ITALY’S DEEP SOUTH – BASILICATA & CALABRIA
Experience the Southern Italy lifestyle with a small group of 12 participants only! Distinctive and delightful, with crystalline seas, pretty countryside and endless sunshine, Basilicata is a land of natural beauty, warm hospitality and amazing food and wine. A unique, much-loved southern region.Dramatic mountains, Byzantine rock-hewn churches, sun-baked olive groves, stunning Romanesque architecture and some of Italy’s best beaches are tempting more and more visitors to the exciting little-known regions. Basilicata has an otherworldly landscape of tremendous mountain ranges, dark forested valleys and villages so melded with the rock face that they seem to have grown there. You soon get hooked on the region’s unique, striking flavour. Its extensive coastline bears the marks of many conquering invaders:the Normans, the Spanish, the Turks, the Swabians and the Greeks. Yet, despite its diverse influences, Basilicata has its own distinct and authentic identity. Calabria contains startling natural beauty and spectacular towns that seem to grow out of the craggy mountaintops. It has three national parks: the Pollino in the north, the Sila in the center and the Aspromonte in the south.Sun and sea, food, wine and quality of life – explore this diverse and captivating region with a Secret Italia Tour. From the peaks of the Pollino to the crystalline waters of the Tropea peninsula, this small group tour immerses you in the natural beauty of Calabria. This is where to head for an adventure into the unknown.
We have a real passion for Basilicata & Calabria regions and look forward to sharing it with you! Trust the locals…
- Guaranteed departures small group tour: Small, intimate group of only 12 participants !!
- More than 10 included sightseeing tours & cultural experiences
- The remarkably preserved GREEK TEMPLES of PAESTUM
- MOZZARELLA FARM near PAESTUM
- Included visit to evocative CRACO, a bewitching ghost town abandoned after a landslide
- Visit one of the best known sites of the Magna Grecia METAPONTO, where you’ll find 15 columns from the Greek temple dedicated to HERA
- Discover the large green forests of the POLLINO NATIONAL PARK
- The GREEK RIACE BRONZES: Admire some of the most splendid bronze sculptures of ancient Greece in Reggio’s archaeological museum
- TROPEA’S GREEN and BLUE SEA: Swim in clear waters that sparkle in gemlike hues of jade, aquamarine, turquoise and sapphire.
- Included visit to the evocative ghost town of CRACO
- A wander through CAVE DWELLINGS in MATERA
- Visit the CASTLE in VENOSA where you’ll find the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
- Beautiful frescoes can be seen on the walls of MATERA’S ROCK CHURCHES
- Visit MONTICCHIO LAKES near Ptietrapertosa
- Accommodations: 9 nights in charming hotels with a total of 2 nights in SANTA MARIA DI CASTELLABATE, 2 nights in PISTICCI, 2 nights in ALTOMONTE, 3 nights in PIZZO CALABRO/TROPEA
- Visit popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Local Tour Manager, experienced to accompany you throughout your journey
- All entrances to main historical sites are included
- All transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned Mercedes car or 9/19 seats motorcoach
- All transfers while overseas, baggage transfers & porterage are included
- All city taxes in hotels are included
- Included gratuity for all city guides in Paestum, Matera, Metaponto
- No hidden extras
- We strongly recommend arriving a day or more prior to tour start.
- Included meals: All breakfasts, 7 dinners, 2 lunches, (main meals include local wine, mineral water, espresso coffee or tea only), wine and food tastings while on tour.
- We strongly recommend arriving a day or more prior to the beginning of the tour. We’ll be happy to make to suggest a charming hotel in Naples.
- Our unique Hotels:SANTA MARIA DI CASTELLABATE “HOTEL VILLA SIRIO” or “PALAZZO BELMONTE“, PISTICCI “HOTEL TORRE FIORE” or similar, ALTOMONTE ”BARBIERI HOTEL” or similar, PIZZO CALABRO ”PICCOLO GRANDE HOTEL” or TROPEA “HOTEL ROCCA DELLA SENA“
- The tour will begin on Day 1 from Naples airport and end with morning transfers at scheduled times to Lamezia Terme airport and train station from Pizzo Calabro/Tropea on Day 10
- Activity level: Good/Moderate
- Terms & conditions/Single supplement: (View here) & FAQ (View here)
- Trip interruption & cancellation insurance is not included. We highly recommend Travelex-insurance.com to protect your vacation
- Purchase of European Travel & Health Insurance is strongly recommended.
ITALY’S DEEP SOUTH: 10 DAYS BASILICATA & CALABRIA TRAVEL ITINERARY
TOUR LIMITED TO 12 PARTICIPANTS FROM NAPLES TO LAMEZIA TERME
Day 1: WELCOME TO NAPLES & SANTA MARIA DI CASTELLABATE
Arrive at Naples Airport or train station where you’ll be met by your driver and travel to the splendid Piazza Plebiscito where you’ll discover some treasures of this fascinating city. Unesco NAPLES is a universe of its own, imbued with fantasy and fatalism, superstition and splendour. It is a city of a thousand faces; chaotic and heavy with traffic, yet rich with history, art and culture, ready to surrender its mysteries to anyone who scratches the surface. Cradled within, its charms and architectural splendours have been praised by poets and writers. After a unique visit to the stunning San Carlo Opera house in Naples, we’ll drive to the foothills of Mount Vesuvius to tour a wine caller, its vineyard, sip the wines and sample a tasty lunch. Our home for the first two nights is the charming fishing village of Santa Maria di Castellabate at the family hotel “VILLA SIRIO” or similar. This evening join your local tour director and fellow travelers for a welcome drink followed by an included feast of flavors in a local tavern where you’ll feel like one of the family. Eat like a real local!Overnight stay in SANTA MARIA DI CASTELLABATE
Day 2: MAJESTIC GREEK TEMPLES AT PAESTUM & MOZZARELLA WORKING FARM
After breakfast,we’ll drive in the Cilento to discover Unesco listed PAESTUM temples which are among the best-preserved monuments of Magna Grecia, the Greek colony that once covered much of southern Italy. Paestum, or Poseidonia as the city was originally called, was founded in the 6th century BC by Greek settlers and fell under Roman control in 273 BC.It became an important trading port and remained so until the fall of the Roman Empire. Its temples were rediscovered in the late 18th century by road builders who proceeded to plough their way right through the ruins. Our knowledgeable native guide will also introduce us the site Museum which houses a collection of fascinating “metopes” (bas-relief friezes) from the Temple of Argiva Reva. Do not miss the 5th century BC fresco of the Tomba del Tuffatore (Tomb of the Diver) thought to represent the passage from life to death.Afterwards,we’ll visit a marvelous cheese-making farm with an included lunch.We’ll have free time this afternoon to wander with the locals in the picturesque port town. Enjoy the rest of the day for more exploration. Overnight stay in SANTA MARIA DI CASTELLABATE
Day 3: AGLIANICO WINERY, ROMAN VENOSA & MELFI CASTLE
This morning tour takes you travelling to the region of Basilicata for visiting first the town of VENOSA, one of the most important Roman colonies around 290 BC with remains of baths and an amphitheater which still survive in the archaeological area. It was the birthplace of the latin poet HORACE and the site where the Roman general Marcellus died at the hands of Hannibal in 2018 BC. This jewel is famed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and has significant cultural and historical value. Due to the fertility of the land, Venosa is recognised as one of the best makers of Italian wine, producing the famous Aglianico del Vulture (DOC). We’ll visit the Archaeological museum, the Jewish Catacombs, the Duomo and the huge Castle in Piazza Umberto dating from the 16th century. After an eventful tasting of Aglianico wine with a light meal in a local winery, we travel north to discover the town of MELFI, once the stronghold of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa’s Swabian dynasty, and houses a museum in a crusader castle where the First Crusade was launched by Pope Urban II. The town itself is surrounded by a winding Norman city wall, the only one of its kind in Southern Italy. Spend the next two nights in a country hotel located near Pisticci “TORRE FIORE” or similar, with an included local dinner. Overnight stay in PISTICCI
Day 4: A WANDER THROUGH SASSI OF MATERA, THE APPENNINES DOLOMITES & PIETRAPERTOSA
Breakfast in hotel. MATERA is a fabulous troglodyte town of prehistoric grottoes, cave tabernacles, abandoned hovels and Renaissance houses, all excavated into the luminous limestone tufa. The rock-cut cave dwellings known as the Sassi, date back to Byzantine times. Up until the 1950s the caves were home to peasants who lived alongside their donkeys in dark hovels. Then the Italian government, embarrassed by the poverty, re-housed the entire population.By the 1980s a number of intrepid Materani started to return, and now the Sassi are the region’s main attraction, recognized by the Unesco as the finest example of “cave architecture”in the Mediterranean. With the help of a locally-grown expert, we’ll learn the stories of old and new Matera. We’ll visit “Casa Cisterna” an ancient cave dwelling which tells a tale of poverty, hardship and struggle, whose history is best immortalized in writer Carlo Levi’s superb book “Christ stopped at Eboli”, comparing the Sassi to Dante’s Inferno. Today Matera contains some 3000 habitable caves. You’ll also visit a “Chiesa Rupestre”, a cave church featuring medieval frescoes with their own legends that we will learn about. After an included taste of local products,continue to discover the dramatic peaks of the Lucanian Apennines, a gorgeous land of alpine forests, green valleys and bristling hilltop towns such as Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, Basilicata’s highest villages. We’ll visit the charming town of PIETRAPERTOSA surely one of Italy’s most theatrical villages: the houses huddle along a narrow ledge that drops away into a dramatic gorge. The lofty village is dominated by a rugged fortress and encircled by anthropomorphic spires. Dinner is included this evening in our country hotel. Overnight stay in PISTICCI
Day 5: THE GHOST TOWN OF CRACO,ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA OF METAPONTO & ALTOMONTE
Today we’ll be travelling to the bewitching ghost town of CRACO, which has stood uninhabited for nearly fifty years. In 1963, the last 1800 residents were forced to leave this village for their own safety due to the risk of earthquakes and landslides. Today, thanks to the dramatic landscape and unique atmosphere, Craco has been the set of many movies. We then continue to the Greek colony of METAPONTO, the only ancient Mediterranean colony where archaeologists have completed mapped the urban layout. Even more evocative are the TAVOLE PALATINE, the remains of 15 standing columns from the 6th century BC Doric Temple of Hera. After lunch on your own, we continue to stunning hill town of ALTOMONTE in Calabria which boasts centuries of glorious architecture and art treasure for your next two nights at the family run “HOTEL BARBIERI“. Before our included dinner, join Family Barbieri for a fun cooking lesson of a typical Calabrian dish. Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE
Day 6: ALTOMONTE & OLIVE OIL FARM
Breakfast in hotel.The rugged Calabrian landscape is dominated by a backbone of mountains that descend in a series of fantastic foothills to the sea. Not surprisingly, it was from the sea that Calabria’s first invaders, the Greeks, came in the 8th century BC, crossing the Straits of Messina from Sicily.Your day begins with a walking tour in the historic center of Altomonte, where you will discover medieval alleys and traditional life of Calabrians.The historical centre is characterised by cobbled streets, stone houses, beautiful historic buildings and superb views of the valley and mountain ranges. Altomonte has several attractive Gothic-style churches and there is a Civic Museum housed in the old convent adjacent to the Duomo (Church of Santa María della Consolazione). The latter is the main monument and dominates Altomonte. It was erected on the site of a former Norman church by orders of the feudatory Filippo Sangineto, whose tomb can be found inside the Basilica. The present-day construction has a beautiful portal, bell tower with mullioned window and Baroque interior modifications. You will see the main city churches and the museum that contains among other works the famous “San Ladislao” of the school of Giotto. We continue on to visit a farmhouse in Altomonte where you’ll learn the process of olive oil pressing.This evening dinner is included at family Cantina with traditional live music and dance. Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE
Day 7: REMOTE ALBANIAN VILLAGES , CHARMING MONTEROSSO & TROPEA
Breakfast in hotel.We depart this morning for some of the most beautiful drive around the Pollino National Park to discover attractive villages and towns with a strong Albanian influence such as San Demetrio Corone, which was once one of the most important of learning in Calabria, the site of the famous Albanian College.The Albanianas first fled to Calabria in 1448 to escape persecution by the Arabs. Today they form the largest ethnic minority in the region. They have their own language, literature and dress, and their own Greek Orthodox bishop. After an included lunch in the town of MONTEROSSO, we continue to TROPEA for your last two nights at “HOTEL ROCCA DELLA SENA” or “PICCOLO GRANDE HOTEL“in PIZZO. Enjoy the rest of the day on your own.Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight stay in TROPEA
Day 8: TROPEA & THE RIACE BRONZES OF RIACE IN REGGIO CALABRIA
One of the most picturesque towns on Calabria’s largely built up Tyrrhenian coast, TROPEA offers superb views of the sea and beaches. The old town hangs on to a cliffside facing a large rock, formely an island. The rock is topped by SANTA MARIA DELL’ISOLA, a former medieval Benedictine sanctuary. The CATHEDRAL is of Norman origin, although it has been rebuilt several times. After a guided tour of the charming historical area, we will drive to REGGIO CALABRIA to visit the National Museum which houses a fine collection of artifacts from ancient Rhegion- a Greek city on the site of the present town-and from other Greek sites. Chief among its treasures are the GREEK BRONZES, larger-than life statues of warriors dredged from the sea off Riace Marina in 1972. It is possible that the statues originated from an Athenian shrine at Dephi built to celebrate the victory of Marathon.Enjoy the rest of the day on your own.Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight stay in TROPEA
Day 9: DOLCE FAR NIENTE IN TROPEA
Breakfast in hotel. The day is on your own to enjoy the beauty of Tropea. Tonight we’ll celebrate your Southern Italy adventure with a farewell dinner at one of the typical regional restaurants in TROPEA.
Day 10: ARRIVEDERCI BEAUTIFUL SOUTHERN ITALY
Morning transfers to Lamezia airport and train station.Thanks for travelling Secret Italia Tours!
2018 Tour Price: 3,200 €|10 days/9 nights |up to 12 Participants only!