Your Italian sojourn opens in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Discover the city’s vibrant culture as you take in its picturesque harbors, cobblestone piazzas, and captivating energy. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner featuring authentic Sicilian cuisine.
Get to know “Palermo in a Nutshell” and discover the city’s Moorish, Norman, and Spanish architecture on a walking tour. Explore the Kalsa district – home to Mafia legends and lush gardens – before tasting local snacks at a 19th-century eatery. The afternoon is yours! Perhaps you’ll peruse the open-air markets, visit one of Palermo’s art galleries, or relax in an outdoor café.
Decide how you spend your morning because it’s your choice! Embark on a walking tour of the historic city center and visit La Martorana church, Fontana Pretoria, and more -OR- tour the Teatro Massimo Opera House, the third largest in Europe and seen in The Godfather Part III. This afternoon perhaps you will join an optional excursion to medieval Cefalù (UNESCO) with a local guide before visiting a nearby farm for a ricotta cheese* demonstration and farm-to-table meal, made with family recipes.
Visit the nearby town of Monreale (UNESCO) and wander along the paintings, mosaics, and cloisters of its 12th-century cathedral. Travel over rolling hills and peaceful farmland to the town of Agrigento. As the sun begins to set, explore the stunning Valley of the Temples (UNESCO), one of the world’s most esteemed archeological sites, and get an up-close view of the temples of Juno, Concordia, and Hercules.
Journey east to Sicily’s Ionian Coast. En route, discover the impressive Mt. Etna (UNESCO) Volcano National Park where a local expert introduces you to the park’s spectacular landscapes sculpted by nature. Later this afternoon, continue on to Giardini Naxos – the “garden of Sicily” – for your 2-night stay.
Set out for beautiful Taormina, home to ancient relics, rocky hills and charming gardens. With an expert local guide, you’ll see Corso Umberto, the verdant public gardens, and the city’s well-preserved Greek Theatre. Enjoy free time to relax or independently explore on your own. Return to Giardini Naxos for the evening.
Take a short ferry ride to Villa San Giovanni, located on Italy’s mainland. Pass through the unspoiled region of Calabria to the Basilicata region. Wander through the twisting vines of a local winery before joining an expert for a tour of the cellar with a tasting. Linger over regional cuisine at dinner in the winery’s restaurant.
Explore the Sassi di Matera (UNESCO), an ancient settlement of carved cave dwellings. A local guide shares the history and explains why film producers are seeking out this unique landscape. Visit a local shop and get a taste of regional specialties. This afternoon decide how you explore because it’s your choice! Discover more of Matera with a guided tour of an underground cistern followed by free time to browse the city’s stores and cave churches -OR- head to Alberobello (UNESCO) and marvel at the town’s whimsical trulli homes, known for their distinct, cone-shaped roofs.
After a stop in Vietri sul Mare, famous for its precious majolica pottery, experience the excavated ruins of Pompeii (UNESCO). A local guide gives you an in-depth look into this 2,000-year-old Roman town, nestled in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius. Step into another time as you explore its preserved buildings and imagine life in the 1st century. End your day in Sorrento, and settle in for a 2-night stay. Later this afternoon discover this charming seaside resort and learn about the local tradition of wood marquetry.
This morning take in the sights and colors of the Mediterranean Sea as you wind your way along the breathtaking Amalfi Coast (UNESCO). Gaze out over the deep blue hues of the sea paired with the bright citrus fruits lining the hillsides. Sample regional specialties at a family-owned limoncello factory before returning to Sorrento for an afternoon at leisure. This evening, enjoy a delightful dinner in a local restaurant.
Journey north to Rome. En route, visit the Benedictine monastery of Montecassino, perched on a mountaintop that played a pivotal role in World War II. Discover its history while exploring the monastery’s ornate chapel and courtyards. Later, check in to your hotel located close to Fiumicino Airport.
Your tour comes to a close today.
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