Rome, Amalfi Coast and Sicily Tour Snapshot
Breathtaking scenery, the grandeur of Rome, Amalfi’s stunning cliffs, the magic of Capri, the awe of Pompeii, Sicily’s ancient Greek temples, colorful markets, wonderful wines and foods, spectacular scenery, warm hearted people, beautiful Taormina. Simply the best Amalfi Coast and Sicily tour.
Tour Price: $6,899
Tour price includes:
Roundtrip airfare from Boston or New York (airfare price can be deducted)
12 nights deluxe accommodations, with private baths, in Rome (2); Sorrento (4); overnight cruise with private first-class cabin (1); Palermo, Sicily (2); and Taormina,
All (12) breakfasts, 7 dinners, 2 wine-tasting lunches and 1 picnic lunch
Full time tour leader
Transportation in comfortable, air-conditioned minibus
Private guided visits to: Colosseum, Vatican Museums, Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, Capri, Pompeii, Mt. Etna, Segesta, Erice, Agrigento and Palermo
Stay in 5-star oceanfront hotels in Taormina and Sorrento
Wonderful wine-tasting lunches at Vesuvius and Mt. Etna
Overnight cruise from Naples to Sicily (first-class cabins)
All tour guides, all museum and monument entrance fees, tips and taxes
We start our Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Sicily tour in Rome, where our small, elegant hotel is located in a central neighborhood where we can easily walk to many of Rome’s architectural and historical treasures. The Roman Forum and the Colosseum are brought to life for us by our local expert guide. Dinner tonight is at a neighborhood restaurant with outstanding Roman specialties.
This morning we have a private guided tour of the Vatican Museums, with its rich trove of priceless art treasures, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest cathedral in the world, containing the exquisite masterpieces of Botticelli and Michelangelo. In the afternoon we have free time to explore Rome on our own.
Today is one you will never forget. With our local guide, we will visit the most remarkable archaeological discovery ever unearthed: Pompeii. The incredibly preserved houses, streets, shops, even brothels, present a fascinating chronicle of daily life in 79 A.D., when one fateful day the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius “froze” life in an instant. Afterward, we stop at a local vineyard for lunch, where we delight in the freshest pasta and cheeses, and, of course, several types of wine!
We continue our drive to the charming seaside town of Sorrento, where we stay for the next four nights in a fabulous five-star ocean-front hotel. Borrowing from Greek mythology, the Romans placed the legendary abode of the Sirens—those wicked mermaids who lured seamen to their death by their sweet songs—at Surrentum (Sorrento). Tonight we have a free evening to enjoy the beautiful town at leisure.
Today we enjoy a boat excursion across the Bay of Naples to the entrancing Isle of Capri. The main town is nestled between two mountains, with its houses connected by winding, hilly alleys that lead into the main square of Piazza Umberto. Depending on the seas, we may have a private boat tour around the island. During our walking tour, we have time for a chairlift ride to the highest point of the island, Monte Solaro. From there, we have spectacular views of Anacapri and the Amalfi Coast. We see the Gardens of Augustus, a beautiful terraced park of trees and flowers. We look down onto the Bay of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius and shudder at the thought of the Roman Emperor Tiberius throwing his enemies over the cliff. Tonight you may choose from one of Sorrento’s many wonderful restaurants.
Today we take a full-day driving-and-boat tour along Italy’s magnificent Amalfi coast. Our first stop is Positano, where we see how the locals live. We then board our boat for an unforgettable trip to Amalfi. Once there, we can visit an authentic paper factory dating from the 13th century and have a gourmet lunch at an oceanfront restaurant. Our local guide also takes us to the beautiful village of Ravello, where we visit a 13th century villa with elegant gardens and a magnificent panoramic view of the Bay of Maiori and the Gulf of Salerno.
Today is a totally free day to enjoy and luxuriate in the ease of the Amalfi Coast. Arguably the most scenic and romantic setting in the world, this area embodies the essence of la dolce vita. Take your time to sip an espresso at one of Sorrento’s many outdoor trattorias, or relax and enjoy the complimentary Prosecco and finger foods at our wonderful hotel. If you favor more active pursuits, there are plenty of walking and hiking opportunities to be found with the help of our tour leader. And, of course, there is always the pastime of shopping in the local ceramics, leather and other shops! In the early evening, we go to a local working farm in the Sorrentine hills, where we will be treated to a mozzarella-making demonstration, followed by a lighthearted Neapolitan pizza-making lesson. We will then dine on the fruits of our labor accompanied by plenty of wine. After dessert, we sample the farm’s homemade limoncello! Those who aren’t too tired can then go to the local Tarantella folk music show in town.
After a leisurely breakfast and checkout, we say arrivaderci to Sorrento and to the Amalfi Coast, making our way to Pompeii’s sister city, Herculaneum. This is a Roman town where the volcanic mud from Mt. Vesuvius preserved the houses and streets exactly as they looked 2,000 years ago (as opposed to Pompeii, where the ash burned everything). We then head to a restaurant in Naples for lunch, followed by a walking tour of the historic center of this vibrant city. At the end of a memorable day, we board the overnight ferry to cross the Bay of Naples to Palermo, Sicily.
We disembark the ferry bright and early this morning, and have breakfast in a local pastry shop in Palermo. After meeting our local guide, we head for the small hill town of Monreale, where we see a fine tribute to Arab-Norman art: the cathedral of Monreale. It boasts a remarkable interior with magnificent gold mosaics representing episodes from the Old Testament. We continue on to the beautiful and bustling capital of Sicily, Palermo, and even visit a local market.
For more than 2,000 years, Sicily has inspired the creation of artistic masterpieces, which include the architecture of great cathedrals, paintings, music and poetry. Historically, Sicily’s strategic position in the Mediterranean has made it appealing to foreign powers, which resulted in centuries of foreign domination by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish. Sicilian culture reflects the architectural, artistic and gastronomic influences of its former invaders. After visiting Palermo with our delightful local guide, we check into our hotel in the historic district of town. Dinner tonight is at a wonderful neighborhood restaurant that serves the best antipasti and local Sicilian specialties!
Today we visit the tiny medieval town of Erice, which offers charming stone streets, medieval churches and hilltop castles. Weather permitting, we have a picnic at the top of the town, overlooking the rolling hills and the beautiful coastline of northwest Sicily. We continue our journey to Segesta, an abandoned ancient city and one of the world’s best-preserved Greek architectural sites. Segesta’s Doric temple stands alone in a natural setting in the country, giving us an unnerving feeling we have stepped back in time more than 2,000 years. Free evening in Palermo.
This morning we head to the archaeological site of the Valley of the Temples, in Agrigento, located in a delightfully natural setting of olive groves and almond orchards. Founded in 582 BC by Greek settlers, the town was described by the Greek poet Pindar as “the most beautiful of those inhabited by mortals.” Here we explore the remains of five of the principal temples built in the 5th century BC, including the massive and majestic Tempio della Concordia (Temple of Concord), which has remained nearly intact for more than 2,000 years. Across the valley is the Tempio di Giove (Temple of Jupiter), whose ruined columns stood 20 meters high and used to “house” colossal statues. A reconstructed statue lies on the ground among the ruins, giving an idea of the immense size of the structure. Driving across undulating low hills, we continue to the east coast, where we check into our beautiful oceanfront 5-star hotel in Taormina. A gourmet dinner awaits us.
After today you can say that you have walked on an active volcano! We drive to the still-active volcano Mt. Etna for a guided tour and explanation of this geological marvel. On our way back to our hotel, we have time for a wine-tasting lunch at a local winery owned by a Baron. Be prepared to try some delicious cheeses, dried meats, pastas and wines. We return to our hotel in Taormina for a free evening.
As with all good things, this Amalfi Coast and Sicily tour must come to an end at some time. For our last day on this enchanted island, those who would like can go on a half-day private guided tour of the ancient city of Siracusa, while others may choose to explore the charming streets and alleyways of Taormina—or simply laze by the ocean. We reconvene in the evening for a farewell dinner.
This morning we drive to the Catania airport for our return flight home. Arrivederci, Bella Italia!