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Best of South Italy Tour--Vieste, Alberobello and Matera

My friend and I have been to Italy before and LOVE, LOVE the Amalfi Coast!! The only Rick Steves tour that visits the area is the South Italy tour. We love the beginning in Rome and the end of the trip that spends time in our beloved Amalfi Coast/Sorrento/Naples area.

However, our concern is with the middle part of the trip visiting Vieste, Alberobello (I know it's a day trip) and Matera. We are concerned that this part of the trip may be too sedate for us. We enjoy restaurants, wine tasting, bars and music. We are not big shoppers nor into sunbathing as that is something that we can do here at home.

If you have taken this tour before, can you describe the level of activity, atmosphere and sights to do in these three areas during this part of the trip. I would love to take a RS tour--I just want to make sure this is the correct one.

Posted by
16771 posts

I can't imagine those destinations meeting your concern of "too sedate." They have a terrific small-town and hill-town Italian character with lots of architectural interest. Shopping and lounging are no more prominent here than in Sorrento, and probably less so. Vieste did not feel like a hub of nightlife but wining and dining are certainly there. The boat trip near Vieste was truly beautiful and will probably spoil you for any famous Blue Grotto afterward. Afternoon beach time is likely to be available but that was not the focus for most of my fellow tour members. (I swam in the shallow bay right below the hotel.)

In Alberobello, we do a wine tasting with local foods and have some free time to explore the unique architecture.

Matera is just fascinating, built originally all out of hillside caves. After a morning walking tour, you'd still find lots to explore, especially if you don't mind walking hills and stairs. Going into the big water cistern is a worthwhile option. Look for photos online or watch the first part (filmed there) of the recent Wonder Woman.

There are tour member scrapbooks here from several recent years (but not 2017): https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/scrapbooks/tour-alum-scrapbooks.

Posted by
1491 posts

I haven't been on this tour but have stayed in all these places. Alberobello and Matera are unique in all the world and definitely deserve a visit. We enjoyed Vieste as well (and are not shoppers, swimmers or sunbathers).

Posted by
314 posts

Hi, I have taken that tour and I did love it. That being said, it is very true that the middle of the tour - Vieste and Matera - are more like "back door" destinations. Of course every Italian town is going to have great food, especially if you search out where the locals eat, but as far as music and bars, I'm not sure how much nightlife you're going to find. If you go into this tour with an open mind to experience a different section of Italy, I think you'd enjoy it. If you go searching for evening activities and nightlife, I'm not sure you'll find that much to make you happy.

The wine and food tasting in Alberobello was very yummy. There was a lot of bus time driving through different parts of Italy that are scenic though, perhaps to some, a little boring. I just loved seeing a different part of Italy. And we had some rain so there wasn't any view from Hadrian's Villa to Vieste. The water buffalo farm and meal were delightful and something very different.

You may want to do a 7 day Rome tour and then just go down to Sorrento on your own and base out of there for four or five days and take days trips around the Amalfi Coast. Or maybe the Venice, Florence, Rome tours so you are in places with more bars and music and nightlife.

On the tour, our time in the Amalfi Coast was basically one full day in Positano, with all the opportunities to ferry to other areas or hike, etc. And a lovely free day in Sorrento and a wonderful meal at a local's home. A highlight. But, I'm not sure you'd want to take the tour just to experience those three days.

Happy travels!

Posted by
694 posts

Matera is high on my bucket list. Saw The Passion of The Christ (2004) recently and it looks awesome.

Posted by
2 posts

We went on this tour in 2011 and Vieste was one of our favorite stops mainly because we were able to visit with cousins who live there. It is spectacular and not so small. We took a boat tour and stopped at a beach along the coast. I collected small sea glass pieces there and have it in a locket to remind me of that day. Matera was also a highlight of the trip for the history and uniqueness of the location. The lodging was very interesting, not sure if RS still uses the same place. Of the three Alberobello was interesting for the houses, but that seemed mostly like a shopping stop.