Europe 2019 Rome, the South and Sicily
ROME, THE SOUTH AND SICILY
Day 1- May 19, Sunday
Depart the United States for Rome, Italy. Fly across the Atlantic to sunny Italy.
Day 2 – May 20, Monday
Rome – Arrive in Rome. Often called the “Eternal City”, it is also the capital of Italy. Transfer to Tivoli and visit Villa d’Este, recognized as a World Heritage Site. Villa d’Este is world famous for its terraced Renaissance gardens and profusion of fountains. You will have time for lunch after the visit. Transfer to Rome and our hotel with a visit to the famous Circus Maximus en route.
Check-in and overnight Rome.
Day 3 – May 21, Tuesday
Rome – Morning guided tour of Rome. Rome is a magnificent city built on seven hills. 21st century Rome is a mixture of ruins and monuments, fantastic fountains, beautiful piazzas and monumental architecture. Our tour will acquaint you with many of its most famous treasures including the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona. This afternoon we will visit Vatican City, one of the smallest countries in the world. Our visit will include the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica including Michelangelo’s “Pieta.”
Day 4, May 22, Wednesday
Sorrento – Enjoy a guided tour of the ancient Colosseum and Forum. Built by the Emperor Vespasian as a public amphitheater around 75 A.D. The Colosseum seated 50,000 spectators and was the site of gladiatorial games and other public spectacles. The Forum was the commercial, legal, and religious center of ancient Rome and includes the old Senate house (Curia), House of the Vestals, temples, burial place of Julius Caesar and numerous triumphal arches and columns. This afternoon we will be departing for Sorrento.
Day 5 – May 23, Thursday
Sorrento – Today we will visit the famous excavations of Pompeii, a World Heritage Site, including the Villa of Mysteries. Volcanic ash and mud preserved the town exactly as it was the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Here, the ancient Roman Empire speaks directly to you with its everyday life and real people frozen in time since its burial. See 2000-year-old take-out restaurants, frescoes, mosaics and ancient graffiti. Transfer back to Sorrento and enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
Day 6 – May 24, Friday
Sorrento – An excursion by water will bring us to the enchanting island of Capri, said by some to be the most beautiful island in the world. Enjoy a leisurely day enjoying all that Capri has to offer.
Day 7 – May 25, Saturday
Overnight Ferry -Travel along the Amalfi Coast, a World Heritage Site chosen because of “its undisputed beauty and the uniqueness of its natural landscape”. Along our route we will visit Positano and Amalfi, and drive by the cliff side gardens of lemons used to produce the famous liqueur “limoncello”. We will arrive in Naples to board the ferry for our overnight ferry ride to Sicily.
Day 8 – May 26, Sunday
Taormina – Arrive at the port of Palermo and transfer to Taormina. Drive to Mt. Etna, the tallest active volcano of Europe and admire the breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding landscape. Continue to the mountain top town of Taormina.
Day 9 – May 27, Monday
Taormina – Morning guided city tour of Taormina, the beauty of which has been praised by writers and poets since its founding by Greek colonists in the 6th century BC. Our guided tour of the city will take in major sights and will include a visit the Greco-Roman Theater built in the third century BC and expanded later by the Romans. Explore Taormina at your leisure this afternoon.
Day 10 – May 28, Tuesday
Enna – Transfer to Enna where we will have a guided tour of the major highlights of this town. Enna sits almost exactly in the center of Sicily, because of this it is also known as “l’ombelico” or the “navel” of Sicily. Enna is the highest regional capital in Italy (at approximately 3,280 feet above sea level) and has earned the nickname ‘Belvedere’ or ‘Beautiful View’.
Day 11 – May 29, Wednesday
Enna – Journey to Villa Casale, a 4th century Roman estate discovered in the late 1800s and containing some of “the most exceptional Roman mosaics in the world.” We will also travel to Agrigento where we visit the stunning Valley of the Greek Temples, the site of Sicily’s most famous Greek ruins and the largest stand of Greek temples outside of Greece.
Day 12 – May 30, Thursday
Cefalù – Transfer to the seaside town of Cefalù where we will visit the Norman Cathedral built in the 12th century as part of our guided tour. Many of Cefalu’s narrow streets are lined with buildings featuring ornate architectural decoration.
Day 13 – May 31, Friday
Cefalù – Free day. Cefalù is included as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” – an association of small Italian towns that stand out for their cultural, historical and artistic heritage. Spend leisure time exploring this beautiful town, sampling the local cuisine or enjoying its beaches. Farewell dinner tonight.
Day 14 – June 1, Saturday
Travel to Monreale where we will visit Monreale Cathedral with its Byzantine mosaics of incomparable beauty. Continue to Palermo for our tour where we will see its artistic heritage: sumptuous villas, imposing palaces, beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, and venerable churches. The Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Angevins and the Aragonese all made their contributions here. This evening we will board our overnight ferry to the Naples harbor and then to Rome.
Day 15 – June 2, Sunday
Rome – Arrive in Naples this morning. Transfer back to Rome where you can visit one of Rome’s many museums, palaces or churches or enjoy tasting “gelato”, delicious Italian ice cream.
Day 16 – June 3, Sunday
Depart for the US taking with you the treasured memories of our adventure in Italy and Sicily.