After planning a family trip to Ireland with Tenon Tours in 2018, Laurie von Winckelmann reached out about visiting Italy in 2021. She knew that her family (husband, son and daughter) wanted to see as much as they could within a limited amount of time and that they would need special assistance with one of her family members having mobility restrictions.

When Laurie’s family started thinking about traveling to Italy, they remembered their trip to Ireland with Tenon Tours just a few years ago. “It was totally amazing,” Laurie said about their Irish adventure. “[Tenon] takes care of all the details so we don’t have to worry about anything.”

family photo in San Miniato al Monte monastery

CHRISTMAS EVE AT SAN MINIATO AL MONTE

The von Winckelmann’s traveled over the holidays and were able to witness Italy in all its Christmas splendor. A trip to the San Miniato al Monte monastery near Piazzale Michelangelo proved to be the perfect setting for a Christmas Eve service! “Chanting monks, glowing candles, a Priest doing a Latin service with the months, sitting on ancient wooden benches in a beautiful monastery…it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Traveler Tip: Don’t miss Piazzale Michelangelo for amazing views, gelato and hot chocolate.

FAMILY FAVORITES

“Touring Pompeii and learning about the city. It’s unbelievable; the people were brilliant. The comforts they created, from their beds and homes and baths to the water pipes, white stones in the roads so the moon would light the way at night, the sound in the amphitheater. It was a large, busy, comfortable city.

Also, the breakfasts that were included with the hotel stays. Every morning we really looked forward to the buffet breakfasts. Every hotel had a beautiful breakfast buffet area, and the food was amazing – the pastries and croissants, meats and cheeses, fruits, cereals, juices, coffees, the “American” eggs and bacon, they were all so good!”

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

The Last Supper: “The Last Supper – I’ve always been fascinated with it – it was amazing, huge, faded, to see it in real life, on the wall, wow…!”

Gondola Ride in Venice: “Venice and the gondola ride was so much fun! The cold, misty alleyways with the algae on the building bottoms, glowing lights from windows, the gondolier singing and pushing off the walls on turns, it’s a fascinating city of waterways.”

Sunrise in the Dolomites: “The 14-degree cold air in the Dolomites, 6:00 a.m. with the sun rising over the mountain range!”

FUN FACTS ABOUT ITALY

  • “The restaurants do not open until 7:30 p.m. and people are up walking around late!”
  • “That the pizza has a very thin crust. There are more motorcycles, Vespas, scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians in the road than cars.”
  • “That Venice looks just like it does in the movies and is just as charming!”
  • “The Leaning Tower of Pisa, we’ve seen pictures, but to see it in real life is truly amazing and interesting.”

NEW FRIENDS

“We met and will stay in contact with a lovely, cute, kind older gentleman bartender named Valerio, and our driver, Andrea was funny and kind. He picked us up happily at 3:30 a.m. so we could get to the airport on time (thank you Tenon Tours – we would have been in trouble had Tenon not warned us to get there 3 hours early!). We also met some really nice people from Louisiana in a chocolate shop!”

ADVICE TO OTHER TENON TRAVELERS LOOKING TO VISIT ITALY?

“Yes – don’t hesitate to do it – have Tenon Tours plan it for you. They really take care of all the details so you don’t have to worry about anything! Their tour partners are the best, they meet you, take you on special tours, make sure you’re comfortable and taken care of. The restaurant suggestions are amazing, the hotels are amazing, everything is so organized it makes everything SO easy! You’re never lost, wondering what to do next, they make it relaxing and very fun! I used to be afraid to fly and travel, I’m not anymore. They make it not intimidating and very easy.

Tenon gives you a detailed itinerary so you know where you’re going, when, who will help you there, and details about what you’re going to do/see. They make sure you know how to get there or arrange transportation, that things run smoothly, and you get back where you belong. We chose half and half, we had transportation but also rented a car to go on our own, and Tenon provided information on interesting stops along the way, recommended great restaurants, and gave us history on places we would drive through. They also give you travel advice so you don’t hit any snags – how far drives are, things you need like International Driver Permits and how to get them, speed limits, toll roads and local rules.”

WHERE TO NEXT?

“We’re trying to decide: Switzerland, Holland, something tropical?”

 

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