Day 1 - Arrive Palermo, Italy
Arrive in Palermo, Sicily’s lively capital, and transfer to your
hotel located in the city’s historic center. Sicily has a long
history of stubborn independence from the political forces
of mainland Italy, and today remains an autonomous region
with its own distinct history and culture. Join your Resident
Tour Director tonight for a welcome dinner.
Day 2 - Palermo
Journey to the hillside town of Monreale and enter its
extravagant cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating
from 1170, it is perhaps the finest surviving example of Norman
architecture anywhere in the world, and its mosaic-lined walls
are breathtaking to behold. Return to ancient Palermo for
a guided tour, seeing the Cathedral and the ninth-century
Norman Royal Palace with its glittering, mosaic-laden chapel.
Still in use today as the headquarters of Sicily’s Parliament, the
palace is the oldest royal residence in all of Europe. Spend the
rest of the afternoon at leisure exploring more of this unique
port city. In the early evening, enjoy an A&K-exclusive visit
to the beautiful Palazzo Francavilla for a private tour and
aperitifs with the owner.
Day 3 - Agrigento
Today, travel across Sicily’s rugged, mountainous countryside to the south coast. Stop in the small village of Corleone,
birthplace of several Mafia bosses (including fictional
characters in The Godfather). The Mafia — or as its members
call it, Cosa Nostra (literally, “our thing”) — has vexed Sicily
for well over a century, thriving in this land so famously
resistant to official authority. Learn more about this troubled
aspect of Sicilian history from a local expert. Proceeding to
coastal Agrigento, discover the ancient Valley of the Temples
that includes the Temple of Concord, a superb example
of classical, sacred architecture. Explore the ruins before
checking in to your hotel in nearby Favara.
Day 4 - Piazza Armerina
Journey east to Piazza Armerina, a graceful countryside
town, where you visit the incomparable Villa Romana del
Casale. A prime example of a luxurious Roman villa, this
UNESCO World Heritage Site houses breathtaking mosaics
originally laid in the fourth century. Continue to the east
coast of Sicily and up to the 6,000-foot-plus heights of
smoldering Mount Etna, taking in panoramic views of the
landscape and coast. Later, arrive in charming Taormina,
which has allured visitors since the 19th century with its
sweeping beaches and rolling hillsides. Gather for a special
dinner and cooking class, and savor arancini, a delicious
Sicilian specialty of deep-fried stuffed rice balls.
Day 5 - Taormina
Today, a local expert introduces you to the town’s spectacular
Greek amphitheater, set high above the sea. Still in use as an
arts venue today, its permanent “show” is its extraordinary
view of Mount Etna, rising in the far distance beyond the
stage. Later, relax or catch up on shopping with time at
Day 6 - Matera
Rise early for the journey to Messina, where you board a ferry
to cross the strait separating Sicily from the “toe” of the Italian
mainland. Disembark in Villa San Giovanni in Calabria, and
drive into Basilicata and to Matera, the ancient Città Sotterranea
(Underground City), carved right into the Appenine Mountains.
Thought to be one of the oldest cities in the world, Matera is
a jumble of stone dwellings built alongside (and in some cases,
on top of) each other, linked by narrow, jagged lanes. Settle in to
your hotel, in the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 7 - Alberobello
Journey into Puglia to nearby Locorotondo, one of Italy’s most
beautiful towns, for a walking tour. Meet an olive oil producer
for a private tasting and buffet lunch featuring local products.
Later, visit Alberobello and its rows of fantastic trulli houses,
conical limestone dwellings unique to this province of Bari.
Day 8 - Paestum
This morning, depart for the sparkling Amalfi Coast area.
Stop en route in Paestum, an ancient Greek city known for its
well-preserved temples; see them after a tour and lunch at a
nearby mozzarella-making farm. Arrive in Naples, and check
in to your hotel by the harbor.
Day 9 - Positano
Enjoy a morning tour of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman
settlement that was destroyed by the spectacular lava flows
of nearby Vesuvius in AD 79. Drive to the Amalfi Coast
and the cliffside village of Positano; explore Positano and
take boats to the whitewashed fishing town of Praiano for
lunch at leisure. Return to Naples, where tonight you enter
the Academy of Pizza Making to learn the intricacies of this
Neapolitan craft and enjoy the results.
Day 10 - Capri
Cruise by boat across the deep blue Gulf of Naples to the
sun-kissed island of Capri. Visit Anacapri and charming
Capri town, where cool cafés, designer boutiques and grand
villas have lured everyone from emperors to celebrities.
Tonight, cap off your journey with a special farewell dinner.
Day 11 - Depart Naples
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.