Tour description

10 DAYS CALABRIA AND BASILICATA SMALL GROUP TOUR

Experience the Southern Italy lifestyle with a small group of 12/14 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. 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.

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…

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS: 10 DAYS/9 NIGHTS
  • Guaranteed departures small group tour: Small, intimate group of only 12/14 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
  • 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 gem-like hues of jade, aquamarine, turquoise and sapphire.
  • Visit the CASTLE in VENOSA where you’ll find the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
  • Visit the magical town of MATERA with its CAVE DWELLINGS
  • Explore SIBARI, the world’s largest excavation site
  • Taste Italy’s spiciest cuisine in CALABRIA
  • Discover a family run winery near TROPEA
  • Spiritual SERRA SAN BRUNO and its CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY
  • Accommodations: 9 nights in charming hotels with a total of 2 nights in PAESTUM or similar, 1 night in MATERA, 3 nights in ALTOMONTE, 3 nights in PIZZO CALABRO
  • Visit popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Local Tour Manager, experienced to accompany you throughout your journey
  • All Entrances to historical sites are included as per itinerary
  • Transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned 17/19 seats motorcoach
  • Transfers while overseas, baggage transfers & porterage are included
  • Included gratuity for all city guides in Paestum, Venosa,Matera, Metaponto,Serra San Bruno
  • No hidden extras
  • Included meals: All breakfasts, 7 dinners, 3 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.
  • The tour begins on Day 1 from Naples airport and end with morning transfers at scheduled times to Lamezia Terme airport or train station from Pizzo Calabro 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
OUR UNIQUE HOTELS
TOUR ITINERARY

 

SOUTHERN ITALY ADVENTURE: 10 DAYS BASILICATA AND CALABRIA TRAVEL ITINERARY 

TOUR LIMITED TO 12 PARTICIPANTS FROM NAPLES TO LAMEZIA TERME

Day 1: WELCOME TO SOUTHERN ITALY & PAESTUM

Arrive at Naples Airport or train station where you’ll be met by your driver and local tour director at 11.30 and travel to the town of Paestum, our home for the first two nights at the family hotel “TENUTA DUCA MARIGLIANO” or similar.En route we’ll drive to the foothills of Mount Vesuvius to tour a wine cellar, its vineyard, sip the wines and sample a tasty lunch. 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!Overnight stay in PAESTUM

Day 2: MAJESTIC GREEK TEMPLES AT PAESTUM & MOZZARELLA WORKING FARM

After breakfast,we’ll discover the UNESCO listed Paestum temples which are among the best-preserved monuments of Magna Grecia, the Greek colony that once covered much of southern Italy. Our knowledgeable native guide will also introduce the stunning 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.Continue to visit a marvelous local farm for a cheese experience and a light meal.We’ll have free time this afternoon for more exploration. Dinner is included this evening in a local trattoria. Overnight stay in PAESTUM

Day 3: ROMAN VENOSA, AGLIANICO WINERY, MELFI CASTLE & MATERA

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. 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. Continue to Matera for your your overnight stay at the charming “CORTE SAN PIETRO HOTEL” or similar, located in the heart of the Sassi district, said to be one of the world’s oldest towns, inhabited since the Paleolithic age. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight stay in MATERA

Day 4: THE CAVE DWELLINGS IN MATERA, THE VILLAGE OF CRACO & THE RUINS OF METAPONTO

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. 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.Following an included light lunch,we’ll be travelling to the bewitching ghost town of CRACO, which has stood uninhabited for nearly fifty years. Today, thanks to the dramatic landscape and unique atmosphere, Craco has been the set of many movies. After an included foodie experience, visit 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. Spend your next three nights at the family run “HOTEL BARBIERI“located in the fairy-tale hill town of Altomonte, the gem of Italy’s largest national park. Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE

Day 5: THE POLLINO NATIONAL PARK & ALTOMONTE 

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 characterized 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. 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.In the evening meet a member of the Barbieri family for a fun cooking lesson of a typical Calabrian dish.Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE

Day 6: DISCOVER THE ALBANIAN VILLAGES OF CIVITA, FRASCINETO & WINE TASTING IN CASTROVILLARI

Breakfast in hotel.We depart this morning for a drive to discover the enchanting Pollino National Park and its intriguing villages and towns that still preserve traces of Albanian culture more than five centuries after their ancestors fled to Calabria as Turks invaded Albania.Today they form the largest ethnic minority in the region. They have their own language, literature, dress and their own Greek Orthodox bishop. In the small Albanian-speaking village of FRASCINETO you will visit the Museum of Icons and Byzantine traditions, a true reserve of artistic treasures, as well as a rather unique institution in Calabria’s cultural landscape.Coming from Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece, the icons are more than 250 date back up to the 17th century. Some of the icons were painted following the traditional technique (a mixture of eggs and tempera colors), whereas for others a mixed technique was employed (oil and tempera colors).Continue to nearby Albanian mountain of CIVITA, on the south western side of the Pollino mountain chain, already in existence during the middle ages. It is also known for the “Devil Bridge”, a panoramic bridge built over one of Italy’s deep gorges, the so called “Raganello Gorge”.After lunch on your own, visit a well known winery located near the hill town of CASTROVILLARI. Dinner is included with the Barbieri family. Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE

Day 7: OLIVE OIL FARM, ANCIENT RUINS OF SIBARI & THE CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY AT SERRA SAN BRUNO

Breakfast in hotel.This morning drive takes you to visit first a farmhouse nearAltomonte where you’ll learn the process of olive oil pressing in Calabria. Continue to discover the ruins of the ancient Greek city of SYBARIS, with its stratified remains of the three ancient cities of Sybaris, Thourioi and Roman Copia, a peculiarity that is unique in all the Western World.After lunch on your own, drive to the fairy tale-like mountain village of SERRA SAN BRUNO,the spiritual, artisan and agricultural center of Calabria, located between the Sila mountains and the Aspromonte National Park. Enjoy a walk to its miraculous lake and explore the site of the CERTOSA, the Cartusian Abbey where the Cartusian monks still live today.Spend the last three nights of your Calabria experience in PIZZO CALABRO, a picturesque fishing village staying at “PICCOLO GRANDE HOTEL“or similar. Stacked high on a sea cliff with sweeping views down to the Tropean peninsula, Pizzo has a distinct ramshackle charm. On its main squares, cafes compete to offer the town’s best tartufo, a death-by-chocolate ice-cream ball.Pizza Dinner is included in a local restaurant.Overnight stay in PIZZO CALABRO

Day 8: TIMELESS TROPEA,WINE TASTING & THE RIACE BRONZES 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 rock is topped by SANTA MARIA DELL’ISOLA, a former medieval Benedictine sanctuary. After a walking tour of the charming historical area, we will drive to nearby winery for an included wine tasting with lunch. Continue 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. Overnight stay in PIZZO CALABRO

Day 9: DOLCE FAR NIENTE IN PIZZO CALABRO

Breakfast in hotel. Meet your tour guide this morning for a discovery of charming Pizzo Calabro, maybe visiting the intriguing CHIESETTA DI PIEDIGROTTA, an underground cave full of carved stone statues or the little 15th century ARAGONESE CASTLETonight we’ll celebrate your Southern Italy adventure with a farewell dinner at one of the typical regional restaurants.Overnight stay in PIZZO CALABRO

Day 10: ARRIVEDERCI BEAUTIFUL SOUTHERN ITALY

Morning transfers to Lamezia airport and train station.Thanks for travelling Secret Italia Tours!

2019 TOUR DATES & OFFERS

2019 TOUR PRICE EUR 3,100          SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: EUR 400      Currency converter

Price is per person based on double room occupancy for 10 days/9 nights

April 17-26    LIMITED SPACE   (Tour Guide: LUCA)

May 6-15    LIMITED SPACE   (Tour Guide: ALDO)

June 29-July 8  LIMITED SPACE   (Tour Guide: LUCA)

Aug 29-Sept 7  (Tour Guide: PAOLA)

Oct 7-16  (Tour Guide: FRANCESCA)

Available departures

2018 Tour Price: 3,100 €|10 days/9 nights |up to 12/14 Participants only! To book a tour with us, simply fill in the online booking form with all your details

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