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Village Italy

Ciao!
Anyone on the October 19th Village Italy tour? This will be our second RS tour so still newbie’s to all this fun. We will be in Verona two nights before the tour starts and then three nights in Milan after the tour. Any “must see” in Verona, Milan and the Village Italy tour (during free time)? Last year we took the GAS Tour and our tour guide Rolinka and bus driver John were just amazing. The members of our tour group were just the best. Looking forward to meeting another group of people who love to travel. Ciao!

Posted by
8009 posts

I very much enjoyed the Botanical Garden in Padua as well as Basilica Sant'Antonio. It's probably too late to change anything around but I'd try to get to Padua as early as you can on the day you arrive there because there is so much to see and do that you don't get to on the tour. I think this tour always stays at the same place in Padua which is decorated a bit weird. Just be ready for uh..."eclectic" decorating. Pretty hilarious! Great food on this tour along with very fun experiences!

This didn't occur to me ahead of time but for me this turned out to be a "Tour of the Relics". I'm not Catholic but I found the relics found in various churches on this tour fascinating! There are 3 relics of Saint Anthony in the Basilica (his jawbone, his larynx and maybe his tongue? Can't remember and didn't want to go look it up!) plus a number of others along the tour.

I had Rolinka for the Best of Paris tour years ago and ran in to her in the breakfast room of the hotel in Ghent this year as she was leaving with a Belgium and Holland tour group and I was getting ready to start mine. I was shocked that she remembered me and actually called my name! Either she has a fabulous memory or .... !! Anyway, I loved her! I'm sure your Italy guide will be just as wonderful! I had Trina and she was fabulous!

Have a fun, fun time.

Posted by
4454 posts

Pam, evidently you made an impression!

Although I must say that every time we have encountered former guides, they remembered us. One of them I approached rather diffidently, assuming she wouldn't remember me, but she said "Don't I get a hug?"

Posted by
2570 posts

I have to say that Milan is my least favorite city in Italy. If you can, consider spending time in Turin. It’s only 50 minutes by train between the 2 cities.

Posted by
1896 posts

I loved Milan and we spent several days there. If you can make reservations for the "Last Supper', see it. Beautiful and I found the fact (?? or so our guide told us!) that it was painted on the only wall left standing of Santa Maria delle Grazie during the Allied bombing of Milan quite an interesting story. Also interesting is the doorway the resident monks cut into it to make dining room access from the kitchen easier. If you have time, do explore the roof of the Duomo. Where else will you get a chance to walk around the spire laden rooftop of such an important structure? There is an elevator if you don't want to walk up to the roof. Also enjoy the Sforza Castle, it's small museums and the Michelangelo ("La Pieta Rondanini") in one of the small museums- one of my all time favorite sculptures. In Padua, we also very much enjoyed the Botanical Gardens, peaceful and lovely. Odd, I know but I bought small St Anthony medals for all of my familys' dogs collars-partron saint of lost things, I was told! So far, so good.......

Posted by
18155 posts

Bergamo is a convenient day-trip from Milan. I haven't checked to see whether it's on the tour itinerary.

Posted by
4454 posts

We also loved Milan. We spent 4 or 5 days there after our 2017 Village Italy tour, and had no trouble filling our time.

Posted by
116 posts

We got to Padua 2 full days before the tour started. We got the pass that included transport plus admission to the chapel (had been told that the window to visit was too short and adding another visit during the tour May not work out). We took a train to Venice and spent a day there as I wanted to see Murano and Burano—much less crowded than Venice, but the vaparettos were crowded getting there and back. And, yes, we got lost finding the vaparetto stop and finding our way back to the train station. I love Venice for that.
We went to St Anthony’s Basilica, the open market and I did the tour of the anatomy theatre. We had time for the botanical gardens during our free time.
After the tour we went to Milan for an additional 3 nights. We booked a tour to see The Last Supper. It included the Duomo (skipped the long line in the heat), La Scala and a short bus tour. We spent a day just wandering too.
Both Padua and Milan had fabulous gelato. We have a rule of a minimum on one per day while in Italy. It’s a great rule!

Enjoy your trip

Posted by
8009 posts

Patty - did you all have gelato in Orta San Giulio? I loved the gelato place on the piazza - Gelato Artiginale Eliot. I made a mistake there. The first day he had fig sorbetto and I didn't get it so when I asked for it the next day it was all gone. He had used the last fig from the fig tree in his garden the day before. Wow...talk about fresh!

I'll also add that I did not plan enough time in Milan. I just had an afternoon there and it was a day the Last Supper was not open. I loved the Duomo. It moved me greatly because family emigrated from North of Milan and the family "story" was the Great Grandpa walked from his home to "the big church" in Milan for services. It was 25 miles so surely he only did that once or twice but to stand where he stood kind of overwhelmed me.

Posted by
116 posts

Pam
I did have gelato at Lake Orta but don’t remember the name or which flavor. I tend to pick fruit flavors, coffee or pistachio. Yum.

Posted by
7 posts

A big thank you to all of you for your replies to my post. Certainly gave me lots to think about and more ideas to research. We added days before and after the RS tour but now I am wishing we had added more. I have been reading the scrapbooks and the reviews of this tour. Sounds to me as if my husband and I are in for a wonderful trip.

Posted by
7 posts

WOW Jane and Bob what wonderful reports on Village Italy! Thank you for such informative details about the trip. Just reading all the activity during the tour made me a little tired lol. We are very excited about this tour and after reading your reports feel a little more prepared to take this tour.

Posted by
4454 posts

jacq.dial, this is one tour that I would gladly take again.

Posted by
1003 posts

Village Italy is one of the so-called Cultural Connections tours, which (according to the RS brochure) focuses less on the tourist sites...and more on off-the-beaten path experiences with a deeply cultural, person to person flavor.

We noted that there were many experienced travelers on the tour.