The hidden treasures of Southern Italy and Sicily are yours to explore, for it is here that you’ll find breathtaking scenery, historic cities, centuries-old hilltop villages and wonderful cuisine. Your tour opens in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Tonight, join your fellow travellers for a welcome dinner featuring authentic Sicilian cuisine.
Acquaint yourself with Palermo on a tour of its lovely squares – the Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria and Piazza Bellini – and discover an exotic mix of Moorish, Norman and Spanish Baroque architecture along the way. See the Palace of the Normans, La Martorana church, and the cathedral that houses the Imperial Crown of Constance of Aragon. In the nearby town of Monreale, visit the 12th-century cathedral with its dazzling interior of multicoloured marbles, paintings, mosaics and cloisters. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure to peruse the city’s shops and museums, or simply take some time to relax.
Travel over the countryside’s rolling hills, past peaceful farmland towards the town of Agrigento. Explore one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the stunning Valley of the Temples (UNESCO), where you’ll 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 three-night stay.
Journey to vibrant Catania where it’s your choice! Join a local guide to visit the cathedral and view other iconic sights of this historic Baroque city (UNESCO); then witness the daily spectacle of bartering for fresh fish and produce at the local market -OR- explore the Museo dello Sbarco (Allied Landing Museum), an emotionally moving museum dedicated to the Allied troops who landed on the southern coast in 1943. Later, gather to discover the impressive Mt. Etna Volcano National Park where a local expert introduces you to the park’s spectacular landscapes sculpted by nature. Return to Giardini Naxos for the evening.
Set out for beautiful Taormina with its charming atmosphere, historic monuments and flowering gardens. Alongside an expert local guide, see Corso Umberto, view the bountiful public gardens and marvel at the city’s well-preserved Greek Theatre. Enjoy free time to relax or independently explore.
Venture to Messina for a short ferry ride to Villa San Giovanni on Italy’s mainland. Pass through the unspoiled, beautiful region of Calabria into the Basilicata region. Make a stop at one of the area’s local wineries where you’ll join an expert on a walk through the cellars and vineyards before sampling wines during a special tasting. Linger over regional cuisine at dinner tonight in the winery’s own “agriturismo” restaurant.
Explore the “Sassi di Matera,” an ancient settlement of carved cave dwellings. A local guide shares the history of the site and reasons why it has recently caught the eye of many film producers. Continue to a local shop for a chance to sample some regional produce. Enjoy free time in Matera to browse the boutiques or taste the local cuisine before heading to the mystical town of Alberobello. Marvel at some of the town’s most uniquely built homes (UNESCO) known as trulli, and their distinct, cone-shaped roofs
Travel towards one of the most breathtaking areas of Italy: Campania and the Bay of Naples. Stop in Vietri Sul Mare, the “gateway to the Amalfi Coast,” for time to explore independently. Here, generations of inhabitants have been producing precious majolicas, representing stories of their daily life. Remember to take a moment to admire the 17th-century Church of St. John the Baptist with its beautiful ceramic dome. Continue your adventure traversing the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. Stop in the charming town of Amalfi and spend time exploring its striking provincial beauty before heading to Minori. Use this opportunity to sample regional specialities at a family-owned limoncello factory. Later, sit down for a traditional Italian afternoon break at a local café and pastry shop. Arrive at the Sorrento Peninsula in the evening.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to savour time in the lovely seaside resort town of Sorrento. Tonight, dine at a local restaurant.
Drive along the Bay of Naples to the excavated ruins of Pompeii, nestled at the foothills of Mount Vesuvius. A local guide gives you an in-depth view of this remarkable archaeologic site, where you’ll become immersed in history as you explore the preserved buildings of this 2,000-year-old Roman town. Later, travel to Rome to celebrate the end of your journey with a delightful farewell dinner.
Your tour comes to a close today.
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