanky haha… the breakfast was quite impressive!! They hooked us up with some champs, and aperitivo, when we arrived.  I think if we had to do it all over again, we would have done one more night to explore more in Florence and one less night in Venice, just our personal preference.

The only time we “messed up” was we didn’t realize you booked our rental car pick up at 10 am and we didn’t show up until 12-1. It didn’t end up being an issue. We picked up the car and put it in a lot so we could spend a few more hours exploring Florence before driving out into the countryside.

The next part of the trip was probably our favorite!!! We absolutely loved Radda in Chianti! The view from our room in our hotel looked like a back drop or a painting!!! We absolutely loved this hotel and Linda our favorite receptionist. She sent us to 3 wineries, one a small family run and two others, one was a castle, and one an old monastery.  We did not expect so much history on our wine tasting tour but it was so interesting!! The mom and pop winery gave us a free tour and tasting and of course we bought some amazing wine! But it was pretty cool to have a private tour and see how the wine is made, and a private tasting as well!!!! We also drove to check out San Gimignano and Siena  — very cool to explore. Returning the car was very easy and the car came with a gps which made navigation a breeze.

a view like a painting! Honeymoon at Radda in Chianti, Italy

Our least favorite part of our trip was Venice. It’s very cool to see because it’s unique, but we just loved the other places so much more. The hotel there was just ok compared to the others as well as the concierge and location. We had been so spoiled though to be honest… we got off the train and found the water bus without a problem… it was only 7 euro each for a one way, and only took about 45 minutes, plus the boat ride was pretty cool. We did the same on the way back to the airport, all the people at the waterbus ticket stations spoke English and were able to explain exactly what to do to catch the waterbus back to the airport. It was only 15 euro each and took about 1 hour and 30 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes with a private taxi. We were happy to save a few bucks here and it worked out with our flight times so we didn’t mind that it took a bit longer. We didn’t really feel like we even needed too much time in Venice as we were kind of spent on seeing churches and sites and just wanted to chill at this point.

a honeymoon in Italy wouldn't be complete without Venice

The only other thing we wished was that we gave ourselves a bit more spending money in our overall budget because we did end up spending twice as much as we thought we would. We never skipped wine at dinner and always had more than one course haha… plus we shopped a bit to bring back wine and leather 😬

a happy man across a huge pizza in Italy

Overall we felt like our itinerary was a great mix of adventure, relaxation, sight seeing, and learning/ touring. Italy is our new favorite place and we absolutely want to return!!! The people were great, food amazing, views incredible, wine delicious, and just overall history and culture so interesting and impressive.

a smiling honeymooner on a wall with beautiful rolling Italian hills

Thank you so much for your time and attention to detail with planning this trip. We kept mentioning how incredible it was that after only meeting once, we felt like you completely got our vision and nailed it!! We loved that you yourself have used some of the vendors on your own trips! We will definitely be calling you as soon as we save up for our next trip and send our friends your way!!

With gratitude,

Jaime and Matt


Italy has been very popular for honeymoons this summer, and many of my clients have been open to exploring more than just the usual Rome/Florence/Venice itinerary. Here’s a trip report I just received from Alex and Lauren, who enjoyed an amazing honeymoon in Chianti, Rome, Ischia and Naples:


It’s been a while and we’re still somewhat settling into our new house and we wanted to provide you with some feedback on the trip, which we still think about. Such a wonderful time. Below we’ve outlined a few things and I hope they are helpful. We’ve included a photo of us and one photo of Ischia – the view at the hotel across the board was amazing!

Radda in Chianti was unbelievable. Such a wonderful location where all the restaurants, small shops and intimacy of the town were great. Having the car was great to have here, because we got to travel around to some other towns nearby and in addition have a day trip to Florence. It was a great time here.

o  Wine and Dine Package – This was great. Having the planned dinners at two restaurants gave us a good opening to further explore other restaurants in the area as we familiarized ourselves with the local foods. The wineries were great as well where we got to  learn and taste a ton of red wine. In addition,  having the car, we got to just drive into other wineries that were open without having a reservation which further enhanced the experience.

o  Florence Day Trip – Great city. We would’ve loved to have stayed there longer, but managed to hit up most of the historical spots. Good thing we had a GPS with the tiny streets!

o  Cooking Class – The cooking class we took at Leopoldo was great as well. We had an enthusiastic aunt and nephew team that cooked for us a 5 course meal where we got to experience some different cuisine when compared to the restaurants.

Rome was a definite change of pace compared to Radda. It was great to see all the historical sights and we both felt that 4 days there was the perfect amount of time. We really enjoyed the Campo D’Fiori and Piazza Navona portion of Rome. Much of our time was walking around the historic city and at times maneuvering our way through some tourists.

o  Dark Rome Tour – The visit to the Vatican was a great experience.

Ischia was a beautiful island. We stayed mainly on the Mezzatorre resort because it was pretty secluded from the rest of the downtown area, but it didn’t matter much because the spa and pool there were unbelievable and the staff was impeccable.

o  Boat Tour – Went around the island and stopped off at the port town Sant Angelo. This was a really fantastic spot on Ischia. Small winding streets and some great views from the port. If we ever went back there we’d love to stay in this spot for a couple days. Once back at Lacco Ameno, which was the port closest to Mezzatorre, we walked around and peeked in at some local shops. This felt more Italian than any of the locations we went on our trip.

Naples was too quick. We walked around the for about 7 hours seeing some of the sites the city had to offer and by that time it was time for dinner where we had to start to set our minds back to reality. Maybe next time!

Our hotels:

·        Palazzo Leopoldo (Radda) & Capo d’Africa (Rome): Both had great staffs and were extremely attentive to any questions we had. They provided great restaurant suggestions during our stay and were extremely helpful, especially while in Radda they provided some guidance on where to park in Florence, which would’ve been a nightmare if we didn’t ask.

·        Mezzatorre (Ischia): Took it to another level, the staff across the board – concierge, spa facilities, restaurants etc – was just top notch. Absolutely great place to go.

·        Hotel Grand Parkers (Naples): Of the 4 hotels we stayed at this one was at the bottom of our list. The concierge was okay and was not as welcoming as the others but the hotel itself was nice.

Thanks for everything!


Taste of Tuscany 2012

I’m thrilled to announce the third annual “group escape” for Annie’s Escapes’ clients, friends and family. This year, we’re teaming up with Chef Kait Roberts from Easy Entertaining, Inc. to jointly host a delicious five-day exploration of the sights, sounds and tastes of Tuscany!

The trip is scheduled for October 7 – 12, 2012 (which conveniently includes the Columbus Day holiday) and the detailed itinerary (and pricing) can be found here. We’ll be basing ourselves in Florence, with day trips to Chianti and Lucca, and will be enjoying some unique tastings and tours, as well as a hands-on cooking class with Chef Kait.  For those who are interested in extending their vacation, we can also help with pre- or post-tour visits to Rome, Venice and more.

The group size is limited to 16 people total, and we expect it to sell out quickly. The land-only price is $1,750 per person (based on double occupancy) and airfare and insurance are additional. If you are interested, please let me know as soon as possible. Call 401-270-4834 or email me at annp@AnniesEscapes.com.

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)