Tour description

SOUTHERN ITALY TOUR ADVENTURE – BASILICATA & CALABRIA

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. 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…

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, 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
  • 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 and more experiences to enjoy
  • Visit the magical town of MATERA
  • 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 main historical sites are included
  • All transportation on tour, via private air-conditioned 17/19 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, Venosa,Matera, Metaponto
  • No hidden extras
  • We strongly recommend arriving a day or more prior to tour start.
  • 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 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
OUR UNIQUE HOTELS

Our Hotels are all four/five-stars properties that have been selected principally for their central location

TOUR ITINERARY

 

SOUTHERN ITALY ADVENTURE: 10 DAYS BASILICATA & CALABRIA TRAVEL ITINERARY 

TOUR LIMITED TO 12/14 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 caller, 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. 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 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 cheese-making farm for a cheese making experience and an included lunch.We’ll have free time this afternoon for more exploration followed by a Pizza by meter evening meal. 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. Due to the fertility of the land, Venosa is recognized 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 night in Matera 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 included in a local tavern. Overnight stay in MATERA

Day 4: THE CAVE DWELLINGS IN MATERA, THE GHOST TOWN OF CRACO & THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA 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. 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.Following this,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. After an included foodie experience, we’ll 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“.Dinner is included this evening with the hotel family. Overnight stay in ALTOMONTE

Day 5: 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 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. 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. After an included lunch, 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 6: DISCOVER THE REMOTE ALBANIAN VILLAGES OF CALABRIA & COOKERY LESSON

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 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, 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. Grouped by religious theme, some of them are enriched by frames and metal covers called rizas. 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). 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”. 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 7: CHARMING MONTEROSSO,WINE TASTING & PIZZO CALABRO 

Breakfast in hotel.This morning visit the charming hill town of MONTEROSSO which spills from the hillside down to the waters of the sea, a bucolic town where people grow and pick much of their own food, where mealtimes are important parts of communal life, and where the sound of church bells still tells the time. Upon arrival, we set off on a walking tour of the village, 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. After lunch on your own and an eventful wine tasting in a local winery, we journey to PIZZO CALABRO, a picturesque fishing village where we’ll enjoy an Italian gelato and a walking tour of the ancient town. Continue to TROPEA for your last three nights at “HOTEL ROCCA DELLA SENA” or “PICCOLO GRANDE HOTEL“in PIZZO. Dinner is on your own. 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 walking 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!

2019 TOUR DATES & OFFERS

2019 TOUR PRICE EUR 3,100      Currency converter

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

April 17-26

Sept 17-26

Available departures

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

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