Rome to Southern Italy


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    Discover Italy as you begin in Rome and tour through the countryside

    This Italian adventure takes in some of the most stunning and ancient sites in history. Explore the bustling streets of Rome and then travel through truly beautiful countryside past villas, vineyards and rolling hills as you visit historical sites like Pompeii, Lecce and the Sassi dwellings in Matera. There’s plenty of free time available to explore the area and take in the sights at your own pace, whether you want to indulge in food and wine or visit local sights and enjoy local experiences.

    Highlights

    • Wander around Rome’s famous landmarks including the Colosseum, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica and much more. This is a city that bucket lists were made for
    • Explore the vast, frozen in time ruins of ancient Pompeii, which emerged from the ashes after thousands of years, and take a peak inside the steaming crater of Mt Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed it
    • Hike among the olive groves on the Path of the Gods along the spectacular Amalfi Coast
    • Stay in a bit of local history and feel like a true Alberobello resident with a night in Alberobello’s unique trulli
    • Explore the otherworldly Sassi of Matera – stone houses formed from natural grottoes and tufo cliffs overlooking a dramatic gorge

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Rome
    Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. Crowded with ancient ruins and religious monuments, Rome still pulses to the beat of modern life and is packed with designer shops, restaurants, cafes and exciting nightlife.

    Day 2: Naples / Pompeii
    Travel by train to Naples, a raucous city that overflows with passion, tradition and gastronomy. Naples is the birthplace of the pizza, so why not head to one of the many pizzerias and taste what’s truly some of the best that Italy has to offer. Head underground to see ancient Napoli Sotterranea, the famous underground city. Later in the afternoon, board a train to the time capsule of Pompeii, in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius. Your accommodation is perfectly located right near the entrance to the archaeological excavation site. (B)

    Day 3: Pompeii
    The small picturesque town of ‘modern’ Pompeii has a wonderful old town square.  Most of today though will be spent exploring the ruins of ancient Pompeii on a guided tour. The rest of the day is free, but if the ruins piqued your interest, head to nearby Herculaneum, which also holds a wealth of fossilised archaeological finds. (B)

    Day 4: Mt Vesuvius / Sorrento
    This morning take a bus up the mighty Mt Vesuvius, where you’ll meet a local volcanology guide. Ascend to the summit of Mt Vesuvius for staggering 360 degree views over the Bay of Naples and into the steaming crater.  In the afternoon, travel by private vehicle to the picturesque resort town of Sorrento. There are many options in this small seaside town with its fine piazzas, maze of old streets, sidewalk cafes and glamorous shops. In the evening head out to try some of the best limoncello on offer in Sorrento. (B)

    Day 5: Sorrento
    You have a free day to explore this delightful area and the museums, galleries and piazzas of Sorrento. End the day a very Italian way with a demonstration of Gelato making.

    Day 6: Amalfi
    Arrive on the Amalfi Coast after a short journey by private vehicle. The day is free to do as you choose: take a relaxing walk, catch a bus up the Valley of Dragons to reach pretty Ravello, or just laze around on the beaches and in the piazza, gazing back up at the amazingly picturesque part of the world.

    Day 7: Positano / Amalfi
    Your leader will take you for a half-day hike along the narrow trail of the famous Sentiero Degli Dei (the Walk of the Gods) which, until quite recently, was followed by mules and donkeys as they traversed the dramatic landscape. The trail ends in picturesque Positano where there will be ample time to explore and maybe take a dip in the sea. Return to Amalfi by ferry which is the perfect way to see the coast from a different perspective. (B)

    Day 8: Amalfi
    Today is a full free day for you to enjoy the region. A great way to see the beautiful Amalfi coastline and take in the sights is to board a boat – there are regular seasonal services between Amalfi, Positano and Capri. (B)

    Day 9: Amalfi
    Another day on the Amalfi Coast allows you explore further. It is highly recommended to walk down into the shaded Valle dei Mulini (Valley of the Watermills). Or perhaps visit neighbouring Atrani, the best-preserved town on the Amalfi Coast, with narrow little streets and a serene town square. (B)

    Day 10: Trani
    Travel to Italy’s east coast to Trani, known as the ‘Southern Pearl’, a beautiful town with a sophisticated feel. Upon arrival explore the historic centre and its medieval churches on a walking tour with a local guide. Later on simply kick back on the waterfront and watch the sophisticates of Puglia clink glasses of Moscato di Trani in cosy bars. (B)

    Day 11: Trani
    Today is a free day to explore all that Trani has to offer. (B)

    Day 12: Lecce
    Head south and delight in the baroque architecture and atmosphere of Lecce.  Lecce’s baroque ornamentation is elevated to dizzying heights, presenting the casual viewer with a feast for the senses. The university gives the town a lively feel, and there are little boutique, antique shops and delicious delis to explore. (B)

    Day 13: Lecce
    Today is a free day for you to explore Lecce.  (B)

    Day 14: Ostuni / Alberobello
    Travel by private transport to Ostuni and explore its narrow streets before continuing to a local olive oil producer who will show you how the techniques have changed over the millennia. Your visit will also include an oil tasting. Next up is Alberobello, set in a landscape of olive trees and low walls dotted with unique dwellings. People flock to Alberobello to marvel at the beehive-shaped trulli (singular trullo): small, dry-stone houses built from local limestone in the 14th century. You’ll spend the night in your own little bit of local history, staying in restored trulli that will make you feel like a true Alberobello resident. (B)

    Day 15: Matera
    Transfer by private mini bus to Matera. One of the oldest cities in existence, Matera’s otherworldly drawcard are the sassi (singular sasso) – stone houses formed from natural grottoes and tufo cliffs overlooking a dramatic gorge. The sassi are undergoing extensive restoration, and it’s now the one place in the world where you can eat at a restaurant inside a 9,000 year-old dwelling! Tonight you’ll stay in accommodation with balconies overlooking the sassi. (B)

    Day 16: Matera / Bari
    This morning is free for you to further explore the narrow alleyways and caves of Matera, before boarding a local train to Bari at around lunch time. Sitting on a small peninsula in the Adriatic Sea overlooking Greece, Bari is the prosperous capital of Puglia. Bari is the perfect place to see out your last night on this trip and have a group meal by the harbour, sampling local limoncello and some of the seafood that the city is famous for. (B)

    Day 17: Bari
    Your journey will come to an end after breakfast today and you are free to depart at any time. (B)

    Inclusions

    • Meals: 14 breakfasts
    • Transport: Train, Public bus, Private vehicle, Boat, Metro, Taxi
    • Accommodation: 16 nights Hotel

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    Images courtesy of IntrepidGroup