[This is one of a series of interviews. Read more here.]
I recently had the pleasure of working with Michael and Sari Priesand, from New York, to help plan their honeymoon to Italy. We planned an itinerary that included Venice, Florence, a day trip to Tuscany, Sorrento, and Rome. They're a great couple and were fun to work with!
Hi Michael and Sari. Tell me about yourselves!
We are a newly married couple from New York City. We both work at the same hospital, where Sari is a 3rd year podiatry resident and Michael is an industrial engineer.
Why did you choose Italy for your honeymoon and how did you like it? Was anything different than you expected?
We chose Italy for the scenery, history, and of course the food and we loved it. It definitely exceeded all of our expectations. The food was so fresh and delicious and we loved planning out the different itineraries for each city. All of the cities we went to were so different which made it really special.
I know you visited Venice, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, and Capri. Which places were your favorites and why?
We loved all of the places we visited but Michael’s favorite was Sorrento and Sari’s favorite was Rome. Michael loved Sorrento because relaxing on the Mediterranean was wonderful. Sari loved Rome because it was a nice combination of amazing history, trendy shops, and delicious food.
What was it like working with a travel consultant to help plan your trip?
So incredibly necessary. Traveling in Europe from city to city can be really overwhelming and having Kevin help us with our trip planning made it enjoyable and less stressful. We were able to discuss with Kevin what we were looking to get out of our trip and he was able to customize a plan specifically for us. He was also just a text message away on standby for when we were traveling in the event we came across any issues or problems.
I arranged two tours for you: an early access tour of the Vatican (with a small group) and a private car and driver for a day in Tuscany. How did those work out? Were they worth the additional cost?
Both were definitely worth the additional cost. First, the Vatican was extremely useful because we were able to beat the enormous crowds and have a personalized tour with a small group of people. Second, the Tuscany day trip was one of our most memorable aspects of our trip. We had a private driver who recommended a winery for us and also stopped at Siena and San Gimignano.
Which of the hotels was your favorite and why?
Grand Hotel La Favorita in Sorrento for sure. The room was the nicest and biggest of our trip with a patio view of the hotel/Mediterranean. We loved the rooftop bar and pool and the location was great to get into town as well as to the water.
What were your favorite meals on the trip?
Michael’s favorite was Emilias in Sorrento for really fresh seafood with homemade pasta dishes. Sari’s favorite was La Giostra in Florence for the 5 course Florentine meal including bruschetta, burrata, homemade ravioli, steak, and tiramisu for dessert. To be honest we loved all of our meals across our entire trip. Michael also loved the sandwiches from All’antico Vinaio in Florence and Sari loved the pizza from Il Pizzaiuolo and gelato from Eduardo’s.
Do you have any funny experience or anecdote from the trip that you can share?
When we got to our hotel in Rome we quickly realized that Vogue Magazine was having a fashion week event in the back patio so we naturally crashed that party even though we were definitely underdressed and out of our element. It was a really funny and memorable experience.