Day 1 | Naples
Naples is Italy at its best. Think birthplace of pizza and Sophia Loren. And its worst – home of the Camorra family of organised crime. It is brash, vibrant and gritty, but there is a raw beauty amongst the chaos. Look beyond the graffiti and open yourself up to having possibly one of your best Italian experiences ever. We stay in the Spanish Quarter of the Old Town in elegant, sunny apartments with antique furnishings. An afternoon tour of the archaeological ruins of Pompeii with an official guide and expert archaeologist.
Day 2 | Naples
Ferry to the nearby island of Procida, a little piece of heaven sitting in the Bay of Naples. Refreshingly real with a rustic charm, this colourful 4.1 square kilometre island is filled with fishing boats, scooters, washing flapping in the sea breeze and locals going about their daily business. Hard to beat a seafood lunch with a glass of vino sitting at the water’s edge.
Day 3 | Taormina
Depart Naples on the train for Villa San Giovanni at the bottom of Italy. A 20 minute ferry crossing across the Messina Strait takes us to Messina where we are met by our driver for a private transfer to the mountaintop resort town of Taormina.
Day 4 | Taormina
A day to savour the heart wrenching beauty of romantic Taormina. There is a superb Greek theatre built in the third century BC; medieval streets to wander; a cable car down to the beach and the islet of Isola Bella and the charming village of Castelmola overlooking Taormina to explore.
Day 5 | Taormina
Time for an adventure with a full day 4 wheel drive tour of Mount Etna. We drive to the extinct crater 2,000m above sea level, travelling through a green valley filled with luxuriant vegetation to see the great lava flow of 1991-1993. Weather permitting, a chairlift followed by another 4 wheel drive vehicle takes us to 3000m above sea level, just over 300m from the summit. An unforgettable experience.
Day 6 | Siracusa
Nearly 3,000 years ago the Greeks founded the city of Siracusa, destined to become the most glittering of all the cities of Magna Graeca. Their light drenched city still thrives, and nowhere else in Sicily is the sense of this glorious classical past more tangible. Tiny Ortygia, 1km in length and barely 500m across is connected to the mainland by two bridges. The historic market and Andrea’s famous panini is the spot to start our immersion. For such a tiny island, there is much to see and sample.
Day 7 | Siracusa
Tucked away in the bottom south-east corner of Sicily is a little town founded by the Arabs. Marzamemi began as a fishing village and used to have a huge tuna processing factory. It is still a fishing village, but on a smaller scale. It feels very Moroccan, filled with stone buildings with colourful doors and windows. It is the most delightful place for a seaside lunch.
Ask a Sicilian for his or her choice of a dream destination and Noto is sure to top the list. Our afternoon is spent in the sun dappled streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with its beautiful baroque architecture that glows golden with the sunset.
Day 8 | Siracusa
More surprises await with a trip to nearby Ragusa. Set in a rugged limestone landscape, where olives, almonds and carobs grow, the twin towns of Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla tumble down a hilly ridge. Completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1693, Ragusa Ibla was rebuilt, keeping its Arab inspired layout. Fine new baroque buildings went up along the ruined streets. This combination of huddled alleys with the splendour of the new monuments gives Ragusa Ibla a unique charm.
Day 9 | Rome
A private transfer from Siracusa to Messina to catch a ferry to Villa San Giovanni and the train to Rome for our last night.
To be confirmed.
Cancellation of a tour must be received in writing – please click here to email Deb.