Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily - Insight Vacations

Country Roads of Southern Italy and Sicily (Summer 2017)

Duration: 15 days Visiting: Italy

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Experience the treasures of Rome, Pompeii and the Neapolitan Riviera, the unique ‘trulli' houses of Alberobello and the Sassi di Matera, and the rich heritage of Sicily.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome

    On arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, your airport shuttle service leaves for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 & 15:30. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

  3. Day 3

    Rome with the Locals

    Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking tour in the morning 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, or perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum?

  4. Day 4

    VIP Vatican and onto Sorrento

    In the morning, meet a Local Expert for a guided tour through the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-track entry and the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican closed to the general public. Later depart for the picturesque resort of Sorrento.

  5. Day 5

    Exploring Capri, the Isle of Dreams

    Wake up full of anticipation for your trip to Capri - the Isle of Dreams, where you will meet your Local Expert. Under the Mediterranean sun, ride up to the town by funicular railway, where you can explore the narrow alleyways, browse in exclusive boutiques and enjoy the views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Descend to the port in one of the island's iconic open-top taxis before returning to Sorrento. Investigate the art of 'intarsio' or marquetry wood inlaying before returning to your hotel.

  6. Day 6

    Pompeii, Matera and Alberobello

    Start your day in Pompeii, buried in AD79 by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Walk with your Local Expert through the cobbled streets. Later, venture along country roads to Matera, with a Local Expert enjoy in-depth exploration of the extraordinary ‘Sassi' - troglodyte dwellings and churches dug out of the rock, 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'. Continue on to Alberobello.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    The Trulli of Alberobello and Castellaneta Experience

    (Relaxed Start) In the morning, with a Local Expert, admire another of Italy's record number of World Heritage sites, the Trulli of Alberobello - circular structures with conical roofs and domed within, built with local limestone and stacked without using mortar. Head to medieval Castellaneta, birth place of Rudolph Valentino where in an underground cellar, you will witness a pasta making demonstration of the local Orecchiette pasta with Chef Pino, followed by a highlight lunch, including the local Primitivo wine and Burrata cheese, both specialities from Puglia. After lunch, see Castellaneta's picturesque Great Ravine before returning to Alberobello where the rest of the day is free.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Alberobello at Leisure

    (Relaxed Start) The day is free for you to enjoy this fascinating town. Perhaps visit Ostuni - reminiscent of a North African Arab Medina - with its stark, white-washed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and arched stairways? Later, relax and indulge in the facilities of your Signature hotel.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Journey South to Maratea

    (Relaxed Start) The local roads take you south to the coastal town of Maratea. Known as 'the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian', its beautiful and peaceful location has offered an idyllic hideaway for many of the rich and famous over the years, including Frank Sinatra and Princess Diana. After checking into your hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure, so you may wish to spend it relaxing on one of its many pocket-sized beaches or sipping cocktails with the jet-set at the stylish harbour.

  10. Day 10

    To Sicily and the Taormina Riviera

    In the morning, travel along the Purple Coast to the very toe of Italy and board your ferry bound for Sicily. According to ancient legend, it was here at the Straits of Messina where the twin whirlpools of Scylla and Charybdis carried unwary seafarers away to their doom! 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, 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. In the evening, take your pick of specially selected restaurants for your Dine-Around evening.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Taormina and the Dawn Coast of Europe

    (Relaxed Start) 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 vineyards to Mt Etna, Europe's largest volcano, plus a stop in Savoca, the village used for the filming of The Godfather.

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    Free Time on the Taormina Riviera

    (Relaxed Start) 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, to witness Caravaggio's painting the 'Burial of St. Lucy'.

  13. Day 13

    Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples and on to Palermo

    Drive to Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily, where the Valley of the Temples once formed part of the ancient Greek colony of Akragas. Meet with a Local Expert and walk along the fortified ridge of the Valley of the Temples. Especially impressive are the massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno, overlooking the sea. In the afternoon, continue to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.

  14. Day 14

    Palermo and the Golden Age of the Normans

    Join a historian to see the highlights of the city. Pass the huge Teatro Massimo to the Baroque Quattro Canti Square and glimpse the beauties of the ‘fountain of shame'. Palermo Cathedral has been altered over the years - venture inside to appreciate the composite of architectural styles. Journey on 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. At night, join your fellow guests for an unforgettable Celebration Dinner of delicious local cuisine, wine and music.

  15. Day 15

    Depart Palermo

    Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Airport at 06:00 & 08:00.




  • Rome: Gain VIP access to the Vatican Museums and be among the select few to admire the famous Bramante Staircase. Admire the Popes' treasure-trove and confront the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Rome: Sightsee the local way with a leisurely passeggiata through the backstreets, where a friend in Rome will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town.
  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to this famous isle and in the style of the jet-set, ride up to town by open-top taxi. Your Local Expert will show you around the narrow alleyways and exclusive boutiques.
  • Matera: Visit the famous ‘Sassi' or cave dwellings, which were home to about 20,000 people until 1950.
  • Taormina: Set on a cliff, open to the sky, take your seats in the ancient Greek theatre and enjoy the view through the crumbling arches to snowy Mount Etna.
  • Agrigento: A Local Expert will lead you through the magnificent remains of the Greek colony in the Valley in the Temples.
  • Palermo: Walk through the Palace of the Normans to stand in the jewel-like Palatine chapel for a close-up look at some of the finest examples of Norman art.


  • Rome: Enjoy a private guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica.
  • Alberobello: Explore the unique Trulli buildings. Join in the social ritual of ‘La Passeggiata'.
  • Taormina: Visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile.
  • Palermo: See Quattro Canti Square. Visit Palermo Cathedral.
  • Taormina: Visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile.
  • Sorrento: Explore this delightful resort.
  • Scenic Drives: Apennines, Calabria mountains, Sorrento cliff top road, Capri corniche.


  • Castellaneta: In an underground cellar in medieval Castellaneta, enjoy a pasta making demonstration followed by a delicious lunch with wine and burrata cheese.
  • Taormina: Choose from our handpicked selection of local restaurants for your Dine-Around evening, each with its own ambience and distinctive cuisine.
  • Palermo: Enjoy fresh, rustic dishes served with local wine at your Celebration Dinner.
  • 13 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Highlight Lunches (HL), 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 2 three-course table d’hôte Dinners (DW), 1 Dine-Around (DA), 1 Restaurant Dinner (RD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.


  • Alberobello: The signature La Chiusa di Chietri hotel is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
  • Giardini Naxos: Overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Hilton Giardini Naxos boasts traditional Mediterranean hospitality and fabulous rooms and facilities.


  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

Masseria Dinner

Puglia is a food lovers paradise, famous for its local dishes using the freshest of ingredients! Tonight it's off to the countryside to a local 'Masseria', a typical ancient fortified 'Farmhouse' of Puglia. We enjoy an incredible, authentic Puglian style dinner in a beautiful setting! A wonderful 'country roads' experience all served up with great wines form this region!

Adult Price: EUR 54.00

Code: ALB0001

The White Town of Ostuni and Olive Mill

With its stark white-washed buildings, narrow cobbled streets and arched stairways, Ostuni is reminiscent of a North African Arab Medina. Perched high above the beautiful sea, the ‘White Town’ is a photographer’s delight. Then, we'll visit a Mill to taste the renowned olive oil produced in this area that incorporates olives from the ancient groves of Puglia!

Adult Price: EUR 30.00

Code: ALB0002

Dinner in Palermo

We'll dine al fresco tonight in one of the narrow alleys of La Cala, the ancient port of Palermo. Adjacent to the sixteenth-century walls of the Royal Foundry and away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Sicilian dining is one of life's true pleasures! We'll indulge in great food made from the freshest ingredients, accompanied by the island's delicious wines.

Adult Price: EUR 60.00

Code: PAL0001

Hidden Palermo

Walk the ancient streets of the historical centre and learn, through the eyes of a local, how the Palermitani live. You’ll discover hidden treasures of this fascinating city that most visitors don't get to see, like a private visit to the palace of the family of the Counts of Palermo, whom we’ll meet and who will share their amazing experiences with us. This unique tour also includes a drink and light snacks.

Adult Price: EUR 46.00

Code: PAL0005

Rome By Night - Illuminations Drive

Join your Tour Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!

Adult Price: EUR 19.00

Code: ROM0001

Guided Visit To Colosseum & Roman Forum

With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive! n.b. On the first Sunday of the month, the price of this optional experience will be reduced.

Adult Price: EUR 52.00

Code: ROM0003

Rome Of The Ancient Christians

Outside the ancient Roman city walls we visit the early Christian Catacombs, underground cemetries carved out of soft Tufa Stone. Nearby we also visit one of the major basilicas of Rome, St Pauls Outside the Walls. The burial place of St Paul the Apostle, famous for its Byzantine Mosaics. On some departures the Christian Catacombs are offered with a visit to St Peter in Chains to view the magnificent 'Moses' sculpture by Michelangelo, (instead of St Pauls).

Adult Price: EUR 38.00

Code: ROM0006

Island Tour of Capri

Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise around the island. View the beautiful grottos and unique coastline before ascending to Capri town. This optional experience is weather dependent and may be replaced by a minibus tour of the Island with a visit to Anacapri and the Villa San Michele.

Adult Price: EUR 41.00

Code: SOR0001

Sorrento Evening

A chance to enjoy a delicious dinner of local specialities. We arrive at one of the area's unique local restaurants for an incredible dining experience featuring some of the famous dishes of this region!

Adult Price: EUR 61.00

Code: SOR0002

Amalfi Coast Drive & Positano Visit

Drive along the clear blue waters and picturesque resorts of the Amalfi Coast, arguably the most glamorous and scenic stretch of coast in Europe. Minibuses wind their way down serpentine roads to the exclusive artists' paradise of Positano, clinging to the cliff face, as if about to cascade into the turquoise waters below. Spend time exploring the elegant shops, watching the artists at work, or enjoying an 'aperitivo' in a beach side cafe.

Adult Price: EUR 43.00

Code: SOR0004

Mt Etna & The Godfather

Join a local expert to experience the unhurried pace of life in this rustic village chosen by Frances Ford Coppola for scenes in his movie “The Godfather”. Amid stunning mountain views, visit the charming wedding church and Bar Vitelli, where Al Pacino fell in love (famous for its ice cold granita di limone!) Then continue to Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. Ascend through the lush fertile foothills to the craters and barren lunar landscapes nearer the top. The views over the eastern Sicilian coast and Ionian Sea are spectacular.

Adult Price: EUR 56.00

Code: TAO0001

Dinner in the Clouds

With one of the most incredible rides of your lives, you will arrive high above the sea, a world apart from the areas that tourists tread. You'll arrive in your terraced authentic local restaurant for a truly educational meal of delicious regional specialties, with accompanying local wines.

Adult Price: EUR 68.00

Code: TAO0003

The Power Of Syracuse

Visit Syracuse, at one stage even more powerful than Athens. One of the most influential cities of "magna grecia". The fascinating archaeological remains give you an inkling of the glories of its past. Move on to Ortigia, the beautiful medieval island with one of the most symbolic churches of Sicily, combining paganism and the transition to Christianity. The quaint shorefront, the whitewashed buildings and the baroque influence - it's a must.

Adult Price: EUR 50.00

Code: TAO0004



Veneto Palace Hotel Rome

Rome (Traditional) - Italy

The elegant 4-star Veneto Palace hotel is located in one of the most elegant parts of the historical centre.

Hotel Michelangelo Sorrento

Sorrento (Central) - Italy

Hotel Michelangelo, Sorrento

Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri Alberobello

Alberobello (Contemporary) - Italy

The Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings.

Grand Hotel Di Maratea Pianetamaratea Maratea

Maratea (Central/Scenic) - Italy

Grand Hotel Di Maratea Pianetamaratea, Maratea

Hilton Giardini Naxos

Giardini Naxos (Scenic) - Italy

Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel Palermo

Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel (Traditional) - Italy

This charming hotel is located in the heart of the historical centre of the city, close to one of the main shopping streets in Palermo.


Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on 7784 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 15 November, 2017


    Trip: Great local and overall tour guides, Sights were well selected and we had adequate time at each. Food selections were great! Options from day 1 arrival at airport to hotel should be provided. All hotel rooms should be outside facing.

    Service: Very well organized, set expectations well. However, even if a connection in Europe is "legal" it may not be practical. It would be helpful if options were provided.

  • 08 November, 2017


    Trip: I wish we had 3 nights in Sorrento and only 2 nights in Alberobello. There were so many add on excursions that if you tried to do it all, you missed the cities you stayed in. Luckily I didn't go on the Amalfi coast and therefore I discovered Sorrento at my leisure. The people who took the excursions missed Sorrento. That was one of my favorite places. Alberobello was in the middle of nowhere and unless you went on an excursion, you were stuck at the hotel. The breakfasts were fantastic!!! Although, I was a bit disappointed in most of the dinners. Most of them had small portions of many types of food. I'd rather have had a plate of lasagna or eggplant instead of all the tapas type foods.

    Service: Yes would go again. Liked the wifi on the bus. Liked the extra legroom. Liked the luggage transfer. Francis was an excellent tour guide. He could have been a History professor! Everything ran smoothly and efficiently. Next time I will be more choosy as to the excursions so I have more time to explore on my own.

  • 04 November, 2017


    Trip: This was our first visit to Southern Italy and Sicily. The itinerary covered quite an expansive area, but we enjoyed seeing these areas. The pacing was doable for the most part; perhaps a rating of the walking (much of which was uphill)!would be helpful for clients. Our children had suggested that my Husband and I both take canes. We used these for balance and feel this might be something to suggested to your clients. We felt our Tour Director and our Driver were both top notch. And that our local guides were knowledgable, engaging, and spoke English extremely well. We will recommend Insight to family and friends. Interesting to us was that several people on this tour were on the third, fourth, and even fifth Insight Tour. This speaks highly of the work you all are doing. Please keep up this excellent work.

    Service: The personnel in Rome at our reception was helpful and efficient. I also had a positive experience with a phone call. The woman I spoke with was pleasant and assuring.

  • 03 November, 2017


    Trip: Filled all expectations and more

    Service: Holiday was close to perfect. Tour director was professional, friendly, well organised, aware of individuals needs and limitations. He also had very good sense of humour.Itineary was great with wonderful cultural and historical experiences.

  • 03 November, 2017


    Trip: Trip was terrific. Everything perfect from the accomodations, meals and management of the trip by the tour director. I will only travel with Insight in the future. Thank you for everything. My wife and I will never forget our 35th wedding anniversary.

    Service: Outstanding tour. Our director was awesome. Daniele Nanneti was outstanding.

  • 03 November, 2017


    Trip: We really enjoyed the entire trip. It was enjoyable experiencing the culture of the areas visited. Daniele was an excellent tour director - he made each excursion memorable.

    Service: They were a great help when booking our trip.

  • 03 November, 2017


    Trip: Fantastic itinerary - got the really enjoy the areas traveled thanks to the superb expertise of Danielle Nannetti and Carlo

    Service: They were reachable when we had problems with our flights and miss the first day of our tour. However, they did not offer any help and left use on our own to get to Rome to join the tour which resulted in extra cost

  • 03 November, 2017


    Trip: The tour had an excellent tour director and driver and was very scenic with a very good schedule. Plenty to see and do with a lot of historical sights and time to relax.

    Service: Have traveled with Insight three times and had great experiences each time. The tour directors have all been excellent and very knowledgeable with nothing being to much trouble for them. The drivers of the coaches have all been first class and make the passengers feel comfortable and safe. I would not hesitate to recommend Insight Vacations to anyone.

  • 30 October, 2017


    Trip: We had time to enjoy each place we visited. Not rushed. Hotels we very nice.

    Service: Our trip guide and local guides did a marvelous job. They were very knowledgeable and pleasant. I wouls rcommend Insight Vacations to others.

  • 25 October, 2017


    Trip: Most visits were historically interesting but would have liked more free time.

    Service: Well organised. Friendly staff. Would recommend

  • 20 October, 2017


    Trip: A beautiful part of Italy. Really enjoyed seeing so many new places

    Service: Booking handled by AAA. No problems

  • 20 October, 2017


    Trip: The places we visited were big sites (Rome, Sorrento and Taormina) and places I had never heard of (Maratea and Alberobello). The weather was excellent and the views from the Hilton hotel were wonderful!

    Service: The tours offer a lot of information and history about the countries we visit and the meals and travel in the coach are fun. The sites are places I have always heard about and have wanted to see for myself.

NB: Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Note prices displayed reflect available discounted rates (i.e. Early Payment Discount, Last Minute Deals). All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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