Just a reminder to check you flights often.
We have been home for two days, but wanted to get this out before more time had gone by. Arrived a few days before the tour to see some more sights (Borghese, and St. Peter's and Sistine Chapel). No hiccups on getting there as I had been checking our flights often. Had arranged a car to pick us up knowing we would be tired from the trip...only 5 E more than a regular cab so worth it IMHO. Checked in to our hotel (same as tour hotel) and our room was already ready. Headed out into the streets to find most folks with masks on and more crowds than I remember. Pent up demand? who knows...the weather was much warmer than we expected it to be, and should have packed another pair of shorts - yes we checked before we left but stuff changes. Stayed up til about 8 and went to bed. Up early for our Borghese tour which was super. And we had food tour set up for the second night which was also a lot of fun and a perfect amount of samples of things (Twilight Trastevere). Up early again the next day for an early entry into the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel. The door to St. Peter's is still closed so unable to access without going around - which we did only to find more folks in line for Security than I have even seen...and standing in the sun, so we left and went back to the hotel with a stop for gelato and maybe lunch. Tour started at 4 pm so we meet the guide, vac cards all checked (we did not have to show a test but know RS has added that back as a rqmt). All went to dinner and buddies were picked.
Great tour in all. As far as I know we all tested negative ( though as some are still traveling, it is hard to know for sure). Mask wearing enforced on the bus of which there was a fair amount of time on the bus. Also encouraged in crowds, and when we were indoors - most Italians are pretty good about it too. At least depending on the area.
Thanks to the RS sight I had seen the mess at the Amsterdam airport we were scheduled to route thru and managed to reach KLM customer service using WhatsApp and had our flight changed rather than attempt and get stuck. Flew from Naples, via Paris to SLC to Sacramento - traveled 24 hours to get home in all but smooth connections the whole way.
Great tour mates and guides (we had one to start and one to finish as the office is trying to keep everyone healthy and the guide we were to start with had some folks test positive on a previous tour so they juggled the schedule to be sure of a negative test and time period so the guides don't pass covid to new tour members. A great precaution.
All the hotels were find, meals were enjoyable and the amount of information and sights was amazing - especially moved by Matera, what a striking city - though the stairs are a beast after a bit and in the heat.
Testing in Naples was easy. Showed up at a Farmacia with our passports and 15 E and had the results in 15 minutes in hand. They did a throat swab and then up both nostrils. Our tour guide said that it may get harder to find places soon as they have been less used than before....YMMV so best be prepared. All in all we had a great time, learned a fair amount and took a lot of photos. And picked up some new scarves and shirts and olive oil! And a few pounds!!!
Planning our next tour already!