Sun-drenched Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Naples, Pompeii - to name a few of the highlights. (9 spaces available 23/07)

SICILY & SOUTHERN ITALY: May 9th - 24th 2022 (16 Days)

THIS TOUR CAN BE COMBINED WITH OUR 16-DAY TOUR OF NORTHERN ITALY



LAND TOUR: $6,375 Canadian/person (includes breakfasts + dinners or lunches)


Begins May 9th in Palermo and finishes May 24th in Rome. If you wish to explore these cities more thoroughly, you can choose to add our Rome & Vatican 4-day post-tour (details at the end of our main itinerary below Day 16) or arrive in Palermo a day or more before the tour starts and/or stay on in Rome for a day or more after the tour finishes.


AIRFARE: Our flights specialist estimates the cost of the airfare to be approximately $1,700 Canadian departing Vancouver to Palermo via Toronto and Munich with Air Canada and Lufthansa, returning from Rome (FCO) via Toronto with Air Canada. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN ESTIMATE FROM VANCOUVER AND IS ONLY VALID AT THE TIME OF POSTING. You do NOT have to come to Vancouver to join this tour. We can quote you from any city.


This tour will be escorted by Julie & Norman Bruce. This will be Julie's 6th tour to Italy!

On our relaxing tour of Sicily and Southern Italy we enjoy 2 four-night stays, 1 three-night stay and 1 two-night stay, 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. The main tour can be extended with a 2-day tour of the highlights of Rome (including The Vatican) afterwards - 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 main tour itinerary below.


The Food in Italy!
Each full day of the tour we include breakfast and either dinner or lunch.
One of the great highlights of Italy is its food. The different regions on our tour are famous for their own dishes. Many of these regional cuisines are served at cozy little restaurants that have a wonderful local atmosphere. However, many of these unique restaurants are too small to accommodate groups. On most days we include dinner together as a group but on 2 days we include lunch together and give you the freedom to choose your own special restaurant for dinner. On these 2 evenings, Julie and Norman will make suggestions for restaurants close to our hotels.

Special Note:
This tour is not suitable if you need walking assistance in the form of walking sticks or canes. You must be in reasonably good shape to enjoy this tour – there is a lot of walking and exploring through the back streets of old historic towns where our bus cannot enter. We spend a lot of our time exploring by walking over cobbled streets and around archaeological sites. Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes as some of our walking tours can take up to 3 hours.


Limited to 16 travellers (+ Norman & Julie) ( July 23 2021- We currently have 9 spaces available)


DETAILED ITINERARY:

UPDATED: July 14th, 2021

DAY 1 – Mon May 9th
FLY INTO SICILY

This morning we fly into Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The rest of today is free for you to enjoy this charming city.
First of 4 nights in Palermo. Hotel Piazza Borsa or similar. No meals.

DAY 2 – Tues May 10th
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 3 – Wed May 11th
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 4 – Thurs May 12th
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 you are free to choose your own restaurant for dinner (at your own expense.) Julie and Norman will suggest restaurants for this evening.
Fourth of 4 nights in Palermo. Hotel Piazza Borsa or similar. Breakfast & Lunch.

DAY 5 – Fri May 13th
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 6 – Sat May 14th
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 7 – Sun May 15th
TAORMINA – SYRACUSE – TAORMINA

This morning we make an excursion to the Archaeological Park at Syracuse, where highlights include the Greek Theatre, Latomia del Paradiso and Cave of Dionysus. 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 8 – Mon May 16th
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 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. Grand Hotel De La Ville or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.



DAY 9 – Tues May 17th
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 10 – Wed May 18th
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.
Second of 2 nights in Tropea. Tropis Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.


DAY 11 – Thurs May 19th
TROPEA – SORRENTO

From Tropea we continue north to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Paestum, where we take a guided tour of the impressive ruins. The archaeological site of Paestum is notable for its 3 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 and sites around about.
First of 4 nights near Sorrento. Hotel Parco del Sole or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.


DAY 12 – Fri May 20th
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. Today we enjoy lunch together. 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. This evening you are free to choose your own restaurant for dinner (at your own expense.) Julie and Norman will suggest restaurants for this evening.

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


DAY 13 – Sat May 21st
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 & Dinner.





DAY 14 – Sun May 22nd
POMPEII + SORRENTO

Today we travel to Pompeii by train for 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 15 – Mon May 23rd
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 in Rome: Santa Maria Alle Fornaci Monastery or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.


DAY 16 – Tues May 24th
This morning we fly home to North America, arriving the same afternoon. Breakfast at our hotel ,if not leaving too early.

We have NOT included in the main tour any time in Rome itself because many members of the group will have visited the Italian capital before. Those who wish to may add extra days in Rome after the tour or you can JOIN OUR ROME & VATICAN TOUR (below.)


Optional Rome & The Vatican 4-day post-tour extension:

May 24th – 27th 2022

$1,230 Canadian/person

$185 Single supplement


Day 1 - Tues May 24th +
Day 2 - Wed May 25th
Two free days for you to enjoy the "Eternal City" at your own pace.
First + second of 4 nights in Rome. Santa Maria Alle Fornaci Monastery or similar. Breakfast only.


DAY 3 - Thurs May 26th
This afternoon on our walking tour (4 to 5 hours), 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.
Third of 4 nights in Rome. Santa Maria Alle Fornaci Monastery or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 4 - Fri May 27th
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 16th Century, The Vatican Museum displays works from the immense art 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), which was built in 8 years starting in 72 AD and was able to seat upwards of 50,000 spectators. The Coliseum 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.
Fourth of 4 nights in Rome. Santa Maria Alle Fornaci Monastery or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 5 - Sat May 28th
This morning we fly home to North America, arriving the same afternoon. Breakfast at our hotel ,if not leaving too early.

TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Accommodation mainly in 4-Star and good 3-Star hotels. All our hotels have en-suite bathrooms and heating/cooling. Many are in wonderful old buildings which are a feature of the towns where we stay.
  • Land transport by our own coach and by ferry.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Tipping for Driver & Guides.
  • Breakfast + Dinner daily (except on Thurs May 12th and Fri May 20th, when we include lunches instead of dinners.)
  • Guiding by Royal Heights tour leaders Julie and Norman Bruce with assistance of our expert Italian local guides in each area.


NOT INCLUDED:

  • Visa fees. Canadian passport holders do NOT currently require a visa for Italy. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you leave the Schengen Area (i.e. until at least August 23rd 2022, if you are returning to Canada directly after finishing our Southern Italy tour.)
  • Lunches (except on Thurs May 12th and Fri May 20th, when we include LUNCH instead of dinner.)
  • We do NOT include porterage. Porters MAY be available to help you with your suitcase and you should be prepared to tip them if you use their services. Please only bring one piece of luggage per person and make sure your luggage has wheels so you can move your own luggage when necessary.
  • Trip Cancellation / Interruption and Medical Insurance. This insurance is strongly recommended. We can put you in touch with our insurance expert for a quote.
  • Single Supplement charge, if requested ($1,580 Canadian)
  • Personal Expenses such as souvenirs, laundry and drinks not included at meals.
  • Arrival & departure transfers. We can arrange individual or group transfers when you have confirmed the arrival & departure times of your flights. Please contact us for a quote.

FLIGHTS:

From Vancouver, our flight specialist suggests flights to Palermo via Toronto and Munich with Air Canada and Lufthansa, returning from Rome (FCO) via Toronto with Air Canada. You do NOT have to come to Vancouver to join this tour. You are welcome to book your own flights or we can put you in touch with our flights specialist who can book flights for you from any city. Please let us know.

SINGLE TRAVELERS:

Our published price is based on 2 people sharing a room. If you would like to share, we will do our best to find you a roommate. The EARLIER you pay your deposit, the more likely we are to be able to find you a roommate. If you wish to be guaranteed a single room, there is a Single Supplement charge of $1,580 Canadian. Those people traveling alone but wishing to share will be informed 3 months prior to departure if a roommate is not currently available. At that point, you will be invoiced for the Single Supplement. If a roommate subsequently joins the tour, your single supplement will be refunded with the final documentation.


PAYMENT:

Land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours. You can secure your place on the tour with a $400 per person non-refundable deposit. We take payment by cheque, VISA or Mastercard for the $400 /person deposit. Your invoice for your Land tour will be e-mailed to you in early February 2022. Payment will be due by March 9th 2022. Price quoted is for FINAL PAYMENT by cheque. Should you wish to pay the outstanding amount for the LAND tour by credit card there will be an administration fee of 2.5% on the outstanding amount.

SPECIAL NOTES:

  • Our office staff are not medically qualified to advise you on which immunizations you require. Please consult your local travel health clinic.
  • You MUST be in good physical condition to join this tour. We enjoy a lot of walking tours of smaller towns where our bus cannot travel. A number of the towns are on hilltops and cliffsides. Our guided tours of art galleries and museums can be 2-3 hours in length.
  • Please make sure your luggage has wheels so you can move it easily yourself.

BC Travel Registration # 3379

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.