Testimonials & Reviews of our ITALY Tours
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We did the Best of Italy tour in May 2023, our first David McGuffin tour. Ilaria was our Exploring Europe tour guide and she was wonderful. We were shocked to find out that we were the only ones on the tour (except for another couple in Rome) and very happy to see that David didn't cancel the tour because of that.
Ilaria was very easy to be with and extremely helpful - a wonderful guide. We even invited her to stay with us if she travels to this area.
We loved all the destinations (the tour covers a LOT of ground) but have decided that moving every other day to another place is a bit more than we prefer, especially as we traveled mainly by train although there were some private vehicle trips which were much easier. When David suggests packing light, listen to his advice. It was tough pulling myself and my luggage onto the trains each trip.
Hotels were a mixed bag. Usually located near a train station, but in some areas (Volterra, Lake Como, and Venice in particular), we had either a good 15-minute or longer walk to the hotel from the town. We stayed in Lido, not Venice, which added at least 30 minutes to our trip to get into and return to Venice, which was less than ideal.
Water pressure in some hotels left something to be desired, so shampooing was sometimes postponed as I wasn't certain I could rinse out the soap. Keep in mind that you will have food, entrance, and transportation fees in addition to what your tour costs. We were on our own for lunches and half the dinners (and all drinks are on you). Usually, we had a day to ourselves in each city, which allowed us to do and go where we wanted.
Without pinching pennies, we spent approximately $800 each in addition. Ilaria would often give us suggestions on places to eat and give guidance on how to get around when we were on our own..
The other guides in Rome, Volterra, and Siena were all wonderful, although at the beginning, it appeared the guides weren't well informed that tips were included, which made it somewhat uncomfortable for us at the end of each tour not being sure if the guide was aware.
This tour is great for people who are comfortable getting to and from the airport on their own, want to see a lot of places in 2 weeks, are physically able to maneuver their bags on and off trains and up and down stairs and enjoy the mix of group travel and time to do what you want.
Suggestion - remove some items from your bags; you don't need as much as you think.
My husband and I had the good fortune of meeting David McGuffin at the Washington DC Travel and Adventure Show and were impressed by his years of experience in leading small group tours. Equally fortunate, he was offering the 10-day Tuscan Villa experience on the exact dates we wanted to travel - we booked immediately and never had one regret! David has traveled so frequently to these areas that it’s like a second home to him. Even more importantly, he intimately knows the people who live there - the owners of the villa, restaurants, shops and the tour guides that he has done business with for years. The tour guide, Paola, who led us on a private tour of Michelangelo's masterpiece, David, at the Accademia and an impromptu tour of the Uffizi, knew her subject matter so well and yet made it understandable and relatable. Annie’s tour of Volterra brought the town’s history to life, and her husband Francesco’s wine tasting taught us how to select and appreciate wine in general, not just the one label you happen to be sampling.
The itinerary for the Villa experience is very well cultivated. The opportunity to spend multiple blocks of time in Volterra allowed us to get to know the city, explore the back streets, and eat a meal at leisure without feeling rushed to see everything at once. The day trips to Siena, Lucca, and Pisa were an excellent balance of history and time to explore - don’t miss biking the castle walls of Lucca or climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
The stay at the Tuscan Villa at Marcampo is an idyllic setting, the room comfortable, the hostess/owner so gracious. Being able to come back to the same location makes the whole experience much more relaxed. Claudia’s cooking lesson was definitely a highlight - the hands-on experience not only taught the secret tips to making bread and pasta from scratch but had us each making our own bread and pasta dough, rolling out ravioli, collaborating on zucchini souffle, chocolate souffle, and sausage stuffed guinea fowl. The final result? Delizioso! And paired beautifully with the family’s Marcampo wines, which we also got to tour, taste and enjoy throughout our stay.
We were lucky enough to travel with David as our tour leader and enjoyed his easy-going manner and willingness to shift and add to the itinerary. Overall we heartily endorse David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe tours - an experience of a lifetime!
First-time traveler to Italy,(Amalfi Coast), and the tour did not disappoint!
Not being familiar with travel to Europe, we decided to travel with an experienced tour company, and David McGuffin's Exploring Europe was everything that we had hoped for. Everything on that tour, from the quality of the hotels, the comfortable transportation, the great food & wine, and the guided excursions, was everything that David said they would be.
The views were absolutely amazing! There was a nice balance between group tour activities and the individual time that you have to venture out and explore on your own.
Group dinners were filled with wine and laughter!
David's passion for travel and his sincere willingness to teach and encourage others to discover and experience new cultures and destinations is contagious.
Thank you, David, Charlotte, and all the wonderful people in our group, for making our trip a memorable one! We will definitely be exploring Europe again with David and his wife.
Our small group of friends just returned from the fabulous Tuscan Villa vacation with David McGuffin, Exploring Europe.
The itinerary was great: we explored big cities, many day trips to small towns, great restaurants, cooking class, wine tastings & relaxing days at a gorgeous small villa.
All our accommodations were first class: very clean, considerate staff & good breakfasts.
The eating experiences at the restaurants were superb! The local tour guides were excellent! They were all experts in their area, personable & fun to be with.
David had everything planned out but was flexible if we needed to vary the day's activities. We also enjoyed having the delightful Mrs. McGuffin on our tour! If you are looking for a full Tuscan experience, we highly recommend this tour.
I have been going through my photos of the "Tuscany Villa Tour" I went on In May 2022, with David. What GREAT memories!
Staying at the Marcampo Villa was wonderful, to say the least. It was great to have a "home base" and do all the amazing day trips. The photos of Marcompo does not do it justice. I think actually seeing it, feeling it, seeing the sunsets, and watching the sheep in the surrounding countryside, and sipping the wine helps make Marcompo a perfect Tuscan Villa.
Claudia, the owner of the villa, is such a wonderful and friendly hostess! She is also a wonderful cook! Part of our trip included cooking lessons from her. I have never taken cooking lessons before but I can't imagine anything could be better.
VOLTERRA was my favorite medieval hilltown but each place we visited had its own special qualities. I loved each of the guided tours we had in Florence, Volterra, and Rome ( we added the extension to the Tuscany Villa trip). and David always chose the BEST restaurants for our group dinners. BEST FOOD EVER!!
This is the second tour I have taken with David. The first tour was to Greece about 5 years ago. I knew then if I had the opportunity to go on another trip to Europe, it would be with David McGuffin! Hopefully, I won't have to wait another 5 years to return. Thank you, David!