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I have been saying I wanted to visit Italy for over 25 years and this was finally my trip. The best part was the walking. I loved every step. I saw parts of Italy that the average traveller will never see doing the usual tourist thing. I cannot say enough about the walking part. Seeing the real Tuscany. Wow! Thank you for making my first trip out of the United States a true trip of a lifetime.
My friend and I chose the Hill-top Towns of Tuscany tour. We started with a few days on our own in Florence and had a wonderful time taking in all the art and culture. Then we began our tour with Inntravel. A private taxi drove us from Florence to Volterra. In stark contrast to the busy streets of Florence, we found ourselves on quiet roads surrounded by young families and laughing children. We walked the entire town and visited all the museums. Unlike the busy museums in Florence, we were greeted with smiles and helpful attempts to understand my broken Italian. Our hotel was perfectly situated and had amazing views of the surrounding area. From Volterra a private taxi drove us to the start of our walking tour.
I was worried about getting lost while hiking but Inntravel’s directions were spot-on perfect. I took pictures throughout my trip but I am so glad I took some short videos as well. I was able to capture the sounds of Tuscany and the crush of the ground beneath my feet. I only wish there was a way to capture the smells! Honeysuckle was in bloom and often surrounded us with that sweet aroma that I now associate with my trip to Tuscany.
We hiked into San Gimignano and quickly found our hotel, the Bel Soggiorno. This turned out to be my favorite hotel of the entire trip.
The itinerary described our hotel room as having a panoramic view, but that was an understatement. It was absolutely breathtaking. Our meals were included and were among the best we had the entire trip. Again, my friend and I walked the entire town and took advantage of all the museums and sites. While in San Gimignano I had the best cappuccino of the trip. And I had cappuccino every morning. I also had wine every evening and gelato every day.
From San Gimignano we hiked to Colle di Val d’Elsa. The beautiful view we had seen from our hotel room was now our hiking trail. Along the way, we met some lovely local people who were kind and friendly. For me, it was exciting to hike along portions of the Via Francigena and learn the history of that famous pilgrimage route. Our stay in Colle di Val D’Elsa was only one night but we had probably the best pizza of the entire trip while staying there.
The next morning a private taxi gave us a ride to Monteriggioni where they were having a Pinocchio festival. We enjoyed the festival before getting back on the trail for our last day of walking into the beautiful city of Siena. The Hotel Garden was our destination in Siena. This day was a long day of hiking and we were quite hot and tired when we arrived at the hotel. How perfect that there was a beautiful swimming pool for us to cool off in. When we went into town it was market day and we had so much fun looking at all the food and goods. The Hotel Garden was luxurious and we were treated with the best of care. The food was delicious and we made friends with a couple staying there who were on holiday from Australia.
This was my first trip abroad and I was quite nervous. But Inntravel took care of everything just exactly as they promised. This trip was my "trip of a lifetime" and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. Now that I have tasted travelling abroad, I will travel more and I cannot imagine seeing the world any other way than the slow way! I will most definitely rely on Inntravel again. I have raved to my friends about them and next year I might go back to Italy... the Amalfi Coast, perhaps?