Scenic Southern Italy

27 DAY TOUR STARTS 05 SEP 2021

LAND
ONLY

AUD 6850

(Share Twin)

4-5 NIGHTS IN EVERY HOTEL !!
FOUR STARS IN EVERY HOTEL !!
SINGLE SUPPL. AUD 1840
OPTIONAL DINNERS:
3 COURSE MEAL & WINE AUD 60
WEATHER
From mild conditions on the coast to cool conditions in the mountains
Maximum Day Temp 22-27°C – Minimum Night 10-15°C
GROUP SIZE: 14 PASSENGERS

Southern Italy & Sicily Tour Map 2021

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE

  • Six gastronomic dinners with 1/4 bottle of wine and 1/2 bottle of mineral water included!
  • One special snack in a typical farm house in the region of Puglia.
  • Four star hotel accommodation (bed and breakfast). Some hotels are set in scenic positions and offer excellent panoramic views of the surrounding areas.
  • Modern air conditioned mini coach with English speaking tour manager.
  • A wide range of local excursions available daily from all the major centres of the itinerary. These tours, provided at no extra cost, are on an optional basis.
  • Scenic cruise from Salerno to the Isle of Capri.
  • Funicular from the harbour of the Isle of Capri to the main town.
  • Scenic train from Salerno to Pompei.
  • Scenic cruise along the Amalfi Coast with three stops at charming sea villages.
  • Picturesque steam train across La Sila National Park.
  • Ferry boat from Southern Italy to Sicily. Our mini coach will also be ferried with the group.
  • Cable car at Taormina, Sicily.
  • Cable car at Erice, Sicily.
  • Air travel from Palermo to Rome.

AT YOUR OWN COST

  • Meals other than those included in the package. Optional group dinners in picturesque restaurants will be arranged at special reduced prices.
  • Entry tickets into museums, gardens, palaces, fortresses and castles.
  • Cable car at Mount Etna, Sicily.
  • Single accommodation supplement.
  • Travel Insurance.

HISTORIC PROFILE

Southern Italy and Sicily used to be an ancient Greek colony called Magna Grecia (Great Greece). Vestiges of stunning magnificence are still evident today in many cities and towns boasting heritage Greek temples and theatres.

In the 3rd century B.C. the Romans took over and with the fall of the Roman Empire, the Goths invaded the Italian peninsula as well as Sicily. However they soon lost control of Southern Italy and Sicily because the Arabs prevailed setting up many Emirates along the coast of Calabria and in Sicily. Their dominion lasted a couple of centuries.

After year 1,000 the Normans invaded Southern Italy and Sicily and the Arabs suffered a massive defeat. More than 500 mosques were demolished and replaced with churches and cathedrals. Then came the Swabians (from today Germany) who built or upgraded a series of spectacular fortresses and castles still prominent and in excellent conditions today.

After a brief rule by the Angevis of France, the Aragoneses (from today Catalunya) took over. Once Catalunya was annexed to Spain, Southern Italy and Sicily came under Spanish rule from the 16th century until 1861 when they were annexed to the newly formed United Kingdom of Italy.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS

Royal Palace of Caserta (near Naples) When Southern Italy was under Spanish rule in the 18th century, Naples was the capital and King Charles of Spain decided to build a grandiose palace to emulate the famous Versailles near Paris. A 40km aqueduct was built to feed a set of ponds in the magnificent park of the Royal Palace.

Gargano Promontory – Its coastline plunges into the sea quite steeply, originating plenty of cliffs, bays and beautiful grottos. The contrast amongst the blue waters of the sea, the white sand, the cliffs and the lush Mediterranean vegetation makes this coastline one of the most attractive in Italy.

La Sila National Park – It is located in the high mountain district of the Calabria Region and is one of the major national parks in Italy. It boasts pristine forests of beech trees and conifers as well as beautiful lakes. Most scenic is Lake Arvo (at 1,300m) at the foot of the highest peak in the park: Mount Botta at 1,930m.

Greek architectural heritage – It is evident all over Sicily. Temples, theatres and ruins of great palaces are some of the great attractions of this big island. And the reason is not just their prominence but also the beautiful elevated spots that the Greeks chose for their towns and cities. The panoramic views of the attractive coastline and the background of the snowy peak of the Etna Volcano (at 3,300m) make this combination of archaeology and scenery really enchanting.

Palermo – The capital of Sicily is a treasure-house of great significance and one of the major historic cities in Italy. It is blessed by a beautiful setting in a picturesque bay surrounded by green mountains. Palermo’s heritage still shows a strong Norman influence which is evident in some of its palaces and the imposing cathedral, one of the most celebrated in Italy for its elaborate architecture.

Erice – It’s a town located on a peak at 750m along the western coast of Sicily and access is by cable car. Its splendid setting boasts an incomparable panorama, but apart from the scenic beauty, Erice is also a picturesque medieval town full of charming alleys and pretty stairways. The old defense walls are still in relatively good conditions.

PROGRAM

Campania Region - Seaside promenade of the city of Salerno
Campania Region – Seaside promenade of the city of Salerno

Sun 05 Sep 09.00 – Passengers report to our tour guide at the Hotel Comfort, 3 km from Rome Airport in the town of Fiumicino. This is an excellent four star hotel and if people stay the night before, they can also use the hotel shuttle (we can organize accommodation if required).

Images of the Royal Palace of Caserta, one of the most grandiose in Europe
Images of the Royal Palace of Caserta, one of the most grandiose in Europe

Departure for Salerno with an intermediate stop at Caserta to visit the local sumptuous Royal Palace which was built in the 18th century by Charles of Bourbon, son of the King of Spain Philip V. At that time the Kingdom of Southern Italy and Sicily (with Naples being the capital) was under Spanish rule and Charles was the King who decided to build a Royal Palace (which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in a magnificent setting to compete with the great European residences, first of all Versailles.
12.00 – Lunch stop along the freeway just before reaching Caserta.
13.30 – Arrival at the Royal Palace. In respect of the visit to the palace and its park we provide a map to enable individual sightseeing.
15.30 – Departure from Royal Palace.
16.30 – Arrival in Salerno.
19.30 – Dinner in local restaurant (included).

Amalfi Coast – Downtown Amalfi (left) and the colourful village of Positano
Amalfi Coast – Downtown Amalfi (left) and the colourful village of Positano

Mon 06 Sep 09.00 – Scenic cruise along the Amalfi Coast, renowned for its rising steep mountains and picturesque villages. It is a unique scenic environment, but the narrow precarious road along its shores triggers very difficult traffic conditions. That’s why we prefer navigating along this beautiful coastline with intermediate stops at three picturesque villages: Cetara, Amalfi and Positano with ample time in each place.
16.40 – Arrival back in Salerno.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Beautiful mosaics and frescos can be admired in the Roman houses of Pompei
Beautiful mosaics and frescos can be admired in the Roman houses of Pompei

Tue 07 Sep 09.00 – Scenic train to Pompei, the famous Roman town which was buried by the ashes of the nearby Volcano Vesuvio in 79 A.D.
10.30 – Arrival in Pompei. In terms of sightseeing we provide two options: a) setting your own pace with our exclusive map (especially designed and printed to our specifications) which outlines all the key highlights with numbers and related information; b) touring the site behind a local guide with an umbrella (at your own cost).
14.00 – Departure from Pompei.
15.30 – Arrival in Salerno.
16.00 – Brief orientation in Salerno and time at leisure.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Isle of Capri
Isle of Capri

Wed 08 Sep 08.40 – Departure for the island of Capri by hydrofoil. Navigation is along the Amalfi Coast enhancing its beauty.
10.40 – Arrival at the island and funicular to the main town. Local brief orientation about the scenic and historic highlights of Capri. Time at leisure to set your own pace and priorities (map provided).
16.30 – Departure from the island.
18.50 – Arrival in Salerno.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

The unspoilt Lakes Monticchio lie at the bottom of an ancient spent volcano
The unspoilt Lakes Monticchio lie at the bottom of an ancient spent volcano

Thu 09 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Barletta, an historic small city along the Adriatic Sea. Travel is along a freeway, but we make an intermediate detour to the ancient spent Volcano Vulture and its charming unspoilt little lakes. After a scenic drive to the crest we stop for lunch in picturesque setting by the lake.
17.00 – Arrival in Barletta.
19.30 – Dinner at the hotel (included).

Puglia Region - The National Park of High Murge boasts Castel del Monte (at 550m) built in the 13th century
Puglia Region – The National Park of High Murge boasts Castel del Monte (at 550m) built in the 13th century

Fri 10 Sep 08.30 – Brief orientation (about one hour) covering the main highlights of Barletta and time at leisure.
14.00 – Scenic drive into the National Park of High Murge.
15.00 – Arrival at Castel del Monte in the heart of the park. It is a fascinating castle commissioned by the German Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. After visiting the castle we return to Barletta.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Gargano Promontory (Puglia Region) – Typical coastline and town of Peschici
Gargano Promontory (Puglia Region) – Typical coastline and town of Peschici

Sat 11 Sep 08.30 – Spectacular drive along the Gargano Promontory. Its coastline plunges into the sea quite steeply, originating plenty of cliffs, bays and beautiful grottos. After a few panoramic stops we get to Peschici, set on a cliff and featuring a picturesque downtown district. Local orientation and time at leisure.
14.00 – Departure from Peschici. On the way back we climb to the top of the promontory for a scenic drive at altitudes between 700 and 800m. Eventually, from the town of Castel St. Angelo, set in panoramic position at 800m above the Mediterranean, we start a spectacular descent all the way to the sea level.
17.30 – Arrival back in Barletta.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Puglia Region - Traditional Trulli architecture at Alberobello
Puglia Region – Traditional Trulli architecture at Alberobello

Sun 12 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Alberobello, a famous highlight of the Puglia Region, listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site because of its unusual trulli, the characteristic white conic-roof houses of the district.
10.30 – Arrival in Alberobello, local orientation and time at leisure.
13.30 – Departure from Alberobello. On the way back we stop at an historic farm-house, surrounded by olive groves for a visit and a local snack (included).
17.00 – Arrival back in Barletta.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Puglia Region – The town of Locorotondo boasts a very pristine traditional architecture
Puglia Region – The town of Locorotondo boasts a very pristine traditional architecture

Mon 13 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Gallipoli, with an intermediate stop at the picturesque town of Locorotondo which boasts a very well preserved historic architecture. Local sightseeing and time for lunch.
13.30 – Departure from Locorotondo.
17.00 – Arrival in Gallipoli.
19.30 – Dinner at the hotel (included).

Puglia Region - The fortress town of Gallipoli and the resort of Santa Maria al Bagno
Puglia Region – The fortress town of Gallipoli and the resort of Santa Maria al Bagno

Tue 14 Sep 08.30 – Brief orientation in Gallipoli (from Greek Callipolis, Beautiful Town) which was an ancient Greek colony. It is a fortress island-town connected to the mainland by way of a bridge. Its architecture is a fusion of Oriental, Baroque and Spanish styles. After the orientation, time at leisure.
13.30 – Departure from Gallipoli and short scenic coastal drive to the picturesque village of Santa Maria al Bagno. Local time at leisure and return to Gallipoli.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Puglia Region - The historic town of Otranto
Puglia Region – The historic town of Otranto

Wed 15 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Otranto, on the Adriatic Sea, at the other side of the Puglia peninsula.
10.00 – Arrival in Otranto, a town of ancient Greek origins, renowned for its beautiful setting on the Adriatic coast as well as its historic heritage. Local orientation and time at leisure.
13.30 – Very scenic drive along the coastline edge of the southern tip of the Puglia Region until we get back to Gallipoli. A number of look-out stops will be made en route as well as at a famous grotto which stretches 150m inland from an open mouth at the seaside.
17.30 – Arrival back in Gallipoli.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Aerial view of Brindisi, one of the major cities of the Puglia Region
Aerial view of Brindisi, one of the major cities of the Puglia Region

Thu 16 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Brindisi, a city of Roman origin which was the terminal of one of the major Roman roads: the Via Appia. Brindisi is the only Italian city graced by a beautiful ample fjord which enhances its beauty and makes it a perfect harbour. And that has triggered its strategic and commercial importance for many centuries.
10.30 – Arrival in Brindisi. Local orientation and time at leisure.
15.00 – Departure from Brindisi.
17.00 – Arrival back in Gallipoli.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

The historic district of Amantea rises just above a modern seaside resort
The historic district of Amantea rises just above a modern seaside resort

Fri 17 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Amantea, a renowned seaside resort on the west coast of the Calabria Region. As in any long trip we stop en route for refreshments and lunch.
17.30 – Arrival in Amantea.
19.30 – Dinner at the hotel (included).

Sat 18 Sep 08.30 – Brief orientation in Amantea and morning at leisure.
14.00 – Scenic drive along a panoramic road climbing from Amantea to the picturesque village of Lago, set at 400m in the Appennini Mountain Range flanking the Calabria coastline. After some time at the village for a cup of coffee or an ice cream we drive back to Amantea.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

A scenic train travels across La Sila National Park at 1,400m
A scenic train travels across La Sila National Park at 1,400m

Sun 19 Sep 08.30 – Departure for La Sila National Park, one of the largest in Italy (74,000 hectares), boasting a very high percentage of forest land (80%) , beautiful lakes and peaks reaching almost 2,000m.
10.30 – Arrival at Camigliatello Silano (1,270m), the most prominent resort within the park. Brief local sightseeing and short drive (7km) to the nearby Lake Cecita which houses the Park Visitor Centre. Then we drive back to Camigliatello Silano, where we board an historic steam train for an half an hour ride to San Nicola Silvana Mansio at 1,400m.

Calabria Region - La Sila National Park features Lake Arvo at 1,300m
Calabria Region – La Sila National Park features Lake Arvo at 1,300m

After local lunch/snack we return by train to Camigliatello Silano and continue on a short scenic drive to Lake Arvo, one of the most beautiful in the Park. From Lake Arvo we get back to Amantea.
18.00 – Arrival in Amantea.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Calabria Region – The spectacular setting of ScillaCalabria Region – The spectacular setting of Scilla
Calabria Region – The spectacular setting of Scilla

Mon 20 Sep 10.15 – Departure for Scilla, one of the most picturesque towns in the Calabria Region, endowed with a castle sitting on top of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Travel is by scenic train which runs along a pretty coastline flanked by high rising mountains.
11.30 – Arrival in Scilla. Local orientation and time at leisure.
16.45 – Departure from Scilla.
18.00 – Arrival back in Amantea.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Sicily – Taormina’s Greek heritage and Volcano Etna in the background
Sicily – Taormina’s Greek heritage and Volcano Etna in the background

Tue 21 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Taormina, one of the most famous highlights in Sicily, due to the imposing Greek ruins and its setting at 200 m above sea level with the snow capped Volcano Etna in the background. Travel is on a freeway along the coast of Calabria to Villa San Giovanni where we board a ferry to Messina. From Messina to Taormina travel is along another coastal freeway.
17.00 – Arrival in Taormina.
19.30 – Dinner at the hotel (included).

Sicily – Taormina’s coastline is just 200m below the downtown district
Sicily – Taormina’s coastline is just 200m below the downtown district

Wed 22 Sep 08.30 – Orientation in Taormina covering the main Greek historic highlights as well as its picturesque downtown district. Our scenic hotel, located along the coastline, is close to a cable car which (in only 2 minutes!!) climbs to the centre of Taormina avoiding the traffic congestion and restrictions which affect this famous place. After the orientation it’s time at leisure. Return to hotel at time of your convenience with a pre-paid cable car ticket.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

The Volcano Etna (peak of 3,300m) as seen from the village of Centuripe at 730mThe Volcano Etna (peak of 3,300m) as seen from the village of Centuripe at 730m
The Volcano Etna (peak of 3,300m) as seen from the village of Centuripe at 730m

Thu 23 Sep 08.30 – Scenic drive to the Volcano Etna, the biggest and highest in Europe (peak of 3,300m). Its circular base has a perimeter of 200km. Whilst the upper cone of the volcano is very bear, the lowest wider part, below 1,500m, is very lush and fertile with a great variety of cultivations.

Volcano Etna - From the chalet Sapienza at 1,900m a cableway climbs to 2,550m
Volcano Etna – From the chalet Sapienza at 1,900m a cableway climbs to 2,550m

10.30 – Arrival at the chalet Sapienza set at 1,900m on the slopes of the Etna Volcano. After local refreshment an optional cable car can take you higher at 2,550m. Otherwise you can enjoy a scenic walk or simply relax at the chalet which can also provide lunch/snack.
13.30 – Departure from the chalet Sapienza for a scenic drive along the western slopes of the volcano at altitudes between 500 and 800m, until we reach the picturesque village of Centuripe (at 730m) where we stop for some sightseeing before returning to Taormina.
17.30 – Arrival back in Taormina.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Sicily – Images of Siracusa
Sicily – Images of Siracusa

Fri 24 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Siracusa, the greatest Greek city in Sicily, developed in the 7th century B.C. on the small island of Ortigia which is linked to the mainland by a bridge. Whilst the modern developments have taken place on the mainland, Ortigia still maintains the pristine ambience of by-gone times.
10.30 – Arrival in Siracusa. Orientation in the downtown district of Ortigia covering the main historic highlights and time at leisure.
15.00 – Departure from Siracusa.
17.00 – Arrival back in Taormina.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Central district of Milazzo
Central district of Milazzo

Sat 25 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Milazzo, set on a tiny long peninsula off the north eastern coast of Sicily. Travel is along a modern freeway which follows the seaside contour of north east Sicily all the way from Taormina to Milazzo. Apart from its scenic beauty, Milazzo boasts quite a few historic features.
10.00 – Arrival in Milazzo. Local orientation and time at leisure.
13.30 – Scenic drive along the peninsula of Milazzo all the way to the northern tip. Then we return to Taormina.
17.00 – Arrival back in Taormina.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

The Sanctuary of Tindari on a cliff at 280m, is adjacent to an ancient Greek theatre.
The Sanctuary of Tindari on a cliff at 280m, is adjacent to an ancient Greek theatre.

Sun 26 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Trapani, a major city on the other side of Sicily, on the west coast. Our initial drive is across the scenic Peloritani Mountains, climbing up as high as 1,000m before descending to the northern coast of Sicily. Then we continue to the Sanctuary of Tindari where we stop for a brief visit and refreshment before moving to the adjacent Greek archaeological site also in a panoramic spot. After leaving the Greek site we join a freeway along the scenic coastline of northern Sicily. Lunch stop along the freeway.
17.00 – Arrival in Trapani.
19.30 – Dinner in local restaurant (included).

Images of Trapani, the main city on the west coast of Sicily
Images of Trapani, the main city on the west coast of Sicily

Mon 27 Sep 08.30 – Downtown orientation covering the main historic highlights. Like many other towns and cities in Sicily, Trapani has ancient Greek roots but came under Roman rules in the 2nd century B.C. The current physiognomy of the central district, mostly features monuments spanning the last five centuries without relevant Greek or Roman icons. After the orientation it’s time at leisure for the rest of the day.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Images of Palermo, the capital of Sicily
Images of Palermo, the capital of Sicily

Tue 28 Sep 08.30 – Departure for Palermo along a freeway which takes to Palermo Airport. At the airport we catch the local Metro Line which gets to downtown Palermo avoiding all the traffic congestion of this major city. Downtown orientation covering the main architectural highlights of the city. Then it’s time at leisure with map provided.
15.30 – Departure from Palermo.
17.30 – Arrival back in Trapani.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

The medieval citadel of Erice is set on a peak at 750m, boasting scenic views of the coastline
The medieval citadel of Erice is set on a peak at 750m, boasting scenic views of the coastline

Wed 29 Sep 08.30 – Cable car from Trapani to Erice at 750m above sea level. The splendid location of Erice on a peak, boasts an incomparable view over the coastline and the inner Sicilian countryside. But, apart from the scenic location, Erice is a picturesque medieval town full of charming alleys, little squares and pretty stairways. Local orientation and time at leisure.
12.30 – Cable car back to Trapani.

Segesta – These images are a testimony of the ancient Greek civilization
Segesta – These images are a testimony of the ancient Greek civilization

14.00 – Departure for the archaeological site of Segesta, one of the most ancient cities in Sicily.
15.00 – Arrival in Segesta and local guided sightseeing.
16.30 – Departure from Segesta.
17.30 – Arrival back in Trapani.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

The resort of San Vito Lo Capo and its coastline
The resort of San Vito Lo Capo and its coastline

Thu 30 Sep 08.30 – For the last day of our tour the program is easy, short and highly spectacular!! It involves a scenic drive along the panoramic peninsula north of Trapani. A picturesque road leads to the resort of San Vito lo Capo located at the tip of the peninsula in beautiful setting. Local time at leisure to relax and enjoy a lunch/snack by the sea.
13.30 – Departure from San Vito lo Capo.
15.00 – Arrival back in Trapani.
19.30 – Optional dinner.

Fri 01 Oct 08.30 – Departure for Palermo Airport.
11.00 – Arrival at the airport. End of the tour.

A COMPLIMENTARY AFTERNOON FLIGHT TO ROME AIRPORT IS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR

HOTELS

We believe that you are entitled to know exactly what you get for your money and that’s why we clearly state not only the number of stars but also the location of the hotels we use.

Unless you are in a rush tour, where you get to the hotel late at night and leave early morning, we do believe that a good location makes a world of difference to the quality of your holiday.

Salerno: GRAND HOTEL SALERNO. – Elegant four star hotel on the main seaside promenade
of this city. It boasts a beautiful view of the local gulf as well as the Amalfi Coast. It is centrally located, adjacent to the city centre.
www.grandhotelsalerno.it

Barletta: Hotel ITACA – Premium four star hotel in prime seaside location, close to an imposing castle and the historic district of this prominent small city of the Puglia Region. It combines quality accommodation with the flexibility of easy access to the downtown district.
www.itacahotel.it

Gallipoli: Hotel AL PESCATORE – This charming four star hotel should not be defined as an hotel…. because it is an architectural jewel dating back to the 16th century and faithfully restored to its original beauty. Yet it boasts the high level of comfort of modern hotels and it is located in the heart of the historic district of Gallipoli.
www.alpescatoregallipoli.com

Amantea: MEDITERRANEO PALACE HOTEL – Excellent panoramic four star hotel centrally located along the coastline of this famous resort of the Calabria Region. The historic district of Amantea is just behind the hotel in a higher panoramic position.
www.mediterraneopalacehotel.com

Taormina: Hotel VILLA ESPERIA – Panoramic four star hotel on the coast of Taormina. The
historic district of this famous town is set at 200m above sea level. However, the hotel is located just 100m from a modern cable car which, in only two minutes, climbs to the heart of Taormina by-passing all the traffic congestions affecting this famous town.
www.hotelvillaesperia.com

Trapani: Hotel VITTORIA – Top four star hotel in the very heart of this major city on the west coast of Sicily. It boasts sweeping views of the Mediterranean on one side and the main city square on the other. Everything is at your fingertips and you couldn’t have a better hotel in a better place.
www.hotelvittoriatrapani.it

TOTAL ACCOMMODATION – 26 NIGHTS

4 in Salerno, 4 in Barletta, 4 in Gallipoli, 4 in Amantea, 5 in Taormina, 5 in Trapani