You will arrive in Rome independently, and spend your first night in a hotel in the city centre.
After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you will meet your guide at the entrance to the Vatican City for a small-group tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. This is a fantastic opportunity to get any questions answered about the collection in the museum, or about Rome’s independent city-state itself.
Inside the Vatican Museums, you will pass through the Raphael Rooms and the Pineyard Courtyard, before getting the chance to see the incredible Sistine Chapel and pass underneath Michelangelo’s Dome. The tour also includes a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, ending outside in the famous St. Peter’s Square
The rest of the day will be yours to enjoy, and after all that history we recommend a gentle stroll around the streets of Rome, a visit to a coffee shop or a spot more sightseeing outdoors. You will choose your location for dinner, and spend another night in your hotel.
After another delicious Italian breakfast at your hotel, you will travel via high-speed train from Rome to Naples. Here, you will be met by a private driver who will take you to the historic town of Pompeii.
Once a holiday resort for wealthy Romans, Pompeii is now famous not only for its volcanic destruction but also for the remains of the civic buildings that can still be seen in the town, showcasing some of the Roman Empire’s finest architecture. Another must-see on your list is the House of Mysteries; a building named after the murals depicting the initiation rites of a cult of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and madness.
Pompeii is also known for the historic graffiti that can still be found on the walls of the majority of its buildings, preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. At the time of the eruption, there were elections meant to be happening in the town and so much of the graffiti is related to political figures and events, alongside some cruder writing!
Today’s visit includes a local lunch on the slopes of Vesuvius, and a wine tasting experience where you can sample some of the products of the incredibly fertile soils that the volcano provides. After lunch, you will travel by car to the Amalfi Coast and head out into the town of Sorrento for dinner.
On the fourth day of your tour, you will meet a private driver-guide and traverse the Amalfi Coast, combining sightseeing with local food and drink experiences.
Beginning in the town of Amalfi, you will learn about the area’s history and the history of the ancient Maritime Republic city-states that made up the coast of Italy. You will then visit a lemon grove on a coastal cliff, where you will get the chance to harvest the fruit that Amalfi is famous for and try your hand at making your own Amalfi-style lemonade.
From Amalfi, you will next travel to the cultural destination of Ravello which has been attracting writers, artists and musicians for centuries, including the operatic composer Richard Wagner. The town has a couple of ancient villas you can visit, before returning to your driver-guide and spending another night in Sorrento.
You will meet your driver-guide again this morning after breakfast in Sorrento, and continue your journey around Italy to the city of Bari. The capital of the Puglia region, Bali is a port city that looks out over the Adriatic sea and is also the city of Saint Nicolas.
On the way to Bari, you will visit Matera for an optional guided tour of the town. Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is most famous for the underground, man-made caves that used to be the homes of an ancient group of people, and is thought to be a settlement that has been inhabited by humans for a longer amount of time than anywhere else.
Matera was named as one of the European capitals of culture in 2019 and has been used as the setting for many famous films and television shows. It’s an incredible blend of modernity and timeless, historic landscapes, and is truly unlike anywhere else you might have visited.
After Matera, you will travel onwards and spend the night in Martina Franca.
After a classic Italian breakfast in the morning, your driver will meet you for a transfer to Lecce, stopping off at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello.
Alberobello is best recognised by its famous trulli huts, which are cylindrical buildings topped with conical roofs that are specific to the area. The old town is entirely made up of these buildings, which are whitewashed and have roofs decorated with symbols that include zodiac signs and constellations, crosses and mysterious pierced hearts.
After visiting Alberobello we will also stop in the pretty, circular town of Locorotondo for a short visit before carrying on to Lecce where you will spend the night.
You will spend your last full day in Lecce, which is referred to by many as ‘the Florence of the South’ because of its impressive Baroque architecture and collection of palaces and churches. A tour guide will show you around Lecce for half of the day, and you will have the rest of the time to keep exploring.
As well as the reputation for its architecture, Lecce is also known as one of the best foodie locations in the south of Italy, and you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a restaurant for your final evening meal of this trip.
After breakfast in your hotel, you will depart Lecce independently and travel home.