Please sign in to post.

South Italy - pre-trip report

Our tour starts tomorrow with the group meeting at 4 pm, but so much has happened - and so many people seem to be anxious - or at least, concerned - about their upcoming trips that I thought I would post our experiences so far.

We had planned to spend 2 nights in Rome at the tour hotel acclimating, and then I was lucky enough to see a great airfare to Milan so we arrive in Milan 3 days early. No problems with the flight at all. Some wore masks, some didn’t, it was not a requirement on the flight to London, but masks were required on the flight to Milan. After staying in the Milan airport Sheraton, we took the train to Milano Centrale in the morning, arriving 2+ hours before our scheduled (fast) train to Rome. We found the Pharmacy in the train station, got our Covid tests (negative) and also got “green passes” (no extra charge). The tests were 15 euro each. Train to Rome was no problem, though some small percentage of the younger travelers feel like they only need to wear a “chin mask”. Very easy process to get the test. Fast and courteous.

Easy taxi from Rome Termini station to the hotel. We’ve adjusted to jet lag fairly quickly and so far have met 8 of our fellow tour mates. Everyone is friendly and easy to talk with.

I had been worried about the trip for so long, especially the “what if I test positive and can’t go?” But it’s all been smooth sailing so far.

So I’m posting this to share one experience of how easy it has all been. I hope this helps some of the “worriers” perhaps be a little more relaxed.

And if you are ever in Rome and you like chocolate gelato, I can enthusiastically recommend Come il Late gelato shop. Wow.

As for activities in Rome, we walked the neighborhood last night (Trastevere is a very nice neighborhood with lots of restaurants), today we walked about 6 miles (to see some tourist spots, such as the Spanish Steps, which currently have the “once a year” azaleas - and a very nice walk at the large park adjacent to the Borghese Gallery. We rented lime bikes and rode around too, and had a lovely dinner at a casual restaurant near the hotel. And did I mention the chocolate gelato? Oh, and a walk in the misty rain along the Tiber for 2 miles - oh, and getting to try real carbonara - oh, and…

I will post a “normal” trip report after the trip.

Tony

Posted by
1742 posts

Thanks for the report. We are currently at DFW waiting to board our flight for Rome then on to Palermo. What restaurant did you eat at near the hotel? We will be there in Rome in about two weeks. I have made note of the gelato spot.

Posted by
9710 posts

What a great start to your tour and trip!

Everything is better with some good gelato under your belt!

Have a wonderful time…and thanks for posting. Glad some of the stress has lifted. Did you do any self tests at home before you traveled?

Posted by
43 posts

Pam,

Yes, did self-test pre-trip, but I’m a world-class worrier, so all those thoughts (what if I catch something from someone on the plane? What if I got it recently? What if all the tests to date have been false negatives and I’m really positive? Etc, etc.) some of us have too much practice making ourselves miserable!

Posted by
43 posts

Mary, are you on the RS Sicily tour? We did that in 2019 and loved it. Stephanie Bergman was our guide - she’s great: friendly, knowledgeable, organized. Everything you want in a tour guide. (This is our 3rd tour and we’ve had great guides on both previous tours. I don’t know if we’ve been lucky or if RS guides are uniformly great. I suspect the latter.)

Posted by
129 posts

We will be on the South Italy tour in September. Thanks for the post. We look forward to your trip reports. i assume you are staying at the Hotel Smeraldo and the restaurant is nearby that hotel.

Posted by
43 posts

Hi Jim,

We are not in that hotel. Our hotel is the Hotel San Francesco. Your hotel is on the other side of the river, about 1.2 km away from us (according to google maps).

T

Posted by
9710 posts

some of us have too much practice making ourselves miserable!

Oh my…that made me burst out laughing! Too true! You forgot the added stress of having an allergy attack due to pollen and heading back to the hotel to use one of your precious test kits to make sure it’s not Covid!! 😉😆

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the post . Leaving in 10 days for the same tour. Can't wait!

Posted by
67 posts

Thank you for the information, I’ll be on the south Italy tour May 14, can’t wait, visited Rome on my Best of Europe tour, excited to go back!

Posted by
32 posts

How was Hotel San Francesco? Was there much to see near the hotel? We will be on the South Italy tour in Sept. Arriving a few days early to look around. Have a wine trip already planned the day before the tour.

Jerry