The south of Italy, "il Mezzogiorno," has long been under-visited by American tourists. Thirteen days and twelve nights in Rome and the area south 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 Materia - believed to be the longest-inhabited dwellings in the world. This is not your grandmother's tour! This is Your Own Italy!
• Private Mercedes transfers to and from the airport
• English-speaking tour guides throughout
• 12 nights’ accommodation in your choice of apartments in historic center in Rome - 2 nights, Vieste – 2 nights, Matera – 2 nights, Positano – 2 nights, Sorrento – 2 nights and
Naples – 2 nights
• Introduction to Rome “Dolce Vita” Tour evening of arrival
• Private tour of the Roman Forum and Coliseum OR the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica
• Private food and wine walking tour in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood
• Private tour of Hadrian’s Villa
• Cruise along the Coast of Gargano.
• Visit to Alberobello
• Private tour of Matera
• Private tour of the Greek temples in Paestum
• Tour of Pompeii with a private tour guide
• Full day excursion in private car to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello
• Culinary experience in a villa near Sorrento.
• Full day excursion with guide in private boat to Capri and Anacapri
• Private walking tour of Naples
DAY 1: Welcome to Rome! Dolce Vita Tour
Your driver will be waiting for you at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport and will escort you by private car to your boutique hotel in Rome. After relaxing, you will be picked up by your private guide for 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
At the Coliseum, one of the largest structures of the ancient world, Romans once gathered to watch gladiator games, animal contests, and even reenactments of sea battles. 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. The most ancient Latin text ever found, the Lapis Niger (“black stone”), can also be found here, in a foundation of a column. Your tour will end on the Capitoline Hill, the smallest and most important of the seven hills of ancient Rome, where there is a wonderful view of the Imperial Forum and modern Rome, too.
Explore St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums
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. Your guide knows the tantalizing background of these Renaissance masterpieces, the geniuses who created them, and the powers who commissioned them. In the stunning Raphael Rooms you will see the famous “School of Athens” fresco that depicts influential thinkers of ancient Greece mingling with Raphael himself and some of his contemporaries. In the Sistine Chapel, below the largest and most renowned fresco in the world, your tour guide will explain the intriguing history of how this work came to be painted and the messages Michelangelo hid within 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 unparalleled altar canopy, and the tombs of the Popes, including that of John Paul II.
Enjoy an Evening Food and Wine Walking Tour in Trendy Trastevere
Trastevere is a neighborhood like no other: think old-time Greenwich Village or Paris’s Left Bank, with cobblestone streets that come alive in the evenings with the buzz of nightlife and on Sunday afternoons with the laughter of Roman families enjoying a long lunch after church. Your Own Italy’s guided four-hour food and wine walking tour takes you through Trastevere at night and lets you you 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.
DAY 3: Transfer to Vieste with Visit to Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli
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: Cruise along the Coast of the Gargano and Cooking Class in Vieste
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. We’ll return to Vieste for a pasta-making demonstration and lunch, followed by plenty of time to wander through the town or simply luxuriate on the beach.
DAY 5: Transfer to Matera with Visit to Alberobello
With your guide, 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: Tour of Matera
You will begin the day 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, since 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, which perhaps ultimately protected them from the degradations of Mid-Century Modern. The Sassi now houses 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: Transfer to Sorrento with Visit to Paestum
You will drive into the Campania region and tour an organic water buffalo farm that produces the prized local specialty, mozzarella di bufala, then enjoy a gourmet lunch including (you guessed it) fresh buffalo mozzarella. After lunch you’ll continue to Paestum, which includes an 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
The winding roads that cling to the mountainside of the Amalfi Peninsula are no match for the expertise of your Italian driver. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the view. Your first stop is Positano, a tiny jewel of a town that clings to the side of a mountain high above sea level. Your walk through town will take you past lovely shops displaying the Positano style: white linen dresses, artisan sandals, jewelry, and open-air art exhibits in beautiful courtyards behind whitewashed walls. The bars on terraces that overlook the sea offer a splendid opportunity to sample a “granite al limone,” or Italian lemon ice, made from lemons that could have been picked that morning. From Positano you will continue on to Ravello, atop Mount Cerreto, where you will have lunch on the most spectacular panoramic terrace you have ever seen, followed by a stroll in the gardens of Villa Ruffolo, home of the world-famous summer music festival. You will wrap up the day in Amalfi, where you will visit the eleventh century cathedral of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of the town.
DAY 9: Dive into the Waters off Capri
Your day in Capril begins with a private boat ride to the pristine grottos that encircle the base of the island. Your captain knows of nearly private coves where countless shades of blue sparkle on the water. No need to bring towels or drinks! Your guide is prepared with both. Then, upon docking at Capri, you will be taken in an open vehicle up the hairpin curves to Anacapri. A stroll at the top of the mountain to visit the famous Capri sandal-makers, a chance to catch some breathtaking views from the terrace of the Villa San Michele, and a sumptuous seafood lunch upon your return to the dock at a restaurant where the fresh catch of the day is all that is offered will conclude your visit to Capri. Your captain awaits to take you back to Sorrento.
DAY 10: Transfer to Naples with Visit to Pompeii
Your private 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 at a wine-producing villa on the volcano, you will be driven to your hotel in nearby Naples.
DAY 11: Tour of Naples
Your private 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: More of Naples
Naples dates back to the second millennium B.C. and thus possesses centuries of fascinating art and architecture. You’ll 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
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and accompany you by private boat 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 or backpacks on tours that include churches as storage accommodations are not always available.
• This tour is not fully accessible for wheelchair users or those with walking disabilities, particularly that of Pompeii. However, please contact us directly and we will devise alternative routes suitable for you.
• Please wear comfortable footwear as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking.
• Contact Your Own Italy for customization options on your vacation.
• Refer to our website for details on our Cancellation Policy.
• The team at Your Own Italy is absolutely flexible and will customize your vacation to suit your personal tastes and needs. Are you traveling with children? Are you disabled? We will provide all the assistance necessary to adjust our packages to ensure that your vacation is truly memorable!
- When should we start planning our trip?
- Ideally, we ask for at least 3 months' advance notice, especially in the high season (May to 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 YOI's payment terms?
- For our customized vacations, we require a 20% deposit upon approval of the itinerary we have presented to you. The balance is due 30 days prior to your arrival date.
- What happens after I've made a reservation through your website?
- Upon submitting your reservation through our website, you will be provided with a voucher with a reservation number that will be used for payment by credit card on the online portal of Blue Pay, our credit card processor.
- 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 also recommend checking with your credit card company, which may offer travel coverage.
- 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, excursions, 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 often give us a bundled price for the services provided and so we do the same for our clients. We 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.