MariaLaura and her team at Fantastica Italia did it again! They planned a second trip for us, this time to France. Her team, once again, selected and organized another unforgettable 2 week trip to Paris, Normandy, Avignon, Arle, Nice and Chamonix. They selected the perfect hotels (with Michelin starred restaurants and breathtaking views) and tours that made the trip outstanding. As with any 2 week trip, there were some errors and complications, and MariaLaura's team responded quickly and made sure we were happy with the changes.
MariaLaura planned an amazing trip-of-a lifetime for my family (myself, husband, daughter, son & daughter-in-law)! The details of our 12-day itinerary were perfect! You could not go wrong. MariaLaura gave us phone numbers (along with hers) to contact a representative for everything she had for us booked in case it was needed. MariaLaura is very knowledgeable with the areas in Italy and was able to give us suggestions from the most delicious gelato at San Crispino in Rome to great restaurants and point them out on the maps she gave us. The apartment in Rome was beautiful and centrally located (near the American Embassy) that made walking to most places very doable. This was the first overseas trip for my daughter who was traveling alone and the concierge people in Rome made her feel safe ~ meeting her at the airport and staying with her until the apartment was available! Cannot say enough about concierge Antonio Barbieri who was only a phone call away to help in any way. Our stay in the mountainous region of Chianti in a medeval town was beautiful. A local, wine tasting tour & lunch at the Verrazzano Vineyards was wonderful. It was to consist of the tour and a "light lunch" which included 4 bottles of wine at our table, an antipasto and pasta meal, a sample of 10 yr. old balsamic vinegar, Vin Santo and biscotti for dessert and Grappa. The guided tours in Pompeii/Positano, Florence's Uffizi, Galleria Accademia & Rome's Sistine Chapel, Colosseo were small and personal and the guides were very knowledgeable (and not having to wait in line was a bonus). We attended a Trastervere food stroll around Campo dei Fiore that lasted about 4.5 hours. We walked to different areas sampling cheeses, a salumeria, wines, fried baccala (which brought back memories to Christmas Eve with my Mom) and then sat down to a delicious pasta dinner at a local restaurant! We will definitely use MariaLaura and Fantastic Italia in the future without hesitation. MariaLaura ~ grazie tanto e alla prossima volta!!!
We recently returned from my first trip in Italy. Our travel agent arranged the trip through Fantastica and it was perfect! They put together an amazing 17 days for my daughter and I along with a dear family friend. We visited Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome, Sorrento and wonderful day trips near each of these locations. Their advice for structuring our days flawless. Our time in each location was perfect to see the most important sites as well as relax and enjoy Italy! Each of our hotels were perfect, from the beautiful rooms to locations near the important sites. Each of our personal tour guides and drivers were amazing – keeping us on time and so knowledgeable and passionate about their cities and tours. The fabulous packet of vouchers, maps and local information meant there was absolutely no stress for us. We’ll certainly be in touch for our return to Italy!
We have just returned from a two-week trip to the Dalmation coast in Croatia and to Milan and Lake Iseo in Italy. MariaLaura arranged everything and it was all perfect. We had two splendid guides in Croatia and one in Milan. All of our accommodations were first-rate, from a large hotel in the center of Milan to an 8-room 500-year old hotel inside the walls at Dubrovnik, and all had great locations. Her suggestions for activities during the day and for restaurants at night were very helpful. We could not be more pleased with MariaLaura and her team.
Thank you for organizing the most perfect trip to Italy that we could have experienced!!! From the first day to the last, we loved, loved, LOVED every part of our trip. We were especially impressed by all of our tour guides and drivers, who were always waiting for us and so well-informed; and by Barbara in Rome and Ingrid in Florence, who fed us so well! Our hotels were charming in every location, and so well-placed to allow us to see all we could in each place. My only complaint in each location was that we didn’t have nearly enough time to see and experience everything we wanted—I’m already dreaming about our next trip. And, of course, we will contact you to create our next magical adventure!
Diane & Rick Bentley
Huntington Beach, CA
We had an amazing trip to Italy with the help of Alice at Fantastica Italia. Everything she arranged for us went like clockwork. We had never traveled to Europe and she was very patient. She made great suggestions and tailored our trip to our budget and the activities that we like to do.
I really can't choose the "most enjoyable" part of our trip because I enjoyed it all! The tour guides were amazing. They were so knowledgeable and the hotels were perfect for our needs in each city we traveled to. Alice gave us suggestions for our free time and those suggestions made a huge difference in seeing things off the beaten path, which I loved. Some of the highlights of our trip: Venice City tour and view from the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, city tour of Florence and Michelangelo Piazzale where you can see a city view of Florence, the coliseum in Verona, day trip to Cinque Terre with lunch and wine (this was especially good because we tried food that we wouldn't normally have ordered), Positano boat ride and hiking, plus awesome hotel where we had a sea view and could fall asleep to the water crashing on the rocks, Pompeii! And last but not least, Rome and the major tourist sights plus walking through Trastevere!
As Bill Livingston said we have greatly enjoyed our trips arranged by MariaLaura with Fantastica Italia. One favorite place was in Nazare Portugal. The Quinta das Rosas. It overlooked the bay at Nazare and was run by grandmother Ann, and her daughter Ann and grand-daughter Ann were visiting from Canada and helping. She had peacocks and gardens and all in all a beautiful and fun setting. We had a rental car difficulty too and she persevered in finding the right garage to correct that. Breakfasts were bountiful and she recommended the family restaurant Raymond's for a delightful evening meal.
We were so fortunate to stumble upon Fantastica Italia at the Scottsdale Italian Festival two years ago. This was before we were engaged and as soon as we began a planning our wedding, my fiance began planning our honeymoon. Alice was so great to work with from the beginning. She communicated frequently and always answered all of our questions. We knew we wanted to go to Italy for our honeymoon, but didn't know exactly what region we wanted to visit. Alice asked a lot of questions to help us narrow our focus. Having all of the planning done for us was great. She sent us an itinerary and we were able to look through all of the details and then let her know of any changes. I accidentally made a mistake in booking our flights, she was able to adjust our schedule accordingly. We of course had major travel delay's, lost luggage, which in turn we missed our scheduled train to Naples. Alice was readily available to contact Antonio who was in Rome waiting for us. He went as far as to purchase new train tickets for us and take us to the pharmacy to pick up some essential items since we had no luggage. He even walked us to the correct platform for our train. This was just the beginning of the excellent service we had the entire trip. We loved all of the hotels that Alice booked for us, each had an amazing breakfast and staff. Our hotel in Positano looked over the bay and had a stunning view of the town. All of our bookings and daily activities were very easy to find and we just presented our vouchers which made our trip relaxing. All of the drivers were wonderful and so personal. We were able to have such great conversations about the area, food and the people during our drives. Our trip consisted of Positano, Chianti region and Rome. We enjoyed all of the regions we visited and each was unique. Renting a car in the Chianti region allowed us to explore a vast part of the region, driving to Siena and surrounding area one day after our wine tasting and lunch. Our cooking class with Mama Laura was one of our highlights, we had a such an enjoyable day with her and meeting her son and new daughter in law. We have tried about four of the recipes since we have been home and just received our shipment of the Chianti and Rose from her families winery. Such a pleasant surprise and go back to visit their winery in a heartbeat. Our time in Rome was packed but we truly enjoyed all of the excursions that Alice set up for us. The tours were great, as there was never more than 6 people in our group. Our first tour, which was the first evening when we go to Rome was a walking tour with gelato, which helped orient us to the area. Our hotel was amazing, it looked right over the Pantheon!! The guides were amazing and so informative, Rome is so rich in history and every corner you turn to there is something to learn. Having the guided tour of the Vatican, Colosseum and Jewish quarter were so great. We truly had a trip of a lifetime and a honeymoon that seemed only possible in our dreams. Alice took the time to get to know us and planned the trip of a lifetime for us. Our next trip we will definitely use Fantastica Italia!
WE LOVED OUR TRIP! Thank you so incredibly much for all of your help and guidance. Only regret of the trip was not staying an additional 2 days--but we had no idea and we know now for future trips. Also, I wasn't sure what we spent on each individual pieces so trying to figure out what to tip for each activity was hard, I know we over tipped but we thoroughly enjoyed our experience and didn't care. In the future, I would probably request a tip guide for each activity. BEST thing about our trip: Having a travel agent---I WOULD NOT HAVE managed without our itinerary and the help from you.Timmy loved Cinque Terre best while I had a hard time choosing between CT and the Tuscan wine region.In Cinque Terre the hotel was PERFECT, great location, helpful staff, nice free breakfast and we would recommend to anyone. The room was a good nice with modern bathroom features. We loved the hiking experience. I would recommend a private guide for all those on their first trip, we both agreed next time we would do it alone but were happy to have her with us on the first go around. The winery tour was very fun and we bought a few bottles of his wine to bring home. We had amazing dinners and drinks in Cinque Terre and enjoyed the beach one day. Downfall: getting there---the train stations are not "English" friendly. We missed our train because our flight was delayed, luckily our driver was super nice and he went into the train station with us and helped us buy our train ticket and did his best to explain the system to us. We made it and all was well. In Tuscany, the hotel was super unique and I am happy we had that experience. I would recommend the hotel, however, we both felt like a hotel in Castellina may be more appropriate for our needs on our next visit. Getting the rental car was super easy, and Timmy really enjoyed driving throughout Tuscany. We visited Castellina, Sienna, San G(spelling?) and LOVED all three areas. We also went to over 15 wineries throughout our three days there. Most did not have a tasting fee and offered light snacks and NONE required any appointments with very friendly staff. We loved the Chianti wine, and the Rose was DELICIOUS. The wine was much cheaper than what we had experienced in Napa and very good (wine at dinner was also quite cheap compared to what we are used to in the states). OUR MOST FAVORITE EXPERIENCE was the cooking class! What an amazing time we had with Madame Laura in the market and then back at her families winery where we prepared and ate the meal of a lifetime. I would recommend this event to anyone and would feel sorry for anyone who decided to skip this. We also did a full on winery tour with a lunch following. This was very fun and we enjoyed eating lunch with people from various countries and speaking to them. This is something we are happy we did but would not do it again only because of the time it took and how much fun we had exploring the region and finding random wineries. In Florence, we returned the car and went SHOPPING :). What amazing shopping we had! Although we spent our fair share we enjoyed Venchi (sp?) gelato and the day. We tried some restaurants recommend through Rick Steves & Fantastica (very much recommend the Rick Steves Florence guidebook). Our final meal was at 4 Leoni. THIS IS A MUST. We had reservations which are required and loved our time. The 3-hour personal tour was amazing. She catered it to our needs and it was nice being the only ones embarking on this experience together vs a big group. We very much enjoyed Florence and the rich history present here. In the future we would add a day to Cinque Terre, a day to wine country and pick a new city (we experienced what we wanted in Florence and would like to try a different city next time). Thank you for everything! We truly had the BEST honeymoon and cannot wait to visit Europe again! We hope to use your services again in the future for perhaps a trip to Ireland/London.
We just returned from a 15 day trip to Positano, Cefalu, Taormina and Malta. MariaLaura and her team arranged everything, and did so to perfection. The guides and drivers were first rate, the hotels were very nice, and the food was to die for. We could not be happier. This was our fifth trip arranged by MariaLaura (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal), and she never disappoints.
MariaLaura with Fantastica Italia was the most knowledgable, sociable, enthusiastic tour guide for our recent vacation to Rome and Amalfi coast, May 2017. She couldn't have planned a better visit to Italy. She made my dream of going to Italy better than I ever thought it could be. From planning every little detail on where to stay and what to see and where to eat, she made it all a fantastic adventure! She is very professional and at the same time shows you a fun, full sense of what Italy is all about. We hade the time of our lives! Thank you very much MariaLaura, you went above and beyond to help make our trip the best!I would highly recommend Her and Fantastica Italia!✈️
We tried other travel agencies to help us plan our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Italy but they were charging a fortune. We tried to book it ourselves but realized that wasn't easily done and didn't want to risk it. We finally found Fantastica Italia, and from there, everything was easy. They managed to stuff everything we wanted into our 13-day trip, stay within our budget, and organized things so flawlessly that we never had to stress over any aspect of the trip. What are we doing today? Check the next voucher in line in the packet. What should we do for dinner tonight? Check the recommendations organized by restaurant type and cost. What do we do when we get off the train? Find the guy with our name on his sign and follow him to his car. Every day was well balanced with small group, skip-the-line or private tours and downtime to explore on our own. Thank you Heather and all the folks at Fantastica Italia for making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Fantastica Italia planned our 3 week trip to Italy in Sept 2016. It was a trip of a lifetime! All the travel arrangements they made were fabulous. We stayed in 6 different hotels and they were all 1st Class.We traveled from Rome to Ischia, Capri, Sorrento, Positano. The drivers they planned for us were unbelievable, so nice, helpful & always there waiting for us to take us were we needed to go. Antonio in Rome was always on top of our itinerary . He literally walked us thru the train station and made sure we got to the right train. Jack the driver gave us a tour of the Amalfi Coast, that was wonderful. We saw towns that we never would have seen and he told us so much history of the areas. We worked with Alice she was great. We told her were we wanted to go and she and the Fantastica Italia staff made those dreams come true. A very organized trip everything went so smoothly no problems along the way, just an amazing trip that we will never forget.I would have Fantastica Italia plan any trip. It will truly be a"trip of a lifetime".
Where to even begin?! I guess at the beginning - from the moment we even considered Fantastica Italia for our travel agency, they went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and involved. We got to have a say in every step of the process and be as involved as we wanted. They put up with me changing my mind about three different times! And they were so nice about working with out budget. We never felt pressured to spend more than we wanted.At least I THOUGHT we had helped plan everything. Turns out there are a TON of little details that I never knew existed until I realized that Fantastica Italia had already taken care of them all!We felt so pampered and taken care of. They really think of and take care of everything! Including car transfers and guides so we didn't get lost in the train station! The cooking class in Rome is a must! As well as all of the guided tours.The hotels were always perfect. Perfect location, perfect level of comfort, perfect staffing. We were always right in the middle of the best sights but always in a great, safe part of town. The helpful tips and suggestions they give you in the travel packet are worth reading and I basically lived off of them. I can't say enough how much we loved our trip, it was so perfect in every way! Fantastica Italia has spoiled me, I'll never try to book my own vacation ever again! Thank you so much for making our honeymoon the trip of a lifetime!
We just returned from a wonderful trip to Rome and Florence. Our travel agent arranged the trip through Fantastica. We will never take a future trip to Italy with anyone else! Weeks before the trip, we received a thick personalized binder with every aspect of our trip laid out, details about each flight, transfers with where we would be picked up, tours with maps as to where we would meet, and info about the cities, restaurants, and so much more. I wish we could show a picture of this incredible document that was a personal playbook for every aspect of the trip.The itinerary came off flawlessly. Everything from the flights, to the transfers, to the hotels, to the tours, was perfect!! Everyone was exactly where they should be when they were supposed to meet us. We particularly loved Antonio in Rome who ushered us to the hectic Termini train station in Rome and made it all seem easy. We were forced us to relax and just enjoy the precision of a finely trained team whose goal was to provide the most perfect vacation imaginable. I could gladly be a salesperson for Fantastica. We have traveled many times but this feels like the grand triumph of all. Thanks you MariaLaura. We hope to get to know you better times in the future.
Just returned from a 10 day whirlwind trip to Paris and then on to Venice, Rome, Verona and Pompeii. It was my daughter's 50th birthday gift and we both had a wonderful time even with the somewhat fast pace. The trip was planned perfectly for the places we wanted to tour and all the guides were very knowledgeable and personable. We did a few off the beaten path things like the food tour in Rome that gave us wonderful insight into the Jewish Quarter history. Hotels in Paris, Venice and Rome were all nice but the L'Orologio in Venice was very special with it's view of the Grand Canal and the modern decor. Alice and MariaLaura were great to work with and when we did have a little hiccup at CDG, MariaLaura responded in record time with a 'fix' even though it was the middle of the night in the states. I couldn't be more satisfied with the way everything was designed for our ease. Would highly recommend Fantastica Italia for anyone planning a trip to Italy.
We used Fantastica Italia for an August/September trip to Italy. We started up north in Bellagio and made our way to Venice, Bologna, Cinque Terra, Positano. Our trip consisted of 5 hotels, 4 trains, 2 rental car pick ups, 6 excursions and 5 private transfers-all went without a hitch! We worked with Alice and team for the better part of a year to get this trip set up to our specifications and budget. Their inclusion of the Italian GPS and Cell phone as part of the travel package was very helpful!!! They did such an excellent job and were always there to answer questions and make changes as needed while planning our trip. Their suggestions on hotels and excursions were perfect and now that the trip is finished it has moved up to the top of our list as favorite trips! We highly recommend Fantastica Italia for your next trip to Italy!!!!
We found Fantastica Italia by chance from an online search for travel agents experienced with Italy. We worked with their team for upwards of a year planning our 4 weeks trip.It turned out to be a trip of a lifetime and one of the best vacations ever. Their attention to detail was outstanding, from transfers at airports or rail stations to choosing wonderful hotels and recommending excursions and restaurants. The itinerary was well planned and every last detail came off without a hitch.We even encountered a transfer agent who knew MariaLaura personally and spoke very highly of the company.They put together the best vacation we've had and to anyone who is considering a dream trip to Italy, we highly recommend Fantastica Italia.Ciao!
We had talked and dreamed for years about a trip to Italy for our 20th wedding anniversary. We worked with Alice and she was so nice and knowledgeable, making suggestions to round out the places we already knew we wanted to visit. We visited 4 cities in two weeks and it was amazing. Everything we hoped it would be. We received our travel package a couple weeks before the trip and it was so organized and informative. The trip went so smoothly - every transfer, flight, taxi, tour - all we had to worry about was where to eat and what wine to order! And there were suggestions for those, as well! The Italian GPS was extremely helpful as we drove from Venice to Tuscany. Thank you, Fantastica Italia for making our dream trip a reality!