Relish your introduction to the must-see beaches, the majestic history, and incredible cuisine during your custom-tailored tour of Southern Italy and Sicily. Savor your time in the white sands that lead to clear turquoise waters in Calabria, and then learn about the complexity of flavor in traditional Pugliese olive oil. Explore the enchanting ambiance of cave-dwellings in Basilicata, and then traverse the fuming craters of an active volcano in Sicily. The endless marvels of Southern Italy hold...
Day 1 - 2
Bari - Discover the Northern Towns and Olive Groves of Puglia
The lively city of Bari encapsulates the marvels of Italy’s southern region of Puglia with lavish architecture, colorful fishing boats, and grand boulevards that bring traditions to modern life. Bari is a shining example of Southern Italy’s lavish past and contemporary vibrancy overlooks the shimmering turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. The scent of grilled calamari and shrimp topped with salt and a squeeze of lemon citrus drifts down the cobbled lanes, and you will immediately feel welcomed and comfortable.
Your flight will land at Karol Wojtyla Airport, where your private transfer will greet you upon arrival. Your two nights in the fascinating city will begin with settling into the comforts of your luxury hotel. You can step out and explore the charms of the captivating streets as fresh fish are brought into the marina by active fishers alongside the stunning Norman design of the Basilica di San Nicola. The structure was erected in the 12th century as a place to house the relics of Saint Nicolas, also known as Santa Clause, which were stolen from Turkey in the 11th century. The interior bursts with the scent of myrrh, which is said to emanate from the remains of the saint and contain special powers. The wooden ceiling glints with gilded details added in the 7th century, for a lot of beauty to take in.
Outside of Bari, your private driver will lead you around the marvelous Pugliese countryside to visit the Castle del Monte, a dramatic depiction of 13th-century medieval architecture with Gothic cornice towers, Romanic lines, and a unique octagonal design. The mysterious project utilized the number eight to create dynamic symmetries during the winter solstice and summer equinox accentuated by the limestone and quartz façade. The interior retains counter-clockwise staircases rising to the top of the towers, as well as broken pieces of marble and mosaic once decorating the grand halls.
Visiting a local olive orchard outside of Bari will introduce you to the fantastic flavors and specific, treasured production of olive oils in the region that accounts for approximately 40% of Italy’s olive production. The dry soil and shading leaves provide herbaceous aromas as you explore the variety of olives around the orchard, which possess different depths of flavors. The orchard retains their heavy plates from which they produced olive oil before mechanization, offering you a demonstration on how they would stuff the olives between the stacked plates and press down, harvesting the oil running down the sides. In the tasting room, your guide can explain the differences between the levels of oils, the best-known of which consists of “extra virgin.” You can sample the olive oil and find peppery notes with a slight bitterness stemming from the natural antioxidants.
Day 3 - 6
Lecce - Traverse the Cities, Towns, and Beaches of Southern Puglia
Day 7 - 8
Lecce - Continue Uncovering the Majesty of Italy's Southeast
Day 9 - 10
Matera - Explore Basilicata's Distinctive Culture and Architecture
Day 11 - 12
Tropea - Enjoy Calabria's Coastal History and Coastal Charm
Reggio Calabria - Delight in the Beauty of Reggio Calabria for Day
Day 14 - 17
Taormina - Ferry to Sicily for Beaches, Mt. Etna, and Culture
Day 18 - 20
Syracuse - History and Heritage at Agrigento and Syracuse