Hello Rosa, This is a much-belated review/overview of our trip to Italy: WELL DONE! VERY WELL DONE!
We did have a lovely time in both Rome and in Positano, but I think Rome was the more memorable and special of the two. In almost all cases, your choice of guides was excellent and definitely made our trip more enlightening and full. I expect that you want a breakdown of what worked well and what not so well, and I can provide that for you.
Let's start with Rome:1) Pick-up at the airport and drive to the hotel - was good. 2) The Hotel 87 was perfect. We loved our room - which opened up onto the interior terrace. The place was immaculate, staff friendly and helpful. Nice breakfast. I wrote up a review for Trip Advisor (which I do periodically). 3) Our tours: Vatican tour - absolutely outstanding. Katarina was excellent. She was so full of passion for the art within the Vatican and for the significance of the Vatican itself. We got there early (very early) which was absolutely awesome. We went through much of the Vatican museum before it got crowded. The Sistine Chapel was amazing - and so special that a priest came in and gave a blessing while we were there. If that wasn't enough, we entered St. Peters during a mass & chants from the priest radiated throughout the basilica. It was magical. Dinner - this turned out to be a lovely evening with, as you say, locals. They have jobs like I have (albeit different fields of expertise), but normal working persons like myself. That was quite nice. Our dinner was great. John did the cooking - he has a gift. Colosseum - Absolutely fabulous. Our guide Laura was terrific. 500 views of Rome - Emmanuel was delightful & his tour absolutely terrific. He told us some things about Rome that I doubt we would get from any other tour guide (or maybe these things are well known) & will never forget: 1) the obelisks are marking the way for pilgrims to the main Basilicas, with the northern one (in Piazza del Popolo) marking three paths into the city. 2) The path to St. Peters was meant to be a labyrinth of sorts, such that you wouldn't be able to see it until you were right in front of it. Mussolini was responsible for building the road that opened up it up. He took us up to see the monument to Garibaldi and the wonderful view overlooking the city. Driving around the city in Fiat 500 was fun, but maybe not for everyone. We ended our evening with a lovely dinner in a restaurant tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood.Be a Roman for a day - my main comment here is that it was too late in our visit to Rome, and would have been much much better towards the beginning of our stay. By the time we met up with Gabriele (who was very nice), I was in a good bit of pain (my knee) from all the walking on the uneven cobblestone streets. Sigh. Otherwise, the tour was lovely. No complaints.
Other items: we did want to go to the Borghese Gallery, but when we went to book tickets (which we knew needed to be done ahead of time) there was no availability for more than a week a week out. I would recommend that you advise clients to book the visit right away, or before, they arrive in Rome - depending on how long they are staying.
4) Positano: Pick up right at the train station was awesome - the crowds were frightening. I will say though, we like Rosario much better than his wife. She was OK, but Rosario was delightful - what a character. Pompeii - awesome and definitely worth the detour. I am glad I put this on my must do. One could have stayed longer, but I think that we had enough time to get a feel for the place and scale. Plus, having a private guide through the ruins was the way to do it if your time is limited (and she was excellent). If I find myself back in that area again, I will definitely want to take the hike to the top of Vesuvius, and I hear that Herculaneum.Hotel Miramare was absolutely divine. Our room was lovely, as was the staff - Rosita and Carmela made us feel like we were visiting family. (I did another write up for Trip Advisor). Our tours sort of back-fired on this part of the trip. Our dates for Positano coincided with a national holiday, so it was really crowded in Positano and all along the Amalfi Coast. Our tour on Monday would have probably been awesome had it not been for the traffic. We spent most of the time stuck on the road, with little time to explore. I will say, however, spending a day with Rosario actually made for a great day nonetheless. He could not have been a better driver/host. We did stop and see Furore and Grotto del Smeraldo, lunch at Le Acarte was very good (and they were kind enough to accommodate the delay due to traffic), and getting to Ravello was a delight. I also bought a small patio table from Picadilly and had it sent to us here in The Netherlands. We will always have this reminder of our trip.And as you know, we cancelled our hike along the Path of Gods. I was already in pain and I just didn't want to risk doing more damage. I also felt a bit uneasy about even getting to our meeting spot in Agerola - we were told it would take us a couple of hours to get there! Against your better judgement, we went ahead and joined a small group going to the Isle of Capri. It was a great day on the water away from the crowds. We did spend a few hours on the island, but it felt less crowded than Positano and Amalfi. We took a local bus to Anacapri, then up to the top of Mt. Solaro. And the views - well worth it.
Our last day in Positano was really nice as well. It was definitely less crowded - we did some shopping, took a local bus up to Nocelle, had lunch up there at a restaurant (Santa Croce - which despite the positive reviews I would not recommend - food was good, but service not so good), and spent a good bit of time walking along the beach in the surf - collecting sea glass.
Another thing I would like to share - having drivers arranged to pick us up and take us to and from the airport, to and from the train station - was absolutely awesome. That definitely lowers the stress during travel. Having never flown on Easy Jet, that to me was an experience in itself - but we did get where we wanted to go.