Grand Tour of Southern Italy

34 Days / 33 Nights

Small group of up to 15 travelers

No single supplement. Book now!

Join us on this epic adventure through the Southern Regions of Italy: Calabria, Campania, Puglia, the town of Matera & the Cilento area!!

The expression “Grand Tour” was coined by Richard Lassels, a 17th-century Roman Catholic priest and travelling tutor, in his book The Voyage of Italy; travelers, men of culture and adventurers, young English patricians that one day will lead their country, should complete their studies by observing, under the guidance of a tutor, the customs, habits and history of the Continent.

During more than three Centuries, Italy was the destinations of writers, poets, musicians, philosophers, painters such as Montesquieu, Goethe, Lamartine, Stendhal, Dickens, Strutt, Lawrence, Jackson, Ramage, Ruskin, Mary Shelley, Byron, Paolina Craven & many others….

We start from Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot. This Southern Italian region is famous for its spicy and robust cuisine, emphasizing powerful ingredients like garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and red-hot chili peppers and was the cradle of Magna Graecia and land of ancient settlements, is full of splendid churches, monasteries, castles, palaces and towns where age-old traditions still survive.

Calabria has an incredibly long coastline of beaches and rocky cliffs with access to the clear water of the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Ionian Seas. However, as magnificent as the Calabrian coast may be, the interior of the region is equally beautiful and wild, with mountains and hills rolling down right up to the sea. In just a few kilometers, the traveler can move from a hot and sunny seaside landscape to mountain scenery with beautiful forests and pastures.

On the way out from Calabria we’ll explore Matera, a city in the region of Basilicata, just an hour drive from Bari.

Known as “la Città Sotterranea” (the Subterranean City), Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the “Sassi“. Matera’s Sassi and Park of Rupestrian Churches are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993. Matera was also the 2019 European Capital of Culture.

Matera is on the edge with the Puglia region where we move next.

Puglia testifies the ancient origins of this land: from prehistory to Magna Graecia, from the Imperial Age to the Renaissance, and the Baroque splendor of Lecce.

This region is full of surprises and delights: fabulous food, historic towns, beautiful beaches, and gracious residents.


  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Alberobello, Castel del Monte, and Matera.
  • Savor the flavors of Puglian cuisine and wine.
  • Admire the beautiful Baroque architecture of Lecce.
  • Spend two nights in a traditional “trullo” in Alberobello.
  • Tour Otranto, the “heel” of Italy, and visit a cathedral renowned for its collection of mosaic scenes.

Time to start the last part of our Grand Tour of Southern Italy: the Campania region & Cilento area.

In the Southern Italy, travellers were coming to visit the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum, Velia and the whole Cilento region and Vallo di Diano (a sort of sub-region within the Campania region).

In this territory, uncontaminated areas alternate with heavily built-up ones: a unique ecosystem that has earned its inclusion in the exclusive list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as the qualification of Biodiversity Reserve.

Almost the entire territory of Cilento and Vallo di Diano (80 municipalities) are part of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, established in 1991, with 180,000 hectares of surface, it represents the largest protected area in Italy.Is the homeland of the famous MEDITERRANEAN DIET, described for the first time in 1954 by the American researcher Ancel Keys, that moved in the village of Pioppi with his wife and spent the rest of his life there.

You can see the marks left on the territory by the presence of the ancient italic races: Greeks, Samnites, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Lombards, Normans, Swabians, Ottomans, Angevins, Aragoneses, and Bourbons. Apart from the magnificent Doric temples of Paestum and the excavations of the ancient city of Velia, where the footsteps of Parmenides can be still heard, you will get an unparalleled natural heritage: valleys and hills, mountains, ravines, gorges, rugged cliffs, churches, monasteries, abbeys, hamlets and villages, castles, baronial and aristocratic places, farms. You’ll be transported back in time when the adventurous travelers of the Grand Tour, on horses and carriages, were discovering these untouched places.

Benvenuti in Calabria! Welcome to Calabria!

Today at 6pm there will be a briefing at the lobby of our hotel in Reggio Calabria. Time to submit travel insurance details, introduce ourselves, and go through the itinerary.

Afterward, we meet for an included group dinner at a local restaurant and get acquainted with our fellow travelers.

Included Meal: Dinner

After breakfast, we load our bags and board our minibus.

On the way out from Reggio Calabria, we stop at a family farm where they specialize in the production of Bergamot: a fragrant citrus fruit almost as big as an orange but similar in color to a lime. Its essential oil is extracted from the rind and used in perfume, scented soaps, and herbal tea.

Drive to the ghost town of Pentedattilo, an abandoned ancient village perched on the cliffs of Mount Calvary, from where you can see Mount Etna and Sicily. Time to explore the village before having lunch at the home of Rossella, the only inhabitant of Pentedattilo.

After lunch, we drive on the coastline of Calabria and reach Siderno where we will spend the night.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine, Dinner

After breakfast, we drive to the Ancient Greek archaeological site of Locri.

We then have a short drive to reach the incredibly well-preserved medieval town of Gerace, also known as the Town of 100 Churches! In Gerace we will admire 360° hilltop views of the surrounding countryside, explore its narrow streets, visit the main Norman Cathedral in the town square, discover smaller churches with detailed marble decorations, and walk in the shade of beautiful palaces.

Lunch at a trattoria before a short drive to Mammola where we visit the amazing open-air art museum of MUSABA, created by a local artist and his Dutch wife. Here you can admire the Sistine Chapel of Calabria, which occupies a former 10th-century Church of Santa Barbara.

Drive back to Siderno for the night.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we have a full program. We leave Siderno after breakfast and in less than an hour we reach Stilo to visit the 9th-century Byzantine chapel, Cattolica of Stilo. Located at the foot of Mount Consolino overlooking the countryside, the chapel has the remains of ancient frescoes of the Madonna, Christ, and St. Nicholas.

We then drive along the coastal road on our way to the picturesque medieval village of Badolato. There we will explore its narrow alleyways, architecture, and meet locals in the square, before enjoying a lunch paired with wine at a nearby vineyard.

Afterward, we drive through the scenic Serre Mountains, reaching an altitude over 1100 meters (3600 feet) above sea level, and we arrive to the sea resort town of Tropea where we will spend the next three nights.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine

Tropea is located just in front of the Aeolian Islands with a view of the active volcano of Stromboli. Today we’re going on a boat tour to spot the islands of Stromboli, Lipari and Vulcano.

Stromboli is known as the lighthouse of the Mediterranean, due to its perpetual activity. Discover Lipari, the largest island with its historical port district and the 16th-century castle complex towering over the main town. Vulcano is the natural spa island, with bubbling mud pits and fizzy waters where you have time to relax and swim.

This is a full-day tour and you can have lunch at a cafe or restaurant on one of the islands.

Included Meal: Breakfast

Today is a free day for optional activities.

You can chill out on the beach, visit the Sanctuary of Saint Mary dell’ Isola, shop for souvenirs, or choose from a number of optional acitivities:

  • Wine tasting
  • Cooking class
  • Visit an ancient olive mill in a nearby village
  • Visit a modern olive mill in Mafrica
  • Visit the village of Zungri and its stone houses

Your tour leader will provide details and can assist you with booking your optional activities.

Included Meal: Breakfast

After breakfast, we say arrivederci to Tropea and continue our exploration of Calabria.

Short drive to the enchanting seaside town of Pizzo. According to legend, Pizzo was built on the ruins of the ancient town of Napitia founded by Phoenicians who had escaped the destruction of Troy and settled here. Pizzo is famous in the area for its Tartufo, a large ball of ice cream filled with molten chocolate. We can choose one of the cafes in the square to try this local delicacy.

We then drive for 90 minutes to reach the touristy coastal town of Le Castella. We visit a 15th-century Aragonese castle built on an island linked to the coast only by a small sandy strip of land.

In the late afternoon we arrive in Crotone, one of the most important centers of Magna Graecia. We check into our hotel where we will stay for the next two nights.

Group dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

In the morning we have a short drive to Capo Colonna. We visit the Archaeological Museum and the sacred ruins of the Sanctuary dedicated to the goddesses Hera and Persephone.

Lunch at a vineyard to enjoy a local meal paired with wines.

Free afternoon and evening to furthur explore the old town of Crotone. The old town features a maze of narrow streets, massive noble palaces, the cathedral, as well as the central Pythagoras square, the contact point between the “old” and “new” town.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine

After breakfast, we drive for less than an hour to reach the village of Santa Severina, one of the most beautiful ancient villages of Italy.

We start with a guided visit to the impressive 11th-century Carafa Castle and its Torture Museum. We then visit the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, the Cathedral and its Byzantine Baptistery.

Lunch at an osteria before a scenic drive through the Sila Mountain range to reach our accommodation in San Giovanni in Fiore.

Group dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine, Dinner 

After breakfast, we leave San Giovanni in Fiore to reach the hamlet of Croce di Magara. This ancient woodland features more than 60 Calabrian pine trees and sycamore trees planted in the 17th century by the Mollo family. The highlight of this area are the “Giants of Sila”: 350-year-old trees that are 45 meters (148 feet) in height with trunks 2 meters (over 6 feet) wide.

Scenic short drive to reach the city of Cosenza and check in to our hotel. After settling in, we walk to the city center for a cooking class to give you a real taste of Calabrian food. We then feast on the fruits of our labor in an included lunch.

Free afternoon and evening to relax or further explore Cosenza on your own.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we visit the National Gallery of Cosenza located in the magnificent 16th-century Arnone Palace. The museum houses important works by Calabrian painters: Pietro Negroni, Marco Cardisco, Francesco Cozza; as well as Neapolitan artists who influenced local art, such as Luca Giordano.

Lunch at a restaurant.

Afterward, we walk off our meal on an included walking tour through the historical center of Cosenza: explore the tiny alleyways, admire beautiful palaces, old shops, street art, the fountain of the Tredici Canali, and visit the 12th-century Cathedral of Cosenza.

Free evening at your own leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we leave the mountains and drive down towards the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the way we drive through forests of pine, oak, and beech and we can stop to take photos of the stunning coastal views.

We arrive at the Sanctuary of Paola, built in the 15th century by Saint Francis of Paola, the Patron Saint of Calabria. The Sanctuary holds some of the remains of the saint (the rest are found in Tours in France) and attracts pilgrims from all over the world. You will learn more about the history of St. Francis and the Sanctuary by following an easy self-guided walking itinerary.

Short drive into town to reach a trattoria for lunch.

An afternoon drive back into the mountains to reach the village of San Demetrio Corone and visit the Church of San Adriano. We are now in one of the most important cultural centers of the Albanian community in Calabria. The Church was built by San Nilo of Rossano in the 10th century to give the local people a place where they can pray and follow the rules of the Basilian Order.

Short drive to reach our accommodation in Corigliano Calabro, our base for the next three nights.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, we visit a family-run olive oil business to learn more about olive oil production in the Calabria region.

Afterward, we reach the nearby town of Rossano to visit the Cathedral and the fascinating Diocesan Museum. Considered the first Diocesan Museum in Calabria and one of the first in Italy, the museum showcases pieces from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, Mannerism and Baroque Art, plus collections from the 18th and 19th centuries.  But the most precious work of art preserved in the Museum is the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis: a 6th-century illuminated manuscript containing the Gospel of Matthew, almost all the Gospel of Mark, and part of a letter from Eusebio to Carpiano about the concordance of the Gospels.  It’s one of the oldest surviving illuminated manuscripts of the New Testament.

We then visit an 11th-century Cathedral that displays an ancient image of the Madonna Acheropita, Madonna and Child, supposedly not painted by human hand and dated sometime between the 6th and 8th century.

Lunch at a family-run restaurant.

We then drive to the Amarelli Factory and Museum where they produce their famous licorice.

Return to the hotel and enjoy a free evening.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we may visit a selection of the following places as a group:

  • Ducal Castle of Corigliano Calabro
  • Archaeological Site of Sibari
  • Grotta delle Ninfe Thermal Baths

Or, you can choose to have a free day to relax or explore on your own.

Included Meal: Breakfast

After breakfast, we leave Corigliano Calabro and drive to Matera, in the Basilicata Region, where we arrive just in time for the lunch. Following lunch, we arrive in the heart of the incredible UNESCO World Heritage site of Matera and start our walking tour. We will explore the narrow streets that wind their way through the Sassi to discover the ancient homes and churches carved from tufa rock.

Free night at leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, and Lunch.

Free time to further explore Matera, and at 12 o’clock we have a short drive to reach a local farm where we’ll have an included lunch paired with wine produced there. Right next to the farm we’ll visit the stunning Crypt of the Original Sin, that has frescoes dating back to the ninth century and we will have a short guided tour of the crypt.

After our tour, we have a one-hour drive to Alberobello where you will spend the next two nights sleeping in a traditional “trullo”.

The Trulli of Alberobello, thanks to their unique characteristics and historical significance, are one of Puglia’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Enjoy a free evening to relax or explore Alberobello at night. Your tour leader will recommend restaurants to savor more regional specialties and wine.

Included Meal: Breakfast, and Lunch with Wine

After breakfast, we meet our expert local guide to start our in-depth walking tour of Alberobello followed by some free time to explore, shop, and enjoy lunch.

In the afternoon, we have a short drive to the underground wonder of the Castellana Caves, where we will take a two-hour guided walk through the natural rock formations. Return to Alberobello.

Group dinner at a trattoria to enjoy traditional Murgia cuisine and wine.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Depart Alberobello for a short drive to Martina Franca to visit the Palazzo Ducale and the Cathedral. We then have another short drive to a local masseria (farm) where we enjoy a cheese tasting with lunch.

After lunch, we transfer to Lecce, the artistic and cultural capital of Puglia. Upon arrival in Lecce, we settle into our centrally located hotel before meeting our expert local guide for a walking tour to discover the architecture, culture, and history of Lecce. Lecce will be our base for the next three nights.

Free night to relax and dine on your own.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine

Today we drive to Otranto, the heel of the Italian boot, and visit a cathedral famous for its magnificent Tree of Life mosaics. Enjoy a stroll around Otranto with some free time to explore or shop for local handicrafts.

We then drive to a restaurant renowned for serving fresh seasonal local produce to complement wines from their own vineyard.

Return to Lecce and free time to further explore the historical center of Lecce on your own.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine

In the morning we drive to one of Puglia’s hidden gems in Galatina: the extraordinary 14th-century Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

Afterwards, we drive for 30 minutes and arrive in Gallipoli, “beautiful town” in Greek, where we visit a stunning cathedral and the Frantoio Ipogeo – an ancient underground olive mill carved from stone.

Enjoy an included lunch in Gallipoli’s historical center at an osteria that specializes in seafood.

Return to Lecce and enjoy a free evening to dine and drink at your own pace.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

We depart Lecce today and drive to Ostuni, “La Città Bianca,” one of the most beautiful hilltop towns in all of Italy. Stroll through a maze of narrow streets with a visit to a small museum exhibiting the 25,000-year-old fossilized remains of Delia, “La Donna di Ostuni.”

We then arrive at a restaurant located in a 15th-century Aragonese donjon with panoramic views for a gourmet lunch.

In the afternoon we visit a family-run olive oil business to learn more about olive oil production in the Puglia region. Here we have an opportunity to taste different types of olive oil and purchase local products at their small shop.

Afterwards, we drive to Polignano a Mare and visit the charming historical center. We will try the famous coffee invented here, Caffè Speciale di Polignano a Mare, and view a statue of Domenico Modugno, the composer and singer of Volare.

Short drive to Bari and check in to our hotel. Free evening to further explore the nearby bars and eateries.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast we visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Castel del Monte for a guided tour of the Swabian Castle. Known for its octagonal shape, the Castel del Monte is a masterpiece of medieval architecture.

Short drive to Trani to visit the Cathedral of Trani, built on the edge of the sea, and an option to have lunch at a restaurant. We then return to our hotel in Bari.

Group dinner at a local restaurant where we will enjoy a delicious hearty meal and raise a toast to the last section of our adventure that begins tomorrow.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we leave the hotel and start driving towards Paestum, in the Campania Region, where we arrive in 3 hours, do the check-in and have a short drive to a local farm or “caseificio” where Mozzarella di Bufala is produced. There we enjoy a leisurely lunch at the farm’s restaurant where you can enjoy regional specialties.

Paestum was founded by the Greeks around 600 BC, initially called Poseidon or Neptune, the god of the sea, to whom the city was dedicated. The archaeological site of Paestum has some remarkably well-preserved temples with the Temple of Neptune considered one of the three most complete Greek temples in the world.

In the afternoon, with a local expert guide you will discover the history of this magical place. The Archaeological Museum of Paestum contains some of the only surviving examples of ancient Greek paintings in the world.

Gourmet dinner at our Boutique & Spa accommodation.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Today we officially enter the Cilento region and our first stop is Castellabate, where we will explore the village and visit the Castle that once was the residence of the Abbot of the Abbey in Cava de’ Tirreni.

Lunch in a local restaurant and then drive to Rocca Cilento, to visit the 1,000 year old fortified Castle with amazing views of the surroundings.

Beautiful drive through the countryside to reach our accommodation for the next three nights: a comfortable Agriturismo surrounded by 80 hectares of olive oil trees overlooking the coast.

Included Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a hearty breakfast we leave our agriturismo and drive to Pattano, where we will have a guided tour of the ruins of the Abbey of Pattano, followed by a pleasant walk in the Castelnuovo Castle before lunch in a typical local restaurant. Afterwards we have a short drive to reach the Museum of Peasant Civilization, that has one of the richest and most valuable collections of objects related to ancient traditions.

Back to our Agriturismo with an option to relax or learn more about Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we have a short drive to reach the ancient coastal town of Velia, where we will learn about the history of the place. Short drive to reach the village of Pioppi, where the Museum of the Mediterranean Diet is located and find out more about it and the life of the American scientist Ancel Keys.

Lunch in a local retaurant and then free time to enjoy the sun, to swim or have a coffee.

Back to Ceraso and will wear the aprons for a cooking class related to the Mediterranean Diet.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we bid farewell to our lovely Agriturismo and have a scenic drive to reach Marina di Camerota, where we will spend the night. After the check-in, we walk through the town to reach the harbour for a boat tour of the coast, discovering the turquoise waters of the Marine Protected Area and its bays of Cala Bianca and Infreschi. We will have an included lunch in a restaurant on a beach.

Back into town and free night.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

After breakfast we head inland and visit the ghost town of San Severino di Centola and learn the history of the place, set on a cliff overlooking the mountains.

Another beautiful drive to reach Morigerati, where we’ll spend the night after visiting the World Wide Fund for Nature Oasis; the main actor is the river Bussento that, after disappearing into the ground for few kilometres, emerges in the grottoes of Morigerati and through a narrow stone stairway will reach a wooden bridge on top of it.

We’ll have a picnic before reaching the hotel nearby.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning in less than an hour we reach the town of Padula, and visit the magnificent fourteenth century Charterhouse, one of the largest in Europe: amazing wooden carved choir-stalls, the frescoes decorated kitchen, the amazing maiolica’s floor and the cloister.

Lunch in a local trattoria and then a short drive to reach Sala Consilina, where we will visit a Norman fortress and enjoy the spectacular views of the Vallo di Diano, and then reach our accommodation in town.

Included Meals: Breakfast, and Lunch.

After breakfast we have a short drive to reach the town of Padula where we will visit the Grottoes of the Angel, a journey to the centre of the Earth. This is one of the most fascinating karstic area in the South of Italy and the only one where you can navigate on a boat!

Lunch in a local restaurant and then we have an hour-drive to reach the town of Cava de’ Tirreni, where we spend the next two nights.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we drive to the Amalfi Coast, where we will take you to two of its most iconic places: Ravello, and Amalfi.

We start with breathtaking Ravello and visit Villa Cimbrone. There we enjoy some of the most spectacular panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast and walk through its beautiful gardens. Afterwards, you will have free time to explore the Cathedral and Villa Rufolo on your own.

After our morning in Ravello, we head to Amalfi, to visit the Cathedral and the Museum of Paper. At the Museum we view a demonstration on how to make a piece of paper using the same methods as Amalfitanos did back in the 14th century.

Then free time to further explore Amalfi, have a gelato, purchase souvenirs, or enjoy an espresso and pastry at an outdoor cafe.

Drive back to Cava de’ Tirreni and free night.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today we visit one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world: Pompeii.

Buried by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 A.D, the remarkably intact ruins of Pompeii make it one of Europe’s most compelling archaeological sites. Accompanied with a licensed expert guide, you will gain an incredible insight into life at the height of the Roman Empire. As you wander around the ancient dusty streets, in and out of the haunting ruins of fine Roman villas and courtyards, it is easy to imagine these places as they once were.

After the 2-hour guided tour, you will have an additional hour to further explore the site on your own. Then a short drive to a nearby vineyard on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Here the ancient Romans grew the grapes for the Lacryma Christi (Tears of Christ) which are still being produced today. We will have a short vineyard tour and then enjoy a wine tasting with lunch.

Short drive to reach the city of Naples where we’ll spend the next two nights.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we start our full-day guided city tour of Naples. With a local guide you will experience the vibrant atmosphere of the city of Naples: wander in the alleys, see artisans creating nativity scenes in their workshops, shop local crafts, admire the wealth of outstanding monuments, enjoy an espresso and pastry in a cafe.

You will walk along Via dei TribunaliVia San Biagio dei Librai, and visit Spaccanapoli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Included on this tour are visits to these major attractions:
  • Museo Cappella Sansevero
  • Duomo of San Gennaro
  • Chiostro del Monastero di Santa Chiara
  • Spaccanapoli (historical center)

Tonight we will enjoy a delicious final meal and raise one last toast to our amazing Grand Tour adventure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Our adventure ends after breakfast.

Your tour leader can assist you with additional tours, post-tour accommodation, or transfers.

Included Meals: Breakfast











Tour price


Per Person for the whole itinerary

No Single Supplement on Direct Bookings

Dates 2022



€ 3,200

Only for Calabria



€ 3,600

Only for Puglia & Matera



€ 3,800

Only for Campania

Dates 2023



€ 3,200

Only for Calabria



€ 3,600

Only for Puglia & Matera



€ 3,800

Only for Campania