Travel | Sicily and Southern Italy

Itinerary , Inclusions and Costs

Treasures of Sicily & Southern Italy

January 9 – January 22, 2010  (15 days)

The Mediterranean area of Italy provides a wonderful escape from the hectic Italian tourist scene. Our journey begins on the island of Sicily - part of Italy, yet, from time immemorial, a world of its own. Sicily is the cultural melting pot of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman, and Spanish civilizations at the very center of the Mediterranean world. Its magnificent monuments and treasures dot a remarkably varied and spectacular topography including Europe¹s largest active volcano, Mt. Etna. We will visit all of Sicily¹s major archaeological sites and some special, little-known ones. Next we visit the vast ancient site at Paestum, then drive along the Amalfi coast where nature has created an amazing vertical landscape, a mix of sharp crags and deep green forests that leaves the viewer at a loss for words. Next we will move on to the splendors of the Bay of Naples. In ancient Roman times, Naples and the Amalfi Coast were the richest and most beautiful providence in Italy. Today many people still consider its perfect climate and gorgeous landscapes to be paradise on earth. Naples is still one of Italy¹s most beautiful cities and certainly its most entertaining! Filled with stunning cathedrals, museums, art and most of all, her people and their amazing foods, Naples is a memorable experience. We have chosen to conclude our journey in the eternal city of Rome with its impressive variety of ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque treasures. Our program is designed for people who love art, beauty, archaeology, architecture, history, photography, and the unusual. People will appreciate not being subjected to long lectures, but will instead have an overview with time to explore on their own. Our experts present information as a conversation or talk between intelligent, inquisitive adults and the itinerary is arranged so that you also have time to relax and pursue your own interests. For your comfort and convenience, we have chosen only first class hotels which welcome you with timeless style and grace. Upon your arrival in Italy you'll feel right at home surrounded by warm, friendly people who share your passion for Italy and adventure. You'll greatly expand your knowledge of art, culture, and history while enjoying your sumptuous surroundings. Our guides have devoted many years to discovering the hidden treasure of Italy so you can relax and enjoy the cultural experience of a lifetime. We hope you'll join us for this very special event.

Please note that this itinerary is subject to chage to spend more time in Sicily and the lower part of Italy, possibly not going as far north as Rome.


Itinerary  (click on hotel for more information)

Day 1 – Saturday January 9
Transatlantic flight from the United States to Palermo
(in-flight meals)

Day 2 – Sunday January 10 – Palermo
Afternoon arrival in Sicily's capital and chief city, Palermo. As schedules allow, we hope to have a short orientation tour of the city, possibly with a little free time before a Welcome Dinner and tour introduction by your tour manager.
Accommodation: Hotel Astoria Palace   (D)

Day 3 – Monday January 11 - Palermo
Today we visit the beautiful monuments in this ancient city; the Capella Palatina in the Norman Palace, with its stunning architecture and mosaics; the charming church and cloister of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the church of Santo Spirito, where the uprising of the Sicilian Vespers was launched; and the Zisa, a fabulous Norman-Moorish pleasure palace.  In the afternoon we will see The Cathedral of Monreale, famous for even more staggering Norman-Byzantine mosaics; visiting the Bridge of the Admiral and the Duomo (Cathedral) on our return.
Accommodation: Hotel Astoria Palace     (B,D)

Day 4 – Tuesday January 12 - Palermo
Our morning begins with a trip to the Regional Archaeological Museum, with a fine collection of wonderful sculptures from Selinunte, a site we will visit. In the afternoon we take a short ride to Cefalu, to see its amazing Norman cathedral. On our return, we ascend Monte Pellegrino, for its magnificent views over Palermo and (as accessible) its shrine to the city’s protectress, St. Rosalia
Accommodation: Hotel Astoria Palace    (B)

Day 5 – Wednesday January 13 - Agrigento
Today we depart for the enormous ancient city of Selinunte founded in 658 BC. Massive temple complexes, the equal of the ruins in Athens, are dramatically spread over a large mesa above the sea. In the afternoon we will arrive in Agrigento for a visit to their fine Archaeological Museum.
Accommodation: Hotel Grand Dei Templi   (B,D)

Day 6 – Thursday January 14 - Syracuse
This morning we will visit the overwhelming Valley of the Temples with its numerous Ionic temples. This ancient site has been occupied since the Bronze Age, but most of these magnificent temples were started during the rein of the tyrant Phalaris. We then continue on through lush wooded hillsides to visit the Villa of Dreams, the Piazza Armerina. This huge 3rd Century Roman villa covers a half square mile! The African-style mosaics make this site one of the most important of its kind from the late ancient world. Next we skirt by the slopes of Mt Etna on our way to the greatest city of the ancient world, Syracuse.
Accommodation: Grand Villa Politi   (B)

Day 7 – Friday January 15 - Taormina
This morning we visit the immortal city of ancient Syracuse, the Ear of Dionysius cave, the Old Town (Otygia) with its Cathedral and the Fountain of Arethusa; Euryalus castle, the world’s best preserved Greek fortification. Later we will visit the Archaeological Museum. Later we take a short ride to the stunning hill town of elegant Toarmina.
Accommodation: San Domenico Palace   (B,D)

Day 8 – Saturday January 16 - Taormina
The deep blue of the sea serves as a climactic backdrop for the Greco-Roman theater. Built by the Greeks and modified by the Emperor Trajan, many believe this to be the most perfect theater in the ancient world. Spend the remained of the day shopping in the chic modern town.
Accommodation: San Domenico Palace   (B,D)

Day 9 – Sunday January 17 - Maiori - Amalfi Coast
This morning we depart Sicily and drive along the southern coast of Italy to one of the most important and visited archaeological site in the world, Paestum. The two temples dedicated to Hera, the Basilicia and Temple of Neptune, are in an excellent state of preservation. Many experts consider these to be the most perfect examples of Doric-Achaean architecture. A short drive brings us to the posh resort town of Amalfi.
Accommodation: Regina Palace   (B,D)

Day 10 – Monday January 18 – Sorrento
A drive along the breath-taking Amalfi coast brings us to the hilltop town of Ravello, with a lovely Romanesque cathedral and the famous gardens of the Villa Rufalo, then on to Sorrento. Sorrento is a lovely, civilized old town with a certain perfect coziness, comfortable like old shoes. Walking the streets is pleasant; many of the shops display intarsia, fine pictures done in inlaid woods. Here, too, are some of Italy’s finest and most delicious eateries.
Accommodation: Hotel Grand Paradiso   (B,D)

Day 11 – Tuesday January 19 – Rome
This morning we will drive to the spectacular ruins of Pompii. A short ride through the region of Campania brings us to the extravagant and untamed city of Naples. After a visit tothe Archaeological Museum with the best collection of Roman antiquities in the world, we continue on to Rome. After dinner you'll experience Rome by night as we stroll to the unforgettable Trevi Fountain, then on to the Roman Pantheon built in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa (in this square is the most praised ice cream in Italy, try some!) and we cap the night at Piazza Navona, considered the most beautiful square in Rome with its 3 Bernini fountains.
Accommodation: Grand Palazzo Carpegna   (B)

Day 12 – Wednesday January 20 - Rome
This morning we’ll enjoy a city tour which includes a visit to the Coliseum and Roman Forum. We continue with a tour of the Vatican with St. Peter's Basilica and the spectacular Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel. The evening is free.
Accommodation: Grand Palazzo Carpegna   (B)

Day 13 – Thursday January 21 - Rome
This morning we’ll discover one of the “hidden” treasures of Rome. The rarely visited Il Gesu has a enormous ceiling, about the size of a football field, that the artist has been able to completely dissolve into the illusion of infinite space, probably the greatest illusionist ceiling fresco in the world. Then we will walk through the heart of Ancient Rome visiting the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. The afternoon is reserved for independent sightseeing.
Accommodation: Grand Palazzo Carpegna   (B)

Day 14 – Friday January 22 - Rome            
Full day at leisure. Afternoon visit of the Catacombs and Tivoli with Villa d'Este. A special Farewell Dinner with wine and Italian music concludes are journey.
Accommodation: Grand Palazzo Carpegna   (B,D)

Day 15 – Saturday January 23 - Return from Rome to the United States
After breakfast transfer to the airport for our flight back home.
(in-flight meals)

Recommended Reading
The Italian Renaissance: Culture & Society In Italy
Sicily From Aeneas To Augustus
Little Novels Of Sicily: Stories
About Sicily: Travellers In An Ancient Island
Sicily Before History: An Archeological Survey From The Palaeolithic To The Iron Age

Included in Tour Program

  • Round trip Transatlantic flight 
  • First class hotel accommodations
  • Breakfast daily, dinner and lunches as indicated in itinerary
  • Sicilian welcome Banquet and Roman Farewell Dinners
  • Professional sightseeing and lectures 
  • All entrance fees to visited sights
  • Transportation by private deluxe motor coach

Included Highlights
·  Palermo 
·  San Giovanni Degli Eremiti
·  San Spirito
·  La Zisa
·  La Martorana
·  Bridge Of The Admiral
·  Monreale Cathedral Cloister
·  Cefalu Cathedral
·  Regional Archaeological Museum
·  Monte Pellegrino
·  Selinunte
·  Archaeological Area
·  Agrigento
·  Valley Of The Temples
·  Piazza Armerina
·  Imperial Palace Excavation
·  Syracuse
·  Greek Theatre
·  Latomia Del Paradiso
·  Roman Amphitheater
·  Castello Eurialo
·  Archaeological Museum
·  Toarmina
·  Greco-Roman Theater
·  Paestum
·  Excavations Of Paestum
·  Ravello
·  Villa Rufalo
·  Naples
·  National Archaeological Museum
·  City Tour
·  Pompeii
·  Archaeological Area
·  Rome
·  Trevi Fountain
·  Pantheon
·  Piazza Navona
·  Il Gesu Cathedral
·  Coliseum
·  Roman Forum
·  Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel
·  Tivoli & Villa D'este

Not Included in Tour Program

  • Tips for driver and guides
  • US departure tax and customs fee
  • Optional travel insurance
  • Items of personal nature
  • Lunches and dinners not listed on itinerary
  • Beverages at included meals

Tour Price Per Person in Double Room

  • From Los Angeles  ................................3,525.00
  • From New York  ....................................3,345.00
  • From Chicago   .....................................3,385.00
  • Single Supplement....................................795.00
  • Land only price      ................................2,695.00

Last updated Sunday August 16, 2009