I am going to write a recommendation about both guides we had in Italy. They were both terrific!
Elena was a terrific guide in Venice. Since there was some confusion about the schedule, Elena more than made up for it with extra time and attention. She is a native Venetian and clearly loves her homeland! She meets and greets many people along the route and makes visitors feel like natives! She is a walking encyclopedia about Venice.
Elena could not have been much more perfect for this tour. Her knowledge and love of Venice was obvious from the start. She could easily adjust the depth and detail of her discussion up or down according to our level of previous experience and was full of information I would never have found in a book. Her excitement for the art, history and lifestyle of Venice put a great spin on the rest of our stay there. Thanks for setting us up with her.
Had a great trip. Our two grand-daughters (ages 11 and 14) really enjoyed the experience and Elena was a big part of their visit to Venice. She went out of her way to find cafe's and gelatto shops to offset the heat, talked to and not at them, and included them in the tour! Elena also had a fantastic grip on the social, artistic and political side of Venice (and Italy). She never stopped teaching and leading us from one discovery to another. Aside from that she pointed us to the Lido and accompanied us on our ferry ride to the beach after our tour. The girls had a great time in the Agean Sea and played in the water until dark! Pat and I would have liked to spend more time with Elena as she was a fantastic guide and companion. Don't lose her!
Suggestions would be to spend a bit more time on Murano and visit more than one glass factory and studio. The 2 hour water tour was simply not long enough to see much..., offer one for 3 or 4 hours.
We had a wonderful time in Italy. The tour was everything that we expected. Laura, Rosario and Elisa were great. Each of them had a wonderful personality, they were knowledgeable , entertaining and went out of their way to see that we were able to keep the tight schedule that we were on. It is so great to be able to take a personalized tour like this. If we ever get back to Italy, and we hope we will, we will be getting in touch with you for other tours that are available. In addition to the tour, we received valuable information from the In Italy site - without this site our trip would have been a lot harder to plan and we certainly would have missed a lot.
Thanks for everything.
Our trip (Venetians' Venice Walking Tour) was great, Renzo was a great pinch hitter while his daughter was on vacation! He spent 3.5 great hours with us and despite the cold and wind managed to give my mother and me a fantastic and very detailed tour of Venice. We learned so much about the history, architecture and religion in the area that I almost could not take it all in. Renzo also recommended going across in a waterbus to Saint George's Island where there is a beautiful church. Up on top of the bell tower we were struck by the most amazing and panoramic view of Venice, including the original entrance to the Grand Canal and Saint Mark's Square! I still feel like someone should pinch me. Overall I would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking for a great day, it was well worth the money and truly enhanced our visit to Venice!
We thought the tour was a bit rushed, not quite customized to our needs, rather more or less generic. It seemed like the giude had a program to cover, and that was the main goal. Instead, we were not that concerned with time it would take (and would've liked to pay extra if that is what it took). As for hidden marvels while in Venice - we walked into this old shop of Venician Lace, I think it's called Kener, where the youngest working lady is 70 years old. We held a tablecloth worth $2500, and the entire 2x4 meter cloth weighed less than a feather - that was impressive and sad at the same time - dying art, and we are still witnessing it.
The tour was wonderful. Elena is my favorite kind of guide - she is determined to be as informative as possible, speaking on many different subjects and not wanting us to miss out on anything. She moves briskly, as we preferred, to fit in as much as possible. I would highly recommend her tour.
Elena was amazing.
I can not tell you what Elena did for our trip. We talked about her for weeks. She is so classy and so knowledgeable, along with being so sweet. I would recommend these tours to anyone that is going to your wonderful country. We went to Venice, Florence, Naples, Isle of Capri, Sorrento and of course Rome. Now we are home with 500 pictures to treasure.
Hope to come back again.
Everything went extremely well. Elena in Venice was terrific and did a great job of sharing the history and sights with my family. We found her to be very educational, courteous with a good personality.
The tour was absolutely marvelous. We enjoyed Elena very much and were very pleased with her graciousness, knowledge, and her patience when we went through the glass factory. She made Venice come alive for us. There is nothing like a personal tour and having someone who has the patience to answer all our questions. Bravo, bravo to Elena and your tour. I especially appreciated that she accommodated our need for an earlier time in the morning so we could arrive at our cruise line on time.
Bill & Roberta L.
Elena was delightful and extremely knowledgeable about Venice and its history. We would definitely work with her again on our next trip to Italy if we wanted tours. We would also highly recommend her to others. Having had the tours with her, we can't imagine how we ever got along in the past visits to Venice. There was only one unfortunate event where she had a confrontation with a tourist who was standing in front of something she wanted to show us. We were embarrassed by her attempts to move the tourist aside and felt she could have handled it better by moving us ahead to the next item in the church and coming back to the problem area after the tourist had moved on. While the tourist was rude to her and uncooperative in letting her do her job, as a professional guide she could have handled it better and saved everyone the embarrassment.
I have only good things to say! We enjoyed Elena very much. We had eight people (two young kids) so it was challenging to keep us all interested. She did a great job!! I would especially recommend combining the walking tour with one of the water tours, as we did.
We also booked an Uffizi/Academia tour through In Italy which was excellent. Our guide was Lara.
Our Venice by Water tour with Elena was excellent. She is very knowledgeable, professional and efficient. We felt it gave us a great overview of Venice.
As far as hidden treasures, we would highly recommend a restaurant near San Marco Piazza by the name of Do Forni. Great regional food (try the Lasagna), comfortable atmosphere, good service and not too expensive (for Venice). We also loved another restaurant in the same area by the name of Da Ivo if you are not on a budget. It was excellent but very expensive.
Thanks for asking.
The three hour "Venice by boat" tour was the highlight of our time in Venice. Elaina was an amazing tour guide. Her wealth of knowledge was very impressive. You can tell she absolutely loves the city she lives in, and there is no way you can get off the boat without feeling the same way. Burano and Torcello where are favorite stops.
Many Thanks to you for all the information and assistance you supplied before we headed out to Italy. WE THOROUGHLY ENJOYED OUR TOUR BY WATER WITH ELENA IN VENICE. BOTH SHE AND THE BOATMAN DID EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO MAKE OUR TOUR PLEASANT AND SO FILLED WITH INFORMATION. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS TRIP FOR ANY AGE AS WE HAD EVERYONE FROM TEENAGERS TO SENIOR CITIZENS WITH US!
ALSO DENNIS' TOUR OF THE HIDDEN TREASURES OF ROME WAS A BIG HIT. WE ARE FREQUENT VISITORS TO ROME AND HE SHOWED US MANY PLACES WE HAD NOT DISCOVERED. HIS INFORMATION WAS GREAT!
Our group of five wanted to thank you for the wonderful service and tours we received from Initaly.com. I know we had a hitch with Elena's wrong phone number on the voucher, (which put me in a temporary panic) but everything else went smooth. Elena, Roberto, Dennis and Katherine were very knowledgeable and flexible with the itinerary. We received the "max" of what we could have hoped for from each of them. We also wanted to thank Fabio for driving us to the Vatican, Pisa, and Siena.
Please send our thanks and appreciation to each of our tour guides.
Grazie and Arrivederci...
Our tour in Venice with Elena didn't start out quite as well. She was stiff and didn't seem to enjoy herself at all. She didn't relate to my kids at all. In fact, she seemed somewhat resentful to be doing this it all. However, as the tour went on, she warmed up and in the end, we felt it was time well worth spending. She took us to Murano and up the San Giorgio bell tower, which she clearly loved doing! That we appreciated it too I think helped.
Thanks for the note and I have been meaning to writing to you since we used your wonderful services last year. I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the city tours your site offers. Last year my husband and I went to Florence and took a walking tour with Federica. She was absolutely fabulous. Her knowledge of Florence was amazing and I know we learned and saw sites we never would have heard about if not for the tour. When we asked about restaurants she actually brought us to one of her favorites and introduced us to the owner. When we went for dinner two days later, he remembered us and treated us as if we were locals. I have recommended her tour to many friends. It was one of our favorite parts of the trip.
This year we went to Venice and once again booked through your site - Venice by Water with Elena. We had a fantastic time. We were thrilled to learn about the history of Venice and to see the many amazing sites the city has to offer. Elena was very accommodating and her recommendations were great.
Both tours were some of the best times we had in Italy and I will continue to recommend them to all our friends.
Good morning Jessica:
I wanted to send along a word of praise, directed to Elena, who was a day guide for us during our recent trip through Venice. She was marvelous! We signed up for the artisan's tour and it was a highlight...our 4 year old son, too, was captivated. She was a perfect blend of guide, historian....and great conversationalist. She was truly terrific! Thank you so much and will you please share our comments with Elena! We shall recommend your work to our friends and family for future visits to Venice...and Italy!
Thanks so much,
Steve, Liz and Max W.
Elena was great. We took the water tour and the walking tour back to back. We learned so much about the history, geography and art of Venice from her. We got to visit the places where the natives shop, eat and chat. Elena is a proud, native Venetian and that comes through when she tells you about her city.
Elena was just marvelous. We all certainly learned a lot and very much enjoyed her tour. Since we only had 2 days in Venice on this trip, we didn't have time to go discovering for hidden treasures...maybe next time. Overall the trip was great (except for Pisa, which was a disappointment).Can't wait for the next time.
My trip to Italy was great. It was my second time there. My family went with another family. In all there were 3 adults and 5 teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 17. It was the first trip to Europe for the kids. The Venice by Water tour that Elena gave was great, especially for the kids (they are not big walkers!). She was very knowledgeable and took us around Venice and then to Burano and Murano. The highlight of the tour was definitely the glass blowing on Murano. Elena took us to a company called Mazzega and we watched a beautiful vase being made and also part of a chandelier. I was expecting Murano to be too touristy but Elena's access to this company was a definite plus. Of course we had to do the obligatory look at the store gallery but they had some incredible things there and we actually bought a couple of items. For the kids, this was one of their highlights of Italy.
Another gem that I found in Venice the first time I went two years ago is a glass artist by the name of Vittorio Costantini. He makes incredible glass butterflies, fish, birds and best of all BUGS! The bugs are of all types: beetles, bees, spiders, all lifesize. He has had several exhibits of his glass creations in Europe. He also makes specimens for natrual history museums. I now have two of his spiders. Even if people are not interested in buying, the shop itself is worth going to just to see his creatures. He is located at 5311 Calle del Fumo very near the Fondamente Nuovo. He does not speak much English but if his wife is there, she speaks English very well. Also he is an extremely nice man.
Another find that may or may not be worth mentioning is the good Chinese restaurant we went to in Venice. After a week of pasta, the kids were desperate for a change. We found a Chinese restaurant called Tempio del Paradiso. It is located just off of the Campo San Bartolomeo.
Another item that might be of interest is that we found driving in Italy to be very easy (except in the larger cities of course). Since there were 8 of us, we rented a nine passenger van and drove from place to place. The AutoStrada's were wonderful and very easy. The toll booths are automated so that you get a ticket at the entrance. Then when you exit, you just drive up to one of the lanes that accepts credit cards, put your ticket in and then put your credit card in and that's it. Of course parking in any of the large cities is a nightmare. For Venice we parked at Mestre and took the train in. This is much cheaper and much less hassle than parking on Venice itself. The last stop on our trip was Rome. In retrospect we should have dropped the car off early. To get around in Rome, obviously we did not drive but took public transportation. However, we had to park our van about 2 miles from our hotel.
Elena in Venice was so flexible--we had to change a portion of the trip to Murano on the tour at the last minute and my sister-in-law joined us unexpectedly. Although she began the tour late and had another appointment immediately following ours, she stayed extra to help us get into St. Mark's with wheelchair access without making us feel rushed. Again, she obviously loved the details of her hometown of Venice and her artistic background gave us a wonderful flavor of the city. She was so pleasant and accommodating and again, treated my mother-in-law like a queen. I would recommend her to anyone seeking a tour of Venice.
Elena in Venice was another shining experience! We had such a great time with her! My husband has been telling everyone what a great trip planner I was on this trip. There's no way that it would have been as informative and fun without the help of your amazing people! Thank you so much!!
Thanks for your note. In a way, we're all sorry to be home--we'd rather be in Venice!!!
The Church/Music in Venice tour was the 4th In Italy tour that I've taken. Once again, it exceeded expectations! Helena is a wonderful and gracious guide. We were impressed by the way she picked up on our cues and directed the discussion to areas that would interest us. We visited 4 churches (one of them is not open to the public) and ended with an incredibly beautiful, private organ recital in another church. To top it off, we all climbed the narrow staircase for a visit with the organist who explained and demonstrated how the wonderful music is made. Helena said that not many people take advantage of this tour--and it's a pity because this tour is fascinating and takes you far away from the well-trod tourist path.
Our find on this trip was a restaurant in Venice: Il Sole Sulla Vecia Cavana (Rio Tera SS. Apostoli, Tel: 041 5287106). We stumbled upon this new (open less than 2 months), family-run, local restaurant and we so impressed by the food, wine and especially the people that we went back for our last night in Venice. If anyone goes, tell them the waiter that the "3 funny ladies" sent you!
I'm hoping to get back to Venice in the fall. You can be sure I'll be in touch.
Thanks again. And our thanks to Helena.
We did indeed have a marvelous trip. Elena was splendid--knowledgeable, interesting, and flexible. She took us into a couple of places not on her itinerary be cause they looked interesting to our fourteen-year-old. She was also incredibly helpful in helping me locate a missing credit card-- made phone calls, and then took us back to the place where I'd left it!
It was a splendid trip and we do thank you for your help.
Yes our trip to Italy was absolutely fantastic, everything that I hoped it would be and more. Our tour of St. Marks and The Doge's Palace was wonderful. Our guide, Elena, was certainly more than we expected. Not only was she extremely knowledgeable and informative about the buildings that we toured, but we both learned so much Venetian history from her, things that we certainly could not of found out on our own. I highly recommend her for anyone who is touring Venice as she was an excellent guide and we learned a lot from her.
Thanks for everything,
Elena was wonderful. She was knowledgeable and very personable. I wish we had had more time with her! She gave us a lot of recommendations about what to see and where to eat for the few days in Venice. It was nice to have her phone number ahead of time to call and get information. I would highly recommend her to anyone.
Thanks for your help.
We had wonderful tours and really enjoyed all the tour guides. The young women in Venice, Elena, was a delight. We tried to e-mail her but it appears to be an incorrect address. Can you please send us her e-mail address. We want to send her a "special" t-shirt and book that we promised. Thank you again. We are hoping to once again visit Italy next year. Thank you for your assistance.
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