Southern Italy-tours and classes ideas

Old Apr 8th, 2024, 02:46 PM
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Southern Italy-tours and classes ideas

We have finalized our 2 week stay.
Here is what we have settled upon:
Day 1, 2: arrive Naples, go to Casale Giancesare Villa Agricola near Paestrum
3, 4, 5, 6: Messaria Aprile, Locorontondo
7, 8, 9, 10: Lecce, B&B Prestige
11, 12, 13: Borgo San Gaetano, Bernalda
14: Il Giardino Dei Glicini, Ercolano
15: Fly out of Naples

We will have a car. Any suggestions for tours or classes, such as cooking classes, etc.?
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Old Apr 8th, 2024, 10:22 PM
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https://www.yltourdmc.com this woman runs and links up with some great courses
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Old Apr 9th, 2024, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
https://www.yltourdmc.com this woman runs and links up with some great courses
Thanks so much!
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Old Apr 9th, 2024, 12:45 PM
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Bilboburgler, just FYI, I have emailed her three times about doing a day trip out of Lecce (I am particularly interested in their "Coast to Coast" tour) and have not received a response. Same thing with Green Italy Experiences. I did find one through Get Your Guide, but they don't want to have one person added to a tour. They are checking to see if I can do it and I'm waiting to hear back. Didn't know it would be so difficult to book a day trip! 🙂

Last edited by SusanP; Apr 9th, 2024 at 12:48 PM.
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Old Apr 9th, 2024, 11:01 PM
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No one ever said the Pugliese were great business people ;-) Seriously though expect a certain non-Anglo-Saxon attitude in the area and you will enjpy yourself more

We tried multiple ways to contact Ylania (which is close to her real name as I forget it) but eventually we also tried FaceBook messaging and finally telephoning. Telephoning worked, she speaks excellent English.
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Old Apr 10th, 2024, 09:09 AM
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Don't worry, I don't expect an Anglo-Saxon attitude, I don't want to feel like I'm in the US. 😁
I was just hoping to book something ahead of time. Don't really want to call from the US, not sure what that might cost!
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Old Apr 10th, 2024, 09:17 AM
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Do you use What'sApp for free calls? Or Skype (reasonable rates)?
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Old Apr 10th, 2024, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by virginiafish
Do you use What'sApp for free calls? Or Skype (reasonable rates)?
I haven't yet. Have been thinking about looking into What'sApp. Seems as though a lot of people use it in Europe.
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Old Apr 16th, 2024, 02:56 PM
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We are struggling to find some 1/2 day private tours and/or cooking schools, etc. I heard about Nadia in Matera and cannot seem to locate contact info and got a reply, and answered a question, from https://www.yltourdmc.com/ and radio silence. We are in the last days of planning, so any suggestions welcomed!

This is our final itinerary:arrive Naples
1 night nr. Paestum @ Casale Giancesare
4 nights Locorotondo @ Masserie Aprile
3 nights Lecce B&B Prestige
Ferry to Sicily
1 night post-ferry Taormina Hotel Casa Adele
3 nights in Ortiga @ Palazzo Alfeo
1 night pre-ferry @ Taormina Hotel Casa Adele
1 night Ercolano (Il Giardino Dei Glicini)
fly out of Naples
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Old Apr 16th, 2024, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by virginiafish
We are struggling to find some 1/2 day private tours and/or cooking schools, etc. I heard about Nadia in Matera and cannot seem to locate contact info and got a reply, and answered a question, from https://www.yltourdmc.com/ and radio silence. We are in the last days of planning, so any suggestions welcomed!

This is our final itinerary:arrive Naples
1 night nr. Paestum @ Casale Giancesare
4 nights Locorotondo @ Masserie Aprile
3 nights Lecce B&B Prestige
Ferry to Sicily
1 night post-ferry Taormina Hotel Casa Adele
3 nights in Ortiga @ Palazzo Alfeo
1 night pre-ferry @ Taormina Hotel Casa Adele
1 night Ercolano (Il Giardino Dei Glicini)
fly out of Naples
All I can say about Ylania is yes her customer communication ability is poor but she gets on the case and knows the people. We just used the normal telephone and pushed her. I suspect she is one of the these people who gets more work than she can handle and just picks and chooses. Frustrating as hell, but I've worked in business in this country a fair bit and this style of operating is not unknown especially in the south.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 08:14 AM
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The contact info I have for Nadia Garlatti in Matera is: [email protected]
In Lecce in 2022 we had a lovely walking tour with Sara Bianchi, she's an archeologist and licensed tour guide. You can see reviews of her tours on Trip Advisor and you can find her on Instagram as: sb_sarabianchi
I think she also uses the Airbnb platform for booking and contact. I believe she does other tours outside of Lecce but we only did the Lecce walking tour.
When I Googled cooking classes Lecce quite a selection popped up...now whether you get a response or not who knows. I find Italians are more responsive to WhatsApp messages than emails.

And SusanP, I highly recommend you add WhatsApp to your phone. I have found it to be an absolute life saver while travelling, mostly for using to contact drivers, guides, hotels etc (or as a way for them to update me) while I'm in Europe but also for keeping in touch with people at home.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 08:20 AM
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The contact info I have for Nadia Garlatti is: [email protected]

We had a lovely walking tour in Lecce in 2022 with Sara Bianchi, an archeologist and licensed tour guide. She may do tours to other places in Puglia as well. You can read reviews of her tours onTrip Advisor and she can be found on the Airbnb platform or on Instagram as : sb_sarabianchi

When I Googled cooking classes Lecce a whole list of things came up. I have found Italians use WhatsApp a lot over emails.
SusanP it's really useful having WhatsApp on your phone, handy to keep in touch with hotels, drivers, tour guides etc or for them to quickly contact you while you are moving around on your travels.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 08:54 AM
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Frankly in the UK we use WhatsAPP almost live and email is very old school, maybe once a week
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 09:14 AM
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Apologies for the double post, I thought the first one didn't go through and now I don't know how to delete it.

Re Whatsapp, I use it a lot at home too although FB Messenger is something I use more.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by raincitygirl
Apologies for the double post, I thought the first one didn't go through and now I don't know how to delete it.

Re Whatsapp, I use it a lot at home too although FB Messenger is something I use more.

I have WhatsApp; a friend from Mexico put its on my phone, but I've never used it. How does it work? You go on the app and just dial a number?
But if you have a phone that works in Italy (I get Verizon Global plan when I travel overseas) so you need WhatsApp; can you not just phone the person?

I have a question about cooking classes, as I've only taken one, in New York City, where I had to chop carrots the whole time to get my knife skills up to par.
But in Italy, what's the point? In a one-day group class, how much do you really learn; isn't it more about watching the teacher prepare the dishes? it sounds like it might be fun but does it really improve your cooking skills? A private class sounds better, to me, but even then....I'm never going to make my own pasta or focaccia, and I pretty much can make pasta sauces already..... Just curious because so many people take them so apparently they like doing that....
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 02:04 PM
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Thanks, I'll check out WhatApp.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 05:48 PM
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Thanks for all of this helpful information. I will keep you posted. I have emailed Sara and Nadia.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 04:05 AM
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just a quick note on WhatsApp, phone calls in Italy, and cooking classes:

(a) we started using WhatsApp years ago, when our first grandchild was born and our kids set up a family group to use for chats, sharing photos, etc. Works with both wifi and cellular data, has chat/texting function, wifi calling and also video calls, which is good for us because my husband is the one android holdout in the bunch, so he doesn't use FaceTime. fast forward several years, and it appears that most other countries use WhatsApp almost exclusively for calls and texts, s great for communicating with guides, apartment owners, restaurants, etc.

(b) phone calls: we found the Verizon int'l pan expensive for the 2 of us for a 2-3 week trip, so we started purchasing a local holiday or tourist plan SIM card, and that gave us enough data for using Google maps, checking email while out and about, as well as looking into local sites and restaurants while out and about during the day, plus we had calling capability....well, turns out we hardly ever needing to call using the local number vs. WhatApp [NOTE: even with a local SIM, you want to maintain your own number for WhatsApp and FaceTime]. so now, we just use a local eSIM for data purposes, and call via WhatsApp. for our upcoming trip to Puglia for 18 days, a 30-day eSIM from Airalo, with 20 GB of data, is $33.00. so we break even over the Verizon daily plan after 4 days

(c) cooking classes: if you do your due diligence and check reviews, correspond with chef/instructor, and are specific in your interests, it can be a wonderful experience. we book private classes because we are truly interested in learning new recipes and not just taking photos and we prefer 1:1 attention. in Taormina we had a phenomenal evening at Villa Britannia, one of our best travel experiences ever, and in a small town about 30 minutes north of Malaga, we had a lovely afternoon making and eating Paella with the most charming British ex-pat ever. I'm a pretty accomplished home cook, and make my own pasta and pizza on a regular basis, in addition to inventive everyday cuisine, and I always learn one or two new things in a cooking class. also, we get tired of eating in restaurants every day on a 2-3 week vacation, so it's a nice change!
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 01:46 PM
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[QUOTE=ekscrunchy;17554581]I have WhatsApp; a friend from Mexico put its on my phone, but I've never used it. How does it work? You go on the app and just dial a number?
But if you have a phone that works in Italy (I get Verizon Global plan when I travel overseas) so you need WhatsApp; can you not just phone the person?

Whatsapp is good if you don't want to pay for your own service's global roaming (mine charges $16/day in Europe and sometimes I do use it too).
The app allows you to make video and voice calls plus text messages for free as long as you have a Wi-fi connection plus it has end to end encryption unlike FB messenger. I have found it helpful especially in Italy where hotels, drivers and tour guides will use it to stay in touch...usually by text message on it. You can use the Translate button as well.
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Old Apr 19th, 2024, 10:19 PM
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Good info about WhatsApp, but one question, maybe a dumb one, do you just have to have your regular SIM from the US to use it in Europe? I think that at least for now, that's where I would use it. OK, maybe two questions, can I use WhatsApp from the US to Europe or vice versa?

ekscrunchy, I've taken many cooking classes on my trips. I was just thinking about how many. In Italy, 7 (5 in Rome, plus Bologna & Naples), Paris, Spain (Madrid), South Africa, Vietnam. I haven't taken them to become a great chef but because they are always a lot of fun. I do like to take them with other people rather than by myself, because if people are willing to take time out of a European trip to take a cooking class, you can be sure they are enthusiastic about it. You do learn not only some tips and techniques, but recipes from that country. I have never had one where we were only watching the instructor do the cooking, they have all been hands-on. Plus, you get to eat the results! 😋
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