VRCI THE ITALIAN ISLES & CORSICA 2018 TOUR

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With Victor Romagnoli

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

All the charm, history, food & wine, coastal and mountain scenery, diverse cultures of all Italy's major island groups & Corsica

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (see note below, if applicable) - All pricing reflects twin-sharing, per-person pricing for the TOUR AND INTERNAL FLIGHTS ONLY; however, we can book flights from your home airport to join the tour for an added cost. Contact us for a no obligation quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Tue 04 Sep 2018Mon 01 Oct 2018 $9360 USD

Due to island hotels' reservations policies, a $1000 per person deposit is required, another $1000 once tour is 'guaranteed'

Optional Single Supplement: $2270 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $1133, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


This tour will be led by senior Tour Leader, Victor Romagnoli.

"Proximity to water is one of my favourite aspects of Italy, a country with a vast coastline and so much variety from north to south, the mainland to its many islands. I've designed & led tours covering the isles and southern mainland on several different itineraries, but this is the first that covers all of the major isles and groups in one very comprehensive program. And, of course, geography and flight accessibility suggested the delightful inclusion of the French island of Corsica to enhance a trip already brimming with variety and scope. I hope you can join me on this very special journey!" V. Romagnoli

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: France and Italy


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Bastia, Corsica (France)
Today we arrive in Bastia, the second largest city on Corsica (airport code BIA).

Corsica comprises two Departementes Metropolitan du France. Over 160km (100 miles) in length, much of Corsica is mountainous, covered with a tangle of scrubby 'Maquis' undergrowth whose fragrance carries far out to sea. Napoleon is said to have declared, "I would recognize Corsica blindfolded, by her scent alone." This aromatic vegetation mantle consists of holmoak, juniper, gorse, cistus, lentisk, buckthorn, rosemary, privet, laurel, heather, blackberry, lavender and myrtle.

Overnight in Bastia.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Bastia & Cap Corse
Today we will drive one of the most scenic coastal roads in all of France -- the Cap Corse Road, built in the mid 19th Century during the rule of Napolean III. The road will take us all around the edges of the northernmost peninsula on the island. Cap Corse stretches 40 kilometres north and is, on average, only 10 kilometres wide, divided by a thin mountainous spine called the Serra with peaks as high as 1037 metres.

Numerous historians have termed Cap Corse "the Sacred Promontory" and have gone so far as to suppose the name came from a high concentration of early Christian settlements. The marine merchant influence came mostly from the Genoese who heavily developed trading between the north and Tuscany. This influence can also be seen in the development of advanced agricultural techniques, notably terrace cultivation of wine on the steep mountainsides of Nebbio. The Tuscan influence can also be observed in the architecture of the region and notably its popular Romanesque and baroque churches.

We will also have time to enjoy Bastia, which became the large city it is now through the commercial development of the Genovese. It has seen a mixed architectural influence of Roman and baroque which make for an interesting visit. The Citadelle, with its walls still standing and a renovation that started in the 80s, is worth exploring. The old harbour with its narrow streets and fishing village feel is probably the most iconic sight in Bastia.

Overnight in Bastia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Bastia - Corte: Town Tour
Today we travel to the mountainous interior, a land of grandiose landscapes sprinkled with villages, offering an infinite variety of scenery at every turn. Unlike its sister fortress towns on the coast, Corte was not founded by the Genoese, but governed by Pascal Paoli, the father of the Corsican independence movement after he stormed the Citadel in 1755. This was Paoli's capital -- often called the "spiritual" capital, and the town epitomizes inland Corsica.

We explore the Citadel, rising high up from a rocky outcrop, the rooftops of the old town cascading down to a warren of narrow, cobbled streets surrounded by the carved out gorges. Place Gaffori is the centre of the town; from here we wander down the Rue de la Fontaine to see the Fontaine des Quatre Canons. We take a look inside the Church of the Annunciation near Place Gaffori, and admire the attractive pulpit. We then descend to the river to admire the old Genoese bridge.

Overnight in Corte.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Corte - Ajaccio
Today we travel to Ajaccio, located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, 210 nautical miles (390 km) southeast of Marseille. This is the island's capital and largest city; the commune occupies a sheltered position at the foot of wooded hills on the northern shore of the Gulf of Ajaccio. Napoleon Bonaparte (born as Nabulione Buonaparte) was born at Ajaccio in 1769. The Bonapartes at the time had a modest four-story home in town and a rarely used country home in the hills north of the city.

On arrival we'll visit the Musee Napoleonien, which contains portraits of the Bonaparte family. In the Maison Bonaparte we see the couch on which Napoleon was born.

Overnight in Ajaccio.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Ajaccio: Town Tour
Corsica's history is a succession of colonizations, occupations, and foreign military intervention. First there was Phoenicia, then came Carthage and Rome, followed by the Vandals, the Lombards, Byzantium, and later Pisa and Genoa, who held portions of the island for over 300 years. Corsica was ceded to France in 1768, but with the help of the British, Paoli expelled the French in 1793 and, in 1794, Corsica voted for union with the British Crown. The French recovered Corsica in 1796 and French possession was guaranteed by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

We also visit the Musee Fesch, established by Napoleon's uncle, cardinal Joseph Fesch (a Prince of France from 1807). This was Fesch's birthplace and it includes one of France's finest collections of old masters and one of the most important Napoleonic collections.

Overnight in Ajaccio.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Ajaccio - Bonifacio, Corisca (France) - Castelsardo, Sardinia (Italy)
Today we travel to Bonifacio, located at the southernmost tip of the island on a dramatic promontory that juts out into the sea. From here we catch our ferry to Santa Teresa Gallura on the Italian island of Sardinia (we may be able to have a look at Bonifacio, ferry time-permitting).

If there is one characteristic that dominates the history and geography of Sardinia -- its isolation. In fact Sardinia is closer to North Africa than mainland Italy, and has hence developed its own unique culture which dates back before Roman times.

The low scrub vegetation we pass is called "garriga" and the forests are confined to elevations above 800 m (2,625 feet). Above all, Sardinia is a land of shepherds: their flocks, constantly on the move, are visible almost everywhere. Sardinia has a unique, wild, barren landscape. DH Lawrence summed it up in Sea and Sardinia: "A savage, dark- bushed, sky-exposed land, forsaken to the sea and the sun... with no life in sight, even no ships on the pale blue sea."

Our destination today is Castelsardo, located on the height of a narrow promontory. Renowned across the island for its beauty, the town was once described by a Sardinian poet as, "a flower of light that smiles from the top of a sharp promontory upon the glimmering sea." A large, well-preserved, and well-situated castle crowns the village.

Overnight in Castelsardo.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Castelsardo - Sassari - Alghero
We depart Castelsardo and travel to Alghero via Sassari, Sardinia's second largest city.

In Sassari we visit the Museo Giovanni Antonio Sanna, which has a lovely rose garden in front and houses nuraghi models, Sardinian paintings, skulls with holes drilled into them, and petrified tree stumps. We will also see the Sassari's duomo, Cattedrale di San Nicolo. This 15th-century Gothic Catalan-style structure has a Baroque facade. Renovations have uncovered early frescoes.

We continue to Alghero.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Alghero: Town Tour
A leisurely walk through Alghero's centro storico reveals tiny alleyways, half-hidden churches, and the ancient town walls. We see Alghero's Chiesa di San Francesco. On our guided walking tour today we will see the heavy 14th-century Neoclassical facade of this church, concealing a graceful Gothic presbytery. Alghero's duomo was begun in 1552 and took 178 years to construct, resulting in a motley Gothic-Catalan-Renaissance facade. Rebuilt in the 19th century, the cathedral has Gothic choirs and a mosaic of John the Baptist.

Balance of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Alghero.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Alghero - Bosa - Oristano
This morning we transfer by road to Oristano via the Carthaginian town of Bosa, situated on the River Temo and dominated by the ruins of the Castle Serravalle. Bosa is home to the original shawl makers who work at home on their embroidery.

We then continue to discover the different aspects of this ancient and varied region, travelling by the panoramic coastal road to the northern promontory of the Gulf of Oristano, where we find the ruins of Tharros, a Carthaginian and Roman port originally built by the Phoenicians in the Middle Ages.

We continue by the shores and saltwater lagoons to the 'Stagno di Cabras', where fishermen still catch eels, a local specialty. Later we arrive at the ancient Carthaginian stronghold of Oristano, built on reclaimed marshland and capital of the newest province and centre of Sardinian rice cultivation.

Overnight in Oristano.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Oristano - Cagliari, Sardinia - Fly to Sicily
Today we travel to Cagliari where we connect with our flight to Palermo on the island of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Siciliana. Sicily has a long history of foreign domination, from the Greeks to the Romans, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese. The result is a mixed culture where every single domination left something to see, to taste, to hear. This is a huge island where every little city seems to have its own culture. The people are proud and, though a bit conservative, open-minded to visitors.

Flight time-permitting, we may accomplish some of our Palermo sightseeing upon arrival.

Overnight in Palermo.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Palermo: City Tour
We begin our day with a walk through the narrow streets of the Vucceria outdoor market. Here we feel the very pulse of the city's daily life, passing stalls where fishmongers display whole sword fish and tuna, and several varieties of squid and octopus. Sicily is agriculturally rich and here some of the island's excellent produce is displayed: apples from the slopes of Mount Etna; oranges and lemons, introduced to Sicily by the Arabs; prickly pears, fresh figs and grapes; fat olives, capers, zucchini blossoms, fresh ricotta and pungent pecorino cheese.

A short walk brings us to the Piazza Praetoria with its 16th century Florentine fountain, decked with renaissance nudes and animal heads. At its unveiling centuries ago, locals named it "the fountain of shame". Nearby is the Baroque Quattro Canti, the 17th century crossroads that divides the old city into four; and the Municipio, a 15th century palazzo that is Palermo's City Hall.

On the Piazza Bellini we step inside the Martorana Church, a 12th century building that is a jewel of Arab-Norman architecture, its interior encrusted with byzantine mosaics. And no visit to Sicily would be complete without a stop at Monreale, the Royal Mountain. Here, at the end of the 12th century, the Norman king William II had a great cathedral built to reflect the sophistication and wealth of his kingdom. Byzantine and Greek artisans were employed to cover almost every surface of its interior with costly golden mosaics depicting Christ the Pantocrator, the Apostles, and cycles from the Old and New Testaments. Next door we walk through the cloister of the Benedictine Abbey.

Overnight in Palermo.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 12 Palermo - Segesta - Erice: Walking Tour
En route to Erice we stop at Segesta to see the picturesque Doric temple. Sicily was part of ancient Magna Graecia. In the 8th century BC, with population rising dramatically in mainland Greece, land became expensive and resources scarce. This led to an exodus of Greeks in search of new lands. Sicily and southern Italy were to Ancient Greece what the Americas were to 16th century European explorers: the great unknown; a land of possibilities, riches and great dangers. Segesta was a successful colony, which fought with its rival Selinunte, to the south.

We continue the short distance to Erice and have a walking tour upon arrival.

Erice sits dramatically on a promontory at over 600m (2,000 feet) above the sea. The ancients considered it a sacred place; the Arabs called it Jebel Hamid, or Blessed Mountain. We enter the Carthginian Porta Trapani, passing the Chiesa Matrice, a beautiful Normanesque Gothic church built in the 15th century. Near the main square you might like to sample some Sicilian sweets at a local shop where they are made to order. The Arabs are credited with the introduction of the local fondness of desserts, including gelato for which Sicily is famous.

Farther along we come to the site where once the temple of Venus Erycina stood. From the Norman Castle, now standing in its place, the views out to sea are splendid. On a clear day, we might even see the coast of Tunisia, 145km distant. Erice is home today to an important scientific institute where international conferences and symposiums are held year round, giving Erice the sobriquet, "City of Science".

Overnight in Erice.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 Erice - Marsala - Selinunte - Agrigento
Today we travel by road to Agrigento via Marsala and Selinunte.

We depart Erice for Marsala, a Arabic name meaning "Harbour of God". Here, in 1860, Garibaldi landed with his army of a thousand redshirts to take Sicily from the Spanish Bourbon rulers. In the previous century an Englishman named John Woodhouse saw the potential for a lucrative export, fortified wine, which became all the rage, especially after Admiral Nelson supplied it to his sailors instead of rum. While in Marsala we visit the museum and enjoy a wine tasting.

Our journey through the lands of Magna Graecia continues to Selinunte where we have a full site tour. The ruins of Selinunte are some of the most impressive of the ancient Greek world, and the site is one of the most captivating in Sicily. Selinos (as it was known to the Greeks) was once one of the richest and most powerful cities in the world, with over 100,000 inhabitants and an unrivalled temple-building program. The city was forgotten until the middle of the 16th century, when a Dominican monk identified its location. Excavations began in 1823, courtesy of two English archaeologists.

We continue to the magnificent series of temples at Agrigento. The five elevated temples are a picture-perfect tribute to the indomitability of paganism. Time, earthquakes, vicious Punic Wars, and the rise of Christianity have taken their toll, and the temples have been named official World Heritage landmarks.

Overnight in Agrigento.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Agrigento: Site Tour - Enna
This morning we tour the Valley of Temples at Agrigento.

Then, leaving behind the ancient Greek world, we drive inland across the island where, near the town of Piazza Armerina, we explore the remarkable ruins of a Roman villa. Built at the end of the 4th century AD, this vast complex which includes extensive baths, reception rooms, and private apartments may have been an imperial villa of Diocletian's co-emperor, Maximianus. The villa contains some of the most beautiful and extensive Roman mosaics to be found anywhere, including detailed and colourful hunting scenes, images from mythology, and a charming sequence of bikini-clad ladies doing aerobics!

We continue to Enna where you will have some free time to explore the town. See the Castello di Lombardia or Torre di Federico II for stunning views; your Tour Leader will point you in the right direction.

Overnight in Enna.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Enna - Siracusa (Syracuse)
Today we drive toward the eastern side of the island, coming within sight of the slopes of Mount Etna. At 3313 m (10,866 feet), Etna is one of the earth's most active volcanoes -- both a blessing and a curse for the local people. The surrounding lands are extremely fertile, but there looms the constant possibility of an eruption. The nearby city of Catania was almost completely buried by lava flows in 1669.

We arrive at Syracuse and tour of the Archaeological Park, including the Greek theatre, Monumental Altar of Hieron II, and the Latomia del Paradiso (quarry with the Ear of Dionysius). After a break for lunch we have a walking tour of Ortygia (old Siracusa), wandering the narrow streets of the old city where we see the Temple of Apollo, Fountain of Aretusa, the main piazza, and the Duomo, a former Temple of Athena. Free time to explore.

Overnight in Siracusa.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Siracusa - Mt Etna - Taormina
This morning we depart Siracusa and drive up the east coast, with stunning views of Mt. Etna, to Taormina. We make a detour and drive up the side of Mt Etna -- have a sweater handy as we'll be approaching 1800m / 6,000 ft!

On arrival in Taormina we'll have a leisurely walking tour of the town, starting with the almost perfectly preserved Greco-Roman amphitheatre, Taormina's greatest treasure. In ancient days, the 3rd-century cliff-side arena seated 5,000 spectators, with Mount Etna framed perfectly as a backdrop to the 1,800 year old stage.

We see also the Palazzo Corvaia with its blend of Arab, Norman, and Catalan elements where, in 1410, Sicily's first parliament was convened. The Corso Umberto I is a charming pedestrian street that runs the length of town. There are many shops and boutiques along the way and at the Piazza IX Aprile, there are lovely views of Naxos harbour and the Italian mainland across the straits. Perched on a peak above the town is the medieval fortress. In the Piazza del Duomo where Taormina's 15th century basilica/cathedral stands, there is a fountain topped by the symbol of the town: the statue of a female centaur.

Overnight in Taormina (or nearby Giardini-Naxos).

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Taormina: Town Tour
Today we have a leisurely walking tour of the town, starting with the almost perfectly-preserved Greco-Roman amphitheatre, Taormina's greatest treasure. In ancient days, the 3rd-century cliff side arena seated 5,000 spectators, with Mount Etna framed perfectly as a backdrop to the 1800 year old stage.

We see also the Palazzo Corvaia with its blend of Arab, Norman, and Catalan elements where, in 1410, Sicily's first parliament was convened. The Corso Umberto I is a charming pedestrian street that runs the length of town. There are many shops and boutiques along the way and at the Piazza IX Aprile, there are lovely views of Naxos harbour and the Italian mainland across the straits. Perched on a peak above the town is the medieval fortress. In the Piazza del Duomo where Taormina's 15th century basilica/cathedral stands, there is a fountain topped by the symbol of the town: the statue of a female centaur.

Balance of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Taormina.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 18 Taormina - Milazzo - Ferry to Lipari
Today we have a short drive north (about 1.5 hours) to catch the ferry from Sicily's town of Milazzo to Lipari (about 2 hours), the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the name of the island's main town. Lipari is the largest of a chain of islands in a volcanic archipelago that straddles the gap between Vesuvius and Etna.

NOTE: Our program for the Aeolian Islands may evolve between the time of conception and actual execution. The next couple of days may vary depending on such things as hotel availability (limited) and ferry schedules (changeable).

Overnight on Lipari.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 19 Lipari Tour
Lipari is a charming town that boasts a largely reconstructed Norman-era church and a fine archeological museum and archeological. The oldest part of the castle was built in Greek times, but the thirteenth-century walls that dominate the structure are naturally more evident. Following the assault of the Turks, the larger walls were built, and these constitute the fortress's present appearance. We'll have a walking tour of the citadel and visit the Archaeological Museum (Classic section). Afterwards we will enjoy a stroll along the main street Corso Vittorio Emauele.

After lunch we set out from Lipari Citta in the direction of Canneto, to the north. We stop at the viewpoint of Quattrocchi, Porticello and Campo Bianco with the magnificent huge white cliffs of pumice. In Canneto we can enjoy a refreshing "granita" before driving back to Lipari Città.

Overnight in Lipari.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 20 Lipari - Ferry to Stromboli
We travel by boat (likely a hydrofoil) the short distance to Stromboli which, with Vulcano, is probably the most famous of these islands. Far from the other islands, and dominated by a single large volcano, Stromboli is quite impressive from a distance. Its deep waters are a favourite of divers. Salina is the setting for a famous movie, the eponymous Stromboli of Roberto Rosselini, starring Ingrid Bergman.

Stromboli is a fully active volcano that is in a constant state of mild activity, punctuated by occasional larger and more violent eruptions. The most recent violent eruption was a brief event in March 2007, though the "normal" small eruptions of lava are not dangerous.

Due to the size of the island and lacking streets, neither cars nor buses or trains exist. The only available means of transport are "ape-cars", small motorbikes and boats. The only other way to move around the island is by walking. Note that there are no streetlights in either village, and if you're out after dark, you'll be well advised to use a flashlight.

Overnight on Stromboli.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 21 Stromboli Tour
Today we begin our exploration of the island: we will visit the village of San Vincenzo with is church. Not far from here is located the house where Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman shot the film "Stromboli, land of God" in 1950. Afterwards we will visit the Greek Necropolis dated back to the 3rd Century BC, rich in vases and terracotta masks.

While on Stromboli, we may be able to hike up to or toward the crater (periodic volcanic activity can close the summit). Although ruggedly beautiful, those interested will find this route unforgettable as it affords views on all directions.

Overnight on Stromboli.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 22 Stromboli - Boat to Vulcano
Today we travel by boat (possibly via Lipari) to nearby Vulcano. The highest points of the island are Mount Aria (501 meters) and Mount Saraceno, almost as high. The last major eruption of Vulcano was in 1890. Ancient Greek mythology places the forge of Hephaestus, the god of fire who worked as a blacksmith with the assistance of the Cyclops, on Vulcano.

Upon arrival, we begin a walking tour of the village and the mud pool of Acqua di Bagno on the beach fed by hot springs, near the Faraglione, a rock with alum quarries. If conditions allow, we may be able to have a boat trip that allows us to view Vulcano's eruptions from the sea after dark.

Overnight on Vulcano.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 23 Vulcano Sightseeing
One of the main attractions of Vulcano is to climb up to the summit of the main volcano of this island. As you reach on the top, you can catch a lovely glimpse of this island along with the other Aeolian Islands. You can also see the majestic blue sea and view the inside of the crater with its fuming sulphur gases around the summit.

You can also enjoy the Black Sand Beach, a lovely stretch of land comprising of volcanic sand. Nearby as well are the mud baths where you can soak your face and body in the mud and rinse it off after it forms a mask. There are hot springs nearby with warm and bubbly water.

Overnight on Vulcano.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 24 Vucano - Vibo Marina - Paestum
Today we travel by ferry to the port of Vibo Marina on the Italian mainland. From here we continue by road to Paestum.

The three Doric Greek temples of Paestum are among the best-preserved in the world, even rivaling those of Sicily and Athens. Originally built without any mortar or cement (they were simply covered by roofs of terra-cotta tiles supported by wooden beams) the temples remained standing even after the great earthquake of AD 69 reduced Pompeii's streets to a pile of rubble. After a period of native Italian control in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, it fell to the Romans in 273 BC and was renamed Paestum, remaining a Roman town until the deforestation of nearby hills turned the town into a swampy mush. Plagued by malaria and syphilitic pirates, Paestum's ruins lay relatively untouched until they were rediscovered in the 18th century. Time-permitting, we'll visit the site today or tomorrow morning en route to Naples.

While in the Compania region, we plan to stay at a working farm known for buffalo farming and home-produced mozzarella cheese.

Overnight near Paestum.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 25 Paestum - Pompeii - Naples
We'll have a leisurely morning to enjoy our charming agriturismo before travelling by road to Naples via Pompeii.

Pompeii was dug out from the inundation of volcanic ash and pumice stone that covered it by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The entire area is a fantastic record of how ordinary Romans lived their lives. We will see the House of Vetti, the most elegant of the Pompeii villas and we also look at the House of Mysteries. The nearby House of Faun takes up a city block and has four different dining parlours and two spacious gardens.

We continue to Naples, one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC. Naples' historic city centre is the largest in Europe, covering 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and enclosing 27 centuries of history, and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Naples has long been a major cultural centre with a global sphere of influence, particularly during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras. Naples is also said to be the birthplace of pizza!

Overnight in Naples.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 26 Naples: Herculaneum, Amalfi Coast & Sorrento
Today we visit Herculaneum, a small town that was buried under Vesuvius's lava. Our tour here will include the baths, which were built during the reign of Agustus. An outstanding example of how the aristocracy lived is provided at the Casa dei Cervi.

We then drive along the famous Amalfi Coast on a winding road carved out of the rock in the mid-19th century. This scenic and unforgettable drive takes us to Amalfi, a resort town on the peninsula of the same name where we take a walking tour of the city. We will see the beautiful Duomo cathedral with its 13th century bell tower, the main square of the town, and the Cloister of Paradise.

We continue to Sorrento, the place where the Greeks placed the legendary abode of the Sirens, those wicked mermaids who lured seamen to their deaths with their sweet songs. The Sorrento Peninsula, a finger of land curling around the Bay of Naples, is beautiful with its soaring mountains and colourful flora.

Overnight in Naples.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 27 Naples & the National Archaeological Museum
This morning we do some touring in Naples. We pass by the 14th-century Duomo, the colourful harbour front, and the Castel dell'Ovo, a 12th-century fortress built on the ruins of an ancient villa. The highlight of our day will be the National Archaeological Museum, which houses one of the world's most comprehensive collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. The museum stands on top of Santa Teresa Hill and was originally built as a military barracks later transformed into a university campus. It was remodelled in 1790 to receive the treasures of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The balance of the day is yours to enjoy Naples. We suggest a wander through the historic centre, the cathedral, the Catacombs of San Gennaro, and/or just sit and enjoy the ambiance over a pizza!

Overnight in Naples.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 28 Departure
Departure from Naples.

BUON VIAGGIO!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Hotel breakfast and most dinners (mostly local restaurants) daily. All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters (if available). Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), air taxes (if applicable), and excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered in late summer/early fall when temperatures are becoming milder, crowds thinner (in some places), and airfares slightly lower. That said, we will likely experience some heat in some locations, especially away from the moderating effects of the sea. The conditions we experience will likely vary widely, depending on prevailing weather conditions, elevation, aspect, proximity to water. That said, we have timed this trip to coincide with milder conditions when there are still plenty of ferry connections available.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Ground transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have some full days (especially on Sicily), road travel is not particularly arduous as there are plenty of stops of interest and beautiful scenery along the way. Roads are in good condition, though a little winding on some stretches. Ferries are large and comfortable though bad weather may make longer crossings subject to swells in open water.

Porter service is sometimes available (see 'inclusions') at hotels, though you MUST be independent with your luggage, most notably boarding / disembarking ferries when there will not be any porter assistance.

Our difficulty rating level "2" refers to the overall ambitious nature of the program, full travel/sightseeing days, plenty of moving around, sites that are large with uneven surfaces and stairs, ferries that require independence with luggage, short walks to dinner, and possibly heat at some locations.

Accommodation

Well-located, air-conditioned, mid-range hotels and inns (3 & 4-star) used throughout. Some hotels are smaller properties (3-4 story) that may not have elevators. All hotels have en suite bath, though some may have shower only (ie no bathtub). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, driver (s), local step-on guides in various locales.

Group Size

Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader (Victor Romagnoli)