Day 1 - Rome
Arrival at Rome airport and meet your local Tour Manager. Transfer to your hotel by private GT motor coach. After check-in your Tour Manager is available for some information about the city and your hotel surrounding to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 2 - Rome/Tarquinia/Cerveteri/Rome
Today we will start our archaeological explorations with a day trip to important Etruscan sights to learn more about this ancient and mysterious civilization who ruled Italy before the Romans. We will start with the town of Tarquinia and visit the Etruscan Necropolis where the painted tombs represent a peculiar aspect of the artistic Etruscan culture and the National Etruscan Museum. On the way back to Rome we will stop in Cerveteri and visit the Necropoli della Banditaccia, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 3 - Rome
This morning we will complete our Etruscan experience with a visit to the National Etruscan Museum housed in Villa Giulia in Rome. Among other treasures we will admire the so called Sarcophagus of the Spouses. In the afternoon we will start our visits about Imperial Rome with a visit to the Palatine Hill, according to Roman mythology the location of the cave where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf Lupa that kept them alive. Indeed, excavations show that people have lived there since approximately 1000 BC.
Day 4 - Rome
Today keep touring archaeological sites dating back to the Imperial age. We start by the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire and one of the greatest works of Roman architecture. Passing by the Constantine Arch, we will enter the Roman Forum. This was for centuries the center of Roman public life. The Arch of Titus provided the general model for many of the triumphal arches erected later as for example the Arc de Triumph in Paris. The tour will end by the Piazza Del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo, from where you will have a fantastic view over the Forum.
Day 5 - Rome/Pompeii/Naples
Check-out of your rooms and drive to southern Italy along the “Autostrada del Sole”. Upon arrival in Pompeii we will meet our local guide who will share amazing stories of this ancient and famous town uncovered from beneath volcanic ash, after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy. We will then continue to Naples and visit the National Archaeological Museum to admire great collection of masterpieces from archaeological sites Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Day 6 - Naples/Paestum/Overnight ferry to Sicily
Today we will go on a full day excursion to Paestum to visit one of the best collections of Greek temples anywhere. Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. The ruins of Paestum are notable for their three ancient Greek temples which are in a very good state of preservation. After the visit we will return to Naples for some time before embarking on the overnight ferry to Sicily.
Day 7 - Palermo
This morning our ferry arrives at Palermo. Founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians, Palermo then became part of the Roman and Byzantine Empire, and was under Greek, Arab and Norman rule as well. During our sightseeing we will see the Palatine Chapel, St. John’s of the Hermits and the Basilica of Monreale with its beautiful mosaics. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 8 - Palermo/Segesta/Selinunte/Agrigento
Breakfast, check-out and departure to the suggestive spot of Segesta where on a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta lies an unusually well preserved Doric temple built in the 420's BC and escaped destruction by the Carthaginians in the late 5th century. In the afternoon we will visit the Doric Acropolis of Selinunte, an ancient Greek city which grew to 30.000 people at its peak before 409 BC. Late afternoon arrival in Agrigento for overnight.
Day 9 - Agrigento/Piazza Armerina/Taormina
After breakfast get your guided visit to the Valley of the Temples, one of the most outstanding examples of Greek art and architecture and one of the largest archaeological sites in the world. We will then cross Sicily and reach Piazza Armerina, flourishing during Roman times as shown by the notable mosaics at the patrician Villa Romana del Casale, the richest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world. Late afternoon arrive in Taormina for overnight.
Day 10 - Agrigento/Piazza Armerina/Taormina
Today we will enjoy a daytrip to Syracuse, famous for its ancient history, art, architecture and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician Archimedes. The city played a key role in ancient times and was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world leaving an outstanding monumental heritage of Greek, Roman and Baroque architectural creations. Back in Taormina don’t miss a visit of the Greek-Roman Theatre with a suggestive panorama overlooking Mount Etna.
Day 11 - Departure
Breakfast, check-out and transfer to Catania airport for your home flight. End of the tour.