Southern Italy Tourist Advice Please


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In late May I'm taking Mrs. PhilC to Italy for a vacation. We'll be landing in Rome, renting a car, traveling south to Sicily for a week, and then heading back up the Adriatic side to Abruzzo for another week on a small group (10-12) culinary cooking and wine tour. We've been to Italy before, spent nearly three weeks taking in Rome, the Amalfi coast and trekking through Tuscany, we even attended the famous Palio in Siena. So we're focusing on the south this time.

The cooking/wine tour itinerary includes breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, with daily cooking lessons and excursions, so we won't have much flexibility to go off and explore on our own. But we added the 8 days ahead of the tour to explore on our own. I really want to catch as much of Sicily as is reasonably possible. So with that, I turn it over to you FOH world travelers to share some tips on sites, restaurants and cigar shops. 

What do you suggest? 

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I spent 2 days in Rome, and that was 1 day too many. I wasn't a huge fan. I did, however, spend a week on Sorrento and loved it. I highly recommend Sorrento, Capri, Napoli if you haven't been. I took cooking lessons from this mom and grandma for a week in Sorrento. It was nothing short of amazing. Starting at 9am, they were trying to get me drunk off wine. Don't remember the last time I drank so much wine. We made homemade pasta, buffalo mozzarella, pizza, all kinds of seafood, desserts, even limoncello. The short boat ride to Capri is a must see. The sunsets on the boat are unforgettable.

Wish I could help you with southern Italy, but that's all I got unfortunately. Not much in the way of cigars and cigar-related activity in Italy as far as I know. 

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Thanks @Derboesekoenig  We enjoyed the historic aspects of Rome, the art, the architecture, etc. We also enjoyed Capri, albeit expensive. Sorrento and the surrounding areas were great, the whole Amalfi coast including Sorrento, Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi itself is stunningly beautiful especially from the ocean.

My wife and I love Italy, and we decided to carve it up into regions to explore over the next few years. In this segment we have our hearts set on Sicily and Abruzzo. In the next chapter we'll do Venice and the north along the alps, and the chapter after that we hope to explore the Riviera. We shall see. So many places to see, so little time and treasure to do what we want to do.

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I love Rome and the historic sites even going out to Tivoli etc. spent time both on the Amalfi coast and on the Adriatic Sea side. All great. Agree that Capri is a must see.

the tip I’ll give you is: jump into any tabaccheria you pass, especially off the beaten tourist track. This Last summer I found aged stock plus la Escepcion in several places (I shouldn’t have said that but I’m a nice guy?). Have a great trip.

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2 hours ago, Hookmaker said:

I love Rome and the historic sites even going out to Tivoli etc. spent time both on the Amalfi coast and on the Adriatic Sea side. All great. Agree that Capri is a must see.

the tip I’ll give you is: jump into any tabaccheria you pass, especially off the beaten tourist track. This Last summer I found aged stock plus la Escepcion in several places (I shouldn’t have said that but I’m a nice guy?). Have a great trip.

Wow, wish I would've done that when I went. I didn't even attempt to look for any cigars.

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15 minutes ago, Derboesekoenig said:

Wow, wish I would've done that when I went. I didn't even attempt to look for any cigars.

Every red neon sign saying “tabaccheria” should be your guiding star when in Italy. Most are lotto shops but a lot of them have at least a small humidor/coolidor with cigars. No one ever buys more than a few sticks. So they wait for us to come along ?

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6 minutes ago, Hookmaker said:

Every red neon sign saying “tabaccheria” should be your guiding star when in Italy. Most are lotto shops but a lot of them have at least a small humidor/coolidor with cigars. No one ever buys more than a few sticks. So they wait for us to come along ?

Damn. Ok next time then. Ha yeah I don't buy singles. I always buy by the box. I tell myself I save money that way lol even though I know that is not true for the most part

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Love Rome and want to see more of Italy in the future. Don’t have any advice but it sounds like an awesome trip. Enjoy.


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My wife and I drove around Italy in our honeymoon. Down south of Bari on the Adriatic is a restaurant in cave over looking the sea. The food was great and the scenery was amazing. Love Puglia. Name of the place was Grotta Palazzese. If you are down that I would recommend looking into it. 

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I visit Italy virtually every summer.  My heritage is Italian and I speak the language fluently so that makes it easy.  I have travelled to Sicily on a few occasions.  My favourite part of Sicily is Taormina.  The town up top is very picturesque.  I usually stay at the Capo Taormina Hotel.  It is built down the side of a cliff. The reception is on the top floor and the next 6 or so floors are down from there.  You access the beach through a cave cut through rock.  The hotel is somewhat dated and tired but the views are spectacular.  Think of Capri.  I hope to go back again soon.  My favourite restaurant in Taormina is Da Nino.  A day trip to Mount Etna is also recommended.

In Abbruzzo I like to stay in Vasto Marina just south of Pescara.  The beach is huge and sandy with shallow water.  The people are so friendly.  I usually dine in the Hotel (Hotel Adriatico) but there are numerous trattorias to visit.  A dining experience at one of the Trabocco's  (seafood restaurant on stilts in the water) is a must.  I prefer the one in Fossacessia.  Ask for the local dish - brodetto.

Have a great trip.  You will love it.  They are 2 great regions of Italy

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I visit Italy virtually every summer.  My heritage is Italian and I speak the language fluently so that makes it easy.  I have travelled to Sicily on a few occasions.  My favourite part of Sicily is Taormina.  The town up top is very picturesque.  I usually stay at the Capo Taormina Hotel.  It is built down the side of a cliff. The reception is on the top floor and the next 6 or so floors are down from there.  You access the beach through a cave cut through rock.  The hotel is somewhat dated and tired but the views are spectacular.  Think of Capri.  I hope to go back again soon.  My favourite restaurant in Taormina is Da Nino.  A day trip to Mount Etna is also recommended.
In Abbruzzo I like to stay in Vasto Marina just south of Pescara.  The beach is huge and sandy with shallow water.  The people are so friendly.  I usually dine in the Hotel (Hotel Adriatico) but there are numerous trattorias to visit.  A dining experience at one of the Trabocco's  (seafood restaurant on stilts in the water) is a must.  I prefer the one in Fossacessia.  Ask for the local dish - brodetto.
Have a great trip.  You will love it.  They are 2 great regions of Italy

Thanks! The culinary tour itinerary includes a day at Vasto, and a meal in one of the Traboccos, which sounds terrific.

Taormina is one of the areas I was scoping out in the travel guide, so I will research your recommendations and see if I can trace your footsteps through there.

Mt. Etna also caught my eye in the travel guide, so I will follow up on that. Is there a specific tour you recommend at Etna?


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I don't specifically recall any tour company.  We had a rental car and drove to Mount Etna.  We bought tickets at the base of the mountain and were bussed up to a staging area where an English Tour Guide accompanied us on a walking tour of the mountain.  It was quite enjoyable and informative.  I don't recall that there were any other specific tour guides such as you might have elsewhere with skip the line options etc.  I may be wrong on that.  You may wish to check with your hotel.

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I don't specifically recall any tour company.  We had a rental car and drove to Mount Etna.  We bought tickets at the base of the mountain and were bussed up to a staging area where an English Tour Guide accompanied us on a walking tour of the mountain.  It was quite enjoyable and informative.  I don't recall that there were any other specific tour guides such as you might have elsewhere with skip the line options etc.  I may be wrong on that.  You may wish to check with your hotel.

Oh great. If I can drive there that would be even better. I will add that to the agenda.


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Hey Phil,

Sounds like a great trip. We were in Sicily a couple of years ago and did The Godfather tour. It’s pretty cool, you can go to the bar where Michael meets Apollonia’s father. Let me know if you’d like more details or my tour guided contact information.

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