April 24 - May 10, 2017.
Palermo, Taormina, Reggio Calabria, Tropea, Sorrento

$5,195 Canadian Land tour only
Starts in Palermo, Sicily and ends in Rome, Italy
PLUS: two day OPTIONAL post tour in Rome at the end of our Southern Italy tour. Details are under Day 17




This tour will be escorted by company-co-owner Julie Bruce B.Sc. This will be her 5th tour to Italy!

On our relaxing tour of Sicily and Southern Italy we enjoy 2 four-night stays and spend 2 or 3 nights at as many other hotels as possible, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the lifestyle and culture of the small towns and cities we visit. Sicily is like a separate country, not only being a large mountainous island but being the only part of Italy to have been occupied by the Arabs and the Norman French. We enjoy the dramatic scenery of this volcanic island and learn about its infamous Mafia culture. The south of Italy is much more rural and traditional than the more-visitted north. We learn about the rich history and customs of the area. We drive along the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, cross the water to the Isle of Capri and explore the unique buried Roman city of Pompeii. We stay mainly in historic hotels that reflect the charm of the small towns we stay in. This tour can be extended with 2 days in Rome which includes The Vatican before our main tour begins, for those who have not been to Rome before or wish to explore “the Eternal City” in more depth. See details at the end of our tour itinerary.

SPECIAL NOTES:
– Flight cost estimates are based on flights originating from Vancouver. Airfare will be confirmed at the time of booking your flights and payment for the flights will be due at that time. You can also extend your tour to Italy with a 4 day pre-tour extension to Rome, details are under DAY 17.
- many of our tour participants will be flying one day early to Palermo, Sicily on April 23 to enjoy a day in Sicily before the tour starts. Please call for details.

Limited to 24 participants : there are 8 spaces available
UPDATED AT: March 2 , 2017

DAY 1 – MONDAY April 24
Today our group flights fly from North America to Rome. Overnight flight

DAY 2 – TUESDAY April 25
FLY ROME – SICILY
We arrive this morning at Rome Airport (FCO) and catch our flight to Palermo, the capital of Sicily.
First of 4 nights in Palermo. Hotel Piazza Borsa or similar. Dinner is included if arriving in time.

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY April 26
PALERMO CITY TOUR
Today we enjoy a relaxed tour of Palermo, a city full of character. Superb architecture, bearing witness to its rich history, still survives today; particularly around the cobbled squares in the city’s heart. We include Quattro Canti – a splendid example of Spanish Baroque architecture – the Palace of the Normans and its superb Palatine Chapel, the Cathedral and the famous Benedictine Abbey of Monreale. Here we admire a 12th Century cathedral housing very fine mosaics representing a complete cycle of the Old and New Testaments.
Second of 4 nights in Palermo. Hotel Piazza Borsa or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 4 – THURSDAY April 27
PALERMO – SEGESTA – MARSALA – PALERMO

We use Palermo as our base to explore the west side of the island of Sicily. The beauty of this land lies in the perfect equilibrium between the dry slopes with their thousand nuances of colour and the ancient castles, parishes and beautiful villas. We’ll discover a magical world of woods alternating with vines and olive trees, churches and medieval farmhouses. From Palermo we drive to Segesta, a large archaeological site with a magnificent Doric Temple, 430 BC to 420 BC, that ranks as one of the best-preserved Greek sites in the world. The temple is enhanced by its location in a beautiful natural setting. We continue to the seaside town of Marsala, re-discovered in the 18th century by English merchant John Woodhouse and known for its sweet wines. We visit a wine cellar to sample some Marsala wine. We drive along the Trapani coastline before returning to Palermo.Third of 4 nights in Palermo. Hotel Piazza Borsa or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 5 – FRIDAY April 28
PALERMO – COOKING LESSON – CORLEONE – PALERMO
This morning we drive to the mountainous interior of Sicily where those who wish can enjoy a hands-on cooking lesson during which we prepare some of the most traditional Sicilian dishes. After the cooking lesson, we all enjoy this special lunch. Sicily is (in)famous for its Mafia traditions. The area of Corleone is known for being the place where the Mafia phenomenon was born but is known nowadays for being the place where the Mafia influence is most firmly resisted. One of the inhabitants of Corleone will present a fascinating lecture on the Sicilian Mafia, explaining its origins and the steps Corleone residents have taken to eliminate organized crime. This afternoon we drive back to Palermo. This evening is free for you to try dinner at one of Palermo’s wonderful restaurants (at your own expense.)
Fourth of 4 nights in Palermo. Hotel Piazza Borsa or similar. Breakfast & Lunch.

DAY 6 – SATURDAY April 29
PALERMO – AGRIGENTO –TAORMINA
This morning we leave Palermo and drive to Agrigento, an archaeological treasure-trove located on a hillside and famous for its magnificent Valley of the Temples. We enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the 5th century BC. The poet Pindar described the site “as the most beautiful city built by mortal men.” The Doric temples, all constructed within a century, face east. This was a standard arrangement for both Greek and Roman temples so the statue of the god housed in each temple faced the rising sun. The best-preserved temple is that of Concordia which is similar in design to the Parthenon in Athens. After visiting the Valley of the Temples we drive to Taormina.
First of 3 nights in Taormina. Hotel Villa Diodoro or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 7 – SUNDAY April 30
TAORMINA CITY TOUR + MOUNT ETNA

This morning we take a guided walking tour of Taormina’s charming city centre, including the Greco Roman amphitheatre with its spectacular views of Giardini Naxos and Mount Etna. We use Taormina as our base to explore the east side of the island. This afternoon we enjoy an excursion to Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe at 1,800 metres high. We drive up the fertile slopes among villages that sit on ancient volcanic eruptions to visit the Sylvester Craters where we enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Second of 3 nights in Taormina. Hotel Villa Diodoro or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 8 – MONDAY May 1
TAORMINA – SYRACUSE – TAORMINA
This morning we make an excursion to the Archaeological Park at Syracuse, where highlights include the Greek Theater, Latomia del Paradiso and Cave of Dyonisius. On our way back to Taormina we enjoy the countryside with its rolling hills and gorgeous views at practically every turn.
Third of 3 nights in Taormina. Hotel Villa Diodoro or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 9 – TUESDAY May 2
SICILY – ITALIAN MAINLAND

From Taormina we drive to Messina for a panoramic tour before boarding the ferry across the Straits of Messina to the “toe” of the Italian “boot.” Here we drive to Reggio Calabria where we have a guided tour of the city, the former capital of the region. With our guide, we walk the impressive seafront promenade. After free time for lunch, we include the National Museum of Magna Grecia, where we admire the famous “Riace Bronzes.” We enjoy the breathtaking landscape described as “the most beautiful kilometre in Italy” and visit the Greek Fortifications and the Cathedral. Later this afternoon we visit Scilla and the Chianalea, a former fishing village. We also visit the Ruffo Castle with olive trees and vineyards sweeping up to its walls and the Church of San Rocco. Overnight in Reggio Calabria. Hotel Albanuova or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Overnight in Reggio Calabria. Grand Hotel De La Ville or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY May 3
REGGIO CALABRIA – GERACE – STILO – TROPEA
This morning we drive out into the surrounding countryside to visit 2 very interesting small Calabrian villages. First we make our way through the hills to romantic Gerace and admire the “One Hundred Churches.” Our visit to the medieval village includes some of the older churches and the famous Romanesque cathedral, the largest in southern Italy. This afternoon we cross the Costa del Gelsomino and reach Stilo, home of the philosopher Tommaso Campanella. Here we visit the famous “Cattolica”, the late Byzantine art monument which is unique in Western Europe.
First of 2 nights in Tropea. Hotel Tropis or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 11 – THURSDAY May 4
PIZZO + TROPEA
After driving to Pizzo we take a guided tour of the castle and visit the Church of Piedigrotta located on the sea and built in the tufa soft volcanic stone. In the afternoon we return to Tropea, the former Roman city of “Tropis”. We visit the Romanesque Cathedral (12th Century), which preserves the sacred image of Our Lady of Rumania – a Byzantine icon. We also enjoy a guided tour of the town’s historic centre with its panoramic balconies and typical boulevards.
S
econd of 2 nights in Tropea. Tropis Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 12 – FRIDAY May 5
TROPEA – SORRENTO
From Tropea we continue north to the Unesco World Heritage of Paestum, where we take a guided tour of the impressive ruins. The ruins of Paestum are notable for their three ancient Greek temples which are in a very good state of preservation. This afternoon we transfer to splendid Sorrento – our base for the next 3 days as we explore the countryside around about.
First of 4 nights near Sorrento. Hotel Parco del Sole or similar. Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 13 – SATURDAY May 6
ISLE OF CAPRI

Today we take the ferry across to the exotic Isle of Capri. Upon arrival at the port of Marina Grande we take a boat excursion around the island where we will see many of the caves that dot the waterline of this island including the location of the famous “blue grotto cave”. (If the weather is not suitable for our boat ride, we will take a scenic funicular ride) We begin our tour of the island in Ana Capri before descending to the village of Capri, which is built around its world-famous Piazzetta. We give you time to explore the winding alleys, pleasant squares, small cafés and restaurants at your own pace. Later this afternoon we take the ferry back to Sorrento and give you free time to have dinner on your own.

Second of 4 nights near Sorrento. Grand Hotel Parco Del Sole or similar. Breakfast & Lunch.

DAY 14 – SUNDAY May 7
THE AMALFI COAST + WINERY VISIT

Our exploration of the Almalfi Coast starts with a visit to Positano, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the Province of Salerno. We continue on to Ravello, situated on a mountain looking over the Coast of Maori to Amalfi. This afternoon we visit a local winery set in the most beautiful countryside of rolling hills, lush vines and gray-green olive trees. We tour the wine cellars of the winery and receive insights into the local wine-growing traditions. Of course, we also get to sample some beautiful wines!
Third of 4 nights near Sorrento. Hotel Parco del Sole or similar. Breakfast

DAY 15 – MONDAY May 8
POMPEII + SORRENTO
Today we travel to Pompeii by train to have a guided tour of this ancient Roman resort, buried in 79 AD beneath ashes spewed by the still-active volcano of Mount Vesuvius. This afternoon is free for you to relax and/or explore the charming shops and the sights of Sorrento on your own. The city boasts wide pedestrian lanes and squares, elegant shops and cafés.
Fourth of 4 nights near Sorrento. Hotel Parco del Sole or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 16 – TUESDAY May 9
SORRENTO – NAPLES – ROME
Making our way north to Naples, we take a panoramic tour of the largest city in southern Italy including the Castell dell’Ovo, Maschio Angiono, Piazza Plebiscito, Mergellina and Lungomare. Naples is the home of pizza! This morning we take a walking tour of the fascinating medieval town and discover artistic treasures around its charming main squares. This afternoon we drive from Naples to Rome.
Overnight Monastery near the Vatican Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 17 – WEDNESDAY May 10
This morning we fly home to North America, arriving the same afternoon. Those who wish to may add extra days in Rome after the tour or you can JOIN OUR TOUR TO NORTHERN ITALY!


Rome and The Vatican 2 DAY OPTIONAL post-tour extension
$975 per person Canadian
Single supplement :$99

DAY 1: Wednesday May 10

This afternoon on our walking tour, we visit the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and The Trevi Fountain which was built by the architect Salvi in 1735 and decorated by several artists of Bernini’s school. The fountain is not only celebrated for its excellent water but for the legend that whoever throws a coin into the fountain will return to Rome.
First of two nights in a Monastery near the Vatican City. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 2: Thursday May 11
THE VATICAN & COLISEUM

This morning we experience the Vatican City, a state and a city all in one! This is the world’s smallest country, with its largest church and an impressive collection of fine art. We visit the Vatican Museum-founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16 century, The Vatican Museums displays works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. We see Michelangelo’s masterpieces inside the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. We’ll see the master’s best known fresco, the Last Judgement, covering one entire wall of the chapel. In and around the square are Swiss Guards, young Roman Catholic citizens of Switzerland wearing Renaissance-style uniforms in the bright colors of the Medici Popes This afternoon we visit the Coliseum (interior visit), built in 8 years starting in 72 AD and was able to seat upwards of 50,000 spectators. The coliseum was was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. Later, we get an impressive view of the Circus Maximus-during the 2nd century A.D. this site could seat up to 250,000 spectators.
Second of of two nights in a Monastery near the Vatican City. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 3 May 12
FLY HOME
This morning transfer to Rome Airport (FCO) to fly home Breakfast

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