A TRIP TO ITALY IS ALWAYS A TOUR ARTISTIQUE
There are so many artistic treasures and of such quality that to describe Italy as an open-air art gallery in its own right is hardly an exaggeration.
No other country in the world can vaunt the same treasures of culture and art as Italy. Indeed, half of the world’s historic and artistic assets are within its boundaries (UNESCO).
Found almost everywhere and referring to every historical era, they are preserved and protected in hundreds of archaeological sites and over 3,000 museums scattered throughout the country. Tourists, visitors and academics alike may admire and study these remnants – large and small – of centuries gone by.
Theatres and other buildings date back to Greek and Roman times; whole cities, roads and districts once buried have today been returned to the light by patient and skilful excavations; temples, statues, coins, inscriptions, and objects of daily use.
The imposing and often elegantly embellished Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals – built after the eleventh century – are found mainly in the Centre and North. The ancient religious architecture in the southern regions amounts instead to an enthralling crucible of Byzantine, Muslim and Norman elements.
Renaissance art was the great cultural movement which began in Italy in the 15th century and which profoundly influenced the history of culture and European civilisation as a whole.
For the arts and architecture, the Renaissance is synonymous with masterpieces, inventive genius and creativity.
The great Renaissance season left its magnificent marks everywhere in Italy, not only in the great cities like Florence, Rome, Venice,Milan and Naples but also in many other centres of Italy’s regions.
TARGET TRAVEL can arrange all kind of cultural tours both to increase the general knowledge in Italian culture and to discover as the first time some particular aspects of the rich Italian cultural heritage.
Grand Tour of Italy
15 Days / 14 Nights
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN ROME, ITALY
Time to rest or start exploring the Eternal City. At 6 p.m. meet your tour director and traveling companions and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner with wine in one of Rome’s fine restaurants.
Day 2: ROME
Sightseeing with your local guide starts with vistas of the beautiful Piazza Venezia and a stroll along the Via Sacra at the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in tnumph; then pass the Colosseum and hear about gladiatorial combats and early Christian martyrdom; finally proceed via Circus Maximus and across the Tiber to see monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE AND BASILICA. There’s also plenty of time for independent activities and exciting optional excursion possibilities: the Sistine Chapel (arranged next moming if closed today), Tivoli, and an Italian feast at one of the fine restaurants.
Day 3: ROME – FLORENCE
Follow the Aurelian Way along the Tyrrhenian coast to Pisa. Here take your pictures of the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 16 feet out of t’ he perpendicular. Then on to Florence, the splendid capital of Tuscany. Arrive in time for a first glimpse of the Renaissance treasures.
Day 4: FLORENCE – VENICE
Guided sightseeing includes magnificent SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded Signoria Square. To top it off, admire Michelangelo’s celebrated David in the GALLERY OF FINE ARTS. Time afterwards to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry before you head across the wooded Etruscan Apennine Hills to the northern tip of the Adriatic Sea.
Day 5: VENICE
Start morning sightseeing in style as you glide by private boat along the Giudecca canal to meet your resident expert. Highlights of your walking tour are St. Mark’s Square and the Byzantine splendor of ST. MARK’S BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the Bridge of Sighs. Also watch VENETIAN GLASS BLOWERS fashion their delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Then enjoy Venice at your own pace, or join an optional gondola ride. Tonight is your chance to sample the city’s fine restaurants.
Day 6: VENICE – ASSISI
Along the coastline of the Adriatic Sea to Ravenna. Here see the famous mosaics in the 6th-century BASILICA OF ST. APOLLINARIS IN CLASSE. In the afternoon arrive in Assisi and visit the massive 13th-century lower BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS built above the saint’s grave. Time afterwards to enjoy the peaceful town at your own pace.
Day 7: ASSISI – SORRENTO
South through the rolling Campagna Romana. Today’s highlight visit is to POMPEII, the Roman city both destroyed and preserved by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. See patrician homes, public baths, and commercial districts strikingly recalling day-to-day life when Rome was at the apex of her power. Overnight in the charming resort of Sorrento, delightfully situated on the Bay of Naples.
Day 8: SORRENTO
EXCURSION TO CAPRI. Glide across the blue bay to the beautiful Isle of Capri, a royal retreat for 2,000 years. A local guide takes you to the shimmering BLUE GROTTO (weather permitting; otherwise visit VILLA SAN MICHELE in Anacapri) and up to pretty Capri village. Time to stroll about at your own pace before returning across the bay to Sorrento. The remainder of the day is free. Tonight an optional outing to a performance of the tarantella, a frenetic, local dance.
Day 9: SORRENTO – TAORMINA AREA
Away from the bustling industrial North and the opulent rural scenes of Tuscany and the Campagna Romana. Calabria is rustic simplicity. An area that traditionally cannot feed all its children and thus produces a steady stream of emigrants. At the toe of the Italian boot board a ferry to cross the Straits of Messina and land in Sicily, the great melting pot of the Mediterranean world. Phoenicians’ Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Normans, the French, and the Spanish have all left their mark and contributed to a rich heritage. Evening arrival at your hotel in the Taormina area.
Day 10: TAORMINA AREA
Full day to enjoy this beautiful resort at your own pace: you may want to visit the medieval castle of San Pancrazio, sign up for an optional excursion to Mount Etna, join your tour director for an included walk on Taormina’s Corso to shop for hand embroidery and local goods, live it up in one of Europe’s most popular beach resorts, take a dip, or simply relax.
Day 11: TAORMINA AREA – AGRIGENTO
A day devoted to the scenic beauty and treasures of the island’s heart. Via Catania motor to Enna, a strategic fortress-town perched high on a sheer rock. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic view and bear about the rebellion of the Sicilian slaves against the Roman rulers of the city. Then continue to Piazza Amerina for a visit to the 4th-century ROMAN VILLA OF CASALE. Its colorful and perfectly preserved mosaics depict mythological themes and hunting scenes. From the wheat fields of the elevated center descend to the vineyards and olive groves of the south coast.
Day 12: AGRIGENTO – PALERMO
Follow your local guide on a breathtaking walk through the VALLEY OF TEMPLES. Even travelers having visited Athens and Delphi are awed by the gigantic yet graceful Greek structures which miraculously survived 24 centuries of tormented history. An act hard to follow? Wait until you visit the Dorian Temples and Acropolis at SELINUNTE this afternoon. Built on a natural balcony overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean, these accomplishments of an ancient civilization will make you wonder about the quality of mankind’s progress since the days of Greek splendor. Tonight you are in Palermo.
Day 13: PALERMO – OVERNIGHT FERRY
Drive up to Monreale for a panoramic view of the Conca d’Oro, and a visit to the 12th-century NORMAN CATHEDRAL with its 50,000 square feet of precious Byzantine mosaics. Later travel the short distance to the picturesque fishing village of Mondello, and back to Palermo over scenic, history- steeped Monte Pellegrino. This afternoon’s sightseeing with a resident expert includes ornate Piazza Bellim, the CATHEDRAL, and the Arab- Norman PALATINE CHAPEL in the Royal Palace. Tonight board your overnight ferry.
Day 14: NAPLES – ROME
Disembark in Naples and head north. Interrupt the journey back to Rome in Cassino, site of one of World War Il’s most ferocious battles. Visit the ABBEY OF MONTECASSINO, rebuilt to medieval plans after near total destruction by Allied bombers. An optional festive dinner at one of Rome’s gourmet restaurants may be just the way to celebrate the success of your Italian vacation.
Day 15: DEPARTURE
Castles and Villas in Lombardy
3 Days / 2 Nights
Day 1: Pavia
Arrival in the afternoon. Tour of the Oasis of Sant’Alessio (PV)
An incredible natural and faunistic oasis stretches around a medieval Castle (10th – 15th C.). The oasis is a reproduction of the typical environments of the Po Plain, the rain forest and the Amazonian forest. A 2 km long tour in the natural environment gives the opportunity to watch storks, ibises, spoonbills, pikes, three-toed sloth and beavers without disturbing their ecosystems. All the species are part of targeted re-population projects. A meadow full of flowers attracts hordes of butterflies. Explonatura, an interactive exhibition, where visitors will not only observe but also re-create biological, chemical and meteorological phenomena, will be opening soon inside the Castle. Accomodation in a beautiful castle in the Pavia area. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Varese
Breakfast. Departure to Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza in Biumo Superiore (VA)
This splendid entertainment residence built around the mid 18th C. for the Marquis Paolo Antonio Menafoglio is surrounded by a vast park that in springtime blossoms in thousands of different colours and nuances. At the beginning of the 19th C. the Vila was bought by the Duke Pompeo Litta Visconti Arese. He ordered the neo-classical architect Luigi Canonicato build a new wing for a grand dining room. The Villa was sold again in the 30’s to the Count Panza di Biumo. It currently hosts an impressive Collection of contemporary art of over 2,500 pieces , including world-famous works of art coming from some of the most important museums in the world. Since 1996 the Villa belongs to the FAI, which has started a substantial restoration work to turn the Villa from a private dwelling place into a public museum.
Tour of the Rocca Borromeo di Angera (VA)
The fortress, built on an ancient Roman stronghold, became a property of the Archbishop in the 11th C. In 1499 the Ambrosian Republic sold it to the Borromeo family, who still owns it today. The Courtroom (Sala di Giustizia) is decorated with 14th C. frescoes. The tower called Castellana offers a beautiful view on the vast Arona lake, the Pre-Alps and the Alps. In 1988 the first Italian Dolls Museum was opened in the fortress. It includes 1,000 dolls and other objects connected with the theme of games and childhood from the private collection of the princess Bona Borromeo, as well as from donations and constant acquisitions..
Lunch at a typical restaurant in Angera.
In the afternoon we continue the visit tof the Borromeo Place in Cesano Maderno, where the first floor, with frescoes by the main Lombard painters of the 17th C., has recently been re-opened after substantial restoration works.
Palace Borromeo Arese was planned by Giulio Arese at the beginning of the 17th C. to celebrate the glory of his family. It is a grand example of architecture developed in consecutive phases, where the elegant exterior forms are matched by the abundant and majestic decoration of the interior. The grave facade with the wide Esedra Court, the elegant internal courtyard , with the aerial added loggia are the appropriate prelude to the rooms with the frescoes of the main Lombard painters of the time. Artists like Procaccini, Montalto, Nuvolone have painted, upon order of the Arese and the Borromeo, masterpieces as the Courtroom (Salone della Giustizia), Aurora’s room and the Gallery of the Statues. These room are now open to the public thank to substantial restoration works. The spectacular Italian garden on the back of the palace completes the perspective design adding a touch of colour with its beautiful roses.
The magnificent Ninfeo or “Cave of the wonders”, ordered by Bartolomeo III Arese in the 1660’s as the gem of his sumptuous summer residence, will open in May. The Ninfeo, consists of 4 rooms decorated with series of allegorical frescoes and mosaics of white and black cobbles creating geometrical and flower patterns. This is a “magic” place where nature and culture, science and poetry harmoniously interact arousing wonder and astonishment in the visitor.
Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Milan.
Breakfast in Hotel. Departure
Garda Lake and the Treasures of Brescia Wines, Food, Nature and Museums
4 Days / 3 Nights
Day 1: Garda lake
Arrival in Italy. Transfer to the hotel located on the Garda Lake. Dinner in a typical restaurant. Overnight at the hotel
Day 2: Sirmione
In the morning guided visit to Sirmione and its “Grotte di Catullo” and “Roman Villa”. Lunch in a typical restaurant. In the afternoon free time for shopping. Visit to a local wine-cellar and wine-tasting. Dinner in a typical restaurant. Overnight at the hotel
Day 3: Brescia
And guided visit to the town (castle, squares and monuments) or in an exhibition organized by “Brescia Mostre Grandi Eventi”. Lunch at a restaurant in the town. In the afternoon guided tour of the Santa Giulia Museum, one of the most important in Europe. Dinner in a typical restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Departure
Breakfast at the hotel and free time until the departure. Transfer to the airport.
The Beauty of Venice
7 Days / 6 Nights
Arrival in Venice. Accomodation to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Venice Historical centre
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure for guided visit to the historical centre of Venice. We start from the heart of Venice St. Mark’s Square, the former political centre. We enter the Golden Basilica : St. Mark’s where we admire the Pala d’Oro, a gorgeous work of ancient goldsmithery, unique in its kind ! Through the Mercerie, the famous shopping street of Venice we reach the Rialto Bridge area, once the commercial trading centre.
Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon we continue the visit. To fully appreciate the splendours of Venetian art and history a guided visit to the Doge’s Palace is a must ! For centuries the official residence of the Doge and of various political institutions, it is decorated with splendid carved gilded ceilings and with breathtaking paintings by Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto. Together we cross the Bridge of Sighs and visit the Venetians’ old Dungeons ! Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Minor Venice and Accademia Museum.
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure for guided visit to the Minor Venice. For those who do not wish to stay 2 hours long in the same building, museum or church, this a guided walking tour starting from St. Mark’s Square giving you a general overview not only of the centre, but also of Venice off the beaten track.
The tour can either end close to the Rialto bridge or back in St. Mark’s Square. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon we continue the visit to the Accademia Museum. The Accademia Museum offers a matchless collection of Venetian paintings from the beginning 14th up to the 18th Century. Admire the great masterpieces of Venetian art over the centuries ! Free time at leisure. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: San Polo district and Jewish Ghetto.
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure for guided visit to the San Polo district. In every corner art and culture; this corner in the district of San Polo is a great example. Visit of the Church S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (Titian’ Assunta, Titian’s Pala Pesaro, Bellini’s Trypticon) and at a stone’s throw away the Archbrotherhood of S. Rocco (Tintoretto’s fascinating painting cycle). Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon we continue the visit to the Jewish Ghetto. You visit the Jewish Ghetto, the oldest one in the world, in the district of Canareggio, and see the small museum of Hebrew art, which displays both religious and secular items, and 2 synagogues. In late afternoon Free time at leisure. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Cà Rezzonico and Palazzo Querini Stampalia.
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure for guided visit to Cà Rezzonico. The museum Ca’ Rezzonico facing the Grand Canal is entirely devoted to the 18th Century and includes paintings by Canaletto, pieces of furniture by Brustolon and Murano chandeliers in an exceptional restored setting. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon we continue the visit to the Palazzo Querini-Stampalia. In the Palazzo Querini-Stampalia Querini’s collection of paintings, furniture and Sevres china service offers an insight into the way of living of an average noble Venetian family in the 18th Century. Garden and inner courtyard were remodernized by Carlo Scarpa. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Carpaccio’s paintings and Dorsoduro district
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure for guided visit to San Giorgio degli Schiavoni.This is a special guided tour of the Scuola di S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni, a former guild that contains the beautiful cycle of paintings by Vittore Carpaccio representing among others St. George killing the dragon. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon we continue the visit to the Dorsoduro district. Completely forgotten in the district of Dorsoduro lies the church of S. Sebastiano decorated with a pictorial cycle by Veronese, who is buried here. These paitings with beautiful colours and masterly compositions brought Veronese great fame. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7: The island of the Lagoon
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure for guided visit with private boat to the Island of the lagoon: Murano, Burano, Torcello. Lunch in restaurant. Time at leisure for the last shopping or privat visit. Return to the Hotel.
Dinner and overnight.
5 Days / 4 Nights
Arrival. Accomodation in Hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2: THE BRENTA RIVER
Boarding at Venice. Navigation towards the Brenta Riviera, crossing the Moranzani lock; raising of the water level; explanations during the navigation of the various Villas seen along the canal , among them “La Malcontenta” stop at Oriago and visit to the Villa Gradenigo, Square-layout building, containing frescos portraying mythological and sacred history scenes, partly attributed to Benedetto Caliari named Tiozzo, Paolo Veronese ís brother; navigation among villages, locks and swing bridges. Stop at Mira , visit to the Villa Barchessa Valmarana, still sumptuously furnished thah houses notable paintings of the Venetian-Baroque school; crossing the locks of Mira and Dolo, raising of the water level stop at Dolo and visit to the Old Mills of the XVI century. Lunch in Dolo; boarding and navigation as far as Strà, stop for the visit of Villa Pisani Nazionale, with a living area at the front, a huge park and a rare orange grove. Going up to the main floor you find several rooms full of frescoes depicting various scenes. The most spectacular sight is undoubtedly the enormous dancing hall and the ceiling is a fresco, which depicts the Pisani family, painted in 1761 by G.B. Tiepolo.
In the late afternoon, departure with private Coach near Vicenza. Accomodation in hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 3: VICENZA – VILLA GODI – VILLA ROTONDA
Palladio’s Vicenza, a city the great architect transformed with his imposing civic buildings, basilica and aristocratic residences. The highlight of the walking tour is a visit to Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico. Considered to be one of the purest creations of Renaissance architecture, its beauty and ambience renders most visitors speechless in admiration of Palladio’s interpretation of the classic Roman and Greek Theaters. From Vicenza we head north down scenic back-roads into the beautiful countryside to rediscover some of Palladio’s lesser known villas – Villa Porto, Villa Valmarana and the Villa Trissino, to Villa Godi, the first villa designed by Palladio. Before taking a private tour of the Villa Godi with its 16th Century frescoes, we enjoy lunch at a restaurant built into the old barn of the Villa, dating from 1533.
After lunch departure to the Villa Rotonda, the most famous villa in Veneto. The Villa Rotonda is the epitome of Palladio’s architecture and his most celebrated work. Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: MAROSTICA – BASSANO – ASOLO – VILLA MASIER – WINETASTING PROSECCO
We visit medieval Marostica, famous for its living game of chess. At the point where the cool, clear waters of the river Brenta emerge from the Dolomites we find Bassano del Grappa. Famous for both its alpine bridge (designed by Palladio), and for being the home of Grappa “the firewater of the mountains”. Bassano is a shoppers paradise. In addition to Grappa, Bassano is also famous for Ceramics, Porcini mushrooms, white asparagus and numerous other local delicacies. Lunch in typical restaurant. After lunch, fall under the spell of Asolo, a little enclave of days gone by – a village under enchantment. Where every house is a poem, every few steps a journey back in time. Throughout the day we pass a bewildering succession of villas of different periods and styles. But, the most famous villas of Veneto are the villas designed by Palladio, whose designs have influenced architects all over the world. We visit one of the best examples of his work, the Villa Barbaro at Maser, a villa set in perfect harmony with the surrounding countryside that is both civilized and civilizing. Then, following the Prosecco wine road, we head further up into the hills of Veneto that are home to several world famous wines. High in the hills, surrounded by terraced slopes thickly planted with vines we visit a local vineyard with incredible views of the vineyards at their most spectacular point. After celebrating our day in the hills of Veneto with a cool refreshing glass of Prosecco, we return to Venice. Accomodation in hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5: Departure
Breakfast to the Hotel. Trft
End of our services.
The Eternal Florence
7 Days / 6 Nights
Arrival in Florence. Accomodation to the Hotel.
Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Academy of Fine Arts, with Cathedral, Piazza Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce.
Breakfast to the Hotel. departure to the visit with our special guide. This tour takes you to the most famous monuments in the city. We start from the Florence eternal masterpiece: Michelangelo’s David and visit a few of his other works in the Academy of Fine Arts Museum. Onward to the Cathedral with the famous Dome by Brunelleschi and the gold Paradise door of the Baptistry. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon we continue to Piazza Signoria, the political heart of Florence since the 1300′s when Florence was considered the richest city in Europe. We are beckoned to Ponte Vecchio, the bridge which attracts so much curiosity not only to its unique charming appearance but also to the fabulous jewelry shops lining the bridge. We finish at Santa Croce Church, one of the most important in Florence containing the tombs of the most famous Florentine citizens. We will also go to Piazzale Michelangelo Panoramic Square which gives a breathtaking view of our whole city. Return to the Hotel. dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Uffizi Museum, Monumental Rooms Palazzo Vecchio and S. Lorenzo Church.
Breakfast to the Hotel. departure to the visit with our special guide. How did the Renaissance signal the end of the “Dark Ages”? Florence alone became the cradle of this magnificent philosophical, cultural and artistic movement that affected the entire world. So many geniuses such as Michelangelo, Raffaello, Leonardo Da Vinci, Brunelleschi were all born here and produced some of the most amazing pieces of art forever regarded by mankind with great awe. This tour, this aesthetic experience, will visit the greatest masterpieces of the Renaissance currently residing in the Uffizi Museum. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon we continue to S. Lorenzo Church by Brunelleschi, an enduring symbol of Florentine architectural excellence. In the Palazzo Vecchio you will be able to see the Monumental Quarters where the Medici Family, the great rulers of Florence, conceived this revolutionary cultural change. Return to the Hotel. dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Palazzo Pitti (Palatina Gallery) and Boboli Garden, and Medici’s Chapels
Breakfast to the Hotel. departure to the visit with our special guide. The Medici Family, aside from being brilliant bankers and rulers, can also be considered the greatest patrons of all times and in fact, left Florence with the legacy of an incredible amount of beauty While the heart of the Florentine Renaissance can be considered the period included in between the 1470 and the 1540, covered in the above tour, since 1569 when Cosimo De’ Medici was entitled “1st Grand Duke of Tuscany” by pope Pius the V, at their court the necessity of competing with the other European courts as far as artistic development is concerned was felt very strongly and Ferdinand the II founded the Palatina Picture-Gallery as his private collection in Palazzo Pitti, the palace which became the residence of the Medici when in the 1500′s Palazzo Vecchio had become “inappropriate” for their needs. Behind the palace you will enjoy another sign of the Medici Grandeur: the Boboli Garden designed during the 16th 17th century and the Forte Belvedere, by Buontalenti, from which you can enjoy the most spectacular view over the city. The last stop will be at the Medici’s Chapels, containing their monumental tombs with walls and floors entirely decorated with outstanding materials, (marble and semi-precious stone). and Michelangelo’s statues. Return to the Hotel. dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Piazzale Michelangelo, San Miniato Church, Villa La Petraia. Fiesole and Villa Gamberaia Garden
Breakfast to the Hotel. departure to the visit with our special guide. One could not truthfully boast of knowing Florence unless he has enjoyed some of the breathtaking vistas only possible from the hills around it, which are not just spectacular for the views but also for the masterpieces that exist on them. These masterpieces rival in beauty what you have viewed in the center of town. This itinerary will bring you 360° around the hills of Florence give you the opportunity to enjoy the most important sights in a logical sequence, starting from San Miniato al Monte Church, the jewel of the Romanesque style which sits above it. We then head north towards Villa Petraia one of the most significant summer residences of the Medici Family featuring enchanting gardens and interiors, and then to Fiesole, a little town just outside of Florence used as first settlement in the areas by the Etruscans and then Romans featuring the ruins of the theater and Etruscan Museum. We will end up at Villa Gamberaia located in Settignano the most exclusive residential area of the outskirts of the city, as it is a XVII century villa whose garden is considered the masterpiece of Italian style baroque gardening, its parterres are sculpted so perfectly that they seem to have come out of a fairy tale. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Carmine Church (with Brancacci Chapel) Cestello and S. Spirito Churches, Cenacolo di Ognissanti
Breakfast to the Hotel. departure to the visit with our special guide. Visiting and describing the importance of some of these “unknown” churches and sights which have been unjustly kept hidden from tourist for centuries is our way of correcting this injustice. Highlights of this tour are the Carmine Church with the recently restored Branacci Chapel by Masaccio, considered the father of the Renaissance and prospective painting. Cestello Baroque Church, one of the “younger” important churches of Florence dating back to 1628, S. Spirito Church one of Brunelleschi’s masterpieces, Cenacolo di Ognissanti commissioned to the Ghirlandaio by the Vespucci Family of whom Amerigo the “real” discoverer of The Americas was part. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon time at leisure for the last shopping or continue privat visit. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Departure
Breakfast to the Hotel. departure. End of our services.
Florence and the Medici’s
7 Days / 6 Nights
Arrive in Florence. Check into hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: The Medici family. The Mugello.
Breakfast in hotel. Today you will be introduced to this great family which traces its origins back to the Mugello area, 30 miles north of Florence in the Appenine hills. Departure for the Villa di Cafaggiolo, built by Michelozzo, one of the first Renaissance architects. It is the first Medici villa that shows the transition from a fortified villa to a country house. Visit to the charming Bosco ai Frati monastery, also designed by Michelozzo for Cosimo il Vecchio and still inhabited by monks. Inside one can see the original kitchen with all its furnishings, and in the church you can see the world famous Crucifix by Donatello. Lunch in a typical trattoria, renowned for its genuine Tuscan dishes. In the afternoon, on the way back to Florence, visit the Villa Di Pratolino Park, the last villa built for the Medici family. Return to Florence. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: The Medici in Florence, Cosimo il Vecchio.
Breakfast in hotel. Visit the Palazzo Medici Riccardi built by Michelozzo for Cosimo il Vecchio de Medici. It is the first example of a Renaissance palace, with its typical large stones and inside cloister. Visit the Convento di San Marco commissioned by Cosimo il Vecchio for Michelozzo and similar to the Bosco ai Frati monastery. It is enriched by a wonderful library, which contains manuscripts from the 14th to the 18th century and is decorated with enchanting Beato Angelico’s frescoes. After lunch, visit the church of San Lorenzo, just outside the Palazzo Medici, commissioned to Brunelleschi by Cosimo il Vecchio. It is the first example of a true Renaissance church in Florence. Late afternoon time at leisure. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: The Medici Villas surrounding Florence
Breakfast in hotel. Departure to visit the most famous Medici villas built when the family was at the height of its power and glory. In these villas one finds a new type of architecture that was to be used everywhere in Italy during the Renaissance. Visit the Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano, a 15th century jewel built by Giuliano da San Gallo for Lorenzo il Magnifico and completed during the Pontificate of Leo X Medici in the 16th century. Inside is decorated with frescoes of Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo and their followers. Visit the Villa Medicea La Ferdinanda, built in the late 16th century as a hunting lodge for Granduke Ferdinando I de Medici by Buontalenti. Visit the Etruscan Archaeological Museum located inside the villa. Lunch in typical restaurant close to the villa. Return to Florence. Late afternoon time at leisure.. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Cosimo I. The most powerful Medici.
After breakfast, visit the Palazzo Vecchio. The guide will show you all the modifications made by Cosimo I de Medici, Granduke of Tuscany to the world renowned square (the statues, including Michelangelo’s David) and to the medieval Palazzo Vecchio (the frescoes of the Salone del 500, the apartments of Cosimo and those of his wife Eleonora di Toledo). In the afternoon, visit the Pitti Palace (the magnificent private residence of Cosimo and Eleonora de Medici and their descendants) and the Boboli gardens, the first example of an Italian style garden. In late afternoon, a short stroll in the Oltramo area to discover its charming antique, carpenter and artisan shops where you will be able to buy unique hand-made and precious pieces and Via Maggio, where Florence’s most famous and expensive antique shops are located. Dinner in a typical restaurant outside of Florence, where you can taste the famous “fiorentina” steak and other Tuscan dishes. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: A Day in Unknown Florence
After breakfast, visit Marino Marini Museum, located in the old San Pancrazio Church, in the heart of Florence, which has been modernized to exhibit the works of this famous 20th century Tuscan sculptor. In the afternoon, you can visit the very special Museo delle Pietre Dure, which contains many ancient hand-made objects by precious stones, like porphyry, coral, marbles, lapis lazuli, etc. This museum shows a very special Florentine craft, developed by the Medici family. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in hotel and departure.
Lucca and Villas of Luccan’s Hills
4 Day / 3 Nights
Arrival in lucca. Accomodation in Hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
Departure for the Villa Oliva, a classic 15th century Tuscan villa for breakfast, and a tour of the Villa and its Italian-style gardens and fountains. Visit the gardens of the Villa Reale originally built by Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Bonaparte. The Gardens are world-famous, particularly the marvelous open-air theatre formed by its decorative hedges. Transfer to the Villa Grabau, this Villa was built in the second half of the 16th century and has been lived in continually since the early 1800s by the Grabaus, a noble family originally from Northern Germany. Lunch in typical restaurant near the villa. Return to lucca in the afternoon for shopping, accompanied by our private guide who will point out special stores and artisan shops. Evening dinner an elegantly decorated restaurant with excellent food, located within Lucca’s historic walls. Return to hotel and overnight stay.
Breakfast in hotel. Depart for guided tour of the Villa Mansi, built in late 16th century by Muzio Oddi for the Cenami family. The magnificent gardens, in true Renaissance style, were designed by Filippo Juvarra. Then on to the Villa Torrigiani, also designed by Muzio Oddi, with its gardens famous for its magnificent cypress trees. We will also visit the Villa Bruguier gardens. Lunch in typical restaurant with a typical Tuscan menu. Afternoon is dedicated to a visit of the farmhouse/villa of the Baroness Scola Camerini. This Villa has a working farm which produces an upscale line of products for lovers of Tuscan cooking (wine, oil, honey, vinegar, grappa). A shopping opportunity followed by wine-tasting of the Villa’s excellent wines. Return to hotel. Dinner in typical restaurant neart Lucca. Return to hotel and overnight stay.
Breakfast in hotel. Departure.
Cultural Umbria Tour
6 Days / 5 Nights
Day 1: Rome – Spoleto
Arrival to Rome airport, meet and greet by our tour leader, by private bus we travel to Spoleto.
Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Spoleto and Clitunno
Sightseeing in town, we visit the rests of the Roman theatre from 100 before Christ, partly covered by a middle age church, passing under triumphal arch, a visit in the cathedral from 1100, seeing Ponte delle Torri an imposing bridge from 1300 and we end the tour at the Roman Forum called today Piazza Mercato, the centre of the oldest parts of town.
Free time for Lunch. In the afternoon we make a visit to the springs of Clitunno, known for centuries.
Many of the springs flow down in a lake before continuing down to the river.
Not far from the springs we visit an olive oil producer and returning to Spoleto.
Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Assisi – Spello
Today we will start with a visit to Assisi, the small mountain town, where the holy Franciscus was born and where people comes from all over the world to see the art and history left. The town is amazing from a religious, historical and artistic point of view, we are going to see the frescoes of Giotto and Cimabue and a visit in the church of Santa Chiara where the legend tells the crucifix did talk to Franciscus.
Free time for lunch. In the afternoon we visit Spello. Pinturicchio was called in 1501, by the family Baglione that was running the city during 1500, to decorate Santa Maria Maggiore, today we can find his art in this church. During this period Pinturicchio was very famous as he had just finished decorate the Borgia residence in the Vatican.
Return to Spoleto Dinner and Overnight
Day 4: Perugia
Today we go to Perugia where on a sightseeing we will discover this city built by the Etruscans during the 7th century before Christ and that from the 1200 is an important university city. It was one of the maincentres of the Etruscans before the Romanstook it over, the historical centre sorround the gothic stile square where there is a beautiful fountain.
Return to Spoleto and free time.
Dinner and Overnight.
Day 5: Montefalco
We travel through the beautiful Umbrian landscape to Montefalco, located on a hill surrounded by olive grows and wine yards. In the church of San Francesco we can find frescoes painted during 1452 by Benozzo Gozzoli telling the holy Franciscus life.
Sagrantino di Montefalco is among the best red wines of Italy and we will end our visit in the town visiting a producer where we can taste this wine.
Afternoon at disposal in Spoleto.
Farewell Dinner and Overnight.
Day 6: Departure
Transfer by private coach to Roma airport.
5 Day / 4 Nights
Time at leisure to enjoy Rome. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning guided visit to the Vatican Museum, Sistina Chapel and Raffaello’s Rooms. In the afternoon guided visit with our art historians to the “Basilica and Catacombe of S.Agnese and the Mausoleo of Santa Costanza”, wonderful examples of the Cristian art. The late afternoon is free to go shopping or to the discover the unknown Rome. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning guided visit with our art historians to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cloister and the Baptistery, The Lateranense Palace, the ancient Pope Residence, La Scala Santa and Sancta Santorum, the Popes’ private Chapel. The afternoon is at your disposal for a “roman walking”, discovering the beauties of Rome. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning guided visit to the Vatican Necropolis, the unknown Vatican City, and visit to St. Peter’s Basilica. In the afternoon visit to Santa Maria Maggiore, the first Basilica of Rome. Farewell dinner at a typical restaurant and overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel . End of services.
7 Day / 6 Nights
Arrival in Rome. Accommodation in the hotel. Guided promenade in the most typical quarters in order to discover the town from the past to the modern times: Venezia Square and the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, the symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, Campidoglio, which can be considered as the synthesis of the history of the eternal city: Marcello theatre, Farnese Palace and the old chancellery, Navone Square, an ancient Roman Circus, today an example of Baroc art. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2: Palatino and Forums
Guided sightseeing tour of Palatino and Roman Forum, in the pasttimes the centre of the political life. In the afternoon guided visit to the Coliseum, symbol of Rome, then S.Clemente’s Church,which is an interesting example of superposition of different epochs and artistic styles, S.Pietro in Vincoli and the famous Moses by Michelangelo. Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast and guided visit to the tomb of Virgilio Eurisaceo, to Caracalla Baths and to the Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia, the ancient private residence of Pope Giulio II. In the afternoon guided visit to Santa Pricilla Catacombs and to S.Costanza Mausoleum. Then to Santa Costanza’s Church on Aventino Hill, where the Roman plebs gathered. The guided visit will finish at S.Maria in Cosma’s and S.ta Maria Maggiore’s Churches. Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast. Departure for Ostia, port of the ancient Rome. Lunch. In the afternoon guided visite to the EUR, the modern quarter, built during the fascist times and to the great Roman churches: S.Paolo fuori le Mura and S.ta Prassede, decorated with Carolingian frescoes. Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast. Guided visit to the Vatican’s Museums, to the most important examples of Italian Paintery from Giotto to Raffaello; to the famous Stanze and to the Sixtine Chapel, masterpiece Michelangelo’s painting technics. In the afternoon visit to S.Peter’s Basilica, centre of Christianity. Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast. Guided visit to Jesus’ Church, which is important to understand the rôle of S.Ignazio Loyala Confraternity during the Coucil of Trent. Onto S.ta Maria della Pace and S.Luigi dei Francesi, where the masterpieces by Caravaggio can be admired. In the afternoon visit to S.ta Maria del Popolo’s Church and the Spanish Steps, S.Carlo delle 4 Fontane and S.Andrea in Quirinale.These churches represent the highest expression of the two architects: Bellini and Borromini. Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast and guided visit to Trastevere, the most spontaneous quarter in Rome.
End of our services.
Rome and his History
7 Day / 6 Nights
Arrival in rome, Accomodation to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Archaeological Rome and Vatican city’s
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure to the archaeological sites and visit with our special Guide of: Roman forum, the fora of Caesar Augustus and Trajan, the Capitol, Colosseum and Palatine hill and let the magic of ancient Rome archaeological marvels cast its spell. Marcanthony on the rostra, the stones of Caesar’s cremation site, assembled senators in the Curia, vestal virgins meditating in the romantic surroundings of their home and the eternal fire burning in Vesta’s temple, Rome most cherished shrine, Cicero’s flaming oratory in the Rome’s basilicas, generals and their legions thriumphal processions under the solemn arcs of the Via Sacra, emperors in their majestic Palatine hill palace, the wild atmosphere of gladiators games in the Colosseum, will all seem to materialize. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon visit with our special guide of Vatican city’s. 16th century Rome when, called by art loving popes, the great masters of the renaissance gathered in the Vatican to create an unique experience in the history of mankind.
Wondering leasurely along the galleries of the Vatican museums, passing by breathtaking roman mosaics, sculptures of ancient Greece and Rome, the moving Lacoon group and Belvedere Apollo, spectacular frescoed ceilings and tapestries, we make our way to Botticelli, Perugino, Signorelli, Pinturicchio and Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel and to Raphael’s magnificent decoration of Giulius the 2nd Vatican apartment. The imposing sight of St Peter’square and Bramante’s Vatican basilica are as overwhelming, as the treasures within. Michelangelo’s Pietà, most tender image ever carved out of a block of marble, the armony and grace of Michelangelo’s dome, the spectacular Bernini’s decorations and sculptures, all contribute to a memorable experience. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Jewish ghetto with medieval district and baroque Rome
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure to the Jewish ghetto and visit with our special Guide. Rome jewish community’s history begins a long time back, in the year 139 BC, when a presence is first recorded in Rome, the oldest established in western Europe. The jewish community first settled in the district of Trastevere, moving later across the river, to the area that in the late middle ages was to become the jewish Ghetto. It’s a lively part of the medieval city with narrow streets, interesting roman remains, old homes, aristocratic palaces and a beautiful Sinagogue with its museum of the Rome jewish community. From the old ghetto we move to the nearby areas of medieval Rome to the district of Campo de Fiori, with pictoresque market stalls, Palazzo Spada with Borromini’s amazing perspective, Piazza Farnese, with its fountains and magnificent palace and finally, along narrow streets, lined by antique stores, to breathtaking Piazza Navona, Rome’s popular meeting place with Bernini’s fountains, sidewalk painters and outdoor cafes. A visit to catch Rome genuine spirit. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon visit with our special guide the baroque Rome. The age of Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona. A love of light and colours, a desire to stupefy and overwhelm, plus a taste for the spectacular and the theatrical. 17th century baroque Rome, a stageseter dream experienced as walking along narrow streets we suddendly find the open spaces of fountain decorated baroque piazzas. Amongst several masterpieces, our itinerary covers Bernini’s Cornaro chapel and St.Teresa’s Ecstasy in Santa Maria della Vittoria, St. Susanna, Rome American community’s church, and its beautiful frescoes, Borromini’s graceful baroque movement in San Carlino with its splendid cloister, and again Bernini’s spectacular St Andrea, with its unique cupola, the Barberini palace, the Triton and Api fountains of the Piazza Barberini, the two angels of St Andrea delle Fratte, the Barcaccia fountain, the Spanish Steps. A tempting glimpse of Rome exclusive designers and jewellers shopwindows, prior to the conclusion of our walk through the glory of baroque Rome with the magnificent sight of the Trevi fountain. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Renaissance Rome – Raphael’s Rome – Trastevere art and folklore
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure to the Renaissance Rome and visit with our special Guide. Walking through “Renaissance Rome” to find the true spirit of today’s Rome. Craftsman workshops, antiques and curiosities shops, typical “trattorias”. We start with the Pantheon, ancient Rome most famous temple, and Raphael’s tomb, continuing to St. Augustin, church of bankers and courtesans of renaissance Rome, where we find Caravaggio’s “Madonna dei Pellegrini” and Raphael’s “I Profeti”. Passing by the house of Fiammetta famous courtesan of Borgia’s time and continuing along the Via dei Coronari, once pilgrims path to St. Peter and today Iined by countless antiques stores, we visit Pietro da Cortona’s Santa Maria della Pace with Raphael’s “Sibille”. Along the Via Giulia with its renaissance palaces of 16th century aristocracy, we make our way to the Tiber and popular Trastevere. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon visit with our special Guide. the Trastevere quartier. Away from busy city traffic discovering Rome popular heart. Charming Tiber island with its ancient roman bridges, where merchants from all over the ancient world traded in what soon became the cosmopolitan city district, home through centuries of artists, poets, musicians. Narrow streets lined by colourful homes, spacious piazzas with palaces and churches, busy typical trattorias, outdoor cafés, avant-gard art galleries, trendy boutiques, music bars and languages from the all over the world make Trastevere an unique bohemians melting pot. We cross the river at Tiber Island and strolling through the ancient jewish section, with the medieval building of the former Synagogue, with reach the old church of St. Cecilia to view splendid mosaics. Passing by craftsman workshops and curious shopwindows we continue to the commercial area, on our way to Trastevere’s heart: Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, with its splendid historical basilica, Rome’s oldest church and its amazing works of art: fluted columns from ancient Rome, spectacular guilded ceilings, baroque architectures and the magnificent early 14th century mosaics by Piero Cavallini. Along very pictoresque narrow streets, with stretched across festoons of hanging laundry, we reach the home of “Fornarina”, Raphael’s lover, close to the peaceful botanical garden and the impressive palace of the Corsini family. Our tour ends with the “Villa Farnesina”, amazing residence of renaissance banker Agostino Chigi ,with its “Thriumph of Galatea” and “Amore e Psyche” two of Raphael’s most celebrated masterpieces. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Tivoli and Roman Castle
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure to Tivoli and visit with our special Guide. Hilltop medieval town 20 odd miles east of Rome. A favourite with ancient Rome patrician families, emperors, art patrons, painters, musicians. A short drive along the highway to the the Adriatic coast, through the roman countryside and olive groves. Visit Adrian’s villa, outstanding roman archeological site, with its memories of Rome’s most enlightned emperor and the impressive remains of his favourite residence. Continue to the world famous Villa d’Este, magnificent renaissance garden, home of Cardinal d’Este, Lucrecia Borgia’s son and one of Italy’s 16th century greatest art patrons. See beautifully frescoed rooms in the state appartment and the spectacular park with countless breathtaking ountains and centuries old trees. Stroll through a pictoresque street market with its colourful stalls. Departure to the Castelli Romani. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon visit with our special guide The castelli Romani country. Scenic tour to the hilltop towns of the roman countryside. Vineyards covered hills, the old world atmosphere of medieval villages.
Nemi with its lake and a most pictoresque ham and sausage shop, delight of gourmets and photographers alike, Marino with its wine fountain, St Nilo’s abbey at Grottaferrata, Castel Gandolfo with its lake and Papal summer residence, Frascati and its world famous wines.
The Old Appian Way with its catacombes, patrician tombes, remains of emperors villas and contemporary residences of famous movie stars laid out amongst typical ombrella pine trees and arches of ancient acqueducts. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Ostia Antica and free time.
Breakfast to the Hotel. Departure to Ostia and visit with our special Guide the famous archeological city. Best preserved example of an ancient commercial city, Ostia Antica was the river and sea harbour of ancient Rome. Founded in the 4th century B.C., grew to become the empire prominent port. Amongst pine trees and evergreens, remains of temples, thermal baths, fishmongers benches, winetavern counters, sinagogues, early christian churches, appartment blocks, mosaic’s decorated freight forwarding and shippers premises designing a charming romantic stage. A beutifully laid out archeological museum, through its sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, ornaments enables the visitor to imagine Ostia Antica’s impressive wealth. Return in Rome. Lunch in restaurant. In the afternoon free time for last shopping or private visit. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Departure
Breakfast to the hotel. End of our services.
Campania Cultural Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Day 1: Naples – Vietri
Arrival to Napoli airport, meet by our tour leader and private bus for transport to our hotel in Vietri sul Mare.
Dinner and Overnight.
Day 2: Capri
Our bus brings us to the harbour to take the boat over to the island of Capri. Upon arrival minibuses and local guide will take us to the highest village on the island Capri Anacapri where we will visit the Villa San Michele.
Free time to stroll around the village of Capri.
Return to Naples. Dinner and Overnight.
Day 3: Paestum
Visit whit a local guide in Paestum, this is one of the most well preserved temples in Magna Grecia, we will also have the opportunity to visit the very interesting museum. The “Sele” valley that was drained after the second world, is today a fertile agricultural area, large farms are breeding water buffaloes to use their milk for the production of “Mozzarella di Bufala” the famous and very tasty fresh cheese. We are going to visit a farm where the breeding is done on a ecological basis using onlybiological products and natural medicines to cure the animals, we are having lunch at this farm with the products produced including the delicious “mozzarella” and the dessert is a yoghurt produced from buffaloes milk.
Return to the Hotel and free time to walk around the small charming village of Vietri, it’s possible to visit ceramic producers and discover how the exquisite lemon liquor “limoncello” is produces.
Dinner and Overnight.
Day 4: Pompei
We are going to visit Pompei with a local guide doing an interesting walk through this unique area. Lunch on your own in the archaeological area, after lunch time on your own to explore Pompei. Back to the hotel in the evening we have dinner together.
Day 5: Naples
Naples is one of western Europe’s oldest cities with a long and intricate history. We will do a panoramic tour with our bus and visit the archaeological museum, with interesting remains from Pompeji and Herculaneum. We take a walk into the heart of the historical part of the city, where we can see daily life in Napoli today.
Pizza lunch and drink an espresso coffee in the city where they know how to do it best.
Return to the Hotel. Dinner and Overnight
Day 6: Amalfi
After Breakfast departure to Amalfi
Amalfi, originally Roman, was the first Sea Republic of Italy. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the first city to re-establish relationships between East and West by transporting and introducing into Italy exotic merchandise such as carpets, coffee and paper.
We visit the Duomo built about the 6th century and dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle whose remains are kept in the crypt Its present facade, brilliant with mosaics, is in Oriental style; its bronze doors, the first ones to appear in Italy, were given to Amalfi by Pantaleone di Mauro Comite, a noble man from Amalfi who melted them in the 11th century in Constantinople where he lived and led the Imperial Party.
Free time for Lunch.
Return to the Hotel. Free time. Farewell Dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Departure
Transfer from hotel to Naples airport.
Tour of Sicily
8 Days / 7 Nights
Day 1: Palermo
Arrival at Palermo airport.
Transfer to Palermo city. Hotel check-in, welcome drink and dinner. After dinner you will have the Palermo By Night Tour.
Day 2: Palermo – Monreale
Breakfast in hotel. Visits to Arab-Norman Palermo and to Baroque Palermo: Norman Palace, Palatine Chapel, Cathedral, Piazza Vigliena, “San Giovanni degli Eremiti” , etc.. Lunch in hotel. In the afternoon, transfer to Monreale to visit the Cathedral (architectural masterpiece of William II, Norman King of Sicily, 1172 A.D.), and the adjoining cloister. Transfer to Palermo and dinner in hotel.
Day 3: Segesta – Marsala
Breakfast in hotel. Departure to Segesta and visit to its Greek temple and theatre. Proceed to Erice: ancient little town founded by the Elymians and conquered by the Punics, the Romans, the Arabs and the Normans. You can still admire its medieval architecture. Lunch in a fine restaurant of Erice. In the afternoon excursion to Mozia, ancient Greek colony in the little San Pantalco island, close to the coast. Proceed to Marsala to visit to a wine-cellar where you can taste the famous and typical “Marsala wine”. Transfer to the hotel in Valderice , check-in and dinner.
Day 4: Agrigento
Breakfast in hotel. Departure to Agrigento and visit to the “Valle dei Templi”, one of the most important Greek archaeological area of Sicily. Lunch in a fine Agrigento restaurant. In the afternoon transfer to Piazza Armerina and visit of the “Villa Romana del Casale”: an Imperial Roman residence famous for its beautiful mosaics. Hotel check-in and dinner.
Day 5: Siracuse
Breakfast in hotel. Departure to Syracuse: visits to the island of Ortigia (the ancient city), the Cathedral (built on the remains of the Greek temple dedicated to Athena) and the Maniace Castle. Lunch in a fine restaurant. In the afternoon continuation of the visit to the archaeological area: Roman amphitheatre, the Greek theatre, the “Latomie”. Transfer to Acireale, hotel check-in and dinner.
Day 6: Etna – Taormina
Breakfast in hotel. Excursion to Etna that is the highest volcano of Europe. Lunch in ancient farm house on the foothills of Etna. The cuisine is based on ancient Sicilian tradition by using of vegetables, citrus fruits, essence and spices of the garden to give dishes an original pleasing taste. In the afternoon transfer to Taormina: visit to its ancient centre and to the Greek theatre that was built during the Hellenistic period and rebuilt under the Romans. Transfer to Acireale and dinner in hotel.
Day 7: Cefalù – Palermo
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Cefalù along the coastal route. During transfer, visit to Santo Stefano di Camastra famous for its ceramics production. At your arrival in Cefalu lunch in a fine restaurant. In the afternoon visit to Norman Cathedral, famous for its Byzantine mosaics, “Osterio Magno”, a fortified building of the Norman period and medieval washing-troughs, carved into the bedrock of the central city. Transfer to Palermo, hotel check-in and Farewell dinner.
Day 8: Palermo – Departure
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Palermo airport.