The only thing that could have been a little more organised (and less stressful) was regarding the pick up from Venice to the airport. Our documents stated that we would have been picked up at our hotel, but in fact it was at the water taxi terminal. This needs to be made clear on the documents.
As always a superb service. Can’t be beaten by any other travel company..
Everything went like a dream and was organised for us as planned. Would definitely recommend to friends. Well done.
The hotel was great! It was very close to all public transport stations. The food was good at the hotel and the range for breakfast was modest. I will gladly go back to this hotel. Great birthday present for my husband.
This trip was for a wedding and Glen as always was great assistance throughout. Fantastic recommendation on hotel and arranging flights for a large group. DialAFlight offer a super service. Always deliver. Can’t recommend them enough
DialAFlight performance is excellent - just a shame the car company that was booked wasn’t good.
Peace of mind and lots of info and reminders. Thank you
Everything ran smoothly. Lovely hotel - good value for money.
We had a fabulous holiday, thank you. You never let us down.
Everything was very good as it usually is
All went as planned - as always
Cristiana was a great help with great patience. Was always available to call, we had a really nice time
Everything was just as Nicole planned for us. The car hire was especially convenient. Avis, was located right at the airport. My husband and I have been customers of DialAFlight for many years, and we have travelled to many places. Nicole has always booked our flights and made the travel arrangements for us. We can guarantee that she will respond to any issue you may have, any here in the world, with prompt efficiency!
Great to work with an agent who gets to know what you like from a holiday.
Been booking all my trips with DialAFlight. Wayne Bailey is our go to for advice. Competitive prices and a personal and professional service and would only trust them now.
Rental car company slightly frustrating. Confusing and aggressive attempt to sell add ons. Car provided with a quarter of a tank of petrol but had to be returned 70% full. A dodgy practice!
Very happy with the service. Will use again and recommend
Perfect service and speedy response to our cancelled flight
Great communication from Gavin as always
Micky was efficient all the way from booking to checking in with us the day before we flew - excellent service, thank you!
Another perfect trip arranged by Lucas, excellent service and communication from the off.
Thank you Lucy! We had an amazing trip
Joe Orton is always efficient and on hand if help is needed.
Great personal service!
Great job Ian, always helpful
We recommend you to everyone! Service is always excellent. Just need to decide where we’re going next and we’ll be contacting you again!
Helpful and efficient, reassuring travel support for a busy person
Zac did an amazing job rebooking flights at very last minute!
Had a fantastic holiday and birthday celebrations. Thank you Ian Newton for delivering yet another holiday that went to plan.
Another faultless trip with all the arrangements working out perfectly. Thank you DialAFlight
Italy makes me greedy. Florence is awash with deliriously good art, Milan is Italy's fashion and design hub, and both of them have outstanding food scenes.
However, it turns out that you don't have to make a choice when it comes to a long weekend break. These two cities are only a 90-minute train journey apart, so it's possible to explore both in one trip.
By happy coincidence, both cities have airports nearby. It is a just a 20-minute journey from Peretola airport in Florence to our hotel, the Helvetia & Bristol, in the heart of the city.
Opened in 1848, this former palazzo is the oldest hotel in Florence and is still a charmer, with deep colours, marble bathrooms and ingrained atmosphere. We sip aperitivos beside a log fire while elegant Florentines mill around us.
However, with just 67 rooms, the Helvetia & Bristol hasn't got attitude. Rather, it's as friendly as Tom Hanks (the Hollywood star stayed here while filming 2016's Inferno) and it's also handily central - the Uffizi gallery and the Duomo are just minutes away.
The view from my window is pure E.M. Forster, although there are signs that Florence is becoming hipper.
In Piazza della Signoria is the Gucci Garden. The Italian fashion house has taken one of Florence's palazzos and turned into an arty showcase, with slogans on the wall and where a box of pencils, made in China, costs an astonishing 90 euro.
Offering more of a bargain is Desinare, just off Via dei Serragli. It's a reclamation yard, restaurant and cookery school, where Maria has us making fresh tagliatelle with a saffron sauce, bruschetta with kale pesto, and a delicious flourless chocolate cake.
For a more rural experience, but just 15 minutes outside Florence and still with amazing views of the city, is Il Salviatino hotel. This is a beautifully restored 15th century villa in the rolling Tuscan hills. It has original frescoes, lush organic gardens - and offers the opportunity to go truffle hunting in the hotel grounds, as well as winery tours and family-style Tuscan dinners. This is an authentic, magical, Italian escape combined with sheer luxury, perfect service and a setting of pure grandeur - and Florence in easy reach.
Also in the stunning countryside near Florence is the Belmond Villa San Michele, a 14th century former monastery that's now recognised as one of the country's finest small boutique hotels. It's surrounded by lush woods and terraced gardens of lemon trees and fragrant roses, with stunning views.
The hotel is steeped in history - and seeing medieval architecture perfectly blended with modern luxury is fascinating. First, savour superb Tuscan cuisine on the alfresco loggia...then take lessons in Tuscan fusion cuisine at the hotel's famed cookery school.
A day or two later we clamber aboard the train and head north, and glimpses of glorious Tuscan hills give way to tunnels and finally to Milan.
Our hotel, the Rosa Grand, also has a prized location. From here you can see every knobble of the city's spiny Duomo.
If Florence is joyously tied to the past, Milan is a city that works. It feels sure of itself. There are crowds and paparazzi as we start to explore - it turns out that one of Italy's top chefs is getting married.
Staying so centrally brings all sorts of pleasures, mostly of the lazy sort.
I get to wander into the Reale Palace to catch an exhibition of Caravaggio and costumes from opera house La Scala, peruse mind-bogglingly expensive vegetables in Peck (a grocery story that displays its wares like art) and then slip into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the imposing glass and steel shopping arcade built in 1877.
In the middle is Marchesi. Milan's most famous pasticceria recently opened a branch here. Now owned by Prada, it's part cafe, part art installation. And wholly delicious - as are both of these cities.
First published in the Mail on Sunday - August 2019
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