Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 104: Navigating with Bob & Ed in Southern Italy--Two Weeks in Sicily and Puglia
By Bob the Navigator from FL, Spring 2000
Page 2 of 5: The Itinerary
We were only able to sell a two week itinerary and set our budget at less than $5000. The lira exchange rate at more then 2000/1 was a major asset and we were able to find an excellent airfare on USAIR from Philly to Rome---we arrived on 22 March and headed south.
POSITANO---3 NITES----CASA ALBERTINA
MARATEA/ACQUAFREDDA---1 NITE---VILLA CHETA ELITE
TAORMINA, SICILY----3 NITES---VILLA BELVEDERE
PORTO CERSAREO---1 NITE---HOTEL LO SCOGLIO [ long drive to the heel ofPuglia]
LECCE---HOTEL RISORGIMENTO---2 NITES
ALBEROBELLO---HOTEL LANZILLOTTA---1 NITE
GAETA---GAJETA HOTEL ---2 NITES [ four hour drive from Puglia to coast north of Naples]
All of the hotels were three star accommodations with the exception of the Villa Cheta Elite.
We only had reservations at three destinations [Positano, Taormina, Lecce], but were able to find adequate digs in the more remote locations easily and at truly off-season rates.
Overall, we averaged less than $90/nite for a double room in spite of the boutique" hotels we booked in the more popular resort locations. But, it was off-season and we did negotiate. We managed to stay on schedule and under budget for the entire trip, and only got lost one time. Naturally, I blamed that on Ed since I was driving at the time and have a reputation to maintain. The car was a Mercedes A-class city car from Auto Europe at a 30% discount.
Please do not ask me where we ate. After all, this is Italy and you have to try real hard not to find a good meal. Our eating strategy was really quite simple. You merely ask the locals where is the best trattoria serving local specialties and leave it to them. I never really understood planning an itinerary from one Michelin rated ristorante to the next.
We were able to eat well for about $25/day/person and managed to drink fifteen diverse brands of beer from Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Austria and our share of the local vino.
Of course, we had our favorite gelato at least once per day as it is a national treasure and should be required daily. Gelato, cappuccino, vino, pasta, Moretti----ahhh, life was good.
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