Southern Italy & Sicily
Based in Taormina, experience Sicily’s intriguing cultural heritage, including Agrigento’s remarkable “Valley of the Temples.” After a Mt. Etna excursion, enjoy lunch at a family-run farm. Tour Matera’s ancient cave dwellings and Alberobello’s medieval white-washed houses. Discover Lecce, the “Florence of the South.” Highlights of a four-night Sorrento stay include evocative Pompeii, a Neapolitan cooking lesson, an Isle of Capri excursion, and a breathtaking Amalfi Coast drive. Explore Rome independently with an optional 4-day/3-night extension.
We arrive today in Catania on Italy’s autonomous island of Sicily then transfer by motorcoach to Taormina and our boutique hotel overlooking the Ionian Sea. Tonight we gather for a welcome dinner at the hotel. Eurostars Monte Tauro (D)
Highlights of our morning walking tour of this delightful medieval town include the spectacular ancient Greek theater dating to the 3rd century bce, the popular 13th-century cathedral, and the grand Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. This afternoon is at leisure: perhaps to relax by the hotel pool, visit a lovely Taormina beach; or stroll along Corso Umberto, lined with shops and restaurants. With lunch and dinner on our own today, perhaps a culinary adventure is in order … and thanks to Sicily’s strategic Mediterranean location that lured many invaders, Sicilian food incorporates Italian, Arabic, and African influences into a singular, and delicious, cuisine. Eurostars Monte Tauro (B)
This morning’s tour ventures to Europe’s largest active volcano. The ancients believed Mt. Etna to be the forge of Vulcan, god of fire; today, modern-day Sicilians have a very personal relationship with the volcano, which frequently erupts but is seldom destructive. Centuries of lava flows have resulted in a rich, fertile landscape where citrus groves and vineyards thrive. Mid-day we enjoy a small group highlight: lunch at a family-run working farm amidst acres of lemon and kiwi. After returning to our hotel mid-afternoon, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Eurostars Monte Tauro (B,L)
On today’s excursion we visit the “Valley of the Temples,” the archaeological zone of Agrigento, whose Doric temples and sanctuaries date to Greek rule in the 5th century bce. Known in its heyday as the “most beautiful city of mortals,” Agrigento’s highlight is the stunning, well-preserved Temple of Concordia (c. 430 bce). A visit to the museum here lends context to our explorations. Late this afternoon we return to our hotel, where we dine tonight. Eurostars Monte Tauro (B,L,D)
We leave Sicily today for the mainland region of Basilicata, a day-long transfer that includes a ferry ride from Sicily to Calabria. Late this afternoon we reach Matera, whose historic troglodyte churches and dwellings (Sassi) have been designated a UNESCO site and where our hotel is a renovated cave dwelling in the city’s historic district. Locanda di San Martino (B,D)
Today we explore this city of art and folklore, with its unique ancient urban structure still intact. Home to more than 100 rock churches, Matera resembles ancient Jerusalem and has been used by international film directors as a stand-in for the holy city. Following a guided walking tour, the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore independently before dinner tonight at a local restaurant. Locanda di San Martino (B,D)
Departing Matera this morning, we stop in Alberobello, whose 400 or so trulli – whitewashed conical houses with greystone roofs – rank as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We take a walking tour along the pristine cobblestone alleys, stepping inside an artisan’s workshop or trullo tipico, a recreation of an inhabited home. After lunch at a local restaurant, we continue on to Lecce, one of the oldest cities in Apulia, (Italy’s “boot heel”), in time for dinner together at our hotel. Patria Palace Hotel (B,L,D)
We discover the “Florence of the South” on this morning’s tour, so named for the unique decorative style for which Lecce is known: barocco leccese, the ornate and intricate sandstone carvings of cherubs and monsters, fruits and flowers that adorn local buildings from top to bottom. We see Palazzo Vescovile (c. 1632), the exuberantly decorated church of Santa Croce, and the Duomo with its lovely piazza. This afternoon is at leisure to explore this town of 100 churches as we wish; tonight we enjoy dinner together. Patria Palace Hotel (B,D)
Today’s excursion takes us to the beautiful walled town of Otranto, overlooking the Adriatic. On a walking tour here we see the imposing 15th-century Aragonese castle with its traditional moat, and the Romanesque cathedral whose impressive wall-to-wall mosaic floor was created in 1166. We continue on to a local winery for a tasting and lunch then return to Lecce mid-afternoon. Dinner tonight is on your own. Patria Palace Hotel (B,L)
This morning we depart by coach for Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples. En route we stop for a traditional trattoria lunch in the small town of Polignano a Mare. Dinner tonight is on our own in lively seaside Sorrento. Hotel Antiche Mura (B,L)
Today we visit the evocative UNESCO site of Pompeii for a guided tour of the city frozen in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 ce (the city was accidentally rediscovered in 1749). Late this afternoon we gather for a hands-on Neapolitan cuisine cooking lesson, followed by dinner to savor the fruits of our labors. Hotel Antiche Mura (B,D)
Today we travel by hydrofoil to the storied Isle of Capri, a popular resort since Roman times. We explore cozy Capri town; visit the terraced Gardens of Augustus, rich with Mediterranean flora, coastal pines, and stunning views of the azure sea; then enjoy free time for lunch and to explore on our own before we return to Sorrento early afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy this city with views of Mt. Vesuvius as we wish. Dinner tonight is on our own in Sorrento. Hotel Antiche Mura (B)
We embark this morning on a breathtaking drive along the winding, cliff-top Amalfi Coast road. This stretch of terraced coastline from Sorrento to Amalfi has inspired movies, music, and books; indeed, it is one of the most glorious drives in the world. During our leisurely excursion, we make several photo stops along this spectacular, hair-raising coastline, with the dazzling Mediterranean a sheer 500-foot drop below. This afternoon is at leisure; tonight we bid “arrivederci” to Italy and our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner. Hotel Antiche Mura (B,D)
Cost and Details
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle $6,874
New York $6,474
Please call if your city is not listed. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $479, which are subject to change until final payment is made. All tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.
Land Only: $5,795 (transfers not included)
Single Room Supplement: $1,595
Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Premium Economy - $1,595 per person
Business Class - $3,795 per person
Upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change. Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above.
Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; 13 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Call hotels; 26 meals: 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 8 dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Additional Commonwealth Club representative at 15 guests; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication charges; optional sightseeing; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure.
Rome - On Your Own
Cost: $795, per person, based on double occupancy
Single room supplement: $295
Air transportation Naples/Rome; 3 nights’ accommodations at Empire Palace Hotel (Superior First Class); 3 meals: 3 breakfasts; Transfers to and from the airport
This is a moderately active tour and participants must be able to keep up with an active group of travelers. For the safety and enjoyment of each participant and the group, participants must be able to:
- Walk on average 2-3 miles at a steady pace. On this tour, guests won’t be hiking, per se; they’ll be walking in cities and towns and should be able to walk at a steady pace for approx. 2-8 hours.
- Be able to walk on cobblestone, gravel, and pavement. Some of the walking excursions require good balance as you walk over cobblestone sidewalks/roads and uneven pavement. All the visiting cities are approx. at sea level.
- Stand for up to approx. 2 hours at a time each day.
- Walk up and down steep stairs without handrails, without the assistance of another person.
- Get off and on tour vehicles without assistance
Hear from our expert local guides and tour director. Learn from guest speakers along the way.
Terms and Conditions
Cancellations, Refunds, and Changes
If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per-person charges:
Cancel 95 days or more before departure: full refund
Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price
Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price
Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund.
If a guest makes any changes to their reservation within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website
The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.
Health and Medical Issues
We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a reasonable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We regret that most of our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.
Air Transportation – Important Information
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements not use those provided by the tour company, we recommend that you do not do so until making your final payment to the tour company confirming details of your trip’s scheduled departure. However, if you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in this tour.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
The well-being of our guests and staff members on tour will continue to be our highest priority. To maintain a healthy environment for travel, we will be establishing and adhering to a detailed set of health and safety protocols for all facets of your tour. We are committed to following the guidelines of the State Department, CDC, WHO, and authorities of respective countries regarding travel to a particular destination. Detailed protocols for this tour, based on conditions at the time, will be provided approximately 115 days prior to departure.
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. CST#2077973-40
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40