The south of Italy, "il Mezzogiorno," has long been under-visited by American tourists. Thirteen days and twelve nights will provide a fascinating glimpse into a different side of Italy, with its own pristine grottoes and beaches, winding roads, stupendous views, scrumptious food and wine, and fascinating antiquities. You'll see the Amalfi Coast and swim from a boat off the shore of Capri, but you'll also visit Naples, Italy’s third largest city, often overlooked by tourists. You'll walk back in time 2,000 years in Pompeii, but you'll continue back another 7,000 years to visit the cave homes outside Matera - believed to be the longest-inhabited dwellings in the world. This is not your grandmother's tour! This is Your Own Italy!
- Private driver transfers to and from airports
- Accommodations: 4-star boutique hotels in the historic centers of Rome - 2 nights, Vieste – 2 nights, Matera – 2 nights, Positano – 2 nights, Sorrento – 2 nights and Naples - 2 nights
- English-speaking local tour guides throughout your vacation
- All skip-the-line tickets
- Private Introductory Walking Tour of Rome
- Private Tour of the Roman Forum and Coliseum OR of The Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
- Private Food and Wine Walking Tour in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood
- Private Tour of Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli
- Private Boat Tour along the Coast of the Gargano
- Private Day Excursion for visit to the town of Alberobello
- Private Introductory Walking Tour of Matera
- Private Tour of the Greek Temples in Paestum
- Private Tour of Pompeii with lunch and wine tasting in wine producing Villa on Mount Vesuvius
- Private Day Excursion for visit to the towns of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello
- Private Cooking Class at the Villa Fattoria Terranova
- Private Day Excursion with guide to Capri including a 3-hour Private Boat Tour around the island
- Private Introductory Walking Tour of Naples
Day 1: Welcome to Rome! Introductory Dolce Vita Tour
Your driver will be waiting for you at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport and will escort you to your hotel in Rome. After you have had a chance to relax, your tour guide will accompany you on your “Dolce Vita” Tour. You’ll uncover the secrets locked in Bernini’s work, marvel at the Pantheon, the best preserved ancient Roman monument, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to the Eternal City and simply enjoy Rome’s charming streets in a leisurely Italian fashion. By the end of the tour, you will realize that your guide has not only shown you around Rome, but has taught you how to get around Rome almost like a native.
Day 2: Walk in the Footsteps of the Ancient Romans
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to the Coliseum, one of the ancient world's largest structures, where Romans once gathered to watch gladiator games, animal contests, and even reenactments of sea battles. A massive stone amphitheater that seated an estimated 60,000 spectators, it was built in only eight years. Your guide will tell you about its design and construction, political purposes, fighters (both willing and unwilling), and eventual demise as an arena. At the Imperial Roman Forum, you will hear about the myths and religions of ancient Rome as you wander through the ruins of meeting halls and temples, such as that of the Vestal Virgins, who maintained Vesta’s sacred fire and were considered to be almost goddesses. The most ancient Latin text ever found, the Lapis Niger (“black stone”), can also be found in the Forum, in the foundation of a column. Your tour will end on the Capitoline Hill, the smallest and most important of the seven hills of ancient Rome, which offers a wonderful view of the city and the Forum
Private Tour of The Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel for this signature Your Own Italy tour of The Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. The art of The Vatican is among the most recognizable in the world. In leading you through the museums, your guide will convey the tantalizing background of these Renaissance masterpieces, the geniuses who created them, and the powers who commissioned them. In the Sistine Chapel, below the largest and most renowned fresco in the world, your tour guide will explain the intriguing history of this work and the hidden messages Michelangelo painted into it. After the museum, you’ll visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world, where you can see Michelangelo’s magnificent Pietà, Bernini’s acclaimed altar canopy, and the tombs of the Popes, including that of John Paul II.
Enjoy a Food and Wine Walking Tour in Trendy Trastevere
This evening,you will meet your sommelier-guide who will take you on a food and wine tour of trendy Trastevere. This quintessential Roman neighborhood across the Tiber River is a little bit Greenwich Village, a little bit Left Bank, but mainly regular Italian - a place where Roman pappas bring their families for Sunday dinners after church and young Romans lounge in the piazzas on evenings and weekends. Your Own Italy’s four-hour food and wine walking tour presents Trastevere at night. You’ll sample a sumptuous blend of Italian classics like pizza and pasta, real Roman street food, less-known meats and cheeses, and amazing wine in a secret cellar – its history will blow you away. Few activities in Rome deliver as many hidden surprises and enchanting moments as this, in one of our favorite neighborhoods.
Day 3: Visit to Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli and Arrival in Vieste
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel early for your trip to Vieste, a marine resort known for the purity of its waters. On the way you'll stop in Tivoli in the nearby Roman hills to visit the fantastic ruins of the villa of the Emperor Hadrian, an enthusiastic traveler and builder (in addition to his villa, he built a rather large wall across Britain and the still-extant Pantheon in Rome). From here, you’ll be driven over the Apennines, the mountainous spine of Italy, to the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Your destination for the evening is the tip of the rugged Gargano Peninsula, one of the most beautiful areas of Southern Italy, where the waters of the Adriatic are clear and blue, few Americans can be found, and it feels as if nothing much has changed in 100 years.
Day 4: Private Boat Tour along the Coast of the Gargano
This is the day of your boat cruise along the craggy Gargano Coast, the “spur” on the Italian boot. There are picture-perfect coves, hidden grottos, and unusual rock formations that make this coastline unforgettable. You'll return to Vieste for lunch followed by plenty of time to wander through the town or simply luxuriate on the beach.
DAY 5: Visit Alberobello and Arrival in Matera
With your driver, you'll head off the traveled road through Puglia into the Basilicata region, with a stop to learn about and sample some local wines, meats, and cheeses. In Alberobello, you will explore cone-shaped stone "trulli," centuries-old houses that are still inhabited. Then it's on to the town of Matera, perched upon a rocky outcropping which includes one of the world’s most unique neighborhoods — the Sassi — comprised of ancient stone and cave dwellings that look like, and actually have been, movie sets.
Day 6: Introductory Walking Tour of Matera
You will begin with your guide on a tour discovering the wonders of the Sassi, a 9,000-year-old neighborhood that has been more-or-less continuously occupied since 4,000 years before Stonehenge and 5,000 years before the Great Pyramid at Giza - that is, comfortably in the middle of the New Stone Age. In the go-go 1950s, when it was considered shameful for modern people to be living Neolithic lives, occupants were moved out of their cliff face homes. The Sassi now house museums like the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, with period furniture and artisan tools, rock-hewn churches with thirteenth century frescoes, and the homes of ordinary people. Your tour will also take you to the "newer" (less than 9,000 years old) parts of Matera.
Day 7: Tour of Ancient Paestum and Arrival in Sorrento
Your driver will accompany you into the Campania region for a visit to an organic water buffalo farm that produces the prized local specialty, mozzarella di bufala. You'll then enjoy a gourmet lunch including (you guessed it) fresh buffalo mozzarella. After lunch you’ll continue to Paestum where your guide will show you the awe-inspiring lineup of ancient Greek temples — the best-preserved collection in Europe, and that includes Greece. From here you'll head to the dramatic Amalfi Coast and the city of Sorrento.
Day 8: Let the Coast Awaken Your Spirit
Your experienced driver will handle the twists and turns of the winding roads of the Amalfi Peninsula while you sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views. In the tiny jewel of Positano, a small town that clings to a mountain rising from the sea, you will have the opportunity to take in the local style - white linen dresses, artisan sandals, jewelry - in charming courtyard markets, and the local refreshments - including true Italian lemon ice, or "granite al limone" made of fresh local lemons - at bars with terraces overlooking the sea. The colors are so bright and pure that you might have to pinch yourself to remember that this is real reality and not the virtual kind. From Positano you will be taken to Ravello, at the top of Mount Cerreto, where you will lunch at the most spectacular panoramic terrace you have ever seen, then stroll in the lovely gardens of Villa Ruffolo, home of the world-famous summer music festival. Wrap up the day in Amalfi, where you will visit the 11th century cathedral of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of the town..
Day 9: Dive into the Waters of Capri
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to the port of Sorrento where you will board the ferry to Capri. There you private boat and captain will be waiting to accompany you on a dream like day in the waters of Capri. Be prepared to dive in the pristine blue waters of the world-famous grottos that encircle the base of the famed island. Your captain will navigate to nearly private coves where the colors of the water dance amongst the many hues of the deep blue that characterizes this enchanting island. No need to bring towels or drinks, your captain will have them on board. You will also have snorkeling equipment to use while swimming. Upon docking, dry off and meet your guide will accompany you in a private vehicle up the hairpin, narrow road to Anacapri. On the way, sneak a few peaks
at the white washed villas masked by an abundance of colored flowers. A stroll at the top of the mountain to visit the famed Capri sandal makers as well as a breathtaking view from the enchanting villa San Michele perched on the furthest edge overlooking the bay. You can also choose to go up the funicular to see the views fro the very top of the island. After lunch your guide will accompany you on a walking tour of the town of Capri and its port.
DAY 10: Tour of Ancient Pompeii, Lunch and Wine Tasting on Mt. Vesuvius and Arrival in Naples
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel: destination Pompeii. With its intact streets and buildings, many two stories tall, Pompeii provides a window on the life of Rome in its heyday. Whether wealthy citizens who owned airy homes with vivid wall frescoes and landscaped courtyards, or working folk who resided in multi-family residences, ate “fast food” on the go, and bathed in public facilities, they all lived in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. After lunch and wine tasting at a wine-producing villa on the volcano, you will be driven to your hotel in nearby Naples.
Day 11: Introductory Walking Tour of Naples
Your tour of Naples begins at the beautiful hilltop Museo Capodimonte, home to southern Italy’s best collection of Renaissance paintings, including masterpieces by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, and El Greco. After lunch in the city that invented pizza, you’ll be introduced to Naples’s grittier side and get to show your chops against the locals in a Vespa-dodging, laundry-flapping, slice-of-life walking tour through the heart of a chaotic, memorable city that could call New York "chump."
Day 12: Tour of the Archeological Museum in Naples
Naples dates back to the second millennium B.C. and thus possesses centuries of fascinating art and architecture. Your tour will begin with a visit to the serene Cappella Sansevero, home of some amazingly lifelike, detailed marble sculptures. The tour continues at the National Archeological Museum, which houses the physical treasures unearthed from Pompeii. Then, prepare to be dazzled by the Farnese collection, including the Farnese Bull, the largest single sculpture ever recovered from antiquity, a larger-than-life riot of animal, human, and divine that was adored and painstakingly restored by Michelangelo. Armed with the confidence and street smarts you’ve learned from your guide, you are free in the afternoon to wander the city.
Day 13: Departure - Arrivederci !
Your driver will meet you at your hotel and accompany you to Naples’s airport for departure. We salute you with a warm and heartfelt “arrivederci.” See you again! Now that you’ve traveled with us, know that you have friends here in Your Own Italy.
- There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered, shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is recommended that you not take large bags on tours that include churches as storage is not always available
- Please wear comfortable footwear as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking
- The team at Your Own Italy is absolutely flexible and will customize your vacation to suit your personal needs. Are you traveling with children? We will provide the necessary assistance to adjust our packages to ensure that your vacation is truly memorable!
- Contact Your Own Italy for customization options on your vacation
- Refer to our website for details on our Cancellation Policy
- When should we start planning our trip?
- Ideally, we ask for at least 3 months' advance notice, especially in the high season (May through September). Arrangements can be made on shorter notice, but you run the risk of missing out on the availability of our favorite hotels and guides. We want the best for our clients, and the more time we have, the more we can guarantee just that.
- What are Your Own Italy's payment terms?
- We require a 20% deposit upon approval of your vacation package. The balance is due 45 days prior to your date of travel.
- What happens after I've made a reservation through your website?
- Upon approval of your vacation package, an invoice with payment instructions will be sent by email. Payment method options include Paypal, any major credit card or a personal check.
- Should I purchase travel insurance?
- We strongly encourage you to buy travel insurance at the time of booking, in the event you must cancel and forfeit funds or in the unfortunate case of injury or loss. We offer travel insurance through out partner, Allianz.
- What kind of information will we receive before our trip?
- Approximately one month prior to your departure date, you will receive a Your Own Italy Travel Packet consisting of a detailed day-to-day itinerary, our list of recommended restaurants, a “Helpful Hints Guide” for Italy, and your specific destinations, plus detailed information and contacts for your accommodations, tours and transportation.
- Can you give me a cost breakdown of my customized vacation and what is included?
- The vacations we create are bundled packages and therefore we do not provide a cost breakdown. Our local suppliers give us bundled prices for the services provided and we do the same for our clients. We simply arrange for all your accommodations, transportation, local tour guides, restaurant reservations, and any other fun activities and experiences from the moment you arrive until the day of your departure. We also follow through your itinerary with you upon arrival to departure with 24/7 concierge service from Rome, Italy.