Join us on this journey through the sun-soaked and rugged regions of Calabria and Basilicata. You will discover the unspoiled gems of these areas, from their culinary traditions to their fascinating histories. Our trip will include visits to Praia a Mare, Diamante, Pizzo Calabro, Tropea, Reggio Calabria and its world famous Riace Warrior Statues, Gerace, Isola Capo Rizzuoto e Le Castella- the pearls of the Ionian Sea and Matera.
*Please click on each day to view daily itinerary.
If you would like to arrive in Bari a day early and have a little extra time to rest and explore, there is an early arrival option on September 17th. You will have the opportunity with your extra time to take a city tour of Bari and an excursion to Castel del Monte on the morning of September 18 before transferring to Matera
Upon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and will transfer to the distinctive city of Matera in the Basilicata region, one Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture cities. You will have time to get settled and rest, before you meet your tour leader and group for a welcome talk and dinner. Sleep in Matera
Today you will enjoy the very special atmosphere of Matera and will discover some of its secrets. You will learn about Sassi or stone neighborhoods and will have time to explore its most impressive buildings, churches and tiny alleyways. You may feel a sense of déjà vu because the area’s Middle Eastern appearance has served as the setting for the most famous biblical movies. Pasolini, Rosi, Tornatore, the Taviani brothers, Bruce Beresfort, Catherine Hardwick and Mel Gibson all chose Matera for its “Sassi” feel. If you have visited Matera before, you will be amazed by the transformation of this city in the recent years. Sleep in Matera
This morning you will have some time on your own before we venture outside of Matera to the countryside to enjoy some wine and tastings of local specialties such as cheese, salamis, savory pies. You will learn how this family owned vineyard and farm follow traditional and organic methods in their productions. On our return, we will visit the cryptic Chapel of Original Sin to see its amazing frescoes. The chapel, built into the Sassi, has been called the “Sistine Chapel of rupestrian art” contains art from the 8th century. Sleep in Matera
Today we will continue our tour of the Basilicata region with a walk through the abandoned village of Craco. Succumbing to natural disasters at the end of the 20th century, the town later has been a popular filming destination offering beautiful views of the surrounding valleys. We will continue on to the nearby town of Tursi to visit a typical Basilicata village. We will meet some colorful locals who will share with us their traditions and tell us more about life today in Basilicata. We will enjoy a fabulous lunch of traditional foods of the region at a historical palace, before continuing our journey to the Calabrian coast. Sleep in Maratea
Today we will begin our exploration of Calabria with visits to the beautiful coastal towns of Praia a mare and Diamante. In Diamante, we will take in its magnificent murals documenting the tumultuous history of this region through art. We take in another view of the coast as we take a boat ride to Isola di Dino to view its magnificent grottos and the nearby Arco Magno falls. Sleep in Maratea
Today we will venture inland to visit the Calabrian village of Luzzi with its beautiful historical center. You will be immersed in the Calabrian culture as we learn more about local customs and traditions, including the typical homes and dress of this region. You will enjoy a cooking demonstration by the ingenious matrons of this village who use everyday household products to create amazing pasta dishes such as Maccaruni e purpetti (homemade fusilli pasta and meatballs in dialect) which we will afterwards enjoy. Today you will feel like you are visiting your Calabrian relatives! After our visit to Luzzi, we will continue on to Cosenza, one of the cultural hubs on the region. Sleep in Cosenza
This morning we will enjoy a walking tour of Cosenza where we will learn more about this city’s ancient origins. We will visit the city’s Norman castle, Cosenza cathedral, theater, and the Palazzo Arnone that was formerly a prison and now houses the National Gallery. This afternoon you will have time on your own to continue exploring the city, which could include a stroll through the city’s pedestrian only area of Corsa Manzini filled with delightful shops. This evening we will enjoy dinner at a charming local restaurant. Sleep in Cosenza
Today we will return to the Calabrian coast to visit the “pearls of the Ionian sea”, Isola di Capo Rizzuto and Le Castella. We will make a visit to its local castle and soak up the sun in this idyllic setting. In the afternoon, we will arrive in the charming seaside town of Tropea. After a walking tour through the historic center, we will continue to enjoy the magnificent coastal views from the former Benedictine sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola atop a mountain peak above town. Sleep in Tropea
Today you will have the option of remaining in Tropea to continue enjoying the crystalline waters of this seaside town or you will have the option of visiting the nearby Pizzo Calabro with its intriguing Chiesetta di Peidigrotta, an underground cave full of carved stone statues and its Aragonese Castle. While in Pizzo, you will have the chance to sample the local Tartufo di Pizzo, a much-loved gelato-based version of a truffle. Sleep in Tropea
Today we will venture south to take in the amazing views from Capo Vaticano before heading to the village of Gerace on the other side of the Calabrian peninsula. You will enjoy walking its winding streets and catching the glimpse of small-town life in Gerace all while enjoying its spectacular views of the mountains, valleys and oceans afforded from its hilltop position. We will visit the Byzantine-Norman cathedral in Gerace and an interesting local museum before we cross back over the peninsula to the coastal town of Scilla. We will reach Scilla this afternoon, our resting place for the next two nights. Sleep in Scilla
This morning we will explore Scilla with its Medieval castle, breath-taking views over the Messina strait along with its picturesque Chianalea fishing district. Afterwards, we will venture further south to the “toe” of the Italian peninsula. We will visit Reggio Calabria and its world-famous archeological museum where will find the famous Riace bronze warrior statues. These statues where found submerged near Riace in the 1970s and are two of the few remaining full Greek bronze statues from the 5th century BC. We will also enjoy a walking tour of the city center filled with history from the many cultures that have inhabited this region including its beautiful promenade, Roman baths and its Greeks walls. Sleep in Scilla
Today you will be transferred to Lamezia airport (or Reggio Calabria) where you can connect to cities such as Rome, Milan and Munich for flights returning the to US.
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