"I'd heard a lot about his Empoli team and how impressive they were tactically, so I was really keen to go and watch him work, so we made contact with his people and he was kind enough to allow us to come," Howe said.
"I actually don't remember the year that I went, but I spent a period of time with Maurizio and he was brilliant with me and I learnt so much. It's no surprise to see that he's one of the best coaches in the world.
"What I saw, I was hugely impressed by and learned a lot from that experience. He brought his Napoli team to play us last year as well - they trained here for a couple of days, we played them and it was great to see him again."
Howe added it was his knowledge of the Italian league that triggered him to make the trip.
"Seeing his team play and knowing that whatever you see on the pitch, if it's impressive then there's impressive things going on behind the scenes it's as simple as that really," he said.