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Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily

13 days Food & Wine
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: 28 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 2 hours daily across uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets and paved roads, with some hills and stairs.

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

Map of tour of Italy

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 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

Day 4: 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 Cappella Bonajuto, a small byzantine chapel inside the Baroque Bonajuto Palace, and enjoy a glass of Prosecco and a small local food tasting

Enjoy a free evening in Catania or add an excursion.

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

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

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 Wine Tasting & Dinner $89pp* Details

Journey to the scenic Basilicata region to tour a local vineyard, learn about its production and taste vintages of Aglianico. Often compared to the velvety reds from Barolo, the wines produced in this rich volcanic soil 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 varietals. 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, stopping 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.

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

Map of tour of Italy

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 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

Day 4: 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 Cappella Bonajuto, a small byzantine chapel inside the Baroque Bonajuto Palace, and enjoy a glass of Prosecco and a small local food tasting

Enjoy a free evening in Catania or add an excursion.

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

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

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 Wine Tasting & Dinner $89pp* Details

Journey to the scenic Basilicata region to tour a local vineyard, learn about its production and taste vintages of Aglianico. Often compared to the velvety reds from Barolo, the wines produced in this rich volcanic soil 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 varietals. 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, stopping 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 Starting from $319 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

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 a tasting tour of the city with a local guide. 

• Walk through Piazza del Gesù to view the Church of Gesù Nuovo 

• Enter the Basilica of Santa Chiara to see the unique and ornate cloister 

• Taste Neapolitan arancini and fried eggplant along the Decumano 

• Sample sfogliatella, a flaky pastry, near the Church of San Domenico Maggiore

• Enter Cappella Sansevero, the Baroque chapel full of notable Italian artwork

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 $45pp* 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 $75pp* 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: $85)

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
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

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.

How's the weather?

  • Tropea Region
  • Benevento Region
  • Salerno
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

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.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/13/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: KS

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great Trip!

A total of 14 of us went on this tour. Had an absolutely great time. Our tour director, Linda Garofano was great. She had many local contacts and insights and really took care of us. We were able to the tour to customize the trop (added two hiking trips) that added a lot to the trip. The wineries and restaurants were fun and varied.

 

Hi Daniel! We're so pleased you enjoyed your tour. Between your caring Tour Director and additional hiking opportunities, it sounds like you had a very well-rounded experience. Thank you for your feedback, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 20, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/13/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director

The food and wine tour of southern Italy and Sicily was fantastic. In large part the trip was superb because of the trip director (Linda) and our driver Mimmo. The tour schedule/itinerary was fantastic and enjoyed by all of our group as well. The places we went were special, unique, and lovely while the food and wine were wonderful at every place we went. It is a unique tour and I don't know how it could have gone any better. Linda and Mimmo are a good team and were able to handle any problems that came up quickly before any issue even developed. I highly recommend the Food and Wine tour!!!!

 

Hi Loretta! We're so glad you enjoyed your food and wine tour of Southern Italy & Sicily. You certainly chose a beautiful region of the world to visit! We're pleased to learn that the Go Ahead staff enhanced your experience and that the itinerary was enjoyed by your whole group. We're absolutely thrilled that you feel the tour couldn't have gone any better. Thank you for your recommendation, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 17, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/13/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

WOW!

I have traveled many places for many different activities, and I have to say this is one of the best ever. We were so fortunate to have Linda as our tour guide because she brought everything to life and seemed to anticipate our every need. And our bus driver, Mimmo, couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. As for the trip itself, I couldn't believe all the great activities we were able to experience. We visited places that I'm sure most tourists would never get to experience. Each day was well planned and included something that we will never forget. From wineries to great food locations to Mt. Etna to the Sossi, about all I can say is WOW! In addition, each hotel was lovely, clean, and staffed with friendly people. The one thing I will say is that this is an ACTIVE tour, and you may not realize just how much from reading the description. If you think you are going to sit on a bus and drive by locations, think again. For our group the activity level was great because we are very active people and want to go and do. But if you are a more passive traveler, or if you have a disability that makes walking difficult, you might not enjoy this trip. I will definitely consider another tour with GAT, especially if I had Linda as a tour guide. I really can't say enough good things about her. This was a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so glad I went. KUDOS to everyone who helped make this fun, educational, and fattening. haha Seriously, best food ever!

 

Hi Christine! We're happy to hear this was one of the best trips you've ever taken. We're glad you found the Go Ahead staff to be helpful and passionate about the region. It's also wonderful know you feel the trip itself was well-planned and provided unique experiences. You're right that this tour moves at a good pace, and we thank you for sharing your thoughts on that with us and other travelers. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 15, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/28/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wow!

I cannot grade this tour high enough. The destinations and activities were amazing. The food and wine surpassed all expectations. My favorite place was Matera; what an amazing city! The hotel right in the midst with a "window to the world" was just so fantastic. Tour bus driver and tour director could not have been better or more fun! Hoping to go on another tour sometime in the near future!

 

Hi Toni! We’re pleased to hear that you enjoyed your tour, including all of the delicious food, quality wines, and beautiful destinations. We appreciate your feedback very much and hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 07, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 3/25/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fantastic!

It’s hard to know where to start – our tour director, Paola, who took such good care of us, who obviously delights in sharing her wealth of knowledge, and whose enthusiasm is infectious; Mimmo, our driver, whose driving skills defy description; the hidden gems that were the hallmark of this tour. The UNESCO World Heritage sites were stunning; the sassi of Matera, the Greek and Roman ruins of Paestum, the bronzes of Riace, the arch of Benevento. The local guides were wonderful, sharing insights in such a way as to make the history come alive. And of course to be so close to that history, to walk among the ruins, to visit the caves, to stand so close to the bronzes was awe-inspiring. The residents of these small villages were so friendly and welcoming, and very tolerant of, if not amused by, my efforts to speak to them in Italian! The food was wonderful, so fresh and so beautifully presented, and the winery tours and tastings were both informative and delicious. And the cooking class was wonderful, the earlobe test is my new standard for pasta! Everything about this tour exceeded my expectations, including the group we were lucky enough to join. It was a very small group, only 14 people, so we had the good fortune of being able to get to know everyone, and by the time of our farewell dinner, I felt we were a group of old friends. This is a tour I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in history and wants to explore the lesser-known areas of southern Italy. One suggestion, though, is to get in shape for a lot of walking and a fair amount of wine! Regarding practical matters – the flights arranged by Go Ahead were great, giving us sufficient time for connecting flights without having to sit in an airport for hours, and the two airlines selected for us were fantastic, with flight crews that were exceptionally kind and helpful. The hotels were all 4 star hotels, quite luxurious, with fantastic views from the rooms (except in Catania) and scrumptious breakfasts with freshly baked pastries and excellent cappuccino (except in Vietri sul Mare). I most enjoyed the small hotels in Matera and Benevento, but that is a matter of personal preference rather than any implied criticism. Taken as a whole, the food, the wine, the views, the comfort, and the traveling companions, really nothing more could be asked. The tour was also very well thought-out; when I first read the description, I felt there were a lot of travel days between destinations, but those down-times were actually much appreciated, a chance to regroup from the pace of the previous days. And the ferry ride from Messina to Reggio Calabria was a real treat, so that was by no means an empty day. I can recommend this tour, tour director, and driver without reservation, be prepared for an incredible experience.

 

Hi Patricia! We're thrilled to learn that you enjoyed your time in southern Italy and Sicily. It’s great to know that your Tour Director and local guides shared their enthusiasm and knowledge with you. Between the incredible sights and the friendly people, it sounds like you made so many unforgettable memories. We’re impressed that you spoke some Italian with locals! What better way to learn than to practice speaking! We’re glad that you found the logistics and the itinerary of the tour to be well-planned and that everything went smoothly. Thank you for recommending this tour, and thank you for sharing your experience with others. We hope to welcome you on tour again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 21, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 3/21/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: OR

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

BEST tour ever!!!

This review is of the recent tour my companion and I took, Food and Wine of Southern Italy and Sicily. Expecting the experience to be a good one, we returned incredibly enriched for many reasons. Very well planned and executed, providing experiences to visit outstanding,beautiful and varied vineyards and wine productions in very different settings, we received a truly enlightening view of wine production in the area. A real bonus were the many meals served with the wines at each place we visited. The meals were The best we have had on all the tours we have taken. We have come to expect good guides on Go ahead trips and this was no exception for our small group of 14. What really made this trip so memorable was that our Tour guide throughout ,Paola Bianchini, made us feel as though we were a very special group of people. We never before were led through a tour to be given such bounty of information, delivered with ease. EVERYTHING SEEM TO FLOW FROM PAOLA WITH A LOVE OF WHAT SHE WAS DOING, which was to make this trip a memorable experience for EACH of us. It seemed easy for her to have the group function well. to see a group of individuals function with ease. It seemed remarkable how we all became interested in each other's lives and it reflected Paola's interest in all of us History and wonderful anecdotes woven into a great tapestry making our bus rides throughout the trip so very pleasant. For us it meant Paola's love for what she was doing was accompanied with great compassion for everyone on this trip. I should mention I had a minor stroke two month before this trip and questioned going. Another person on the tour also had a slight handicap. Nothing was made of it, Paola assured me it would not be a problem. She was right. I returned healthier, more stable, with soaring spirits knowing I had just had an experience I won't forget What a great experience!

 

Hi Keith! Thank you for your thoughtful review. We’re very moved by how much your Tour Director impacted your experience. It sounds like her passion and enthusiasm brought everything to life and fostered a wonderful group dynamic. We’re so glad. We’re also very happy to hear that you didn’t have any health issues on tour. We hope you continue to feel good and enjoy soaring spirits! Additionally, we’re pleased to learn that you and your companion found the tour to be well-planned. We will be sure to communicate that feedback to our Product Development team. Thank you for choosing Go Ahead, and we look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 02, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 9/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Commentary from an old Go Ahead traveler

I really enjoyed this trip, except for the really stupid outward journey. I appreciate the idea of going to Italy on Alitalia, but to have San Francisco/Oakland based travelers fly to LA to get on a plane to Rome and then to Catania is inane. Knowing there is no direct flight to Europe from the West Coast why would you add an extra flight (THREE passes through Security...)? And the Alitalia flight left much to be desired: no leg room, surly service, excruciatingly bad food, and, having requested a wheelchair at Rome Airport, I was given a huge runaround and ended up being loaded onto the plane on the runway as it was about to leave. I realize this is not something over which Go Ahead has control nonetheless it didn't make a very good impression. However, once we arrived in Catania everything changed. Efficient Go Ahead meeter and greeter, and charming and incredibly helpful busdriver, Mimmo. And to find that our Tour Director was the wonderful Linda assured me that I was in for a GOOD TIME! And so it proved. Interesting and informative winery visits with lavish and well-planned wine and food pairings...special kudos to Polva Nera: a delightful evening in an beautiful setting. I loved the visits to the mozzarella producer and to the torrone factory, offbeat and edifying. Inevitably some things fell apart a bit: the meal at the Michelin restaurant was truly inedible, but the setting was beautiful, the atmosphere welcoming and wonderful, and the service was fabulous, so it was a delightful experience in spite of the less than * food (every restaurant has an off night now and then). All in all it was a terrific tour, and not only would I recommend it whole-heartedly to my chums, I'm seriously considering a repeat performance next year! (But NOT with Alitalia: my return flight was on Air France -- good leg-room, nice service and presentable and enjoyable food...and only one change of plane). One final quibble: when the local guide is introducing him/herself and the location, might there be some way of having this take place where there is somewhere to sit down? I realize this is a personal matter and many of the enviable fit people don't mind standing around for a while, but, for example in Noto we were standing in a group a few steps away from some lovely benches in the shade but not close enough for old bats like me to take advantage. And with the best will in the world there is a certain sameness about wineries and their equipment, and I understand that the host company wants to show off their stainless steel tanks and oak barrels and up-to-the minute techniques. However, I did find myself wondering whether by the second or third visit this information could be just as easily assimilated with the group sitting around a table in a nice cool room, wine glass in hand. Just a thought. Thanks to everyone at Go Ahead for the marvelous organization that is the hallmark of your tours. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of planning that goes into making everything seem so amazingly effortless and efficient. Cheers to all of you, and THANKS! Mairin

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/5/2015

Number of Past Tours: 22

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

What a Food & Wine Tour is All About

I have traveled to Italy a number of times; Italy is a very friendly place. These in Southern Italy were even more so. As a tourist, one still felt that you were a guest. As a classical enthusiast I loved the ancient sites. The Riace Bronzes in Reggio Calabria were magnificent. The well preserved temples and museum at Paestum was a highlight. While roofless, the temples show more of what they were originally like than found in most others. The museum included many, many objects used in daily life as well as tomb frescos not on the outside of the tomb, but included inside for the benefit of the deceased). On the Naples extension, Herculaneum (a luxury suburb) provides a complimentary story to Pompeii (a market center). The carbonized wood and bread along with the multi-story buildings that have been preserved give a more realistic view of what the town was like on the day it was buried. Surprise delights were two small town/village trips. First, to Tropea and Pizzo on the Calabrian coast. The area is home for a number of resorts (mainly for vacationing Italians). We stayed at the Popilia Country Resort which is a very pleasant place with friendly service. While a bit away from things, our group of 20 was able to put together an Italian picnic on one of the nights. Second, to Guardia Sanframondi and Cerreto Sannita (ceramics) in the Benevento region. These gave us a more local sense of place for current Southern Italy. The vacation lived up to the title – plenty of good food & wine. The tour put together a very good sampling of Southern Italy food and wine. Among the wineries visited were family-owned (Zisola in Noto), Mon & Pop (Podvanera in Puglia near Matera), a Co-Op (la Guardiensa in Guardia Sanframondi) and Southern Italy’s largest (Feudi di San Gregorio). Different styles of wine making and a focus on Southern Italian, Greek derived varietals not well known in America (loved Aglianico). Restaurants followed the same pattern –brothers’ run Km.O in Catania, cooking lesson at Kresios near Benevento, and traditional pizza in Naples (it bakes in one minute).