- Master the art of Neapolitan pizza in Naples
- Discover Sfusato Amalfitano lemons on a citrus grove tour and tasting
- Immerse yourself in Palermo's famous street food scene
- Explore Capri and the Italian Riviera
- Experience Sicilian food and wine culture with a vineyard tour and cooking class
|Day 1||Arrive in Naples, Campania's Capital||Naples|
|Day 2||Neapolitan Pizza Masterclass, Free Afternoon||Naples|
|Day 3||Transfer to the Amalfi Coast via Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius||Amalfi|
|Day 4||Day Trip to Capri & Anacapri||Amalfi|
|Day 5||Morning Lemon Grove Tour & Tasting, Free Afternoon||Amalfi|
|Day 6||Visit Conca dei Marini, Boat Trip to Grotta dello Smeraldo||Amalfi|
|Day 7||Fly to Palermo, Pick Up Rental Car||Palermo|
|Day 8||Palermo Street Food Tour||Palermo|
|Day 9||Marsala City Tour & Wine Tasting, Drive to Agrigento||Agrigento|
|Day 10||Valley of the Temples Guided Tour, Drive to Syracuse||Syracuse|
|Day 11||Sicilian Wineries Tour, Visit Marzamemi, Fresh Tuna Tasting||Syracuse|
|Day 12||Guided Mount Etna Hike & Wine Tasting, Drive to Taormina||Taormina|
|Day 13||Taormina Market Tour, Sicilian Cooking Masterclass||Taormina|
|Day 14||Drive to Catania, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Naples, Campania's Capital
Benvenuti in Napoli! (Welcome to Naples). Upon arrival, meet your driver and transfer to your central accommodation. While Naples is justifiably famous for its pizza and its rich history of Neapolitan cuisine, it's also one of Italy's most magnetic and unique cities, with its maze of narrow streets, exuberant atmosphere, and culture and chaos at every turn.
Spend today exploring Naples at your own pace—embracing the chaotic choreography of the scooters and street life with a self-guided tour of the city's churches, museums, and historical highlights. The splendid Duomo di Napoli, a 10-minute walk from Piazza Cavour, dates back to the 13th century and incorporates a range of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance architectural styles, while the San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica is one of the city's oldest and most interesting churches—it even hides the remains of an underground Greco-Roman market.
Day 2: Neapolitan Pizza Masterclass, Free Afternoon
Enjoy a light breakfast today, as later this morning, you'll be inducted into the art of making the perfect Neapolitan pizza. You'll be led by your guide to the restaurant of one of the city's oldest families of pizza makers. Your pizzaiolo and his staff will greet you and introduce you to the art of pizza making, guiding you through every step of the process, from which ingredients to use to the history of this world-famous dish. With your creations freshly out of the wood-fired oven, you'll dine with your fellow chefs and add "Neapolitan pizza maker" to your cooking repertoire.
The rest of the day is yours to explore at leisure. Follow the main street, Via Toledo, toward the waterfront, and you'll find the Royal Palace, San Carlo Theater, and Castle Nuovo, all worth a visit, including the castle's two museums, which house an array of medieval and 19th-century paintings, sculpture and objects. Don't miss the Fontana dell Gigante, a beautiful 17th-century fountain featuring a trio of arches adorned with heraldic symbols and marine animals. Standing on the waterfront near Castel dell'Ovo, it's a great place to catch a breather and soak up your Neapolitan experience.
Day 3: Transfer to the Amalfi Coast via Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius
Bid farewell to Naples this morning and enjoy a comfortable and scenic journey south along the coast to your hotel in Amalfi. You'll stop along the way to visit two of the area's key sites, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. Walking through the remains of Pompeii's ancient streets is a fascinating and sober experience, with the ash and volcanic debris that flowed from Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE preserving many of the town's structures entirely. See the plazas, villas, and shops frozen in time before visiting a workshop to see local handicrafts being produced.
Next, you'll continue your tour of the area with a drive to Mount Vesuvius National Park. Pass a series of small farms and wineries dotted along the landscape, and you'll soon reach the dormant volcano. It's around a 30-minute hike to the crater with some steep ascents, but it's worth it for the exceptional views of the Bay of Naples and the islands of Capri and Ischia. Hop back in the car, and the citrus groves and sparkling blue waters of the Amalfi Coast are around a 1.5-hour drive away.
Day 4: Day Trip to Capri & Anacapri
Set sail for the "Isle of Sirens" this morning and head to the port, where you'll board a ferry and cross the cobalt blue waters past the Amalfi Coast to Capri. You'll arrive at the Marina Grande harbor, where the day is yours to explore the island at your leisure. Head first to the quaint village of Anacapri perched toward the top of the island. Here, you'll see the sweeping views of the Gulf of Naples and Mount Vesuvius that prompted Emperor Tiberius to build twelve villas on the isle.
Stroll Piazza Vittoria and stop for a gelato before taking the chairlift from Anacapri to Mount Solaro. At 1,932 feet (589 m) above sea level, it's the island's highest point and offers more astonishing views across the bays and over to the Calabrian mountains. When you're ready, make your way back down and enjoy lunch overlooking the coastline. After a wander around Capri's chic Old Town, don't miss a trip to the Gardens of Augustus. These manicured Mediterranean gardens provide the world-famous shot of the dramatic Faraglioni Rocks below.
Day 5: Morning Lemon Grove Tour & Tasting, Free Afternoon
This morning, you'll discover how not all lemons are created equal. The citrus groves that dot the Amalfi Coast are filled with Sfusato Amalfitano lemon trees, a variety considered among the best in the world. With sun-filled, wind-protected conditions that help the fruit grow to twice the size of their regular counterparts, Amalfi lemons are strongly perfumed with sweet flesh and used throughout Italian cooking in both salato (savory) and dolce (sweet) dishes.
Today, you'll get the chance to tour these beautiful lemon groves, finishing with a delicious farm lunch using local produce and a tasting of the farm's own artisanal limoncello (lemon liqueur). In the afternoon, continue the citrus theme with a walk along the area's famous Lemon Path, a moderate 2-mile (3 km) walk that stretches from Maiori to Minori, where you'll encounter bougainvillea-strewn houses, pretty churches, sea views, and an abundance of lemon groves.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Visit Conca dei Marini, Boat Trip to Grotta dello Smeraldo
Today, you'll embark on an hour-long tour of one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Amalfi, the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto). Meet your guide for a scenic transfer along the coast to Conca dei Marini, a gorgeous fishing village just east of Praiano. Upon arrival, you'll board a boat and make your way through the mouth of the cave and into the cool, serene grotto. Pass under the hanging stalactites and stalagmites and marvel at the emerald colors shimmering off the surface of the water before returning to shore.
Afterward, spend a couple of hours exploring Conca dei Marini. The town's jumble of white houses tucked into the rocks make for a picturesque spot to enjoy a relaxed lunch amid the charming atmosphere, sampling plates of fresh seafood washed down with a glass of the local vino bianco. Return to your hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sunshine on the beaches at Gavitella in Vettica Maggiore or Castiglione di Ravello.
Day 7: Fly to Palermo, Pick Up Rental Car
It's time to venture farther south this morning with a flight from Naples to another Italian hotbed of culture and beauty: the island of Sicily. After a one-hour flight, you'll touch down in Palermo, Sicily's regional capital, which's known for its wonderful climate, rich blend of ancient history, and famous street food. Pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel in the historic center.
Settle in after your flight and head out to discover the capital's unusual Arab-Norman architecture. Take in sights such as the ninth-century Palazzo dei Normanni, the oldest royal residence in Europe, and La Martorana, an Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. If you're feeling hungry, follow your nose to the colorful Vucciria Market, known for its seafood, to sample delicious street food. Grab a drink at the Piazza Marina and saunter in the shade of the impressive ficus tree (Europe's largest) in Giardino Garibaldi before heading out to dinner.
Day 8: Palermo Street Food Tour
Sicily's cuisine is a heady mix of traditional Italian techniques and robust Sicilian flavors sprinkled with an enticing blend of North African ingredients particular to this region of Italy. Palermo's street food ranks among the best in the world, and this morning, you'll experience the city's legendary cuisine with a foodie tour through the city's back streets. Your local guide will introduce you to the vendors and lead you through the maze of the city's riotous Vucciria and Capo markets.
Weave your way through the alleyways and visit local bars and bakeries, savoring delicacies including panelle (chickpea fritters), pani câ meusa (sesame-flavored bread stuffed with fried veal and spleen), and arancini (deep-fried balls of rice stuffed with meat, vegetables, and cheese). Refresh with a glass of local Sicilian wine or a soft drink before ending the tour with delicious cannoli (deep-fried pastries filled with sweet ricotta cheese), gelato, or a refreshing granita (a semi-frozen treat made with fruit, sugar, and water).
Part ways with your guide, and you'll have the afternoon free to explore the city at your own pace. Admire the Arab, Byzantine, and Spanish art and architecture in Piazzas Bellini and Pretoria, and stroll the botanical gardens and sculptures at 18th-century Villa Giulia. Or simply soak up the sunshine and enjoy the sea breeze at nearby Mondello Beach or Foro Italico, an expansive public garden that lines the city's seafront.
Day 9: Marsala City Tour & Wine Tasting, Drive to Agrigento
Wave goodbye to Palermo this morning and drive just under two hours west along the coast to Marsala. Located in the province of Trapani, the coastal town is known for its ancient ruins, Baroque center, and eponymous fortified wine. Embark on a guided tour of the city's historic landmarks and see its famous gates, Porta Garibaldi and Porta Nuova, while your guide regales you with stories of the town's epic past. You'll finish in the Baglio Anselmi Archaeological Museum, whose highlights include a Phoenician boat from the First Punic War.
Afterward, make your way to a neighborhood cantina and meet a local winemaker who'll introduce you to several varietals of the town's delicious Marsala wine. Enjoy a tasting alongside regional specialties, and when you're ready, set off for a two-hour drive to Agrigento, a hilltop city on Sicily's southwestern shore. After a refresh at your hotel, stroll through the Old Town to Via Atenea, the main thoroughfare lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. You'll find several great gelaterie here, and it's worth trying one of the more unusual flavor combinations—the pecorino and ricotta gelato is delicious!
Day 10: Valley of the Temples Guided Tour, Drive to Syracuse
Embark on the next leg of your Sicily tour this morning with a transfer to Syracuse, a once-ancient powerhouse and the birthplace of Archimedes. Along the way, your guide will stop at Agrigento's protected archaeological site—the Valley of the Temples. Wander the ancient ruins of Akragas (the Romans resettled the city as Agrigento in 201 BCE) and don't miss the Greek Temple of Concordia—considered to be one of the world's best-preserved Doric temples, alongside Athens' Parthenon.
After a few hours exploring the site, you'll transfer 2.5 hours east to your hotel on Ortigia, Syracuse's historical heart that's connected to the city by three bridges. This città vecchia (old town) is full of treasures waiting to be explored and easily done on foot. Begin with a walk along Passeggio Aretusa to Fonte Aretusa, a natural spring surrounded by stone walls and steeped in Greek mythology. Explore the tightly woven network of narrow and winding alleys and lanes, and you'll be rewarded with ornate churches and Baroque palaces in various states of repair.
Day 11: Sicilian Wineries Tour, Visit Marzamemi, Fresh Tuna Tasting
Spend today getting better acquainted with some of Sicily's notable wines with a winery visit deep in the Sicilian countryside, surrounded by acres of olive and almond trees and citrus plantations. Accompanied by a local sommelier and guide, you'll tour two of the region's renowned vineyards and enjoy a guided cellar tour. Afterward, you'll get to try several varietals, including Nero D'Avola, Sirah, Moscato, and Insolia, paired with delicious Sicilian produce, including local formaggi (cheeses), prosciutto, caponata, home-made ricotta, and crema di carciofi (artichoke cream).
Your gastronomic adventure isn't over yet, as afterward, you'll transfer through the beautiful Noto Valley to the little town of Marzamemi and visit a tonnara (tuna farm), where you'll get to taste fresh tuna straight off the boat. Spend an hour or two exploring the village, whose Arabic roots can be traced back to the 10th century, and explore the ancient Arabic fishermen's houses that line the Piazza Regina Margherita.
Day 12: Guided Mount Etna Hike & Wine Tasting, Drive to Taormina
Today marks the final leg of your Sicilian adventure with a two-hour drive north along the coast to Taormina, a chic and popular town on the Ionian Sea. First, though, is a detour inland to Europe's largest active volcano, Mount Etna. Make your way to the Rifugio Sapienza, the southern access point for the volcano, where you'll meet your guide and ride the cable car up 9,5000 feet (2,900 m) to Torre del Filosofo. Spend a couple of hours hiking around the crater and pause to admire the breathtaking vistas of solidified lava flows, fumaroles, and views that stretch out to the Mediterranean.
Afterward, hop back in your rental car and make one more stop at a Sicilian winery to sample the regional reds, whites, and rosés from grapes, including carricante, catarratto, nerello cappuccio, and nerello mascalese, while you feast on plates of formaggi and home-cured cold cuts and salamis. Arrive in Taormina, and after settling into your hotel, head to the Piazza IX Aprile, the town's elegant main square. It's the perfect spot to get your bearings and admire the sea views over the Bay of Naxos before dining at one of the popular trattorias on nearby Corso Umberto.
Day 13: Taormina Market Tour, Sicilian Cooking Masterclass
You're in for a treat today as mid-morning, you'll partake in a private cooking class and prepare a full Sicilian menu complete with traditional dessert. Accompanied by a local chef, you'll head to the local market for a guided tour and stop at several stalls to pick up seasonal produce before heading to the fishmonger to choose the freshest catch of the day. Afterward, you'll retire to a professional kitchen where you'll produce Sicilian classics such as pasta alla Norma, arancini, salt-baked seabass, and pasta with pistachio pesto and shrimp.
At the end of the workshop, you'll sit down and enjoy your creations, accompanied by a pairing of local wines. Your last afternoon in Sicily is yours to spend at leisure. Enjoy some pool time and a cocktail at your hotel, stroll Taormina's elegant boutiques, or see the town's famous Teatro Greco. The theater, carved directly from the rock of Mount Taurus, evolved from its classical Greek origins to its setting as an arena for gladiatorial battles. In the evening, as the sun sets on your Italy adventure, enjoy one last aperitivo in the piazza and toast your trip. Salute!
Day 14: Drive to Catania, Depart
After breakfast, make the hour drive south to Catania. Sicily's second-largest city next to Palermo, Catania sits at the foot of Mount Etna and deserves a little exploration if there's time before heading to the airport and dropping off your rental car. Safe travels!