This tour is an immersion in the real south Italy life where most Italian-Americans have family roots. It is also a Festival of good food and fun!
Day 1. May 12. Fri. Departure
Depart from Columbus, Ohio and fly overnight to Rome, Italy. Dinner is served aboard. When flying over the Alps don’t miss seeing fresh snow on the mountains.
Day 2. May 13. Sat.
Land in Rome and transfer to Palermo Welcome to Rome, Italy! First impression: Italian is spoken here!
Waiting for your connecting flight to Sicily, begin to taste the Italian espresso coffee or cappuccino. After landing in Palermo a deluxe, private bus will take you to your hotel. You are very tired, so take a rest and make sure you wake up on time for your delicious Sicilian buffet dinner. Yes, for dinner most people do dress like kings and queens. At your resort Fiesta Hotel every night it is a “fiesta” of food, dancing and fun. Buona Notte (Good Night).
Day 3. May 14. Sun.
Relax and then visit Cefalu
This morning sleep longer, have a late breakfast and then admire the Hotel’s tropical gardens, olympic pools and the beach. You will have also the opportunity of attending a religious service with the local Sicilians. In the early afternoon your bus will take you to the nearby medieval town of Cefalu by the sea, a very interesting place. Have lunch in some cozy restaurant, walk along those narrow streets full of tourists and souvenir shops. Don’t miss seeing Cefalu’s 800 year old Cathedral and the medieval “Lavatoio” right in the center of town.
Back to your hotel for another evening of great food and fun.
Day 4. May 15. Mon.
Highlights of Palermo
Palermo is a city of about a million people and the capital of Sicily.
It is rich in history and culture. During the past 3000 years many nations tried to conquer and rule Sicily from Palermo: the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Spaniards and French. Their cultural influence still visible in the highlights of the city. You will see most of them. Have lunch in the resort area of Mondello by the sea. Same hotel.
Day 5. May 16.
Tue. Agrigento: Valley of Temples Travel through central Sicily, which at this time of the year is all green and the weather is perfect. About two hours later you arrive to Agrigento where you visit the famous “Greek Temples.” The Greeks settled in Sicily 3000 years ago and built many temples in the city of Agrakas. Time, wars, earthquakes, fires and that city came to an end.
Today farmers grow wheat, olive and almond trees on the ruins of that old city. However, most temples, ruins and burial sites are still there and attract a crowd of tourists. You will see and touch those ruins. A local guide will walk you through them and explain everything. Not far from those ruins is the new Agrakas, now called Agrigento. Next, the country restaurant Villa Kephos is waiting for you. You will eat antipasto, three kinds of Sicilian Pizza and all wine you want. A few men, dressed in their folkloric costumes, will play for you Sicilian music and make you dance. You will love it! Now check into a very nice hotel in the city of Enna.
Day 6. May 17. Wed.
Central Sicily, Mt. Etna This morning you travel through more of central Sicily, you by-pass Catania and then climb Mt. Etna as far as your bus can go. What a spectacular view: you see recent lava everywhere and will see snow and fire on the very top! You can even walk along a minor extinct crater!
A nice hotel with good food and fun is waiting for you by the beach.
Day 7. May 18. Thu. Taormina
Taormina is the most visited tourist place in Sicily. It is located above the Ionian Sea with Mt. Etna on its background. You will have most of the day free for strolling, shopping and eating in some cozy outside restaurant. You will love Taormina! In the afternoon you return to your hotel and spend time on the beach and/or in your swimming pool. Same hotel.
Day 8. May 19. Fri. Calabria
Leave Sicily and cross the Straight of Messina on a huge ferry boat.
Now you are in the Italian mainland, region Calabria. Travel on a freeway through mountains, scary bridges and quaint villages perched on top of hills. Finally, you arrive to a country “agriturismo”
(restaurant) near Lamezia Terme where you will love the quality and quantity of the Calabrese food and wine! A Calabrese farmer will show horses, sheep, pigs, ducks, rabbits, bees, etc. After lunch you visit the historic center of Catanzaro, the capital of Calabria. Hotel in Calabria.
Day 9. May 20. Sat.
Calabria: family roots This day is dedicated to “family roots.” With our bus we go to a few remote little towns up on the hills/mountains where the “Calabresi” in the group will see the town and the house where their folks came from; they will also meet their “lost relatives.” It will be an emotional day not only for those Calabresi, but also for the entire group, because seeing those remote towns, meeting local people and eating their delicious food and home-made wine will be a highlight of the entire tour. Same hotel.
Day 10. May 21. Sun. Calabria: family roots.
This day will be a repetition of yesterday’s activity: more family roots and more local food and fun. If there are no more “roots” to discover, today you will visit the town of Tropea, a resort town with a spectacular view of the crystal clear sea. More good local food. It is today Sunday, thus you will also have the opportunity of attending church in some remote town in the company of the local Calabresi. Same hotel.
Day 11. May 22. Mon. Calabria: Cosenza
In the morning you will be free to shop downtown Cosenza, a major city in Calabria. After lunch you move north driving through more of the Calabrian countryside. Have lunch in a country restaurant with out of this world food and wine!
Then you will spend the night in a town near Naples.
Day 12. May 23. Tue. Pompeii
This morning you visit the ruins of Pompeii, the city that was buried under volcanic ashes for about 2000 years. A local guide will walk you through those ruins and ex-plain everything. That will be a very educational experience. Instead of Pompeii the group may go to the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. This can be decided during the Tour, if everybody prefers Amalfi to Pompeii. Now move north and spend the night in a hotel in the suburb of Rome, because in the morning you have to go to the airport.
Day 13. May 24. Wed. Return flight.
An early drive to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport reminds you that your fantastic tour is over! Mamma Mia, I don’t want to go back!
Arrivederci, Sicilia and Calabria! Bella Italia! I shall return!
Dates of the Tour:
May 12-24, 2017 (13 days total)
Cost of the tour: $ 3950 per person
Tour cost includes:
Round trip air tickets from Columbus to Rome and from there to Palermo, all ground transportation in Italy by deluxe bus, all first class hotels in double occupancy, all breakfasts and dinners, tour escort at all time, local guide in Agrigento and Pompei, taxes and tips.
Tour cost does not include: lunches, drinks in some hotels, entrance to Valley of Temples and Pompeii (about $10 each: pay it only if you go).
The specialty of this tour is that during your stay in Italy you will discover and enjoy the real Italian life away from the large northern Italian cities crowded only with foreign tourists. Here you will spend relaxing days by beaches, you will enjoy real Italian food and wine, see the local people, discover many lovely sites and have a lot of fun.
For further information and to sign up for this tour contact:
Sos Codispoti @ 614.582.7366 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or The Italian Heritage Tours in Reynoldsburg Ohio
Phone: 614.833.5716 / E-mail: email@example.com