Join our husband and wife boutique travel team as we explore vibrant Southern Italy and discover an enchanting ancient culture off the tourist track. We invite you to sail with us to hidden fishing villages, harvest olives from centuries-old trees, inhabit Stone Age caves, walk inside massive Greek temples, marvel at Baroque canvases and ancient bronzes, wood-fire your own hand-made pizza, meet local artisans and producers, and soak up a culture that is overflowing with vitality and charm. With matchless accommodations along Naples famous seaside lungomare, a stunningly restored Stone Age cave hotel, and at an ethereal Puglian masseria, this is a trip like no other. Extend your trip with three luxurious nights in Taormina, Sicily.
4 NIGHTS IN NAPLES
One of the planet’s truly legendary cities, Naples is awash in history. From our waterfront hotel in Naples’ most elegant neighborhood, we’ll explore this unofficial capital of Southern Italy with its world-famous cuisine, opulent grandeur, and larger-than-life culture.
Oct. 13/14 – Depart USA, Arrive Italy
Arrive Naples and enjoy the sea view from your room at our hotel along the picturesque harbor promenade. Enjoy a welcome reception and waterside dinner with your fellow travelers. (D)
Oct. 15 – Naples Walking Tour, Pizza Making Class
After a cultural orientation to life in Italy, we see the great sites of Naples, including the Piazza del Plebiscito and the Statue of the Veiled Christ. Enjoy Naples’ culinary fame with Italy’s best espresso and sweets and take a pizza making class with an expert pizzaiolo. Sample the fresh ingredients before making and firing your own pie during this unforgettable evening. (B,L,D)
Oct. 16 – The Islands of Procida and Ischia
Cruise to two picturesque islands in the Bay of Naples famous since Roman times for their thermal, curative waters. Enjoy lunch in stunning, sleepy Procida and relax in a thermal pool by the chic harbor town of Sant’Angelo on the island of Ischia. (B,L)
Oct. 17 – Pompeii, Naples Archaeological Museum
Take an optional day trip to unforgettable Pompeii and explore this hauntingly preserved ancient city. Then, visit the Naples Archaeological Museum that contains the amazingly preserved statues, wall paintings, and personal items excavated from Pompeii. For those not taking this optional excursion, spend the day exploring Naples with a tour of the underground Bourbon Tunnel and the Royal Palace of Naples. (B)
2 NIGHTS IN MATERA
Matera is like a dream. Carved into the side of a gorge during the Stone Age, Matera is one of the world’s longest continually inhabited cities. Stay in an unforgettable, restored cave hotel as we explore this haunting stone city, Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture.
Oct. 18 – Buffalo Mozzarella Factory, Paestum, Arrive Matera
Leaving Naples, visit a 9th generation water buffalo farm and taste the deliciously fresh cheese. Then, walk beneath 2,500 year old Greek temples at the amazingly preserved ancient site of Paestum. Arriving to the hauntingly beautiful town of Matera, we check in to our unforgettable cave hotel and enjoy dinner in a candle-lit, deconsecrated cave chapel. (B,L,D)
Oct. 19 – Matera
Wake up to the stunning river valley views from the hotel terrace before exploring this one-of-a-kind city on foot. Marvel at 12th c. Byzantine style frescoes, rock hewn churches, and modern sculptures as we explore Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture. (B)
3 NIGHTS IN THE PUGLIAN COUNTRYSIDE
Explore Italy’s rustic heel in an ethereal masseria—a fortress-like countryside estate—beautifully restored to its 16th c. glory. Experience the traditional Puglian lifestyle as we harvest olives from 2,000 year old trees, bake bread with a local chef, and learn to dance the pizzica.
Oct. 20 – Matera, Taranto, Countryside Masseria
After a free morning in Matera with time to hike the gorge, visit Taranto and its amazing museum covering the ancient Greek settlements of Magna Grecia. Then check in to our countryside masseria for three serene nights in the Puglian countryside. (B,L,D)(B,L,D)
Oct. 21 – Alberobello, Ancient Olive Grove
Exploring Puglia, we begin in Alberobello, famous for its unique conical trulli houses. Then, visit a countryside olive grove with 2,000 year old trees that sits upon an ancient Roman olive mill where we learn about pressing techniques and sample the delicious oils. Then, visit a traditional pottery workshop famous across Europe before dinner in the nearby town of Manduria. (B,D)
Oct. 22 – Puglian Cooking Class
Today we soak up the rustic, countryside charm of our masseria as we join the owner in her garden and kitchen to learn the art of traditional bread making and prepare a sumptuous feast. In the evening, learn the traditional pizzica dance to the accompaniment of traditional musicians. (B,D)
Oct. 23 – Depart / Sicily Extension
Depart Italy renewed and inspired! Or, fly to Taormina, Sicily for a luxury four night extension. (B)
Naples Grand Hotel Santa Lucia Oct. 14-18
Matera Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita Oct. 18-20
Puglian Countryside Masseria Potenti Oct. 20-23
Taormina, Sicily Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Oct. 23-27
Oct. 23 – Depart Puglia, arrive Sicily
Transfer to either Bari or Brindisi airport, fly to Sicily, and transfer to the stunning hilltop town of Taormina. Our elegant five-star accommodations, the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, has played host to emperors, artists, and kings for over a century and is located just beneath a 2,200 year old Greek theater. After a welcome reception and tour of the hotel, settle in for four relaxing nights
Oct. 24 – Taormina Walking Tour, Optional Cannoli Making Class
After a morning at leisure to enjoy breakfast overlooking Mount Etna and the sea, we take a walking tour of Taormina and stand inside its famous ancient Greek theater. After lunch on your own, take an optional cooking class with a Sicilian chef as we learn to make Sicily’s most famous dessert, cannoli. (B)
Oct. 25 – Mount Etna Vineyard
Enjoy Taormina at leisure, or take an optional excursion to a vineyard on the hillside of Mount Etna, famous for its volcanic soil. Learn about Sicilian wines and Sicilian culture as you sample local varietals.
Oct. 26 – Fiat 500 Countryside Tour
On this unforgettable day, take an optional jaunt through the Sicilian countryside in a vintage Fiat 500 car. Our caravan of tiny cars will wind through the hillside to two serene towns made famous by their inclusion in the Godfather. In the evening, return to Taormina for a final group together at our luxury hotel restaurant as we say goodbye to Italy.
Oct. 27 – Depart Sicily
Fly home from Italy with unforgettable memories and as lifelong lovers of this amazing land! (B)