Overlooking the Mediterranean with panoramic views of the sea and Mount Etna, Villa Angela offers modern comforts and Sicilian ambience. Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, outdoor swimming pool, and a terrace facing Naxos Bay. Each guest room has its own terrace facing the bay, as well a private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone. The hotel offers a shuttle service to the center of Taormina.
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
Southern Italy & Sicily
With Apulia & the Amalfi Coast
Meet our tour directors
Tour membership limited to 12-24 guests
15 days from $4,687 total price from New York
($3,995 air & land inclusive plus $692 airline taxes
and departure fees)
Delight in a special exploration of Italy’s southern climes, from striking Sicily and the breathtaking Amalfi Coast to unheralded Apulia, the alluring “boot heel” where a vivid history, unique architecture, distinctive traditions, and bountiful plains join the sun and sea in creating a prized (and crowd-free) region. Add Italian hospitality, outstanding cuisine, and notable lodgings for la dolce vita, small-group style.
Day 1: Depart U.S. for Taormina (Catania), Sicily
Day 2: Arrive Taormina We arrive today in Catania on Italy’s autonomous island of Sicily then transfer by motorcoach to Taormina and our boutique hotel overlooking the Ionian Sea. Tonight we gather for a welcome dinner at the hotel. D
Day 3: Taormina Highlights of our morning walking tour of this delightful medieval town include the spectacular ancient Greek theater dating to the 3rd century BCE, the popular 13th-century cathedral, and grand Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. This afternoon is at leisure; perhaps to relax by the hotel pool; visit a lovely Taormina beach; or stroll along Corso Umberto, lined with shops and restaurants. With lunch and dinner on our own today, perhaps a culinary adventure is in order … and thanks to Sicily’s strategic Mediterranean location that lured many invaders, Sicilian food incorporates Italian, Arabic, and African influences into a singular, and delicious, cuisine. B
Day 4: Taormina/Agrigento On today’s excursion we visit the “Valley of the Temples,” the architectural zone of Agrigento, whose Doric temples and sanctuaries date to Greek rule in the 5th century BCE. Known in its heyday as the “most beautiful city of mortals,” Agrigento’s highlight is the stunning, well-preserved Temple of Concordia (c. 430 BCE). A visit to the museum here lends context to our explorations. Late this afternoon we return to our hotel, where we dine tonight. B,L,D
Day 5: Taormina/Mount Etna This morning’s tour ventures to Europe’s largest active volcano. The ancients believed Mt. Etna to be the forge of Vulcan, god of fire; today, modern-day Sicilians have a very personal relationship with the volcano, which frequently erupts but is seldom destructive. Centuries of lava flows have resulted in a rich, fertile landscape where citrus groves and vineyards thrive. Mid-day we enjoy a small group highlight: lunch at a family-run working farm amidst acres of lemon and kiwi. After returning to our hotel mid-afternoon, the remainder of the day is at leisure. B,L
Day 6: Taormina/Matera We leave Sicily today for the mainland region of Basilicata, a day-long transfer that includes a ferry ride from Sicily to Calabria. Late this afternoon we reach Matera, whose historic troglodyte churches and dwellings (Sassi) have been designated a UNESCO site and where our hotel is a renovated cave dwelling in the city’s historic district. B,D
Day 7: Matera Today we explore this city of art and folklore, with its unique ancient urban structure still intact. Home to more than 100 rock churches, Matera resembles ancient Jerusalem and has been used by international film directors as a stand-in for the holy city. Following a guided walking tour, the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore independently before dinner tonight at a local restaurant. B,D
Day 8: Matera/Alberobello/Ostuni/Lecce Departing Matera this morning, we stop in Alberobello, whose 400 or so trulli – whitewashed conical houses with grey-stone roofs – rank as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We take a walking tour along the pristine cobblestone alleys, stepping inside an artisan’s workshop or trullo tipico, a recreation of an inhabited home. After lunch at a local restaurant, we continue on to Ostuni, the “white town” known as an architectural gem for its tightly packed whitewashed homes high on a hill above the Mediterranean. We reach Lecce, capital of Apulia’s southern Lecci province, in time for dinner together at our hotel. B,L,D
Day 9: Lecce We discover the “Florence of the South” on this morning’s tour, so named for the unique decorative style for which Lecce is known: barocco leccese, the ornate and intricate sandstone carvings of cherubs and monsters, fruits and flowers that adorn local buildings from top to bottom. We see Palazzo Vescovile (c. 1632), the exuberantly decorated church of Santa Croce, and the duomo with its lovely piazza. This afternoon is at leisure; tonight we enjoy dinner together. B,D
Day 10: Lecce/Otranto Today’s excursion takes us to the beautiful walled town of Otranto, overlooking the Adriatic. On a walking tour here we see the imposing 15th-century Aragonese castle with its traditional moat, and the Romanesque cathedral whose impressive wall-to-wall mosaic floor was created in 1166. We continue on to a local winery for a tasting and lunch then return to Lecce mid-afternoon. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L
Day 11: Lecce/Sorrento This morning we depart by coach for Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples. En route we stop for a traditional trattoria lunch in the small town of Polignano a Mare. Dinner tonight is on our own in lively seaside Sorrento. B,L
Day 12: Sorrento/Pompeii Today we visit the evocative UNESCO site of Pompeii for a guided tour of the city frozen in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE (the city was accidentally rediscovered in 1749). Late this afternoon we gather for a hands-on Neapolitan cuisine cooking lesson, followed by dinner to savor the fruits of our labors. B,D
Day 13: Sorrento/Capri Today we travel by hydrofoil to the storied Isle of Capri, a popular resort since Roman times. We explore cozy Capri town; visit the terraced Gardens of Augustus with stunning views of the azure sea; then enjoy free time for lunch and to explore on our own before we return to Sorrento early afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure. B
Day 14: Sorrento/Amalfi Coast We embark this morning on a breathtaking drive along the winding, cliff-top Amalfi Coast between Sorrento and Amalfi above the glistening Tyrrhenian Sea – with stops for photos along the way. This afternoon is at leisure; tonight we bid “arrivederci” to Italy and our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner. B,D
Day 15: Depart for U.S. This morning we transfer to Naples airport, where we connect with our return flight to the U.S. B
Please note: This trip involves considerable walking uphill and on uneven or cobblestone streets, and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.
- Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
- 13 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class hotels
- 26 meals: 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 8 dinners
- Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
- Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
- Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
- Luggage handling for one bag per person
- Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
- $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Dates & Prices
2015 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees
|May 1, 9
Chi, Cinc, Cleve,
Detroit, Mia, Orl,
Tampa, Wash, DC
|Dallas, Den, Hou,
Los Angeles, Minn,
Phoenix, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees of $692, which are subject to change until final payment is made.
Single travelers please add $995 Mar, Nov; $1,395 all other dates. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2015 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees) are guaranteed.
Business Class upgrade on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: $3,895 per person
Villa Angela, Taormina / Days 2-5 / Superior First Class
Locanda di San Martino, Matera / Days 6-7 / First Class
This 32-room hostelry recalls millennia of cave dwellings – but with contemporary comforts and modern amenities. Passageways cut into the rock, external staircases, and elevators connect all four levels of the hotel. This hotel is in the heart of Matera's Sassi historical district, close to the city center. The hotel has a bar; air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, Internet access, and TV. Please note that because of the unique nature of the hotel, room sizes and views vary
Patria Palace Hotel, Lecce / Days 8-10 / Superior First Class
A former palazzo, the Patria Palace Hotel is superbly located in the heart of Lecce’s historical center, opposite Santa Croce Basilica. The 63-room hotel boasts many of its original flourishes, though it has been artfully refurbished in an art deco style with Lecce stone and original frescoes. Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, solarium, and Internet access. Individually-styled guest rooms with decorative paintings have private bath with hair dryer, air conditioning, in-room safe, TV, and phone.
Hotel Antiche Mura, Sorrento / Days 11-14 / First Class
This historic hotel sits in the heart of Sorrento on Piazza Tasso, the main square, close to shops and restaurants. Amenities of the intimate 53-room hotel include an outdoor swimming pool, solarium, lovely gardens with a citrus grove (which supplies all of the oranges and lemons used by the hotel), lobby bar, outdoor snack bar, and breakfast room. Art nouveau-style guest rooms have private bath, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone. Air conditioning is available from May through October; heat from November through April.
Empire Palace Hotel, Rome / Extension / Superior First Class
A well-located hotel just a two-minute walk from the Via Veneto, the 110-room Empire Palace is an actual palace, built in 1870 and completely refurbished and converted to a hotel that offers a restaurant and bar, fitness center, Internet access, and laundry service. Air-conditioned rooms feature private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone. Please note that because of the unique nature of this hotel, room sizes vary.
Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Rome – On Your Own
Explore the Eternal City at your leisure.
Your Tour Price Includes
- Air transportation Naples/Rome inclusive of airline taxes and departure fees
- 3 nights’ accommodations at Empire Palace Hotel (Superior First Class)
- 3 meals: 3 breakfasts
- Transfer to/from airport
Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.
Small Group Tour Highlights
- Sicily’s intriguing cultural and historic heritage
- “Valley of the Temples,” Agrigento
- Mt. Etna excursion
- Lunch at a working Sicilian farmhouse
- Two Apulia UNESCO sites: Cave dwellings of Matera and Alberobello’s medieval white-washed buildings
- Neapolitan cooking demonstration and dinner
- Lecce, the “Florence of the South”
- Fascinating, uncrowded Apulia region
- Stunning Amalfi Coast
- Tour of ancient ruins at Pompeii (UNESCO site)
- Day trip to Isle of Capri
- Unique, well-located small-group style hotels
- Pleasing mix of touring and time at leisure
What people are saying about us
“We love the small group concept, with free time to explore on our own.”
Nancy Pickering & John Millar