Puglia, Sicily & Eolian Islands, and the Spectacular Amalfi coast tour
Commencing 2nd June-27th June '19
Tour Dates- 2nd June-27th June '19
The Grand Culinary Tour of the South - Itinerary
2nd June - 27th June 2019
Join us, as we experience the beauty & warmth of the locals, and the culinary destinations of the South. This once in a life time experience takes you to, The pearls of Puglia, the Sites of Sicily and the spectacular Amalfi coast. Be embraced by the scenic Adriatic & Mediterranean coastlines like Polignano al Mare, Scala dei Turchi, Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento & Naples, Baroque architecture in Lecce, UNESCO World Heritage sites like the trulli in Alberobello, Herculaneum. Whitewashed hilltop towns in Ostuni and the famous Sassi di Matera. Visit the ruins & gorgeous white cliff beaches in Agrigento, Mt Etna it all its beauty, picturesque & romantic Taormina. Sail on our private boat on the sparkling waters of Capri and see many more destinations you have always dreamed of and wanted to experience.
Be immersed in the southern culture & exquisite mouthwatering southern cuisine, with authentic cooking classes, olive oil & wine tasting & a variety of cheese tastings. Make & taste the famous Sicilian cannoli & paste secche, the many favours of arancini & granite, mozzarella making, pizza making, and so many other dishes. All packed into our once in a lifetime, not to be missed, Grand Culinary Tour of the South.
Grand Culinary Tour Itinerary
All specified day tours & some entrances are included.
Tours will be starting from Bari and finishing in Naples.
Including 25 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches & 13 Dinners
Sun 02/06/19 - Thurs 27/06/19 (Deposit must be paid by 22/02/19)
Prices based, per person on Twin share, limited Single rooms available(extra supplement)
Day 1- Bari & Castel del Monte 2/6/19
Today we begin our unforgettable, grand tour by picking everyone up from Bari and making our way to Castel del Monte.
This 13th-century castle, or fortress, is situated on a hill in Andria in the Apuglia region. Built as an octagonal prism with an octagonal tower at each corner, we will have time to look around and take in all of its history, before making our way to our beautiful and peaceful, agriturismo in Torre Canne for our welcome dinner. (D)
Day 2 - Polignano al Mare & Torre Canne 3/6/19
After breakfast, we drive up the coast, to Polignano a Mare. A beautiful little town on the edge of the Adriatic sea, often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. With its crystal clear waters surrounding the cliffsides, you have the opportunity to admire the caves that have been formed & carved out by the sea. Here, we are spoilt to a delicious seafood lunch, followed by a walk around the cobble stoned streets. Late afternoon we head back to our Agriturismo to relax for the evening. (B,L)
Day 3- White city of Ostuni & cooking class 4/6/19
Known as the ‘White city’, Ostuni is a medieval walled city with whitewashed buildings, perched atop a hill with views of hundreds of olive groves & the Adriatic sea. Today our private tour guide will take us around the small alleyways and arches with a series of levels and staircases, while explaining the history of the area, when it was inhabited during the Stone Age. The city emerged in the early Roman times and is noted for its defensive walls. Following our day trip, we head back to our agriturismo for our authentic cooking class, which we will enjoy for dinner. (B.D)
Day 4- Alberobello & Wine Tasting 5/6/19
Today, after waking up and enjoying breakfast, we are taken to one of the prettiest little towns. We explore the famous town of Alberobello, in the ‘Trulli’ region. A UNESCO World Heritage site, with characteristic conical-roofed houses, which were built of limestone. Today you will be free to wonder through the little streets and do some shopping in the tiny shops inside the trulli. Later, we continue on to our wonderful wine cellar, where we will have a salumi tasting and be introduced to some of the local, home made wines. (B)
Day 5- Lecce 6/6/19
We head further south to Lecce today. Here, we have a chance to taste test the Olive oils of the region and see this beautiful Baroque city. Situated down at the heel of Italy’s boot, Lecce’s buildings date back to the 17th century. Rich in medieval architecture & richly decorated buildings, we have the opportunity to explore them with our private tour guide. Tonight we take you to the little hilltop town of Cisternino, where you are free to walk around and maybe try their famous meats from the area, cooked in a wood fire oven, in one of the many restaurants. (B)
Day 6- Sassi di Matera 7/6/18
Today we head west to the beautiful Basilicata region to visit the famous ‘Sassi di Matera’. Known for the ancient cave dwellings built thousands of years ago during the Paleolithic age, Matera is considered to be the 3rd oldest inhabited site in the world. Now a UNESCO Heritage site, you will be in awe, as our local guide takes us to the dugout caves and shows us where some of the most famous movies were filmed, including the ‘Passion of Christ with Mel Gibson. Later on, we continue to a typical product tasting and early dinner in a 'Grotto Restaurant'. (B,D)
Day 7- Castellana Grottos 8/6/18
Today we make our way to the gorgeous Castellana Grottos where we meet up with our local guide, who will take us through these beautiful grottos. These grottos are one of the most important attractions in Puglia and are believed to have started forming about 90 million years ago. They are one of the natural wonders of Puglia.
After an adventurous day exploring, we head back to relax and later meet up for our included dinner. (B,D)
Day 8- Puglia, Catania & Acireale 9/6/19
We say goodbye to Puglia today and make our way down to Catania, on the wonderful island of Sicily. We meet up with our other guests and proceed to our hotel for a our lovely Welcome dinner to meet and get to know our new arrivals. (B,D)
Day 9- Catania - Cooking Class 10/6/19
Wake up fresh today and head to the historical Baroque centre of Catania. Joining our local guide, we visit the lively, colourful, traditional food markets to purchase our ingredients, to take with us to the penthouse suite of a palace where we commence our cooking class on the roof top garden. The garden overlooks the panoramic copulas all the way out to Mt Etna. We learn about the local cuisine and how it is prepared, and also get to enjoy our delicious creation for lunch. Late afternoon, we go back to our beautiful hotel to relax and maybe enjoy a drink overlooking the Ionian sea. (B,L)
Day 10 - Taormina 11/6/19
After breakfast we make our way to the charming town of Taormina, for a full day of exploring. Taormina is renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna. We firstly learn how to make the traditional Sicilian cannoli with lots of taste testing. Yum! Then you are free to lunch in a typical restaurant for some local Sicilian dishes, or visit Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre. Walk among the picturesque, medieval, typical narrow streets or shop in the local handy craft boutiques for coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, sweets, biscotti and much more. Don't forget to go to the famous granita place, Bam Bar, for the best granita in Sicily. The day will end overlooking the beautiful panorama. Back to our hotel in Acireale for a free evening. (B)
Day 11 - Etna 12/6/18
This morning we visit Mt Etna, the highest (c. 3350m) volcano in Europe and one of the largest and most active in the world, nowadays Unesco World Heritage Site. Its regional park protects 59.000 hectares of unique geology, flora and fauna, villages and farms, and traditional methods of forestry, bee-keeping, wine manufacture, stonework and carpentry. We will reach the “Crateri Silvestri”, small volcanic cones, now inactive, surrounded by ancient lava flows. The view beyond the mountain’s hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters, can extend across the whole of Sicily , the Aeolian islands and Calabria. The view is spectacular.. Later we will visit a beekeeping farm and the honey extraction lab, tasting homemade honey and typical products of the area. Late afternoon, we make our way to our hotel in Agrigento for our included dinner (B,D)
Day 12- Agrigento 13/6/19
Today we awake and head for the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO National Heritage site, where our guide will take us along the historic paths, where among hundreds of almond trees, the ancient Akragas rise. It was defined by Pyndar “the most beautiful city of mortals”. Once one of the most prosperous of the ancient Greek cities on the island, Agrigento presents a remarkable series of Doric Temples of the 5th century. You will see the “Temple of Hera”, the “Temple of Concordia” and the “Temple of Heracles”.
After our walk, we drive along to the spectacular ‘Scala dei Turchi’. The Scala is formed of limestone giving it a characteristic white colour. It lies between 2 sandy beaches and accessed through a rock formation in the shape of a staircase, hence the name. The bright white colour resembles a snow covered cliff and you can walk to the very top to admire the gorgeous views over the sea. Free evening back at the hotel tonight (B)
Day 13- Palermo 14/6/19
This morning we are on our way to the capital of Sicily, Palermo, one of the richest towns on the island for its history and art. We spend our half day tour covering the city and all its beauty. As we stroll along, we notice how the Baroque predominates and how there's a profusion of different architectural styles reflecting the city’s multicultural past, including an elegant opera house. Today we visit the wonderful Arab-Norman Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, an example of how different cultures, religions and way of thinking, apparently incompatible can coexist. Continuing our walk we will admire the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, which is adorned with XVI century sculptures, stopping for a food surprise in the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco. Tonight we have an included dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
Day 14- Palermo & San Vito Lo Capo 15/6/19
After exploring the city yesterday, we wake up today with two choices. You can choose to be taken to one of the prettiest beaches in Italy, San Vito Lo Capo. Voted the most beautiful beach, time and time again, it's situated North-West of Palermo, in the province of Trapani, in a valley between the mountains. Here you are free to laze around and soak up the sun, walk along the sand or just sit and relax. If, on the other hand, you wish to stay in Palermo for the day, you are free to wonder around and enjoy this beautiful city at your leisure. Tonight you are free to try the local street food for dinner, or go to a local restaurant, but don't forget to leave room for some of the best Sicilian desserts you've ever tasted.(B)
Day 15- Corleone & Monreale 16/6/18
Today we wake up and head out of the city to one of the most interesting places, sadly, best known as the birth place of the Mafia, the town of Corleone. Our guide will explain how, from the 1960’s onwards, the town became infamous as the home of the most powerful Mafia clans, who established their quarters there. The towns name was used as a surname for the Hollywood movies ‘The Godfather’. After lunch, we continue on to Monreale to visit its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry. Later this afternoon, we head back to Palermo for a free evening. (B)
Day 16- Palermo- Tindari- Lipari 17/6/18
Wake up fresh today and start making our way to the Aeolian Islands. First stop, Tindari. A famous destination for pilgrimages and amongst the locals, Tindari is located on the gulf of Patti. The Sanctuary of the black Madonna and black baby Jesus of Tindari, perched above the sea, dates back to 800AD. It is unknown how the madonna arrived here, but the locals embraced her and placed her in a tiny church overlooking the bay. Legend has it, that a pilgrim in the medieval times, who had a baby, refused to pray to the Madonna because she was black. When she left the church, she tripped and dropped her baby, who slipped down the slopes to the beach below. The baby was saved from drowning by a strange strip of sand that rose up to save it. A miracle had occurred and this restored the mothers faith and she started praying to the Madonna. The strip of sand is now its main attraction and the legend lives on.
After a short stop here, we make our way to the port of Milazzo, where we board our ferry across to the first of our Aeolian islands, Lipari, for the next 3 nights. Time to relax and enjoy our included dinner tonight (B,D)
Day 17- Lipari- Vulcano 18/6/19
We wake up today on the beautiful Isle Eolie. This morning we head for the island of Vulcano. Vulcano is known for its sulphurous hot springs and upon arrival, you are suddenly hit with the strong smell of sulphur. We meet our local guide who will take us around this volcanic island and time permitting, you can bathe in the pools. After our half day relaxing, we make our way back to Lipari to join a cooking school on a family-run farmhouse where you will discover the secrets of the Eolian tradition and taste their magnificent products. (B,D)
Day 18- Panarea- Stromboli 19/6/18
Breakfast in the hotel and departure from the port of Lipari for a full day excursion to the islands of Panarea & Stromboli. First stop, Panarea, to visit the beautiful bay of Calajunco, above which lies the prehistoric village of Cape Milazzese. Maybe take a swim at the Zimmari beach. Then the tour leaves for a scenic ride between the Isolotti, visiting the Cave of Lovers, to reach the harbour. Here you can have lunch, take a stroll through the elegant streets, visit the prehistoric village or have a another swim. In the afternoon we will continue to Stromboli. You will stop to admire Ginostra, a small fishing village, then continue to see the Sciara del Fuoco, a steep slope with lava rivers and Strombolicchio, a gigantic rock. At sunset, the tour returns below the Sciara, where the sea meets the volcanic explosion in a symphony of reddish lapilli.
Our included dinner will be in a local restaurant that evening, before sailing back to Lipari. (B,D)
Day 19- Lipari- Naples 20/6/18
Rise and shine today for our last day in Lipari. We leave on the early ferry and make our way to Naples, where our tour of the spectacular Amalfi coast begins. Once we arrive in Naples, which is one of the oldest cities in Italy, we meet up with our expert local tour guide. Naples is rich in history and architecture and our day trip takes us to the Piazza del Plebiscito, Royal palace, Duomo and the Cappella Sansevero Museum. Later on you have the choice to go into the ‘Sottoraneo’, underground city of Naples, where you will see the ancient Greek temples which later became bomb shelters in the World Wars. After our adventurous day, we enjoy dinner at a typical Napolitana pizzeria, before heading back to our hotel. (B,D)
Day 20- Herculaneum & Winery 21/6/19
As we make our way down to Sorrento today, we join our local guide to tour the historic city of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 AD. Surrounded by volcanic rock, it gradually buried the city's buildings from the bottom up, causing relatively little damage. There are many well-preserved buildings, many with the upper stories still intact, and some excellent frescoes and mosaics on both walls and floors to be seen. After learning about this fascinating city, we continue to Maurizio's vineyard at the foot of Mount Vesuvius to indulge in a 3 course meal of typical dishes, which will be served together with 3 different types of wine for lunch. This evening you are free to take in the local stores or sit with an aperitivo in Sorrento (B,L)
Day 21- Amalfi, Positano & Sorrento 22/6/19
After breakfast, we make our way 'by sea' along the breathtakingly beautiful Costiera Amalfitana. Our first stop is the picturesque and romantic Positano. Take a walk through the tiny streets, cool down with a gelato or admire the boutique stores. Then on board the ferry again to Amalfi. Stroll through the characteristic piazza and maybe go into the Byzantine Cathedral dating back to the 9th century. Don’t forget to try the different flavours of granitas and limoncello. Tonight we will have our included dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
Day 22- Enogastronic experience 23/6/19
This morning you will have some free time to relax and enjoy, before we head into the countryside to visit a beautiful, family run, organic farm. Our local family will take us into their home and share with us a typical local cuisine, taste testing cheeses, limoncello, marmalades & olive oils. We learn how to make and then taste 4 types of cheeses. Later on, get ready, roll up your sleeves and start kneading, as Lucio, the pizzaiolo, teaches us how to make pizza in the best and funniest way possible. After our kneading and throwing pizza bases, we sit down to relax and enjoy a tasty, creative lunch. We end our day trip on a high before going back to Sorrento for a free evening (B,L)
Day 23- Trek 'Path of the Gods' & cooking class 24/6/19
Put on your trekking shoes today, as we head to one of the most picturesque walks on the whole of the Amalfi coast. With our private tour guide, we explore the famous 'Path of the Gods'. With a 2 hour leisurely walk, we admire the breathtaking views over the Bay of Naples, which will make you feel like you are on top of the world. You will definitely work up an appetite after this walk, meaning that when we join Salvatore, for an authentic cooking class at 'Il Ritrovo', a restaurant on the top of Positano, you will definitely devour our authentic lunch. (B,L)
|Day 24- Island of Capri 25/6/19|
Another absolute highlight today! Following our buffet breakfast, we will be escorted to our private boat, which will take us across the Bay of Naples to the island of Capri. Feel like the rich and famous, whilst spending a full day sailing around the island admiring and swimming in the gorgeous turquoise waters surrounding us. After our swim, we enjoy a prosecco onboard as we sail past the emerald & white grottos and, time permitting, into the ‘grotta azzurra’(entrance fee separately, can only be paid locally). Later, you are free to do as you wish for 3-4 hours. Maybe go for another swim or enjoy people watching, with a coffee or granita in the piazzetta. Or venture up on the chairlift, to Monte Solare, the highest point on Capri. We all meet up again in the late afternoon, for another tour of the island and our return to Sorrento. (B,L)
Day 25- Sorrento 26/6/19
Free day today to explore Sorrento or the other coastal towns you may have missed, before meeting up to go to our farewell dinner at a beautiful, panoramic ‘Michelin’ star restaurant. Overlooking the spectacular sunset, on the Bay of Naples, you will experience a delicious 6 course meal where your taste buds will thank you. Accompanied by carefully selected locals wines, this is an experience not to be missed. (B,D)
Day 26- End of tour in Naples 27/6/19
Our last day on tour today. We slowly make our way back to Naples after breakfast, where we end our tour. After nearly a month together, the beautiful friendships we've made and the people we've met, we bid our farewells and hope the bonds & memories we have created will last a lifetime. We hope to see you again soon. (B)
'' THANK YOU, IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE ''