Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour - 2017
DestinationEurope: Eastern
Duration 17 days
Was: $7889pp
Save $1050* per couple
Exchange price $7364* pp
includes $199 exchange fee per couple/booking

Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour - 2017 Enquire Now

Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour Tour Exchange Available

Features

Explore the ancient villages and towns of Puglia and Matera before crossing to the glorious island of Sicily. Sleep in the ancient Sassi of Matera and the delightful Trulli cottages of Alberobello. Stand on the highest active volcano in Europe, feast in Mafia country and cruise to San Vito Lo Capo… ‘va bene’!

Commencing in Rome and ending in Palermo in Sicily we spend 5 nights in the regions of Puglia and Matera - the heel and ankle of Italy, before crossing to the glorious island of Sicily for a further 11 nights. Where we stay makes so much of a difference. Avoiding the usual run of the mill hotels, we choose to stay in the white washed, ‘Bee Hive’ Trulli cottages in Alberobello, the extraordinary luxurious ‘Sassi’ caves in Matera, Baglio ‘farmhouse’ hotels and delightful villas. Staying 4 nights in the heart of Taormina we experience a cable car ride and 4WD journey to the top of smouldering Mount Etna, before enjoying a lazy lunch in ‘Godfather country’. See the stunning Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina and in Agrigento we wake up to views across The Valley of the Temples. After a morning in hilltop Erice we enjoy a delightful cruise to Cape San Vito. Add special dinners, wine tastings and a host of unique highlights and extra visits and you will immediately see how Italy’s deep south and Sicily is quite extraordinary.

Please note: This tour is not suitable for anyone with any mobility issues, walking difficulties or limitations.

Highlights

•Spend 3 nights in Puglia in the ‘Bee Hive’ Trulli cottages of Alberobello, visit the ‘white city’ of Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, baroque Lecce and sample local wines
•Enjoy a memorable 2 night stay in the beautifully restored ‘Sassi’ caves of ancient Matera and visit the age old  carved rock churches
•Relax over 4 nights in romantic Taormina and visit Syracuse, take a cable car and 4WD bus to stand at the top of Mount Etna, enjoy lunch in ‘The Godfather Country’
•See the mosaics in Piazza Armerina
•Spend 2 nights in Agrigento, visit the Valley of the Temples, enjoy a tasting and light lunch at an olive oil farm
•Spend 3 nights in a converted Baglio farmhouse, explore Sciacca, the ancient city of Erice and Segesta’s romantic temples
•Enjoy a seafood feast at Vittorio’s restaurant, cruise through the Zingaro marine reserve to San Vito Lo Capo, and enjoy a Baglio wine tasting
•Stay 1 night in Palermo in a sumptuous Villa and visit the Palatine Chapel to see the extraordinary 12th century mosaics

Incredible Value Inclusions

•Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
•Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
•16 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
•Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
•Breakfast daily
•2 typically ‘Italian style’ lunches in ‘Godfather Country’ & Vittorio’s at Porto Palo, light lunch & olive oil tasting at Mandranova Olive Oil farm
•10 dinners including welcome and farewell dinners, local restaurant dinners in Alberobello and Matera
•Welcome drink in Rome, wine tastings in Alberobello and in a Sicilian Baglio
•All excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
•Special Highlights - cable car and 4WD bus Mount Etna, Zingaro cruise
•Local guides as described in the itinerary
•Personal audio system whilst on tour
•Free WiFi available on most coaches and at hotels
•End of tour tips to Tour Manager and Driver, tips for local guides

Highlights

Day 1: Rome
Your tour commences this evening in the eternal city of Rome. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner in your hotel. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers. 
Meals:  Dinner Hotel:  Hotel Victoria

Day 2: Alberobello
Driving across the spine of Italy – the Apennine Mountains - we continue deep into the Puglia to the remarkable city of Alberobello where we stay three nights. This is one of the most unusual towns you will ever see. The whole city centre is a mass of whitewashed ‘bee hive’ type houses called ‘Trulli’ which date back hundreds of years. Puglia is known as Italy’s bread basket and is also justifiably famous for its olive oils, wine and local produce. Dinner tonight is included in a local restaurant.
Please note: Single travellers who are paying a single supplement, can elect to share a Trulli with another single traveller for this three night stay.
Meals:  Breakfast Dinner Hotel:  Trulli cottages’ scattered around town

Day 3: Alberobello
This morning we are joined by a local guide who will take us on a walking tour of this remarkable ‘bee hive’ town. In the afternoon we will enjoy a relaxing tasting of local wines. The rest of your afternoon and evening are at leisure.  
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Alberobello
Driving down into the Salentine Peninsula – the ‘heel of Italy’ – we spend the morning exploring the city of Lecce on a walking tour with our local guide. Dating back to the early Greek empire, the city boasts numerous baroque monuments and also has a Roman amphitheatre on the central square. Later we visit ‘La Città Bianca’ (the ‘white city’) of Ostuni. Perched on a hill, with views down over the coast, we enjoy time at leisure amongst the winding streets and white washed alleys.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5: Matera
Passing hamlets and typical Pugliese ‘masserie’, fortified large estate-farms we reach the port of Monopoli. Later we continue to the nearby coastal town of Polignano a Mare.Built directly on the cliffs over the sea, Polignano is famous for its gelato and ice cream parlours and makes a perfect lunch stop. Crossing to the ‘ankle’ of Italy we reach the extraordinary city of Matera. On arrival we visit the Murgia Timone, a huge rock plateau riddled with ancient man made stone caves or ‘Sassi’, to take in the views directly over the ‘la Gravina’ ravine to the old town. Reputed to be the oldest inhabited settlement in Italy, your view encompasses rock churches and numerous Sassi (including the cave complex hotel we will be staying in) with the more ‘modern’ baroque town on top of the hill. Your next two nights will be memorable! This evening we enjoy dinner in a local trattoria.   
Meals: Breakfast Dinner Hotel: Le Grotte della Civita

Day 6: Matera
This morning we are joined by a local guide who will show us around this extraordinary town from the ancient rock hewn churches to the baroque city above. We have included entrance to view the rock wall frescoes in the church of Madonna de Idris and San Giovanni. Your afternoon and evening are free to relax and explore. 
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Taormina
Driving across Calabria and down the toe of Italy we reach the Mediterranean, where we catch the ferry across the Straits of Messina to Sicily. Following the coast we arrive at the stunning town of Taormina where we stay the next four wonderful nights.
Meals: Breakfast Dinner Hotel: The Hotel Excelsior Palace

Day 8: Taormina
A totally free day to relax and explore the boutiques, handicraft shops and restaurants which make Taormina so famous. Make sure you visit the Greek Amphitheatre with its striking views and also wander through Villa Comunale, one of the most beautiful little gardens in all of Sicily. 
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9: Taormina
Driving past Catania we reach the city of Syracuse, where we are joined by a local guide. First stop will be at the temples and massive amphitheatre in the 2500 year old Greek and Roman ruins. We will also visit the overgrown quarries and test the amazing acoustics in the famous ‘Ear of Dionysus’ cavern. Later we cross onto Ortigia Island, the heart of ancient Syracuse, to wander through the delightful backstreets to the breathtaking architecture of the main square, Piazza del Duomo. Enjoy time to find a quiet café or trattoria for a leisurely lunch. 
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Taormina
What an adventure today! First we drive up the slopes of Mount Etna to Sapienza Refuge, lying at the south of the crater at an elevation of 1910 metres. Here we board a cable car up to a restaurant and museum at 2500 metres where we meet our local guide who will drive us in a large 4WD bus up to the (usually snow covered) viewing crater area at 2920 metres. You will now be standing on the highest active volcano in Europe with views across to the steaming caldera on one side and the Sicilian coastline far below. All around you will see craters, caldera and petrified lava flow. Following this magnificent experience we descend to the village of Forza d’Agro, just north of Taormina. This area was the setting for some scenes from the film ‘The Godfather’, and is the perfect location for another leisurely, typically ‘Italian style’ lunch. The rest of the day and evening is free back in beautiful Taormina. 
Meals: Breakfast Lunch

Day 11: Agrigento
Cutting through the heart of Sicily we reach Piazza Armerina where a local guide will take us through the opulent Villa Romana del Casale. UNESCO heritage Listed and one of the great sites of Sicily, this massive 1700 year old Villa was covered by a mud slide in the 12th century which beautifully preserved its breathtaking mosaics. Later we arrive in Agrigento on the south coast, where we stay two nights. 
Meals: Breakfast Dinner Hotel: The Colleverde Park Hotel

Day 12: Agrigento
This morning we are joined by a local guide who will take us through the famous UNESCO heritage Listed Valley of the Temples. Originally the ancient city of Akragas, and built out of sandstone tufa, the golden amber hue of the giant complex of ruins and temples blend perfectly with the natural surroundings. This afternoon we will drive east to the farm of Mandranova, to enjoy an olive oil tasting and light lunch.
Meals:  Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 13: Near Marsala
First stop this morning will be in the fishing port of Sciacca. Encircled by 16th century walls, the fascinating old town is where Arab, Norman and Greek cultures co-existed. We then follow the coast to the beach at Porto Palo where we enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at Vittorio’s restaurant (specially mentioned in the acclaimed BBC2 series ‘Sicily Unpacked’). Later we continue to our hotel inland from Marsala where we stay the next three nights.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Hotel: The Baglio Oneto

Day 14: Near Marsala
This morning we visit the city of Erice. Standing on top of Mount Erice, 750 metres above sea level and overlooking the port of Trapani, the views out to San Vito Lo Capo and the Aegadian Islands are fantastic. Here you will still find the remains of the ancient Phoenician fortifications and in the old city there are still two castles. Pepoli Castle which dates from Saracen times and the Venus Castle built by the Normans. Time to relax and wander through the quaint old alleys and cobble paved streets of the old town, and find a trattoria in a peaceful courtyard to enjoy lunch. In the afternoon en route back to our Baglio we will also make a stop at the Temple ruins at Segesta. This evening before dinner we will enjoy a wine tasting. 
Meals: Breakfast Dinner

Day 15: Near Marsala
After enjoying free time for your morning coffee at the authentic fishing port of Castellammare del Golfo, we board a boat to enjoy a scenic cruise through the Zingaro marine nature reserve, past Scopello and the faraglioni’ rocks to San Vito Lo Capo. 
Meals: Breakfast Dinner

Day 16: Palermo
Arriving in Palermo this morning we are joined by a local guide for a panoramic tour to explore the palaces and squares of this most Sicilian of cities! Entrance is included to visit the Palatine Chapel, in the Palace of the Normans, which is adorned in extraordinary 12th century mosaics. You will also have time to shop, or sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Later we arrive at our superb hotel. Tonight we will enjoy our ‘Farewell to Sicily’ dinner. 
Meals: Breakfast Dinner Hotel: The Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

Day 17: Palermo
Your tour ends today after breakfast. 
Meals: Breakfast

Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour - 2017
*Pricing is per person double occupancy/twin share and based on the deposit of a resort week or equivalent points/credits per booking. All savings depicted are based off of Full Brochure Fare. Government Fees, fuel surcharges and Taxes are additional and subject to change unless otherwise specified. Special rates may not be applicable with other offers. Other restrictions may apply. Pricing is subject to availability and may change at any time and without notice. These offers cannot be used for group bookings. Cancellation, amendment and credit cards fees apply. Rates require a qualified two-bed room resort week deposit or equivalent points/credits. Price includes $199 exchange fee per couple/booking