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Southern Italy Tour suggestions

Very excited to have been confirmed for next May after, like so many of us, having it canceled last year. My question is about the boat trip days… there is one set for (weather permitting) on day 4 along the Gargano coast… And another day with the option to go to Capri.

My wife gets otion sickness and I was thinking of just having her hang out in Vieste during to boat portion so she will be more comfortable….any suggestions?

I know on the Sorrento we can hang out and enjoy Sorrento but would welcome suggestions for that as well.

If you have been on this tour was there some part you would have preferred to miss? For example on the 14 day Ireland tour, if I were to do it again, I would skip the Aran Island trip and hang out in Galway exploring….I know RS is a fan of the island, and it just was not my cup of tea… and lunch a bust that day as part of the day on the island.
I would do the whole tour again in a minute but wish I had known how little of Galway we would see….

I have no concerns about skipping Capri as I was stationed in Naples 30 years ago and went to Ischia and Capri and Sorrento often… but would still welcome suggestions for those who have been more recently! I would happily read up but I imagine many things have changed with COVID-19 and will continue to be impacted for a while yet. The new guidebooks should be interesting…

Already booked our extra nights in Rome and Naples. Waiting another month for the air as it is too soon to book that. So very excited and like many of you love the “planning” and having it to look forward to!

Posted by
1287 posts

Hi Steph. Your wife has my sympathy. I get very car/boat/anything sickness. My sister-in-law and I went on the SoI tour in May 2019. Here's my suggestions for her: Take lots of Dramamine. They now make a non-drowsy version but it doesn't work as well. I used the drowsy version every time I was on the tour bus.

Vieste: the boat ride was OK. It's a smaller open boat. We were ducking waves coming over the side so didn't think about the motion. But I'm sure I took a Dramamine beforehand.

Salerno to Almalfi: this ferry ride is new on the tour. We took the tour bus to Positano for two nights. We did take a ferry from Almalfi to Positano at the end of our free day and I did OK. BUT if you take a bus on the curvy Amalfi Coast road, take Dramamine. I forgot and it wasn't pleasant if you get my drift.

Sorrento: It rained on our free day so SIL and I stayed in Sorrento, went shopping and enjoyed the sites. Sorrento is my favorite town on the peninsula. This is a great shop for cameo jewelry: https://www.bimontesorrento.com/content/10-about-bimonte-sorrento-an-oldest-cameos-and-coral-workshop-in-sorrento

Ravello: The curvy drive up the hill to Ravello was fine.

Positano was my least favorite place on the tour. Alberobello and Matera were my favorite.

Hope this help. It is a great tour. You will love it.
Kathy

Edit: here’s my trip report if you’re interest. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/my-very-long-trip-report-part-2-rs-south-of-italy-tour

Posted by
8 posts

If she’d like to go on the boat, maybe she could ask her doc about trying a scopolamine patch. I’ve used with great success from Lake Superior to Galápagos Islands 7 day boat trip.

Posted by
7607 posts

I was thinking of just having her hang out in Vieste during to boat portion so she will be more comfortable….any suggestions?

I doubt your wife is the 1st to have to skip boat ride.

I would be stunned if your guide did not have suggestions that would more than fill her time while the group was boating

Posted by
1187 posts

I would also strongly suggest the scopolamine patch. I also get very seasick so I seriously sympathize with your wife. The patch works like a charm for me better than Bonine or Dramamine.

Posted by
1656 posts

It would be nice if someone who has taken the Vieste boat trip would comment on how worthwhile they found it. I have visited Vieste and would have had no trouble enjoying myself in town for a few hours.

Posted by
4647 posts

I was wondering the same thing as Janet. The last boat ride I was on during a tour, I would much rather have stayed in town and explored.

Posted by
218 posts

I did the Southern Italy tour and took the boat trip..it was a bit bumpy but took Dramamine. The tour stops at a beach where you can swim if you want to, and if time permits…only about 20 mins I think, or at least it did when I took the trip,. Beach was crowded and not very appealing, especially as there are no facilities, bathrooms that is, but lots of bushes that appeared to have been well used. Aside from that we passed a small fishing boat both coming and going, and had an octopus waved at us both times, I suspect it was the same one! I enjoyed being on the water but do not think the trip was worth doing and certainly not for someone who suffers the misery of seasickness. We did sail into a couple of inlets/grottos and passed some formations as mentioned in the itinerary, definitely felt more movement there.

Vieste is a pleasant town and is popular as a holiday destination with the Italians, a very different atmosphere from Sorrento for example. There is a rather interesting shell museum.

Vieste is a nice break between two long travel and sight-seeing days; personally I’d take the chance to have a relaxing day by the pool, wandering around town and chilling before the long drive the next day.

Posted by
81 posts

Thank you everyone for the ideas! Awaiting South Italy tour confirmation, gives me something to think about….

Posted by
1287 posts

We did not stop during the boat tour. May 2019 was cold and rainy, even the locals were complaining. I really didn’t want to go on a boat tour but was glad I did. Wonderful photo ops that I could not get from land of old fishing huts and platforms. If anyone is familiar with Silio Falls Indian salmon fishing platforms pre-Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River they were reminiscent of that. The boat went down into several natural sandstone grottos.
Had it not been for an annual religious festival when we were there, Vieste would have been non-descript. That festival was very interesting like watching a travelog with processions, statues, bands, a carnival-like feel.

Posted by
1608 posts

Personally, I loved the boat ride in Vieste and I live and die with Children’s chewable Dramamine. I found out the hard way on our first RS Tour that Dramamine is a must for me, but I love the tours so much, I don’t care. We took this tour in May ( same tour as horsewoofie !) and loved it. However, we were the first group of the season to actually be able to do the boat ride since the water had been too rough. I was fascinated by the rock formations, so much so I didn’t feel the need to do the Blue Grotto on Capri. I didn’t have any trouble with the ferry we took between Amalfi and Positano, but it sounds like they’ve switched that out. I also didn’t have any trouble with the ferry to Capri. Any day that’s a bus day is a Dramamine day for me.

It doesn’t look like the tour hasn’t firmed up where you’ll stay on the Amalfi coast. Personally, it was much easier for my motion sickness to use the ferry between locations rather than the bus. It is a very slow, winding road with lots of traffic connecting the towns. I would highly recommend a trip to Ravello. As horsewoofie said, there have been some itinerary changes since our 2019 tour. We took the bus to Sorrento and then the train to Pompeii, but it now looks like the bus takes you there. The only place I was less than impressed with was Capri, but I’m glad I did it once. We loved this tour.

Posted by
62 posts

Hi Steph,
My friend and I just got confirmed for the Southern Italy tour, May 14, 2022! What date in May are you going?

Great suggestions here, I also suffer with motion sickness so good to get these tips! Can't wait for the tour, had to cancel Sicily when Covid hit, second time I've had to cancel that tour, fingers crossed for this one! :) The hotel in Rome we are staying at on the tour was already fully booked the 2 nights before and I only got the confirmation today!

Posted by
59 posts

Thanks to those who responded and any tips for this tour as far as stuff to not miss or that you wish you had done, let me know.