Sally-I just got back last night and had a fabulous experience! Our tour guide, Maria Pilar Roccio was fantastic (the whole group agreed). She lives in Rome- and does tours in Italy, Greece, Great Britain, Spain, maybe more. She works for many tour companies, but can also do private tours. She was a great planner, organizer, fun, and found off-beaten places so we could spend time with local folks trying their food and wine, and learning their culture. She has 25 years of experience.
The cooking class you found was absolutely fabulous!!! Thank you so much for finding it and encouraging me to keep the reservation. I would very highly recommend Francesca to your clients. The taxi was expensive ($110 total) but there was a lot of traffic due to Easter celebration-lots of people in town.
It was supposed to be a 2 hr class then dinner-but she spent 6 hours with me (I was the only student) and we had so much fun! We made 4 kinds of pasta, 2 kinds of sauces, focaccia bread, and tiramisu. She was an architect who decided to go to Le Cordon Bleu for pastries- but much of what she learned about pasta, she learned from her grandmother.
I also spent part of the day walking along Lago Maggiore-it's exceptionally beautiful here with the Alps in the background and flowers blooming everywhere. I join up with the Colette group tomorrow...
The flights went well~ was a bit tight in Brussels because I had to go through immigration, then a second security check at the gate. The flight to Chicago- seat 21H proved to be a weird seat (the flight attendant even commented on it) that you wouldn't of known about by just looking at the seat arrangement that comes up on the screen- because it looks like an aisle seat, and it is- but it was an unusual one because there was no place to put your stuff and the tray and TV screens were like the bulk-head kind. It wasn't worth the extra $149, so United said to contact them via their website--- unless you had another idea.
The transfers from and to the airport went great. In Chicago- I had plenty of time- my Global Entry card breezed me through customs in about 2 minutes. Took about 1/2 hour to get my luggage and recheck it.
Thank you kindly Sally~ I really loved my experiences on this trip!