Southern Italy & Sicily
|Southern Italy & Sicily
This journey will take you through a crossroads of civilizations in Sicily and on to the spectacular coastlines of Southern Italy. Begin in Sicily. Uncover its Moorish and Norman influences that intertwine with Greek and Roman ruins standing guard over the landscape. Explore Agrigentos ancient Valley of the Temples. Travel to the historic hilltop town of Taormina. Continue on to fascinating Southern Italy. Make a stop at a local winery for an agriturismo experience complete with wine tasting and a dinner featuring regional specialties. Explore the ancient town of Sassi di Matera, known for its cave dwellings. Spend time in the mystical town of Alberobello with its unusual cone-shaped roofed homes known as trulli. Discover spectacular Mt. Etna Volcano National Park. Explore the stunning Amalfi Coast and Sorrento. In evocative Pompeii, walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans who perished in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius.
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Join us in exploring the hidden treasures of Southern Italy and Sicily. Enjoy breathtaking scenery, historic cities, centuries-old hilltop villages and wonderful cuisine.
Day 2: Palermo, Sicily – Tour Begins
Your tour opens in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner featuring traditional Sicilian cuisine.
Day 3: Palermo – Monreale – Palermo
A cultural tour of Palermo features the lovely squares of Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria and Piazza Bellini. Note the exotic mixture of Moorish, Norman and Spanish Baroque styles that make this city special. View the Palace of the Normans, La Martorana church, and the cathedral which houses the Imperial Crown of Constance of Aragon. In the nearby town of Monreale, visit the 12th-century cathedral with its dazzling interior of multicolored marbles, paintings, mosaics and cloisters. The remainder of your day is at leisure to relax or perhaps visit the citys museums and shops.
Day 4: Palermo – Agrigento – Giardini Naxos
Ease your way into the local culture as your Tour Manager offers up a few key phrases of the native language before traveling through the countryside with rolling hills and working farms toward the town of Agrigento. Upon arrival, explore the stunning Valley of the Temples, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. From ancient times to the present day, the Valley of the Temples ruins, landscape and colors have inspired poets, writers and painters. Here you get an up-close view of the temples of Juno, Concordia, Hercules and Jupiter. Continue on to Giardini Naxos, the garden of Sicily, for your 3-night stay.
Day 5: Giardini Naxos – Taormina – Giardini Naxos
This morning, travel to beautiful Taormina, known for its charming atmosphere, significant monuments and flowering gardens. Join a local guide for a tour introducing you to the city. You will see Corso Umberto and the bountiful public gardens and visit the Greek Theatre. Enjoy some free time to independently explore this delightful town.
Day 6: Giardini Naxos – Catania – Mt. Etna – Giardini Naxos
Journey to vibrant Catania. The choice is yours! You may join a local guide to visit the cathedral and view the main sights of this historic and Baroque city (UNESCO). Witness the daily spectacle of bartering for fresh fish and produce when you visit the local market. Or, perhaps you would prefer to visit the Museo dello Sbarco (Allied Landing Museum). This fascinating museum is dedicated to the Allied landing on the southern coast of Sicily in 1943. Later, everyone comes together to discover the impressive Mt. Etna Volcano National Park with a local expert and take in the spectacular landscapes sculpted by nature. Return to Giardini Naxos.
Day 7: Giardini Naxos – Matera
Travel to Messina where you will take a short ferry ride to Villa San Giovanni on Italys mainland. Travel through the beautiful and unspoiled region of Calabria and into the Basilicata region. This afternoon youll visit one of the areas local wineries for a wine tasting and informative walk through the cellars and vineyards. Linger over a delicious regional dinner in the winerys own agriturismo restaurant.
Day 8: Matera – Alberobello – Matera
Today, explore the Sassi di Matera, an ancient settlement of carved cave dwellings. A local guide will help you learn the history of this site and why it has recently caught the eye of many film producers. Afterward, stop at a local shop for a chance to sample some regional produce. Enjoy some free time in Matera to browse the shops or taste the local cuisine before heading to the mystical town of Alberobello. See some of the most unusually built homes (UNESCO)known as trullithat have cone-shaped roofs. Surprisingly, no mortar is used to hold the stones together. Return to your hotel for dinner.
Day 9: Matera – Salerno – Sorrento Peninsula
Today, travel towards Campania and the Bay of Naples, one of the most breathtaking areas of Italy. Make a stop in Salerno to explore the historical city center at leisure. Take a moment to gaze at its impressive cathedral, considered to be the most beautiful medieval church in Italy. Arrive at the Sorrento Peninsula in the late afternoon. Sit back and take in the views of this magical place.
Day 10: Sorrento – Amalfi Coast Drive – Amalfi – Minori – Sorrento Peninsula
Take time to discover the lovely seaside resort town of Sorrento on your own. Then, begin your adventure experiencing the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. Make a special stop in the charming town of Amalfi where you will have time to explore. Then its off to Minori where you have the opportunity to sample some of the local specialties at a family-owned limoncello factory. Youll also enjoy a typical Italian afternoon break at a local caf and pastry shop. Your evening is at leisure.
Day 11: Sorrento Peninsula – Pompeii – Rome
Drive along the Bay of Naples and experience the excavated ruins of Pompeii at the foothills of Mount Vesuvius. Soak in the history of the preserved original buildings of a typical Roman town 2,000 years ago. A local guide will provide an in-depth view of this remarkable archaeological site. Later, travel to Rome where you will spend your last evening. Celebrate the end of your journey with a farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant.
Day 12: Rome – Tour Ends
Your tour ends today.