Tour description

SOUTHERN ITALY SMALL GROUP TOUR

Experience the Southern Italy lifestyle with a small group of 12 participants only! Distinctive and delightful, with crystalline seas, pretty countryside and endless sunshine, Calabria 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. Calabria 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. This is where to head for an adventure into the unknown.

We have a real passion for Calabria & Sicily regions and look forward to sharing it with you! Trust the locals…


SMALL GROUP TOUR HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS: 12 DAYS/11 NIGHTS

  • Guaranteed departures small group tour: Small, intimate group of only 12 participants only !!
  • More than 10 included sightseeing tours & cultural experiences
  • OLIVE OIL FARM near ALTOMONTE
  • Discover the large green forests of the POLLINO NATIONAL PARK
  • Unknown Calabria: Unique villages with a strong ALBANIAN imprint
  • Admire The splendid GREEK RIACE BRONZES 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.
  • Walk on the volcanic AEOLIAN ISLANDS of Sicily, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover the Albanian villages of FRASCINETO and CIVITA
  • Off the beaten path SERRA SAN BRUNO & its CARTUSIAN ABBEY
  • Enjoy a COOKERY LESSON with a family member in Calabria
  • AEOLIAN PARADISE-Escape to these mythic islands for spectacular swimming
  • LOCAL ARTISAN FOODS-Indulge in almond wine, pistachio cake and the sweetest strawberries
  • Visit UNESCO AEOLIAN ISLANDS
  • Discover LIPARI and its ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURES
  • Enchanting VULCANO ISLAND with its YELLOW SULPHUROUS BATHS and VOLCANIC CRATERS
  • Boat trip to SALINA ISLAND, the highest and greenest,topped by symmetrical volcanoes
  • Visit a MALVASIA WINERY in SALINA
  • Impressive MONTALBANO ELICONA and its DOLMENS
  • Accommodations: 11 nights in charming hotels with a total of 2 nights in ALTOMONTE, 3 nights in PIZZO CALABRO,3 nights on LIPARI ISLAND, 3 nights in CEFALU’
  • Visit popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Local Tour Manager, experienced to accompany you throughout your journey
  • Tour city guides included in Tropea,Serra San Bruno, Reggio Calabria,Lipari, Palermo and Monreale
  • Transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned Mercedes car or 9/19 seats motorcoach
  • All transfers while overseas, baggage transfers & porterage are included
  • Included gratuity for all city guides as per itinerary
  • No hidden extras
  • We strongly recommend arriving a day or more prior to tour start.
  • Included meals: All breakfasts, 2 foodie experiences, 4 dinners, 5 lunches, (main meals include local wine, mineral water, espresso coffee or tea only)
  • 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 Lamezia Terme
  • Our unique Hotels: ALTOMONTE ”BARBIERI HOTEL” or similar, PIZZO CALABRO ”PICCOLO GRANDE HOTEL” or similar, LIPARI ISLAND “GRAND HOTEL ARCIDUCA” or similar, CEFALU’ “HOTEL LA PLUMERIA” or similar
  • The tour will begin on Day 1 from Lamezia Terme airport and end with morning transfers at scheduled times to Palermo airport and train station on Day 12
  • 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.
DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

12 DAYS SCENIC BEAUTY OF SOUTHERN ITALY TRAVEL ITINERARY 

TOUR LIMITED TO 12 PARTICIPANTS FROM LAMEZIA TERME TO PALERMO

Day 1: WELCOME TO CALABRIA & CHARMING ALTOMONTE

Arrive at Lamezia Terme Airport or train station where you’ll be met at midday by your driver and local tour director and travel to the splendid hill town of ALTOMONTE in Calabria which boasts centuries of glorious architecture and art treasure for your first two nights at the family run “HOTEL BARBIERI“ located a short walk from the village center. After an opportunity to rest and freshen up in your beautiful valley-view bedroom, you’ll be treated to a welcome aperitif at the hotel bar followed by dinner in the hotel restaurant.Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE

Day 2: BACKROAD ALTOMONTE, OLIVE OIL FARM & COOKING SCHOOL

Your day begins with a walking tour in the historic center of Altomonte, where you’ll 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 rangesAltomonte has several attractive Gothic-style churches and there is a Civic Museum housed in the old convent adjacent to the Duomo. The latter is the main monument and dominates the town. 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.After an included lunch, we’ll depart for a visit to a local FARMHOUSE in Altomonte where you learn the process of olive oil pressing in Calabria. At 6.30pm meet a member of the Barbieri family for a fun cooking lesson of a typical Calabrian dish. Dinner is included in our cosy family restaurant.Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE

Day 3: ALBANIAN VILLAGES OF FRASCINETO, CIVITA & PIZZO CALABRO

Breakfast in hotel.We depart this morning for a drive to discover the enchanting Pollino National Park and its intriguing villages and towns with a strong Albanian influence such as Frascineto and Civita. The Albanians 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, dress and their own Greek Orthodox bishop. In the small Albanian speaking village of Frascineto you will visit the stunning 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. The use of a wide range of materials, from wood and enamel to bronze and cloth, must also be acknowledged.Continue to the nearby village of Civita, on the south western side of the Pollino mountain chain, already in existence during the middle ages, it was then populated by the Albanians. The mountain village is also known as the “Devil Bridge” due to panoramic bridge built over one of Italy’s deep gorges, the so called “Raganello Gorge”. After an included lunch in a local trattoria, you’ll continue to the coastal town of PIZZO CALABRO for your next three nights at “PICCOLO GRANDE HOTEL” or similar. In the evening meet your tour director for a town orientation tour followed by dinner on your own.Overnight stay in PIZZO CALABRO

Day 4: SPIRITUAL SERRA SAN BRUNO & THE RIACE BRONZES IN REGGIO CALABRIA

The day starts with a visit 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. After an included street food experience, we’ll 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.Spend the rest of the afternoon in Pizzo maybe visiting the intriguing CHIESETTA DI PIEDIGROTTA, an underground cave full of carved stone statues.Pizza Dinner is included in a local restaurant in the center of Pizzo. Overnight stay in PIZZO CALABRO

Day 5: TIMELESS TROPEA WITH WINE TASTING

One of the most picturesque towns on Calabria’s largely built up Tyrrhenian coast, TROPEA ‘s town architecture reveals medieval Norman and Arab touches as well as a more austere Baroque style than that of Rome or Naples. It also offers superb views of the sea and beaches. The old town hangs on to a cliff-side facing a large rock, formerly 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. Upon arrival, we set off on a walking tour of the town center, appreciating not just the charm of the brick and stone houses hugging the steep lanes, but greeting the local people we meet and witnessing their daily routines.We stop for lunch in a well know winery near Tropea before returning to Pizzo Calabro for enjoying the Calabrian Dolce Vita! Overnight in PIZZO CALABRO

Day 6: WELCOME TO LIPARI & THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS

The Aeolian Islands are a little piece of paradise. This morning you’ll take a ferry to the island of LIPARI, the largest and most developed of the Aeolians. Along the way, we stop at VOLCANO ISLAND, with its yellow sulphurous baths and volcanic craters.Spend the next three nights on LIPARI ISLAND at the charming “GRAND HOTEL ARCIDUCA” or similar, located a short walk from the town center.Before dinner on your own, meet your tour director for an included aperitif in one of the local bars.Overnight in LIPARI

Day 7: ENCHANTING LIPARI & THE EOLIAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Lipari town is spread out under the imposing Castle rock, the ancient Greek acropolis, and along the bays of Marina Corta and Marina Lunga, to the north and south. Its volcanic origin is evident in the Muria Valley, with its red rocks,and on the north-east coast,covered by a vast flow of pumice,which hides Roman ruins of the 4th century AD.This morning a local expert will shed light on the main archaeological site of LIPARI, an island inhabited  for some 6000 years and settled in the 4th millennium BC by Sicily’s first known inhabitants, the Stentillenians who developed a flourishing economy, based on obsidian, a glassy volcanic rock.We have included today a visit to Lipari’s archaeological museum which displays finds from the islands’ long history,including tools and pottery left behind by Neolithic inhabitants-the museum is famous for its terracotta Greek theater masks and figurines of dancers and actors,the world’s largest such collection.After a local foodie experience, you’ll enjoy the rest of the day on your own for more discoveries.Dinner is included this evening in a local restaurant. Live like a local! Overnight in LIPARI

Day 8: BOAT TRIP TO SALINA & MALVASIA WINERY

After breakfast,a 25 minute boat hop from Lipari will take to laid-back SALINA ,a lush and fertile island. The famous Aeolian capers grow plentifully here,as do the grapes used for making MALVASIA WINE. After touring the island by Aeolian “Ape Calessino” (approx 2hrs) or minivan and an included visit to a local winery specialized in Malvasia wine, you’ll enjoy a typical eolian lunch in one of the best local taverns. Return to Lipari on time to enjoy “the dolce vita”. Overnight stay in LIPARI

Day 9: UNKNOWN MONTALBANO ELICONA & THE DOLMENS

Breakfast in hotel. This morning drive takes you to visit a fairy tale medieval hill town, MONTALBANO ELICONA located in the middle of the Nebrodi Mountains in the province of Messina.Upon arrival at the port of Milazzo after a boat journey from Lipari island, you will ascend the town travelling on a picturesque, winding road overlooking the Aeolian islands and then walking narrow cobblestone streets to reach the historical center, the heart of the town.Here you visit the Aragonese castle, a local museum and the main church, built in the 1300s to admire the work of local sculptures and painters.After an included foodie experience,you’ll visit a magical, mysterious plateau named as the SICILIAN STONEHENGE, a large area of megaliths whose archaeologists believe to be created by natural forces and maybe in the prehistoric times, the setting for ritual activities.Continue to CEFALU’ for your last three nights at the central “HOTEL LA PLUMERIA” or similar.Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight in CEFALU’

Day 10: HIGHLIGHTS OF PALERMO & MONUMENTAL MONREALE

Start your discovery of Sicily with a guided walking tour of PALERMO, the Sicilian capital.We have included today a visit to the Byzantine Martorana church, famous for its impressive Norman mosaics, the evocative Palatine Chapel, dating back to the 12th century,famous for its impressive mosaics and time permitting, some of the rooms of the Royal PalaceAfter a visit to the Ballaro‘ market located in the ancient Arabic quarter of the city and an included farewell lunch in the best tavern, you’ll continue to the hills south of Palermo to discover MONREALE, known for one of Sicily’s great sites – the stunning 12th century Norman cathedral literally wallpapered with golden mosaics that tell the stories of the bible.Overnight in CEFALU

Day 11: CAPTIVATING CEFALU’

The day is on your own for further explorations of the beautiful town of CEFALU‘.The squares, streets and churches of this medieval town are so postcard-pretty that it’s no wonder director Giuseppe Tornatore chose to set parts of his much-loved film Cinema Paradiso here. Today you’ll have time for swimming, enjoying some fish specialties or even climbing the great crag of La Rocca. Enjoy the last evening in beautiful Cefalu’ on your own. Overnight stay in CEFALU’

Day 12: ARRIVEDERCI BEAUTIFUL SOUTHERN ITALY

Morning transfers to Palermo airport and train station.

TOUR DATES & PRICING

TOUR PRICE EUR 4,200       SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: EUR 700      Currency converter

Price is per person based on double room occupancy for 12 days/11 nights

SICILY

SICILYSicily is full of beguiling contrasts. The untamed west vies with the flawless Greek classicism of the east and every Mediterranean civilization has passed by, bequeathing marvels fit for the gods and a rich gastronomic heritage.Palermo has bustling markets and grand architecture. Sample fish couscous and the typically Sicilian atmosphere of  Palermo’s riviera. Erice is Read more

Tour review scores and score breakdown

10 / 10

Based on 1 reviews

Guest reviews are written by our customers after their tour of 12 DAYS CALABRIA, SICILY & AEOLIAN ISLANDS SMALL GROUP TOUR: "SCENIC BEAUTY OF SOUTHERN ITALY".

Overall
10   
Accommodation
10   
Transport
10   
Meals
10   
Guide
10   
Value for money
10   
Program accuracy
10   

Guest reviews

  • Small Group Tours & Shore Trips in Sicily, Malta, South Italy & Portugal
    2017-12-27

    What a wonderful trip in Sicily. It was one of our best tours ever! We enjoyed Sicily with its history, stunning landscapes and seascapes, friendly people and delicious food. But most of all we enjoyed Rosaria and the little extras that made the trip unforgettable. Limoncello sipping at the Valley of the Temples in the moonlight, tasting candy, cookies, and other little unscheduled treats along the way, taking group pictures everywhere we went, dancing on the cruise in Ortega, bypassing crowds at the Opera, all added to the wonderful itinerary. We will recommend Secret Italia Tours to anyone

    Everything was perfect