May 7-21 2019 (15 days)
Day 1. May 7. Tue. Departure
Fly on United Airlines from Columbus, Oh. to Newark, N.J. and from there to Milan,Italy. Dinner is served aboard. When flying over the Alps don't miss seeing fresh snow on their peaks.
Day 2. May 8. Wed. Land in Milan and transfer to Palermo
Welcome to Milan, Italy! First impression: Italian is spoken here!
Waiting for your connecting flight to Palermo, begin to taste the Italian espresso coffee/cappuccino. After landing in Palermo a private bus will take you to your deluxe resort hotel by the beach. You are very tired, so take a rest and make sure you wake up on time for your first delicious Sicilian buffet-dinner. At your Fiesta Hotel every night is a "fiesta" of food, dancing and fun. Buona Notte (Good Night).
Day 3. May 9. Thu. 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 conquered and ruled it: the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Spaniards and French. Their cultural influence is still visible in the highlights of the city and you will see most of them. Have lunch in the resort area of Mondello by the sea. Enjoy another evening of food, dancing and fun at your same hotel.
Day 4. May 10. Fri. Agrigento: Valley of Temples
This morning you travel through central Sicily and in less than two hours you arrive to Agrigento where you visit the famous "Greek Temples". The Greeks settled in Sicily 3000 years ago and built many temples in Agrakas (today's Agrigento). Time, wars, earthquakes, fires and the old city came to an end. Today farmers grow wheat, olive and almond trees on its ruins. However, most temples, ruins and burial sites are still there and attract a large number of tourists. You will see and touch those ruins. A local guide will walk you through them and explain everything. Next, the country restaurant Villa Kephos is waiting for you; you will eat antipasto, three kinds of Sicilian Pizza and all wine you want. Often they have also a folkloric group of singers and musicians to make you sing and dance. After traveling through more of central Sicily you arrive to your next hotel in Taormina.
Day 5. May 11. Sat. Taormina
Taormina is the most visited tourist place in Sicily. It is located above the Ionian Sea with the smoking Mt. Etna on the background. You will have most of the day free to stroll, shop and eat in some cozy restaurant. You will love Taormina! In the late afternoon you return to your hotel and spend time on the beach and/or in your swimming pool.
Day 6. May 12. Sun. Calabria: fabulous lunch, visit Catanzaro.
Leave Sicily and cross the Straight of Messina on a huge ferry boat. Now you are in the Italian mainland, Calabria region. Travel through mountains, high bridges and quaint villages perched on top of hills. Stop in Lamezia Terme for a "cooking class" in a spectacular country restaurant and then have a fabulous Calabrian lunch with the food you just prepared with the Chef! After that you spend some time visiting downtown the city of Catanzaro, one of the three major cities in Calabria.
Day 7. May 13. Mon. Calabria: immersion in the Calabrian life.
Because in the group we will have a few "Calabresi", this day we stay in Calabria so they will have the opportunity of going "home" and meet for their "lost cousins" for the first time. It will be an emotional encounter! For that purpose we go to a few remote small country towns perched on hills. The rest of people in the group will love that! Visiting those remote towns, talking to local people, eating their food and drinking their home-made wine means to discover the real Italian life! Late afternoon travel to the Basilicata region and stay in a super-nice hotel.
Day 8. May 14. Tue. Matera and Puglia.
In the city of Matera you will visit the historical center called "Sassi" (Stones). Those are prehistoric cave-dwellings dug into the rocks thousands of years ago. Until recently those caves were inhabited by a large number of impoverished people. Today they are a super tourist attraction. The famous movie "The Passion" was made there. Next, while you wait for your lunch in another country restaurant, the Chef will show you how to cook some "Pugliese" specialties which then you will eat! Mamma Mia, what an experience! After that you spend a pleasant evening in the town of San Giovanni Rotondo, well known for the shrine and tomb of "Padre Pio", the Saint of our times. It will be an opportunity for you to see the devotion of the Italian pilgrims flocking there from everywhere. It will remind you the devotion and simple life of your own parents and grandparents.
Day 9. May 15. Wed. Abruzzo: sightseeing, food and fun!
This morning you travel through Puglia's plain, strewn with vineyards, vast fields of olive trees and vegetable cultivation. Then, driving along the Adriatic coast, you arrive to Abruzzo, a region made of mountains, fertile hills and neat beaches. A delicious "pic-nic" is waiting for you in a country place. Then you will visit a local Winery. For all "Abruzzesi" in the group today and tomorrow is perfect time to visit the town of their family roots. Assistance will be provided for them. In the evening we could have more fun in a country ballroom dance with the locals. You will love your stay in Abruzzo!
Day 10. May 16. Thu. Abruzzo: more sightseeing, olive oil mill, pasta factory, fun.
In the morning you go to a country town and stroll through its street-market full of local people and local products. Then you visit an olive oil mill and a pasta factory. Yes, today your Chef will show how to prepare a few Abruzzesi mouthwatering specialties, including the traditional so good "Pasta e Faggioli" (In the past tours some people even eat three dishes of it!). Uh, yummy, yummy! Next, you have free time in a modern shopping Mall.
Day 11. May 17. Fri. Marche: Holy House. Drive to Assisi.
This morning you travel north on the freeway running between the blue Adriatic Sea and the green hills dotted with medieval towns. In Loreto (Marche region) you will visit the renowned "Santa Casa" (Holy House) where the Holy Family lived. When many centuries ago the Muslims invaded the Holy Land and threatened to destroy the Holy House, it was miraculously transported to Loreto. Have lunch and shop for souvenirs. After that you cross the Appennini mountains and enter the Umbria region. More good food and fun is waiting for you in Assisi.
Day 12. May 18. Sat. Assisi
Today in Assisi you walk through the same streets where St. Francis and St. Clare walked and preached some 800 years ago. They founded the religious order of Franciscans. You will see their tomb and their artistic basilica. Then you will have plenty of free time to explore that medieval town with its quaint streets, shops, restaurants, fortress, etc. Tourists love Assisi! Late afternoon drive to your hotel by Rome.
Day 13. May 19. Sun. Rome: Vatican City
One cannot be in Rome and not see Vatican City! This morning you see St. Peter's Basilica, its Catacombs, the Swiss Guards and you will shop for religious souvenirs. It is Sunday and that means at noon the Pope will address a huge crowd of people in St. Peter's Square. Let's go! After lunch you may visit the famous Vatican Museum and its Sistine Chapel or you may have free time for a last minute shopping. A last dinner and a party at the hotel will conclude your memorable tour of Italy!
Day 14. May 20. Mon. Rome: highlights
The best way to discover Rome is to see it during a slow walking tour. We begin by visiting the famous "Spanish Steps" and "Via Condotti", where the rich and famous people go to shop. Next, you see the celebrated "Trevi Fountain" where you toss your coins. The 2000 year old and best preserved Roman Temple, "The Pantheon", is a breathtaking wonder of the glory that was Rome. "Navona Square" is the most beautiful and most romantic square in the city. There you will have a "square lunch" in some Roman restaurant. The Colisseum, Forum Romanum, Caesar's Palace, Circus Maximus, etc. are waiting for you. Discovering Rome's numerous shops and sidewalk cafes, observing the locals going on their daily activities: what a unique and pleasant experience!
Day 15. May 21. Tue. Return flight.
A drive to Rome's Fiumicino Airport reminds you that your fantastic tour is over! Mamma Mia, I don’t want to go back! Arrivederci Roma! Ciao, Bella Italia! I shall return!
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 cities crowded with foreign tourists. You will spend relaxing days and enjoy real Italian food, you will have the opportunity of visiting the town of your family roots, you will discover many lovely sites and you will have a lot of fun.
Remo & Eva, Tour Escorts
Agrigento: Temple of Concord
Puglia: Must see to believe it!
Assisi St. Francis Basilica
A romantic way to discover Rome!
Dates of the Tour: May 7-21, 2019 (15 days)
Cost of the Tour: $4090 per person
Tour cost includes: round trip air tickets from Columbus, Oh, to and from Italy, air ticket from Milan to Palermo, all land transportation in Italy by deluxe bus, all first class hotels in double occupancy, all breakfasts and all dinners, drinks and wine in most hotels , tour escort at all time, local guide in Agrigento, taxes and tips.
Tour cost does not include: lunches, drinks in some hotels, entrance to the Valley of Temples, Sassi and eventual Vatican Museum (a total of about $30?). Why not included? Because often some people don't care to see temples and museums; therefore pay only if you go.
Seats for this tour are limited first come first served!
For further information and to sign up for this tour contact:
The Italian Heritage Tours
Phone: 1-614-833-5716. 1-800-829-2201
E-mail: email@example.com http://italianheritagetours.com/contact-italian-heritage-tours/