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Palermo ... Agrigento ... Piazza Armerina ... Taormina ...
Sorrento ... Pompeii ... Rome
Day One - US Departure
Day Two - Palermo: After clearing Immigrations and Passport Control, we will be greeted by our tour manager and be directed to our waiting motor coach. En route to our hotel we will be oriented to our tour.
Day Three – Palermo (Erice Excursion): Following breakfast this morning we will enjoy a mini tour of Palermo, before driving to the hilltop town of Erice, one of the oldest inhabited places on the whole island of Sicily. Wandering the narrow alleys and small piazzas is like taking a step back in time. We will return to Palermo in the early evening.
Day Four – Palermo / Monreale / Agrigento: After breakfast, we depart Palermo and drive first to Monreale for a visit of the beautiful Norman Cathedral with its incomparable mosaics, relating stories of the Old and New Testaments. Following our visit of the Cathedral, there will be some free time for lunch before we continue to Agrigento to take a walk with our local guide through the breathtaking Valley of Temples and view some of the finest Greek ruins in the world. In the late afternoon we will check into our hotel for our overnight.
Day Five – Agrigento / Piazza Armerina / Taormina: Following breakfast this morning, we will depart Agrigento to drive to the town of Piazza Armerina, where we will visit the well preserved mosaics of the Villa Romana del Casale, which was probably the country mansion of one of the Roman Emperors. In the afternoon we continue to the chic resort of Taormina, perched above the Mediterranean Sea on Monte Tauro for our overnight.
Day Six - Taormina: Favored by its climate, Taormina is famous for bougainvillea, cacti and exotic garden terraces, but also for the historic legacy of its ancient ruins. No wonder that Sir Winston Churchill made this a favorite vacation spot. During our walking tour, we will visit the Greek and Roman outdoor theater, enjoy the panoramic views of Mt. Etna and Taormina’s beautiful coastline and stroll through the alleys and squares of the atmospheric old town. The remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy the Public Gardens, visit the local shops and boutiques or just relax in a sidewalk café and watch the world go by.
Day Seven - Taormina / Sorrento: Following breakfast this morning, we will drive to Messina to board our ferry and sail to the Italian mainland. Later in the day we pass Salerno and drive north along the clifftop road to Sorrento, a picturesque village on the rocky coast of the Gulf of Naples, for our overnight.
Day Eight – Sorrento (Amalfi Coast Excursion): Following breakfast, we experience one of the most dramatic and spectacular drives in the whole of Italy ... the Amalfi Coast. The road clings to the rocky peninsular as it passes through the villages of Positano, Praiano and Amalfi, perched precariously on the cliff face. We will enjoy time in Amalfi to experience the unique atmosphere of this once powerful maritime city state, before returning to Sorrento for free time and overnight.
Day Nine – Sorrento / Pompeii / Rome: This morning we will depart Sorrento and drive to the excavations of Pompeii, the town buried in 79 A.D. by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Our walk through the ancient streets and see the baths, forums and villas built by the prosperous Romans provides the most authentic insight into everyday life in the ancient world. Following our visit of Pompeii and free time for lunch, we will continue to Rome for our overnight.
Day Ten – Rome (Classical Tour): This morning we will enjoy a tour of Classical Rome by coach and on foot. We will enjoy glimpses of both Ancient and early Christian Rome, as we see the Basilica of St John in Lateran, the Mother Church of Rome and the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, with its magnificent sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo. We will absorb the ancient heritage of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Capitoline and Palatine Hills. The afternoon and evening are free to continue exploring the Eternal City.
Day Eleven – Rome (Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel + St. Peter’s Basilica): We begin our day with a tour of the Vatican State – its Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square. Following our visit the afternoon is free, but those who prefer to explore further on foot can join our tour manager to walk from St. Peter’s Square, across the River Tiber to Piazza Navona and on to the Pantheon. We are then free to return to the hotel on foot or by taxi, in time for our farewell dinner.
Day Twelve - Rome / USA: Today we begin our journey home.