Exploring the Southern Coast of Italy Tour

View of the colorful buildings of Sorrento on the hillside and coastline | Amalfi Coast, Italy
A 9 day trip to Italy 
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Majestic, enchanting, relaxing, and picturesque only begins to describe the wonders of the Amalfi Coast and shores along Calabria as they are yours to discover during your personalized Italy tour. The scent of lemon becomes a ubiquitous aroma blending with the Mediterranean breeze as pastel-colored homes cling to the cliffs and contrast with the tranquil turquoise water. Pebbled coves lead to sandy beaches, and local restaurants bring insight into the soul of the community serving traditional dishes inspired by the sea. The landscape is seductive, the water is transparent, and the history is palpable surpassed only by the inviting atmosphere of Southern Italy. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Colorful buildings on Procida Island in the Gulf Naples
View of the beautiful Italian village of Positano
Section of Path of the Gods hike along the coast in Italy
View of the Amalfi Coast with the village of Positano, Italy in the background
Scenic view of the ocean from the town of Ravello, Italy
Traffic rolling along the Amalfi Coast in Italy
Luxurious terrace on the coast of Capri, Italy
Beautiful view of a rocky cliff and coastline in Capri, Italy
Boats parked on a Capri beach in Italy
Damaged buildings in the ancient Roman town Herculaneum (damaged from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius)
View of Capri cliffs and coastline in Italy
Intricate flower gardens in the Villa Rufolo in Italy
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Vietri sul Mare, Atrani, Herculaneum, Capri, Procida, Maratea, Pizzo, Tropea, Scilla, Reggio di Calabria, Pentedattilo 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Positano – Arrive in Italy along the Charming and Historic Amalfi Coast

Positano is a gorgeous vertical town that climbs up the mountains to jut out over the Tyrrhenian Sea. The colorful homes line the narrow winding lanes that lead to boutique shops that are overflowing with bright clothing and handmade Italian leather sandals. The scent of lemons emanates from the terraced orchards growing along the steep slopes as vibrantly painted fishing boats linger in the gentle wake lapping against the marina. Your flight will land at Naples International Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival. Travel around the Bay of Naples and beneath the dramatic peak of the infamous Mount Vesuvius before reaching the most westerly town of the Amalfi Coast. 

The famous roadway has inspired artists and Hollywood starts traveling 25 miles from Positano to Vietri sul Mare weaving in and out of coves, crevices, and above the rugged, sheer shoreline.  The remainder of the day is at your leisure to indulge in the charms of Positano by climbing the narrow stairways or strolling along the pebbles at Spiaggia Grande, where yellow and red umbrellas shade the lounge chairs. The nearby restaurants serve delicious seafood filling the air with a mixture of lemon juice, grilled fish, and the sea breeze. At sunset, the shades of orange and pink spread across the town accentuated the peach and terracotta colors of the tower homes climbing up the mountain or the shops draped by wisteria. 

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation 

Day 2: Positano – The Gorgeous Beaches and Towns of the Amalfi Coast

The morning light shines over the crystal-clear Tyrrhenian Sea, and the scent of the water adds an extra layer of refreshing aromas atop the freshly brewed espresso and delicious pastries. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta glints with majolica-tiles lining the dome. The interior contains a 13th-century Black Madonna and Child crafted in Constantinople and smuggled west by pirates. Set out to uncover the tremendous beauty of the towns along the famous coastline with your private driver. The charming ambiance of Positano changes to a more industrious pace in the town of Amalfi, however, the grandeur of the shoreline remains the same amid the protruding slopes and brightly colored homes. 

Fishers return from the open sea ready to take their overflowing catches to market. Pebbles line the small beach and the narrow lanes within the heart of town lead to an elegant piazza touching the more than 60 stairs leading to the cathedral porch. While more crowded than Positano as the namesake of the coastline, Amalfi retains its beauty juxtaposing its history as a maritime powerhouse influencing trade route with the powerful Byzantine Empire until the 14th century when an earthquake caused much of the former city to slide into the sea.

The cathedral was erected in the 13th century with gripping influences of Arab and Byzantine design, most notably in the black and white stripes decorating the façade, as well as the medieval bronze doors, the first to have appeared in Italy. Vines and elaborate mythical beasts decorate the doorway opening to the Baroque interior. The massive triumphal arch adorning the apse stands atop two ancient Greek columns taken from the temples at Paestum, located approximately 45 miles to the south.   

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Positano – The Ruins of Herculaneum and Climb Mount Vesuvius

In the morning, adventurous hikers climb the massive stairwell leading to the small town of Nocelle sitting on a plateau above Positano. The isolated mountain village is connected to the trail known as the Path of the Gods, a challenging alpine lane leading to the different villages along the Amalfi Coast. The panoramic view from town overtakes the shimmering turquoise waters of the sea and changing landscape of the mountains shifting between rocky cliffs, verdant terraces, and waves crashing against boulders. 

When you are ready, you will travel back to Naples with your private driver for a guided tour of Herculaneum. The historical city was founded between the 6th and 7th centuries BC and covered beneath the fast-moving magma, pumice, and ash during the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. While less famous than Pompeii, the conditions leading to city’s preservation have maintained artifacts better than those of the more famous city, including providing more elaborate visions of colored marble cladding and wooden furniture. A moat along the edge of town represents the old shoreline of the port city before being buried beneath up to 98 feet of mud, pumice, and ash essentially fossilizing the buildings. 

Excavations in the area began in the 18th century after the town was rediscovered. You will immediately notice the doors and roofs remaining intact for nearly two millennia with homes possessing vivid frescoes and mosaics representing the important aesthetics of daily life. The Sacello degli Augustali was a large square shrine dedicated to Hercules. An opening in the rooftop allowed natural light to enter the structure. Marvelous frescoes adorning the walls reflect the stories of the city’s patron, including one depicting Hercules on Olympus with Juno and Minerva. 

Continue to the slopes of Vesuvius for unique perspective of the Bay of Naples, where a base of walkway offers a shortened, easy walk to the top of the summit. The conical peak stands at over 4,202 feet above sea level, the scent of sulfur emanates from the caldera where fumaroles puff with steam. The crater dips down into the mountain 1,000 feet deep with a diameter of 2,000 feet. 2019 denotes the 75th anniversary of the Vesuvius’s last eruption, marking the most recent activity of Europe’s last active volcano.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Positano – Full Day Discovering the Distinctive Treasures of Capri

In the morning, the aroma of hazelnut crumb cake stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese and soft pears drifts out of a famous bakery in the heart of town. You will board the ferry bound for the Isle of Capri for a day discovering the splendor of the cliffs, sand, sun, and sea. Upon reaching the island, you gaze at the fascinating precipices plunging 200 feet into the water. The funicular leads you from the bustle of Marine Grande to the fast-pace charms of Piazza Umberto I. 

The clock tower casts a shadow over the cafes filled with a mixture of locals and tourists alike enjoying a morning espresso. The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was built in the 12th century and served as the parish church until the late 16th century. The beautiful structure hides amid the winding lanes of neighboring houses outside of the Piazzetta boasting a rib-vaulted bell tower. The Byzantine style apses retain elements of exquisite frescoes first painted between the 14th and 15th centuries depicting images of Jesus offering blessing, Mary with Child, and a Paragalli family crest. 

A road takes you along ancient history by following the megalithic walls first erected in the 8th century BC to connect the district known for its private courtyards with narrow, vaulted streets meant to protect citizens from Saracen attacks. Travel along the Tragara, a panoramic road offering a stunning view of the coastline including the famous Faraglioni, oceanic rocks formed into spectacular shapes by millennia of erosion caused by waves and weather. By traveling to the western shores of the rugged island, you absorb the aromas of the seaside with the Mediterranean wilds steeped in inlets with crystalline waters protected by a series of blockhouses known as fortini

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Positano – Visit the Charming Island of Procida with a Day at Leisure

After breakfast, you can board the ferry bound for the island of Procida, a fabulous secret protruding from the Bay of Naples. The sunlight bleaches the narrow streets and shoreline. Children enjoy the warm days by tossing their fishing lines into the water. Fishers tend to their nets and share stories of the island’s past. The island was the setting for the 1995 Academy Award winning film Il Postino.

Palazzo d’Avalos was erected in the 16th century as a family home and converted into a prison by the 1830s. The magnificent edifice contains a courtyard, guard barracks, and individual cells added on during later expansion. The features of the palace reflect not only the evolution of the island over time but also the relevant history of architecture on the island dating back to the Renaissance and affected by the changing tides of political, military, and economic circumstances. Venture to the Marina Corricella, the oldest village on the island, for a view of nesting homes surrounded by the sea. Fishers leave their nets on the coastline to dry, and the narrow lanes keep cars from entering the small oasis of quiet seaside charisma.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Pizzo – The Fascinating Seaside Town of Maratea en route to Pizzo

Sheep and cows graze along the Campanian countryside sweeping across the plains south the Amalfi Coast’s bordering mountains. The famous ancient city of Paestum shines with a historic allure emanating from the three preserved temples connoting the epic aesthetic of Magna Grecia. The settlement reflects the best-conserved Greek architecture on mainland Italy. Your private transfer greets you in the hotel after breakfast ready to escort you away from Positano along the Amalfi Coast en route to the fascinating Calabrian town of Pizzo. Before reaching the coastal streets, you stop in sun-drenched Maratea. Instead of a single village climbing up the rugged mountainous terrain, Maratea instead acts as a collection of coastal towns overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

The water nudges into the landscape with embellished coves while tall stairways run along the steep hills. Ruins of previous settlements protrude through spaces between the medieval homes beneath the 44 interspersed hilltop churches. The walkways provide the best views over the lapping, turquoise waters filling the Gulf of Policastro. A statue of Christ the Redeemer soars above the collection of villages on the Monte San Biagio summit with a 360-degree view over the majestic blend of mountains and coastline. The statue reaches nearly 69 feet tall with an arm span 62-feet wide making it the second-largest statue of its kind behind Rio de Janeiro. The figure stands in front of the basilica whose foundations date back to the 8thcentury AD at 2,100 feet above sea level. 

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

Day 7: Pizzo – Discover the Exciting History and Scenery of Tropea and Scilla

In the morning, you will wake in one of Calabria’s prettiest towns in one of Italy’s least-visited regions. Elegant palaces stand atop precipitous cliffs and houses painted with pastel colors wind around the narrow lanes leading away from the central piazza. The foundations of the city date back to the 13th century when Basilian monks erected a church before the Aragonese built a fortress in the 15th century protecting the settled fishing village. The gelateriearound town open their doors displaying the favorite local dessert, tartufo, consisting traditionally of a ball of hazelnut ice cream filled with molten chocolate and covered with cocoa powder. 

Outside of town, your private driver takes you to Tropea, where the white limestone cliffs glint against the bright azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The quaint village streets wind through shops and restaurants. White sand paves the beach where locals and visitors lounge in the radiant sunlight. The gentle sound of lapping waves fills the air, and on a clear day, you can see the Aeolian Islands on the horizon. Dig your toes into the sand to enjoy the soft texture of the sand, which combined with the white color resembles sugar. The water is nearly transparent while the town embodies an assortment of Arab, Norman, Swabian, Anjous, and Aragonese design.

Continue to the picturesque fishing village of Scilla, located on a rocky spur beneath an ancient fortress. The dramatic landscape inspired the myths of Scylla and Charybdis, sea monsters who guarded the narrow Strait of Messina from sailors including Odysseus. Ruffo Castle rests on the imposing headland overlooking the water and dating back to the 16th century. The neighborhood of Chianalea is located on a narrow strip of land wedged against the sea. Waves crash against the historic walls and fishing boats rest on the sand during low tied. Locals hang bits of orange peel to dry in the sun as restaurants display their fresh swordfish to entice passersby. Before traveling back to Pizzo, you can stop at Qafiz, a restaurant awarded a Michelin Star for 2019. The chef Nino Rossi brought the respectability of local, fresh, seasonal produce to the forefront of Calabrian notoriety serving gourmet, traditional dishes with a modern twist.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Pizzo – Relish a Tour of Reggio di Calabria and Hilltop Pentedattilo

The sunlight washes over the water revealing the scattered tonnare, fishing nets of a particular shape used to capture bluefin tuna. The technique developed from an ancient method used across Italy and southern Italy, with local fishers sending their fresh catches to market each morning. History comes to life after breakfast in the city of Reggio Calabria, the capital of the southern region. The fascinating, eclectic architectural styles stem from the tectonic past with the majority of the structures rebuilt after the earthquake of 1908. 

The Matteotti promenade is one of the most beautiful streets in the city, which stretches for over half a mile and offers an enchanting view of Sicily across the Strait of Messina including a unique image of Mount Etna fuming in the distance. The true treasure of the city emerges in the form of the Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria, which was renovated in 2009 to become one of Italy’s most soft-spoken, yet, finest museum. Descend into ancient history dating back to the Paleolithic era leading to the Neolithic period of approximately 6,000 BC but more notably contains artifacts from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The jewels of the galleries’ treasure chest are the Riace bronzes. 

The magnificent statues were crafted between 460 and 450 BC in Greece and discovered near the town of Riace in 1972. The two surviving Greek bronze statues showcase superb craftsmanship in the artistic details of the muscles, facial features, and hair depicting athletic heroes connoting figures straddling both humanity and divinity standing more than nine feet tall. You continue to the hilltop town of Pentedattilo for a different perspective on the pristine and often passed over the beauty of Calabria. 

The mysterious village nearly blends into the rocks frozen in time since the infamous massacre of the reigning noble family in the 17th century. The ghost town has a distinct allure dating back to its foundations in the 7th century BC 820 feet above sea level. Volunteers have kept city standing since the 1980s by renovating houses, fixing streets, or opening workshops for crafters and artists in the summer. An international film festival takes place annually between August and September, and the ambiance of the Old World emanates from the streets beneath the walls of the castle. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Pizzo – Depart for Home from Lamezia Terme Airport  

The cool air in the hidden church set in a rock grotto beneath town retains a sense of mystery and charisma in the morning. The church was erected in the 17th century by grateful sailors after surviving a shipwreck who carved out of the soft rock facing the sea. 19th and 20th-century statues of religious figures adorn the gallery for a festive and distinctive ambiance with light pouring through the main entrance. Cafes and restaurants open their doors along Piazza della Repubblica filling the square with the scent of freshly brewed espresso, and after one last morning to enjoy it, your private transfer will greet you in your hotel lobby after breakfast ready to escort you to Lamezia Terme Airport for your flight home. 

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

Price

Starting Price 

$2,470
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.