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Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily

Palermo Cathedral, Sicily
15 Days from $3,349 per person

Experience the treasures of Rome, Pompeii and the Neapolitan Riviera, the unique ‘trulli' houses of Alberobello and the Sassi di Matera, and the rich heritage of Sicily.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport shuttle service leaves for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
    meal(s):WD
    hotel:Veneto Palace Hotel, Rome (2 nights).
  3. Join your Local Expert to visit St. Peter's Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. There's free time to do as the Romans do, or perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum? Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking tour in the afternoon 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 for dinner in Piazza Navona.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Veneto Palace Hotel, Rome.
  4. In the morning, meet a Local Expert for a guided tour through the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-track entry and the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. Later depart for the picturesque resort of Sorrento.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Michelangelo, Sorrento (2 nights).
  5. Wake up full of anticipation for your trip to Capri - the Isle of Dreams. Under the Mediterranean sun, ride up to the 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 before returning to Sorrento. Investigate the art of 'intarsio' or marquetry wood inlaying before returning to your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Hotel Michelangelo, Sorrento.
  6. Start your day in Pompeii, buried in AD79 by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Walk with your Local Expert through the cobbled streets. Later, venture along country roads to Matera, with a Local Expert enjoy in-depth exploration of the extraordinary ‘Sassi' - troglodyte dwellings and churches dug out of the rock, 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'. Continue on to Alberobello.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel La Chiusa Di Chietri, Alberobello (3 nights).
  7. In the morning, with a Local Expert, admire another of Italy's record number of World Heritage sites, the Trulli of Alberobello - circular structures with conical roofs and domed within, built with local limestone and stacked without using mortar. Head to medieval Castellaneta, birth place of Rudolph Valentino where in an underground cellar, you will witness a pasta making demonstration of the local Orecchiette pasta with Chef Pino, followed by a highlight lunch, including the local Primitivo wine and Burrata cheese, both specialities from Puglia. After lunch, see Castellaneta's picturesque Great Ravine before returning to Alberobello where the rest of the day is free.
    meal(s):BB, HL
    hotel:Grand Hotel La Chiusa Di Chietri, Alberobello.
  8. 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 Signature hotel.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel La Chiusa Di Chietri, Alberobello.
  9. 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 day is at leisure. You may wish to spend it climbing to the top of Monte San Biagio to see Maratea's own Christ the Redeemer Statue, relaxing on one of its many pocket-sized beaches or sipping cocktails with the jet-set at the stylish harbour.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Di Maratea Pianetamaratea, Maratea.
  10. In the morning, travel along the Purple Coast to the very toe of Italy and board your ferry bound for Sicily. 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, 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. in the evening, take your pick of specially selected restaurants for your Dine-Around evening.
    meal(s):BB, DA
    hotel:Hilton, Giardini Naxos (3 nights).
  11. 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 Mt Etna, Europe's largest volcano, plus a stop in Savoca, the village used for the filming of The Godfather.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hilton, Giardini Naxos.
  12. 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, to witness Caravaggio's painting the 'Burial of St. Lucy'.
    meal(s):BB, RD
    hotel:Hilton, Giardini Naxos.
  13. 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. Especially impressive are the massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno, overlooking the sea. In the afternoon, continue to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel, Palermo (2 nights).
  14. 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 - venture inside to appreciate the composite of architectural styles. Journey on 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. At night, join your fellow guests for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious local cuisine, wine and music.
    meal(s):BB, CD
    hotel:Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel, Palermo.
  15. Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Airport at 06:00 & 08:00.
    meal(s):BB

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We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

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Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Included Quality Dining

13 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Highlight Lunches (HL), 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 2 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Restaurant Dinner (RD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences

Rome:

  • Gain VIP access to the Vatican Museums and be among the select few to admire the famous Bramante Staircase. Admire the Popes' treasure-trove and confront the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.

Rome:

  • Sightsee the local way with a leisurely passeggiata through the backstreets, where a friend in Rome will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures.

Pompeii:

  • Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town.

Isle of Capri:

  • Cruise to this famous isle and in the style of the jet-set and and enjoy a ride by open-top taxi.

Matera:

  • Visit the famous ‘Sassi' or cave dwellings, which were home to about 20,000 people until 1950.

Taormina:

  • Set on a cliff, open to the sky, take your seats in the ancient Greek theatre and enjoy the view through the crumbling arches to snowy Mount Etna.

Agrigento:

  • A Local Expert will lead you through the magnificent remains of the Greek colony in the Valley in the Temples.

Palermo:

  • Walk through the Palace of the Normans to stand in the jewel-like Palatine chapel for a close-up look at some of the finest examples of Norman art.

Optional Add-Ons

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Rome

Guided Visit To Colosseum & Roman Forum

Adult Price: € 52.00

With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive!

Rome By Night - Illuminations Drive

Adult Price: € 19.00

Join your Tour Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!

Rome Of The Ancient Christians

Adult Price: € 38.00

"Outside the ancient Roman city walls we visit the early Christian Catacombs, underground cemetries carved out of soft Tufa Stone. Nearby we also visit one of the major basilicas of Rome, St Pauls Outside the Walls. The burial place of St Paul the Apostle, famous for its Byzantine Mosaics. On some departures the Christian Catacombs are offered with a visit to St Peter in Chains to view the magnificent 'Moses' sculpture by Michelangelo, (instead of St Pauls)."

Sorrento

Amalfi Coast Drive & Positano Visit

Adult Price: € 43.00

Drive along the clear blue waters and picturesque resorts of the Amalfi Coast, arguably the most glamorous and scenic stretch of coast in Europe. Minibuses wind their way down serpentine roads to the exclusive artists' paradise of Positano, clinging to the cliff face, as if about to cascade into the turquoise waters below. Spend time exploring the elegant shops, watching the artists at work, or enjoying an 'aperitivo' in a beach side cafe.

Island Tour of Capri

Adult Price: € 41.00

Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise around the island. View the beautiful grottos and unique coastline before ascending to Capri town. This optional experience is weather dependent and may be replaced by a minibus tour of the Island with a visit to Anacapri and the Villa San Michele.

Sorrento Evening

Adult Price: € 61.00

A chance to enjoy a delicious dinner of local specialities. We arrive at one of the area's unique local restaurants for an incredible dining experience featuring some of the famous dishes of this region!

Alberobello

The White Town of Ostuni and Olive Mill

Adult Price: € 30.00

With its stark white-washed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and arched stairways, Ostuni is reminiscent of a North African Arab Medina. Perched high above the beautiful sea, the ‘White Town’ is a photographer’s delight. Then, we'll visit a Mill to taste the renowned olive oil produced in this area that incorporates olives from the ancient groves of Puglia!

Masseria Dinner

Adult Price: € 54.00

Puglia is a food lovers paradise, famous for its local dishes using the freshest of ingredients! Tonight it's off to the countryside to a local 'Masseria', a typical ancient fortified 'Farmhouse' of Puglia. We enjoy an incredible, authentic Puglian style dinner in a beautiful setting! A wonderful 'country roads' experience all served up with great wines form this region!

Taormina

Dinner in the Clouds

Adult Price: € 68.00

With one of the most incredible rides of your lives, you will arrive high above the sea, a world apart from the areas that tourists tread. You'll arrive in your terraced authentic local restaurant for a truly educational meal of delicious regional specialties, with accompanying local wines.

Mt Etna & The Godfather

Adult Price: € 56.00

Join a local expert to experience the unhurried pace of life in this rustic village chosen by Frances Ford Coppola for scenes in his movie “The Godfather”. Amid stunning mountain views, visit the charming wedding church and Bar Vitelli, where Al Pacino fell in love (famous for its ice cold granita di limone!) Then continue to Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. Ascend through the lush fertile foothills to the craters and barren lunar landscapes nearer the top. The views over the eastern Sicilian coast and Ionian Sea are spectacular.

The Power Of Syracuse

Adult Price: € 50.00

Visit Syracuse, at one stage even more powerful than Athens. One of the most influential cities of "magna grecia". The fascinating archaeological remains give you an inkling of the glories of its past. Move on to Ortigia, the beautiful medieval island with one of the most symbolic churches of Sicily, combining paganism and the transition to Christianity. The quaint shorefront, the whitewashed buildings and the baroque influence - it's a must.

Palermo

Dinner in Palermo

Adult Price: € 60.00

We'll dine al fresco tonight in one of the narrow alleys of La Cala, the ancient port of Palermo. Adjacent to the sixteenth-century walls of the Royal Foundry and away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Sicilian dining is one of life's true pleasures! We'll indulge in great food made from the freshest ingredients, accompanied by the island's delicious wines.

Hidden Palermo

Adult Price: € 46.00

Walk the ancient streets of the historical centre and learn, through the eyes of a local, how the Palermitani live. You’ll discover hidden treasures of this fascinating city that most visitors don't get to see, like a private visit to the palace of the family of the Counts of Palermo, whom we’ll meet and who will share their amazing experiences with us. This unique tour also includes a drink and light snacks.

Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
5 May 17 19 May 17 checkmark $3,625pp
19 May 17 2 Jun 17 checkmark $3,625$3,444pp Early PaymentPay by Apr 27
$3,625 $3,444 pp
26 May 17 9 Jun 17 checkmark $3,625pp
$3,625 pp
9 Jun 17 23 Jun 17 checkmark $3,525$3,349pp Early PaymentPay by Apr 27
$3,525 $3,349 pp
23 Jun 17 7 Jul 17 checkmark $3,575$3,396pp Early PaymentPay by Apr 27
$3,575 $3,396 pp
7 Jul 17 21 Jul 17 checkmark $3,575$3,396pp Early PaymentPay by Apr 27
$3,575 $3,396 pp
25 Aug 17 8 Sep 17 checkmark $3,525$3,349pp Early PaymentPay by Apr 27
8 Sep 17 22 Sep 17 checkmark $3,695pp
$3,695 pp
15 Sep 17 29 Sep 17 checkmark $3,695pp
29 Sep 17 13 Oct 17 checkmark $3,525pp
$3,525 pp
13 Oct 17 27 Oct 17 checkmark $3,525$3,349pp Early PaymentPay by Apr 27
$3,525 $3,349 pp

April 14 departure will not visit the Vatican due to Easter celebrations.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $660 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $123 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to Italy must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Italy.

  • The currency in Italy is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive in Italy, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Italy. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • While Italy is most famous for pizza and pasta, few travelers are aware of just how varied the country’s culinary offering actually are. In fact, each of the 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine. Traditionally, lunch (pranzo) is the most substantial meal of the day. A full meal consists of antipasto (starter), a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with a side, or contorno (vegetable or salad), then frutta (fresh fruit). Finish with espresso and maybe a limoncello or grappa.  Wine is usually served with the meal, accompanied by mineral water. Tap water is safe to drink, but not always tasty. We recommend you buy bottled mineral water. ‘Acqua non potabile’ means the water is not safe to drink. 

  • In Italy, the weather changes very quickly, with temperatures varying from morning to night. We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At bars and restaurants, tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Reviews

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Did not receive an itinerary prior to trip. Was not aware of change in first hotel location.
Vacation : Good
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Very satisfied.
Vacation : Very satisfied.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : I have only good words for the professionalism and responsiveness of GET representatives.
Vacation : Enjoyed my trip. Found the tour director and local guides first rate.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : It was a pretty good trip, except they should not put you in an isolated hotel for several days that you have to sign up for optional trips, or just sit in hotel
Vacation : Generally the food was very good, except when so much food was served that it was impossible to eat it all. What a shame to waste the food. It would have been nice to have received a list of all tour members either before the start or the very first day of the trip. Also the name tags were almost impossible to use.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : No comment.
Vacation : Italy is a beautiful country. We will definitely want to go again.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : As with any group travel there were a few very minor inconveniences. Overall, the trip was super. A great tour director, "local" experts were first rate, and the food superb.
Vacation : Very well organized and researched. I think we could have omitted a couple of stops and stayed longer at others. But, no big deal. We got a solid bang for our buck.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We appreciate your suggestions and will be sure to share them with our planning team. It does sound as if you enjoyed Italy and Sicily overall and for that we couldn't be more pleased.

Grand European Travel
Thursday, June 2, 2016

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