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Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily

13 days Food & Wine Tours
Fresh and bright, Southern Italian cuisine is a direct offshoot of the region’s pleasant weather, Mediterranean influences and laid-back lifestyle. Long summers bring bountiful tomato harvests—and the red sauces, pizzas and salads that most diners associate with Italian cooking. Explore the region’s best tastes in the undiscovered coastal towns and tucked-away villages where staples like olive oil and wine are lovingly produced

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 5 three-course dinners, 3 wine tastings

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Guided sightseeing & select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1

Board your overnight flight to Sicily.

Catania3 nights Hotel info

Day 2

Included meals: Dinner

Arrive in Catania this afternoon. A Go Ahead representative will escort you to your hotel where you can settle in before your welcome dinner.

Day 3

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Museo dello Sbarco

On the eastern coast of Sicily, Catania sits at the base of Europe’s largest volcano, Mount Etna. The city is known for its Baroque architecture, urban design, UNESCO-recognized downtown and bustling nightlife. On this morning’s guided tour, you’ll discover the historic city center and the world-famous fish market held near the stately Catania Cathedral. Enter the Museo dello Sbarco, a museum dedicated to the allied invasion of Sicily in World War II. Then, enjoy a free afternoon or choose to join an optional dinner and wine tasting in the Etna region.

Optional Excursion - Mount Etna Wine Region Tasting & Dinner $99*pp Details

Travel to the Etna wine region for a traditional Sicilian dinner and wine tasting on the grounds of a local vineyard estate. The area’s volcanic soil and distinctive climate infuse the wines with an intense and pleasing minerality that perfectly complements traditional Sicilian cooking. You’ll sip on Etna Rosso blends made of the sleek nerello mascalese and nerello cappuccio grapes while in view of the majestic Mount Etna.

Day 4

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Leave Catania behind for a full-day excursion to Noto and the Avola wine region. Take in the Baroque architecture of Noto’s UNESCO-protected city center as you stroll Corso Vittorio Emanuele, sampling chocolate and Sicilian pastries along the way. This afternoon, arrive in Avola for a light snack and a tasting of Nero d’Avola wines, the region’s beloved reds known for their sweet tannins. Tonight, you’ll dine at Azienda Casabianca, the home of Countess Giovanna Modica Notarbartolo.

Tropea Region2 nights Hotel info

Day 5

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: National Museum of Magna Grecia

This morning, take a ferry across the Strait of Messina to the province of Calabria. In the city of Reggio Calabria, view an extensive collection of important archeological finds from southern Italy at the National Museum of Magna Grecia before enjoying some free time for lunch. Transfer to the Tropea region this afternoon and settle in to your hotel before dinner.

Day 6

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Piedigrotta Church

A stunning seaside retreat popular with natives of the surrounding countryside, Tropea is home to some of Italy’s most dramatic coastlines. Get to know the area on a guided tour through the medieval palazzos this morning. View the spectacular Santa Maria dell’Isola monastery perched high above the sea and stop for a tasting of local pecorino cheese, salami and the sweet red onions for which Tropea is famous. Continue on to the town of Pizzo to sample the infamous tartufo, an ice cream dessert served with a shell of chocolate or nuts, and visit the seaside Piedigrotta Church. Then, enjoy a free afternoon in Tropea to explore (and eat) as you’d like.

Matera2 nights Hotel info

Day 7

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Matera through the beautiful countrysides of the Calabria and Basilicata provinces. Known as “the Subterranean City,” Matera is situated at the bottom of a canyon and is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities. Its historical center is full of cave dwellings called sassi and was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.

Day 8

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: St. Biagio Church, Casa Grotto di Vico Solitario, Palazzo del Sedile

Explore Matera’s old town center with a local guide to see the incredible sassi and tour inside the Casa Grotto di Vico Solitario. You’ll also visit St. Biagio Church and enter the regal Palazzo del Sedile before tasting the region’s famous Altamura bread. This afternoon, you may choose to sip the aromatic Aglianico del Vulture wine at an optional wine tasting and dinner excursion in the Basilicata region.

Optional Excursion - Aglianico del Vulture Wine Tasting & Dinner $89*pp Details

Journey to the scenic Basilicata region to tour a local vineyard, learn about its production and taste vintages of Aglianico del Vulture. Often compared to the velvety reds from Barolo, the wines produced in the rich volcanic soil of Mount Vulture are some of Italy’s best and most underrated. Taste the varietals in a limestone wine cellar before enjoying local specialties.

Benevento Region2 nights Hotel info

Day 9

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to the Benevento region for an afternoon excursion to the town of San Marco dei Cavoti. Here, you’ll learn the art of making chocolate and other sweets from a small family, using recipes that can be traced back as far as 100 B.C.

Day 10

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Church of Santa Sofia, Cooking Lesson, Wine tasting

Tour Benevento this morning with a local as your guide. Visit the Arch of Trajan, Benevento Cathedral and the UNESCO-recognized Church of Santa Sofia. This afternoon, explore a Sannio wine region farming cooperative on foot and sample the Aglianico wines produced there. Then, stroll the medieval streets of Guardia Sanframondi and Cerreto Sannita before learning to craft traditional Campanian flavors in a cooking class.

Salerno2 nights Hotel info

Day 11

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Wine tasting

This morning, set off for the Taurasi wine region where you’ll tour a local winery and taste the reds produced there. Then it’s on to Salerno, the lively port town where medieval churches sit alongside neighborhood trattorias and neon-lit wine bars.

Day 12

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Included entrances: Paestum ruins, Archaeological Museum of Paestum

Today, explore the Cilento region, home of the Mediterranean diet. Tour a local organic dairy farm, where decadent mozzarella cheese is made from the milk of the 600 water buffalo sustainably raised on the land. Savor farm-fresh delicacies during a light lunch and tasting while relaxing in the countryside setting. Then, travel to nearby Paestum for a guided sightseeing tour of the well-preserved Greek and Roman ruins. You’ll also visit the Archaeological Museum of Paestum to see the famous frescos of the Tomb of the Diver and three Doric temples. Tonight, rehash your culinary adventures with the group over a farewell dinner.

Day 13

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

If you are not continuing your journey in Naples, a Go Ahead representative will escort you to the airport for your flight home.

Add Naples $319 pp

Explore the stately palaces and churches of the Campanian capital and get an authentic taste of Neopolitan street food.

Naples2 nights Hotel info

Day 13

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Chapel of Santa Maria della Pietà

After a short ride to Naples, take an afternoon tour of the city with the help of a local guide. Enter the Chapel of Santa Maria della Pietà and view the Castel dell’Ovo, Palazzo Reale and the Piazza del Plebiscito, all the while tasting local specialties like pizza, arancini, fried eggplant and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Day 14

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Naples. You may choose to join an optional excursion to the lost city of Herculaneum this morning, attend an optional afternoon pizza-making demonstration or do both.

Optional Excursion - The Lost City of Herculaneum $45*pp Details

Part of the family of Lost Cities, Herculaneum was also glazed over by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. On this excursion, a guide will take you through the small city and all of its well-preserved wonders. Unlike Pompeii, the conditions in Herculaneum allowed for many buildings and artwork to remain intact. Examine the frescos and mosaics that decorated the homes of the wealthy, and the narrow streets that characterized the area. Before you leave, take some free time to shop.

Optional Excursion - A Naples Tradition: Neapolitan Pizza $105*pp Details

Visit one of Naples’ most famous pizzerias for a demonstration of the local art of pizza making—and a tasting of the final product, of course. Pizza as we know it today was born in Neopolitan peasant towns in the late 18th century, nearly 200 years after explorers brought tomatoes back from the New World. Lucky for pizza lovers the world over, the fruit finally made its way onto rustic, yeast-based flatbreads. The new creation drew tourists in to the poorer areas of the town just for a taste— and this tradition of quality and freshness still reigns supreme in Neopolitan kitchens.

Day 15

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative escorts you to Naples airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Tropea Region
  • Benevento Region
  • Salerno
  • Naples, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Airport & Departure Taxes

All airport and departure taxes for this tour are included in the total trip cost printed on your invoice.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & Packing Tips

We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember it’s preferable to avoid baring shoulders or legs when visiting churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Italy. However, be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates.

Cuisine

The cuisines of Southern Italy and Sicily are often what diners think of when imagining Italian flavors—pasta with tomato sauces, olives and olive oil, zucchini and fish are all featured prominently on menus throughout the region. Sicilian cuisine in particular is heavily influenced by Spanish, Greek and Arab traditions. The Spanish brought New World influences to the region in the form of tomatoes, chocolate and maize, while the Arab influence can be tasted in recipes that include rice, spinach, saffron and citrus fruits. Regional specialties include arancini, cannoli and granita.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Catania and depart from Naples. When you first arrive, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the main cities by public transportation.

Electricity

Italy operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Sicily.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

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