Southern Italy and Sicily May, 2024

Old May 1st, 2024, 11:18 PM
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Southern Italy and Sicily May, 2024

A thank you to all the Fodorites who helped us plan this trip!!

Day 1: arrived in Naples, viewing Vesuvius, we had a challenge with our car rental through Surprice via Discovercars, recommended by Rick Steves. Discovercars helped correct it, but we needed to go to another rental agency, BeRent. Leaving from there to our stay for the night was easy, with beautiful, mountainous scenery. As we drove towards Salerno, there are viewpoints where one can seen the beautiful seafront town. Our accommodations, the owners , at Casale Giancesare in Capaccio, are perfect. The property is gorgeous, with views of Tyrrhenian Sea and the Parco Nazionale del Cilento. Incredible dinner at Porto Sirena, trying buffalo and mozzarella from their farm and this region.
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 07:06 AM
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Sounds like you are off to a good start! Looking forward to more.
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 08:53 AM
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Also looking forward to more!
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 09:07 AM
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Me, too! We hope to visit southern Italy and Sicily sometime in 2026! If you have a chance, can you post your itinerary and how many nights?
Thanks!
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 11:16 AM
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On for the ride, brings back happy memories of our three weeks in Sicily and Naples & the Amalfi Coast! 😍

Karen, are you planning to include Sicily too? Great decision, you wonít regret it. Weíre in Krakow right now and I was saying just this afternoon that while this trip is fun, itís no way like Sicily/Italy, Greece or France. Guess I am prejudiced!
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 11:22 AM
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Come back soon, virginiafish!
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by geetika
On for the ride, brings back happy memories of our three weeks in Sicily and Naples & the Amalfi Coast! 😍

Karen, are you planning to include Sicily too? Great decision, you wonít regret it. Weíre in Krakow right now and I was saying just this afternoon that while this trip is fun, itís no way like Sicily/Italy, Greece or France. Guess I am prejudiced!
We had a very meaning time in Krakow in 2016. Try to visit the JCC.
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo
Me, too! We hope to visit southern Italy and Sicily sometime in 2026! If you have a chance, can you post your itinerary and how many nights?
Thanks!
1 night nr. Paestum @ Casale Giancesare

4 nights Locorotondo @ Masserie Aprile

2 nights Lecce @ B&B Prestige

1 night Rende @ HOME 52

Ferry to Sicily

1 night Hotel Casa Adele Taormina

3 nights in Ortiga @ Palazzo Alfeo

1 night Messina @ Villa Pulejo

Ferry to mainland

1 night Ercolano @ Il Giardino Dei Glicini

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Old May 2nd, 2024, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by geetika
On for the ride, brings back happy memories of our three weeks in Sicily and Naples & the Amalfi Coast! 😍

Karen, are you planning to include Sicily too? Great decision, you wonít regret it. Weíre in Krakow right now and I was saying just this afternoon that while this trip is fun, itís no way like Sicily/Italy, Greece or France. Guess I am prejudiced!
We visited Krakow about 20 years ago along with Prague. Really enjoyed Krakow. Also visited Auschwitz which of course is very depressing. Poland is very different from the Mediterranean countries.

Yes, we want to include Sicily along with the Amalfi Coast, Naples, and Pompeii, hopefully in 2026.
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Old May 2nd, 2024, 07:28 PM
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Virginia fish, thank you for posting your itinerary. I really want to see Taormina!
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Old May 3rd, 2024, 12:10 PM
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Day 2: Awakened earlier unexpected, we had some beautiful straws along the grounds of the B & B before enjoying a delicious breakfast. We drove to Paestum and met our guide at 11:30 AM. We have been very fortunate to work with Alexei Cohen who is with Journey Beyond Travel as their Italy expert, [email protected]. As we were planing the trip with little time to spare, he quickly helped us include some private experiences and is available to us s needed while we are here. The guide he chose was Angelo Petillo and he was excellent. Paaestum was fascinating . After that, as rain began to far, we began our long trip to Locomotondo. There was some road work which made the time a little longer. We arrived at Masserie Aprile about 8 pm, very tired, and had a much-appreciated thoughtful reception from parking our car for us and helping us order in a delicious inner. We have a large suite, with our own outdoor kitchen and patio overlooking the town.
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Old May 3rd, 2024, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by virginiafish
Day 2: Awakened earlier unexpected, we had some beautiful straws along the grounds of the B & B before enjoying a delicious breakfast. We drove to Paestum and met our guide at 11:30 AM. We have been very fortunate to work with Alexei Cohen who is with Journey Beyond Travel as their Italy expert, [email protected]. As we were planing the trip with little time to spare, he quickly helped us include some private experiences and is available to us s needed while we are here. The guide he chose was Angelo Petillo and he was excellent. Paaestum was fascinating . After that, as rain began to far, we began our long trip to Locomotondo. There was some road work which made the time a little longer. We arrived at Masserie Aprile about 8 pm, very tired, and had a much-appreciated thoughtful reception from parking our car for us and helping us order in a delicious inner. We have a large suite, with our own outdoor kitchen and patio overlooking the town.
please forgive several typos !
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Old May 4th, 2024, 12:01 PM
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Day 3: After a wonderful breakfast and getting to know the family’s history (12th and 13th generation) who are passionate about their home at this Messaria, we went into Locorotondo’s town center to experience their large, weekly market and walk around the town. Next, we drove to Cisternino, a delightful, idyllic, beautiful village, where flowers adorn the steps of the homes in every corner turned. There is a fountain, and plaza, Cleliaks, where there is a view of the entire Valle d’Itria. At 5, we ent to the home of Clelia, ,where we participated in a private home-cooking class and dined on the fruits of our labor, arranged by Alexei. We prepared an authentic Puglia’s meal with her and Raffaella and learned about their life in this area. We made a veal dish, focaccia, orecchiette pasta, and more. It was a delightful evening.

Day 4: We started in Martina Franca, exploring the whitewashed alleys, Baroque architecture, with friendly locals, guiding us along our way. The old town was stunning, Palazzo Ducale, the Basilica di San Martina, Piazza Maria Immocolata with its semi-circle buildings where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Romita, and walked La Lama, the whitewashed neighborhood. Following this, we drove to Alberobello and enjoyed this trulli village of 2000 houses.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 09:24 AM
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Marvelous beginning!!!!!

I've never taken a cooking class in Europe, but might just try one sometime soon.....

Loving your report..keep up the happy travels and the good note-taking!!
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Old May 6th, 2024, 03:50 PM
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Day 5: We went to Matera for the day using suggestions from the Lonely Planet Southern Italy book for the top 10 sites to visit and recommendations from momalovesitaly’s website. Highlights included Casa Nola and Storica Casa Grotto. We were fortunate to find a free parking spot on the street and the red bus that runs in town to get up from the depths of this fascinating village.

Day 6: we were sad to leave our new friends made during our wonderful stay at Messaria Aprile and headed off to Lecce, where we were meeting friends made on this site for coffee. Parking in Lecce is quite the challenge, with recommended lots full. It was such a pleasure to meet the couple this site had helped happen and we had a lovely time sharing stories of travel. We moved our car and met our prearranged guided tour with Sara Bianchi, who gave us a fascinating, informative 2 hour tour of Lecce. Afterwards, we unfortunately found our prearranged accommodations not to our liking due to very steep flights of stairs to our room and decided to leave Lecce and go to Otranto for a few nights, lucky to be able to get 2 nights at the Masseria Longa Boutique, which our Fodorite friends had highly recommended. It was a short ride from Lecce and a heavenly place, with our own outdoor, private pool. They welcomed us and secured reservations at Cicerietria where we had a relaxing, delicious dinner.

Last edited by virginiafish; May 6th, 2024 at 03:54 PM.
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Old May 7th, 2024, 03:40 AM
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Great!!!!

I'm making a note of the B&B near Paestum.
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Old May 7th, 2024, 06:22 AM
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I'm glad the tour with Sara went well!
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Old May 7th, 2024, 06:46 AM
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Karen Woo, we also loved our trip to Sicily with one exception, Taormina. It was over run with passengers from cruise ships and had a touristy vibe which we did not find in the rest of Sicily. We want to return to Sicily but will skip Taormina. Our week in Ortigia was especially wonderful.
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Old May 7th, 2024, 09:38 AM
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I am in total agreement with Happy Traveler about Taormina. I realize that everyone wants to see this legendary town once, but after that, unless your aim is to stay in a glorious hotel with rooms well over a thousands of USD per night, and just relax at the pool (The two Belmond properties (GH Gran Timeo and Sant'Andrea); the ex-San Domenico, now Four Seasons) on a honeymoon or romantic stay, I would (personal opinion only) not return when there are so many other less tourist-oriented places to visit on the island.

My cousin just visited with his new partner, staying at the Timeo and taking most meals there....so that could be a high-end vacation almost anywhere in the world, although they didi have a glorious time. Hotels are VERY expensive.

I first visited Taormina on my "first" honeymoon, very long ago. And returned about 10 years ago and then again last year...but now we think of it as more of a convenient place to stay for the proximity of Catania airport and for the ferries to the Aeolians. NOT for an in-depth view of Sicily.

Stay in Taormina and revel in the scenery (unless you hit cloudy weather), and fight the mobs of tourists during the day,, or explore more of the soul of the island in another place.

I'm thinking that Taormina is close to falling into the Venice category, albeit with fewer artistic and museum attractions. I did not find all that much "Sicilian" about the town. More like a tourist Disnified place, but unlike Venice's t least there are many Siclians who live and work there, but almost everything is oriented to tourism..... You CAN get away from all that if you drive a bit out of town for dining, but even then.....is the soul of Taormina still intact?? Who knows.

You can have a wonderful view of Etna from other places nearby.

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 7th, 2024 at 09:41 AM.
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Old May 7th, 2024, 12:45 PM
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Day 7: Delicious, made to order breakfast and visited Grotto Zinzulusa, Cava di Bauxite and Lighthouse Punta Palascia, enjoying the costal scenery. Dined at our Masseria,, delicious and relaxing day!
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