Best of Southern Italy Tour

A 13 day trip to Italy 
4.92 out of 5 stars
12 reviews

best of Southern Italy tour is tailored to show you the splendor of the seaside, countryside, and charming towns set across the historic landscape. From the quiet streets of Pompeii, you can still see the zenith of Mount Vesuvius lingering in the distance. The Blue Grotto in Capri glows with a distinctive light shining beneath the water. The ancient glories of Rome emanate from the Colosseum, and the villas decorate the countryside that once belonged to celebrated emperors. A remodeled restaurant hides in an ancient cave, where locals have resided for thousands of years.

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General Information

Beach town in Vieste, Italy on a sea cliff
White rock cliffs and pillars on a Vieste, Italy beach
A natural white rock bridge on the coast of Vieste, Italy
a low angle close up of plants in the foreground and the naples medieval castle in the background
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Rome, Tivoli, Gargano Peninsula, Vieste, Adriatic Coast, Alberobello, Matera, Paestum, Positano, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Naples

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: An Italian Welcome

Rome is a city unrivaled by any other. The marvels of history continue to stand strong as testaments to the city’s eternal allure. The powerful stone of the Colosseum rises over the Arch of Constantine, which was erected in the 4th century AD. Locals fill piazzas, lounging in the sunlight sweeping over the plaza. The aromas of espresso and freshly made pasta drift around the cobblestone streets. Your luxury trip to Italy begins as your private transfer greets you at Fiumicino Airport in Rome and escorts you into the heart of the ancient city.

Once settled into the luxuries of your hotel, your guide meets you, eager to take you on an introductory exploration of the city’s vibrant past and present. In the evening, the Spanish Steps brim with locals and visitors enjoying the cool night air. Some people sit on the steps with guitars, serenading their friends. Couples converse over a bottle of wine they brought with them and watch passersby in Piazza di Spagna. The steps were erected in the 18th century overlooking the charms of the trickling Fontana della Barcaccia. You have only just arrived and already feel like Rome is a place you can call home.

What’s Included: dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Absorbing Rome  

In the morning, you find the aromas of espresso and freshly baked brioche enticing, providing layers of sweet and bitter to the antique surroundings. Cobblestone streets wind throughout the city leading to spacious piazzas, each bordered by historic buildings and even villas. After breakfast, your guide greets you in the lobby of the hotel. You are eager to step into the city and discover the varying riches that highlight Rome’s history. On the left bank of the Tiber River, you arrive at Rome’s Jewish Ghetto. The neighborhood was established in the 16th century AD but the ties to the Jewish religion date back to the 2nd century BC.

In certain corners of the district, you can hear the continued dialect known as Giudeo-romanesco, a speech pattern particular to Rome and built over centuries combining Roman-Italian with Hebrew. The single wall connoting the original confines of the Ghetto is now part of the courtyard wall around Piazza delle Cinque Scole. Your tour continues with a visit to one of the oldest museum in the world, known as Capitoline, which traces its beginnings back to a 15th-century donation of bronzes made by Pope Sixtus IV.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Stepping Stones of Emperors

In the morning, the sunlight casts an ethereal glow over the Tiber River. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and whisks you east into the hills outside of Rome to the charming town of Tivoli. Emperor Augustus escaped to the hills in summer to enjoy the cooler climate of the limestone ridges and ravine shaped by the River Aniene. Cypress trees and oaks flourish around the rolling hillsides. The cream colored stone buildings of the town stand out against the trees. Your guide leads you through the remarkable grounds of Hadrian’s Villa, encompassing 296 acres.

Structures resemble inspiring monuments from Greece and Egypt, including reproductions of some of the finest Greek sculptures. The verdant garden of the open-air museum continues to excite visitors. Stroll through the colonnades and listen to the sounds of the fountains. Mosaics add to the already illustrious artistry decorating the pools. When walking through the complex, you can gather a brief understanding of the emperor’s tastes in culture, art, and beauty.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 4: Turquoise Waters of the Adriatic Coast

The calm sea brushes against the layers of limestone rising along the coastline. The town of Vieste has the charm of a beachside town and more, standing on an outcrop with an outstanding view of the sparkling turquoise of the Adriatic. Narrow alleys wind through the old city center. Two stunning sandy beaches flank the cliffs. Fishing boats sail in the distant morning light. After breakfast, you step aboard a boat for a panoramic view of the Gargano Coast. The breeze picks up into the wind.

The scent of the sea is sweet and alluring. Mist rises from the water and splashes against your cheeks. Coves sweep inland forming a marvelous crescent against the landscape. From the water, you can see the absolute power of Pizzomunno, an 82-foot tall cliff near Castle Beach. During summer, the beaches are decorated with orange umbrellas casting shade over the relaxed beachgoers. In the afternoon, your guide introduces you to a private chef excited to introduce you to the regional, seaside flavors of Vieste.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Cones of the South

Southern Italy has a particular allure, with its warm weather and pristine coastline. In the morning, you indulge in a foamy cappuccino as you bask in the view of the Adriatic. Soon you will discover the treasures of Italy that go beyond the scenery, ingrained in the culture and rising out of a unique history. After breakfast, you travel southbound to the stunning town of Alberobello, a picturesque location known for its beehive-shaped houses. On the western hill of town, the sun glints against the whitewashed walls of the structures. From a distance, it looks as if the hill was covered in snow.

The tradition of the limestone houses dates back to the 14th century, with some of the houses maintaining elements of their original construction. The Belvedere Trulli provides an unparalleled view of the entire town, cast in white stone and topped with conical roofs spreading across the landscape. Wineries in town offer samples of their local spirits, which are celebrated in the region. You sip the Spumante and find a delightful fruity quality blending with a bright acidity, combining the wonders of the wine with the majesty of town.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Wonder of the Remote

Matera is a unique city at the southern edge of the Basilicata region. The medieval edifices rise up and down the hillside, but the true allure of Matera is the cave dwellings underneath the city. The city is perched atop the Gravina Gorge, overlooking a timeless landscape of rugged hillsides. The cathedral, erected in the 13th century, has a Romanesque style and an adorning rose window divided by 16 columns. The city beneath the manifestation you can see is called Città Sotterranea, the Subterranean City.

The caves underneath the city have had inhabitants dating back more than 9,000 years, forming innumerable layers of history. Below the Church of San Pietro Barisano is an ancient network of niches first erected for purposes similar to tombs. The Sasso Barisano is the largest sassi (cave dwelling) district. The caves have been restored and now house restaurants, shops, and cozy houses. On the street of Via Madonna delle Virtù, you can find a fabulous panoramic view, where you can take in the reserved serenity of the ravine and caves speckling the hillside.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Elements of the Greeks

In the morning, you can take in the uniqueness of Matera’s old town, sipping on a breakfast espresso you have come to find comfort in. After your meal, you venture westbound, touring a water buffalo farm for an inside look at the production of mozzarella di bufala inside Campania, the Italian province known for making the best of the best. Following your tour of the farm, your guide leads you through the sensational history of Paestum, a city founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC, and remains the best-preserved Greek monument in Italy.

Lush grass fills the archeological site. A section of Via Sacra, a road that once ran north to south across the city, remains intact. Your guide points you in the direction of the Temple of Neptune, which was erected in 450 BC. It is the largest and best preserved of the three main temples in the archeological landscape. A small porch with two columns stood at the front of the temple. The interior held a double row of double columns to help house the followers that came to show their devotion. The size of the temple shows how grace and magnitude are not mutually exclusive.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Indulging in Amalfi

Spending the morning in Positano is like waking up in a dreamscape. The town rises up the mountainous coastline, interspersed with lush trees, and offering exceptional views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The scent of lemons emanates from the zesty trees and blends with the sea breeze. After breakfast, the day is yours to savor the enchanting atmosphere of the coast however you prefer, whether that means basking in a hillside café in Positano overlooking the water or traveling the length of the Amalfi Coast visiting as many picturesque towns as you can before the day’s end. The town that gives the shore its namesake burrows deep into the gorge.

Amalfi has been a world-renowned state since the middle ages, influencing maritime trade through its port and popular ceramics. Through deliberate care, 11 out of the original 20 naval arsenal arches remain near the Porta della Marina. The streets are filled with jovial couples strolling in the sunlight, men lounging in cafes sipping wine, and people marveling at the Cathedral di Sant’Andrea. The hills above town take you away from the bustling city center along Valle dei Mulini. Ruins of watermills once used to make paper decorate the sides of the ravine. A small museum known as the Museo della Carta offers displays of paper related to the historic and now artisanal trade.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Investigating Pompeii

In the morning, you travel through the hills separating the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Bay of Naples. In the town of Sorrento, you can gaze across the arching coastline and see the towering summit of Mount Vesuvius, one of the most notorious volcanoes in Western history. Your transfer leads you around the bay and to the gates of the ancient and famously preserved city of Pompeii. In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and preserved the city in more than 18 feet of ash and pumice-stone, turning the otherwise antique city into legend.

The city walls had a perimeter of almost two miles, leaving many areas still to be uncovered. Your guide leads you through the Forum, where you find elements of the Temple of Jupiter. It is hard not to be impressed with the natural conservation of the city, but also its sheer expanse. The House of Menander belonged to a wealthy merchant. Corinthian capitals flank the entrance, and the atrium has a small temple decorated with a wooden roof that has remained intact. Scenes from Homer’s Iliad decorate the interior rooms. Each step brings you closer to the past, offering you a glimpse into the artistry and mindset of the city before its final day.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 10: Inland on the Island

Your lavish accommodation is situated on the hillside overlooking the Bay of Naples. The aroma of lemon groves offers a zesty beginning to the day before you have even touched your breakfast espresso. After your meal, your guide leads you to the dock to board the ferry to the exceptional island of Capri. The cobalt water shimmers around the boat. The closer you travel to the island, the grander the 200-foot coastal cliffs appear. Beyond the rugged and steep cliffs are verdant trees growing along the hills and citadels of the island.

You reach Marina Grande where vibrant colors adorn fishermen’s houses. A funicular stretches from the marina to Capri Town. Cobblestone streets wind around chic cafes and Roman ruins. In the Gardens of Augustus, you can sit beneath a leafy terrace and enjoy the aroma of blossoming flowers. Pergolas frame the view of karsts rising out of the turquoise water. A walking path leads to Marina Piccola, the small marina, through ribboning loops leading almost 300 feet below.  If you prefer connecting more with history, you can venture to Villa Jovis, Emperor Tiberius’ main residence when visiting the island.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 11: Truly Napoletano

The morning light casts over the Bay of Naples and in the distance, you continue to see the lingering summit of Mount Vesuvius. After breakfast, your guide leads you away from the charming streets of Sorrento and into the energetic and labyrinthine avenues of Naples. The city is one of the oldest and largest in Italy. It is the birthplace of pizza, blessed with rich volcanic soil, bountiful with coastline, and home to a wealth of historic churches, palaces, and castles creating an ambiance of regal proportions.  You begin your tour of the unforgettable city in the Museo Capodimonte, a former 18th-century royal hunting lodge located on the hilltop.

King Charles VII of Naples and Sicily turned the lodge into a grand palace, of which the National Gallery now decorates the first and second floors. Paintings range in date from the 13th to the 18th century and showcase a variety of artists, including El Greco and Caravaggio. The radiance of the royal apartments comes from the stunning tapestries and elegant porcelain used in the Bourbon and Savoy dynasties. Porcelain lines the Salottino di Porcellana, a whimsically themed room created in the 18th century. The grace and grandeur of the museum could rival that of any European kingdom of its day.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 12: Representing History

In the morning, the wake brushes against the pebbled shore of the promenade. The cable car outside of the city reaches the ancient city of Stabiae. The aroma of the sea carries in the breeze. Restaurants dedicated to the art of pizza making have opened their doors to begin making and kneading their dough. You sip your espresso, taking in the calm waters of the sea and the green tower of the eastern harbor’s Thaon di Revel lighthouse. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel. Soon you find yourself on the doorstep of the National Archeological Museum, which holds one of the most celebrated collections of the world’s antiquities. The building was once an 18th-century cavalry barracks and today houses more of Pompeii’s art and artifacts than Pompeii does now.

The walls are pristine white. Marble lines the floors. Rich mosaics and even mummies highlight the extent of the museum’s collection. Your footsteps echo in the lofted ceilings. You practically gasp when you see the Farnese Atlas, a 2nd-century copy of the Hellenistic sculpture. It is one of the oldest depictions of Atlas remaining and stands nearly seven feet tall. The figure of Atlas kneels, holding the weight of the world on his shoulders, sentenced by Zeus to hold up the sky. The anguish in the statue reveals the depth in which character can be revealed through art.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 13: Memories of the Best

The morning light spreads over Naples and captures the rugged beauty of the historic city. On the south side of Piazza del Municipio, a five-tower castle once served as the residence of Neapolitan kings, beginning in the 13th century. The gilded interior of San Domenic Maggiore erupts with wonder. The neighborhood of Santa Lucia maintains a picturesque stretch of narrow-stepped lanes, highlighting elements of the traditional life of the city. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at your hotel and escorts you to Naples International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.