If you’ve dreamed of seeing Rome and Southern Italy, this will be the vacation of a lifetime. Thirteen days and twelve nights of the best the Eternal City and the southern part of the nation offer. You’ll explore the art and antiquities of Rome, the Trevi Fountain to the Coliseum, St. Peter’s Basilica to The Vatican Museums and more – everything you would hope to see in Rome. Then you’ll embark on an on-going adventure, through the most wonderful cities and towns, the grottoes and beaches, the winding roads, the cuisine and the antiquities of Southern Italy. Just wait ‘til you see the Amalfi Coast – and swim from a boat off the shore of Capri. Finally, you’ll visit Naples, one of Italy’s most memorable cities. When you head home, this will have become Your Own Italy.
Highlights and What’s Included
• Private Mercedes transfers to and from the airport.
• English-speaking tour guides throughout.
• 12 nights’ accommodation in your choice of hotels or 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 Walking Food and Wine 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 & Anacapri.
• Private Walking Tour of Naples.
DAY 1: Welcome to Rome! Dolce Vita Tour
Your driver, waiting for you at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, will escort you by private car to your boutique hotel in Rome. After relaxing you will be picked up by your private tour guide who 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 making you feel 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. A massive stone amphitheater, which 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 a foundation of a column. Your tour will end on the Capitoline Hill, the smallest and most important of the seven hills of the Ancient Rome, and enjoy a wonderful view of the city and of the Imperial Forum.
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, with masterpieces by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo. 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 stunning Raphael Rooms you will see the famous “School of Athens” fresco that depicts influential thinkers of ancient Greece mingling unknowingly 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 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 visit the tombs of the Popes, including that of John Paul II. You will also see Michelangelo’s magnificent Pietà and Bernini’s acclaimed baldachino, or altarpiece.
Enjoy a Walking Food and Wine Tour in the Trendy Trastevere Neighborhood
In the evening you’ll enjoy a walking tour in the heart of Rome. Trastevere is a neighborhood like no other. Think of Greenwich Village, ivy-covered Harvard Square and Paris’s West Bank, with cobblestone streets that come alive at night with the buzz of food and nightlife. Romans bring their families to Trastevere for Sunday dinners – and young Romans are found throughout the neighborhood evenings and weekends. You must not leave Rome without walking through these streets, tasting the best food on offer, and taking a million pictures of this amazing hotspot.
On Your Own Italy’s guided 4-hour walking food tour we explore this photogenic neighborhood by 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. Be sure to take advantage of an unforgettable night in one of our favorite Rome neighborhoods.
DAY 3: Transfer to Vieste with Visit to Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli
Your private driver will pick you up at your hotel. Destination: Vieste, a marine resorted known for the purity of its waters. We’ll leave Rome early, stopping in the nearby hills to learn about the Roman Emperor Hadrian at the ruins of his huge Villa in Tivoli. An enthusiastic traveler and builder, he left a lasting legacy. In addition to Hadrian’s Villa, he built a great wall across Britain and the domed Pantheon.
After your visit to the Villa, you’ll be driven over the Apennines, the mountainous spine of the country. Then, you’ll arrive at the shoes of the Adriatic Sea. Your destination for the evening: the tip of the rugged Gargano Peninsula, one of the most beautiful areas of Southern Italy — and still unknown to American travelers. Here, the Adriatic is at its best, with its clear, blue waters and the feeling that nothing much has changed in the last hundred years.
DAY 4: Cruise along the Coast of the Gargano and Cooking Class in Vieste
This is the day for your boat cruise along the craggy Gargano Coast, a promontory that juts into the Adriatic Sea, the “spur” on the Italian boot. You will marvel at the 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
On your fifth day in Southern Italy, you will head off the tourist path with your private guide. You will travel through Puglia and 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 lived in today. Then we’ll drive on to the town of Matera, a rocky outcrop which includes one of the world’s most unique neighborhoods — the Sassi — completely made up of ancient stone and cave dwellings. That afternoon you’ll arrive at your hotel in Matera.
DAY 6: Tour of Matera
Touring Matera with the help of a locally grown expert, you will learn the stories of old and new Matera. Imagine this: you will begin the day discovering the wonders of the Sassi – a 9,000-year-old neighborhood. 9,000 years! You will enter a sasso home to gain an appreciation for the cave-dwelling conditions endured by the residents until they were relocated 60 years ago. The Sassis now houses museums like the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, with period furniture and artisan tools. It also contains rock-hewn churches like the one you will visit, with 13th century frescoes. You will also get to tour the newer parts of the town.
DAY 7: Transfer to Sorrento with Visit to Paestum
Early this morning, your private driver and car will bring you into the Campania region, where you’ll tour an organic water buffalo farm that produces the prized local specialty, mozzarella di bufala. You will tour the barns and learn how this tasty delicacy is made and enjoy a gourmet lunch including (you guessed it) fresh buffalo mozzarella. After lunch, you’ll continue to Paestum. This site includes an awe-inspiring lineup of three ancient Greek temples — the best-preserved collection in Europe. Next: on to the dramatic Amalfi Coast. Be ready for excitement, as your driver negotiates the famous cliff-clinging road that winds above the sea to Sorrento.
DAY 8: Let the Coast Awaken Your Spirit
Your driver will pick you up for an experience of a lifetime. The winding roads that cling to the mountain side of the Amalfi Peninsula await the expertise of your Italian driver – and your excitement! First stop after a breathtaking view of the Sea from dizzying heights is the jewel of Positano. A tiny town that clings to the side of a mountain tumbling down to sea level. Enjoy a picturesque walk through some of the loveliest shops displaying the Positano style: white linen dresses, artisan sandals and jewelry, dotted by open air art exhibits in the beautiful courtyards just beyond the white washed walls that define the narrow winding road from top to bottom. Enter one of the bars with terraces overlooking the bluest sea and enjoy a “granite al limone” or Italian lemon ice, the best way to cool off. With the abundance of flowers, the white buildings and deep blue sea, you will feel part of the visual richness which is Italy. From Positano you will be taken to the top of Mount Cerreto to the town of Ravello where you will have lunch on the most spectacular, panoramic terrace you have ever seen followed by a stroll in the lovely gardens of Villa Ruffolo, the home of the world-famous summer music festival. As you wind down the mountain with your driver make sure to stop for breathtaking views and photos. Wrap up the day in main town of Amalfi where you will visit the 11th century Saint Andrew’s cathedral, the patron saint of the town.
DAY 9: Dive into the Waters off Capri
Last, but not least, you will spend an unforgettable day on a private boat to Capri. Be prepared to dive in the pristine blue waters of the world-famous grottos that encircle the base of the famed island. The captain of your private boat will take you 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 private guide is well prepared for impromptu toasts of prosecco as he purposefully has the boat linger under the lovers’ cove. Upon docking, dry off and meet your private taxi driver who will transport you in an open 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. A sumptuous seafood lunch awaits you upon your return to the dock at a famed restaurant where the fresh catch of the day is all that is offered. 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. The most well-preserved ancient town, with its intact streets, and many buildings up to the second story is a true experience of time travel. See how the ancients entered their city through one of the main gates, lived in courtyard centered airy homes with vivid frescoes depicting the leisurely life of the wealthy inhabitant. Live also the footsteps of the commoner eating on the go at one of the many “fast food” restaurants on his way to the baths followed by an imaginary discussion at the temple in the main Forum. Close your eyes while sitting in the 500-person theater imagining a performance about to begin, all in the shadow of the Vesuvius. After lunch at a wine producing villa on Mt. Vesuvius, your driver will take you to your hotel in nearby Naples.
DAY 11: Tour of Naples
Your private, English-speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on an introductory walking tour of Naples. Your tour will begin at the beautiful hilltop Museo Capodimonte, home to southern Italy’s best collection of Renaissance paintings. The museum includes magnificent masterpieces by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, and El Greco. After lunch in the city that invented pizza, you’ll be introduced to Naples’ grittier side. You’ll discover another side of Italy in this Vespa-dodging, laundry-flapping, slice-of-Neapolitan-life walking tour through the heart of this chaotic, memorable city.
DAY 12: Exploring More of Naples
Naples dates back to the 2nd millennium B.C., with centuries of important art and architecture to see. You’ll begin the morning with a visit to the serene Cappella Sansevero, home to amazingly lifelike sculptures that must be seen to be believed. The tour will continue with the greatest treasures of Pompeii, brought to Naples’ National Archeological Museum for safekeeping. Next, prepare to be dazzled by the Farnese collection, including the largest single sculpture ever recovered from antiquity: the Farnese Bull. This larger-than-life riot of animal, human, and divine struggle was adored and painstakingly restored by Michelangelo. Then, armed with the confidence and Neapolitan street smarts you’ve learned from your guide, your afternoon is free for making your own discoveries in this, Your Own Italy.
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 people with walking disabilities. However, please contact us directly and we will be able to take you on 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!
• The tour of Pompeii is not fully accessible for wheelchair users or people with walking disabilities. However, please contact us directly and we will be able to take you on alternative routes suitable for you.
- 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.