May 7, 2017
July 17, 2017
|Duration:||14 Days / 13 Nights|
|Price from:||Sold Out|
|Single Room Supplement:||Waived|
This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is opened up to OAT clients & could be co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.
DAY 1Depart U.S. Fly overnight from the U.S. to Palermo, Sicily.
DAY 2Arrive Palermo, Italy Meals included: D Accommodations: Hotel Plaza Opera or similar Today, arrive in Sicily. After you are met and transferred to your hotel, you'll enjoy an orientation walk and Welcome Drink, followed by a brief Italian lesson while meeting with your fellow travelers and Trip Leader. You'll also meet those who traveled on our optional Puglia: Italy's Undiscovered Heel extension. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a local wine bar tonight.
DAY 3Explore Palermo Meals included: B L Accommodations: Hotel Plaza Opera or similar This morning, we enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for our first excursion in the province of Palermo: Monreale, where we will enjoy a guided visit. We'll view the town's 12th-century Norman Cathedral, which sits in the hills overlooking Palermo. See Byzantine art come to life within the cathedral's nave, where nearly every surface is covered with intricately-detailed mosaics depicting biblical scenes in rich colors and gold filigree. Then we explore one of the city's historic quarters, with a walk through a traditional market to enjoy a lunch featuring the local street food—some of which originated from Africa’s Mediterranean coast. After lunch, you'll have some time at leisure to make your own discoveries, which our Trip Leader may help you identify. Later, our group will gather for an enlightening discussion about the Sicilian Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra), followed by dinner on your own tonight.
DAY 4Palermo • Optional Castelbuono & Cefalù tour OPTIONAL TOUR Meals included: B Accommodations: Hotel Plaza Opera or similar After breakfast, you may wish to join a full-day optional tour to Castelbuono & Cefalù on Sicily's northern coast. First we'll visit Castelbuono, a medieval town in the Madonie Mountains. Here, you'll view the battlements and towers of the town’s imposing 14th-century castle and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. We continue to Cefalù, which takes its name from the Greek word meaning “cape.” This small town is situated between a natural bay and towering granite cliff called La Rocca. Built for the Norman King, Roger II, the picturesque historic town features a “Sicilian Romanesque” cathedral that began construction in 1131. We return to Palermo in the late afternoon. Travelers choosing not to join our optional tour will enjoy a day at leisure in Palermo. The city's strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean has led to past filled with a regular succession of invaders, from Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and Romans, to Normans, Swabians, French and Spanish Bourbons, and more. This helps to explain the city's eclectic mix of architectural styles—although the 17th- and 18th-century Baroque period has left the most visible mark on Palermo's civic and religious structures. Intense rebuilding after heavy bombing during World War II has also contributed to the city's chaotic beauty. Depending on your interests, your Trip Leader can offer suggestions on where to find the most interesting museums, medieval churches, Byzantine mosaics, or bustling street markets for an authentic taste of local life. Or if you're brave, you may even wish to visit the mummified cadavers at Palermo's Catacombe dei Cappucini. Dinner is on your own this evening.
DAY 5Palermo • Erice • Segesta • Mazara del Vallo Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Visir Resort & Spa or similar After breakfast, we'll drive to Erice, a wonderfully preserved medieval town that towers over Sicily's western coast. After a walking tour of the ancient mountain-top town, we’ll head to Segesta, a region that was home to the ancient Elymians, one of Sicily's indigenous peoples. In a reminder of Segesta's ancient Greek heritage, the columns of a beautifully preserved unfinished Doric temple still stand proudly in a majestic hilltop location. We'll walk in the countryside surrounding this idyllic setting to a nearby agriturismo set in the foothills of Monte Pispisa, with views of the surrounding olive groves, vineyards, and temple ruins. After lunch, we continue to Mazara, where we'll check into our hotel. We'll gather together this evening for an included dinner at our hotel.
DAY 6Mazara walking tour • Sicilian cooking lesson • Mazara Kasbah quarter Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Visir Resort & Spa or similar After breakfast, we'll embark on a walking tour of Mazara. We'll see its impressive Duomo and visit a museum built to house the famous “Dancing Satyr,” a mysterious Greek bronze statue brought up by local fishermen in 1998 after resting on the seabed for 2,000 years. Then we'll visit Mazara's historic Kasbah quarter, where some 3,000 Tunisians and other Maghreb Arabs live and work. Here, we'll learn about the intermingling of Sicilian and Arab culture and the co-existence of Muslim and Christian faiths during an enlightening discussion with some Tunisian locals. Afterward we'll enjoy a traditional couscous lunch in the heart of the Kasbah. This evening we'll learn how to prepare authentic Sicilian fare during a cooking class at a local restaurant and enjoy the food we helped to prepare during an included dinner.
DAY 7Mazara • Boat ride to Mothya Island • Marsala wine tasting Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Visir Resort & Spa or similar Today begins with a hearty breakfast, followed by a boat ride (weather permitting) to the small island of Mothya. Some 2,700 years ago, the Phoenicians built a settlement here. We'll visit the ancient island fortress and enjoy a light picnic lunch amid the peaceful and historic surroundings before returning to Mazara. This afternoon, we first enjoy a brief visit to Museo del Sale, a semi-working salt museum where we’ll learn about the age-old Trapani tradition of salt production and refining. Then, we visit a local winery to enjoy a tasting of the renowned wines of the Marsala vineyards. This evening, we'll enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.
DAY 8Valley of Temples • Agrigento • Piazza Armerina Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Gigliotto Agriturism or similar After breakfast, we depart for Piazza Armerina. Along the way, we stop at the Valley of Temples, situated just outside the city of Agrigento. Agrigento was once the Greek city of Akragas, one of the most culturally advanced cities of the ancient world. In the Valley of Temples, we’ll view the stunning archaeological remains of eight Greek temples, built between 510 and 430 BC. After lunch in a local restaurant in Agrigento, we continue our journey deep into the Sicilian hinterlands to Piazza Armerina. Upon arrival at our agriturismo (a traditional farm house sanctioned for lodging by the Italian government), we’ll enjoy dinner at the farm’s restaurant featuring locally grown cuisine.
DAY 9Villa Romana del Casale • Ragusa Meals included: B L D Accommodations: De Stefano Palace or similar Following breakfast, we depart for Villa Romana del Casale, home to the ruins of an extraordinary Roman villa. Constructed in the middle of the 4th century AD as a hunting lodge, the villa was covered by a landslide in the 12th century. Twentieth-century excavations have revealed some of the finest examples of Roman mosaics in all of Europe, with scenes ranging from Homeric escapades to depictions of daily life. The villa is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch at a local restaurant, we journey to Ragusa. After Ragusa was leveled by an earthquake in 1693, wealthier members of the population decided to build their new town higher up a cliff, while the rest of the inhabitants rebuilt on the original site, at the bottom of a gorge. The two distinct towns remained separated until 1926, when the higher and lower sections became one, and now a jumble of homes and churches cling to the walls of the steep ravine that divides them. Upon arrival, we'll first explore Upper Town—Ragusa Superiore—noted for the extravagant Sicilian Baroque architecture of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. This evening, we'll dine like the locals and enjoy apericena, a light dinner featuring a variety of traditional Sicilian foods eaten with the fingers.
DAY 10Old Town Ragusa • Modica Meals included: B D Accommodations: De Stefano Palace or similar This morning, our discoveries focus on the Baroque splendor of Ragusa Ibla, one of Sicily’s best-preserved old towns, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll view numerous structures ornately decorated in the Baroque style with elaborate balconies. A highlight is the 18th-century Duomo di San Giorgio, set in the center of Ibla, with a neo-classical dome added in 1820. After lunch on your own in Ibla, you have leisure time to explore its picturesque alleys and stairways. Perhaps you’ll sample a treat from Gelati DiVini, a local shop specializing in delicious wine-flavored ice creams. Later this afternoon, we'll make our journey to the neighboring town of Modica, part of the Val di Noto UNESCO World Heritage Site, like the Sicilian locals—aboard vintage Fiat 500s. These small, iconic Italian cars are also ideal for maneuvering through the narrow streets and lanes of Modica. Like Ragusa, Modica was largely rebuilt in the Sicilian Baroque style after the 1693 earthquake—and is also divided into upper and lower sections, connected by numerous flights of steps. We’ll walk the cobblestone streets to admire its various buildings, considered to be among the most beautiful architecture in Sicily. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
DAY 11Castelluccio • A Day in the Life of a Sicilian dairy farm Meals included: B L Accommodations: De Stefano Palace or similar After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll journey to the village of Castelluccio, where we’ll experience A Day in the Life of a Sicilian dairy farm. We’ll visit a dairy farm owned by a local family, who will be happy to show us some of the culinary traditions that have made Sicily famous around the world. We’ll begin by seeing how they make cheese, specifically ricotta, which, in Italy, is typically made from sheep’s milk (while in the U.S., it’s usually made with cow’s milk). Cheese experts often say that the difference between fresh ricotta and store-bought ricotta is stark—and we’ll be able to test this theory for ourselves as we sample the fruit of our labor. We’ll also have a chance to bake bread before enjoying an authentic Sicilian lunch with our hosts. After lunch, we'll return to our hotel in Ragusa and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner is on your own this evening.
DAY 12Syracuse • Ortigia • Catania Meals included: B Accommodations: Hotel Una Palace or similar After breakfast at our hotel, we depart for Syracuse, known as the birthplace of the famed mathematician Archimedes and as one of the most powerful ports of the ancient Mediterranean world. At 2,700 years old, Syracuse boasts a rich and storied history—evident today in the city's Greek, Roman, and Baroque architecture, which has helped earn Syracuse UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. When we arrive, we'll set off on a discovery tour of Ortigia, where an enticing blend of architectural styles awaits, including Greek and Roman ruins, Medieval Norman structures, and Baroque buildings. Highlights include the fountain of Arethusa, the Temple of Apollo, and the Piazza del Duomo, the lovely pedestrian square that serves as the heart of Ortigia. After lunch on your own, we'll take a boat ride along Ortigia Bay (not available November through March or in bad weather). Afterwards, we continue to Catania, where you'll dine on your own this evening.
DAY 13Catania • Explore Taormina Meals included: B Accommodations: Hotel Una Palace or similar Breakfast this morning is followed by a guided tour of Catania, a vibrant city perched on the edge of the Ionian Sea. Founded in the 8th century BC, Catania was once among Italy's most important cultural centers, particularly in the Renaissance period. Sicily's first university opened here in 1434, and Catania's tradition of education and industry continues to thrive today. We'll visit the local WWII Museum, dedicated to the Allied landing on the southern coast of Sicily. Then, we'll visit the local fish market, where an array of sights and sounds (and seafood!) delight. Our tour concludes with a stroll along Via Crociferi, a scenic passage laced with churches, monasteries, and private homes. After lunch on your own, we'll journey to hillside Taormina, one of the most highly regarded ruins in Sicily. We'll tour the ancient site with its impressive Greek amphitheater, as well as the charming village of Taormina, and admire sweeping views of Mt. Etna and the Ionian Sea. Dinner is on your own this evening.
DAY 14Catania • Linguaglossa • Donkey ride at Mount Etna Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Hotel Una Palace or similar After breakfast at our hotel, we journey to the quaint alpine town of Linguaglossa, situated on the northern slope of Mount Etna. The tallest active volcano in Europe and the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps, Mount Etna soars to a height of more than 10,000 feet. It's also one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and its rich volcanic soil brings abundant vineyards and orchards to Etna's slopes. From Linguaglossa, we'll journey up to Piano Provenzana, a former ski station at an altitude of almost 6,000 feet. Then, we'll have an opportunity to trek a little by donkey (and also by foot) to admire the surrounding mountain views. Please note: Departures from November-March will not visit Piano Provenzana, but will enjoy these activities from Linguaglossa. Afterward, we'll enjoy a barbecue lunch. Then we'll transfer back to Catania for time at leisure before gathering again this evening. We'll toast our adventure over a Farewell Drink at the hotel, followed by a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
DAY 15Return to U.S. or begin post-trip extension Meals included: B We depart our hotel this morning and transfer to the airport for our flight home. Or, begin our Calabria: Southern Italy's Heartland extension.
DAY 1 Fly to Bari, ItalyDepart from the U.S. on an overnight flight to Bari, Italy.
DAY 2 Arrive Bari • Transfer to MateraToday we arrive in Bari and transfer to our hotel in Matera. Upon arrival, we enjoy an orientation briefing, followed by a walking tour of the area. This evening, we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
DAY 3 Matera • Sassi di MateraThis morning, we enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for our hike along Churches Road, so called for the stretch of the ancient stone houses of worship we’ll discover in Sassi di Matera—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explore a path from the city to one of two original Sassi districts in the valley. We go back in time as we journey past quarries, ravines, and sculptured gardens, toward a network of small cave churches, crypts, and fortifications. During our trek, you may see the churches of San Pietro Barisino, Sant’Agostino, and Santa Maria de Idris, which overlooks scenic Sasso Caveoso valley. You’ll want to keep an eye out for medieval paintings executed in fresco on many of the church walls. After lunch at a local restaurant, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure before dinner on your own tonight.
DAY 4 Matera • Alberobello • LecceAfter breakfast, we depart our hotel for Alberobello. During our visit, you'll marvel at the town's conical-roofed homes, or trulli, which make these dry-stone dwellings a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll gain an insider's view of an authentic trullo, whose limestone architecture (built without cement) dates back as far as the mid-14th century but remains remarkably well-preserved. We'll stroll through the town's narrow streets, lined with quaint cafés and produce markets. Next, we'll explore the medieval streets of Ostuni, or La Città Bianca, so named for its white buildings perched above the Adriatic. Then we'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, followed by a stop at an olive farm to enjoy an olive-oil tasting. This evening, we arrive in Lecce and check into our hotel. Dinner is on your own.
DAY 5 Explore LecceToday begins our day of discovery in Lecce, a town storied to have been around since the Trojan Wars. The modern-day city, however, can trace its history as far back as the 3rd century BC during the Roman takeover. The early 17th century introduced a Baroque influence that is still evident in the architecture today. The artistic styling of buildings such as the Piazza del Duomo, The Basilica di Santa Croce, and The Church of Saints Niccolo and Cataldo are major draws. You'll discover many of these treasures and more during a walking tour around Lecce. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, followed by time on your own this afternoon. Perhaps you'll decide to dine al fresco at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the Lecce’s Old Town Centre. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore Lecce at leisure. It’s a perfect opportunity to stroll through the piazza (squares) and palazzi (buildings), observing life as locals do. Dinner is on your own this evening in Lecce.
DAY 6 Lecce • Optional Salento's Way tourAfter enjoying breakfast at our hotel, you may enjoy a day at leisure in Lecce, or join our full-day Salento's Way optional tour. This tour begins in Otranto—in the far eastern corner of Italy's boot heel. Once a strategic port during Roman times, today Otranto is known for its white, sandy beaches, famed Aragonese Castle, and 11th century Romanesque cathedral. We'll pass by the castle as we take a discovery walking tour of the town's highlights. Later this afternoon, we return to Lecce to meet up with the rest of our group. Dinner this evening is at a local restaurant.
DAY 7 Brindisi • Begin main tripAfter breakfast, we fly via Rome to Palermo, where we join the rest of the group and begin Sicily's Ancient Landscapes & Timeless Traditions.
DAY 1 Depart Catania • Arrive MonterossoWe depart this morning for Calabria, on the toe of the Italian peninsula, crossing the Strait of Messina by ferry boat. After our ferry arrives in Villa San Giovanni, we travel overland to Reggio di Calabria, the oldest city in the region and Calabria's most populous. We'll enjoy a visit to the Bronzes of Riace, two life-size Greek warrior statues dating back to the 5th-century Greek era here but not discovered until 1971. It took a decade to restore them and present them to the public, and we'll get to see them up close at the Archaeological Museum. After time here for lunch on your own, we continue on to Monterosso, our home base for the next two nights. Monterosso spills from the hillside down to the waters of the sea, a bucolic town where people grow and pick much of their own food, where mealtimes are important parts of communal life, and where the sound of church bells still tells the time. Upon arrival, we set off on a walking tour of the village, appreciating not just the charm of the brick and stone houses hugging the steep lanes, but greeting the local people we meet and witnessing their daily routines. Afterwards, we settle into our hotel. Tonight, we enjoy dinner together.
DAY 2 Monterosso • Serra San BrunoAfter breakfast, we journey to Serra San Bruno, a picturesque town founded in the 11th century, where we'll learn about the region's centuries-old charcoal-making tradition and enjoy a walking tour of the ancient town. After a picnic lunch at an ancient sanctuary, we return to Monterosso. Later today, we'll have dinner at the Palazzo Massara, whose family members can trace their roots in Monterosso to the 16th century.
DAY 3 Monterosso • Civita • Hike Devil’s BridgeAfter breakfast, we depart overland for a visit to the seaside town of Pizzo Calabro. Named after a variation on the word for bird's beak, Pizzo projects over the sea on a promontory. Home to a 15th-century castle and a 17th century baroque church, Pizzo is nonetheless best known as the birthplace of Tartufo, a popular dessert of ice cream filled with molten chocolate. We'll pause for a visit to Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, an eerie cave-chapel located just outside town facing the sea. After lunch on your own, we'll continue to Civita, where we'll enjoy the next two nights. Occupying a bluff of volcanic rock on the slopes of Mount Pollino, Civita became an enclave for Albanian refugees fleeing a 15th-century Ottoman invasion, and it has retained its heritage ever since, with Italo-Albanians now recognized as an ethnic minority in Italy. After checking in to our hotel in Civita, we set off on a hike to the Devil's Bridge. Soaring 75 feet above the river below, the arch-like Devil's bridge connects two stone cliffs and affords a bird-eye view of the canyon floor. After our hike, we'll return to the village in time for dinner on your own.
DAY 4 Civita • Explore Monte PollinoAfter breakfast, we set off by 4-wheel-drive vehicles to explore the scenic landscapes of Monte Pollino, including a short hike in the area. Then, after lunch on your own in the village of San Lorenzo Bellizzi, we return to Civita. Along the way, we'll stop at Santa Maria delle Armi, an ancient sanctuary complex built into a mountainside. Please note: Some features of this day may be changed due to weather conditions. This evening, we'll enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant in Civita.
DAY 5 Civita • Paestum • Vietri sul Mare, SalernoAfter breakfast, we depart for Vietri sul Mare. Along the way, we'll stop for a visit to a farm that produces buffalo mozzarella. The main highway through this region is lined with domestic water buffalo farms and locals consider the resulting cheese the only true mozzarella. Today, we'll witness how this local delicacy is made. After a light lunch at the farm, we visit nearby Paestum, enjoying free time to explore this 7th-century BCE Greek outpost on your own. Paestum, in its 2600 years, has experienced great upheaval: it was wrested from Greek control into Roman hands, abandoned during the Middle Ages, and restored after the 19th century, then made familiar to Americans when Allied Forces used the beaches here for the successful World War II invasion which drove back German forces. Today, Paestum is best known for the three Doric temples to Hera and Poseidon which remain here. We arrive in Vietri sul Mare (Vietri on the Sea) late in the afternoon. Nicknamed “the first pearl of the Amalfi,” the seaside village is the beginning of the Amalfi Coast road. Known throughout the region for its ceramics, Vietri sul Mar has been turning out vividly-colored housewares since the 15th century, and its bright wares have come to define the decorative aesthetic of the Amalfi region. After we've settled in at our hotel, we'll enjoy an orientation walk of of Vietri village and celebrate our Calabria sojourn with a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
DAY 6 Salerno • Return to U.S.After breakfast, transfer overland to the airport in Naples for your flight home.
In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2017 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.
Please note: A $25 documentation fee will be added to the final payment for this trip.
We limit our trips to small groups so we suggest you deposit early to guarantee your spot. View information regarding Air Travel & Transfers here.
Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of OAT resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.
This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is designed for GWT clients however if room block is not sold by 120 days prior to departure date, the trip can be opened up to OAT clients and could be co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.
Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation
Shared Room - one person, traveling solo who would like to share with another passenger and pay the per person "Double" price
Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Gutsy Women Travel includes a group transfer (if travelers purchase airfare from our operator) or individuals can book private transportation if desired.
For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
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Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.