This “off the beaten path” guided tour of Italy takes you on a journey to discover world-renowned treasures in art, architecture, and history. Enjoy two-night-stays in Naples – home to centuries of some of the most important art and architecture Italy has to offer, in Lecce, the “Florence of the South,” and in the charming, seaside resort of Sorrento. Also, overnight in Bari and Castellana Grotte. Throughout the guided tour of Southern Italy, you’ll visit royal residences, as well as ancient Greek archaeological marvels. This Southern Italy escorted tour introduces you to local favorites such as delectable pastries and almond coffee, as well as truly remarkable architectural and historical structures. Visit a traditional trullo in Alberobello, discover the amazing ancient treasures awaiting you in the caves of Castellana Grotte, and the archaeological site of Paestum – as you traverse from the “heel of the boot” of Italy across to the opposite coastline, to Sorrento. Also, enjoy visits to the 13th-century octagonal citadel Castel del Monte, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to the magnificent Palazzo Reale, royal residence of the Bourbons in Naples.Truly, a feast for the mind, body, and soul, your escorted tour of Southern Italy will satisfy your curiosity in art and history – as well as your spirit of adventure – with hidden local treasures waiting to be discovered along the way.
Full breakfast daily; 4 three-course dinners, including a dinner at a local restaurant in Sorrento
Day 1 ARRIVE IN NAPLES, ITALY.
Welcome to Naples! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel Dinner
Day 2 NAPLES.
Discover the major sites of this fascinating city during your guided sightseeing this morning. See the remarkable Triumphal Arch of the Castel Nuovo, Teatro San Carlo, Galleria Umberto I, and the semicircular Piazza Plebiscito. The highlight is a visit to the magnificent PALAZZO REALE, royal residence of the Bourbons from 1734-1860. Since 1925, it also has housed the National Library. With your afternoon and evening at leisure, you may wish to join a fascinating optional excursion to Herculaneum, followed by dinner at the foot of Mount Vesuvius Breakfast
Day 3 NAPLES–CASTEL DEL MONTE–BARI.
Enter the region of Apulia, the heel of Italy’s “boot.” Enjoy a guided visit of the 13th-century, octagonal citadel CASTEL DEL MONTE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and considered by some as the most fascinating castle built by Emperor Frederick II. Arrive in the capital of Apulia, Bari, a port on the Adriatic Sea.
Today’s Distance: 174 mi / 280 km Breakfast
Day 4 BARI–OSTUNI–LECCE.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features a walk through the OLD TOWN, a visit to stunning SAN NICOLA'S CHURCH, and [LF] a taste the local focaccia. Next is striking Ostuni, often called the “White Town,” a charming example of white-washed Mediterranean architecture. Its Old Town is located on top of a hill and fortified by ancient walls. Then, continue to Lecce, the “Florence of the South.”
Today’s Distance: 112 mi / 180 km Breakfast
Day 5 LECCE. EXCURSION TO OTRANTO.
In the morning, discover the lacy stone buildings and squares during your guided walking tour. Visit the DUOMO, a masterpiece of baroque art, SANTA CROCE BASILICA, and [LF] taste the local pasticciotto with almond coffee. Time to explore the streets of the lovely center. Later, head to picturesque Otranto, a historic seaside town and port, surrounded by its imposing defensive walls and dominated by its romanesque cathedral. Return to Lecce.
Today’s Distance: 62 mi / 100 km Breakfast Dinner
Day 6 LECCE–ALBEROBELLO–CASTELLANA GROTTE.
In Alberobello, follow your Local Guide for a visit to a TRULLO, one of the conical houses famous for their unique characteristics. The structure assures excellent indoor climate control—cool in summer and warm in winter. Continue to Castellana Grotte, where a [LF] visit to the underground CAVES, a stunning natural wonder is included before arriving at your hotel.
Today’s Distance: 93 mi / 150 km Breakfast Dinner
Day 7 CASTELLANA GROTTE–PAESTUM–SORRENTO.
Paestum, or Poseidonia, named in honor of the Greek god of the sea, was founded in the 6th century. During your visit of the ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE with a Local Guide, see the ancient Greek temples dating back to 600-400 BC. Arrive in the charming, seaside resort of Sorrento.
Today’s Distance: 224 mi / 360 km Breakfast
Day 8 SORRENTO.
On an orientation walk with your Tour Director, see the old town's characteristic lava-stone streets, the 14th-century Sedil Dominova building, the ancient bell tower, and St. Antonino Church, dedicated to Sorrento's patron Saint. There is the opportunity to join an optional excursion to the Amalfi coast. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate your stay Breakfast Dinner
Day 9 SORRENTO.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. The nearest airport is Naples.