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Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily

15 Days from $3,650 per person

Style: Premium | Pace: Comfortable

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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Overview

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.

  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 at a family run restaurant near Via Veneto.

    meal(s):DW
    hotel:Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome (2 nights).
  3. 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 inside the Colosseum? 

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Romanico Palace, Rome.
  4. 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. Continue with your Local Expert to visit St. Peters Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. 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. 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. Return to Sorrento to investigate the art of intarsio or marquetry wood inlaying. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Michelangelo, Sorrento.
  6. 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. Journey along country roads to Matera to meet 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'. Venture on to Alberobello.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel La Chiusa Di Chietri, Alberobello (3 nights).
  7. 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 savoring the fresh flavors of your Farm-to-Table Highlight Dinner.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    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 remarkable 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 harbor. A delicious Italian meal is served with wine at your resort. 

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Pianeta Maratea Resort
  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 Theater, 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.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    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 Mount 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, 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. 

    meal(s):BB, DW
    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. The Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno, overlooking the sea, are especially impressive. 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, WD
    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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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 $770 p.p.

Triple Room Discount $150 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $162 per person.

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.

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  • 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) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences

Rome &Vatican City:

  • 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.
  • Explore the backstreets of Rome and experience local life, alongside a passionate Roman who will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, the Living Room of Rome.
  • Venture inside St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's Peita, and the splendid dome. 

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.
  • With your Local Expert explore this town that Mel Gibson chose as the setting for his film 'The Passion of the Christ.' 

Alberobello:

  • With your Local Expert, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the Trulli of Alberobello. Circular structures
    with conical roofs that are domed within, built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar.

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.
  • Visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile.

Agrigento:

  • A Local Expert will lead you through the magnificent remains of the Greek colony in the Valley in the Temples. See the massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno.

Palermo:

  • With a local historian, see the Teatro Massimo en route to Quattro Canti Square to glimpse the Fountain of Shame. Visit Palermo Cathedral and walk through the Palace of the Normans to stand in the jewel-like Palatine chapel for an up-close look at some of the finest examples of Norman art.
Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.

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Reviews

Hassan Tondravi
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : The quality of the included meals was disappointing. Also, the number of optional tours were many and not enough tour included.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're sorry to hear that the meals were not to your liking. We will certainly pass this on tour Quality Control team for immediate review. Thank you.
Friday, June 22, 2018
Vacation : We always go trough GET and have had pretty good experience with them.
Eneida Cardec
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Our tour guide (Insight Vacations) Caroline Pugsley was outstanding. She was extremely well organized, kept the tour group moving smoothly. She genuinely showed that she cared about every person. The driver Matteo, I will give him an A+. He did an excellent job of maneuvering the narrow roads and streets of Italy and Sicily. Food and lodging was wonderful! I would highly recommend this tour.
Vacation : Considering food, hotels, tour guide, driver and cities, places price was very good!
Trusted Customer
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Planning was so easy. Agent was fantastic and helpful
Vacation : Excellent tour. Have traveled with Insight several times and obviously returned because they were top notch. This trip didn't disappoint. Our driver Claudio was fantastic and out tour guide, Beatrice Richichi was the best ever. She is a doll. Warm, friendly,efficient, patient, and never seemed to get tired of having to repeat herself to those who didn't listen.
Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.

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  • 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 24 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.

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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.

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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

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

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)."

Rome

Guided Visit To Colosseum & Roman Forum

Adult Price: € 54.00

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! n.b. On the first Sunday of the month, the price of this optional experience will be reduced.

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.

Sorrento

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!

Sorrento

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.

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!

Alberobello

Masseria Dinner

Adult Price: € 57.00

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!

Alberobello

The Caves of Castellana

Adult Price: € 33.00

The Grotte di Castellana are one of the most amazing natural wonders of Puglia. Formed about 90 million years ago, the caves are an incredible vision of stalactites, stalagmites and canyons formed by a miracle of nature. The eccentric stalactites here defy the law of gravity by growing horizontally. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy one of the most amazing natural visions of Puglia and Italy!

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.

Taormina

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.

Taormina

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

eatwith Experience

eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. €45 - €65

Palermo

Dinner in Palermo

Adult Price: € 60.00

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.

Palermo

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.

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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.

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