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Make your way to the heart of the Mediterranean to discover the wonders of Sicily before embarking on an adventure from iconic Rome to Venice. This trip combines culture, cuisine and natural beauty to unveil the best of Italy. From exploring Rome’s iconic Colosseum by moonlight during an exclusive evening tour to driving up the flank of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, this trip goes the extra mile to deliver experiences that go beyond the guidebooks. So, get ready to tuck into delicious Italian eats, explore iconic sites and brush up on your ancient history during this 17-day premium adventure.

17 days, from

$11,513

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMPLC
Style: Premium
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Italy
Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel (12 nights), Feature Stay (4 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , train , flight
Included Meals:

  • 15 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 7 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12
Minimum Age: 15

  • Explore Rome’s iconic Colosseum by moonlight during an Exclusive Experience evening tour. Walk in the footsteps of gladiators without the jostling daytime crowds.

  • Get a taste for Italy’s incredible cuisine and viticulture during a trip to celebrated wine-growing region, San Gimignano, plus enjoy a traditional cooking class in Palermo, a genovesi tasting in Erice and mouth-watering cheese and chocolate tastings (yes, please) on your way to Siracusa

  • Stay in awe-inspiring accommodation nestled in the rolling vineyards of Tuscany and in the Sicilian countryside.

  • Take a step back in time as you explore the ancient ruins of the Valley of the Temples as well as the incredible Siracusa Archaeological Park with an expert guide.

  • Discover incredible landscapes across Sicily including Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna, as you drive up the northern flank of the volcano and embark on a walk through the spectacular Valle del Bove (Bull Valley).

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Palermo

Welcome to Sicily, we’re kicking things off in the region's capital – Palermo. Upon arrival, a complimentary airport transfer will take you into the city. This evening we have our first dinner together and a welcome meeting with your local guide and fellow travellers. But until then, the city is yours to explore. If you have time, you might like to get acquainted with the sights and sounds of the old heart of Palermo, and gaze upon some of the main monuments such as the uniquely styled cathedral. Or maybe you’ll choose to café-hop and try the best of Sicily’s sweets. Whatever your fancy, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Palermo.

Day 2: Palermo

Sicily's unique cuisine sees Spanish, Greek and Arab influences and combined with a gentle climate and fertile soil, it is known all over the world. Delve deeper into this all important part of culture during a hands on cooking class. Not only will get to know the recipes, you will be learning how to create Sicilian dishes with the help of a local chef. As locally sourced products are used in the preparation of dishes, the menu may differ depending on seasonality and market availability, but your resulting lunch will be a treat.

This afternoon, join a walking tour with your local guide and uncover symbolic places of rebellion and anti-mafia racketeering. Places such as the Teatro Massimo, Cape Market, Piazza della Memoria, Beati Paoli Square and more, all have a rich history in civil mobilisation. Plus, these areas serve up some mouth-watering street food. You’ll personally meet local shop owners who have had the courage to denounce their extortionists and follow the ethical consumer campaign ‘Pago chi non paga’, a campaign promoted to support those that rebel against the Mafia.

Day 3: Marsala

Today it is time to say goodbye to beautiful Palermo as we head toward the small town of Erice. Located more than 750 meters above sea level, this beautifully preserved medieval town hosts, despite being handed from one ruling army to the next, many beautiful buildings showcasing architectural styles from its varied history. One thing that cannot be missed during your visit is Genovesi – traditional Sicilian pastries filled with custard or ricotta cream. Luckily for you, we’ve organised a special Genovesi tasting. After our visit to Erice we continue south towards Marsala, a lovely coastal town where we’ll stay tonight. Famous for its sweet dessert wines, you might choose to go out and enjoy a sip, or two, of Marsala’s delicious drinks with newfound friends or simply stroll the marble paved streets and explore at your leisure.

Day 4: Agrigento

This morning head east as you stop in the old port of Mazara del Vallo. It is here that some of the Arab influences in Sicily are most clearly visible. As you stroll through the kasbah (Arab Quarter) you will witness the artistic and cultural enrichment brought on by the arrival of Tunisian families in the 70's. Wander the winding lanes and alleyways swept with colourful murals. Then, we’ll continue to Agrigento with one final stop in our journey at Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks) along the way. Scala dei Turchi is a truly spectacular coastline with white marble cliffs that offered protection from severe winds for the pirates that roamed these waters. Finally, we make our way to Agrigento where we’ll stay in a magical boutique hotel built in the 13th century. Tonight you will share a meal with your fellow travellers at your here.

Day 5: Agrigento

This morning, after breakfast, travel to the nearby Valley of the Temples. One of the largest archaeological sites in the world, it is situated where the ancient city of Akragas once stood. Your local guide will bring this classical Greek site to life as you visit the temples of Hera, Herakles, Zeus and Castor and Pollux. Along the way, enjoy magnificent views of the landscape and Mediterranean Sea. Return to Agrigento and enjoy the afternoon in any way you wish. Perhaps, head to Agrigento's old town to wander the narrow alleyways and courtyards or find a local café, grab a panino, sit and watch the world go by.

Day 6: Siracusa

Today, we kiss Agrigento goodbye and hit the road en route to Siracusa – but not without a few important stops along the way. The first stop today in Ragusa will not disappoint – it’s one of the most scenic towns in all of Sicily. Explore the town and then taste some of the locally produced Ragusano cheese. Afterwards, continue to architecturally fascinating Modica, particularly famous for its chocolate, it is a must-stop for any serious foodie. After tasting some of the local produce we continue to Noto and get acquainted with the city on a guided walking tour. Lesser-known Noto has recently gained a reputation as an architectural jewel, its limestone structures dazzle on a sunlit afternoon. Finally, we make our last stop of the day in Siracusa, where we will stay for the next two nights.

Day 7: Siracusa

This morning, enjoy an orientation walk through Ortigia – a small island just adjacent to the main town of Siracusa. Wandering the narrow streets and laneways will reveal ancient ruins, stunning fountains and authentic trattorias, all situated on the medieval island. In the afternoon head to the Neapolis Archaeological Site – known as one of the world’s finest – with your local guide by your side. Uncover the crumbling ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman town; from the Greek theatre to the Roman amphitheatre and ancient stone quarries. Covering an area of 35 hectares, there’s plenty of land to explore and plenty of history to learn about on this guided tour.

Day 8: Catania

Today, come face-to-face with Europe’s largest active volcano on a daytrip up Mt Etna. Drive up the northern flank of the volcano and embark on an easy walk through the spectacular Valle del Bove (Bull Valley), a valley formed when the original crater of Etna collapsed. At an altitude of approximately 2,000 metres, walk into the centre of an extinct crater and visit a lava cave that can be explored with helmets and torches. Walk among the cold lava streams of Piano Provenzana, a former ski resort that has been destroyed during the last big eruption of 2002. After exploring the fiery natural wonder, continue to the atmospheric city of Catania. The city has a unique energy to it, an interesting blend of young and old. On one hand, there’s a gritty, attractive bar culture that fuels an exuberant nightlife, full of flavour and laughter. On the other hand, the very core of the city boasts one of the fabled “Late Baroque” towns – the UNESCO World Heritage site, Val di Noto. This afternoon, you’ll get the opportunity to explore both sides of this curious city by wandering through its grand piazzas and wide roads.

Day 9: Catania

After breakfast today, take a day trip to the charming city of Taormina. Start things off with a guided walk, where you’ll notice Greek influence in the architecture. Walk through the back streets, gardens, and visit the world-famous Greek theatre and the cathedral. The afternoon will be at your leisure, so there's plenty of time to explore at your own pace. Have a drink in the Mediterranean sun or dig into some traditional Sicilian pasta before heading back for our final night in Catania. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant with your newfound travel friends and group leader.

Day 10: Rome

Depart Catania on an unescorted flight to Rome. Transfer to your hotel and settle in. If you arrive with time to spare, the city’s magnificent buildings are best appreciated on foot, so perhaps wander in search of an espresso. Your Italian adventure continues with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you will meet your local leader and fellow travellers. Once the formalities are out of the way, get your first taste of Italy over an included dinner with your group at an excellent local restaurant. Sitting down to dinner in Rome means experiencing generations of culinary know-how and timeless traditional recipes. Once your leader introduces you to some of Italy’s best dishes, you’ll understand why this country is so renowned for great food.

Day 11: Rome

From incredible ancient monuments to glamourous restaurants and boutiques, Rome is a city of great beauty and diversity. Today your leader will take you back in time as you learn about historical monuments during an orientation walk of the city. Marvel at the Roman Forum, the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Venezia, the Spanish Steps and Via Dei Condotti. Stop in at a local bar for a quick coffee or gelato. The afternoon is free for you to explore as you please – perhaps take the chance to visit the majestic Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica. Rome’s grandiose Colosseum is its most iconic site, and this evening you’ll have the opportunity to avoid the daytime crowds and explore the Colosseum by night. Follow the footsteps of gladiators and Roman emperors as your leader shares the unbelievable history of this great arena.

Day 12: Siena / Monteriggioni / Chianti Region

Today you’ll take a private vehicle to the gorgeous city of Siena, where your leader will show you the most interesting sights on an orientation walk. At the city’s heart is Piazza del Campo – home to the biannual Palio horse race, and nearby is the stunning Siena Cathedral. Next you’ll visit Monteriggioni – a charming medieval walled town. Over a dozen towers are spread throughout the town, once used to defend Sienese territory from the Florentines. You will have time to explore this tiny hilltop spot before arriving at your Feature Stay accommodation near San Gimignano. This country hotel with cinematic views of a tree-studded landscape and a refreshing outdoor pool is a fine spot to unwind. Tonight, indulge in an included gourmet dinner at your hotel with your group – the food is made with local ingredients and pays homage to traditional Tuscan dishes, with a modern twist.

Day 13: San Gimignano Region

Start the day with a visit to San Gimignano – the 'Town of Fine Towers'. Explore the medieval Old Town centre and its fine Gothic and Romanesque architecture, with your leader on hand to answer any questions inspired by your explorations. This region is also renowned for its ancient Vernaccia grapes, which are the basis for one of Tuscany's finest white wines. Your group will visit a local agriturismo, where you’ll explore the vineyards and sample some of their celebrated wine, before enjoying an included lunch featuring regional cheese, fine olive oil and bruschetta. Return to your Feature Stay accommodation for another delicious dinner.

Day 14: Pisa / Lucca / Florence

Today you’ll visit Pisa. It’s not always possible to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa due to its precarious state, but as your leader shares the history of this legendary building, you will have the opportunity to photograph it from the ground. Your next stop is Lucca, where you’ll take a short walk along the city’s beautifully preserved Renaissance walls.

Next up, depart to Florence where you’ll discover the city on an orientation walk with your leader. Marvel at the Duomo cathedral, visit St. John's Baptistery and hear stories of the Medici family who ruled over the city during the Renaissance. Cross the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge and stop by the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy. Established in 1221, this is believed to be the oldest operating pharmacy in the world. You’ll visit the Giardino delle Rose for a sweet-scented walk among 400 rose species before heading to Piazzale Michelangelo for sweeping views of Florence’s timeless skyline.

Day 15: Florence

Enjoy a free day in Florence to explore the city and its museums and galleries – ask your leader for some local tips on the best way to spend the day. Visiting the Uffizi while you are here is highly recommended – it is one of the oldest galleries in the world, and a building of great beauty. Sample some of the culinary delicacies on offer from across Tuscany, with dishes known for their freshness, simplicity and quality. Olive oil, beans and herbs are a feature here. Two standout dishes of the region are bistecca alla fiorentina, a large steak sliced on the bone and shared between multiple diners, and ribollita, a simple, hearty soup of bread, vegetables and beans. Panforte is the signature sweet treat.

Perhaps pay a visit to Galleria dell'Accademia, the home of Michelangelo's world-famous statue of David, or kick up your heels and watch the world go by with an excellent local coffee in hand. Florence boasts a delectable array of restaurants so be sure to ask your leader for recommendations.

Day 16: Venice

In the morning, head to the railway station and take a high-speed train to Venice. Upon arrival your leader will take you on an orientation walk so you can get acquainted with the city’s maze of canals and learn about its unique history. Lunch today is a tasting of cicchetti – Venice’s version of tapas. Enjoy a delicious array of small dishes such as black ink calamari, polenta with seafood and seasonal vegetables. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore. The Grand Canal, the quaint shopfronts that line the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza and Basilica di San Marco are all worthy sights to visit, or simply meander around the tiny cobbled streets and discover the beautiful markets, cafes, galleries and churches. A Venetian gondola ride down the canals is a must, as is a taste of the region’s dessert speciality, tiramisu.

Day 17: Venice

With no activities planned for today, your trip comes to an end after breakfast. Those looking to extend their stay can arrange additional nights' accommodation at the time of booking the trip (subject to availability).