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…
- 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
- Visit one of the best known sites of the Magna Grecia METAPONTO
- Discover the large green forests of the POLLINO NATIONAL PARK
- 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 town of the Latin poet Horatio, VENOSA
- Visit the magical town of MATERA with its CAVE DWELLINGS
- Taste Italy’s spiciest cuisine in CALABRIA
- Discover a family run winery near TROPEA
- Be enchanted by the LUCANO APENNINES
- Spiritual SERRA SAN BRUNO and its CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY
- Unique Accommodations: 9 nights in charming hotels with a total of 2 nights in PAESTUM, 2 nights in MATERA, 2 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 19 seats motorcoach
- Transfers while overseas, baggage transfers & porterage are included
- Included gratuity for all city guides in Paestum, Venosa,Matera, Metaponto,Reggio Calabria
- No hidden extras
- Included meals: All breakfasts, 7 dinners, 4 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 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
CALABRIA & BASILICATA SMALL GROUP TOUR TRAVEL ITINERARY
TOUR LIMITED TO 12/14 PARTICIPANTS ONLY FROM NAPLES TO LAMEZIA TERME
Day 1: WELCOME TO SOUTHERN ITALY & PAESTUM
Arrive at Naples railway station where you’ll be met by your driver and local tour director at 11.00 and travel to a wine cellar in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius to tour the vineyard, sip the wines and sample a tasty light lunch.Continue to the town of PAESTUM, our home for the first two nights at the family hotel “TENUTA DUCA MARIGLIANO” or similar.This evening, join your local tour director and fellow travelers for an included dinner 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.Drive to a marvelous LOCAL FARM for a cheese experience with a light lunch included.We’ll have free time this afternoon for more exploration.Dinner is on your own this evening.Overnight stay in PAESTUM
Day 3: ROMAN VENOSA, AGLIANICO WINERY & THE APPENNINE DOLOMITES
This morning tour takes you travelling to the region of Basilicata to visit 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 Trinity church, the Jewish Catacombs, the archaeological park and, from outside, the huge Castle in Piazza Umberto dating from the 16th century. After an eventful tasting of Aglianico wine in a local winery, we travel to the LUCANO APENNINES,the Apennine Dolomites. Along the River Basento these bare,pointed peaks have been beaten into bizarre forms by the elements.The best-known attraction is PIETRAPERTOSA.This lofty village is dominated by a rugged fortress and encircled by anthropomorphic spires. Spend the next two nights in the world’s oldest town inhabited since the Paleolithic age, MATERA staying at the charming cave boutique hotel “CORTE SAN PIETRO“or similar.Dinner is included this evening in one of the caves restaurantsOvernight stay in MATERA
Day 4: THE CAVE DWELLINGS IN MATERA
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 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.Following an included local lunch,the rest of the day is at leisure.Dinner is included this evening in one of the caves restaurants.Overnight stay in MATERA
Day 5: THE RUINS OF METAPONTO, OLIVE OIL FARM & MEDIEVAL ALTOMONTE
Your day begins with a visit 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.Continue for a visit to a local Olive oil farmhouse for a tasting followed by a walking tour in the historic center of ALTOMONTE, where you will discover medieval alleys and traditional life of Calabrians.The historical center 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.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.Spend your next two nights in a small family- run “HOTEL BARBIERI” or similar,located in the hill town of ALTOMONTE in the region of Calabria.Dinner is included with our Calabrian family.Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE
Day 6: DISCOVER THE ALBANIAN VILLAGES OF CIVITA & FRASCINETO
We depart this morning 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’ll 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.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”.Dinner is included with the Barbieri family. Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE
Day 7: THE DUCAL PALACE IN CORIGLIANO CALABRO & THE CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY AT SERRA SAN BRUNO
This morning drive takes you to visit CORIGLIANO CALABRO to visit its stunning DUCAL CASTLE.Originally built in the 11th century, when the Normans fought the Byzantine rulers in Southern Italy, the fortress expanded in the first half of the 1300s thanks to the powerful Sanseverino family. In the 15th century, the castle was renovated and its architecture took on the typical features of the Aragonese style; the structure was further altered in the 17th century by the Saluzzo family, and in the 19th century by the Compagna family. After an exclusive tour of the world-famous Amarelli Licorice Factory and Museum, we’ll drive to the 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 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.You cannot leave Pizzo without tasting it! PIZZA DINNER is included this evening in a local restaurant.Eat as a local.Overnight stay in PIZZO CALABRO
Day 8: TIMELESS TROPEA & HOME-HOSTED FAMILY LUNCH IN A LOCAL WINERY
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’ll drive to a nearby family run winery for an included WINE TASTING with light lunch.Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight stay in PIZZO CALABRO
Day 9: THE RIACE BRONZES MUSEUM OF REGGIO CALABRIA
This morning drive takes you 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.Return to Pizzo Calabro for enjoying the rest of the day at leisure, maybe visiting the intriguing CHIESETTA DI PIEDIGROTTA, an underground cave full of carved stone statues or the little 15th century ARAGONESE CASTLE.Tonight we’ll celebrate you 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