1 Welcome To The Eternal City Of Rome.
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. (DW) Stay Two Nights: Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome
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. Perhaps join a tour to discover an unknown quarter of Rome, Trastevere? (B)
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. (B) Stay Two Nights: Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Naples
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 by funicular railway, where you can explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and enjoy the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis and return to Sorrento where rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. (B)
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. (B/DW) Stay Three Nights: Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri, Alberobello
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. (B/DW)
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. (B)
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 on one of Maratea's many pocket-sized beaches or sipping cocktails with the jet-set at the stylish harbour. A delicious Italian meal is served with wine at your resort. (B/DW) Stay: Grand Hotel Pianeta Maratea Resort, Maratea
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. (B/DW) Stay Three Nights: Hilton Giardini Naxos, Taormina Riviera
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, and a stop in Savoca, the village used for the filming of The Godfather. (B)
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. (B/DW)
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. (B) Stay Two Nights: Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel, Palermo
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. (B/DW)
14 Depart Palermo.
Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport at 06:00 and 08:00. (B)