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Anyone taking the Village Italy tour starting 5 May, 2018?

We are beyond excited to be taking this tour in a few months! We are flying out early and plan on staying n at the tour hotel ahead of time.

Jane had been incredibly helpful with her Padova advice. What have others done in their free time during this tour? What about pre-tour? Unfortunately we have to work the day after the tour ends so there will be no free time post tour in Milan!

Who will be joining us on this tour?

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4061 posts

Kathy, you are going to love this tour. We went last summer, and I'm already thinking about when we can do it again! Did you get the Padova Pass worked out?

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44 posts

My wife and I spent five days in Padova before joining the Village Italy tour last May. If you like great music in churches, I recommend that you ask about free concerts in the churches. We attended two of them, and both were wonderful.

Even though a visit to the Scrovegni Chapel is included in the tour in Padova, I recommend reserving tickets to see it during your time before the tour starts, as well. Giotto's frescoes in this chapel are among the most important achievements in the history of art in Italy. One is only allowed 15 minutes per visit, so if you want to spend more time than that to view them, you will want to reserve an additional visit.

Steve

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684 posts

Did you get the Padova Pass worked out?

I'm going to do this this week! I do have the website and thanks to your help I know which one to get!

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684 posts

Even though a visit to the Scrovegni Chapel is included in the tour in Padova, I recommend reserving tickets to see it during your time before the tour starts, as well

Jane offered the same advice! I shall heed it.

Any specific restaurant recommendations?

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127 posts

Kathy, as Jane said, you’ll love this tour...and Jane, we repeated it with friends and it was great. I will second Steve’s advice about the Scrovegni Chapel. The fifteen minutes goes by so quickly, and it’s hard to not feel rushed, so a second visit is wonderful. It’s helpful to do a bit of research before visiting so you can minimize the time you would spend getting your bearings upon walking in. Also, be watching for the graduation traditions celebrated in the streets near the University of Padua. The students graduate continually during the year, and when they emerge from their final exams they’re greeted by family and friends.....singing songs that shouldn’t be translated:) and being toasted and roasted and generally lovingly humiliated with posters, props, etc.

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684 posts

Also, be watching for the graduation traditions celebrated in the streets near the University of Padua. The students graduate continually during the year, and when they emerge from their final exams they’re greeted by family and friends.....singing songs that shouldn’t be translated:) and being toasted and roasted and generally lovingly humiliated with posters, props, etc.
Oh, I seem to recall seeing a RS episode reflecting this tradition. Perhaps it's best I haven't learned more than a handful of phrases in Italian ;) This sounds like a fun thing to witness!

I have played around with google maps to get my bearings once we emerge from the train station in Padua. I just love google maps, streetwise. I do like to be familiar with where I'm landing. I'm a research freak!

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7736 posts

It's been a few years but a number of my fellow tour mates really enjoyed the pizza at PagoPago which is near the tour hotel and Basilica. We (I, hahaha!!) didn't do enough research so wound up trying to go on a night they were closed (maybe a Monday or Tues?). We did have a wonderful meal near the hotel on the Prato della Valle at a restaurant called Zairo.

Agree with all the others who suggest another chance at Scrovegni Chapel. I am not really that much of a fresco freak, haha, but wow, these blew me away.

I may also have said before but this tour turned out to be a Relic Tour for me! Lots of body parts in various cathedrals along the way starting with the jawbone, tongue and vocal cords of Saint Anthony at the Basilica in Padua. One of the MD's on our tour confirmed, yes they were actual vocal cords on display.

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4061 posts

We ate at Zairo our first night in Padova, and it was very good. We were standing outside the restaurant contemplating the menu when a local stopped (she was riding her bike) and urged us to go in. "Is good. Go." We did, and it was. We splurged a bit, but enjoyed our meal very much. DH had vitello tonnato, which is way better than it sounds. I had tagliatelli con fiori de zucchini e capesante - noodles with zucchini flowers and scallops. We split an order of prosciutto with melon, had the house red, and a bottle of frizzante mineral water. I don't eat sweets, and if DH had dessert I didn't note it. Probably not. It was €41 for the two of us. The service was great.

The next night we ate at Antica Trattoria dei Paccagnella, just up the street from the basilica. DH's fried calamari and scampi was excellent. My chicken pasta dish was disappointing; both would have been better with a different wine. (For some reason, we didn't follow the host's wine suggestion.)

We also had pizza at the Ristorante al Santo, which was the hotel we were staying at pre-tour. Good pizza and wine.

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684 posts

Taking notes on restaurants and hints with my S pen on my new Note 8!

I did indeed just reserve our extra time at the Scrovegni Chapel for the morning AFTER our arrival day. I don't think I could have done it without Jane's help. THAT website was very confusing!

This is my favorite part of the pre-trip process. Everything is already paid for with the exception of our 2 pre-tour nights at the hotel. For sake of convenience we are staying at the tour hotel. I understand the artwork is rather interesting. I'm totally ok with that. As a matter of fact I really like mixed media art so this looks to be the definition of it!

What were the other activities and restaurants you enjoyed on your own in each city? I can't believe we are considering this but we may be bringing our 25" roller! I know. I know. It's an awfully good bag. Had to buy it in Strasbourg to accommodate all of our souvenirs! Also, speaking of souvenirs, we just learned that we are to be grandparents on or around September 12th! I have a whole new reason to shop (like I needed one)!

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99 posts

Kathy we did this tour last year. We arrived 4 days early and stayed at the same hotel that the tour used which was the Hotel Al Fagiano. Great hotel, staff was very helpful. We did a one day tour to Verona using a Guide recommend in one of our RS tours books. Nice city on a river with the Romeo and Juliet balcony site. While in Padova we visited the Botanical gardens which was very close to the hotel. Was a nice way to spend an afternoon among all the different plants. If you have the time and I would say at least 1 very long day or two days then visit Venice. We stayed post trip for 3 nights and still ran out of time. Our first night dinner was at La Corte dei Leoni. If the tour is not going there for dinner then I would recommend it as place for a good to eat. We were in town over a Sunday so we visited the flea market, just down the road from the hotel. We had a great time and were able to get some local items at very good prices. We did some very long walks around the city, felt totally safe where ever we went and just had a wonderful time. You have to find a small cafe in the afternoon sit outside and have an Spritz. Comes with food and was delicious. In fact we now buy Prosecco with Aperol so we can have them at home.

Have a wonderful time in what every you choose to do. We are off to Scandinavian with RS this summer but not till late June.

Enjoy!

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112 posts

On this tour in late August—a late change of plans and it was the last one open! Taking notes on all of the recommendations. So anyone for August 25?

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684 posts

If you have the time and I would say at least 1 very long day or two days then visit Venice. We stayed post trip for 3 nights and still ran out of time. Our first night dinner was at La Corte dei Leoni. If the tour is not going there for dinner then I would recommend it as place for a good to eat. We were in town over a Sunday so we visited the flea market, just down the road from the hotel. We had a great time and were able to get some local items at very good prices. We did some very long walks around the city, felt totally safe where ever we went and just had a wonderful time. You have to find a small cafe in the afternoon sit outside and have an Spritz. Comes with food and was delicious. In fact we now buy Prosecco with Aperol so we can have them at home.

My husband decided he loved Prosecco after our BOE 21 day tour in 2015 and we both love the food and wine in Italy! We aren't planning on any time in Venice although we will fly into Venice. We will have 2 extra nights pre-tour so I've already purchased a 48 hour Padova card for the both of us. I think there is enough in Padua to keep us busy and I do like your suggestion of the Botanical garden for our arrival day. We never sleep straight off and try to keep busy until early evening. Will have to check out that flea market!

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684 posts

Our tour dates were the first dates to be sold out. When I just looked again (to check on the itinerary) it said "filling fast". Someone must have canceled their tour.

Just a heads up for anyone wanting to take this tour in less than 2 months! It's the only Village Italy tour with available seats!

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4061 posts

This may well be the best tour they offer. At least, it's the best (of 11) that I've taken. If you love Italy, or would like to know more about Italian art, agriculture, and economics, sign up. It's fun, enlightening, educational... Sign up while you have the chance!

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684 posts

Yay, Joann! We found someone on the tour with us! Are you arriving early?

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Our tour packets are available via the tour portal! Yay. I've been so anxiously awaiting this information. It looks like we have 9 pairs and 2 singles on our tour......which makes 20. I realize sometimes people are late comers so I expect that number could grow in the next 30 days.

I love checking out the tour hotels and it doesn't look like they will disappoint! Now I have 30 days to read my RS Italy book :)

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4061 posts

Kathy, hooray! What a good time you have ahead of you.

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7736 posts

Who is your guide? Or I should say which guide is lucky enough to be able to tour you and your DH around the Villages of Italy, lol!!

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146 posts

We originally signed up for that tour, but we were notified it was full so we ended up on the May 14th tour, instead. Have a great time!

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684 posts

Who is your guide? Or I should say which guide is lucky enough to be able to tour you and your DH around the Villages of Italy, lol!!

Lisa Anderson. The hotels look great. Now I best get to reading my Italy book!

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127 posts

Kathy and JoAnn, you’re going to have such a great time. Lisa is a wonderful guide...smart, funny, knowledgeable and has a good heart! We actually took this tour twice (with friends the second time) and we were so lucky to have her as our guide both times.

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55 posts

We had Lisa for the Venice, Florence & Rome tour. We are very curious to see if we will get her for our Village tour that starts on 5/21.

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901 posts

Kathy, FYI, Lisa has an interesting blog, Lisa’s Dolce Vita, in case you want to learn a bit about her before you start.

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8 posts

Hi Kathy. We are doing the Village Italy tour starting on May 14, 2018. This will be our first RS tour, in fact our first organized coach tour of any sort. We typically do our own thing when we travel but the itinerary of this trip combined with some friends highly recommending the RS tours had us sign up.

We are spending 2 days in Venice pre-tour and staying for 6 days post, mostly in the Alps / Lake Garda area.

Thanks to all who have posted restaurant options as I am also taking notes for options. Have a great trip!

Jerry

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214 posts

A restaurant suggestion for Padova: Osteria dei Fabbri, Via dei Fabbri, 13, near Piazza Erbe. We wound up in Padova on two consecutive years, and enjoyed our dinner there so much the first time that we were happy to have another chance to return when we were on the VI trip in 2016. We had arrived a day early with the friends we were traveling with, and ate there our first night. And, to our surprise, the group dinner on the first night of the tour was there, too. But a repeat dinner was no problem at all. What was really funny was that the server from the year before was there both nights, and she had remembered us--even to where we sat the first time--and on the second night, greeted us like old friends! The bigoli al anatra, a duck ragu, was so good I looked up recipes to make it at home, and in fact enjoyed my version with friends just last night.

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684 posts

Jerry, I bet you are getting as excited as I am! We leave 2 weeks from this Wednesday! Yikes, i better get to planning my packing! I've been trying to wear the sandles i think will go with most of my clothes here to break them in......yesterday i wore them to church and it was 41 degrees.......so I'm sure they'll be fine in Italy.

Lois, thank you for the suggestion. Who was your tour guide for VI? I feel like guides do have their favorite restaurants so I wonder if that will be our first group dinner? In any case it is noted. I do want to have a meal around one of the piazzas. Does this one have outdoor seating? It's one of my favorite things about mealtimes in Europe!

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214 posts

Kathy, our tour guide was David Tordi. who was just wonderful. Knowledgeable, patient, and a great musician to boot. On our free evening in Orvieto (which is his home), his small group was performing, so most of us went to see at the restaurant that was the performance site. And in the hotel in Levanto, he joined in an impromptu performance with the folks at the restaurant/Albergo that was lots of fun.

I don't know if the first restaurant was his choice (it's in the RS book) but going back was fine with us. It's on a side street off the piazza, and there is no outdoor seating although there may be a garden in the back. We were inside. The piazzas are probably better for your pre-dinner drink (Aperol spritz!) than for dinner. Have a wonderful trip!

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146 posts

We are on the May 14th tour with Jerry. There are 25 of us signed up, and our guide is Ann Long. We are getting excited; now I just have to figure out clothes I should take:)

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684 posts

Annie,

I know about the clothing situation! At first I just assumed it was going to be warm....because it's Italy......then I checked out the 15 day forecasts for most of the cities (a couple weeks ago). The predicted temps were not as warm as I thought. Of course, yesterday Padua was 75 degrees, which is warmer than when I looked last week. I guess the take-away is just like all other trips. Plan on layering. I have been breaking in a cute pair of sandles when I realized that the temps were maybe not as warm as I thought. I still think I'll be fine. I wore them to church when it was 41 degrees and damp and I survived. I plan on bringing capris, pants, leggings, simple dresses, and a maxi skirt or two. I live in my Lularoe clothing now and they pack so easily/compactly.

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8 posts

Kathy, yes we are getting very excited as well! Not just for the tour but to hopefully enjoy some actually good weather! It is snowing lightly today in Toronto....much colder than normal for this time of year which seems to be the case in many places this year. Great to see that most of the villages we are travelling to are already enjoying good weather!

Thanks for the additional restaurant suggestions, much appreciated!

Jerry

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18 posts

We will be on the May 5 Village Italy tour. We are flying in to Milan then heading to Venice for a few days before joining the tour in Padova. Looking forward to it. Thanks for the advice on places to eat and visit.

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684 posts

Oh Pat....you are probably already on your way now! We won't leave Missouri until Wednesday and will arrive Thursday morning. We are headed straight to Padua for two nights pre-tour. Is this your first RS tour? Looking forward to meeting you!

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Hi Kathy, We leave on Tuesday on a direct flight to Milan from Newark. After a few days in Venice we will take the train to Padova on Sat PM. This will be our sixth RS tour. Our first RS tour was a week in Rome.

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4061 posts

Kathy, how is the tour going? I'm eager to hear about your experiences.

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684 posts

We arrived in Lucca today, actually around 5pm. The hotel is new for a RS group and is just outside the wall on the canal just outside. We had our Puccini concert then had a lovely dinner of Florentine steak.

This tour has been nothing short of amazing and our guide is surprising us with fun little adventures at every turn.

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146 posts

Pam, we happened upon those body parts last night. It was interesting, but a little too much for me😨 We start our tour today!