GRAND TOUR OF ITALY AND SICILY

Day1 - MON I VENICE
Morning arrival into Venice’s marco Polo airport. Here you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel in Venice. the balance of the day is at leisure. this evening enjoy a welcome dinner at a popular restaurant. (D)
Day2 - TUE I VENICE
Your morning tour of Venice is on foot and will highlight the Basilica of st. mark and the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of sighs and Piombi Prison. afternoon is at leisure with enough time for more sightseeing, shopping or relaxation. (B)
Day3 - WED I VENICE I PADUA I MODENA I FLORENCE
This morning depart Venice and stop in Padua to visit the Basilica of st. anthony and its art, including the large bronze works of Donatello. continue your scenic drive to modena where you’ll be treated to a special balsamic vinegar tasting session plus lunch, featuring local specialties and Lambrusco wine. after lunch continue to florence, the home of michelangelo. (B,L)
Day 4 - THU I FLORENCE
Your morning tour takes you to Michelangelo Square for a panoramic view of the city. Then visit: the Accademia to see michelangelo’s original “David” statue, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery with its “Gates of Paradise” doors, Signoria Square and Santa Croce Church. enjoy your afternoon to explore the treasures of Florence on your own or embark on an optional tour to Pisa featuring a dinner at an authentic farmhouse and winery in the enchanting Tuscan countryside. (B)
Day5 - FRI I FLORENCE I SIENA I SAN GIMIGNANO I FLORENCE
After breakfast today, head-out for a day of discovery to Siena and San Gimignano. Medieval Siena, known for its famed Palio horse races and expansive central il Campo plaza, awaits your exploration. Visit Siena’s Duomo, considered to be one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in Italy. in San Gimignano, stroll the old world center and take in the fascinating architecture and towers that offer amazing views of the city and the surrounding valley. Tonight we will share in a delicious dinner at an acclaimed local restaurant near your Florence hotel. (B,D)
Day 6 - SAT I FLORENCE I MAGIONE I ASSISI I ROME
Morning departure for rome. Drive through the serene tuscan and umbrian countryside, passing by the shores of Lake trasimeno with a stop at the magione castle, presently the private residence of the Prince and grand master of sovereign military order of Knights of malta. Here a wine expert will lecture on the vinification process that takes place at the castle, followed by a delicious tasting of the varieties of wines produced at the castle and light lunch. continue to assisi, a uNEsco World Heritage site, and enjoy your guided tour of st. francis Basilica. arrive in rome in the late afternoon. (B,L)
Day7 - SUN I ROME
Rome is filled with monuments, fountains, antiquities and other sites worth exploring. use this free day to discover, on your own, all the Eternal city has to offer, take an optional tour or discover why roman trattorias are famous for their fine cuisine. (B)
Day 8 - MON I ROME
This morning experience a very special privately guided tour of the priceless collection of art and treasures in the sistine chapel and Vatican museum. then proceed to the Piazza Venezia and roman forum, with a stop at the colosseum - a testament to the greatness of rome’s past. continue your full day tour by viewing the arch of constantine, circus maximus, the great synagogue, Isola tiberina and castel sant’angelo. tonight bid arrivederci to rome at a special dinner with wine in a lovely roman restaurant. (B,D)
Day9 - TUE I ROME I NAPLES I POMPEII I SORRENTO
This morning drive south to Naples for an orientation tour of the city. Before heading to sorrento, stop in Pompeii, the ancient city covered by volcanic lava 2,000 years ago, for a guided tour of the remarkably preserved ruins of temples, houses, gardens and public buildings. then drive along the spectacular coast road of the Bay of Naples to sorrento, the famous resort town of orange and lemon groves. Dinner at your hotel restaurant is included. (B,D)
Day 10 - WED I SORRENTO I POSITANO I AMALFI I RAVELLO I SORRENTO
Leave Sorrento in the morning for Positano. Brief stop at the Belvedere to enjoy a unique view of Moorish architecture blended with pastel colored houses. Weather permitting, board a Motorlaunch and cruise along the coast to Amalfi for a walking tour of the old town. Continue to Ravello. enjoy lunch at a restaurant with spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast and the Bay of Salerno. free time for a stroll around the center of town before returning to Sorrento. (B,L)
Day11 - THU I SORRENTO I CAPRI I SORRENTO
A morning jetfoil whisks you across the blue Bay of Naples to the fabled Isle of capri, where you will ascend to the Piazzetta, visit the floral gardens of caesar augustus, and still have free time for lunch and some shopping before returning to sorrento. tonight dinner is at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 12 - FRI I SORRENTO I NAPLES I PALERMO
Today we say goodbye to sorrento. transfer to Naples airport for your flight to Palermo (not included). arrival in Palermo and transfer to your hotel. tonight enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day13 - SAT I PALERMO
This morning enjoy a tour of Palermo featuring the massimo theater, Quattro canti, a splendid example of spanish Baroque architecture, the Palace of the Normans, and the cathedral housing the shrine of santa rosalia. the last stop will be at the abbey of monreale, an arab-Norman cathedral built in the 12th century famous for its magnificent Byzantine mosaics and the adjacent Benedictine cloister. Balance of the day is at leisure to relax or to take an optional tour of cefalu’, a picturesque fishing village outside of Palermo. (B)
Day 14 - SUN IPALERMO I ERICE I MARSALA I AGRIGENTO
This morning we take a breathtaking scenic drive up to the medieval town of Erice. after the Elymians settled here, it became an important religious site associated with the goddess Venus. Wander through its ancient streets, each cobbled with rectangular stones, and take some time to stop by one of the famous homemade pastry shops selling delicacies such as marzipan candies and pistachio pastries. after enjoying an olive oil tasting session and lunch accompanied by marsala wine at a local farmhouse, we will travel along a coastline mostly made up of salt pans built back in roman times. overnight in agrigento. (B,L)
Day15 - MON I AGRIGENTO I RAGUSA
This morning enjoy a guided tour of "the Valley of the temples", a uNEsco World Heritage site. one of the main archaeological treasures of the mediterranean, this site is immersed in a rural landscape of rare beauty characterized by the presence of century-old olive and almond trees. Your guided walking tour will cover about one mile in a mostly downhill direction, with stops along the “Via sacra” (holy pathway) to admire the temple of concordia, the temple of Herakles and ruins of the temple of Zeus. In the afternoon we continue to ragusa. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B,D)
Day 16 - TUE I RAGUSA I MODICA I NOTO I ORTIGIA (SYRACUSE) I TAORMINA
Today’s first stop will be in Modica, a quaint historic town and UNESCO World Heritage site. Boasting some very fine Baroque architecture, picturesque views and historic sites, Modica is also known for its chocolate. rich, dark and crumbly, it is produced in a traditional method imported from the new World by Sicily’s Spanish overlords. After a chocolate tasting session in one of the most prestigious chocolate-maker, we resume our journey to Noto. Part of the "Late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto", a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continue to the enchanting island of Ortigia, the old town center of Syracuse. Highlights of Ortigia are the cathedral square with its church built over an ancient Greek temple and the beautiful promenade with its panorama over the sea and the natural bay of the town. Dinner and overnight in Taormina. (B,D)
Day17 - WED I TAORMINA
Morning at leisure to relax, or to take an optional excursion to the slopes of mt. Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. this afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of taormina’s charming city center including the greek/roman amphitheater with breathtaking views looking over the bay of Naxos (B)
Day 18 - THU I TAORMINA I SAVOCA I D'AGRO' VALLEY I TAORMINA
Today enjoy a once in a lifetime experience: the “godfather” tour. see the real sicily while exploring savoca and D’agro Valley, the towns and area that served as location when filming the "the godfather" trilogy. afternoon at leisure. In the evening, bid arrivederci to your travel companions during a festive farewell dinner with delectable cuisine and sparkling wine in a fashionable restaurant. (B,D)
Day19 - FRI I TAORMINA I CATANIA TO USA (OR EXTEND YOUR STAY)
Morning transfer to catania airport for your return flight home. (B)