March 22, 2023

Italy Unlocked: Insider Tips, Must-See Destinations and Booking Flights/Hotels on Points

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#107: Italy travel expert Leigh Rowan joins Chris for a third time to discuss all things Italy. Leigh talks about why he feels most at home in the country with the most spectacular cuisine, gorgeous coastlines, ancient ruins, and rich history. He provides money-saving tips, gives suggestions on where to stay, reveals his favorite off-the-beaten-path locations for an authentically local experience, and explains why life is better in Italy. They also discuss the best ways to use your points and miles for your next trip to Italy (flights + hotels).

Leigh Rowan (@leighrowan) is the founder and CEO of Savanti Travel, a travel management company for executives, and the former COO of The Points Guy. He's traveled to Italy 40-50 times (enough that he's lost count).


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Selected Links From The Episode

Dream Studio Course


North Italy

South Italy

Off-the-beaten-path: Umbria Festival Corso dei Ceri

Reviews and Ratings: Gambero Rosso

Tours: Context Travel | Airbnb Experiences

App: Duolingo 

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

Other Airlines: Neos | La Compagnie | Norse Atlantic

Hotel Award Search: Awayz

Flight Award Search: (First month for $1 with ALLTHEHACKS)


Full Show Notes

Introduction (00:00)

What makes Italy a unique place to visit? (02:45)

The biggest takeaway: Relax and enjoy life (04:13)

Different ways to approach planning a trip to Italy (05:25)

Must-see recommendations in Rome (07:59)

Southern Italy destinations (10:03)

Northern Italy destinations (11:28)

Off-the-beaten-path locations to visit (12:13)

Getting by without speaking Italian (14:08)

Cultural norms to be aware of (15:51)

Meeting locals and having an authentic local experience (17:50)

Navigating within Italy (19:14)

Cost-saving tips (23:22)

Website recommendations (24:47)

Where to stay and how to book (28:42)

Booking activities in Italy (33:24)

Private tours (35:42)

Other destinations to see in Italy (37:25)

What to see and do in northern Italy (41:32)

Leigh’s dining recommendations (42:36)

Getting to and from Italy (49:02)

Using points for Flights (53:41)

Using points for Hotels (1:04:22)


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Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.