Italian Peninsula and Sicily 17 days Escorted Tour
17 Days/16 Nights
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Assisi, Siena, Florence, Bologna, Padua, Venice, Tuscany Countryside, Montepulciano, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Palermo, Monreale, Erice, Marsala, Mazara del Vallo, Agrigento, Noto, Siracusa, Taormina, Giardini di Naxos or surroundings, Mount Etna, Savoca, Forza d'Agrò, Catania
DAY 01: ROME, ASSISI, SIENA, FLORENCE
You'll be picked up at the assigned meeting point in the historical center of Rome at 7:15 am, by motor coach, to start your sightseeing tour. The first stop will be in charming Assisi, where you'll have free time to wander the streets. We suggest you to visit the Basilica of St. Francis, home of the famous saint. After you enjoy lunch (not included) the tour will continue through the Tuscan hill country. Next stop will be Siena. Known for its rich medieval history and the Palio horse race in the famous Piazza del Campo, you'll want to take plenty of pictures here as you walk in its lovely historical center. Later in the afternoon, the bus will continue to Florence, where you'll have dinner and get a good night's rest.
DAY 02: FLORENCE
The day starts with breakfast, to prepare you for a pleasant day, and continues with a tour of Florence. Called the Cradle of the Renaissance, you will marvel at Florence's art, architecture and churches created by the Masters. You'll stop at the Florence Cathedral called Duomo, with its Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery, with doors so beautiful that Michelangelo called them the Gates of Paradise. The Piazza Della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio and the Santa Croce Basilica are also on the tour. Lunch on your own (not included). The afternoon will be at your leisure, where you can choose to shop or visit the Accademia Gallery with the famous Michelangelo’s David or the Uffizi Gallery (optional, not included). You may decide you'd rather go on an optional tour of Pisa, and see its famous leaning tower and adjoining Cathedral and Piazza dei Miracoli (optional, not included). In the evening you'll enjoy dinner and a final night in Florence.
DAY 03: FLORENCE, BOLOGNA, PADUA, VENICE
You'll enjoy breakfast, before boarding the motor coach to Bologna. Bologna is a mostly pedestrian city, so you will be able to take magnificent pictures of the Podesta Palace, Piazza del Nettuno and the Basilica of San Petronio. After lunch (not included), you'll continue on to Padua, home to many beautiful churches and the oldest botanical garden in the world. You'll stop at the Basilica of St Anthony, with its many lovely frescoes. The motor coach will then continue on to Venice, known for its beauty, art and gondolas. You'll have dinner and spend the night in Venice.
DAY 04: VENICE
After breakfast, you will start your day reaching St. Mark's Square for a visit of its famous Basilica (interior visit) and the Doge palace (external visit). The Bridge of Sighs is also nearby, which connects to the prison where Casanova was held for 5 years. The afternoon is free, giving you time for some shopping, take a tour to Murano Island with its glass workshops, enjoy a Bellini in front of the Grand Canal or tour a museum (optional, not included). Dinner will be with the group and you'll spend the night in Venice.
DAY 05: VENICE, TUSCANY, MONTEPULCIANO, ROME
Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel, and, afterwards, you'll board the motor coach to Tuscany. Make sure the batteries in your camera are charged, as you will want to take many, many pictures! You'll see the rolling landscapes, charming farm houses and churches and magnificent castles. The group will stop in Montepulciano, a town rich in art and history, where you'll free time to explore the town at your leisure and perhaps taste the local wine and food. The motor coach will continue back to Rome. Arrival in Rome in the evening and check in at your Hotel accommodation. Dinner on your own. Overnight at Rome Hotel.
DAY 06: ROME
After breakfast, you will take part of a Vatican Tour. You'll visit the Vatican Museums skipping the long queue at the entrance, admire the magnificent Sistine Chapel and the St. Peter Basilica and Square. Free time for lunch and remainder of the afternoon to enjoy at leisure. You have the chance to shop, enjoy a gelato or visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to immerse yourself in the ancient Rome. (optional, not included). Dinner on your own and overnight at your Rome Hotel.
DAY 07: ROME
You'll enjoy breakfast at the hotel, and a free day in Rome to discover the hidden treasures of the Eternal City on your own pace and preference. Ask us if you would like some suggestions: perhaps a stroll in the characteristic market of Campo dei Fiori and a cooking class or a visit of the Catacombs are just few examples of what you can do to explore more in depth Rome. Dinner on your own and overnight at your hotel in Rome.
DAY 08: ROME, NAPLES, POMPEII, SORRENTO
You'll enjoy breakfast at the hotel and the motor coach will depart to Naples, traveling along the Sun Route motorway, through the regions of Lazio and Campania. There will be a panoramic city tour of Naples, showing the Mergellina, Castel dell'Ovo, Plebiscito Square, the Royal Palace, Maschio Angioino and the port. You'll enjoy lunch on the way to Pompeii, where you'll visit the famous archeological excavations of the ancient Pompeii, destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption in AD 79. Afterwards, we'll drive along the Sorrentine coast and arrive in Sorrento for dinner and the night.
DAY 09: SORRENTO, CAPRI, SORRENTO
After breakfast, we'll board the ferry to the Isle of Capri (sea conditions permitting), and take the small rowboats to enter the famous Blue Grotto (sea and wheater conditions permitting). You'll have free time to enjoy this charming island, and lunch with the group in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we will return to Sorrento for dinner and overnight at your Hotel accommodation.
DAY 10: SORRENTO, PALERMO with overnight Ferry transfer
You'll enjoy breakfast and free time this morning, to go shopping, enjoy lunch or to write your postcards. In the afternoon, we'll depart to Naples dock where you will board the Ferry (operated by Tirrenia or Snav) to Palermo. Overnight ferry boat transfer from Naples to Palermo in private cabin. Dinner and breakfast are not included during your boat transfer.
DAY 11: PALERMO
Breakfast will be on your own (not included), before the boat docks. You'll arrive in Palermo in the morning and transfer to the hotel. Afterwards, you'll have the day to yourself, to rest, explore and indulge in this colorful capital of Sicily. Dinner will be had with the group and you'll spend the night in the hotel.
DAY 12: PALERMO, MONREALE
After a nice breakfast, you'll visit the ancient town of Monreale, including its beautiful cathedral and abbey. You'll then return to Palermo, where you'll be taken on a guided tour of the city. The afternoon will be free to do as you please, and you'll return to the hotel for dinner with the group and a good night's sleep.
DAY 13: PALERMO, ERICE, MARSALA, AGRIGENTO
After breakfast, you'll depart for Erice, situated on 700 mt above sea level with breathtaking panoramas and proceed to tour the historical remains of the Phoenicians and the Normans. The tour continues to Marsala, where you will have free time to visit this seaside resort known for its wines growth. We will then pass by the fishing port of Mazara del Vallo and the tour will stop for the day in Agrigento, home to the Valley of the Temples You'll wander the temples of Juno, Concorde, Hercules and Jupiter and marvel at the majesty of the ruins (admission included). You'll have dinner and spend the night in Agrigento.
DAY 14: AGRIGENTO, NOTO, SIRACUSA, TAORMINA (GIARDINI NAXOS or surroundings)
After breakfast, the tour will leave for Noto, an exquisite town full of beautiful churches and baroque buildings. You will have plenty of free time to walk the streets and take pictures. Next, the tour will stop in Siracusa, where you'll visit the Greek Amphitheater, Dionysus Ear and the Roman Theater (admission included). You'll also visit the Island of Ortigia, the baroque and medieval heart of the town. In the afternoon you will arrive in Taormina area, where you will eat dinner and spend the night at your Hotel in the Giardini di Naxos or Letojanni.
DAY 15: TAORMINA (GIARDINI NAXOS or surroundings)
Breakfast will be had with the group and, afterwards, you'll go on an excursion to Mount Etna. The largest active volcano in Europe will excite you as you climb up to 1800 meters on its summit (Weather permitting). You'll return to Taormina and to your Hotel in the surroundings for dinner and a well earned night's sleep.
DAY 16: TAORMINA (GIARDINI NAXOS or surroundings); SAVOCA and FORZA D'AGRÒ, CATANIA
After breakfast, we will drive off the beaten path and discover the atmosphere of the Sicilian small towns. We will visit Savoca and Forza d'Agrò, two small unspoiled villages famous for the Godfather’s movies, where you can discover the slow life and the traditions of the Sicilian inland. Here don’t forget to taste the delicious Sicilian lemon granite. Later we will head to Catania, where after check in at your noew hotel, you will have the free afternoon to explore its historical center, listed in the Unesco heritage sites.
Return to your hotel Catania for the last dinner with your travel party and overnight sleep.
DAY 17: CATANIA
After breakfast, the tour, and our services, will end.