1-WEEK ITALIAN EXCELLENCES TOUR
Southern Italy

From Castelli Romani to lively Naples, then the magnificent coast of Amalfi, Matera with its unique sets and finally Puglia, the land of olive trees. A gourmet tour at the discovery of the most genuine food of Italy!
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HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Castelli Romani, where Romans enjoy life
  • Naples, Pizza time
  • The coasts of Amalfi and Sorrento, where divas are at home
  • Paestum, when Greeks ruled Italy
  • Matera, the city of stone
  • Alberobello, living in Trulliland

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

Accommodations with Continental Breakfast:

  • Day 1: 3* to 4* Hotel in Castelli Romani area
  • Day 2: 3* to 5* Hotel in Naples city centre
  • Days 3 & 4: 3* to 5* Hotel on the Amalfi Coast
  • Day 5: 3* to 5* Hotel in Matera city centre
  • Day 6: Trullo house in Alberobello
  • Day 7: 3* to 5* Masseria Country House in Andria area

Activities - Transfers:

  • Day 1: Full-day tour of Castelli Romani area – Visit of a Frascati wine cellar with tastings
  • Day 2: Transfer to Naples - 3-hour private Food tour of Naples city centre with an Authorised Tourist Guide
  • Day 3: Full day tour of the Amalfi Coast - Stopovers at Amalfi, Positano and Ravello
  • Day 4: Lemoncello experience with lunch – OPTIONAL 3-hour Neapolitan Cooking Class
  • Day 5: Transfer to Matera - Stopover in Paestum – 2-hour private walking tour of Paestum Archeological Area with an Authorised Tourist Guide – Visit of a Buffalo Mozzarella farm with tastings and light lunch
  • Day 6: 3-hour private Food tour of Matera city centre - Transfer to Alberobello
  • Day 7: Full-day tour of Martinafranca area - Visits of a cheese laboratory and an olive oil mill with tastings

Admission Tickets to:

  • Paestum Archeological Area

All transfers by private car / minivan

All dinners booked at selected local restaurants

Full assistance 24 hours/day by our Back Office

Optional pick ups and drop offs at Airports / Railway Stations

DAY 1 - CASTELLI ROMANI

Benvenuti in Italia, welcome to Italy.

The area south of Rome is known as “Castelli Romani” (Roman Castles). The entire area originated from a series of volcanic eruptions that shook an original crater, creating some lakes. The area, a traditional destination for the out-of-town excursions of the Romans, is dotted with several pretty hill towns famous for their ancient history and highly regarded wine: Castelgandolfo, the summer residence of the pope, Rocca di Papa and Grottaferrata, known for their culture and gastronomic delicacies, Frascati, popular for its breathtaking views and its sweet and refreshing white wine named after the city, are only some of them.

The Lake of Nemi

DAY 2 - NAPLES

Visiting Naples's historic centre means travelling through 20 centuries of history. The design of its streets, piazzas, churches, monuments and public buildings and castles constitute a jewel box of artistic and historical treasures of exceptional importance, so much so that together, they earned their spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995. Naples is a real treasure of art and history, of indelible signs from past dominations, each of which has contributed to this city's construction. 

The city dominates the Gulf of Naples, expanding from the Sorrentine Peninsula to the volcanic area of the Phlegraean Fields. The most prominent Neapolitan piazza is Piazza del Plebiscito that displays the grand colonnade designed by Gioacchino Murat, in front of which is the magnificent Royal Palace designed by Domenico Fontana. The different but well-integrated architectural lines of Castel Nuovo, otherwise known as “Maschio Angioino”, evoke the double role of palace and fortress that this building played during the domination of the Anjou and Aragon families.

The churches in this city are countless. The Cathedral - erected upon pre-existing buildings - over time has undergone radical modifications to repair the damages caused by the earthquakes, especially on the outside. The interior hosts the famous “Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro (“Chapel of St. Gennaro’s Treasure”), with the two vials containing the Saint's blood.

Naples is famous all over the world for its pizza. Yet there is much more to this unique city’s culinary traditions. You will be pleasantly surprised by the variety and richness of flavours and recipes that you’ll discover through our walking food tour. Your Guide will walk you into some of the best food venues of the city, known only to locals. Moving to the heart of the city, with its meandering streets and artisan shops, you will taste true mozzarella, and have a try at the best street food such as “pizza fritta” (fried pizza) and “frittatina di maccheroni” (maccheroni omelette), before moving on to a renowned restaurant of the city, where you will taste a sample of pasta made with unique local ingredients in explosive combinations of flavours. Of course, we couldn’t do without a delicious bruschetta with “colatura di alici” (anchovy juice, a special dressing with origins dating back to Roman times).

Naples, Piazza Plebiscito

DAYs 3 & 4 – amalfi coast

Welcome to the Amalfi Coast!

Costiera Amalfitana is widely considered Italy's most scenic stretch of coastline, a landscape of pastel-coloured villages terraced into hillsides, steep panoramic roads, luxuriant gardens and enchanting vistas over turquoise waters and green mountains. Considered by UNESCO "an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values," the coast is a World Heritage Site since 1997. You may go from town to town at the discovery of Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello, three of the most beautiful villages in Southern Italy, world-famous for their charm and colourful architecture.

Amalfi has a typically Mediterranean architecture, made up of lanes and characteristic white houses piled one upon the other. In the Middle Ages, it was one of Italy's four powerful maritime republics (with Venice, Pisa, and Genoa). All sea trade in the Mediterranean was once governed by the 12th century “Tavole Amalfitane”, one of the world's oldest maritime codes. A must-see in Amalfi is the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, fronted by an intricately patterned façade, redone in the 19th century. Founded in the 9th century, the cathedral's subsequent alterations have spared its principal glory, the main portal's 11th century Byzantine bronze doors. Next to the church lies the Chiostro del Paradiso (1268), or Cloister of Paradise, whose serious Romanesque tone is enlivened by the Arab elements in its sinuous columns. To escape the bustle of Amalfi, take the popular walk along the “Valle dei Mulini”, a steep-sided valley dotted with ruined watermills – “i mulini” - once used to make paper, an industry for which Amalfi was, and still is, famous. Here you will enjoy a particular “Lemon Experience” with our friend Salvatore, the owner of the biggest lemon farm in Amalfi, who will introduce you to all the secrets of the famous “Sfusato” lemons and limoncello and will host you for a lunch lemon-based.

Positano sits in a splendid panoramic position on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline. Its enchanting town centre of delightful pastel-coloured houses surrounds the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta; its streets are lined with quaint, colourful shops and its numerous beaches are world-famous.

Ravello is situated in a more elevated position than the other pearls of the Amalfi Coast, boasting exceptional views of the coast and its marvellous villas and gardens which, according to French novelist André Gide, are “closer to the sky than the sea”. Here you may visit Villa Rufolo, built in the 13th century, which hosted popes and kings, as well as Richard Wagner, who composed part of his opera Parsifal here in 1880. Views from its idyllic gardens are magnificent!

A trip to Cetara is an absolute must. The village is renowned for a particular gourmet speciality, “colatura di alici” (anchovy sauce), which has been produced according to an ancient procedure for generations. Spaghetti with colatura di alici is the typical recipe of the place, a dish which you will remember forever (see  article in our BLOG).

At dinner, don’t miss Spaghetti with clams in olive oil and garlic sauce, or Seafood Risotto, with a glass of excellent Greco di Tufo white wine.

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DAY 5 - PAESTUM

Located in the South-East of the Gulf of Salerno, Paestum is an archaeological site of extreme importance, recognised by UNESCO as part of the World Cultural Heritage. Built by the Greeks around the 7th century BC with the name of Poseidon, the city was later occupied by Romans who made it a thriving colony, giving it its current name. 

In addition to the cultural value, the importance of Paestum is linked to the excellent state of conservation of properties starting from its walls, built by the Greeks and later strengthened by the Romans. The most striking thing is represented by the view of three majestic temples located in a green plain, which reflects a different light, depending on the hours and seasons. Many writers, poets and artists like Goethe, Shelley, Canova and Piranesi were fascinated by this sight, that later became their inspiration. 

The Greek Temples of Paestum

These large buildings are a remarkable example of Doric style architecture. The Temple of Hera, dating to the 6th century BC, is the most ancient building. The Temple of Neptune (5th century BC) is a huge construction made of travertine marble, in a warm golden colour that varies at different times of the day. The Temple of Ceres (6th century BC), actually dedicated to the goddess Athena, back in the Medieval times was transformed into a church.

Paestum is popular not only for its temples but also for a gourmet speciality which you should taste on site: its “mozzarella di bufala” (buffalo mozzarella). Made with the best buffalo milk from the area, “mozzarella di bufala” is closely linked to the land of Campania, the dexterity with which it is made reflects the love that the cheesemakers put to create this Italian excellence. We will visit a cheese factory in the area, to understand how it is created and taste it freshly made, an unforgettable experience!

DAY 6 - matera

Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world, whose territory holds evidence of human settlements starting from the Paleolithic and without interruption until today. Touring Matera is like experiencing a forgotten past - you feel as though you are setting foot in a nativity scene when you visit this charming city in Lucania. It’s no coincidence it’s referred to as “the second Bethlehem” and was the setting for Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion”. 

Matera is widely known as the city of the “Sassi”, the original urban nucleus, developed from the natural caves carved into the rock and subsequently modelled in increasingly complex structures. It is at the centre of an incredible rock landscape that preserves a great heritage of culture and traditions and is home to exhibitions of great national and international prestige.

In the 1950s, when the inhabitants who lived in the grottos dug out of the mountain were forced to abandon those dwellings to settle in modern districts, no one would have ever thought that those grottos - the Sassi - would have become the symbol of a reborn city. UNESCO added the Sassi of Matera to its list of World Heritage Sites in 1993, as a whole and millennial way of life to be preserved and handed down to our descendants. It was recognized as a model for living harmoniously with the environment while integrating with it and taking advantage of resources without disturbing the environment.

Matera, the Sassi

Geologists call it calcarenite and common folk refer to it as tuff: it’s the rock surrounding Matera that this land’s master craftsmen learned to work with in ancient times. This friable, adaptable material is abundant in the mountain that dominates the city, so it seemed only natural for the people from Matera to go up there and dig out that rock to build a home in it. The material that was extracted was processed to make the façade of the dwelling. After the first home, others were built until there was a network of houses, tunnels and alleyways passing over and in each other to become that magic place called Sassi - a gigantic sculpture, a miracle of town planning!

In a food tour at the discovery of the roots of Materan cuisine, you’ll know one of the most beloved Italian bread: “Pane di Matera”. The only ingredients of Materan bread are wheat semolina and sourdough. The characteristics to recognize the bread of Matera are the shapes, croissant or high bread, and a straw-yellow crumb. But beside bread, you’ll not miss other local specialities such as the “Caciocavallo” cheese and the “Lucanica” sausage.

At night, sleeping in a real cave carved centuries ago will take you back in time, you will remember it forever and Matera will always be in your heart!

DAY 7 - ALBEROBELLO

The Trulli of Alberobello are famous worldwide for their beauty and unique characteristics and represent one of the most extraordinary examples of Italian folk architecture. They were built in a particular historical period when the construction of stable dwellings was highly-taxed; the inhabitants of the region thus boasted a great capacity to adapt and an exceptional cleverness in coming up with the Trulli, temporary houses built with the local stone. From precariousness to stability - the process of transformation and recovery, and the deference to the originality of the work earned the Trulli of Alberobello their recognition as a World Heritage Site.  

In Alberobello, the capital of the Trulli, each Trullo is of different shape and size. Unique constructions, they are sometimes combined in a complex of communicating houses, while others are built on two levels. Most of them feature a grey cone-shaped roof that ends with a sphere or hemisphere shape. The interior, arranged as a single chamber, is constituted niches for a fireplace, bed and various furniture. The structure assures excellent indoor climate control: cool in summer and warm in winter! 

MartinaFranca is a charming baroque town 400 metres above sea level. The era of greatest splendour for this city was certainly the 18th century when the most important monuments and churches that still dominate the historic centre were built. The baroque is the predominant style, it is found in many buildings and in this city has taken on characteristic connotations that distinguish it from the other variations of this artistic and architectural current, infact we define it “Martinese” Baroque.

After visiting Martinafranca, you’ll taste its most famous product, olive oil, at a typical Masseria.

The tour is over, but the memories of this fantastic journey will accompany you for a lifetime!

Arrivederci for another tour with VITOR, Visit Italy on the Road.

Alberobello

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Message from the CEO
Dear all,
in these very difficult days for all of us, for Italy and the whole world, we hope that you, your families and your loved ones are well and are making the most of your time.
It feels like the entire world right now is on edge. It seems like the world has paralyzed, our lives have suddenly changed, it’s so difficult to adapt to a new reality, some people we know are leaving us forever.
There is also a lot of fear about what will happen. No one can make predictions.
But there is a beginning and an end to everything.
There are thousands of doctors, researchers and scientists who are working on a solution.
We are reacting with strength, determination and cohesion without forgetting our deep humanity, joy and creativity. Human beings have already overcome difficult times like this, so we must look ahead and keep on living. In this period let’s try to do things we have never done, to rediscover our families, our loved ones and friendships. Let’s use this period to improve ourselves internally, to think about the gift of our lives, to love, to embrace, to smile, to tell each other things that we would never have said.
To our friends who like travelling and exploring….
It's very difficult to be world travelers stuck at home. We must stop and get through this exceptional chapter safely, and we miss travelling. But please, keep on dreaming, with the same positivity, passion, curiosity you had before. On our side, we are here at work with the same passion and professionalism, with the same desire to continue to share emotions, stories, projects with our friends. We are working for a tomorrow made of new services and new ideas, to make your travels even more pleasant, more comfortable and more intense. It is a new challenge, which we never expected to face but, with your help, we will start again, stronger than before and always close to you.
And soon the time will come when once again we will swim together in our beautiful lakes and seas, walk together in our cities, cook together in our kitchens, eat together at our trattorias, sip together a glass of wine at our cellars.
Until then, I want to thank you for your support and understanding. Take care of yourself, we can't wait to give you a warm welcome back to our fantastic country.
Grazie e ciao,


Marcello Cordovani
Founder and CEO