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Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily

Duration 14 days

Destinations visited :
  • Italy
    ,

Indulge in Italy’s finest food and views during this 2-week guided tour. When in Rome, you will toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain during a walking tour with a Local Expert. At the Vatican Museums, get a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, a winding masterpiece normally closed to the public. In Sorrento, settle into a luxurious resort and take in the views of Mount Vesuvius, which buried Pompeii in a sea of lava in 79 A.D. A restaurant’s founder will share why he uses only organic ingredients that he grows himself — and you will indulge in those freshly picked vegetables during a farm-to-table dinner featuring fresh orecchiette pasta. In Palermo, a historian will take you through the old city, showing you its cathedral and the Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans, where glittering 12th century mosaics will surely take your breath away.

Take a look at your day-by-day itinerary or contact us on 0207 620 8952 to find out more.

DAY 1

Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. On arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, complimentary transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 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 family run restaurant near Via Veneto.
Hotel: Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
Meal: Dinner with Wine

DAY 2

Rome with the Locals.
Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our 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.
Hotel: Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 3

VIP Vatican, St. Peters Basilica and onto Sorrento.
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.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Sorrento.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 4

Exploring Capri, the Isle of Dreams.
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.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Sorrento.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 5

Pompeii, Matera and Alberobello.
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.
Hotel: Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri, Alberobello.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 6

The Trulli of 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 the owner 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.
Hotel: Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri, Alberobello.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 7

Alberobello at Leisure.
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.
Hotel: Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri, Alberobello.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 8

Journey South to Maratea.
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.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Pianeta Maratea Resort, Maratea.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 9

To Sicily and the Taormina Riviera.
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 ancient legend, it was here at the Straits of Messina where the twin whirlpools of Scylla and Charybdis carried unwary seafarers away to their doom! 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.
Hotel: Hilton Giardini Naxos, Taormina Riviera.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 10

Free time on the Taormina Riviera.
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.
Hotel: Hilton Giardini Naxos, Taormina Riviera.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 11

The dawn coast of Europe.
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.
Hotel: Hilton Giardini Naxos, Taormina Riviera.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 12

Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples and on to Palermo.
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.
Hotel: Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel, Palermo.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 13

Palermo and the Golden Age of the Normans.
Join a historian to see the highlights of the city. Pass the huge Teatro Massimo to the Baroque Quattro Canti Square and glimpse the beauties of the Fountain of Shame. 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.
Hotel: Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel, Palermo.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 14

Depart Palermo.
Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone–Borsellino Airport at 06:00 and 08:00. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.
Meal: Breakfast

Authentic Dining

  • Alberobello: Meet the owner 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.
  • Taormina Riviera: Choose from our handpicked selection of local restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening, each with its own ambience and distinctive cuisine.
  • Palermo: At a local restaurant, enjoy fresh, rustic dishes served with local wine at your Celebration Dinner.
  • Dining Summary: 13 Breakfasts (B) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Insight Experiences

  • Rome: Explore the backstreets of Rome and experience local life, alongside a passionate Roman who will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, the Living Room of Rome.
  • Vatican City: Gain VIP access to the Vatican Museums and be among the select few to admire the famous Bramante Staircase. Admire the Popes’ treasure-trove and witness the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel before venturing inside St. Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Pietà, and the splendid dome.

Stay in Style

  • Alberobello: The Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
  • Taormina Riviera: Overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Hilton Giardini Naxos boasts traditional Mediterranean hospitality and fabulous rooms and facilities.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum. You will also see other medieval buildings, including Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered throughout the city.
  • Sorrento: Perched upon the cliffs, lookout to see the mighty Mount Vesuvious across the Bay of Naples.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town.
  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to this famous isle through beautiful blue Mediterranean waters to meet your Local Expert.
  • Isle of Capri: Wander through the narrow streets led by your Local Expert and see all the boutiques as you enjoy captivating sea views.
  • Isle of Capri: In unique style, ascend by open-top taxi and return to the port by funicular.
  • Matera: Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and see famous Sassi or cave dwellings, which were home to about 20,000 people until 1950.
  • Matera: With your Local Expert explore this town that Mel Gibson chose as the setting for his film ‘The Passion of the Christ.’
  • Alberobello: With your Local Expert, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the Trulli of Alberobello. Circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within, built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar.
  • Maratea: Wander through the rugged streets with your Travel Director to see why this peaceful little coastal town has been named the pearl of the Tyrrhenian sea.
  • Straits of Messina: Cross to Sicily by ferry.
  • Taormina Riviera: Visit the ancient Greek Ampitheatre with your Local Expert. Set on a cliff, open to the sky, take your seats and enjoy the view through the crumbling arches to snowy Mount Etna.
  • Taormina Riviera: During your orientation with your Travel Director, visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile.
  • Agrigento: A Local Expert will lead you through the magnificent remains of the Greek colony in the Valley in the Temples. See the massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno.
  • Palermo: With a local historian, see the Teatro Massimo en route to Quattro Canti Square to glimpse the Fountain of Shame.
  • Palermo: Visit Palermo Cathedral and walk through the Palace of the Normans to stand in the jewel-like Palatine chapel for an up-close look at some of the finest examples of Norman art.
  • Scenic Drives: Admire the beauty of southern Italy as you travel along the Bay of Naples, past the Apennines and Calabria mountains, along Sorrento cliff top road and Capri cornich.

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight’s luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert’s fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included – you’ll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.
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Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily

Indulge in Italy’s finest food and views during this 2-week guided tour. When in Rome, you will toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain during a walking tour with a Local Expert. At the Vatican Museums, get a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, a winding masterpiece normally closed to the public. In Sorrento, settle into a luxurious resort and take in the views of Mount Vesuvius, which buried Pompeii in a sea of lava in 79 A.D. A restaurant’s founder will share why he uses only organic ingredients that he grows himself — and you will indulge in those freshly picked vegetables during a farm-to-table dinner featuring fresh orecchiette pasta. In Palermo, a historian will take you through the old city, showing you its cathedral and the Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans, where glittering 12th century mosaics will surely take your breath away.