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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

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

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, 1 cooking lesson

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Sicily today.

Catania 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Catania

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Sicily! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Catania

Included meals: Breakfast

Meet your local guide and set out to discover Catania, which sits at the base of Mount Etna.

• Discover Catania’s historic city center and the world-famous fish market held near the Baroque Catania Cathedral

• Enter the Museo Storico dello Sbarco, a museum dedicated to the allied invasion of Sicily in World War II

Enjoy a free evening in Catania or add an excursion.

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Noto & the Avola wine region

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Leave Catania behind for a full-day excursion to the beautiful Baroque city of Noto and the Avola wine region. 

• In Noto, stroll along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, visiting Noto Cathedral and sampling chocolate and Sicilian pastries along the way

• Head to the Avola wine region for a light snack and Nero d’Avola wine tasting

• Transfer to Azienda Casabianca for an included countryside dinner at a Sicilian villa

Tropea Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Tropea via Reggio Calabria

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, you’ll transfer to the Tropea region, stopping in Reggio Calabria for a museum visit.

• Take a ferry across the Strait of Messina from Sicily to Calabria, an unexplored province of Italy

• Visit the National Museum of Magna Grecia to view the Riace Bronzes and other ancient artifacts in Reggio Calabria

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Tropea & Pizzo

Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know Tropea on a guided tour through the medieval palazzos this morning. 

• View the spectacular Santa Maria dell’Isola monastery perched high above the sea

• Stop for a tasting of local pecorino sheep’s cheese, salami and cipolla rossa, the sweet red onions for which Tropea is famous

• Continue on to the coastal town of Pizzo to sample handmade gelato

• Visit the seaside Piedigrotta Church

Matera 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Transfer to Matera

Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, transfer to Matera, passing through the hilltop village of Rocca Imperiale for a photo stop on the way.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Matera

Included meals: Breakfast

Explore Matera, known as “the Subterranean City,” with a local guide.

• View the incredible Sassi di Matera cave dwellings  

• Tour Palazzo del Sedile, Ruins of the Castle, Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario and Chiese Rupestri

• Taste the region’s famous Altamura bread

Enjoy a free evening in Matera or add an excursion.

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Benevento Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Transfer to Benevento

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to the Benevento region today. This afternoon, visit the town of San Marco dei Cavoti to learn the art of making chocolate and other sweets, then enjoy a tasting.

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Benevento

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Tour Benevento this morning with a local as your guide, then enjoy a wine tasting and cooking class. 

• View the Arch of Trajan, Benevento Cathedral and enter the UNESCO-recognized Church of Santa Sofia

• Explore a vineyard on foot and sample Janare wines

• Stroll the medieval streets of Guardia Sanframondi and Cerreto Sannita 

• Learn to craft traditional Campanian flavors in a cooking class and dinner

Salerno 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Salerno via Taurasi wine region

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Visit the Taurasi wine region, where you’ll visit a local vineyard to learn about wine production and taste local varieties of wine. Then continue on to Salerno, a lively port town steeped in cultural tradition.

Day 12: Paestum & Mozzarella Farm

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, explore the Cilento region, home to the Mediterranean diet, to visit a mozzarella farm and archaeological museum.

• Tour a local organic dairy farm and savor farm-fresh mozzarella during a light lunch and tasting 

• Travel to nearby Paestum for a guided tour of the Greek and Roman ruins

• Visit the Archaeological Museum of Paestum to see the famous frescos of the Tomb of the Diver 

Say goodbye to your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner this evening.

Day 13: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to visit Naples.

Add Naples $319 pp

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

Naples 2 nights Hotel info

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Naples

Included meals: Breakfast

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, Royal Palace of Naples and Piazza del Plebiscito

• Taste local specialties like pizza, arancini, fried eggplant and fresh-squeezed lemonade

Day 14: Free day in Naples

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Naples or add excursions.

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $115)

Day 15: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the 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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