Experience the scope and radiance of Italy’s sun-soaked south on this one-of-a-kind small group tour! Travel to Campania and the Amalfi Coast, taste the world’s best lemons and limoncello, experience authentic buffalo mozzarella, and become acquainted with some of Italy’s best-kept secrets in Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia and Sicily.
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This out-of-the-beatean-path unique itinerary will take you on an unforgettable journey through some of Italy’s most beautiful regions. As you travel from Campania to Sicily, you’ll discover the incredible culture, history, wine and cuisine of the south and become fully immersed in its magic and charm. In Campania, explore Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, sip Fiano and Greco wines (and fresh limoncello!), and taste authentic buffalo mozzarella. Then, travel further south to two of Italy’s most spectacular regions: Basilicata and Puglia to discover the secrets behind Primitivo, Aglianico and Negroamaro wines, learn about orecchiette, and walk the streets of the UNESCO villages of Matera and Alberobello. Afterwards, continue through Calabria and swim in pristine Tirreno sea water, and finish on the beautiful island of Sicily with extraordinary sites like Mount Etna, Taormina, and the Valle dei Templi.
- Suggested Number of Days: 14 to 21
- Suggested Airports to fly in/out: Naples/Palermo
- Transportation: Private cars and drivers, high-speed trains
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FLEXIBLE ITINERARY STARTING CITY: ROME or NAPLES
Choose to arrive in Rome or Naples and explore these incredible cities before the tour starts. This itinerary starts with a pick up at your arrival airport and a private drive to your hotel in Vietri sul Mare, the southern gate to the Amalfi coast.
IRPINIA WINES & AMALFI COAST FOOD
After breakfast at the hotel, we visit one of the best wineries in the Irpinia DOC appellation, near the town of Avellino, to sample a variety of wines: Fiano, Falanghina, Greco White and Aglianico. In the afternoon, it’s time for anchovies! Anchovies are essential to the southern diet, and are a rich and buttery fish packed with flavour. We visit an anchovy processing plant in the town of Cetara to taste both the freshly-caught and packaged product. Some people say they don’t enjoy the briny and robust flavour of the anchovy, but something tells us it's because they’ve never tasted them fresh!
AMALFI, LEMONS AND POMPEII
Tart, lush and sunny yellow, the lemon is a fitting symbol of Amalfi. In the morning, we tour the beautiful town of Amalfi and discover all about lemons (a regional DOP product) and limoncello liqueur. Lunch is in a lemon grove and finishes with a tasting of chilled limoncello - this aromatic alcoholic drink is the best way to enjoy the pure flavour of lemon without the bitter bite! Afterwards, we spend the afternoon discovering the fascinating history of Pompeii with a visit to the ancient city destroyed 2,000 years ago by Vesuvius, led by a professional local historian.
THE REAL BUFFALO MOZZARELLA
Today, we visit a bufala farm and mozzarella producer in the town of Capaccio because you haven’t really tasted Mozzarella di Bufala until you’ve had it in Campania. This traditional Campanian product is also the star of today’s lunch! Afterwards, we stop in Paestum for a guided tour of the ancient archaeological site, and then depart for one of the beautiful seaside towns of Puglia where we check-in to our hotel for three nights.
UNFORGETTABLE WINE AND SEASONAL FOOD
We’re now in northern Puglia, in the kingdom of the Nero di Troia, a red grape that produces an intense, ruby-coloured wine with elegant tannins and a rich bouquet. We immerse ourselves in the landscape with a visit to one of the prestigious Antinori wineries for a spectacular tasting and meal. This area has very rich soils and locals eat their food right out of the garden – and today, so will we! We’ll experience food from a local family kitchen and visit their traditional “orto” or vegetable garden full of seasonal treasures. Afterwards, there is plenty of time to relax at your hotel!
BASILICATA AND ITS ANCIENT VOLCANIC WINES
It’s time to take in the lesser-known region of Basilicata – a remote hidden gem of Italy with a distinct cultural identity. Basilicata borders Calabria, Puglia and Campania and is known as the most mountainous region of Italy. Today, we get the opportunity to see how this unique landscape influences the local wines as we visit one of the area’s top wineries growing the Aglianico del Vulture grape varietal around the extinct Monte Vulture volcano.
MATERA, ALBEROBELLO AND LECCE
After breakfast, we head south to visit the UNESCO village of Matera, a place truly lost in time. The homes here are known as Sassi, or houses of stone, and were excavated by hand into the side of a gorge, one built on top of the other and connected by an elaborate system of staircases and alleyways. We visit a typical oven or “forno” to discover their ancient cooking methods and sample local bread, pizza, and focaccia fresh from the oven. Then, we follow our local guide for a private tour of the “Sassi” and continue onto Alberobello, known for its famous Trulli houses. You’ll have time to explore on your own in Alberobello. Afterwards, we continue to Lecce, check-in to our hotel for three nights and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
THE ART OF MAKING ORECCHIETTE PASTA
Today, we challenge ourselves to the making of orecchiette – a homemade pasta typical of Puglia. After our cooking class, we enjoy a traditional lunch and guided tour of the historical centre of Lecce, a city affectionately known as “the Florence of the south” due to its ancient romantic beauty, baroque architecture and history. The evening is at your leisure.
ENCOUNTERS WITH THE GREAT PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA
The Manduria region’s distinct wine and food culture is currently attracting a lot of international attention. This hot and dry region is extremely fertile and produces an abundance of olives, wheat, and grapes, all of which grow perfectly. Among the best local grapes are Pampanuto, Bombino Bianco, Bombino Nero and Nero di Troia. Today’s tasting will also involve Primitivo, the king of grapes known for its powerful intensity and opulent red colour. The afternoon and evening are at your leisure.
FROM PUGLIA TO CALABRIA
After breakfast, we check-out of our hotel in Puglia and head south. The full-morning drive brings us to the western coast of Calabria where we check-in to our hotel on the beach. Plenty of time at leisure to enjoy this hidden coastal paradise.
FROM CALABRIA TO SICILY
Today, we head towards the Messina Strait where, without leaving the comfort of a private vehicle, we ride a ferry for 30 minutes to reach the island of Sicily. After we check-in to our hotel, we embark on a guided tour of Siracusa with a local expert guide.
WINE, CHOCOLATE & THE BAROQUE
After breakfast, we check-out and depart for Noto, a famous wine-producing area where we enjoy a special winery tour and tasting. We continue to Modica, an amazing Baroque labyrinth and town famous for its traditionally-made chocolate, which we reach right around lunch time. After lunch at leisure, continue to Catania and check-in to our hotel for two nights.
TAORMINA AND VOLCANIC GRAPES
Set out to discover the wine route of the Mount Etna volcano with a visit to an amazing winery in the Etna DOC appellation where the volcanic soil has an incredible impact on the wines and notably adds minerality and structure. After a fascinating tasting and lunch, we stop in Taormina – a city carved out of mountains with Greek archaeological sites, amphitheatres, wonderful art and views of the sea and Etna. You have time to explore the town, shop in the characteristic “botteghe” and, if you wish, you will have the possibility of visiting the Greek amphitheatre.
THE GREEK SICILY: AGRIGENTO AND VALLE DEI TEMPLI
After breakfast, depart to reach Agrigento. Stop and visit the “Valle dei Templi”, a UNESCO World Heritage site and an incredible example of preserved Greek architecture from the 4th century. This is one of the world’s largest archaeological sites and our professional historian guide, Simona will enlighten us on its remarkable history! In the early evening, we arrive in Marsala/Trapani, our most western island destination, and check-in to our hotel for two nights.
WINE AND SALT: A WINNING COMBINATION
Just as the volcanic soil influenced the terroir at the beginning of your tour, so too does the sea salt in Sicily. Today, visit the “saline” or salt flats to understand the traditional production and history of this product.
MARSALA TO PALERMO: END OF TOUR
After breakfast, we depart for the airport in Palermo where the itinerary ends. You can choose from any number of possible extensions, like in the city of Palermo, at the famous beaches of Mondello or San Vito Lo Capo, to the Aeolian Islands or on the island of Favignana.
JUST ASK US HOW!
INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP
- Private winery tours and tastings in prestigious DOC and DOCG wine appellation areas (Fiano, Falanghina, Greco, Taurasi, Vulture, Primitivo di Manduria, Negroamaro, Nero di Troia, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Marsala, etc.)
- Limoncello sampling experience in Amalfi and visit to a typical "limoneto" with lunch in a lemon grove.
- Visit to the town of Cetara on the Amalfi Coast for a tasting of 'colatura di alici', a Slow Food gourmet delicacy.
- Mozzarella di Bufala DOP production visit and sampling experience.
- Tours of the world-famous archeological sites of Pompeii, Paestum, Taormina and the Greek temples of Agrigento.
- Visit to the famous UNESCO site of "I Sassi di Matera" with an expert local guide.
- Hands-on pasta making class featuring orecchiette pugliesi.
- Walking tour of the city of Lecce with a local guide.
- Visit to Alberobello and the unique Trulli homes.
- Tour and walk on the lava and side craters of Mount Etna.
- Visit to some of the Baroque towns that make up Sicily's Baroque Triangle: Siracusa, Modica and Ragusa.
- Many memorable meals in typical trattorie and ristoranti where you will fully absorb traditional Italian cuisine, customs and lifestyle.
- Hand-picked hotels with every effort made to choose the best-rated available in each destination.
- Breakfasts every morning.
- Comfortable private black Mercedes vehicles with professional licensed drivers.
- Use of professional local guides when touring areas of significant historical / artistic / cultural importance.
- Included are all entrance fees and applicable taxes.
NOT INCLUDED IN OUR ITINERARIES
- Trip cancellation, interruption and medical insurance.
- Gratuities and hotel city taxes.