Don’t Stress Planning your Amalfi Coast Vacation. Here’s a Smarter Way. (Also tips for Matera!)

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

amalfli coast italian fix

There’s a reason Italy is ranked in the top five most visited countries on the planet.

People are in love with the very idea of this country, the romance it holds, the art, the culture, the history, the sheer natural beauty.

Ok, that’s more than one reason.

But you get the idea. And hey, if you’ve found your way to our site, you know what I’m talking about. Italy has captured your imagination too, and you’re hungry for more.

The downside of course to everyone loving on Italy is that the hottest destinations there — namely Florence, Venice and Rome — can get pretty swamped with people.

These are all must-see cities, of course, and we love them as much as the next gal. But there is an Italy that gets a lot less traffic.

Southern Italy.

A lot of people call everything south of Rome “the real Italy.”

It’s where you go when you’ve already hit up all of the usual suspects. Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan — you’ve been there done that.

Or it’s your first time in Italy, but you’ve always preferred roads less traveled.

Everything feels warmer in Southern Italy, slower, more ethereal. The tomatoes are juicier, and the vibe is earthy, exuberant, luscious.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? So why doesn’t everyone go?

Well, one reason is that it’s waaaay more complicated to plan a trip in the south.

Most of Northern Italy is better kitted out for tourism. There are more travel resources dedicated to the north, tried-and-true itineraries, and quick and easy train connections that plant you right in the middle of the action. And since the “Big Three” (Florence, Venice and Rome) are all further north, it simply doesn’t occur to many people to venture to the bottom of the boot.

Discovering Southern Italy takes a lot more planning and research, and who wants to spend hours upon hours putting a trip together like it’s your second job?

We get you. And we’ve got you covered.

You can travel with Italian Fix on a small group trip, designed exclusively for busy women who love the idea of someone taking care of them for a change. Just show up to the table. We have dinner!

Our Southern Italy tour immerses you in the magic of the Mezzogiorno for ten glorious days — days that require nothing from you but pure enjoyment.

No planning. No research. No figuring out bus schedules or worrying about driving in Italy. No hours wasted reading hotel reviews and hoping you picked the right one. No sweaty luggage schlepping and cursing the out-of-order train station elevators. (Why are they ALWAYS out of order?)

We’ve drawn from decades of experience in the area and the best local connections to craft a tour that hits all the sweet spots. Your host not only speaks Italian, but knows how to speak to Italians to get you the most efficient service and high-touch value across the board. That sounds like a subtle difference, but it’s really key when deciding whether to travel on your own or with an organized group of travelers.

Here’s the real question: Would you rather walk into a wine store in Alberobello and blend in like all the other “foreigners” on the strip? (If you’re lucky, you might get a free olive or two.)

Or — now this is important — would you prefer to walk into this wine shop with Tommaso, your Italian Fix lead guide, who has been building a relationship with the wine store owner for over a decade? Who calls ahead, tells the owner he’s bringing 12 lovely ladies, and we want to try all the best wines of Puglia.

So we walk in. There’s a tasting set up with five wines — whites, reds, rosé, sparkling, dessert wine. Not to mention a full spread of cheeses, olives, fresh bread, all manner of sweet and salty tastes and treats. You laugh and drink and taste in the store. The owner’s parents have come to meet everyone. You spend a few hours and then you decide, ‘cause you’ve had a few glasses, that this is the best wine you’ve ever tasted and at 11 euros a bottle you’re going to ship a case home because, hey, you feel like it and you want to get a jump on your Christmas shopping.

In other words, we’ve done all the work, so that you don’t have to. You get all the perks that come with connections and knowledge. All the stuff that’s not googleable.

Italian shop owners are generally just not web savvy enough to be offering these kinds of experiences in neat, online packages. They are created and made available via relationships developed over the years with professional travelers who continue to bring business to the area.

“I’m going to plan everything myself” travelers just don’t have the same kind of access to and clout with the small business owners who offer the sort of “real deal” experiences we’re all looking for when we travel.

Are you pickin’ up what I’m throwing down here?


Overview of the Italian Fix 10 night trip to Southern Italy: Amalfi Coast, Matera and Puglia.

First, we ease you into the Mezzogiorno with a stay in Positano on the sparkling Amalfi Coast.

Picture peeking out from your room in one of the pastel buildings cascading down to a turquoise sea, a heart-pumping, heartbreakingly pretty cruise exploring the coast, a visit to Capri, and a leisurely lunch in ravishing Ravello.

When it’s time to move inland, you won’t have to struggle with train timetables or directions or language barriers. Can we get a Hallelujah?

We take care of everything — including a private driver — and suddenly you’re dining on real Italian mozzarella on a water buffalo farm. The one we visit provides massages for the animals and classical music in the barns — these guys take cheese quality seriously! Then before you know it, you’re settling into your stylish room in Matera’s Sassi, literally former cave dwellings that were first occupied thousands of years ago.

Matera is like no place you’ve ever seen. Tourism here is very new, which is unbelievable considering how striking this otherworldly place is. We take you on a tuk-tuk tour of the winding laneways carved over the millennia out of prehistoric rock, and introduce you to restaurants our local friends swear by.

Insider Tip: Matera has been named European Capital of Culture for 2019, which means it’s still under the radar — FOR NOW. You want to go in 2018, since available cave-hewn accommodations here will be as rare as a clean train station toilet seat in 2019!

Next, we go deeper, into the heart of Puglia.

We take you on a special wine tasting in the fairytale trulli houses of Alberobello, and to a ceramics demonstration in Grottaglie. You’ll be able to buy the same pieces direct from the artists that cost a fortune as imports in fancy American stores, and they’ll even paint your family’s initials on the dinnerware you choose.

Finally, Lecce, the “Florence of the South” right at the tip of Italy’s heel, where we day trip to Ostuni on the Adriatic Coast, eat at a local masseria in the Puglian countryside, and dance the pizzica after a feast in a lush garden. Oh, and we prepare that feast ourselves, guided by our very own Italian chef.

We take care of all the details, so that you can just come and soak up the Southern Italian atmosphere. All you have to do is show up!

Most importantly, we take care of you. Isn’t it time you let someone do that for a change?

Our 2018 tour schedule comes out this fall. (Not yet on our mailing list? Sign up here for updates.)

We have a few Southern Italy dates on the roster and we would love for you to join us! We’ll be posting the dates here when released.

Happy dreaming,
Bianca

 

 

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Susan Connors Brown

Dearest Bianca,I hope you and family are all well.Doug and I have been hoping that you might open an Italian trip to couples so I thought I’d inquire.Liz and I have also talking about what fun it would be to enjoy your magical trips with the guys.I cherish our girls trips but hate to be leaving the guys out. What do you think? XOXO Susan

Bianca @ Italian Fix

Darling Sue! I miss you! Kiiri and I have been working out the details of how to extend the trip, so those of us who want our partners to join us, have options for that, and people who come yearly for just the “girls trips” get what they need too. I know we talked about this optional extension on the last tour we all traveled on — so we’ll update you with more details in an email. Looking forward to seeing you again. Massive hugs. xx Bianca

Liz Ahearn

Hi Bianca, Just got off the phone with Sue and wanted to drop you a note to let you know that Lance and I would also love a couples trip with you and your family. Each time I’ve travelled with you I’ve thought how wonderful it would be to return to those magical places with our husbands. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be coming on the women’s trips. They are always fabulous!!! Hugs and Kisses, Liz Ahearn

Bianca @ Italian Fix

Hello beautiful Liz! Thanks for your sweet post. After all our trips together (wow, so honored you’ve traveled on three tours with Italian Fix) it would be great to meet Lance! As I mentioned on the last trip you traveled on with us, we’re developing add-ons for us to spend some time with our hubbys post trip. you’ll hear more in an email about this. Huge hugs Liz! xx Bianca

Sarah

Buon giornio Bianca. I’ve been following your story/blog for a few years now also. I have family in Abruzzo I’ve visited a few times and your trips sound like the same type of relaxing adventures. Ive been wondering for some time now if you could offer couples trips also. Please consider as I believe it would be a big hit! We would love it! Grazie!

Bianca @ Italian Fix

Thanks for that Sarah! Couples trips are a great idea for sure, and I would love to do that in the future. Right now we’re focusing on our mission to help women take time for themselves. We’re expanding and growing yearly, however, and love to listen to what our tribe wants — so your comments are being heard. Thank you for speaking up!

debbie warsaw

A couple’s trip would be a great option!

Bianca @ Italian Fix

Hello Debbie! Thanks for your feedback. We’re actually rolling out some opportunities where you can travel as a couple. For 2018 departures we have some “add-ons” for our departures. Our main itineraries will still be womens’groups, but you can meet your partner after the trip and we will organize drivers and details for you to extend your stay. Please connect with our client care crew at ciao(AT)italianfix(DOT)com for more details. Thanks for your interest!

Sherry Cameron

Please send me info

Bianca @ Italian Fix

Hello Sherry. I’ve forwarded your comment onto our customer support so they will reach out. Thanks for your interest!

Sabina

Hi Bianca, just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how much I love your blog posts! I have never travelled on one of your tours as I’m one of those that enjoys the planning element of the trip as much as the trip itself but I would definitely consider signing up for a couples tour if it’s created. Thank you and all the best, Sabina

Bianca @ Italian Fix

Thank you so much Sabina! I love planning trips too and of course it’s so much fun. Having local connections, however, is something that’s really hard to invent when you’re traveling to places you haven’t been before, hence leaning on people who have “been there done that” can be a good strategy. I recently got back from Corsica and I had zero connections and it reminded me of how difficult it is to do basic things when you don’t speak the language. Appreciate the comment!

Achal

So true! Italy is an amazing place to be at. Heard so much about it and read so much about it. Hope to witness it myself one day! 🙂

Bianca @ Italian Fix

Achal, Traveling is one of those things that sometimes one must wait for. When you eventually go you will appreciate it that much more.

Laurie Mcalear

Hello Bianca. My friend and I are very interested in your 10 day itinerary for southern Italy!!! Please forward more info!! Thanks. Laurie

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