On arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, complimentary transfers leave for your hotel at 9:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Join your travel director and fellow guests at 17:30 for a welcome dinner and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine at a local restaurant.
Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizza, and your included walking exploration with a local expert has it in abundance. Toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon, the best-preserved monument from the Roman period, and enjoy free time to do as the Romans do. Perhaps join a tour to discover an unknown quarter of Rome, Trastevere?
Meet your local expert, for a guided visit through the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-tracked entry and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. Continue with your local expert to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. Later depart for the picturesque resort of Sorrento, perched upon the southern cliffs of the Bay of Naples and looking over to Mount Vesuvius.
Wake up full of anticipation for your trip to Capri, the Isle of Dreams. Meet your local expert and cruise to the island. Under the Mediterranean sun, ride up to Capri town in one of the island’s iconic open-top taxis, where you can explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and enjoy the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port by funicular railway and return to Sorrento where rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Start your day in Pompeii, buried in A.D. 79 by the historic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Walk with your local expert through the cobbled streets to see a city frozen in time. Journey along the country roads to the ancient town of Matera, specially selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Meet with a local expert for an in-depth exploration of the extraordinary Sassi, a complex of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside, the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mel Gibson chose Matera as the setting for his film ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Venture on to Alberobello.
Admire another of Italy’s record number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a local expert. The Trulli of Alberobello are circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within. They are built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. In the evening, meet Alessandro, the founder of Trattoria Terra Madre, who will share his philosophy of using only organic, seasonal produce that he grows himself. See Nonna making orecchiette pasta, before savouring the fresh flavours of your Farm-to-Table highlight dinner.
The day is free for you to enjoy this fascinating town. Perhaps visit Ostuni – reminiscent of a North African Arab Medina – with its stark, white-washed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and arched stairways? Later, relax and indulge in the facilities of your remarkable hotel.
The local roads take you south to the coastal town of Maratea. Known as the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian, its beautiful and peaceful location has offered an idyllic hideaway for many of the rich and famous over the years, including Frank Sinatra and Princess Diana. After checking into your hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to enjoy at your leisure, you may wish to spend it relaxing by the pool, sipping cocktails and enjoying the spectacular views of the rugged coastline.
In the morning, travel along the Purple Coast to the very toe of Italy and board your ferry bound for Sicily across the Strait of Messina. According to Grecian legend, this was home to the mythical sea monsters Scylla, a six-headed rock monster, and Charybdis, a whirlpool, based on either side of the strait. Together, they posed an inescapable threat to passing seafarers as avoiding one meant passing too close to the other. You will soon arrive at your hotel where you will spend three glorious nights on the Taormina Riviera. Join a Local Expert for a visit to the Greek Theatre of Taormina, graced with the most spectacular of backdrops. Stroll on to the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina’s grandest building. Further along the elegant Corso Umberto, the Piazza IX Aprile offers panoramic views. Take your pick of specially selected restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.
The day is at leisure to relax at your resort’s private beach, or perhaps explore the medieval quarter? Don’t miss the chance of an optional drive through the vineyards to Mount Etna, Europe’s largest volcano.
Early risers may experience what D.H. Lawrence christened the ‘dawn coast of Europe.’ The day is free to explore Taormina at your leisure or to embark on an Optional Experience to Syracuse, where you can witness Caravaggio’s celebrated painting, the ‘Burial of St. Lucy’. In the evening, venture to a local restaurant for a tasty meal accompanied by wine.
Drive to Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily, where the Valley of the Temples once formed part of the ancient Greek colony of Akragas. Meet with a local expert and walk along the fortified ridge of the Valley of the Temples. The massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno, overlooking the sea, are especially impressive. In the afternoon, continue to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.
Join a historian to see the highlights of part of the old city. Palermo Cathedral has been altered over the years and a venture inside will help you to appreciate the blend of architectural styles. Continue to the amazing Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans. Outside, there are few clues to its astonishing interior, completely covered in glittering 12th-century mosaics. In the afternoon, there is free time to explore or shop in Palermo or continue sightseeing. In the evening, join your fellow guests and travel director at a local restaurant for a celebration dinner of delicious local cuisine and wine.
Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone–Borsellino Airport at 6:00 and 8:00.
Ask a personal travel manager about this deal.
Advertised prices are per person twin share, correct at time of publication and are subject to availability and change at any time without notification due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Offer is valid on new bookings only. ^Exclusive discount is included in the advertised price. Other departure dates available however prices may differ. Single supplements apply. Deposit is due within 5 days of booking and final payment due by 18 December 2019. Other conditions apply. Please contact your personal travel manager for full terms and conditions.