If you've just returned from a tour we'd love to hear from you.
Apulia, Lecce & Vieste - Undiscovered Italy Tour
Having just returned from a holiday to Apulia, Lecce and Vieste I would just like to let you know how much we enjoyed the tour. The hotels were all of a very high standard and the food excellent - especially on the three evenings we dined out. Jeff, our tour manager, made the holiday with all his local information and his witty comments. He was ably assisted by our driver, Franco, who coped well with the tricky roads round the Gargano peninsula. We felt perfectly safe in his hands.
Review by J. Hutchison on 20 October 2016
Many thanks to Paula who was a brilliant guide. We loved her friendly relaxed style and the care she took to ensure that everyone had the best experience possible. Organisation was faultless and she and our driver Daniello were a great team.
Review by Colin and Mary Millett on 23 October 2016
I was a participant in the above holiday the other week.
I must tell you that I found Paula to be very efficient at her job, she paid great attention to our needs and she was also great fun. Mariano was a very skilful and attentive driver.
It was a lovely holiday.
Review by Lynn Johnson on 11 October 2016
This was our first trip with Riviera but certainly won’t be the last.It was beautifully organised with Nikki our tour manager and Mariano our driver being outstanding. Nothing was too much trouble and Nikki kept us in stitches during the quite long coach journeys. The tour was most interesting and although some of the countryside around Lecce and Matera was not the most beautiful in Italy those two places together with Alberobello were fascinating.
The hotels were good and the food was perfectly adequate although we don’t need another pasta dish for a while. Vieste was a complete change and the boat trip another highlight but for us the whole trip was made by Nikki who was the epitome of a friendly professional who loves her job.
Review by Keith and Lynda Thatcher on 20 October 2016
Just returned from another superb Riviera holiday. Highly recommend this tour. Our guide Paula definitely knew Italy and gave us a good insight with great humour.
Review by Angela Rudd on 11 October 2016
Apulia is a beautiful region of Italy and has a more rustic existence than the north. Travelling to the south always feels more exciting. The centre of Lecce is typical of what you expect, beautiful old facades, amiptheatres, narrow winding streets and a beautiful park. Excellent food and drink at good prices even at the woeful exchange rate! Matera is definitely a jaw-dropper from the balcony overlooking the town. Very photogenic. The Trulli at Alberobello are definitely another highlight.
Vieste is wonderful. Sandy beaches, a beautiful old town and a vibrant newer part. The sea was warm and inviting but I may have scared the locals with my lack of tan. Trulli white… Go on the optional boat trip if it is running. The caves and the calm Adriatic make for a change of perspective. Plenty of time after to explore Vieste.
The hotels were good. Of course, price and location to keep prices reasonable have to be taken into account. The Lecce one was only about 20 mins walk (passing gelaterie a plenty) from the centre and modern. The Matera hotel was a little in the middle of nowhere but you are only there for a couple of nights. Vieste’s hotel is perfect as it is centrally located and the staff are very helpful and good fun.
Our tour guide Sev, was excellent. The tour went without any major incident and she was always calm and assured. She always gave enough information but never too much with a good broad knowledge of the area and history. She was always easy to approach and really cared about us enjoying the holiday. Toni was a great driver too!.
Definitely up around the top of the list for Riviera holidays for us.
Review by Brian on 10 October 2016
Outstanding scenery and beautifully planned tour. It was made extra special by Nikki, who was exceptional. She was very personal, fun and accommodating. She welcomed everyone. Local tours and meals were also of a high standard.
Review by Julia and Tamara Stanton on 17 September 2016
A most enjoyable experience. Stacks of fascinating and interesting historic places. Comfortable hotels and superb food. Particularly enjoyed dining out in three different local underground cavern restaurants, with lovely ambience. These were included in the tour.
Nikki , our tour manager was first class, keeping us informed, and letting us have quiet time on the coach in just the right measure. Our driver, Danilo, was very professional, and we felt utterly safe in his care. We have had Riviera holidays before, but feel this has been the best so far.
We also thought the idea of allocated seats being changed each day on the coach a very good and fair way of seating people.
I have been recommending this tour to all of our friends.
If you are thinking about it, go for it. You won’t be disappointed. First Class! Enjoy!
Review by Patrick & Jennifer Russell on 15 September 2016
The tour to Puglia, visiting Lecce, Matera and Vieste was excellent. It was interesting and informative and well organised by our Tour Guide, Paula, who made the trip fun and friendly. The driver, known as JP, was careful and gave his passengers a comfortable and safe journey. A thoroughly enjoyable week in a lovely area of Italy.
Review by Joan Tomlinson on 25 August 2016
CONGRATULATIONS, WELL DONE and THANK YOU to EVERYONE at RIVIERA TRAVEL, .......
and to say how much we enjoyed the ‘Undiscovered Italy Tour’
Although we travelled many miles we saw so much of the Puglia area, gaining an insight into the culture, the countryside, the local dishes and wines guided by an excellent tour manager and coach driver with a great mix of travelling companions making it a complete package!
A couple of extra comments:
The booking and subsequent correspondence was most efficient and any problems were soon sorted.
It was a good idea to include visits to local restaurants in addition to hotel dinners, this certainly enhanced our knowledge of the Italian dining experience and gave a variation to the menus. We understand why the extra lunch was included at Lecce but felt it was too much food on that day when the quantity was repeated in the evening. We were ‘past-ad’ out!!
The Italian guides were informative and knowledgeable of their subject though at times their accents were a little difficult to understand. However it did give a contrast with our own very knowledgeable tour manager. There was a good mix of organised trips and free time.
We all appreciated the later time of departure from the Hotel Palace Vieste on the last day. This certainly gave us much less time to waste at the airport. We were able to use our rooms up to 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock if we paid a little more.
Driver JP was friendly, humorous, considerate and courteous to other road users. We felt very safe in his hands. His experience was evident when negotiating some of the mountain roads.
Finally, Paula is an excellent tour manager, always ready to help with a cheery smile and great sense of humour. She was obviously very knowledgeable on this corner of Italy and gave us a great insight into the customs and way of life of the local people.
All in all a very memorable trip.
Best wishes and thank you to all,
Review by Judi and Neil Cripps on 25 August 2016
Returned 2nd July from a lovely holiday in Italy. BA let us down with luggage missing but Maritherese was wonderful, working day and night to track and return our luggage to us and even took us shopping. She could have done no more. The weather was beautiful and all hotels and restaurants were very good. Thank you - it will be our 10th trip next year!
Review by Hilary North on 9 July 2016
We had a bad start due to BA having problems with only 18 cases put on board the flight. Promises of next day delivery didn’t materialise so Martese, our courier, went above and beyond duty, every day, until all and the last cases arrived 5 whole days later. Almost all of the group needed changes of clothes and toiletries so Martese arranged for us to be taken to a shopping mall as many times as was needed. All this cutting into her free time. The area itself is very beautiful, hotels welcoming and clean with lots of local specialities served. Local restaurants accommodated our party of 50 efficiently. Included in the itinerary.
We must not forget our driver Danilo who took us some 900 kilometers comfortably, safely and was very helpful. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip despite temperatures of 33 degrees most days.
Review by John/Val Allen on 3 July 2016
Thanks to our superb tour manager Stella who helped to make this such a good holiday. She looked after every single thing, and was always very kind and charming about it all. She took special care of me and my friend Marie - we are both a bit unsteady on our feet, and she even took the trouble to escort me back to ‘safe ground’ when I felt I couldn’t continue to walk any more on the slippery cobbles during the guided tour of Matera. Thanks again for everything Stella!
Review by Rosemary Mark on 2 July 2016
I have just returned from a wonderful eight days in Puglia. The tour was amazing and the tour guide, Paula, was excellent. She was organised, so well informed and so friendly and helpful as well as being entertaining and full of extra local information. The hotels and restaurants were all superb. I would highly recommend this tour, especially with Paula and JP, the driver. Thinking about the next trip already!
Review by Joan Tomlinson on 18 June 2016
This was a fantastic trip with plenty of interesting places to visit, the highlight for us being Alberobello. The hotels were very good and the food even better with visits to local restaurants at each destination. However, what made this tour such a success was our guide, Paula. She was so knowledgeable, very amusing and always helpful and cheerful. Also the coach driver, John Piero, a very nice man, was a careful and courteous driver.
Review by Erica Latchem on 15 June 2016
Returned yesterday after a wonderful tour of wonderful places.Sergio, our tour manager is one of the best, humerous, considerate, and extremely knowledgeable. His introduction to Italian sign languagè has to be seen to be believed. Nicola is some driver it must be said. Altogether an unforgettable holiday, and this is our 7th Riviera.
Review by Alan Houghton on 7 June 2016
Jeffrey, our tour guide, said that you like to receive feedback regarding the tour - so here it is!
First of all, both my wife and I had a very enjoyable if somewhat exhausting tour. A great deal was packed into the week. We joined the tour because we wanted to see a part of Italy we had never been to before. We knew, because we had read the itinerary (unlike some of the members of the group who admitted they hadn’t!), that, because of the distances between the various locations, the tour would involve quite a lot of time on the coach. We did not wish to drive such long distances ourselves and going by coach removed this problem.
The locations were all worth visiting and we much enjoyed the time that we spent in each. The guides, particularly Titiana, were very good and what was excellent was that the commentary headphones/system worked extremely well.
The hotels were all fine although it is a shame that the hotel in Matera was so far out of the town that it prevented us from being able to go for an evening walk and experience the town at that time of day. The food in the hotels, while not being of brilliant quality was probably as good as one could expect bearing in mind the numbers that were being catered for at the same time. It was hot and it was delivered efficiently.
The two restaurant meals that we had away from the hotels were excellent especially in Vieste.
PJ, our coach driver, was very good. He drove with great care and at no stage throughout the week did we experience any anxiety even when the roads were narrow and the drop on one side steep!
Our tour guide, Jeff, proved to be a great escort. He was a little reticent at the start of the tour but warmed to the unenviable task of looking after 50 “old greys”! He was very knowledgable about the places we visited and gave much additional information about various aspects of Italian politics, education, health service, mafia etc which helped pass the time during the long hours on the coach.
Our only reservation is regarding the size of the group. This is the fourth time we have travelled with Riviera and the best size of group we have experienced is about 25-30 and no more. Having 50 means that we were still meeting people at the airport as we left that we hadn’t met on the trip. It meant that managing that size of group with different physical abilities was problematic - although Jeff never made any reference to this!
All in all a great holiday and one that we are delighted we took part in. Many thanks and please pass on our thanks to Jeff.
Review by Alasdair Goulden on 7 June 2016
During the trip to Apulia/Italy in April, Christine McCabe was our tour manager. She speaks fluent Italian, has excellent local knowledge and contacts; she also has a pleasant, efficient, and effective way of “guiding” us throughout the whole tour.
Due to my health conditions, I have to stick to a very strict diet; and Christine has made it possible that I could fully enjoy the trip without worrying about my dietary problems - Christine took the time and trouble, in cooperation and coordination with the local hotel/restaurant chefs, in creating/composing a special menu for me every evening - a big special thank to her!
Would it be possible for you to pass on this message to Christine? Many thanks!
Review by Hermin Susanti Schwendt on 3 June 2016
Our tour to Puglia was absolutely wonderful. There were so many highlights and it more than came up to our expectations. Our group all got on very well and it made the trip very pleasurable. The hotels were good but especially the Palace Hotel in Vieste which was family run and Mama served some excellent local food. The meals in the three restaurants were very special. The optional boat trip to the caves at Vieste is a must. Particular thanks must go to our superb driver, Niccola, who ferried us around safely and was always smiling. Also to our amazing tour guide, Sergio. He was simply the best - nothing was too much trouble and he even arranged a surprise dancer to dance the tarantella in the restaurant in Lecce, which we had always wanted to see. His in depth knowledge of the area and his infectious humour just made the holiday. They made a perfect team and a great asset to Riviera. All in all, a truly memorable holiday in what is a beautiful unspoilt corner of Italy and we thoroughly recommend this tour.
Review by Peter and Tessa Bourne on 1 June 2016
It is our first holiday with Riviera Travel and we had a most enjoyable week. Luigi our Guide was excellent and could not have been more informative and helpful. We enjoyed all three centres visited and the tour we felt was very well balanced. We shall certainly be traveling with Riviera in the future.
Review by Paul and Ann Gray on 31 May 2016
Undiscovered Italy tour - excellent. The whole trip ran smoothly, everyone got on well and we all turned up on time for each outing. Hotels were comfortable, each in its own stylish way. Lecce and Vieste both in towns and surrounded by local life and Matera situated in the countryside with glorious views. Nicola our driver was superb - a perfect gentleman and excellent driver. Sergio our tour guide - fabulous, informative, patient, kind, caring and extremely knowledgeable plus his quick wit and humor a delight. Well done to both of them a perfect team. The sites we visited were truly amazing, well worth visiting and the local guides were excellent.
Review by Lynn Cansell on 27 May 2016
My friend and I returned home on Monday 9th May from a holiday to Apulia, staying at Lecce, Matera and Vieste.
It was excellent, Paula was our guide, she was brilliant, and a mine of information.
We hope to travel again with Riviera.
Thank you to all of you who arranged the holiday.
Best regards from
Review by Joan Birch on 13 May 2016
Just to say how well we were looked after by our tour manager Martheresa, nothing was too much trouble for her.
For the Wilks’ and Ellis’, she was very accommodating, making life so easy for us.
We had a very good and happy tour group apart from one or two couples who did not understand what Southern Italy is like!
Review by Chris Wilks on 13 May 2016
First time ever with Riviera and on a group package tour of 50 people to an area we knew nothing about - a really great and friendly experience supported by a very knowledgeable and competent tour manager (Paula) and driver (Napoli). Extremely well organised, ensured we were all suitably prepared with indepth briefings to be able to make the most of each experience - and kept to time! Hotels very good and restaurants were excellent offering local cuisine. Boat trip to caves in Vieste was certainly a highlight but so too were the Trulli houses in Alberobella and the cave dwellings in Matera among other sites. Certainly recommend to others and consider other trips in the future. 10/10
Review by Stuart & Olwyn Barnes on 11 May 2016
Following our return from Apulia yesterday, I feel I must write to express our admiration for our Tour Manager, Paula, who was extremely organised, well-informed, humorous, lively, caring and attentive to detail throughout our trip. In fact, she was brilliant in every way and made the holiday a delightful experience for us. We couldn’t fault her on any aspect. Also our coach driver Fabrizio was extremely skilful.
Please can you pass on our thanks to them both for enhancing our holiday. We would like to ensure that they are given due credit.
Review by Marion Allison on 9 May 2016
Loved it. Really enjoyed the sights, company, and food. Tour guide, Marthesa, and driver, Jan Piero, could not have been better. This was my first guided tour ever, as a singleton, and I could not have been made to feel more at home.
Review by David Matson on 2 May 2016
A very well thought-out tour. Martese was an excellent guide. We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.
We can’t remember how she spelt her name, so sorry if this is wrong. She rose to every occasion and had great knowledge of the area and her insights on other matters relating to the region and Italy were very interesting.
Review by Brian and Diana Gant on 1 May 2016
A lovely holiday traveling through unspoiled parts of Italy interesting places to visit, lovely food, friendly people weather perfect. Alberobello and the Trulli Houses were picture perfect, interesting Tours of Bari and Matera + a wonderful Boat Trip in Vieste organised by our Rep Christine. Christine was enthusiastic and brilliant throughout the Holiday and she always had such a big smile. Gian Piero our coach driver was such a gentleman and his trustworthy driving made our Coach journeys a pleasure, even when we had to go up the Mountain roads as the road to Vieste was shut. Well done again Riveria my 5th Trip with you
Review by Jacqueline Wetherell on 25 April 2016
We have just returned from a fantastic tour to a fascinating location. It was different to anything that we have experienced before. The tour was made special by the tour manager Paula who supplied us with masses of information and took care of all our needs. Also thank you to our excellent careful driver (JP)
We also enjoyed very much the local restaurants that we were taken to. What a good idea.
We are now looking forward to our river cruise with you in July.
Review by Derek & Daohne Hill on 25 April 2016
PAULA made our Riviera holiday a most enjoyable experience. She has great humour very good knowledge and was constantly ensuring that we were all making the best of this beautiful area. Well done.
Review by Richard Hall on 14 April 2016
Excellent tour - learnt a great deal about this area of Italy and life in Italy thanks to our superb guide and our lovely driver. Despite breaking her arm towards the end of the trip she continued to look after us and entertain us - what dedication to duty. The three hotels we stayed in were all comfortable but I would particularly recommend the Degli Aranci in Vieste. The hotel has a ‘family run’ atmosphere; the staff were very helpful at all times and the quality of the food was much better than in the Hilton hotels. I will definitely go back to Puglia again. Travelled on 17/10/2012
Review by Carol Tacq on 5 November 2012
Tour 19th Sept: Wonderful holiday and brilliant weather. Distances of travel to excursion destinations very long. Main highlight was our superb Tour Guide, who was informative, great sense of humour and very supportive of a guest who was injured. Full marks to him. DWB Travelled on 19/029/2012
Review by D W Brown on 5 November 2012
Good tour covering very unusual sites such as the Sassi, the Trulli and Bari. The Russian Orthodox Mass as the Basilica di San Nicola was, for us, the highlight. The tour guide and local guides were all excellent and we met some very interesting co-travellers. Riviera tours “tick all the boxes”. You are taken to places it would be difficult to get to as an individual. This was our 2nd Riviera tour and we are already thinking of which one to go for next. Thank you. Irene Dennis-Jones Travelled on 15/10/2012
Review by Peter Dennis-Jones on 9 November 2012
This was our second trip with Riviera: we returned because we were impressed with the quality of organisation and the excellent tour manager. Christine, our tour manager this time, was every bit as good: enthusiastic, knowledgeable and efficient. We saw some new aspects of Italy and everything was organised impeccably - including the easiest Italian hotel check-ins I’ve experienced.
Review by Andy Geddes on 22 April 2013
This was our first time with Riviera Travel. The tour was very well organised and hotels were superb. A very interesting tour to a very different part of Italy. Matera and the Sassi were amazing sights and the coastline at Vieste was very pretty. Our tour manager Paula was brilliant, very knowledgeable and helpful. She was there if you needed her but never intrusive and had a good sense of humour. We are already looking forward to booking another tour with Riviera.
Review by Mr & Mrs Gray on 28 April 2013
What a fabulous holiday, one delight after another. Very interesting trip, well organised and great variety of places visited. Paula was an excellent tour manager, always on hand and a great sense of humour. Hilton Hotels very comfortable and efficient, but Hotel degli Aranci was the best, really Italian and great choice of food. We have been on several Riviera trips and this is one of the best. We will definitely book another trip with the company.
Review by Sue Jones on 30 April 2013
We have just returned from our first trip with Riviera and would like to say what a wonderful time we had. Our Guide Sergio and driver Davide were excellent. Sergio’s knowledge was extensive and his sense of humour kept us all amused. Matera and the Sassi, and the Duomo in Trani were among the highlights for me. Thank you Riviera
Review by Liz Shapland on 7 May 2013
An excellent tour to a lovely part of Italy. Our driver Davide was first class and our guide Sergio was simply the best. His helpfulness, humour and knowledge was the icing on the cake. This was our second tour with Riviera, we have already booked a third and are looking to book more in the future.
Review by David and Barbara Wakefield on 13 May 2013
We have just returned from our holiday in Apulia, Lecce and Vieste, our tour guide was Luigi and we just wanted you to know how very good he is and how much we appreciated him. Right from the beginning, he was welcoming, friendly, and instilled confidence in us all. Not only does he know the area well, does he speak knowledgeably, and ensure that all arrangements are in place. He also takes great care of everyone and has a very efficient and effective method of ensuring that we all had everything we needed at all times. He is certainly the very best tour guide we have had the pleasure of meeting. We struggled with the high temperatures but Luigi was marvelous and it was because of him that we enjoyed the holiday so much.
Review by Anne Riggs and Sheila Clissold on 27 June 2013
I went on your Puglia holiday in May and wanted to thanks you for providing such an excellent service - it was very enjoyable and our charming, informative and most professional guide helped make it so. Please do pass on my thanks to Christine and kind regards.
Review by Annabel Johnston on 28 June 2013
I would just like to express my thanks for a wonderful holiday. MARTESE was fantastic and quite the best tour guide we have ever experienced. The driver Guiseppe was calm and an excellent driver and we appreciated his experience. The other holiday travellers were all like minded and we all got on very well. In fact there was nothing to complain about. Thank you again and we look forward to our next holiday with you.
Review by Lindsey and Roger Apperley on 2 July 2013
Thanks to Paula who was a Fantastic!! tour manager & to Davide -such a calm & careful driver - who made our holiday in Apulia area so memorable.
Review by Frances & Charlie Hogg on 11 July 2013
This part of Italy was new to us and we loved it. Jeffrey our tour manager was very helpful and always tried to be informative as well as entertaining under some very extenuating circumstances at one point. The Coach driver Gian Piero was extremely good at his driving and also when he was left in charge was perfect. The three hotels where very comfortable and in beautiful positions. Thank you we shall return.
Review by Robert Jackson on 26 September 2013
Another Excellent tour from Riviera. Tour Manager, driver and guides were all good .The tour was very well planned and we managed to fit in a swim in the hotel pools at Lecce and Matera, also a lovely swim in the sea at Vieste. This is our third tour with Riviera, The others were Israel which was very special and Sicily. They were both excellent We plan to have another holiday with them next year. The weather was also perfect.
Review by Patricia Jacobs on 26 September 2013
Just a little note of thanks to Mr Jeffrey Andreoni, who looked after us during the above trip He is a caring, well mannered and very educated about matters Italian, one of our fellow travellers had a foot problem ,he volunteered his time to accompany them to facilitate and translate,that was appreciated by all. He has a nice sense of humour, which made his communication skills rather good.he gets out of his way to give helpful advise. Please convey our thanks
Review by Mr & Mrs M Latif on 3 October 2013
We have just returned from a tour of Puglia (18th - 25th September) which we enjoyed immensely. The itinerary was varied and ideally paced; we felt that we got a really good taste of this interesting area.
We would particularly like to applaud our tour manager, Christine, who enhanced our experience in every way, She was consistently well organised and unfailingly good humoured and helpful. She had a deep knowledge of the history and geography of the region which she shared in a lively and entertaining way. She was backed up by driver, Davide, who used considerable skill to provide a comfortable ride on some tricky routes and was also consistently pleasant and helpful.
The quality of this team will encourage us to book Riviera again and we would be grateful if you could pass on our comments.
Review by Philip Jackson on 3 October 2013
We had an excellent time & enjoyed Puglia very much, especially as the weather was dry, sunny & warm every day. Sibila, our Tour Guide, was excellent - well organised & very knowledgeable on Puglia; spent time with everyone, even though there were 52 of us; gave informative details on every trip, complementing the local guides in each of the places we visited; informed us of schedule for next stop & provided maps where necessary. She regularly came through the coach to the back, where we were, to make sure everything was OK & answer any questions.
The use of the voice transponder & earphones greatly facilitated listening to the local guides in public places.
Michele, our Coach Driver, was a careful & considerate driver who made the journeys smooth & comfortable, even though some were 2 hours or more & despite other drivers behaving in a typical frenzied way trying to cut in front!
The Hilton Garden Inn at Lecce was excellent in the room accommodation, meals, facilities and was a walkable distance from Lecce centre.
The Hilton Garden Inn at Matera was excellent in the room accommodation, meals, facilities but was not a walkable distance from Matera centre.
The Degli Aranci Hotel at Vieste was good in the room accommodation (functional but more basic than the Hiltons), meals, facilities and an easy walkable distance from Vieste centre.
In summary, we very much enjoyed our tour of Puglia trip & would recommend Riviera Travel to others.
Review by Mr & Mrs A Smith on 16 October 2013
We returned from your Undiscovered Italy tour last Wednesday and wish to thank you for such a terrific Holiday. Your choice of hotels, meals out, use of British Airways, the superb Coach (Cipriano) and of course the wonderful guide (Pam) and charming Driver (Davido) all were first class. We are so pleased that we had already booked to go to Spain with you next April-it can not come soon enough. Thanks again, Barbara and Roger Finch
Review by Barbara and Roger Finch on 31 October 2013
A huge thank you to a skilled driver Davido and a superb tour manager Aldo who both made our recent trip to Italy so wonderful. Brilliant organisation, interesting places and reliable hotels made it a good holiday. The highlight was the choice and variety of places visited in Puglia. British Airways were excellent too. A holiday much to be recommended. Thanks Debbie Davies and Pam Ferguson
Review by Debbie Davies on 18 April 2014
Returned recently from the Undiscovered Italy and I would like to congratulate Riviera Travel on an excellent tour taking in so many interesting sites, also thanks to our Tour Manager, Christine, who was so unfailingly cheerful, helpful and knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole week, and look forward to travelling again with Riviera.
Review by Pauline Ashton on 18 April 2014
This was an opportunity to visit an undiscovered part of Italy and what an opportunity. Our guide, Aldo was definitely the highlight of the trip, not only knowledgeable but also very amusing. Davide, the driver was also great - I didn’t know that driving in Italy could be so good. And the trip - something to see every day, the food was great and I didn’t know that wine could be so cheap. The Restaurants included as part of the package were generally of very good standard. An area of Italy I would certainly visit again.
Review by Cary & Sachiko Bush on 20 April 2014
Have just returned from the ‘Undiscovered Italy’ Tour encompassing Lecce, Bari, Alberobello, Matera and Vieste and I would recommend this trip wholeheartedly. The trip was made even more enjoyable and educational thanks to the immense knowldege, organisational skills and unfailing sense of humour of our wonderful tour manager Aldo. I have travelled extensively and have to say he is by far one of the best tour managers I have encountered. Thanks must also go to Davide, whose driving skills are second to none, always ensuring a comfortable and careful drive. The accommodation used by Riviera is of a very good standard and the mix of eating in local restaurants as well as in the hotel ensures that you continue to get a real feel for this wonderful country. A wonderful return to an area of Italy that I first experienced 20 years ago and a highly recommended tour.
Review by Donna Crossman on 22 April 2014
We have just returned from a fascinating tour of Puglia. Despite the distances covered, and the indifferent weather. Our superb tour leader, Aldo Valdero, and wonderful driver, Davido, made the week a great success. It really is undiscovered Italy, with memorable archaeology, historic towns, wonderful Romanesque churches and the unique site of Matera. But, with Aldo in charge, we also learned about the history and character of Southern Italy in a truly engaging way, and each day brought its own insights. Thank you very much indeed. Kay Andrews
Review by kay andrews on 23 April 2014
We have just returned from the Undiscovered Southern Italy tour and feel we must say how much we enjoyed the trip. This particular tour had longer distances between centres of interest than we were anticipating but the journeys were made interesting by the contribution of the excellent tour manager Aldo Valerio. His breadth of knowledge of the region, its culture, history and traditions, mixed with his sense of humour and rapport with the tour group made the journeys interesting and enjoyable. We have travelled extensively and can honestly say that his natural ability as a tour manager made this trip really enjoyable - despite mixed weather conditions. The impressive driving skills of Davide meant that we felt safe and comfortable at all times. We were introduced to fascinating architecture, historic areas of towns, picturesque landscapes and local cuisine. Thank you!
Review by Geoff and Penny Ayres on 23 April 2014
This was a brilliant holiday that I would recommend to anyone. We saw so many varied and interesting places from the lovely Trulli houses to the amazing rock dwellings in Matera. The hotel in Matera I had been a bit concerned about with it being in the middle of nowhere. It was actually fine as we were hardly there being out and about on the bus. The three nights eating out at the local restaurants were a nice idea and very enjoyable. If you go on this trip make sure you go on the optional boat trip in Vieste, this is very good value at 13 euros! Lastly I have to congratulate our excellent driver Davide and our brilliant tour manager Aldo, who made everything run smoothly. He is a real character and made the holiday so enjoyable and such good fun!
Review by Christine and Keith Hornsby on 24 April 2014
We have just returned from the above tour which we found to be very enjoyable in spite of the awful weather. The hotels and guides were very good and we appreciated the use of headsets which added to the enjoyment. We especially enjoyed the opportunity of visiting local restaurants in each of the three areas we visited - the one in Vieste on the last night was particularly special.
Paula was a fantastic tour manager and our coach was in the good hands of JP. I must say here that I have never been able to book into a flight so smoothly in Italy as we did in Bari on Wednesday.
We look forward to our next tour with you.
Review by Patricia Glozier on 25 April 2014
Steve and I had a wonderful time on your Undiscovered Italy tour starting on the 16th April. The weather wasn’t particularly good but Paula, the tour leader and our driver, JP, were brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble for them, especially when I fell down and fractured my pelvis. All of us on the tour got on really well and I know some of us will keep in touch. We liked the hotels and food, particularly dining in the local cuisine restaurants. This was our first trip to Italy and also the first time we have travelled with Riviera; it won’t be our last in either case! Many thanks
Review by Penny Custons on 25 April 2014
We had a wonderful holiday and found JP our driver very skilled and helpful. Our tour manager Paula was excellent, nothing was too much trouble, her knowledge of Italy and especially the areas visited was detailed and informative. She was also very personable with a good sense of humour. If you take this trip don’t miss the boat trip from Vieste. Well done Riviera!!
Review by Mr and Mrs Tilley on 2 May 2014
I should like to tell how much I enjoyed my recent trip with Riviera to Apulia. A lot of the pleasure came from the company of your guide, Aldo (I don’t know his surname), who is brilliant at getting the group together, so that we not only enjoyed the country, but also our fellow guests and his hilarious commentaries on Italy and lessons in Italian. He is probably the best guide I have ever travelled with.
Review by Judith Foster on 7 May 2014
We have recently returned from a trip to Puglia, Italy (Lecce, Matera and Vieste) which was also our first experience of an escorted holiday. It surpassed all expectations despite variable weather conditions. We enjoyed all the hotels and particular highlights were:
* The guided tours of Lecce, Matera and Bari. The Guides were excellent and the use of voice transponders and earphones was brilliant. * The optional boat excursion to visit the caves at Vieste (including being “wrapped ” in plastic against the untimely rain!) * The meal on the last night at the local restaurant (Al Dragone). * Our superb tour manager who hit just the right note with her local knowledge, courtesy and entertaining sense of humour. Thank you again Paula. * Our excellent driver J-P who drove so calmly and capably on motorways and vertiginous bends alike.
As there were problems at Gatwick Passport Control on our return to UK, we didn’t get to say goodbye to any of our fellow travellers. So, thanks to all for your company on a most enjoyable journey.
Review by Mike and Jane Howlett on 9 May 2014
Once again Riviera Travel have not let us down! Although we were not blessed with the best of weather this was an interesting tour, very well managed by Paula, who having lived in Italy for so many years was able to give us a wonderful insight into Italian life. The restaurant visits were a great change from eating in the hotels. The experience of the last night’s meal in a restaurant set within a renovated natural cave under the Duomo in Vieste, will live with us for many years. Thanks Paula and Riviera
Review by Andrew & Wendy Price on 22 May 2014
A very enjoyable trip. It was great having Paula as our manager - she had a lot of personal experience of Italy and insightful comments. The driver, JP was also excellent - always steady despite some difficult manoeuvres. The hotels were lovely, especially Vieste, and the restaurants. It’s not exactly “undiscovered” - there were lots of tourists at some of the places! I went mainly for the architecture and wasn’t disappointed, though would have liked longer in Trani cathedral - everything closes at mid-day in Italy!
Review by Andrew Buxton on 24 May 2014
We recently took your tour of Puglia departing from Gatwick on Monday 12 May. It was our first tour with Riviera Travel - we usually travel independently. We thoroughly enjoyed our week despite unseasonally inclement weather, not only because the scenery and places we visited were fabulous and the tour was very well organised, the hotels were really good, the other members of our tour were pleasant company, but mainly because our tour manager, Paula, was exceptional. From the moment she greeted us at Bari Airport to the moment she helped to check us in on our return to sunny UK she was just brilliant and really helped to make our holiday memorable, despite the fact that she was suffering from a heavy cold for much of the week. She had a special ability of being professional, informative, relaxed, funny, and chatted to us all about her life, and what it was like to actually live in Italy, as if we were friends. It really was that special, so we just wanted to say a big thank you to Riviera, Paula and not forgetting our excellent driver David who drove us safely through some challenging terrain without a single scary moment.
I would just like to add that on reading reviews of the 3 hotels we stayed at on Trip Advisor we were not inclined to agree with some of the negative reviews. The Hilton Garden Hotel Lecce was a little way out of town but within walking distance, there wasn’t much bar area for pre/post dinner drinks but there was a pleasant garden. We enjoyed the food, the rooms were good and the staff were friendly and pleasant. Hilton Garden Hotel at Matera. Yes the hotel was quite a distance from the town but there is a bus service to and from the town with a bus stop right outside the hotel. We found the staff friendly and very helpful, the layout of the hotel in the main areas was pleasing, the food was very good and the only problem was that only one lift was working which we understood has been the case for a while, and was a little difficult when moving luggage and for older guests, but not a problem for us. The hotel in Vieste was a traditional Italian hotel which we really liked and again the rooms were pleasant, clean and the staff were lovely.
We will definitely choose to travel with Riviera again when considering a tour in the future - many thanks and please pass on our thanks to Paula and David.
Review by Jaki Foster on 12 June 2014
Just back from another excellent tour, this time to Apulia - our 7th trip with you and as good as ever. Good hotels, thoughtful schedule, careful driver, excellent food and interesting places. Our especial thanks to Paula and Davide.
Review by Richard & Eileen Hart on 12 June 2014
Paula’s boot camp continues!! (Her words not mine I hasten to add - and only said to us!) We have just had the most amazing holiday discovering Puglia with Paula who we cannot praise highly enough. Her in-depth knowledge of the area made every day so interesting. We loved her humour, she was always attentive to all guests needs and is passionate about Italy. However, we did find the local guide who we met in Lecce very difficult to understand. Again it was evident how passionate she is of her country, but she spoke so quickly that we could not understand her, so we felt the tour of the old town was somewhat spoilt. Special mention has to be made of our coach driver Stef. His ability to drive us all week with such care and politeness deserves the highest praise.
All hotels we stayed at were very clean, food acceptable, and, in general, very pleasant staff. We particularly enjoyed the food and ambiance at the three local restaurants which Riviera organised for us.
Our fellow travellers were all very pleasant and conversation was varied and easy among us as we joined for dinner each evening.
We loved this tour - (our 3rd with Riviera) - made all the more enjoyable by Paula and Stef. Thank you both so very very much once again. You both deserve Gold Stars from Riviera Travel!!
Review by Roger and Linda Thompson on 14 June 2014
Our first time with Riviera and experienced a very pleasant holiday. Christine, our tour manager and a lovely driver, Gian Pierre made the trip both interesting and fun. Christine is so knowledgeable but also related little stories which made all the group smile. The group were a super bunch and we all got on so well, no problems. The three hotels were good, comfortable, clean and the swimming pools were an added bonus. We will certainly use Riviera again and we would once again like to praise Christine for care, consideration and knowledge. Our driver, JP was a very careful driver and helpful. Thank you to all.
Review by Tony and Anit on 20 June 2014
This was our fourth Riviera trip and Paula has been our best tour manager so far. Her perfect attention to detail, care of the individual and wonderful sense of humour ensured that we had a perfect holiday yet again with Riviera. With Stefano as our driver it could not be better. The places we visited were areas we had seen on television and were intrigued to see them at first hand,this was made possible by your planning and choice of hotels. Thank you all
Review by Paul & Adrienne Denyer on 20 June 2014
This was the first time we have been on a ‘guided’ tour as we normally make our own arrangements. We enjoyed it and the fact we were looked after very well by our tour guide, Luigi, and our driver Gian Piero (spelling?) was excellent, inspiring confidence and relaxation. Luigi was very knowledgeable and has a good sense of humour. The coach was comfortable which was just as well as there is a lot of travelling involved on this trip.
The area is very interesting and not, yet, too full of ‘us tourists’. Matera, in particular, and the Sassi, were fascinating. Italy is a favourite destination of ours so the food and general atmosphere and the people are always appreciated.
The hotels were good. I would say that the middle hotel, Hilton Garden Inn at Matera, was not as good as the other two but they were all very acceptable. We shall certainly think about going on another trip.
Review by Diana Froud on 21 June 2014
Our first tour with Riviera….but not our last. We usually travel privately but joined Canadian friends who were on their third Riviera tour. Paula was the outstanding Capo Gruppo and her care, attention to detail and constant good humour made this journey totally stress free. Davide’s driving was excellent and, as a poor coach traveller, not one minute of nausea! Yes! Overall we thought the tour was well paced and there was plenty of free time. The accommodation was fine, not five star, but good value for money. Each hotel was clean, staff were very friendly and helpful, pools and dining rooms more than adequate. Food in the hotels and restaurants ranged from good to excellent. A most enjoyable week with a coach full of friendly Poms, with us being two Aussies and there also being two Kiwis. Thanks everyone….Ciao! Sandra and Helen
Review by Helen Bonett on 24 June 2014
My partner and I recently went on your Apulia trip, departing 17th May, arriving home 24th May.
I wanted to say how much we appreciated Luigi, our leader. Everything went to plan and it was an excellent itinerary. Luigi was so good humoured and helpful at all times and there is no doubt that the holiday was as enjoyable as it was thanks to his leadership, companionship and his efforts on our behalf. He is a great asset to your company.
Review by Sylvia Edwards on 24 June 2014
Magical tour with the very best tour manager Paula and driver David. Great innovation mixing eating in top quality hotels with local high quality restaurants. Really great to get to see this magic region before it is discovered by the rest of the world. The mix of Hilton and local hotels is also a really good idea and the best was saved until the last, but one minor point is to request a room which does not overlook the pool in Hotel Degli Aranci in Trani as these can be a little noisy. A minor point however and this is one of the best holidays we have ever had in Italy.
Review by John and Hazel on 24 June 2014
Having just returned from another enjoyable Riviera Tour,this time of Apulia,Lecce & Vieste, we would like to thank our tour manager Paula for her helpful assistance and intimate knowledge of the area and amusing anecdotes on our coach journeys. We would also mention Stephano our young extremely competent coach driver who never gave us a moments concern throughout the sometimes long coach trips. Always cheerful and helpful ,many thanks. We look forward to future Riviera Tours.
Review by Marjorie Wilkinson on 26 June 2014
I would like to praise the Tour Manager, Christine (sorry didn’t get her surname) who looked after our group from Wednesday, 11th June 2014 with the Puglia Tour to 18th June 2014. We have travelled with Riviera Travel before and thought they were good Tour Managers but Christine was the best Tour Manager we have ever had. She took her job to the next level. She was cheerful at all times and was always on hand to help with everything down to standing in queues at the service station to make sure everyone had the drinks and foods they wanted to moving rooms in hotels to keep customers happy and willing to travel with Riviera Travel again. When my husband was taken ill, she arranged transport from hotel to the local clinic and when his situation worsened organised an ambulance to take him to hospital and a taxi to take me and Christine to the hospital 70 kms where she was our interpreter until the early hours. We returned to the hotel at 3.00 am in the morning and she had a tour at 0900 hrs next morning. She was a great support to me as well as my husband. I cannot praise Christine again. I believe she is going to Japan soon with a new group and you have a very special Tour Manager on your books.
Review by Patricia on 27 June 2014
Apologies for the belated review. This was a most enjoyable trip, a major contribution coming from the tour manager Aldo.
Review by Martin Hamblett on 30 June 2014
We have just returned from our 6th Riviera holiday and would like to say that Luigi our Tour guide was the best yet . A perfect blend of good humour, wit and erudition. Excellent hotels especially Vieste Palace . Special thanks to our driver Davide who was roundly applauded on several occasions for his skill .
Review by Mary and Barry Woodcock on 2 July 2014
Just returned from an amazing tour of Apulia. Have seen the Trulli houses and the cave village, which were at the top of my ‘to see’ list. Luigi our tour guide and Davida our driver were the best, and much appreciated by everyone. Vieste was my favourite place to wander round and the shopping was brill!!!
Review by Pat Shields on 4 July 2014
We really enjoyed our holiday before the accident, and although this was our first trip with Riviera Travel, we are certainly planning more. We have recently returned from a Riviera Travel Holiday to Apulia, Lecce and Vieste â€“ Undiscovered Italy. I would like to express our appreciation of the Tour Manager, Luigi, who not only brought the region to life but offered invaluable help when I fell and broke a bone in my foot on our last afternoon in Vieste. He accompanied me to Hospital, acting as an interpreter, and supplied me with ice, a borrowed crutch and a taxi to go to dinner. At Bari Airport, next day, he arranged a wheelchair, and a wheelchair and buggy at Gatwick. We donâ€™t speak any Italian and couldnâ€™t have managed without his help.
Review by Elaine Ayre on 4 July 2014
Just a brief thank-you for the Puglia visit, 16-23 June. Well organized, and everything worked (including the thunderstorms).
Special thanks to Paula who added a great deal of information and entertainment and David who drove us around carefully and safely.
The radios and earpieces for the conducted tours were a great help.
Review by Keith Diment on 4 July 2014
Our small party of four all want to say how much we enjoyed this holiday. The Tour guide Sibila, the Driver, Jan- Pietro, the hotels, the tours were all excellent. The decision to eat at a local restaurant at each location was inspired. The food and red wine were also excellent, thank you. Our special thanks must go to Sibila; an especially caring guide without fusing, informative and very competent; and Jan-Pietro, a very skilled, observant and smooth driver. As an ex HGV driver I could appreciate his skill on the hairpin bends! We will most certainly use Riviera again.
Review by ROGER BROOKS on 11 July 2014
Hi, I wanted to express my thanks for the successful return of my cologne. Paula, our tour guide on the Riviera tour of Apulia that we went on in June, was totally instrumental in tracking the item down, which was left behind at an hotel during the trip. She kept me fully informed of the progress in getting it back into her possession, then finally sending it back directly to my home. Thank you Paula, and Riviera Travel. The trip was excellent, we both enjoyed it, and met some lovely fellow travellers too.
Review by Ken Rutter on 15 July 2014
Somewhat belatedly just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this holiday. Christine’s knowledgeable updates on all the areas we visited was invaluable and GP’s very professional driving made us feel safe even on the winding roads to and from Vieste. There is a lot of time on the coach going from one site to another but its worth it when you get there!
Review by Teresa Connors on 20 July 2014
This was our first experience of Riviera Travel - we are in the midst of choosing our next one at present- and it could not have gone any better. We can only echo all other comments from fellow travellers. The organisation was first class; the tour guide, Paula, was exceptional. We were particularly grateful to receive such an insight into the character and nature of Southern Italians. Our driver ,J-P, deserves high praise for his perfect driving. We cannot remember a more comfortable week’s driving. In his hands we felt completely safe. The local guides were delightful, Simone was particularly charismatic. We did feel that the chopping & changing of hotels every few days was going to be quite arduous, but we gradually bought into the idea and coped really well in the end. The visits to the local (to each hotel) restaurants were all memorable for their variety and quality and as was said elsewhere the boat trip from Vieste in and out of the caves was a wonderful extra. Can’t wait to experience our next tour. David & Liz Dyer also John & Gwen Broadbent
Review by David Dyer on 16 August 2014
Having returned from this delightful excursion yesterday we would like to express our thanks for yet another well organised and interesting holiday We would especially like to let you know how much we appreciated our tour manager’s knowledge and expertise. Susan was always there checking on everyone’s needs, giving useful tips ensuring that menus etc were understood and yet she was always unobtrusive. It was like being the guest of a caring and thoughtful hostess. Our driver Stefano also deserves a special mention for his careful considerate driving We now look forward to perusing your brochure and planing our next adventure with you
Review by Elizabeth East/Margaret Burks on 18 September 2014
A thoroughly enjoyable tour; Paula the courier was excellent. Good choice of local guides. Restaurant meals away from the hotel were good and very different, especially the one in Lecce. This is a part of Italy we knew nothing about previously and so every day was something new and interesting.
Review by Jennifer Turner on 7 October 2014
This was a fab holiday. Thoroughly enjoyed visiting this unspoilt, uncommercialised part of Italy. Lecce was lovely and what we liked about Riviera Tours was that we ate in some typical good Italian restaurants which was included in the cost. Alberobello and Matera were the highlights of the tour. However, the tour was well organised giving us 3 days in Vieste so we weren’t in the coach all of the holiday. Sibila, our tour manager was very helpful and knowledgeable and always ready to help. If you want to explore unspoilt Italy, Puglia is the place to go. We would certainly travel with Riviera again.
Review by R A Robinson on 9 October 2014
This was a very well organised enjoyable tour, greatly enriched and enlivened by our excellent tour manager Christine. We thought the food was excellent. We specially enjoyed the three meals in local restaurants. We were very grateful for the brilliance of our driver Gian Piero. This is a very interesting and beautiful part of Italy especially the hilly Gargano peninsula. This is our fourth Italian tour with Riviera Travel to whom we are, once again, most grateful.
Review by Laurence Carey on 13 October 2014
Our second Riviera trip – dare I say even better than the first one!! A well organised tour in an unspoilt area of Italy -definitely ’Undiscovered Italy’ - a lovely balance of culture, countryside and relaxation, staying in 4 star hotels with good facilities. Our holiday experience was considerably enhanced by our excellent tour manager Christine with her lovely sense of humour, extensive local knowledge and boundless energy, supported by our driver Gian Piero, who was always smiling and cheerful on the long drives between hotels. A great team who looked after us all, so well. Lots of highlights • Good food typical of the region and eating together – lots of opportunities for interesting conversations with your fellow travellers. • Eating in the three local restaurants -we particularly liked Al Dragone in Vieste in the heart of the old town in a cave under the Cathedral. • Visiting the rock houses in Matera and watching the ladies making pasta in Bari. • The coastal scenery on the Gargano Peninsula - including the optional boat trip in Vieste • Castel Del Monte and the Rock Church at Monte San Angelo. • The Trulli Houses at Alberobello – even in the rain. Do try to visit before it gets too touristy – as the brochure says ‘Don’t tell too many friends or the magic will be gone!!
Review by Jayne & John Forrester on 15 October 2014
Just returned having had another wonderful trip with Riviera . Every day was different .The places we visited were fascinating. Hotels extremely good, going to out side restaurants in the evenings with the others was really nice. Christine our guide was fabulous and the driver Jean Pierre excellent. The company of folk we met were extremely pleasant and interesting. Couldn`t have asked for a better time. This is now our third trip with Riviera and we have enjoyed each one so much.
Review by Don Langford on 19 October 2014
First time we had been to this area of Italy & the first time with Riviera. We were so looking forward to this trip since booking earlier this year & were not disappointed. Our courier Christina was brilliant, extremely knowledgeable & lovely. Our driver Jean Pierre was excellent, really felt comfortable when winding along the steep mountain roads. Even though we had a couple of damp days, this in no way detracted from our enjoyment. Have seen some amazing areas which we know a lot of our friends have never visited & would certainly recommend anyone to visit Really hope we can manage another holiday & will most definitely look at booking via Riviera
Review by Pam & Phil Spicer on 20 October 2014
We have just returned from a first class holiday in Apulia and feel we must thank you all for ensuring all went so smoothly. Inevitably much is beyond your control, the weather which was fantastic with no rain at all during the day!, the amazing scenery not least the Gargano coastline and the Sassi cave dwellings at Matera where the wow factor at first sight was an audible intake of breath from the whole group. However so much depends on the tour manager and we cannot speak too highly of all that Amabile did to ensure that every one of the fifty of us had a holiday to remember, not forgetting our diver whose ready smile greeted us every day and whose skill was much admired particularly when negotiating the twists and turns of the Gargano roads. So we thank you for another memorable holiday with Riviera.
Review by David and Noel Scard on 21 October 2014
We have been home a week from our trip to Apulia, Lecce and Vieste, and wish to express our thanks for a most entertaining and well organised week. Every aspect of the trip was well planned put together and included a wonderful variety of interest. This was our first Riviera holiday and I am sure it won’t be the last. A very important contribution was made by the tour manager Paula, who not only answered any queries she anticipated them. Also in my particular case I managed to become ‘poorly’ during the week and Paula couldn’t have been more understanding and helpful. Thank you again and best wishes for your continued success.
Review by Gordon & Elizabeth Tyers on 22 October 2014
Third time with Riviera Travel and once again not disappointed. This is a fantastic tour and the accommodation was excellent. The dinners were sometimes in the hotel and sometimes in small restaurants, all were amazing. The quality of the food was of a very high standard and we had to choose some of the week’s menus on the first day because the ingredients are freshly sourced so need pre-planning. This area is very natural, unspoilt and not touristy. The locals speak very little English if at all, but very friendly. The most amazing site for us was Sassi in Matera, you have to see it to believe it. Our tour guide Paula was fantastic and so informative. We had a great many laughs as she has the ability to put humour into everything. We felt very safe with her and knew she would move mountains if she had to, in order to ensure the enjoyment and comfort for her group. Antonio our coach driver was a very safe and capable and a lovely man. The local guides spoke very good English and were passionate about where they live. They were informative and knew an awful lot about their history and the fantastic buildings we saw. The best one was the Sassi guide whose parents had lived in Sassi and she told us things not told in the video, a real eye opener. We are really hooked on Riviera Travel, the best tour company in the UK by our estimate. Last but not least was our group. A fantastic group of people who all joined in and really put the icing on the cake. One thing to remember is that this part of Italy is quite remote hence not being on the tourist trail, we covered a lot of miles and stayed in three hotels but our comfort was always in Paula’s mind. Can’t wait until our next tour.
Review by Dick and Geraldine Lyons on 23 October 2014
What a great trip! We were so lucky with the weather - a real break in the sun - and the sights were stunning and so varied. We loved the Trulli houses, the cave dwellings, the unspoilt towns and, of course, the boat trip into the caves at Vieste. Thanks to all our guides (what a good idea the earpieces are) and especially to our vivacious and caring tour manager, Christine who really set the tone for an enjoyable trip. Our driver, Gian Piero, was superb, negotiating the winding roads with such calm that even someone prone to coach sickness felt at ease. We would unreservedly recommend the tour.
Review by Nigel and Silvia Ballantyne on 24 October 2014
My wife and I enjoyed another wonderful Riviera holiday (our fourth). The tour was so well planned taking us to many interesting and fascinating places yet leaving us with sufficient free time for ambling around and enjoying the hotel pool. We also valued the opportunity to visit local restaurants on three occasions, something we hadn’t done on previous tours. The highlight for me was the boat trip from Vieste to view the wonderful white limestone coastline and caves set against a beautiful blue sea.
We had a very friendly set of fellow travellers, a great coach driver, Antonio, and a tour guide, Paula, with a great sense of humour. She was knowledgeable, informative, and always cheerful.
Review by Greg Haynes on 28 October 2014
My sister and I have recently returned from this excellent tour. Many thanks to Riviera and especially the marvellous Paula, our tour guide, and Antonio, our driver, who made the whole experience run most enjoyably, smoothly and calmly. We loved all of the places we visited and particularly enjoyed eating at the various different restaurants - this is a great idea and one which we had not come across with other tour companies (not that we shall be using them any more). My sister was very impressed with the way all of the hotels, especially the one in Vieste, responded to her requirement for a gluten free diet; no doubt Paula had a hand in this too. We found the majority of our fellow travellers to be very friendly and excellent company, in fact the best group we have ever travelled with.
For all of these reasons, and more, we will definitely be booking with Riviera again; many thanks indeed to all concerned.
Review by Peter McGuire on 29 October 2014
I recently returned from a Riviera tour to Apulia, and particularly wanted to send a comment about our tour guide - Christine. In my opinion, and as someone who has been on a number of tours of every sort over the years, Christine was quite outstanding as a guide - exceptionally well-informed and interesting, extremely well organised (nothing too much trouble, including my grand-daughter who had recently been diagnosed as suffering from coeliac problems) and always charming and helpful, and I think this was the opinion of everyone else on the tour. As a result, the tour was a very enjoyable and informative experience. Thank you
Review by Jane Cazalet on 4 December 2014
We have just returned from a fabulous tour of Apulia,, Lecce and Vieste. We would like to compliment you on our great Tour Guide Stella. She was extremely knowledgable and had a lovely manner. Always available and helpful. She definately contributed to our very enjoyable trip. Please convey our thanks to her. We thought the tour was very well organised and are looking forward to our next trip with Riviera.
Review by Sue and Rob Blockley. on 16 April 2015
We have just returned (27th April) from a splendid tour of Southern Italy. Our Tour Manager Paula inspires confidence and one feels that she copes splendidly with what ever crosses her path.Tour well organised with sufficient free time and no hard sell of tourist traps! Thanks to all involved.
Review by Jeannette & Graham on 5 May 2015
We’ve just returned from Puglia after a great week of blue skies and wonderfully warm temperatures. Our guide, Christine was brilliant and full of enthusiasm. The visits were interesting and well organised and there was enough free time to pursue your own interests as well. Our driver was Gianpiero. He was very considerate and a careful driver. A good driver like that can really add to the trip and he did. The hotels were fine. I would love it if they had provided proper coffee rather than from a machine though! The food was fine and varied. The last meal we had in Vieste at the restaurant was lovely. I think Vieste was our favourite place because it offered so much variety between the sea and the old town. Christine is a real treasure though. I hope you know how good she is!!
Review by Sue Childs on 11 May 2015
My Friend and I had the most enjoyable holiday with Riviera travel to Apulia on the 4th May this year. The hotels we stayed in were very good and quite luxurious . Our guide Paula was such a lovely person very knowledgeable with a wicked sense of humour. Davide our driver was kind and helpful, and very good at maneuvering those tricky mountain roads. We met some very nice like minded people on the trip, even though the British election brought out lots of animated discussions over drinks. The trips were very good I especially liked the one to Sassi and Matera. Food was excellent especially the restaurant dinners we were taken to. I would definitely book a holiday again with this company (if we can have Paula as our guide)
Review by Mrs T.Wren on 20 May 2015
We returned earlier this week from this wonderful tour of the stunning and absolutely beautiful Southern Italy. Our tour guide was Paula, who was helpful, informative and ALWAYS available, her local knowledge was tremendous and her insight into the lifestyle of that area was enjoyable and entertaining. A huge thank you to her for that and not forgetting our wonderful, considerate driver, Davide, who transported us safely and surely the whole time. This is our 4th tour with Riviera and would highly recommend them.
Review by Josie and Ian Hunt on 22 May 2015
My husband and I have just returned from an excellent trip to Apulia. We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Paula our tour manager and to Davide our driver. Paula is such a professional tour manager who really cares about her clients. She has a great sense of humour and always made us feel very safe on our trips out. She says she nags to get us all to ensure we were on time but we didn’t see it as nagging, we felt she just had our welfare at heart. We can’t thank her enough for helping us to enjoy our trip so much. Our driver Davide was really excellent. His driving was exemplary. He took great care, never got flustered and made us feel safe at all times. We will certainly be booking more trips with Riviera Travel.
Review by Lilian Marian Pears on 2 June 2015
My friends and I all thoroughly enjoyed the above holiday with a special thanks to you and David. I particularly enjoyed your humour and “unfussy” attitude to everything whilst being interesting and informative.
Here’s to our next holiday with the Company.
Review by Margaret on 3 June 2015
Thank you for a wonderful tour of Apulia. Our tour manager, Christine, was just brilliant - full of patience, humour, information & a willingness to work hard. She was ably assisted by our driver, Davide, who was always considerate to other road users as well as to ourselves. The weather was invariably sunny & hot (NOT due to Riviera!), the food & accommodation first rate and the individual guides informative. Any shortcomings? Perhaps too much was crammed in for many in the party ( a very friendly lot) but then Riviera might otherwise be criticised for omissions; nobody can expect to have it both ways. A couple of hotels had loud music too close to WORN-OUT holidaymakers but then some of their companions revelled in it all. In sum, an extremely enjoyable holiday - but we’ve come to expect that from Riviera.
Review by Bob & Mavis Hyslop on 5 June 2015
In my opinion Riviera Travel are matchless. For a start, South East Italy is amazing. The cities, the landscapes, and the coastal areas are truly magnificent. The three hotels we stayed in were top-class. Our tour-guide, Christine, was exceptionally good:- helpful, intelligent, pleasant, hardworking and accomplished at organising and giving interesting information about the history of the region. I booked this holiday simply to pay homage to my uncle, Ronnie Steele, who was killed in WWII and is buried in Bari. Christine helped me enormously to realise a lifetime`s ambition to visit his grave. The rest of the holiday was a super bonus. Looking to book my next Riviera holiday, soon. Terrific value for money.
Review by Ronnie Steele, Janet Richardson on 11 June 2015
Having just been back a week, I wish I was back there. It was my first trip with Riviera and I am wowed by the standard and care that is taken. Our guide Christine, was amazing and I would want to return on one of her tours just for her and the driver Davide was great, never flummoxed once.
The hotels were very nice and pleasant, the food was good at all of them (I was a bit worried that it would not be). The fact that we ate at 3 local restaurants in the evening and included was great and the standard very high.
Highlights, Matera, wow wow wow. I would have liked to spend more time there and a hotel slightly closer to town (I hear they are looking into this). Amazing guide in the Sassi and a wonderful evening meal at the local restaurant. The Trulli houses are great.
Generally wonderful guides on our visits, with great knowledge and wonderful recommendations for lunch.
Fabulous seafood, especially in Tranni and in Vieste.
‘Undiscovered Italy’ - not simply uncovered for us over eight gloriously sun-filled, wonderfully diverse and fascinating days, but more really expertly ‘curated’ by Riviera! Our interested and interesting group were guided superbly from Bari’s entrance and exit (with stops in very comfortable hotels - ending in style at the ‘Palace’ in Vieste) by Christine with humour, patience, tremendous knowledge and insight; driven effortlessly by Davide through Vespa-buzzing town streets, round hair-pins and on occasionally unpredictable highways from Bari to Lecce to Mantera, from Alberobello to Vieste, from Castel del Monte to Monte Sant’ Angelo and back; and informed by our three excellent local guides - gems of information from history, sociology, politics, psychology, theology, literature and art whispered (literally) in our orecchiete! And now to edit the 800+ photos, relive the many highlights of an excellent trip ...and browse again the Riviera brochure! Thank you!
Review by Phil Heasman on 13 June 2015
Feedback to say how much we enjoyed the tour of Puglia. Geoffrey was a great guide and made it extra enjoyable.
Review by Malcolm Swire on 16 June 2015
Just returned from this trip to Southern Italy. This is our 4th Riviera holiday and another great one. Particularly enjoyed eating out in the local excellent restaurants as a change from the hotel every night. Great guide, Jeffrey, relaxed with a tremendous depth of local knowledge and thanks to young Stephano our excellent coach driver for the week. Looking forward to our next Riviera trip !
Review by Ken & Heather Smith on 19 June 2015
Thank you for an excellent holiday. Christine was a brilliant manager, humorous, knowledgeable and very good at getting a rather large group organised. Hotels and food were good. Davide, our driver for most of the holiday, was excellent, unflappable and skilled at getting around tight hair pins bends!! The local guides were extremely knowledgeable with very good communication skills We have been on several Riviera Travel holidays (this is the second this year) and we have found them to be generally a good balance between organised activities and free time. On this tour we would have appreciated a little more time in Bari and Matera. The group was rather large (50 people I think). Mostly this wasn’t an issue; however, it did mean that on the walking tours people were spread out over quite a distance. The ‘whispers’ were of great help; however, it still felt unwieldy. When the party is this large would it be possible to have two local guides so that there could be two smaller groups rather than one?
Review by Janet Price and Derek Grant on 20 June 2015
This tour was well up to the standard we have come to expect from Riviera Travel. Tour managers are always first class but this time we cannot praise Luigi enough. Kate left her purse at the first hotel on the tour and Luigi pulled out all the stops to ensure it was returned to her before we left Italy. And on another occasion Kate left her phone (yes, it was one of those holidays!) in the centre of Alberobello but Luigi held our departing coach for 5 minutes while he jumped into a taxi with Kate to retrieve the phone. Well done Luigi! This was our fifth Riviera holiday and looking forward to our sixth next month.
Review by Chris and Kate Walker on 21 June 2015
Just returned from 8 days in Puglia. What a fantastic experience. Our guide Sergio was so entertaining and knowledgeable, and we were in safe hands with Jon Pierro our driver We ate at a variety of locations and saw many different aspects of Italian life. The group were made up of fifty people but managed to stay friendly and courteous at all times. We managed to find a good balance of being busy and having free time to ourselves. This was our second trip with Riviera and certainly not our last. Thanks to Sergio and our fellow travellers for making it so memorable.
Review by Colin and lesley bell on 24 June 2015
On May 28 I participated in your tour “Apulia, Lecce and Vieste - Undiscovered Italy”. I just wanted to let you know what a great time we had. I was very worried that our group was so large - 50 pax - but it all went well and we were very lucky that we had a really nice group of people on the trip. However, the reason I am contacting you is to say what an excellent Tour Leader we had. Her name was Christine and she was very efficient, knowledgable, friendly, competent - the list could go on endlessly. We all thought she was quite brilliant and it made such a difference to our holiday. So please take note! We also had an excellent driver - Davide - who also merits a gold star!
Review by S Campbell on 25 June 2015
Apulia, Lecce and Vieste - Undiscovered Italy 13-20 June. A well organised and value-for-money holiday. We would like especially to praise the tour manager Christine. Christine gave just the right amount of information about the places we visited, and clear organisational details. I appreciated the care she took over my dietary requirements. Many thanks.
Review by Michael Rudd on 25 June 2015
Thank you for an excellent holiday. Luigi was a brilliant Tour Manager, always happy, helpful ad informative and often going out of his way for us. The holiday ran smoothly thanks to him and Jon Pierro, our driver. This is my third holiday with you and this is a beautiful unspoilt area of Italy. The local guides were excellent and the use of the wireless audio tour guide system was brilliant. We saw so much but never felt rushed and had plenty of free time at the end of our local tours. The drive through the Foresta Umbra was particularly beautiful, a lovely place for a walk and picnic Eating out at local restaurants was a very enjoyable experience. All the hotels were good and especially the Hotel Delgi Aranci in Vieste the selection and standard of food was very good in all of them.
Review by Margaret Cook on 26 June 2015
Excellent tour as always with Riviera, made even more special with our superb Tour Manager Sergio, praise also to Jon Piero the coach driver. Three issues arose during the tour (not in any way the fault of Riviera). These were handled very professionally by both Sergio and Jon Piero.
Review by J & M Worvell on 27 June 2015
Just returned from a wonderful tour. A good balance of free and directed time. We saw a huge variety and learnt an enormous amount from our highly entertaining and knowledgable tour guide Sergio who showed such care for us. Sergio and our driver Jon Pierre are a huge asset to your company. This was our second tour with Riviera and we are now considering a third. Well done.
Review by Jo and Andrew Blake on 28 June 2015
Just back from a really great tour of Apulia, Lecce and Vieste, really interesting and varied. Loved the eating in the various restaurants, as hotel food can get a bit monotonous. I am really writing to say how lucky we were to have Sergio as our guide and Jon Pierro as our driver. Sergio was really knowledgable and witty and made the trip so enjoyable. We were also lucky to be with a great group of people who all got on. Once again, thanks Sergio for the entertainment and thanks Jon Pierro for the safe driving.
Review by Jean Mackman on 28 June 2015
This was our fourth tour with Riviera, and despite airport diversion due to thunderstorm, it was a most enjoyable successful trip. Sergio was an extremely professional Guide who had a wonderful sense of humour, he made sure the holiday went smoothly for everyone, he was in our view the best Representative we have encountered on our many tours.
Review by Mr& Mrs j woodward on 28 June 2015
Wonderful trip and well organised Christine our tour guide was most friendly and informative. The coach was luxurious and Davide our driver was so capable and we felt in safe hands, the additional bonus was, he was easy on the eye. All hotels were well equipped and food both in the hotels and in restaurants locally was very good. We have travelled with Riviera several times and are looking forward to our next trip cant recommend them highly enough.
Review by Lyn Steward on 5 July 2015
Our 2nd Riviera, prev being Thailand & Laos. This Puglia trip was nice combination of busy (but not hetic) and relaxed. This “undiscovered” province probably takes quite an effort to arrange the needs of a group of 50, so well done Riviera. Well organised and operated, driver Davide & UK based guide Christina made it all so easy for us. (note to Christina, thank you, we regret we didn’t get to say it in person, and great job in providing so much useful and informative narrative). The three hotels were clean and good as was the meals they provided, dining out nights were great with very good restaurant, a good experience of local dishes. Puligia itself was lovely. The coach seemed to have additional pair seats installed on the drivers side (not an exact match) and it made for tight leg room and access difficulties for the less flexible, less slim clients. Fortunately Christina implemented seat rotation. Our fellow travellers were all pleasant and the group got along well.
Review by John Parsons on 5 July 2015
Have just returned from undiscovered Italy, Superb trip everything the brochure said was delivered. Have been with Riviera several times each time excellent we always recommend you. Our tour rep (Paula) was exceptional with lots of insight into the Italian ways of life(approach) Our driver Daniello steady and secure. Restaurants chosen by Riviera local and first class Well done Paula ...Well done again Riviera…...Where to next ???
Review by pat and alex dodd on 7 July 2015
We have recently returned from a great holiday in Italy and wished to thank you for a well planned if busy tour. Despite the plane being unable to land due to storms at Bari and being transferred to Brindisi we were well looked after by our tour guide Sergio and driver Jon Pierot.
Sergio made our holiday a delight. He was so well organised, thoughtful, caring and with such a wonderful sense of humour. Our coach broke down on the way out to dinner one night and he quickly organised our transfer by taxis within the hour. A lady on the tour fell and broke he nose and was hospitalised on the last day and he did everything he could to help her husband sort out arrangements when they had to be left behind in Italy. He is a real asset to you and we really benefited from his expertise.
Review by Doreen & Graham Bright on 29 June 2015
Thank you once again Riviera for arranging a wonderful holiday to Puglia in southern Italy. I am a single female traveller and this holiday was my fourth with your company. Once again, from booking the holiday to my return home, everything ran smoothly and efficiently. Our tour guide Paula was exceptional, she was professional, charismatic, had a wonderful wit and nothing was too much trouble. During this week we stayed near a town called Matera in the region of Puglia, Paula had been made aware that there was to be a special Fiesta which only happens once a year. She asked if the group would like to attend this special occasion, we all felt that this was not to be missed. She spent many hours behind the scenes, with the help of the local guide to arrange taxis to take us to town for the evening and home afterwards. She also arranged a safe place for us to watch the extraordinary fireworks after the Fiesta, this was necessary as this small town had about 120,000 visitors to see the fiesta. The fireworks were the best I have ever seen and continued for about 40 minutes until about half past midnight. I cannot imagine how much work and effort must have gone in to arrange this for us, Paula made no fuss about it and for me it was the highlight of the trip. We stayed at three lovely hotels all of which were clean, comfortable and the staff friendly and helpful. We had some of our evening meals at local restaurants, the standard of food and wine was exceptional. All the food is locally sourced and a very high standard of cooking and presentation. This was a lovely change to eating dinner every night at the hotel. Paula our guide has a very wide knowledge of the area and Italy in general, she made the visits to the towns interesting and special. She also gave us a history of the Riviera company and informed us of new places to visit which Riviera have recently added to their itinerary. A special thank you to the coach driver, Danielo who negotiated small winding Italian coastal roads and buzzing towns with great skill and made me feel safe for the whole journey. He was extremely kind and courteous, and helped the not so able on and off the coach. He also loaded and unloaded the luggage carefully, with no breakages. Thank you Paula and Danielo for an exceptional holiday, never to be forgotten, you are a credit to the Riviera company On returning home, I have just booked my 5th trip with Riviera, this is going to be my first long haul to Sri Lanka in 2016. I can’t wait.
Review by maggie Warriner on 8 July 2015
My Husband and I returned from your tour to Apulia and Lecce last week and had a great time, we were lucky enough to be there when the Fiesta was on in Matera which was all very exciting. Paula and the driver were excellent, we had met Paula last year when we did the Italian lakes, the whole crowd were good company, we shall definitely travel again with your company as we cannot fault it.
Review by Denise and Reuben Blencowe on 21 July 2015
We have just returned from our fifth Italian holiday with Riviera, and were as impressed as ever with the service we have received. Our tour guide, Sergio, was a delight and surely left a gap on the stage when he chose travel as a career! His own unique approach to tips on the Italian language and insight into everyday family life had us in fits of laughter at times, and his care and attention to the passengers’ comfort was second to none. Despite problems with the air conditioning on the coach, he and the driver, Stefano, made every effort possible to have this fixed and, when this proved not possible to their satisfaction, a replacement coach was sourced with no disruption to the tour.
The standard of hotels was as good as we have come to expect from Riviera, with comfortable rooms and friendly staff, although some were perhaps located more conveniently than others (Hilton Garden Inn Matera!), however after a busy day sightseeing, a quiet afternoon in the garden or by the pool was all we wanted.
What was really appreciated, though, was the opportunity to visit local restaurants for some of our meals, all of which were excellent. In the past, we have found that some of the hotels offered limited choice on their menus, and meals have become ‘same-y’ after 7 nights, but this was not the case on this occasion. I think this is an excellent idea and one that Riviera should possibly consider rolling out across other tours as well.
We would recommend this tour to anyone who is looking for something different in an Italian holiday, it should be noted though that, as there is a less predominantly British tourist presence in the area, English is not universally spoken. This just adds to the fun though and we found that the use of just a few easily learned words and phrases (Sergio is always on hand to help with these) make it possible to get by with the minimum of difficulty. Another hit from the Riviera brochure, we can’t wait to decide where to go next!
Review by Dave & Julie Kirk on 9 September 2015
We have just returned from a most enjoyable trip to “Undiscovered Italy”.The weather was glorious almost too hot. The hotels were clean & very comfortable with good food.Our meals out were chosen with great care & in fascinating places. Each day was very varied with interesting guides, showing us the unusual buildings in that part of Italy. We were a party of 48 people who seemed to gel very quickly & we were sorry to say good bye at Gatwick. Really the highlight of the tour was our very charming & knowledgeable guide Sergio. He went out of his way to make our holiday interesting & happy. He also made sure we were entertained on the coach by entertaining us with many stories. We were not allowed to doze off! Our thanks to our 2 drivers, who were charming & helpful. We shall be booking with Riviera again.
Review by Shirley Haslam on 10 September 2015
Just returned, very impressed, from my first escorted tour with Riviera. Spent one week exploring fascinating Puglia - baroque Lecce, Alberobello and the Trulli houses, amazing Matera, beautiful Vieste and much more. Our guide, Paula, was excellent with her extensive knowledge of the area, her humour and her interesting anecdotes and stories about southern Italian life and the history of the area. Hats off too to our most competent driver, Davide, who did an amazing job negotiating the most challenging roads. The trip was well organised with more than enough time to explore both on your own and with excellent guides. Highly recommended.
Review by Nola Leff on 11 September 2015
Just returned from our 6th Riviera trip: this time to Apulia, our first visit to the area. Paula, our guide, was excellent, always available for advice and mixing her first-hand knowledge of the Italian way of life and local customs with humour. Our driver, Davide also deserves praise for his expertise behind the wheel. The 3 hotels provided the standards expected of their 4 stars but the Hilton Garden at Matera proved awkward to negotiate, with the stairs far from the lifts and access to areas of the attractive grounds and swimming pool sometimes blocked by locked gates, without our being advised how to enter. The reason given, was to prevent children making their way to the pool unaccompanied, but it caused some annoyance and frustration to members of our group! The food was excellent throughout, especially on our organised visits to local restaurants. Riviera has a knack of identifying wonderful locations and then combining them with the finest guides for great value for money. We shall be back!
Review by J.E.KIllan on 11 September 2015
Our first time with Riviera Travel and we were somewhat apprehensive but as soon as we met our guide, Paula, we knew we were in good hands. The tour was very well structured - although we covered many miles, we always had enough time at each stop. Visited some amazing places, Lecce, Alberobello, Matera and Trani. So good to visit such an unspoilt part of the world where the majority of tourists were Italian. Excellent food, although sometimes whilst eating out, you did not always get what you thought you had ordered - part of the fun. Thanks once again to the very organised, knowledgeable, caring Paula, and also our excellent driver, David. Will certainly be travelling with Riviera again.
Review by Rosemary Bioque on 14 September 2015
This was our 5th Riviera tour and as always the standard was very high. Tour manager Sergio was brilliant, his organisation, helpfulness and humour could not be bettered. We enjoyed the variety of the places we visited and the different countryside. The two Hilton hotels were excellent, staff and food were excellent also. The hotel in Vieste was not quite up to the same standard although again the staff and food were superb. It was also nice to eat dinner in local restaurants where one sat with different members of the party. All in all another enjoyable tour. Thanks to Sergio and the drivers. See you next time.
Review by Mike and Pat Wilkins on 14 September 2015
This was our third tour with Riviera - all have been good but this was excellent. Our tour guide, Paula, was all that we could wish for - very professional and organised on a tour that involved three hotels in a week and lots of travel. Hotels and meals at each were of a good standard but we particularly enjoyed the three meals arranged in local restaurants. Paula was always on hand to help and advise, so knowledgeable about every aspect of the tour and full of interesting anecdotes about Italian life. This was a fascinating part of Italy and having watched the TV programme ‘Italy Unpacked’ before we booked none of it disappointed. Certainly a holiday to recommend.
Review by David and Sarah Smith on 14 September 2015
We have just returned from and delightful tour of southern Italy. All three hotels were very good but we thought that the meals taken at local restaurants were excellent and we think that this feature should be rolled out to all tours. The highlight of the holiday was our guide Sergio, he was helpful, kept us fully informed and very amusing with his anecdotes. This was our first tour with Riviera but we have also been on two European river cruises. We will definitely be booking with Riviera again Regards to all at Riviera, Peter & Georgie Bartholomew
Review by Peter & Georgie Bartholomew on 15 September 2015
We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and in particular we wish to highly compliment our tour guide, Sergio. We have very fond memories of him. He is a charming and intelligent man and contributed hugely to the success of the trip by combining excellent spoken English, extensive knowledge of his subject (and of English foibles!) and a great sense of humour and wit. He was very attentive to all of us. Please would you thank him from us and tell him that I (as a semi-professional photographer) I have many photographs which he (and you, perhaps) might like.
Review by Dr Simon & Mrs Jacqueline Joseph on 18 September 2015
My husband and I and a friend have just returned from this very enjoyable trip to Southern Italy. We had glorious weather and really enjoyed the variety of scenery, wonderful architecture and varied towns that were on offer. Quite a lot of travelling but plenty of chances to get out and walk and explore these very historic towns which are still real working towns and not just designer shopping outlets. Three very different hotels, all comfortable with the usual facilities, the last one in Vieste was a bit eccentric with terrible hair dryers!! However all staff in the hotels were warm and friendly and helpful. This leads me on to Paula, our guide, what a great character. Great sense of humour, efficient, well organised, lovely asides about Italian foibles and family life. Also many thanks to Davide our very good, patient driver. We will be back with Riviera in 2016
Review by Mrs M. Robinson on 18 September 2015
This was a most enjoyable tour to an area we had not previously visited. It fulfilled all our expectations for interest and weather! It was all enhanced by our superb guide, Paula, who was not only extremely well organised but expert in gently “bossing” us to be in the right place at the right time! She was very informative about the people and customs with a ready story for every occasion and clearly has a great affection for all things Italian.
Review by Dr and Mrs DG Pratt on 21 September 2015
My friend and I so much enjoyed last week’s trip to Puglia, guided by Luigi. Everything went like clockwork with plenty of variety - something different each day and we were kept informed all the way. We especially liked having three evening meals out at local restaurants and the only possible criticism may be the hotel breakfasts - too much cake and very little fresh fruit!
This was my friend’s second holiday with Riviera and I have other friends who recommended your company as I will in future.
Review by Oriel Billingham on 12 October 2015
I have just come back from a Riviera tour to Puglia in Italy (Lecce, Matera, Vieste) and would like to give some positive feedback on the tour leader and driver. Nicky, the tour leader, was most helpful and attentive. I think all of the people on the trip found this to be so, but as a disabled wheelchair user, this was particularly important for me. She went out of her way to find out before any excursions and visits about any accessibility problems or difficulties that I might encounter. She also made sure when we dined in restaurants that I had easily accessible seating arrangements. She is an asset to Riviera and can be recommended for any future tours.
I must also say that Antonio, the driver on the tour, was very helpful and is a skilful driver. He is also a very pleasant man. Again, he is highly recommended.
Review by Kevin Barham on 14 October 2015
This was our fourth holiday with Riviera and was, as before, up to the standard we have come to expect . We were well looked after by tour manager Nikki and driver Antonio. They both did all they could to make the trip run smoothly. We enjoyed all three hotels, the included meals and excursions. This really is a very interesting and beautiful part of Italy and we found this tour to be an excellent introduction to it.
Review by Charles and Elsie on 16 October 2015
This was our first time with Riviera and, as a result, we will certainly travel with them again. Overall the trip was well arranged with a good itinery. Any negative points were too small to be worth mentioning.
Our tour guide (Nikki) was very competent, always interesting & very good company as was our excellent driver (Antonio). Spending a week with a large group of “like minded” people added to our enjoyment.
Denis & Annalisa
Review by Denis & Annalisa Wilson on 17 October 2015
This was our second Riviera holiday and was an excellent week. The Trulli houses and Matera were the sight-seeing highlights. The food (and wine!) was very good in both the hotels and restaurants. Indeed being taken out to three restaurants in the evening was one of the things that attracted us to the holiday and they proved to be most enjoyable. An added and unexpected bonus was the ‘anti pasta’ meal at Alberobello. Special mention must go to Jeffrey our tour manager - he was excellent all week and added so much to the holiday with his insightful knowledge of all things italian as well being able to make the coach journeys more entertaining! Davide, the driver was also very professional, we lost count of the number of hairpin bends he skilfully navigated! On the tour of the Gargano peninsula at the end of the week we would have liked less time on the coach and perhaps being able to explore some of the Foresta Umbra on foot. Overall the week was everything we had hoped for - highly recommended!
Review by Russ and Angela on 21 October 2015
I’ve just returned from my first Riviera holiday and am well happy. The tour was as good and better than I’d hoped and all credit to our guide Luigi who gave us his 100% in history; care and consideration and with some humour, local ‘tall’ stories and patience thrown in. Thank-you.
Review by Linda Barker on 24 October 2015
We wish to thank you once again for a thoroughly enjoyable holiday in this delightful region of Italy. The hotels were good in general especially the Vieste Palace which was family run with excellent food. We enjoyed too, the restaurant visits in Matera and Vieste, the latter was quite exceptionally good. Particular mention must be made of Luigi, our tour guide who was very knowledgeable on all aspects of the tour. He was thoughtful and amusing and helpful at all times. He contributed very greatly to our enjoyment of the tour with his insight into all areas of our visit. Puglia is certainly yet another fascinating area of Italy, a country which we love to visit. Vieste in particular is a most interesting little town and it was nice to be in the centre for our three nights. So thank you Riviera yet again for another lovely holiday.
Review by Peter and Christine Thomas on 26 October 2015
This was our second tour with Riviera….......and it did not disappoint. We enjoyed a very interesting and informative week in southern Italy. Paula, our tour guide was excellent in every respect and well supported by our driver David.
Review by Susan and Derek Langeveld on 26 October 2015
We recently returned from our tour of Apulia. It was our first time with Riviera Travel, we found it to be well organised, staying in nice hotels, eating out in local restaurants on three evenings was especially nice. We met some very nice like minded people who certainly made meal times a very pleasant time. We found that Nikki our tour guide was amazing. So very attentive to our needs, very friendly. One of the best we have ever had. Antonio our driver was a very skillful driver, and he and Nikki made a great team.
Review by Julie and Les Gould on 2 November 2015
We have just returned from the Undiscovered Italy tour to Puglia and want to let you know how pleased we are. We have been on Riviera tours many times over the years but this was the best yet. The itinerary was so well chosen, the hotels were all very comfortable with excellent local food and really obliging and pleasant staff but especial thanks and appreciation is due to the Tour Manager, Paula. She was outstanding for her extensive personal knowledge of Italy in general and this region in particular, for her informative and engaging manner with her commentaries on all aspects of the trip – historical, social, geographical, – and above all for her calm and positive efficiency in ensuring that that the welfare of the group was paramount. This was particularly so when a member of the party fell and injured herself on the way back to the airport on our return. Paula is credit to your company and should be cherished.
Review by Angela & Leslie Rhodes on 3 November 2015
My holiday in Italy visiting Apulia Lecce and Vieste was just wonderful. Great food, excellent accommodation and an interesting itinerary. I have been on a number of group tours and this has to be the best especially when considering the guide Nikki and driver Antonio. Nikki was so helpful to me and I believe to all the group members. She made you feel special and ensured your needs were met. I tested her skills to max when I thought I had lost my passport before leaving for the airport! She was so kind, supportive and reassuring. Throughout the holiday Nikki worked closely with Antonio ensuring we arrived before crowds, received a great reception from restaurants and created a lovely atmosphere within the group. The spontaneous musical evening she helped arrange and managed was such a highlight of the holiday. The group members were just perfect… big shout to Saint Michael and Sandra Thanks again Nikki for ensuring my holiday was a memorable one. I could not recommend this holiday highly enough! and if you are lucky to have Nikki as the guide….well… you have it made!!