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ABOUT

BEST OF SOUTH ITALY
IN 13 DAYS

 

...............

Entusiasta di Tornare in Italia!!!
(Thrilled to be back in Italy!!!)

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VIEW FROM OUR CAVE HOTEL IN MATERA       

ABOUT OUR TRIP

     We are Louise & Lisa here to share with you the highlights of our amazing tour through Southern Italy. Our first Rick Steves' tour was The Best of Italy in 17 days. Both tours exceeded all of our expectations. All the planning was done for us… adventure made simple… they took care of every detail!



Preparing for a Rick Steves' tour...
We highly recommend scouring Rick Steves' website. It's filled with a wealth of well-organized and useful information. A great reference for any traveler. We also read his books, watched his TV shows and downloaded his audio podcasts. We took his advice on traveling and his packing tips. Rick’s wheeled travel backpack bags and packing cubes made packing and unpacking very easy. Once we signed up, we were kept well-informed and our questions were answered quickly.

South Italy tour website click here:
https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/italy/south-italy

The tour features we loved the most...
HOTELS ~ All unique, boutique hotels. Many were historic and within walking distance to most of the sights in every location. The rooms varied from place to place – all lovely, charming, very clean and all had user-friendly safes. We slept well in comfortable beds after a long day of walking and sightseeing. The staff was always professional and friendly.

GUIDE ~ Sara was experienced and well-prepared. We never had to worry about a thing. Her knowledge was wide-ranging about Italian history and culture and everything one would need to know to get around. Fluent in Italian of course. She happily shared her knowledge with a genuine concern for our enjoyment and safety. It was clear that she wanted our trip be the best that it could be. She even planned some special surprises for us like a Neapolitan concert just for our group. Sadly, Sara had to leave the tour but she was quickly replaced with a new guide, Alfio, who was also excellent. The guide for our our first Rick Steves' tour was equally as good... Top-notch!

LOCAL GUIDES ~ Our local guides were all very interesting, entertaining and brilliant storytellers. We loved each and every walking tour. Surrounded by history, art and spectacular architecture, these guides made learning about it fascinating and fun.  

TRANSPORTATION ~ We were provided transportation throughout the tour on comfortable buses with extraordinary drivers. We also took boats, trains and private bus limos. We always felt safe.

TICKETS ~ Admission to most of the museums and interesting side trips – No waiting in long lines!

FREE TIME ~ Plenty of time on our own to explore and dine where we chose.

OUR GROUP ~ The groups that we traveled with on both tours were wonderful, like-minded travelers from all over the country and we have kept in touch with many of them. We enjoyed their company and always watched out for each other.

FOOD ~ Breakfasts were hearty and delicious served with made-to-order cappuccino. The group dinners were sensational… food, wine and even live entertainment on our last evening on our first tour. The restaurant recommendations in the Rick Steves' books served as a great guide in choosing where to eat on our own. Our guides also provided helpful food tips and even taught us the proper way to order coffee at a coffee bar!

ITALIAN LANGUAGE TIPS ~  We recommend learning basic words and phrases and how to pronounce them correctly. The Italians seem to appreciate your effort in trying to speak their language. That said… we never had a problem communicating on either trip because they all seem to speak or at least understand English.

CURRENCY TIP ~  Bring two bank debit cards so you will have a spare in case one doesn't work. Get Euros with a debit card at a bank ATM. We exchanged currency on our first trip at an airport kiosk and lost $$$! Also, let your bank and credit card companies know you will
be out of the country.

Overall Experience...
To sum up the trip… We attempted to make a list of the highlights but we really couldn’t decide. Each place we visited on both trips was unique and fascinating. The views, the architecture, the art, the people, the activities, the entertaining street musicians and the food and wine… all truly amazing! We are grateful to Rick Steves and his staff for two life-changing adventures. It is clear to us now, that we never would have learned or seen so much if we had tried to do this on our own. Italy is even more beautiful and ancient than we had imagined. Added note… September is a wonderful time of year to travel in Italy. Summer-like every day but remember to dress warm on the chilly transatlantic flights. Keep a daily journal and take lots of photos. Now, we have to decide where to go next!

Follow Rick’s tips and… keep on traveling!

ALL PHOTOS , GRAPHICS, DESIGN & WEB SITE
BY LOUISE

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