Splendors of the Mediterranean: Rome, Sicily & Greece Tour

A 11 day trip to Italy 
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The ancient world of the Mediterranean comes to life during your custom-tailored Rome, Sicily, and Greece Tour. The brilliant hues of Michelangelo’s paintings encompass the entirety of the Sistine Chapel. The pillars of the Parthenon support the history of thousands of years of Western Civilization and overlook the city of Athens. Greek temple ruins complement the Sicilian landscape, surrounded by olive groves and citrus orchards. Outdoor markets showcase timeless local traditions, and historic churches hide ancient splendors. Explore the treasures of the past that have helped to shape the wonders of contemporary culture.  

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Rome, Palermo, Monreale, Agrigento, Taormina, Patras, Athens 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Contemporary Life in an Ancient World

Rome is vibrant and captivating, embodying truth in its namesake as the Eternal City. Byzantine mosaics and Renaissance frescoes decorate churches. Baroque palaces encircle medieval piazzas. Contemporary artists capture the historic beauty of the architecture and the modern movement of the Roman lifestyle. You arrive at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport. Your private transfer greets you and leads you into the heart of the city, where you find your luxurious hotel. Locals linger at café tables overlooking the walkways. They sip wine and people-watch. The aroma of freshly made pasta and simmering sauces drift out of hidden restaurants.

City life continues to enrich the atmospheric streets, effortlessly blending the past and present around the Pantheon. The Roman structure was erected in 80 AD and highlights the engineering capabilities of the empire. Massive Corinthian columns adorn the façade. The dome has a diameter of 141 feet and remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Light pours through the single 29-foot opening at the center of the dome. The marble floor adds to the luster of the interior, where you can find the tombs of Italian Kings and treasured cultural icons, including the legendary painter Raphael.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: A Radiant Time

In the morning, the aroma of freshly baked brioche filters out of the local bakeries. Locals fill cafes and order a strong espresso to begin their day. The city glints gold in the morning light, with church domes and bell towers creating an immaculate skyline. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel, ready to take you on a fabulous tour of the Baroque and Renaissance images of the city. Students linger on the Spanish Steps and enjoy the Roman sunlight. The stairway was constructed in the 18th century and connects Piazza de Spagna to Piazza Trinita dei Monti. The Fontana della Barcaccia, a soothing fountain, trickles at the base of the stairs. The fresh water spritzes into the air, offering a refreshing mist.

You continue to the Trevi Fountain, a 17th-century masterpiece and the largest fountain in the city, measuring 86 feet tall and 161 feet wide. Marble statues adorn the façade centered on Oceanus, the Roman god of the sea, with a long beard, defined muscles, and a majestic commanding look. It looks as though the central figure commands the waters. The crystal clear pool shimmers against the pearly marble. You join in the traditions of the fountain by turning around and tossing a coin over your left shoulder. When the coin splashes into the water, it ensures a return to the enchanting city.

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

Day 3: The Symbols of Rome

Morning spreads across Rome. The light captures the imaginative characteristics of the Colosseum, a symbol of the Roman Empire and the gladiatorial games that once took place inside. After breakfast, your guide leads you to the grounds of the famous architectural rotunda. The structure was erected in the 1st century AD and stands east of the Roman Forum. More than 50,000 spectators would wander through the 80 arched entrances. From the outside, the structure is magnificent, with three levels of arched walls topped with Doric and Corinthian columns.

Once inside, history comes alive. You can see the labyrinthine walls that wound adjacent to the original wood floor where gladiators would stand before battle. You explore the stands to take in the view of Roman citizens. It is easy to imagine the battles that once took place on the grounds, surrounded by the roaring crowd. The Arch of Constantine rises halfway between the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It was erected in the 4th century AD to commemorate Constantine the Great’s victory in battle. In Rome, antiquity is not just part of the past but included in everyday life.

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

Day 4: Enduring Rome

In the morning, the market in Campo dei Fiori brims with color and activity. Umbrellas shade the vendors. The aroma of dried spices, olives, and porcini mushrooms drifts along the walkways. Vegetables glow with vivacious hues and florists offer fresh flowers. After breakfast, your guide takes you to Vatican City to explore St. Peter’s Basilica and the treasures of the Vatican Museum. The cathedral adorns the oblong shaped piazza. The dome looms over the cobbled public space like a crown. Pope Julius II established the Vatican Museum in the 16th century. Today the museum contains 54 separate galleries. A cool temperature fills the halls.

Paintings and statues create layers of history, ranging from Roman statutes to Renaissance paintings. In the Gallery of Maps, you find a ceiling segmented with gilded borders dividing lavish images, displaying the entirety of the Italian peninsula. The Sistine Chapel is the last stop on your tour. You have always wondered how marvelous the images inside the chapel were. The art is breathtaking. The vibrant colors shine against the sparse stone. On the southern wall, you find a depiction of Moses. The northern wall shows the life of Jesus. You look up to the ceiling where the famous image of The Creation of Adam captures your attention. Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling in the 15th century with nine scenes from the Book of Genesis.

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

Day 5: Palermo’s Past and Tempting Temples 

The ferry docks in Palermo, the provincial capital of Sicily. The market of La Vucciria lines the cobbled pathways nestled between historic buildings. The aroma of rich coffee blends with the citrus aroma drifting from the orange groves outside of the city. Underneath the tarps, the market exudes a North African ambiance, connecting an important tradition of Palermo with its eclectic past. Your guide leads you on a fabulous tour of the city’s history, beginning at the Baroque center known as Quattro Canti, the Four Corners. Consider learning more about your Sicily tour companies that strive to produce an exceptional and personalized touring experience for you.

The four buildings crowning the corners of the square had nearly identical facades meant to mirror one another. Fountains and statues depicted the four seasons. The façades curve, creating a niche on the upper floors where the statues overlook the plaza. Fountains adorn the bottom floor, providing fresh water to passersby. You visit the Cathedral to witness the mixture of the ancient grounds, Arabic embellishments, and Norman architecture before continuing to Agrigento. At the edge of the city, you discover ancient Greek temples peppering the landscape. Olive groves grow near the stream. Atop the Acropolis hill, the Temple of Concordia towers over the landscape. Massive Doric columns support the preserved metopes. It is the perfect representation of Greek settlement in Sicily.

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

Day 6: Antique Timelessness

In the morning, you sip on a fresh-brewed frothy cappuccino and enjoy the flavor of a semi-sweet brioche. The pillars and temples that decorate the landscape shine in the spreading sunlight. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the town of Piazza Armerina, set on a plateau 2,296 feet above sea level. The Baroque Cathedral crowns the central square. Outside of town, you enter the Roman Villa, also known as Villa del Casale. The structure was erected in the 4th century AD. The walls of the villa are well preserved, offering insight into the lavish lifestyle of a wealthy Roman citizen, spread across four main sections.

The outlines of thermal baths remain in the entrance. An elliptical courtyard leads to the dining area. It is known for its marvelous mosaics that cover more than 37,670 square feet. The mosaics have a unique North African motif. One of the more famous mosaics is known as the Ten Maidens. The mosaic depicts women in bikinis playing ball games, weightlifting, running, and throwing discuss. One maiden holds a palm frond and a crown. The unique images show a different side of ancient life.

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

Day 7: More than Beaches

In the morning, you can see the crystal clear indigo water brushing against the coastline of Sicily. The city of Taormina sits atop a cliff nearly 670 feet above sea level, overlooking the water. The seaside aroma mixes with the scent of citrus trees shading the historic gardens. After breakfast, your guide takes you on a tour of the fabulous coastal city. The breeze blows through the cobblestone streets. The 10th-century Palazzo Corvaja was originally constructed by the Arabs and overtaken by the Corvaja family, important aristocrats of Taormina. Medieval elements continue to stand out in the Moorish archways of the doorframes and windows.

Your guide leads you to the treasured Greek Theater, where the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles were performed. The horseshoe design creates a diameter of 393 feet. It is the second largest Greek theater in Sicily. Pillars and archways frame the stage. The stone seating was built into the natural slope of the hillside. You can see the sparkling blue water of the Bay of Naxos and the stunning snowcapped peak of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. In the summer, you can hear the charming echoing songs of operas performed in the ancient space.

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

Day 8: Taking to the Sea

In the morning, locals and visitors make their way down to Isola Bella. A narrow sandbar connects the small, rugged island to the mainland. Trees grow out of the crevices bordered by boulders. The water glows an opulent azure. A 17th-century marble fountain decorates the heart of Piazza Duomo. Three concentric steps create the fountain base, and mythological horses spill water into the basin. Cobbled paths meander along the olive trees and blossoming flowerbeds inside the Public Gardens. Arabesque motifs embellish the pagoda-style towers. Palm trees grow taller than the pillared towers. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you across the Strait of Messina to mainland Italy.

Your scenic drive takes you to the city of Brindisi. Soon you will board your overnight ferry to the western Greek city of Patras. Brindisi is a quiet port town in the Puglia region overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Greek settlers founded the city, and the culture has influenced the cityscape for thousands of years. The Castello Grande was erected in the 13th century with a trapezoidal plan. Large square towers dominate the skyline. A white column adorns a staircase leading to the waterfront promenade. The single column gleams in the sunlight and once marked the end of Via Appia, one of the most important roads in the ancient Roman Republic.

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

Day 9: Hearing the Ancients Call

You arrive on the shores of Patras, located in the western Peloponnese. The port city’s history is more than 3,000 years old. The Frankish building known as the Kastro adorns the ancient Acropolis, standing atop a Roman foundation and emanating an eclectic style ranging from the Byzantines to the Venetians, and even the Turks. Your private transfer meets you at the port and leads you over the Rio-Antirrio suspension bridge.  The structure is 9,450 feet long and crosses the Gulf of Corinth.

The modern structural feat leads you to the ancient city of Delphi, which lies on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Your guide takes you along the Sacred Way, a footpath that ascends 656 feet to the footsteps of the Temple of Apollo. Columns and bases of former monuments continue to line the walkway. You can see the limestone peaks rolling along the horizon. Patches of grass add greenery to the rugged mountains. A refreshing breeze blows across the historic ruins. The city of Delphi was considered the center of the world for ancient Greeks.

Legend states Zeus released two eagles to fly around the world and both returned to the mountaintop at Delphi at the same time. The Temple of Apollo was erected in the 7th century BC. The ruined temple of Apollo featured columns, sculptures, and statues representing the Doric style. A row of pillars frames the entrance overlooking the dell. In the inner shrine, the priestess would overhear the whispered desires of visitors, from peasants to kings, and utter the words of the Oracle as sent by Apollo. A sense of mystery and majesty continues to drift across the ancient grounds.

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

Day 10: Upward to the Acropolis

Athens symbolizes the beginning of Western Civilization. In the heart of the city, the ancient architecture, vibrant marketplaces, and marbled walkways connote the history of a city that dates back over 3,000 years. In the morning, the sunlight glints off of the splendid frame of the Parthenon adorning the Acropolis. At breakfast, you sip a strong and sweet Greek coffee. The aroma of freshly baked bread drifts out of the local bakeries near the oldest neighborhood in the city, known as the Plaka.

Your guide leads you along the ancient mansions and cobblestone walkways. Restaurants set out tables and chairs alongside the footpaths for people to sip wine and watch the world pass by. You follow the walkway up the Acropolis to the Propylaea, the ancient gateway. Marble paves the ground. The pristine white glints in the passing sunlight, shading the walkways with a honey hue. You pass by the massive columns supporting the Propylaea to find the crown of Acropolis Hill, the Parthenon, which is the most famous structure of Greek antiquity.

The temple was erected in the 5th century and was dedicated the goddess Athena, the patron of Athens. The pillars rise to a height of 45 feet. Your guide details the history of the plateau, the city, and the captivating structure before you. Statues adorn the pediments, adding to the grandeur of the structure. The east pediment narrates the myth of Athena’s birth, having sprung from the head of her father, Zeus. The elaborate detail decorating the temple is inspiring.  

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

Day 11: Continuing Allure of the Past 

In the morning, the bakeries open their doors and the sweet aroma of bougatsa, a pastry stuffed with cheese, pours out. The pristine facades of the ancient mansions rise along the Plaka and glint beautifully in the sunlight. The spirit of Socrates is commemorated at the Ancient Agora of Athens, where the famous philosopher once taught and lectured. The city wraps around its historic center and comes to life. Cafes and restaurants set out their tables along the small neighborhood of Thissio. Lush trees shade the wide pedestrian lanes. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby, ready to escort you to Athens International Airport. The radiant remains of the ancient world have inspired you. Extend your vacation with a cruise on the Aegean to experience the idyllic lifestyle of the Greek islands and the unique history of the Turkish coast.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$3,020
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.