Italy, Vatican City
Rome, Vatican City, Capri, Ravello, Naples, Palermo, Sciacca, Taormina, Pompeii, Catania
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The indelible effects of Greek, Byzantine, and Christian traditions permeate culture and customs during your customizable Italy tour. Follow the dramatic influence that shaped civilization south of Rome. Wander through the antiquated ruins of former Greek settlements in Sicily. Stroll along the unearthed roads of Pompeii to find mosaics depicting epic tales. Indulge in the beauty of Capri and the Amalfi Coast. Sip Sicilian wine on family-owned vineyards. Immerse yourself in the golden glow of...
Rome – Arrive in Rome with a Fascinating Walking Tour of the Eternal City
Rome has shined across its Seven Hills for more than two millennia, intertwining faith, art, and politics that continue to draw people from around the world. The dramatic walls of the Colosseum continue to stand majestically. The statue of Oceanus proudly watches over the water trickling into the Trevi Fountain. The dome of the historic Pantheon has inspired architects from its inception, including Michelangelo and Brunelleschi. Your flight lands at Fiumicino Airport. Your private transfer greets you upon your arrival and escorts you to a grand hotel located in the heart of the historic city with terraces overlooking the obelisk of Piazza del Popolo and gardens of the Villa Borghese.
Restaurants hide amongst the hidden cobblestone alleys and fill the air with the aromas of fresh pasta and delectable pizzas. Gelateries offer colorful mixtures of creamy sweet treats along the roadside, accompanied by the subtle scent of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and coffee. Your guide greets you in the hotel lobby, eager to lead you on an exceptional tour of the churches of Rome, tracing the lineage of Christianity across the city center. Before reaching the crowning dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, you find the remarkable church of St. John Lateran.
The structure acted as the Papal residence before the existence of the Vatican. Your guide points to an inscription on the façade that reads in Latin, “Mother and Head of all the churches of the city and the world.” The captivating 16th and 17th-century architectural styles were built over the 4th-century foundations of an earlier church. The bronze doors decorating the façade were taken from the ancient Curia located in the Roman Forum. Copies of the original Christian mosaics decorate the apse. The sweet spice of frankincense drifts beneath the timber ceiling.
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Capri – Transfer to the Famous Island of Capri with the Day at Leisure
Fresh flowers offer a delightful fragrance to the morning in Rome, emanating from the market at Campo dei Fiori. Farmers from outside the city showcase delectable olive oils, honey as thick and sweet as molasses, and large oranges providing a hint of zest to the flowery aroma. Your private transfer greets you after breakfast and escorts you south to Naples. You cross the mixture of turquoise and cobalt waters on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Mist spouts from the hull of the ferry and splashes against the windows.
You can stand atop the ferry and watch the coastline of mainland Italy shrink on the horizon. The cliffs of Capri rise in front of the ferry, reaching heights of 200 feet above sea level. The familiar and comforting scent of the sea spreads through the air. You dock at Marina Grande. The homes of fishers wrap around the slivers of golden sand. Colorful boats wade in the water at high tide. A steep cliff separates the marina from the island’s interior. A funicular leads to the plateau on which stands the main town of Capri.
Cafes and restaurants fill the Piazzetta. Locals and visitors enjoy sipping espresso while taking in the view of the water. You settle into the comforts of your luxurious hotel situated in an 18th-century Neapolitan palace. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the beauty of the island. Boutique shops line the cobbled walkways of Capri Town. The quiet streets of Anacapri lead to the church of San Michele. Majolica tiles decorate the floor and depict Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden.
Ravello – Tour Stunning Capri before Transferring to Ravello
The sunlight returns the turquoise hue to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Pillars and water tanks provide insight into the preserved grandeur erected by Roman emperors Tiberius and Augustus, who couldn’t turn away from the splendors of Capri. Your guide leads you on a spectacular tour of the island, beginning at the historic center of Anacapri. Geraniums and bougainvilleas bloom in the piazzas, draping over the framing facades. The church of Santa Sofia was erected in the 16th century atop an old parish church. The baroque façade gives way to the barrel-vaulted ceilings decorating the nave. The 14th-century monastery known as the Charterhouse of St. James offers an example of Caprese architecture.
The two cloisters represent the former glory of the complex through the vaulted ceilings and lavish paintings adorning the walls. The monastery once acted as a stronghold for the Carthusian fraternity before being attacked by Saracen pirates in the 16th century. The Gardens of Augustus lead to splendid panoramic views on the cliffs. A gentle breeze rustles the surrounding trees and flowers, amplifying the serenity of the emperor’s former garden. You have a view of the undulating roofs and town as well as the bell tower. In the distance, the famous Faraglioni rocks rise out of the turquoise sea, sculpted by the wind and water over thousands of years.
Ravello – Explore the Charm of the Amalfi Coast with a Private Driver
The marks of Christianity are endless in Italy. You have learned a village or town cannot truly exist without a cafe serving espresso, a place to play soccer, and a church at the heart of the village. In the morning, you find the whitewashed façade of Ravello Cathedral shimmering against the cobblestone piazza. The structure was erected in the 11th century and retains its Romanesque style. The scent of lemons and oranges emanates from the nearby orchards overtaking the terraces. The town sits atop the mountains overlooking the splendors of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the winding 25-mile road of the Amalfi Coast. Your private driver greets you at the hotel, eager to lead you around the small, gorgeous towns populating the famous coastline.
You reach the eponymous town that gained prominence in the Middle Ages due to its strong navy. The narrow cobbled lanes lead into the mouth of a deep gorge. The seafaring culture of the city created active trade with the Far East, rivaling Pisa and Genoa at its zenith. Only 11 of the original 20 naval arches remain alongside the water where workers would craft new boats ready for sailing. You get a glimpse of the city-states’ former prestige at the cathedral. 62 steps lead to the main portico first erected in the 11th century. The bronze doors were cast in Constantinople and were the first to appear in Italy in the mid-11th century.
Ravello – Travel to the Greek Ruins of Paestum and Visit a Dairy Farm
The scent of fresh espresso drifts through the main square of Piazza Vescovado. Flowers blossom along the garden terraces of Villa Cimbrone, which offers a sensational view across the Amalfi Coast. After breakfast, you set out into the countryside of the Campania region to visit the ancient Greek ruins of Paestum. Cows graze on the lush plains around the archaeological site. Wildflowers blossom yellow against the verdant grass. The pristine white marble temples rise out of the sprawling prairies contrasting the greenery. Greeks from Sybaris settled the region in the 6th century BC, erecting three grand temples dedicated to the gods.
Romans colonized the region in the 3rd century BC, building roads and theaters. The Temple of Hera is the oldest temple and contains an inscription dedicated to the goddess. The open-air altar stands at the front of the Doric structure. The neighboring temple remains the best-preserved, featuring double rows of columns, while the third temple retains elements of a Christian church. You continue to a dairy farm near the unspoiled splendors of Paestum, visiting with the local purveyor to learn how to make delectable buffalo mozzarella.
Naples – Visit Ancient Pompeii and Tour Naples’s Archaeological Museum
You depart Ravello in the morning, driving with your private transfer along the magnificent Amalfi Coast. You wind through the mountains to reach the Bay of Naples, noticing the spectacular cone of Mount Vesuvius rising over the water. The mountain is famous for its eruption in 79 AD that covered the city of Pompeii in volcanic ash and pumice stone. You stop in the lot for a chance to stretch your legs along the walkway leading to the volcanic summit. Smoke continues to drift out of the fumaroles inside the crater. The peak reaches a height of more than 4,200 feet above sea level. The vapor adds to the mythical layers of the ancient volcano. You continue to the ancient city of Pompeii, entering into the walls designating the archaeological site.
Nearly 50 Ionic columns surround the former Temple of Apollo in the Forum. The open square offers a view of the ominous cone of Mount Vesuvius across the bay. The colonnade encloses the square leading to the 10-foot tall base that once supported the Temple of Jupiter. Follow your guide along the ancient cobblestone streets to view the preserved city, leading you to the House of Menander. The home belonged to a wealthy merchant who decorated the entrance with Corinthian capitals. The wooden roof protects the small temple in the corner. The water from sporadic rainfall would fall into the pool located beneath the central opening. Frescoes depicting scenes from Homer’s Iliad decorate the surrounding arcade.
Palermo – Fly to Palermo, Sicily and Enjoy the Remaining Day at Leisure
The sunlight spreads across the Naples Harbor, shining over the moored fishing boats. Cafes set out tables and chairs overlooking the wading vessels. The scent of coffee blends with the aroma of the Mediterranean Sea. The city contains flecks of gold amidst the baroque architecture. At breakfast, you recall the stunning Farnese Hercules displayed in the marvelous National Archaeological Museum, a marvelous remnant of antiquity. Your private transfer escorts you to Naples International Airport for your flight to Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The flamboyant city exhibits its long history in architecture and culture. Date palms soar above the cobblestone streets. Gothic palaces shimmer with golden stones beneath the sunlight.
Arabesque domes and Byzantine mosaics add to the luster of the Arabian atmosphere of the markets. Quiet cloisters lead to oases of citrus trees and vintage stores offer fabrics of the faded aristocracy. You settle into the comforts of your gorgeous hotel in the historic city center. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the thrilling ambiance at your preferred pace. The scent of arancini, a traditional fried rice ball, drifts through the marketplace. Bright produce, from lemons to tomatoes, fill large crates alongside sacks of colorful spices. Locals sip wine in the quiet cafes overlooking the night market, enjoying the flavors of the cuisine shaped by an elaborate history.
Palermo – Traverse the Layers of Palermo and Cathedral of Monreale
The elegant movements and chaotic ambiance of the markets of Palermo return in the morning at Ballarò Street Market. Vendors wind along the narrow roads leading from Palazzo dei Normanni. Fishmongers call out to passersby while cheesemongers offer samples of their fare made freshly on farms outside the city. You step out onto the bustling streets of Palermo with your guide, eager to absorb the fascinating blend of Norman, Arab, and Byzantine culture. The Palatine Chapel was erected in the 12th century at the heart of the Norman Palace. The three-tiered loggia glistens with gold mosaics. The sunlight filters through the windows and glints against the inlaid marble floors.
The wooden ceiling recalls Arab architecture through the ornamentation vault resembling a honeycomb. The blend of Byzantine and Arabian design highlight the cultural complexity of Sicily’s past. Precious stones create a lustrous and exquisite atmosphere. Angels on the dome offer a sense of delicate grace floating above the depictions of the Old Testament and the Crusades. After experiencing the interconnected culture of Palermo’s former kingdoms, you continue to the Cathedral of Monreale, located on the outskirts of the city center. The picturesque structure stands on the hill overlooking the island capital. Find mosaics spread across the cloister of the Norman architectural masterpiece. Gold gleams from the artwork spanning nearly 64,600 square feet.
Sciacca – Wander Ancient Segesta and Medieval Erice en route to Sciacca
In the morning, you find university students and excited children eating brioche con gelato, an ice cream sandwich glowing with the green of pistachio. The scent of caramelized sugar and chocolate accompanies the aroma of espresso drifting out of the corner bar. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you to Segesta, located in the high mountains. The Elymian people founded the archaeological complex before giving way to the Greeks. The 5th-century BC Doric temple rises out of the rugged mountain landscape with golden light washing over the white stone. The structure was never completed and has remained roofless for more than 2,500 years.
The base reaches a length nearly 200 feet long and more than 85 feet wide, with 36 decorative and supportive columns. The scent of wildflowers blends with the aroma of the sunbaked stone. You find the Greek and Roman amphitheater on the hillside. The architects used the steep grade of the landscape to create the stadium seating. Locals continue to fill the theater when it stages Greek plays in the summer. You continue to the mountaintop town of Erice, located at 2,460 feet above sea level. The medieval walls wrap around the triangular plateau.
Sciacca – Delight in a Half-Day Wine Tour and Tasting around Sciacca
You can hear the waves of the Mediterranean lapping against the private beach of your quiet resort. The relaxing sound leads to the rippling, translucent infinity pool that stretches to a length of nearly 200 feet long. Palm trees rustle in the sea breeze, and the soft, white sand turns warm in the spreading sunlight. After breakfast, you sent out into the countryside to visit a selection of fabulous vineyards crafting some of the greatest wine on the island. The Terre Sicane Wine Route combines culture, history, and beauty leading to the delicious flavors shaped by the terrain. The inland terrain turns a rich emerald with vines spanning nearly 20 acres.
You walk through the rows of vines with your guide, brushing your fingers on the soft leaves shading the bushels of grapes. You touch the waxy texture of the grape skin and squeeze the plump, dry fruit. The grapes fortify their flavors in rich Sicilian tradition. You explore the metal vats and oak barrels in the cellar, finding the cool climate refreshing after walking in the Mediterranean sunlight. Your guide pours a glass of wine in the tasting room as you enjoy the view over the landscape. Your distinctive white wine contains aromas of thyme and chamomile. The silky texture leaves a flavor of apricot and almonds on your palate before offering a crisp and refreshing finish.
Taormina – Discover the Ruins of Agrigento and Architecture of Taormina
Ancient Greek life in Sicily remains prominent in the ruins spread across the rolling hills and the seaside. The bountiful aroma of the Mediterranean Sea drifts from the coastline and lingers in the dining room at breakfast. The scent of rich espresso overtakes the water’s subtly sweet and briny charm. You leave behind the waters along the western shores and make your way towards the eastern coastal cliffs of Taormina. Stop en route to discover the brilliant Greek ruins of Agrigento. The Valley of the Temples creates a picture-perfect setting of marble and Doric structures crowning the golden hills. Of the original 34 columns, 25 continue to support the Temple of Hera. The elevated position offers a sensational view of the surrounding structures and statues.
Rocks sprawled across the interior retain hints of ruin from the fire set by Carthaginians in the early 5th-century BC. The Temple of Hercules is the oldest in the valley and retains eight of its original columns at the heart of the archaeological park. The demigod was the preferred hero of the Sicilian Greeks and acted as the protector of ancient Agrigento. You continue to the beautiful cliffs of Taormina, relishing the view of the turquoise and indigo Mediterranean Sea. After taking a moment to settle into the quiet luxuries of your hotel, you follow your guide through town, culminating your tour at the Greek theater, offering an unparalleled panorama to the breathtaking summit of Mount Etna.
Taormina – Stroll through the Layers of History and Culture in Syracuse
The city of Syracuse continues to echo with the streets and architecture of its ancient citizens leading to the baroque palaces and fountains of the contemporary city. Elements of Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Norman kingdoms overtake the familiar layers of Magna Graecia around the quarters of the ancient city center. You find the comforting aroma of fresh espresso blending with the sweet scent of marzipan and cassata emanating through the doors of a prominent café. You begin at the Greek Theater, the largest preserved in the world with a diameter reaching more than 450 feet long.
The 5th-century stadium premiered two of Aeschylus’s plays, along with performances of Sophocles and Euripides. The natural grade in the hillside allowed for 61 rows of seats supporting 15,000 spectators. Byzantine niches to the left of the roadway offer insight into the Byzantine burial grounds. The pathway leads to the San Giovanni crypts and catacombs, which were restored by the Normans in the 12th century. Steps lead to the 4th-century cruciform where visitors can view the catacombs overtaking more space than those of Rome. Ionic column bases decorate the hypogeum. Christian symbols adorn the altar where the Apostle Paul prayed in the 1st century AD. The ancient fountain on the Foro Vittorio Emanuele II promenade grows lush papyrus reeds. The plant has grown in the famous freshwater spring for more than a millennium and is one of two places in Europe where papyrus grows.
Catania – Enjoy an Expedition to Mt. Etna and Culture in Catania
The summit of Mount Etna looms over the eastern shores of Sicily, puffing with a mixture of smoke and passing clouds. The lush foothills thrive with vineyards, olive groves, and citrus orchards soaking up the mineral-rich volcanic soil. You make your way to the base of the undulating ridges for an early four-wheel-drive tour. The peak soars above you at a height of nearly 11,000 feet above sea level. Foxes, wild cats, and rabbits make their way through the woods and hazelnut trees. Golden eagles glide over the thermal patches while hunting. You take the vehicle over the undulating volcanic caldera, noticing the cliffs and gullies shaped by the lava formations. The walls of the basin reach nearly 3,300 feet tall.
You continue to the lunar landscape of the volcano’s upper reaches where the volcanic ash and stone accumulates. Fumaroles puff and burst with steam around the barren landscape. The high atmosphere makes the air thinner and bites with cold against your cheeks. You look down to see the pine and beech forests far below. You return to the lower craters near the Rifugio Sapienza rest stop to find the Monti Silvestri Craters. The small but impressive hollows glow with red and black soil. Traces of flora have returned to the rugged terrain, growing in patches surrounded by gravel and dirt. The thrill of climbing the active volcano is unforgettable with your heart still pounding in your chest as you make your way towards the city of Catania.
Catania – Depart for Home
Catania once thrived as a Greek agricultural center and a popular Roman colony. The Spanish kingdom turned the seaside town into a prosperous powerhouse before the city needed reconstruction after a 17th-century earthquake. The baroque buildings decorating the heart of Catania blend tradition and grandeur. The fish market returns to prominence in the morning with fishermen returning from sea with fabulous prizes to display. Octopuses and clams, eels, and marlin entice passersby eager to find the freshest fish for dinner. The market embodies the quintessential charms of the city stretching beneath the surrounding baroque homes. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel when you are ready, escorting you to Catania—Fontanarossa Airport for your flight home.
- Stroll beneath the brilliant golden glow of the Byzantine mosaics decorating the Palatine Chapel in Palermo
- Discover the splendor of the largest preserved Doric temple in the world, located in the ruins of Segesta in Sicily
- Wander along the Greek temples rising out of the verdant plains of Campania at Paestum before partaking in a cheese-making lesson at a local dairy farm
- Travel the famous scenic road along the Amalfi Coast to visit the charming towns overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, leading to the Cathedral at Amalfi
- Visit the historical and legendary churches of Rome on a private tour taking you from St. John Lateran to the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica
- Explore the preserved marvels of Syracuse on an epic ancient tour to find wild papyrus, a magnificent theater, and an ancient cathedral
- Indulge in the splendid tastes of Sicily with a wine tour around Sciacca, sampling the delightful flavors fortified by the surrounding terrain
- Witness the prestigious art of the ancients while exploring the streets of Pompeii and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples
- Traverse the rugged landscape of Mt. Etna on a guided four-wheel-drive excursion to the fuming craters overlooking the lush foothills
Art, architecture, and customs of Southern Italy and Sicily highlight the deeply embedded layers of kingdoms, trade, and traditions that influenced daily life south of Rome. Your two week Southern Italy itinerary embarks on a discovery of Greek, Byzantine, and Christian cultures, from Rome to Palermo. Your adventure begins with your arrival in Rome. Your private transfer greets you at Fiumicino Airport and escorts you to the heart of the Eternal City. Embark on a fabulous walking tour of the city center, focused on the famous and fabled churches of Rome. The next day, you travel south to the island of Capri. Relax in the comforts of your luxurious hotel overlooking the cliffs of the island. Stroll through Capri Town or Anacapri at your own pace to find the historical churches and private vistas of the treasured island.
The following day, your guide greets you in the hotel lobby, eager to introduce you to the history of Capri, leading from the villas of Roman emperors to the Carthusian monastery of St. James. You transfer by ferry to the Amalfi Coast for the remainder of the day at leisure at your gorgeous hotel in Ravello. Then, your private driver takes you along the Amalfi Coast at your leisure to indulge in the splendor of the Mediterranean seaside. Visit the town of Positano to discover remnants of Byzantine design. Venture outside of the Amalfi Coast to explore the Doric temples of Paestum. Continue to a dairy farm outside of the ancient Greek ruins for an in-depth class on how to make the celebrated buffalo mozzarella.
Afterward, your private transfer leads you across the Bay of Naples, stopping at Mt. Vesuvius to reach the top of the famous crater. You continue to the legendary city of Pompeii to walk along the preserved archaeological park. Upon reaching Naples, you have a private guided tour of the National Archaeological Museum to find a mixture of Roman and Greek artwork filling the galleries. Next, you fly to Palermo, Sicily to enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. Spend time visiting the outdoor markets or dip into warm Mediterranean waters at Mondello Beach. You have a guided tour of the historical city, delving deeper into the Norman, Arab, and Christian architecture decorating the city.
You continue to the small town of Monreale to explore the fascinating cathedral before returning to your hotel in Palermo. You visit the Greek ruins in Segesta to find the largest Doric temple in Italy. Explore the Medieval town of Erice before settling in the luxuries of your seaside resort in Sciacca. You can relax on a half-day wine tour learning about the ways the locals produce the celebrated varietals before relishing the remainder of the day at leisure. Embark on an immersive tour of a Greek settlement in the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento. Find preserved structures and fallen statues before reaching the serene cliff-top town of Taormina.
Your guide leads you on a fascinating tour of the baroque and medieval charms culminating at the Greek Theater, which offers a view of Mt. Etna. Visit the ancient city of Syracuse. Sit in the largest Greek theater ever discovered and stroll the ancient lanes of a city preserved alongside the Mediterranean Sea. Venture to the foothills and craters of Mt. Etna with a guided tour. Witness the lush orchards and greenery at the mountain base before wandering through the lunar landscape of the upper crater. Once in Catania, you have a private tour of the ancient baroque city rebuilt after a 17th-century earthquake. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel on the final day. You make your way out of the city to reach Catania-Fontanarossa Airport for your flight home.
$3,845 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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