As customers on this tour, we want to say a big thank you to our very knowledgeable garden expert Robert for sharing his passion for Italian gardens with us. Special thanks also to Beniamino for his company and sharing his knowledge and love of Italian culture. We saw some amazing places in the company of a delightful group and had a really great time. Italy certainly came up trumps for us again this year.
ANNE AND RICHARD
This year’s Mezzogiorno tour with Anne and Beniamino through Basilicata and Puglia was a delightful combination of the Southern Italian countryside with its ancient hilltop towns and historic sites and the best of the local food and wine. It was all very well organized, relaxed and worry-free. I’d certainly recommend it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It was a wonderful mixture of the formal and informal — and we went to all sorts of gardens as well as other places of interest along the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed every moment from the accommodation to the gardens, the visits to the Medieval and Etruscan villages and best of all the great company. The variety of the tour meant that there was never a dull moment. The gardens were all magnificent and although initially my long time dream had been to had been to visit Villa d’Este and it proved to be as I imagined it but better, the other gardens were equally as interesting and so inspiring.The accommodation was fabulous and a bit of a step up from my usual 3 star arrangements. I think we were very lucky having a fun loving Italian foodie in charge of our eating as the food was just the best. As this was the very first tour I had taken I was awake for nights before the beginning of the trip worrying madly. I needn’t have worried as you, Anne and Beniamino, were so warm, friendly and organised.
In June this year we joined Connectitalia in Sorrento at an elegant historic hotel with amazing bay views.
A comfortable van and careful driver conveyed us around the bay past Pompei to Naples where we dined at a popular waterside seafood restaurant adjacent to the Fort. After lunch, a change of drivers and vehicles, we headed towards Potenza and the southern region known as Basilicata. Valle de Agri was our first stop at an Agritourismo farmlet, so very peaceful. This was our base for 3 nights to enable us to take in local places of interest including historical policing, political prisoners, Beniamino’s childhood haunts, Art, Roman Ruins, and historic religious venues.
We must not forget the glorious long lunches at vine covered venues with local specialities ordered by our knowledgeable host. From Valle de Agri we travelled on smaller scenic roads through historic villages to Matera. At this increasingly popular town we stayed in modernised caves and had privileged access to non public ruins with a very knowledgeable guide. Our last stop, Alberobello, was very picturesque and we stayed in one of their unique dwellings. Though very busy, there seemed space to enjoy this peaceful place. A quaint informative museum and lovely churches. Again we shared some fabulous authentic meals in company of our group. Between Anne and Beniamino, they made sure we were free to simply enjoy being off the beaten track and we felt well cared for at all times.
Our driver Tony was always courteous and always had chilled water available. He was caring of our experience and drove very smoothly plus being kindly patient with our attempts to speak Italian. It was great to put into practice what we had learned on our 9 week course with Connectitalia. A thoroughly memorable tour from one coast to the other, through a beautiful part of southern Italy. Grazie mille to Anne and Beniamino @ Connectitalia-NZ.
JENNIFER & WAYNE