First time Italian trip-tour help

Jul 20th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 44
First time Italian trip-tour help

We are taking a 10 day rail trip in September to Florence, venice, and Rome. It's our first time and we are thinking about going with Gate1Travel company. They have their own local guided tours. Has anyone used them, and if so, what did you think of their tours? Is there some that you would recommend over Gate1, or any tours of theirs that you loved?
lola34 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 38
Hi Lola,

I haven't heard of Gate 1 but I've done A LOT of research on Rome tour companies. It seems the main companies that get the best ratings are Through Eternity, Context, Icon, Rome Walks, and Enjoy Rome.
alexsmith is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 06:14 PM
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Alex-you're referring to local tour companies, and Lola is referring to an international travel company-Gate 1, also, is one you should check out.

I've used Gate 1 to book a hotel package that was about $50 cheaper per night than the hotel's website-(you can either book their airfare/hotel package together, or separately-I did just a hotel package). They were fine-I'm sure you'll be happy with them, but I'd check out as well for comparison purposes. I don't know about Gate 1's local tour guides in Europe of course, but Gate 1 has a good reputation for inexpensive tour packages that deliver what has been promised. They have good low-cost packages to Asia as well.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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Hi lola!
We used Gate 1 in February for Rome and Florence. They gave us a good airfare and very good hotel rates. We upgraded the hotels because their budget choices were in less-than-desirable areas.

Our complaint with Gate 1 was entirely with their customer service before our trip. There was a problem with the Florence airport closing and our return flight needed to be from Pisa and they did not inform us of this in a timely manner, even though they were aware long before our tickets were issued. The result was that we chose to stay a day longer for an overnight in Pisa, so all was not lost!

As for local tours, (which are optional), some were very good, some were so-so and the Vatican Museums tour was horrid. Gate 1 uses a local tour company. In our case it was Carrani Tours. But this tour company basically just provided transportation to Pompeii and Florence where an even more local guide actually gave the tour. (These two were very good.) And then there is the obligatory "factory tour" in both places where they try to sell you merchandise. However, these sales pitches did not take long and there was no pressure to purchase anything. The overall tour was well worth it.

Personally, I liked using Gate 1 for Pompeii because it provided bus transportation and I felt a little intimidated about taking the train there. Also, this was the best tour, but that was because of the local tour guide we had and you have no control over that.

As for any other tour, I personally would not use Gate 1. They are a little over-priced and less personal than what I have read about ContextRome or Icon or the other local tour companies mentioned on this forum. There is a lot of info to be found by doing searches on this forum.

Basically, I learned that travel in Italy is very easy - not at all intimidating. Don't be afraid to make your own arrangements when possible.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have if I can.


LCBoniti is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 01:56 PM
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Posts: 44
Went ahead and booked several tours unfortunantely before reading LC's reply about tours at Gate1travel wasn't that great. We are doing the florence morning tour, venice lagoon excursion, Pisa tour, siena and san gimignano, and Illuminated tour of Rome and archeological tour of Rome. ANyone been on any of these tours with Gate1travel? Feedback? Is it easy to find where you catch the bus for some of these tours? They said that you meet at via Santa Caterina de siena 17 and we are staying at the hotel meridania in Florence, which is at viole don minzoni 25. Don't know if that helps anyone. Thanks!
lola34 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,849
The only one of your list that we did was the Illuminated Rome tour - a bus tour of Rome at night. They let you off at the Trevi fountain and Piazza Navona. It was a good way of seeing all the main sights at night - a nice overview. And after Trevi, we did not feel the need to see it again (lots of tour buses of people!) However, we did enjoy this tour.

I can't help you with the meeting places. We were picked up at our hotel by a small bus which then took us to a central location for transfer to a larger bus. However, invest in a good map (I like Streetwise Rome and Streetwise Florence). Even with that, you will undoubtedly get turned around - all the better to see more of the city!

How exciting for you! You will have a wonderful time!

LCBoniti is offline  
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