Welcome to Rome, a glorious city filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, renaissance palaces and baroque churches. Transfers depart from Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Relax and settle in before joining your Travel Director at 17:30, and get to know your fellow travellers over a delicious Welcome Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizza, and our guided walk with a Local Expert has it in abundance. Toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon, the best-preserved monument from the Roman period, and enjoy free time to do as the Romans do.Perhaps join a tour to discover the incredibly characteristic Roman quarter of Trastevere?
Meet your Local Expert for a guided visit through the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your priority visit includes fast-tracked entry and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. Continue with your Local Expert to visit St. Peter's Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. Later depart for the picturesque resort of Sorrento, perched upon the southern cliffs of the Bay of Naples and looking over to Mount Vesuvius.
Cruise by hydrofoil through the impossibly blue sea to the sun-drenched island of Capri. On arrival, enjoy an escorted ride in an open-top taxi to Capri Town and meet your Local Expert for an orientation walk through narrow alleyways. Explore Capri with Insight Choice. Choose to visit the immaculate Gardens of Augustus with a Local Expert and admire the views over Faraglioni Rocks. Alternatively, enjoy a tasting of limoncello, Capri's famous lemon liqueur. Descend to the port by funicular, before returning to Sorrento where you are at leisure for the rest of the day.
Start your day in Pompeii, buried in A.D. 79 by the historic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Walk with your Local Expert through the cobbled streets to see a city frozen in time. Venture on to Alberobello.
Admire another of Italy's record number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a Local Expert. The Trulli of Alberobello are circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within. They are built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar. In the evening, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience at Trattoria Terra Madre. Alessandro, the owner, shares his philosophy of using home-grown organic and seasonal produce. See Nonna making orechiette pasta during a demonstration, before a delicious four-course, Farm-to-Table Highlight Dinner.
The day is free for you to enjoy this fascinating town. Perhaps visit Ostuni - reminiscent of a North African Arab Medina - with its stark, whitewashed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and arched stairways? Later, relax and indulge in the amenities of your remarkable hotel.
Journey along the country roads to the ancient town of Matera, specially selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Meet with a Local Expert for an in-depth exploration of the extraordinary Sassi, a complex of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside, the most extensive example of their kind in the Mediterranean. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mel Gibson chose Matera as the setting for his film ‘The Passion of the Christ’. This evening, indulge in a delicious meal at a local restaurant.
In the morning, travel along the Purple Coast to the very toe of Italy and board your ferry bound for Sicily, across the Strait of Messina. According to Grecian legend, this was home to the mythical sea monsters Scylla, a six-headed rock monster, and Charybdis, a whirlpool, based on either side of the strait. Together, they posed an inescapable threat to passing seafarers as avoiding one meant passing too close to the other. You will soon arrive at your hotel where you will spend three glorious nights on the Taormina Riviera. Join a Local Expert for a visit to the Greek Theatre of Taormina, graced with the most spectacular of backdrops. Stroll on to the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina's grandest building. Further along the elegant Corso Umberto, the Piazza IX Aprile offers panoramic views. Take your pick of specially selected restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.
The day is at leisure to relax at your resort's private beach, or perhaps explore the medieval quarter? Don't miss the chance of an optional drive through the national park to Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano.
Early risers may experience what D.H. Lawrence christened the ‘dawn coast of Europe.' The day is free to explore Taormina at your leisure, or to embark on an Optional Experience to Syracuse.In the evening, venture to a local restaurant for a tasty meal accompanied by wine.
Drive to Agrigento and walk along the fortified ridge of the Valley of the Temples, with a Local Expert. See the massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno, overlooking the sea. In the afternoon, continue to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.
Join a historian on a guided walk to see the hidden gems of the old city. Palermo Cathedral has been altered over the years and a venture inside will help you to appreciate the blend of architectural styles. Continue to the amazing Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Normans. Outside, there are few clues to its astonishing interior, completely covered in glittering 12th century mosaics. In the afternoon, there is free time to explore or shop in Palermo or continue sightseeing. In the evening, join your fellow guests and Travel Director at a local restaurant for a Celebration Dinner of delicious local cuisine and wine.
Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone–Borsellino Airport at 06:00 and 08:00.