I was pleased to see that according to TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice 2011 list, published today, Rome is ranked the second favourite destination in Europe, after Paris.
This ties in with a conversation I had yesterday with my friend Bill who owns a sweet little two-bedroom apartment in the historical centre of Ostuni, the ‘white town’ of Puglia. See http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/italy/it3875.htm. His descriptions of summers in Ostuni sound idyllic to me. The day goes something like this: get up, go to bar for cappuccino and cornetto, catch bus to beach (EUR 5 for transport all day), spend day on beach and no doubt some tasty morsel for lunch, catch bus back to Ostuni, shower and aperitivo on the terrazzo watching the sunset and then off into Ostuni in search of a good, cheap meal.
We couldn’t understand why his bookings have not been good this year, despite a very reasonable rental price ( EUR 220 for the week in low season, when the weather can still be very good) while the Casa Capena bookings have been excellent and really seem to be recovering from the recession.
One explanation for Rome’s popularity as a destination is that it is extremely well-served by a host of airlines and it is always possible to get a reasonable deal. Ostuni, which is also admittedly a completely different sort of destination to Rome, is served only by so-called budget airlines, mainly RyanAir – and the prices can be off-putting when travellers are trying to book, typically three months before they plan to travel.
Bill has got the art of finding a cheap deal with RyanAir off to a fine art now though, he says, and it is probably a method that also applies to flights into Rome Ciampino airport. The secret is to look out for RyanAir’s special offers of cheap all-in rates without taxes and extras that they make available, sometimes only for a day, about two months before the date of travel.