The Best of Tuscany - Past Travelers' Comments
Want to know what it’s like to travel with Tuscany Tours?
Here is some feedback from past travelers on The Best of Tuscany Tour:
We had a great adventure from Florence to Venice! Ben and Ludo were simply spectacular in every respect. We loved them. They truly cared about each and every one of us and made us feel special. Your itineraries were rich with high quality hotels, restaurants, experiences and tour guides. And everything operated on time. Amazing!
Pam, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure! I’ve never met anyone with a higher standard of excellence. You radiate joy and competence. Your team including the guides embody your work ethic and are such high quality individuals. Jeff and I appreciate all that Tuscany Tours did for us and are so impressed with the high quality of you and your Team. We look forward to scheduling something fun again with you.
Cynthia Knox, Best of Tuscany, September 2023
The Best of Tuscany was magic from the very beginning. We enjoyed a comprehensive experience from Florence, to Radda-in-Chianti, to Cortona, and finally back to Florence. The tours, the food, the wonderful guides, Ludo and Ben: all were the best we could ask for.
The best things were the pace of the trip—never being rushed, and a lot of time for socializing. We enjoyed the most delightful traveling companions who are still communicating via the WhatsApp. I daresay we came away with friends!
Kathy Martin, Best of Tuscany, September 2023
It would take me many pages to tell about all the things I loved about this tour. Our hosts, Ludovica and Jamie, were tops! Knowledgeable, well organized and fun. Our guides were excellent. I learned so I much about history and art and the vibrant Italian life and culture, which was still alive and well all around us, even after all the centuries. Our fellow traveling companions were jolly good company as well— fun, friendly and interesting.
A favorite memory for me was being a guest at Claudio and Alba's home and vineyard, where wine grapes were being harvested carefully by hand. Alba and family served us all a home-cooked feast accompanied by fine local wine. It truly was like a happy family gathering. Our bus driver delighted us by playing lovely music on panpipes while we ate dessert. It was a relaxed and beautiful time together.
JoAnn Dick, Best of Tuscany, September 2022
Thoughtfully and efficiently organized with great accommodations and dining venues and designed for maximum exposure to culture, cuisine, wine, and art within a relatively small window of time, especially given the richness and diversity of the Tuscan experience which really deserves a lifetime of engagement. Absolutely wonderful guides (especially Ludovica and Jaimi), every bit as engaging and approachable as they are knowledgeable about the sites and the people we encountered.
Tuscany Tours knows how to tour and in ways that will inspire you to travel again and again with them.
Michael Briggs, Best of Tuscany, September 2022
This tour made us fall in love with Tuscany! Tuscany Tours did a superb job of preparing us for the trip, planning and communicating all the details, setting an agenda with good pacing and content, imparting art and history information and creating a warm environment to enjoy all of the other tour participants. They even helped us with planning and scheduling of a visit to Rome prior to meeting the Tour in Florence. It was the one of the best organized tours we have ever gone on. We wouldn't change a thing.
Rick and Margaret Fitzgerald Best of Tuscany, May 2019
The Tuscany tour was above and beyond my expectations. Sam and Pam were the ultimate tour guides. The choices for the itinerary were spot on. They really gave you a true feel of Tuscany… museums, wineries, restaurants, countryside and people. Sam’s approach describing the art kept you captivated and really gave you a deep understanding of the artist and the art. They made you feel as though you were family visiting their piece of Italy. I would and will not hesitate to go on another Tuscany Tour.
Leslie Genova, Best of Tuscany, May 2018
What an incredible week! Words can hardly describe the amazing experience. It was a pleasure to share it with such interesting people; thanks especially to Sam and Pam. I read Sam’s book 'Turning Tuscan' prior to the trip and am now rereading it from a whole new perspective. I highly recommend it.
Jim O’Grady, September 2017
Wow, so loved this trip. We live in such a disposable world and to see things preserved and coveted gave me a whole new appreciation. The group was fab. We laughed and cried together in so many touching moments. I do hope we'll stay connected and even enjoy another trip together down the road. Fearless leaders included. Kudos to Pam and Sam. Your network of friends is so amazing. Each of them brought their own special twist to the table. You are both so knowledgeable and presented information so we could all enjoy it without becoming glazed. That came later with the wine.
Linda O’Grady, September 2017
The Best of Tuscany tour was outstanding in every respect and our favorite vacation ever. The small towns we visited were charming. The historic hotels were elegant. The museums, castles and churches were each stunning in their own way. Sam’s selective, low-key approach brought the most important Renaissance paintings and sculptures to life. Bathed in sunshine every day, the countryside was amazingly beautiful. Perhaps best of all were the lunches and dinners we shared. The food and wine were excellent, the settings beautiful and often family-like. By the end of a wonderful week in Pam’s friendly and efficient care, all 15 of us felt like friends, ready to travel with Pam and Sam again!
Hugo & Anna Maria Finarelli, October 2017
For a number of years my wife and I wanted to go to Italy, and especially the Tuscany region. We had seen the movie Under The Tuscan Sun and really enjoyed the scenery in and around Cortona. So with excellent luck, we found Tuscanytours.com. It was THE BEST vacation planning discovery. In May 2014, we made the tour of Tuscany with Pam and Sam. Our group of 16 was the perfect size and diverse in age from very retired to a young lady traveling with her mother as a college graduation gift. And because the group was small, we became good friends with all of them.
Sam is the art history guy that knows what to see in the museums of Florence and illustrates the paintings with such feeling that some literally brought us to tears. Pam is the liaison guide that knows all the best shops for the women to buy leather pocketbooks. Thanks Pam! Her relationships with the local shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. made our trip first class.
And Cortona in real life was better than the movie. But the best part of the trip was the wonderful meals with our group that lasted for hours of eating and drinking good wines and just enjoying life- an experience that you cannot get with the large tour groups who follow the colored umbrellas and listen to the guide through headsets, just stay home and watch Rick Steves.
In 2014, we went to Tuscany with Pam and Sam. In 2015, we toured the Amalfi Coast with Pam and Toni and had another fantastic time. And in 2017, we are going on the Romantic Northern Italy tour with our good friends from Tuscany Tours. We have been looking forward to this for months now. We want to thank Pam and Sam and Karen in advance for another great trip to Italy - we are already considering Provence in the future.
[Update: Since this review, Greg and Gwen and friends joined us on our Sicily tour and renewed their vows to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Yeah, we figure they must have gotten married in junior high... ]
Greg and Gwen Brandon – 5x repeat travelers
Thank you both for the most amazing trip ever !!! It was all so "over the top"!!! Everywhere we went we were treated like "family". - wineries, restaurants, hotels, shops, workshops, etc. You two have established the rapport with all these wonderful people - guides included and we - "the fabulous group of fifteen" - benefitted .....and WE ALL loved it ALL !!!
Diane Bethune - October 2015
Barry & I have gone through the pictures and it was like a beautiful dream! We truly enjoyed getting to know a little about each & every one on the tour. Sam & Pam, you are wonderful hosts and know how to show off your country. It is truly the most beautiful place I've ever been. Barry described it as a piece of heaven. We will cherish our memories and look forward to another tour.
Barry & Teresa Heape, September 2017
When people ask me what my favorite memory was, I honestly say THE PEOPLE on our tour and our Sam and Pam! Yes, I throw in a few vineyards, a museum or two and a castle and maybe some Grappa-- But what Sam and Pam do with their groups is create a family. You can’t BUY that on any other tour (trust Chip and me on that one!) Chip and I are blessed to have gotten to know each of you…
Jayne & Chip Wochomurka September 2017
Betsy and I enjoyed and appreciated our trip and our time with you both. We had a fantastic time, beginning with our “pre-trip” time on the Ligurian coast and continuing through our journey in Tuscany. …. These experiences were sufficient by themselves to make for a grand Tuscany tour. But, Sam’s perspicacious and sensitive treatment of the art and sculpture and of the cultural and religious aspects of the Tuscan past, and both or your abilities and willingness to engage in and facilitate meaningful discussion, made the trip a deeply enriching experience. Betsy and I know that as time passes and we continue to reflect upon our experience with you, we will gain further enrichment and a deeper appreciation for what has been imparted to us. Not many vacations can have such a lasting effect. For these gifts, we wish to express our thanks.
David & Betsy French - August 2016
Our trip to Tuscany was an experience that we'll never forget. It's hard to imagine a nicer group of people. Thank you for all the wonderful memories! Special thanks to Pam and Sam for their wonderful hospitality and helping us to appreciate the beautiful artwork and architecture. The food and wine were spectacular!
Elaine & Michael Hocko, September 2017
This was the perfect way to visit Tuscany for the first time. We visited places that we didn’t even know about from the guidebooks or our own research. The hotels and restaurants that Pam and Sam picked were absolutely wonderful! And, we met a great group of people who made the experience really fun.
Katie & Jeff Broughton - September 2016
We had 9 days in Tuscany that were filled with amazing art, fabulous food and wine, lots of laughs with new friends and experiences of a lifetime. Pam and Sam were the ultimate hosts. They were able to make us feel comfortable right away and clearly love having the opportunity to introduce their guests to all that they love about Tuscany. We felt as if the tour had just been created for our specific group and tailored to our desires.
Leslie Nowaczyk, September 2016
It is always a good feeling when a life experience exceeds one’s expectations. And so it was with this tour. There is no way you could duplicate the quality of this trip on your own or as part of a 2000 passenger cruise ship. Pam and Sam have their logistic and personality acts together, and they lined up an itinerary and local guides that were perfect. If you worry that food, wine, walking, and gelato can be fatal, this trip is not for you... We highly recommend booking a trip with Tuscany Tours.
Ken & Jenny Younger - May 2016
This is our second visit to Best of Tuscany and words do not describe the beauty of the countryside and how this tour was arranged to give us the very best of Florence and the hill top villages, restaurants, wine and attention to every detail of the trip. Perfect blend of structure plus free time and the hotels are the best and loved every one of them.
John & Judie Woods - October 2015
We felt like we were traveling with well-versed friends who know all of the hidden gems that you would not otherwise see if you were on a big bus tour. We loved our trip and if we go to Italy again (we plan on it) we will be using Tuscany Tours again.
Lee & Tina Crepeau - September 2015
This was a dream vacation. We got a nice feeling about the life in Tuscany. We were very pleased with our tours, Pam and Sam’s attention to detail, and their knowledge of where to stay, eat and shop was terrific. They made everyone feel like we were visiting family.
Corinne & Joe Burger - September 2016
Do yourself a favor. Take this tour.
Mary Glanton, August 2016
This tour exceeded our expectations. Pam & Sam are fantastic tour operators with incredible passion for what they do. The venues, incredible dining experiences, lovely lodging combined with Pam and Sam’s amazing knowledge of the Tuscany region created this amazing cultural emersion experience. We’ve recommended it to our friends.
Dale & Maggie Warren, September 2016
Absolutely the best tour I’ve ever been on. Loved seeing the famous art works, cathedrals, and the wine tastings. Great mix of all. Highly recommend Sam and Pam.
Kim & Jack Holifield, September 2016
The trip was well planned with organized activities and free time available. Sam and Pam are excellent hosts, and their personal contacts make the trip more involved with relations with others. The guided museum trips were worth the visit. All of the hotels were excellent. The meals provided were also worth the trip, not to mention the wines. Being able to tour castles is always interesting to Americans; the Ricasoli castle is a special gem.
Gene Wilson, September 2016
Every trip we have taken with Pam and Sam has been fabulous and this was our third with them. They are the quintessential hosts. Every detail is taken care of and if there is anything you need, they will try and accommodate your request. You truly get to experience the culture and flair of the country and the people, whether you are dining, shopping, or just exploring on your own. Pam and Sam will take you to the best places to shop as they “know” everyone in every town.
Ken & Paulette Salemi, May 2015, 5X Repeat Travelers
“Immersion tour” is a misnomer….we were adopted into the fabric of Sam and Pam’s Tuscan family. Fabrics that included the velvet of aged balsamic vinegar over gelato and the passion in Antonella’s voice as she explained the ancestry of Tuscan wines. There was the fine linen weave of Giovanni’s Etruscan history, spoken with the love of a family that had spent generations learning and sharing that pride of place and people. And in Siena, Chiara charmed us with the silky flags of victory of her beloved competitions between the contrades during the Palio di Siena. Then, on our last evening we were wrapped in the warmth of the soft folds of true friendship in San Gusme. Dinner, silly jokes, amazing food and wine and our “family” gathered ‘round the table…not a tour…but an experience of a lifetime. Thank you Pam & Sam, Shauna & Karen!
Cindy Gill, May 2015
This is one of the best trips we have every taken. It was so well organized. From Pam, Sam, and Karen to the food, the wine, the art and culture – every aspect was well thought out. There was a variety of scheduled activities but you also had free time which was a plus for us. We will definitely be returning to Italy with Tuscany Tours!
Danielle & Steve Varnadoe, May 2015
A trip of a lifetime! Pam and Sam are incredible and they have handpicked the best places to see and experience Tuscany. I wouldn’t have wanted to ride along with anyone else! Thank you for an amazing, unforgettable experience!
Linda Albaneze, May 2015
This was a special trip for us and it was everything we hoped for and more. While we looked forward to the fine food, wine and art, we did not expect to benefit from the personal relationships Pam and Sam have developed in the communities we visited. It was very much like being invited to join in a family excursion visiting their friends. It was an experience that would be impossible to develop on your own, no matter how much research you undertook.
Pam & Brian North, October 2015
We have wanted to visit Tuscany for a long time, and were fortunate to find the best tour company to make it a success. Our small group of 16 people bonded immediately and was guided to the best artistic, culinary and touristic attractions by the amazing hosts, Pam and Sam. Their careful selection of interesting and significant sites ensured that we were exposed to the culture and history of the Tuscany region. Their close personal relationship with the owners of the restaurants and wineries made us feel more like family guests than foreign visitors. Overall it was an exceptional tour that we will not forget.
Richard & Sharon Tobin - September 2015