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Highlights of Southern Italy & Sicily

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You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
12 days From $3,895 per person
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Built on the shoulders of ancient civilizations and brimming with breathtaking coastlines and magical destinations, Southern Italy and Sicily are a treasure trove of adventure.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2024 Tour code: SIG24

About the tour

On this twelve-day journey, we explore Southern Italy throughout the centuries while also admiring the gorgeous terrain and stunning blue waters that frame it. Taste wine and food indicative of the region, and enjoy stays in elegant hotels that put all the best attractions within reach. While in booming metropolises, sailing along the Amalfi Coast, and exploring Sicily from two picturesque home bases, you, too, will uncover what makes this part of the world so enchanting.

Unforgettable Experiences

Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast
Cruise along the beautiful Amalfi Coast to the towns of Amalfi and Positano
Circumetea Railway
Circumetea Railway
Ride the Circumetnea Railway past the lava fields of Mount Etna
Rome
Rome
Explore Rome’s most distinctive sites on a guided tour featuring entrance to the Colosseum
Palatine Chapel
Palatine Chapel
Marvel at the golden mosaics and intricate architecture of Polermo’s Palatine Chapel and Monreale’s cathedral
Alberobello
Alberobello
Visit the traditional Trulli buildings of Alberobello
Valley of the Temples
Valley of the Temples
Look upon ruined Greek temples, tombs, and statues while touring Sicily’s Valley of the Temples

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Rome

Unimaginable Italian culture and reminders of the mighty Roman Empire await your exploration as you arrive in the Eternal City of Rome. Transfer from the airport to your centrally located hotel independently, and upon settling in, meet your Tour Manager and fellow travelers in the lobby. Tonight, get acquainted with one another over dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Rome.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Rome Sightseeing

From 2,000-year-old ruins to stunning Baroque architecture, Rome's cityscape illustrates centuries of occupation. Dive right in today on a guided tour of the city featuring the Colosseum, Rome's ancient amphitheater, and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. We continue from here to a local coffee shop and sip our drinks while looking at the Trevi Fountain. Our tour comes to a close as we arrive in beautiful Piazza Navona, a plaza that remains as important today as it was during the Roman Empire. The remainder of the day is yours to continue exploring Rome at leisure. Overnight Rome.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Naples/Pompeii/Sorrento

A day of travel takes us from the hustle and bustle of Rome to the sun-kissed Amalfi Coast. We depart our hotel after breakfast this morning and travel by train to coastal Naples. Besides being renowned as a gateway to Amalfi Coast, this city is beloved for its pizza, and on arrival, we will taste it for ourselves at a local restaurant. Afterward, we return to the rail station to join the train to Pompeii. Ruined by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., this time-capsule destination offers an unparalleled look at early Italy. Your 2 1/2-hour tour reveals the remains of the homes, businesses, markets, temples, and more preserved in volcanic ash. The final leg of the day's travels sees us to beautiful Sorrento. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel, the Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooking the Gulf of Naples, and enjoy the evening at leisure to enjoy this atmospheric destination. Overnight Sorrento.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 - Amalfi Coast Cruise

Salty breezes and colorful villages are on the itinerary today as we take to the water at the port in Massa Lubrense and cruise along the Amalfi Coast. Our first stop is in the village of Amalfi, where you will have two hours to explore. The town has a beautiful cathedral in its Main Square and a labyrinth of narrow streets winding past traditional homes and al fresco cafés. Sip locally produced limoncello - or a lemon spritz, a local take on the Aperol spritz - and enjoy impeccable views before reboarding the boat and continuing to Positano. This cliffside destination boasts a delicate balance of sophisticated ambiance and old-world charm, making it a treasure of the coast. Our ship returns us to the port this afternoon, and on transfer to Sorrento, you are at leisure to continue exploring as you please. Overnight Sorrento.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Matera

At over 9,000 years old, Matera is one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world. This Southern Italian gem is perhaps best known for its caves, which have laid the foundation for many homes, businesses, and shops that creep up the hillsides. It is a destination like none other and yours to behold today. After breakfast at the hotel, we head inland to the Salerno station to board our train to Matera. The route takes us deep into southern Italy over a scenic 2 1/2-hour journey. We transfer to our elegant hotel on arrival, the UNA Hotel MH Matera, set within walking distance of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the town center, and more. Get acquainted with your new surroundings at leisure, before joining the group back at the hotel this evening for a delicious three-course dinner. Overnight Matera.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Alberobello

Enjoy a leisurely start to the day by having breakfast at the hotel and wandering around Matera, soaking in its limestone architecture and unique atmosphere. Later this morning, a coach transfer takes us to the whitewashed town of Alberobello, where lunch is served in a local restaurant on arrival. This UNESCO-listed destination is filled with hundreds of Trulli, limestone slab homes with conical stacked stone roofs that date to the 14th century. Learn more about their origins and significance - and about Alberobello as a whole - on our guided tour. We return to Matera this evening in time for dinner at the hotel. Overnight Matera.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Sicily

Today sees us out of the Boot of Italy and into Sicily, the old-world island at its toe. We begin our travels by coach, venturing south to the town of Paola on the west coast and then by train to Taormina-Giardini station on the island. Our day concludes as we arrive in Giardini Naxos, a resort town on Sicily's eastern coast. Enjoy a three-course dinner accompanied by Italian wine at the hotel on arrival and the evening to enjoy the town's offerings at leisure. Overnight Giardini Naxos.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Circumetnea Railway

Sicily's centerpiece and one of the world's most active volcanoes, Mount Etna, is on full display today as we explore the island on a full-day tour. First, we venture from our coastal hotel to Rifugio di Sapienza, the highest point in Sicily accessible by car at nearly 6,300 feet of elevation. From here, you can walk to the Silvestri Craters, two craters formed by Mount Etna's eruption in 1892. Since they are inactive, you can explore the volcanic landscape up close. Make sure to look down as you explore; the views over the island are incredible. We continue the afternoon with a coach transfer to Adrano, where we join the Circumetnea Railway on its route along the volcano's base.

This highly scenic stretch of track takes us to Randazzo, showcasing otherworldly lava fields and landscapes carved by lava flow along the way. We pause our route at Gambino Winery to tour its vineyards and taste its varietals. A two-course lunch is also served during our visit. Following the tasting, we are escorted back to our hotel with the evening to spend as you please. Overnight Giardini Naxos.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 - Taormina/Palermo

Venturing into the foothills of Mount Etna, we head to Taormina on the east coast of Sicily. This city is awash in medieval buildings, sherbet-colored homes, and landmarks spanning millennia. As we arrive this morning, we set out on a guided tour of its most impressive sites, including its Greek Theater, dating to the 3rd century B.C. This Greek specimen overlooks Mount Etna and the glittering Calabrian Coast and remains as a well-preserved glimpse back in time. Following our visit to the theater, our tour continues to a local staple, Robert's, where we are treated to an authentic cannoli. Sink your teeth into this Italian treat composed of sweet, crispy pastry and decadent ricotta cream in the center, and then you are free to continue exploring the city on your own before departing the city and proceeding to Palermo. We have the evening to relax in our new surroundings. Overnight Palermo.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 - Palermo & Monreale

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, enjoy a grand introduction to Palermo and nearby Monreale, beginning at the UNESCO World Heritage Norman Palace, home to the Palatine Chapel. This exquisite religious site was consecrated in 1143 and is a true work of art with its Byzantine mosaics, golden tiles, and gorgeous paintings. Look upon a patchwork of styles, as the cathedral drew influence from the Greeks in its columns and the Islamic religion in its wooden ceiling. We head to the Capo Market for lunch following our visit, where a guide leads us through the stalls to taste regional street food. You may continue shopping for local wares and sampling the food and drink of Sicily at your own pace for the remainder of your visit.

This afternoon, the adventure continues to Monreale to visit its breathtaking 11th-century cathedral. Ornate and well-preserved, this structure has earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rightfully so. Look upon its spectacular mixture of traditional Norman architecture and North African styles - its golden mosaics, delicately carved columns, and impressive cloisters. We return to Palermo this afternoon with the remainder of the day to enjoy the city's enticing mixture of history, culture, beaches, and attractions as you please. Overnight Palermo.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - Valley of the Temples

Wind-blown olive trees and arid landscapes frame the course to the hilltop city of Agrigento today. Our destination is the enchanting Valley of Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds Sicily's most impressive collection of Hellenic architecture in Sicily. This valley contains a total of eight temples and numerous ruins, each of which is dedicated to a different icon. A local guide joins us on arrival and leads us through this archeological site. Once we have had our fill of history, we conclude our excursion at a nearby Agriturismo, where we enjoy drinks and a four-course lunch made from delicious local ingredients. The evening is yours to soak in one last night in Palermo at leisure. Overnight Palermo.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12 - Tour Conclusion

From the mainland to its coveted Sicilian island, Italy's wonders span across many landscapes and coastlines. With memories of its rich history and gorgeous cities, our tour concludes this morning after breakfast.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Hotels

Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio, Rome

Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio, Rome

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Bettoja Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome

Bettoja Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome

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Hotel Traiano, Rome

Hotel Traiano, Rome

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Train

The Circumetnea Train