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60: southern Italy style

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Jul 16th, 2015, 02:07 PM
  #1
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60: southern Italy style

I want to celebrate my 60th birthday in southern Italy in the last two weeks of Oct. My eyes are blurry from all the reading I have been doing yet I still feel like I am nowhere near ready to start booking anything. I am fascinated by Matera, Puglia, Sicily, Amalfi, Sorrento…I could go on…get the picture? So, I am wondering if anyone would care to suggest where my husband and I might want to spend our precious two weeks. He loves driving so we will have a car. We love hiking, shopping, swimming, great restaurants, begin spontaneous, etc. Need some really great places to stay along the way. I am too ambitious for my husband and always want to cram as much in as I can but we can have a really ambitious itinerary. Any suggestions will be very much welcomed and thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
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Jul 16th, 2015, 04:02 PM
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If your husband likes driving, I say go to Sicily and have a great road trip. It is a fab October destination, with good food and wine, and you MIGHT even get in a little swimming. Hard to know. Weather in last part of Oct can turn unstable anywhere in Italy.

Don't just eat in restaurants in Sicily. It has great bakeries, cheese makers, wine makers, street food, outstanding markets.

You don't need to be "ambitious" is Sicily to see an amazing amount of variety in terms of historic sights -- Greek temples, mosaics, tilework, castles, volcanoes, sea vistas, baroque villages. You can go at a relaxed pace and have lots of easy chocies for memorable sights.
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Jul 16th, 2015, 05:02 PM
  #3
kja
 
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IMO, you have at least two really good options:

IMO, Sicily would make a great destination for a trip of 2 weeks in late Oct. It should suit your interests well, as it offers a really diverse set of opportunities.

With 2 weeks, you could also have a lovely experience in Naples and the Amalfi Coast and then through Matera to bits of Puglia (but you would likely have time for only tiny taste of Puglia if you see the other places). By late Oct., some of these places might be beginning to "shut down" for the season -- I really don't know about that, and would encourage you to pay particular attention if you choose to pursue this area.

If additional guidebooks would help, consider Eyewitness, Insight, or the National Geographic Traveller for inspiration and then the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide for details, along with information on hiking, etc. (Or consult them in your local library.)

Either way, should be a great way to celebrate a special birthday -- enjoy!
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Jul 16th, 2015, 05:40 PM
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In Oct swimming is definitely iffy. You would have to check if hotel pools are still open and look at weather for swimming depending on your dates.
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Jul 16th, 2015, 05:49 PM
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Does he love driving in Southern ITALY from previous experiences in Italy or he love driving based on driving experiences elsewhere? Depending on where you usually drive, driving in Palermo, Catania, Napoli, etc, may give you different experiences.
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Jul 16th, 2015, 06:06 PM
  #6
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thanks for such helpful replies. Would it be too much to try to see both Sicily and the boot? Husband a great driver and would welcome the change to drive in Italy. I have driven from Florence to Tuscany and still pat myself on the back regular for accomplishing that!!
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Jul 16th, 2015, 06:22 PM
  #7
kja
 
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"Would it be too much to try to see both Sicily and the boot?"

It depends on what YOU want to see and experience. I spent about 19 days in Sicily and thought it too little. I spent only 4 days in Puglia (6 if you count Matera) and knew it was just the tiniest of tastes. And there are other parts of "the boot" too!

I recommend that you consult a good guidebook or two (always a worthy investment, IME, but you can also check your local library), note the things that YOU most want to see and experience, check their opening hours, and mark them on a calendar. Block out your time for transportation, checking into / out of hotels, meals, etc. (Note that many of these areas will have LONG siestas during the lunch hour.) Then see where you stand.

Of course your husband should be able to drive in Sicily, if you go that route! There wouldn't be any reason to drive in any of the cities, but as long as you either time your rental around the cities, or ensure that your hotel has an option for parking, I can't imagine a problem. There are some wonderful open roads that you could use to travel around the island!
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Jul 16th, 2015, 06:31 PM
  #8
 
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We spent 9 days in Sicily, shortened because the the Icelandic volcano disruption and a medical accident. Two weeks might be just fine. You might want to take a look at my trip report; click on my name to find it.
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Jul 16th, 2015, 07:02 PM
  #9
 
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I think 2 weeks in Sicily would be lovely. Lots to see, fabulous food and wine and easy driving outside the cities. Tons of nice places to stay. An alternative would be to visit Puglia. A couple years ago we flew in and out of Naples and drove to Puglia. Loved Naples and Puglia is very low key. Matera is fascinating and worth a couple days. Click on my name to read my TR on that area.
Kia gIves good advice to look at some guidebooks
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Jul 17th, 2015, 02:18 AM
  #10
 
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What specifically do you want to see in "the boot" -- a description which encompasses all of Italy?
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Jul 17th, 2015, 02:19 AM
  #11
 
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(or I should say, "the boot" is all of the Italian mainland. An over-the-knee boot.)
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Jul 17th, 2015, 02:20 AM
  #12
 
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Two Septembers ago I got married in Puglia, I speak virtually no Italian and for us, this was more an opportunity for a party than any formal legal thing.

We were very lucky and found out about Puglian Masseria (fortified farms converted into hotels etc) we also were lucky because we met a local Party organiser. She is very reasonable and can arrange a whole bunch of things from wine tastings, oil tastings, yoga, language courses, cookery courses, art courses etc etc.

You can find Ylenia at https://www.facebook.com/pages/YLTOU...383906?fref=ts or her website. really lovely lady, lots of contacts, why not drop her a note and ask for suggestions.

http://www.yltourcongressi.it/
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