HOSTED BY BARB LOCKHART Spectacular scenery combined with fascinating architectural remains and ancient history—all of this awaits you on this fabulous vacation with guided tours of Sicily and Southern Italy. If you’re interested in Roman history, this tour is certainly for you. You’ll stop in Matera, where you’ll see one of the Sassi Houses—prehistoric cave dwellings built into the rock—thought to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. For those desiring amazing scenery, this Italy tour is sure to delight. You’ll visit Sorrento and Capri—both offering breathtaking views of the crystal-clear, blue sea. Spend time gazing at the mesmerizing water, shop at the boutiques, and dine at the fabulous restaurants visited by celebrities.
History, amazing scenery, fabulous cuisine, and so much more are waiting for you on this incredible guided Italy tour.
SEP 15 DAY 01 ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY
Check into your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure or to start exploring Rome.
SEP 16 DAY 02 ROME, ITALY (B/D)
Day at leisure or time to explore Rome. At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and enjoy a special welcome dinner with wine at one of Rome’s lively restaurants.
SEP 17 DAY 03 ROME–CASTEL GANDOLFO–SORRENTO COAST (B)
Look forward to a unique experience: enjoy a guided visit of the impressive PAPAL PALACE in Castel Gandolfo, former summer residence of the popes and since October 2016 a museum that is open to the public. Also visit the magnificent BARBERINI GARDENS, where ruins of the residence of Roman Emperor Domitian are still visible. Then, continue south on the Highway of the Sun, to your hotel.
SEP 18 DAY 04 SORRENTO COAST. EXCURSION TO CAPRI (B)
Speed across the bay by JETFOIL to the Isle of Capri. Ride the FUNICULAR to Capri village for a guided visit of this pretty town. Free time to explore the little shops on the piazzetta before returning to your hotel.
SEP 19 DAY 05 SORRENTO COAST. EXCURSION TO POMPEII (B)
Arrive in fascinating POMPEII, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Your Local Guide will walk you past patrician homes, public baths, and commercial districts strikingly recalling day-to-day life when Rome was at the apex of her power. Afternoon at leisure; you may wish to join an optional excursion to the Amalfi coast.
SEP 20 DAY 06 SORRENTO COAST–NAPLES–BARI (B)
First stop is Naples, a city steeped in volcanic drama, rich archaeological treasures, and castles and churches that rival Rome! A Local Guide will get you acquainted with the many sights during your city tour. Stop in the famous Piazza Plebiscito and then, savor a slice of Neapolitan pizza. Drive to Bari for an overnight.
SEP 21 DAY 07 BARI–LECCE–ALBEROBELLO (B/D)
Follow your Local Guide for a pleasant walk through BARI VECCHIA, the city’s oldest district. Next is Lecce, where your guided walking tour reveals why Lecce is called the “Florence of the South.” Admire its baroque buildings and squares, and taste pasticciotto with almond-flavored iced coffee. Continue to Alberobello.
SEP 22 DAY 08 ALBEROBELLO (B)
In the morning, enjoy a guided walking tour of the town, and visit one of its unique trulli—whitewashed, stone, circular houses with pinnacled, conical roofs. Balance of the day is at leisure. You may wish to join an optional dinner at a traditional Apulian agriturismo.
SEP 23 DAY 09 ALBEROBELLO–MATERA–SCILLA–REGGIO CALABRIA (B/D)
Stop in Matera, and enjoy a panoramic view of the picturesque Sassi houses. Afterwards, enjoy a spectacular drive south along the Gulf of Taranto and stop in Scilla, called the “Venice of Calabria.” Leaving the coast, arrive in Reggio Calabria and enjoy a guided visit of the MUSEUM that houses the world-famous bronze warrior sculptures, Bronzi di Riace.
SEP 24 DAY 10 REGGIO CALABRIA–TAORMINA RIVIERA (B)
Cross the Strait of Messina by FERRY and start your discovery of the beautiful island of Sicily, the great melting pot of the Mediterranean world. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Normans, French, and Spanish have left their marks and contributed to its rich heritage. Arrive in Taormina, a charming hilltop town overlooking the Ionian Sea, and visit the ancient GREEK THEATER dating back to the 3rd century BC. Time to stroll and shop along Corso Umberto I. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste local specialties, like the Sicilian Granita (a treat similar to sorbet).
SEP 25 & 26 DAYS 11 & 12 AT LEISURE IN TAORMINA RIVIERA (B)
Two days to just relax in this beautiful resort or choose from our exciting optional excursions to Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe; or to the fascinating archaeological site of Syracuse, birthplace of the mathematician Archimedes and once a powerful Greek port whose fleet was feared throughout the Mediterranean. On Tuesday evening, enjoy an included dinner at your hotel. On Wednesday evening, an included dinner has been organized at a local restaurant with breathtaking sea views.
SEP 27 DAY 13 TAORMINA RIVIERA–AGRIGENTO–PALERMO (B)
Head south to Agrigento and enjoy a walk with your Local Guide through the breathtaking VALLEY OF TEMPLES. Even travelers who have visited Athens and Delphi are awed by the gigantic yet graceful Greek structures that miraculously survived 24 centuries of tormented history. Arrive at your hotel in Palermo.
SEP 28 DAY 14 PALERMO (B/D)
Guided sightseeing features the ornate Piazza Bellini, Capo Market, the baroque Church of Immacolata, and the CATHEDRAL. Drive up to Monreale for a panoramic view of the Conca d’Oro and a visit to the 12th-century NORMAN CATHEDRAL, famous for its 50,000 square feet of precious byzantine mosaics. Later, visit an original SICILIAN FARM, Antica Masseria Barone di Salvo, in Tumminia. Meet the casaro (cheese-maker), see how he prepares a fresh ricotta, and enjoy your exclusive farewell dinner with local specialties and wine, the perfect way to celebrate the success of your Italian vacation.
SEP 29 DAY 15 PALERMO (B)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.