Country Roads of Southern Italy and Sicily

Italy

Country Roads

Country Roads of Southern Italy & Sicily (Summer 2019)

Duration: 14 days Visiting: Italy

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

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

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

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.

    On arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, complimentary transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Join your Travel Director and fellow guests at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine at a family run restaurant near Via Veneto.

  2. Day 2

    Rome with the Locals.

    Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and our included walking exploration 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 an unknown quarter of Rome, Trastevere?

  3. Day 3

    VIP Vatican, St. Peters Basilica and onto Sorrento.

    Meet your Local Expert, for a guided visit through the Vatican Museums, culminating beneath Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP 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.

  4. Day 4

    Exploring Capri, the Isle of Dreams.

    Wake up full of anticipation for your trip to Capri, the Isle of Dreams. Meet your Local Expert and cruise to the island. Under the Mediterranean sun, ride up to Capri 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 and return to Sorrento where rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.

  5. Day 5

    Pompeii, Matera and Alberobello.

    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. 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’. Venture on to Alberobello.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    The Trulli of 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, meet the owner of Trattoria Terra Madre, who will share his philosophy of using only organic, seasonal produce that he grows himself. See Nonna making orecchiette pasta, before savouring the fresh flavours of your Farm-to-Table Highlight Dinner.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Alberobello at Leisure.

    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 remarkable hotel.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Journey South to Maratea.

    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 afternoon is free for you to enjoy at your leisure, you may wish to spend it relaxing on one of Maratea's many pocket-sized beaches or sipping cocktails with the jet-set at the stylish harbour. A delicious Italian meal is served with wine at your resort.

  9. Day 9

    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 across the Strait of Messina. 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 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.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Free time on the Taormina Riviera.

    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 Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano, and a stop in Savoca, the village used for the filming of The Godfather.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    The dawn coast of Europe.

    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, where you can witness Caravaggio's celebrated painting, the 'Burial of St. Lucy'. In the evening, venture to a local restaurant for a tasty meal accompanied by wine.

  12. Day 12

    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. The massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno, overlooking the sea, are especially impressive. In the afternoon, continue to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.

  13. Day 13

    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 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.

  14. Day 14

    Depart Palermo.

    Your journey draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Palermo Falcone–Borsellino Airport at 06:00 and 08:00.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Rome: Explore the backstreets of Rome and experience local life, alongside a passionate Roman who will explain how modern life takes place around ancient treasures like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, the Living Room of Rome.
  • Vatican City: 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 witness the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel before venturing inside St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's Pietà, and the splendid dome.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum. You will also see other medieval buildings, including Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered throughout the city.
  • Sorrento: Perched upon the cliffs, lookout to see the mighty Mount Vesuvious across the Bay of Naples.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of this ill-fated town.
  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to this famous isle through beautiful blue Mediterranean waters to meet your Local Expert.
  • Isle of Capri: Wander through the narrow streets led by your Local Expert and see all the boutiques as you enjoy captivating sea views.
  • Isle of Capri: In unique style, ascend by open-top taxi and return to the port by funicular.
  • Matera: Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and see famous Sassi or cave dwellings, which were home to about 20,000 people until 1950.
  • Matera: With your Local Expert explore this town that Mel Gibson chose as the setting for his film 'The Passion of the Christ.'
  • Alberobello: With your Local Expert, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the Trulli of Alberobello. Circular structures with conical roofs that are domed within, built from local limestone and stacked without using mortar.
  • Maratea: Wander through the rugged streets with your Travel Director to see why this peaceful little coastal town has been named the pearl of the Tyrrhenian sea.
  • Straits of Messina: Cross to Sicily by ferry.
  • Taormina Riviera: Visit the ancient Greek Ampitheatre with your Local Expert. Set on a cliff, open to the sky, take your seats and enjoy the view through the crumbling arches to snowy Mount Etna.
  • Taormina Riviera: During your orientation with your Travel Director, visit the courtyard of Palazzo Corvaja, seat of the first Sicilian parliament, and stroll along Corso Umberto to Piazza IX Aprile.
  • Agrigento: A Local Expert will lead you through the magnificent remains of the Greek colony in the Valley in the Temples. See the massive Temple of Concord and clifftop Temple of Juno.
  • Palermo: With a local historian, see the Teatro Massimo en route to Quattro Canti Square to glimpse the Fountain of Shame.
  • Palermo: Visit Palermo Cathedral and walk through the Palace of the Normans to stand in the jewel-like Palatine chapel for an up-close look at some of the finest examples of Norman art.
  • Scenic Drives: Admire the beauty of southern Italy as you travel along the Bay of Naples, past the Apennines and Calabria mountains, along Sorrento cliff top road and Capri corniche and later see the picturesque Great Ravine of Catellaneta.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Alberobello: Meet the owner of Trattoria Terra Madre, who will share his philosophy of using only organic, seasonal produce that he grows himself. See Nonna making orecchiette pasta, before savouring the fresh flavours of your Farm-to-Table Highlight Dinner.
  • Taormina Riviera: Choose from our handpicked selection of local restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening, each with its own ambience and distinctive cuisine.
  • Palermo: At a local restaurant, enjoy fresh, rustic dishes served with local wine at your Celebration Dinner.
  • Dining Summary: 13 Breakfasts (B) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

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

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

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.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Rome By Night - Illuminations Drive

Join your Travel 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

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

Discovering Trastevere

Get off the beaten track and explore Rome’s most untouched medieval neighbourhood, Trastevere. One of Rome's most consistently unchanged medieval neighbourhoods, Trastevere is dotted with ancient and dimly lit churches, crumbling buildings and streets barely wide enough for a Fiat. With our local expert, we’ll explore the medieval labyrinth of alleyways and pause from time to time to take in this very atmospheric area. A maze of food shops, art galleries, cafes, apartment buildings and pretty squares, this district was once rather run-down and working-class, but has now become one of the city's liveliest and most popular neighbourhoods!

Adult Price: EUR 31.00

Code: ROM0020

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 44.00

Code: SOR0004

Island Tour of Capri

Experience the spectacular cliffs and famous turquoise waters of Capri during a relaxing cruise to the most beautiful part of the island, the southern side. View the beautiful grottoes 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 42.00

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

The Caves of Castellana

The Grotte di Castellana are one of the most amazing natural wonders of Puglia. Formed about 90 million years ago, the caves are an incredible vision of stalactites, stalagmites and canyons formed by a miracle of nature. The eccentric stalactites here defy the law of gravity by growing horizontally. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy one of the most amazing natural visions of Puglia and Italy!

Adult Price: EUR 33.00

Code: ALB0003

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 59.00

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

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

Dinner in Palermo

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

eatwith Experience

eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. Note: Bookings cancelled within 48 hours will not be refunded. €45 - €65

Adult Price: EUR

Code: PAL0006

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

Accommodation

 

Hotel Romanico Palace

Rome (Traditional) - Italy

Located in the heart of Rome, the luxurious Hotel Romanico Palace offers easy access to all the historical sites of the Eternal City.

Grand Hotel Vesuvio

SORRENTO (Heritage) - ITALY

The Grand Hotel Vesuvio is ideally located on the seafront, overlooking the Gulf of Naples, Isle of Capri and Mt. Vesuvius. Built in 1882 this heritage, 5-star, deluxe hotel features sophisticated and elegantly decorated rooms with modern comforts, and a fitness and relaxation centre. The Sky Lounge Cocktail Bar showcases incredible views, why not admire the beauty at sunset with a cocktail in hand?

Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri

Alberobello (Traditional) - Italy

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

Grand Hotel Pianeta Maratea Resort

MARATEA (Resort) - ITALY

A hotel which is set alongside hills and looks out on Christ the Redeemer.

Hilton Giardini Naxos

Taormina Riviera (Traditional) - Italy

Overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Hilton Giardini Naxos boasts traditional Mediterranean hospitality and fabulous rooms and facilities.

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.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11450 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 03 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Would have liked Rome tour to include the Colosseum. We had perfect weather too. We lucked out! Loved the 2 to 3 day stays. More relaxing.

    Service: The Travel Advisor, the coach driver, the accommodations, meals, all tours were exceptional! The local guides were so knowledgeable. Ernesta even bought birthday gifts for the clients who were celebrating the event during our tour. She also ensured guests with special dietary needs were always taken care of. She is amazing! Maria Rosa the coach driver always kept the coach immaculate and she was the best driver I have ever seen!

  • 02 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great itinerary The tour covered all the main attractions in Southern Italy Everything was well planned with some changes to accommodate road closings and construction ...

    Service: The tour director, Ernesta and the driver, Maria Rosa, were excellent with all the information given to us. The concern for our safety was appreciated by informing us how to protect ourselves and possessions from light fingers. The view from the coach was fantastic; seeing the mountains, sea, the winding roads and the ruins.

  • 02 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Eveything on the itinerary was spot on. Would have liked to visit the colosseum.

    Service: Great tour for me and wife, no driving required. Coach was very comfortable, Ernesta and Maria Rosa got us to our destinations before everyone else. Country and mountains were breathtaking.

  • 02 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: great experience Ernesta was very knowledgable

    Service: Ernesta was fantastic-great tour all around

  • 02 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It included excellent local tour guides, lots of ruins, and unusual towns (Alberobello, Ostuni, Matera).

    Service: Fantastic tour guide (Ernesta) and phenomenal driver (Maria Rosa)!

  • 02 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: I believe I covered that in the previous box

    Service: Our tour director, Ernesta, went above and beyond every expectation in ensuring we missed crowds, bad weather and maximized the shortening daylight hours of October. She also was one step ahead in informing restaurants of my special diet restrictions. We enjoyed every featured destination on the journey and wouldn’t change a thing. We attentded every optional dinner and excursion and were thrilled. The only part of the trip I did not care for was the transfer to the hotel. We were already tired from a long day traveling with one plane change but excited to finally be at our destination city only to have to wait three hours at the airport for our transfer to the hotel.

  • 29 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was as advertised and as expected.

    Service: The Tour Director, Margaret Stefanski; the coach driver, Massimo; the coach itself; hotel accommodation and the itinerary were all par excellence.

  • 27 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Beautiful country drives. Great local tours.

    Service: Yes, Margaret Stefanski was fantastic. She handled every aspect of our tour wonderfully.

  • 26 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: tour didn't exactly match the brochure

    Service: tour didn't exactly match the brochure

  • 26 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: See above regarding that experience.

    Service: Margaret and Massimo, our driver, were excellent. Personable, friendly, and knowledgeable. Fun senses of humor, and easy to be with.

  • 26 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Itinerary off the beaten track Unusual & interesting places Made for a very interesting tour

    Service: Enjoyed the itinerary Meals @ optional experiences should have been more leisurely so as to enjoy the plentiful italian courses on offer The tradition of slow food movement would be more suitable especially at the Masseria

  • 21 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Covered the area I wished to see well but some optionals should have been in the inclusive itinerary and not as an extra cost.

    Service: Well organised. Excellent tour director and driver.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. 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.