12 to 27 May 2019 | 16 days, 15 nights
DAY 1 – Sunday 12 May | Valletta, Malta.
Upon arrival in Valletta airport you will met and privately transferred to your Hotel.
Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso’s Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythical. The narrow meandering streets of the towns and villages are crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces. The countryside is dotted with the oldest known human structures in the world and the Islands have rightly been described as an open air museum.
Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner at the Hotel’s restaurant
Hotel: Phoenicia Malta Hotel
This hotel is a Valletta icon and a fine example of the city’s revered architectural traditions. The Phoenicia, Malta is within walking distance to the city’s best attractions. The hotel commands glorious views of the Grand Harbour and the city’s skyline, which has seen little change since the 16th century. Its 7.5 acres of mature gardens spread to the historic entrance of the capital, marked by ancient fortified walls.
DAY 2 – Monday 13 May | Valletta Tour
Meet local guide at the Hotel and enjoy a full day guided tour of the honey-coloured bastion of historic Valletta, enjoying the stunning panorama of Valletta harbour and visiting the narrow streets of the Old Town. See the baroque Co-Cathedral of St John’s with its 369 inlaid marble tomb stones and two works by Caravaggio, painted during the artist’s stay on the island. Visit also the Grand Master’s Palace, completed in 1574 and containing portraits of the Grand Masters of the Order. You will visit also the National Museum of Archaeology.
Afterwards visit the picturesque seaside village of Marsaxlokk where you can admire the colourful typical Maltese fishing boats called a ‘Luzzu’ in Maltese). Lunch at a traditional restaurant ‘Maltese platter ‘. Following lunch you will visit the Inquistor’s Palace and historical area known as the ‘Three Cities’ where the Knights first settled on the Island prior to the construction of the city of Valletta in the 16th century. After the tour return to our Hotel. Dinner – local restaurant.
DAY 3 – Tuesday 14 May | Gozo Excursion
Breakfast at the Hotel before departing for Port Cirkewwa for a short ferry journey to the tranquil island of Gozo, situated 5 kilometres north of Malta.
Recent archaeological research has shown that the Neolithic temples of Malta and Gozo are about 1000 years older than the famous pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and this morning you visit the Ggantija temple complex. After a guided tour of the temples you continue to Gozo’s picturesque capital, Victoria, where you wander the narrow streets of its honey-colored citadel. Wine tasting and lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the bay of Marsalforn. In the afternoon return ferry to Malta Arrival port of Cirkewwa. Today’s dinner is included.
DAY 4 – Wednesday 15 May | Sicily
Today you will be privately transferred to Malta port to board the public ferry to Sicily (approximately 2 hours to Pozzallo). Upon arrival in port you will be welcomed and privately transferred to Syracuse (1 hour drive). The rest of the day will be at leisure.
Tonight enjoy dinner at the Hotels Des Etrangers. An opulent Hotel offering a discreet and uncompromising service. Des Etrangers Hotel’s 68 individually designed rooms and suites offer luxurious comfort and Sicilian flair with antique furniture, traditional artworks, balconies, sea views and modern comfort. This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. Des Etrangers Hotel & SPA is in the centre of Ortigia Island and boasts beautiful sea views. The hotel’s 2 restaurants serve the finest Italian dishes. The Medusa offers panoramic views of Siracusa’s coast line and the Roof Garden has a wonderful terrace for outdoor dining
DAY 5 – Thursday 16 May | Siracusa Tour
Breakfast at the Hotel before meeting our guide in the lobby to start the tour, beginning with the Neapolis Archaeological Park, a natural area rich with archaeological remains belonging to several epochs in the history of Syracuse, such as the Greek Theatre, the Ear of Dionysius and the Roman Amphitheatre.
After visiting the Greek Theatre, we will have lunch with local produce and visit a typical market, full of spice stalls, dried and fresh fruit, tomatoes cherry, vegetables, cheese and fish, almond sweets and chocolate of Modica. After the lunch, we will visit the island of Ortigia, Syracuse’s historic centre, which since 2005 has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site for its unique charm with the remains of ancient Greek temples, the Maniace Castle, the baroque churches, noble palaces and the amazing Cathedral overlooking the main square. During a leisurely walk through the alleys of Ortigia, we will admire the famous painting by Caravaggio entitled “Burial of Saint Lucia” dedicated to the patron saint of the city and we will stop at a company that works on papyrus plant whose existence in this area of the Sicily dates back to the times of the Greeks. The tour continues with the discovery of underground Ortigia. We will visit an ancient medieval public wash and, exploring the Giudecca of Ortigia, we go down in the basement of the neighbourhood to observe a crypt built in 1700, an air raid shelter used during the Second World War, and one of the extant Jewish baths, employed between the fourteenth and the fifteenth century, for the rites of purification of women of the Jewish community.
After the tour back to your Hotel. Dinner in Local restaurant
DAY 6 – Friday 17 May | Sicilian Produce & Sicilian Wines
The fresh produce of Sicily is prized across Italy and Europe due to the freshness of the flavours which literally burst with the taste of the sun. In the morning we journey to a kitchen garden with a sensory walk discovering the distinguishing smells of the produce, there are even 20 different types of basil to try (a key ingredient of the Margherita pizza). You have the chance to help pick lunch before a hands-on experience in the kitchen. Learn how to make the genuine Sicilian caponata (an eggplant stew, and staple of Sicilian cuisine) before a light lunch in the garden with the opportunity to try an array of Sicilian home-prepared specialities.
The subject of Italian food culture always goes hand in hand with the Italian wine culture. The island of Sicily produces some of the best and unique wines in the whole of Italy, thanks to the climate and soil. Spend this afternoon discovering wine culture which dates back millennia in the region of Vittoria. Our hosts however are modern business people and winemakers, having taken up the reins only in the 1980’s but are now producing critically acclaimed wines. The red soil of fine light sand is close to the sea and incredibly permeable which makes Vittoria ideal for producing Nero Davola and Frappato wines. We discover the winery today before a sommelier-led tasting of wines as well as the opportunity to quiz the wine makers about techniques, tastes and running a modern winery in Italy.
Time permitting we will make a orientation tour to Ragusa, for a visit to Ragusa Ibla; the ancient and more tranquil part of the city. Your day also includes a stop in the delightful town of Modica, where you will enjoy a chocolate-making demonstration followed by a tasting of this local delicacy, before returning to your hotel in Syracuse.
DAY 7 – Saturday 18 May | Farmhouse Cheese tasting Experience & Noto
Today’s excursion is a field to fork experience, where we are invited to a dairy farm which produces its own milk as well as cheeses. In resplendent rural Sicily you have the opportunity to interact with the farmers and cheese-makers about their jobs, and see how the very best Sicilian ricotta cheeses are made (also a possible pizza ingredient). Enjoy a rustic picnic lunch of the farms products.
On the way back to Syracuse we will stop in Val di Noto, the geographical area of south east Sicily, once described by an unknown author as a “pure joy…a perfect marriage of colour and light found nowhere else on earth. This stop will take you in the dramatic, honey-coloured, Baroque facades so typical of the area. In the lovely Baroque village of Noto visit the splendid Cathedral, renowned for the beauty of its architecture, opulent marble altars and recently added frescoes.
DAY 8 – Sunday 19 May | Naples
Breakfast at the Hotel before private transfer to Catania airport to board the flight to Naples.
Upon arrival in Naples you will be privately transferred to your Hotel in Naples. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples
Located right on the seafront, the prestigious Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooks the Gulf of Naples, the island of Capri and Mount Vesuvius
DAY 9 – Monday 20 May | Naples – Capri
Breakfast at the Hotel before private transfer with your hand luggage to the port of Naples to take the public ferry to the island of Capri.
Upon arrival visit the wonderful Island of Capri, including the major attractions. Hop on the air-conditioned coach or the typical Taxi in Capri for the first part of your visit. In Anacapri, walk with your guide to the beautiful Villa San Michele, built in the 20th century and featuring incomparable views and lovely gardens. The villa was built on the site of an ancient chapel, and from the gardens you can see Mt Vesuvius on the mainland. During the tour enjoy lunch in a local restaurant of the city. Dinner included.
DAY 10 – Tuesday 21 May | Capri – Naples
Breakfast at the Hotel. Morning at leisure. Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon transfer to Naples. Dinner will be at Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples
DAY 11 – Wednesday 22 May | Pompeii & Herculaneum tour
Breakfast at the Hotel. Enjoy the excursion to Pompeii and Vesuvius. On arrival at Pompeii you will enjoy a walking tour of this once opulent town. Continue to Herculaneum, which was covered by volcanic mud during the 79 B.C. Mount Vesuvius eruption, which quickly hardened to a semi-rock material. As a result, excavations have been much slower here than at Pompeii, and although the first Herculaneum discovery dates back to 1709, the uncovered area here is much smaller. Also, a large part of the ancient town lies under the modern one, which has slowed down the process further. The findings, though, are stunning, mainly because Herculaneum is thought to have been a glitzy seaside resort for wealthy Romans, boasting villas even more elaborate than those of Pompeii. Lunch at a local restaurant.
After the visit you will be privately transferred back to your Hotel in Naples. Dinner will be at Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples
DAY 12 – Thursday 23 May | Naples to Sardinia
Breakfast at the Hotel and morning at leisure before private transfer to Naples airport to board the flight to Olbia. Upon arrival in Olbia airport you will meet your local English-speaking assistant and be privately transferred to your Hotel in Alghero (1 hour and 30 drive). The remainder of the day will be at leisure. Tonight enjoy your welcome dinner at the Hotel
Hotel Villa Las Tronas
The Hotel has a spectacular position, a safe and exclusive heaven on a private promontory.
In the past it has been a residence of the royal family in Italy (they came to the Villa for their vacations in Sardinia until the 1940s), Villa Las Tronas conserves the historic atmosphere of an aristocratic hideaway.
DAY 13 – Friday 24 May | Alghero and Porto Conte Regional Park
Breakfast at the Hotel. You will discover this charming island and its beauties starting with Alghero, one of Sardinia’s most lovely medieval cities. Despite being a very popular touristic destinations in summer, this city preserves its unique character and retains a proud, independent and enchanting spirit. Your guide will show you the secrets and the wonders of this ancient city, surrounded by sturdy defence walls that were built between the 13th to the 16th century and characterised by the preserved usage of the Catalan language (and, for this reason, nicknamed “la Barceloneta”, little Barcelona). You will see the majestic Cattedrale (cathedral) di Santa Maria, the Piazza Civica, the Church of S.Francesco with its beautiful 13th century cloister and the Church of S.Michele, with its brightly coloured majolica dome. Marvel in front of the 14th-century Torre Porta a Terra, which is all that remains of Porta a Terra, one of the two main gates into the medieval city. The Coral Museumis in the lovely Art Deco Villa Costantino that takes its name from the family that had it built, in 1927, outside the city walls, not far from bastions that were later demolished. Every display within the museum centres around the precious ‘red gold’. The exhibition will introduce you to the works of art the craftsmen of Alghero who have created, and still craft, with coral.
Enjoy the delicious Sardinian recipes with lunch in a local restaurant of the city. In the afternoon we will leave the city centre to explore a bay the Romans called the Harbour of the Nymphs, in the extreme north-western part of Sardinia, there is a village almost four thousand years old, shrouded in legend, among the most important that the Nuragic civilisation left us. The architecture of their construction testifies to the extraordinary skills of the fascinating and mysterious Nuragic civilisation. The Palmavera complex is located on the promontory of the same name, one and a half kilometre from the sea, within the Porto Conte Park,. Built with blocks of limestone and sand, consisting of a central body with two towers and a bulwark, plus the huts of a village: today there are less than 50, but experts estimate that number to have ranged between 150 and 200 when the village was inhabited.
The extreme north western part of Sardinia displays an immense expanse of uncontaminated landscapes with breath-taking view of the sea, unique plant and animal species, and a rare concentration of interesting and significant archaeological remains. After the excursion you will be transferred back to the Hotel for dinner.
DAY 14 – Saturday 25 May | Day at leisure
Breakfast at the hotel
DAY 15 – Sunday 26 May | Cruise
Breakfast at the hotel before meeting in the lobby for transfer to the Porto Stintino where you will board your private boat and sail along Stintino then arrive at the first stop. From here you can take a little walk. After returning from the visit on the ground, you can enjoy a traditional and delicious lunch provided by the crew, washed down with a fresh Vermentino Sennori. You will also be served typical Sardinian sweets, coffee and digestive. Our visit continues sailing along the coast to meet, after 14:00, a pleasant thermal wind of low intensity that allows us to sail in full harmony in the waters of the marine reserve. (Subject to weather). After the excursion you will be transferred back to the Hotel. Dinner.
DAY 16 – Monday 27 May | Tour Ends
After breakfast the tour ends. Option to continue to Rome. Transfer to Alghero airport for flight to Rome.