An Italian Odyssey April 15 - 30, 2020 $4390.00 Per Person
An Italian Odyssey
April 15 – 30, 2020
Few places on earth offer as much incredible history, scenery, culture, food, and ambience as Italy. If you’re looking for the travel adventure of a lifetime come along with Your Man in Europe on an amazing journey that captures both ancient and modern Italy – from the very old in Tivoli and Paestum to the very current and hip Amalfi Coast and Capri – and then on to the marvels of Sicily! Finish your amazing odyssey in “the Eternal City”, Rome. Thrill at your discovery of places in romantic Italy that are too often overlooked on other tours. Even if you’ve traveled in Italy before you will be delighted by the feeling that you’re a welcome guest – not just another tourist passing through.
April 15, Wednesday – Depart the USA on overnight flight to Rome, Italy. Plan to arrive by 10:00 AM on April 16.
April 16, Thursday – International flights arrive at the Rome Airport (FCO). We’ll plan to assemble our group at 10:30 AM at the airport. There our driver will pick us to drive through the Italian countryside to the ancient and enchanting city of Tivoli. We’ll check into our fantastic Palazzo rooms right in the heart of the oldest part of town, and have a light lunch together at an authentic local restaurant. This afternoon we’ll take it easy. There’ll be time to rest and spend some time exploring our neighborhood. But we’ll gather again for a nice Welcome to Tivoli dinner at a very typical local restaurant before turning in for a good night’s sleep
April 17, Friday – After breakfast in an amazing setting we’ll continue our exploration of Tivoli. Our first stop will be very nearby incomparable Villa d’Este, dating back to the 1500s, which is one of Italy’s finest UNESCO World Heritage sites. What stands out most at the Villa are the marvelous gardens defined by terraces, grottos, staircases, grand slopes, pools, and promenades. It all evokes the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, now long lost in antiquity. The intricate water system, with an aqueduct and a tunnel under the city, resembles the highly-advanced engineering of the Romans. The 100 Fountains lining the longest promenade make a breathtaking impression. This stunning display has been a popular background for several films – such as in the banquet scene in William Wyler’s "Ben Hur". In addition to the gardens we’ll explore the magnificent villa itself, with its lavish decorations and impressive art collection.
All that splendor will have made us hungry, so we’ll break for a quick lunch together. After lunch, for those feeling hale and hearty, we’ll venture to Villa Gregoriana, also quite near our palazzo rooms. This huge park is not actually a villa, nor is it a lavish garden, but rather a natural park with hiking trails set among Roman ruins and fabled, legendary sites. Located at the feet of the city's ancient acropolis, the massive project was commissioned by Pope Gregory XVI in 1835 to rebuild the bed of the Aniene River, which had been damaged by a catastrophic flood in1826. The undertaking served to protect Tivoli from future such floods. The site consists mainly of thick woodlands with paths that lead to the caves of Neptune and the Sirens, as well as a series of gorges, cascades, and the Great Waterfall. Plan to get plenty of exercise at Villa Gregoriana!
For those who prefer more level ground, take the afternoon to explore old Tivoli, shop, or just relax at a sidewalk café with a glass or two of the delicious local wine, and just think about your fellow travelers trooping up and down the crags at Villa Gregoriana.
For dinner enjoy one of the town’s many terrific restaurants on your own.
April 18, Saturday – After our fabulous breakfast we’ll head for the outskirts of town to visit the magnificent Hadrian’s Villa. The Roman Emperor Hadrian was a consummate builder who chose the hills of Tivoli for his own residence. Designed in about 117 AD, the vast complex is a monumental living edifice that even today continues to display the lavishness and enormous power of Ancient Rome.
Not only is it a testimony to the power and wealth of the Roman Empire, but it’s a prime example of architectural genius. The symmetries and the interdependence of the structures – connecting one to another via guarded access points created for both the privacy and security of the Emperor – make it clear that, together, they composed a monumental compound that mirrored Hadrian's image as a great and sophisticated man. To show off his tastes and inclinations, he reproduced inside this residence many of the buildings and monuments that had fascinated him during his innumerable travels around the known world. Hadrian’s Villa is one of the finest Roman constructions to be found anywhere.
As the day warms up we’ll return to Tivoli where everyone can have a late lunch on your own, or just grab a snack to enjoy in the courtyard of our palazzo. In the afternoon enjoy some free time – or a nap.
In the evening we’ll get back together for an Italian cooking lesson! We’ll learn some secrets of real Italiano cuisine and prepare our own dinner together, which we’ll enjoy in a private courtyard setting.
April 19, Sunday – Ahhh, another wonderful breakfast! But, sadly, we must move on. We’ll travel by private minibus to the breathtaking village of Civita di Bagnoregio. The little town is perched atop a pinnacle of rock rising high above a deep canyon. Today, the only way in or out is by a footbridge. The main entrance is a huge stone passageway, cut by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago and decorated in the 12th century with a Romanesque arch. Passing through the portal is like entering another world. Inside the gate each lane and footpath holds surprises.
We’ll have some free time to wander followed by a nice lunch on your own at one of the village cafes just off the main square. If ever there was a photo op, this little village is IT.
After our visit to Civita we’ll continue on our journey to fantastic Orvieto. Situated in Tuscany’s neighboring region to the south, Umbria, Orvieto holds a commanding position right on top of a tall plateau of solid rock overlooking cypress-dotted Umbrian plains. The town is virtually traffic-free because of its challenging location, and is most easily reached by traveling up the cliffs on the local funicular railway. In fact, we’ll be riding it to get to our boutique hotel which is located right on the Cathedral Square. Orvieto's fabulous cathedral, begun in 1330, features a beautifully colorful Gothic façade which has been compared to a medieval altarpiece — a gleaming mass of mosaics, stained glass, and sculpture.
After checking into our perfectly-located hotel we’ll see more of the town - and there is a lot to see here. Before dinner we’ll take some time to explore on your own. Like many of Italy’s charming hill towns, Orvieto can be busy with tourists during the day, but it’s lamp-lit, romantic, and quiet after the buses take the day-trippers back to Rome. This evening we’ll enjoy a relaxing dinner together at a delightful local restaurant before heading to bed for a good night’s rest after a busy day.
April 20, Monday – After our breakfast at the hotel we’ll be off on a guided tour of some of the town’s best attractions. After the tour, which won’t cover everything of interest here, everyone will have the rest of the day and evening on your own to explore, relax at the hotel, or find a table and watch the parade of visitors to this magical place. Enjoy a nice lunch on your own today. Maybe a picnic will sound good!
Some of the great things to see in Orvieto you won’t want to miss: Behind the Duomo exists a complex of medieval palaces called Palazzi Papali showing off the city's best religious art. Not to be missed is the marble Mary and Child, dating from the 1300s, who sit beneath a bronze canopy, attended by exquisite angels. A replica of this sculpture fills a niche in the center of the cathedral's façade, where this one used to be located.
Orvieto also boasts an incredible underground world. The town sits atop a vast underground network of Etruscan-era caves, wells, and tunnels. These medieval caves offer a glimpse into how these ancient Italians lived. The most remarkable must-see attraction is St. Patrick’s Well. The well, dug through solid stone, is 175 feet deep, 45 feet wide, has 496 steps down, and amazes modern engineers to this day. Thanks to its natural hilltop fortification, Orvieto served as a 16th-century place of refuge for the Pope. Wanting to ensure he had water during a time of possible siege, he built this extravagant well, with two spiral stairways leading down to a bridge from which people could scoop up water. The double-helix design was crucial for allowing efficient two-way traffic flow. To this very day an Italian saying for very difficult tasks is "It's like digging St. Patrick's Well."
When the tourists have departed enjoy a quiet stroll to savor the pleasures of an Italian hill town as you look for just the right restaurant for a nice dinner on your own.
April 21, Tuesday – Right after breakfast together we’ll board our train to Naples, via Rome. In Naples grab a quick lunch on your own before meeting our driver to make the journey on to fabulous Positano by private van. We’ll be dropped off at our boutique hotel located in the best location possible. From our rooms and the magnificent dining terrace we’ll be treated to unparalleled vistas sweeping across the colorful coastal town nestled in the valley and out over the stunning blue water of the Mediterranean.
After we get checked in everyone will have some free time to explore this unique place – it’s winding hilly streets and alleyways, enticing shops, cozy tavernas, and breathtaking views. In the evening we’ll meet back at our wonderful hotel for a memorable dinner on the terrace with one of the best views of the town of Positano and the sparkling sea.
April 22, Wednesday – After breakfast in one of the loveliest places in the world, we’ll head out for another adventure. This time we’ll board our boat for a short voyage to The Isle of Capri, another of the loveliest places. This unique rocky island juts out of the sea like a gigantic iceberg, but, not icy, is actually like a tropical paradise of blooming flowers and trees. A fragrance of perfume floats in the air.
On arrival we’ll check in to see if we can make the trip to the fabled Blue Grotto. If sea conditions permit, this uniquely Italian experience is not to be missed. In a swirl of happy chaos boats take visitors to the secret entrance to a sea-side cave which, due to an amazing natural phenomenon, is bathed in brilliant blue light. Whether we are lucky enough to see the grotto or not, Capri has many more charms to offer. To see the town, perched on the mountaintop, we’ll ride the funicular railway up the towering cliffs.
The little town is like no place else. You’ll find everything from the most exclusive shops – like Gucci and Hermes – to touristy kitsch outlets; great places to eat - from street food to gourmet restaurants; and, of course, absolutely astounding views in every direction. It’s a free day, so for lunch find just the right little café where you can soak up the atmosphere of this dream-like place.
History lovers might want to make the almost 3-mile trek even further up the mountain to visit Tiberius’s pleasure palace. The Roman Emperor actually ruled the Roman Empire for many years from this citadel. The stories of decadence surrounding this place are legendary.
In the late afternoon we’ll have to board our ferry to return to our other paradise, Positano. Either have dinner on your own at the hotel restaurant or make your way to just the right charming café in the town.
April 23, Thursday – After another breakfast-with-a-view together everyone will have a totally free day to really dive into Positano. You may want to catch the cute little city mini-bus to ride the entire circuit of the hillside town, and then be dropped off right where you started – at the bus stop just down below our hotel. Or you may want to venture down to the beach for an exhilarating swim in the blue Mediterranean. Or you may want to do some shopping, or send some postcards to make everyone jealous. Or you may decide to take Bruno Mars’s advice:
Lunch and dinner will be on your own today.
April 24, Friday - After yet another wonderful breakfast together we’ll take a different sea voyage – this time to an often-overlooked treasure, Paestum. This remarkable place is located just south of the famed Amalfi Coast (where we are staying). The major attractions here are the impressive Greek temples set in a gorgeous archeological park. These massive structures were built 500 years before Christ, and remain as the best-preserved Greek temples anywhere – including Greece! We’ll have lunch together overlooking the monuments.
After lunch we’ll visit the very fine museum featuring a huge array of artifacts found right in the local area. This is one of the very best archeological museums in the world. After our visit we’ll head back to our Amalfi Coast haven by private minibus. Then it’s one last dinner together in beautiful Positano.
April 25 Saturday – After a lovely breakfast on our splendid terrace we’ll have a free morning to do some last-minute shopping or take those last-chance pictures in Positano. After checking out of our hotel we’ll gather for a lunch together in the town. After a nice lunch our driver will pick us up for the journey to Naples. Along the way we’ll stop for a nice tour of fantastic Pompeii. There our expert guide will give us the inside story of this remarkable and iconic destination. After our Pompeii experience we’ll be continuing on to Naples in the early evening.
We will be transported to the dock area in Naples where we will board our overnight ferry to Palermo, Sicily. Our nicely equipped ship embarks at 8 PM. All guests will have an outside cabin (double occupancy – double bed or twin bed rooms). After settling in we’ll have dinner together in the ship’s dining room as we sail to romantic Sicily. Enjoy some dramatic views before turning in for a night at sea.
April 26, Sunday – Rise and shine! We’ll arrive in Palermo at 6:45 AM, and will be invited to leave the ship shortly afterward. It’s a bit early and a little rushed for breakfast onboard, so we’ll wait until we’re on dry land in the city before dropping our bags at our fantastic Olde World hotel, and going out for a wonderful Sicilian breakfast together.
We’ll begin with a leisurely walking tour of the old city – a cultural and historic orientation of our new home-away-from-home. Afterward enjoy some free time before we gather for our first lunch of savory Sicilian cuisine together.
Palermo was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz. Later it became a possession of Carthage, then Greece, and was later part of the Roman Republic and Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule until the Norman reconquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom (from 1130 to 1816), the Kingdom of Sicily and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Frederick II and King Conrad IV. Today Palermo is Sicily's cultural, economic and tourism capital. It is an exciting city rich in history, culture, art, music and food. Perennially numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned delicious cuisine, Gothic and Baroque churches, palaces and buildings, and its nightlife and music.
After our walking tour we’ll return to check into our atmospheric hotel. After settling in we’ll have some free time to explore and have dinner on your own.
April 27, Monday – After a splendid breakfast at our boutique hotel we’ll begin a walking tour, that along the way, will introduce us all to the city’s fabulous street food - followed by a visit to Monreale, a historic hill-town just outside Palermo. It's a picturesque place most famous for the exquisite mosaics in the town's great Norman cathedral. The cathedral and cloisters at Monreale, dating to the twelfth century, are frequently cited as the island's greatest Norman buildings. The upper part of the cathedral's interior is completely covered in gleaming gold mosaics; more than 6,000 square meters of mosaic. They were almost certainly created by Byzantine craftsmen, and the combination of Norman, Byzantine and Islamic art and architecture here is a spectacular demonstration of the influences which created Sicily's most glorious era. Lunch today can be a good sampling of delicious street food during our tour; and dinner will be on your own after some free time back in central Palermo.
April 28, Tuesday – After another nice breakfast we will join a fabulous escorted tour. We will visit one of the top archaeological areas and a medieval town on this tour with a popular licensed local guide. We’ll ride along the beautiful North coast, passing the Golf of Castellammare and the wine producing area of Bianco d'Alcamo. Enjoy the panoramic scenery as we travel to Segesta, which according to local legend is of Trojan origin. Located on an isolated hill called Barbaro, the well-preserved temple and the Greek theater were built in the late 5th century BC.
Then we’ll continue on to Erice, which was a sacred place dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite for the Greeks and Venus for the Romans. Along the way we’ll stop for a nice lunch together.
After nearly a full day of sightseeing we’ll return to our charming hotel to pick up our luggage and go to the docks to board our ship back to Naples on another overnight sailing. We’ll have dinner together in the dining room as we embark for Naples.
April 29, Wednesday – We arrive in Naples at 6:45 AM, and will head for the Naples central train station where we’ll have breakfast together before boarding our morning train to Rome. After settling into our wonderfully-located boutique hotel everyone will have a chance to explore the neighborhood and grab a quick lunch on your own nearby. Some guests will have already visited Rome on previous trips to Italy, but there will be a fun and relaxed golf cart tour that’s sure to go to some places not on the usual tourist route plus some not-to-be-missed sights like the Pantheon.
After our easy-breezy golf cart tour have a nice glass of wine up on the rooftop terrace before we get back together for our “Farewell to Italy” dinner at a charming restaurant right in our little neighborhood.
April 30, Thursday – After a good breakfast at our hotel guests may share a van to head for the Rome Airport for flights back to the USA (Airport transfers not included).
Please Note: For those guests intending to stay in Rome for a longer visit additional tour opportunities area available. Please coordinate with Your Man in Europe as early as possible for help in making arrangements.
What’s in store for us?
This tour is custom-planned for a small group of no more than 10 guests. Even if you are a seasoned traveler, you have never experienced Italy like this. We’re sure the journey will captivate you. You’ll be part of a magical adventure - complete with music, gourmet picnics, and surprises that will delight you at every turn. There are no exhausting bus rides or inconvenient hotels.
This is not a “Big Bus Tour”. There will be no wake-up calls at 5 AM to herd onto the buses. Our travelers will have a friendly, extremely knowledgeable guide for the entire trip – not just a bus driver and hum-drum contracted tour guide. We do our best to set the mood, to weave a spell, and to make yours a total experience. Hotels and most restaurants on the entire tour have been selected for their very specific location or high level of “atmosphere”. The small group size allows us to personalize the experience in a way large groups simply cannot do. We make it easy, comfortable and stress-free. No guest has to worry about the details of where we are going next. You will feel as if you are not a tourist, but a guest of your Italian friends.
This is a complete tour; and the prices are not increased during the trip through unexpected charges for “extra” tours and arrangements you must handle on your own. If there will be any optional tours or activities not included in the cost everyone will be advised well before signing up for the tour. Most meals are included, and those that are not included are detailed in the itinerary.
Your Tour Guide: Larry Ivy is the Tour Coordinator and guide for Your Man in Europe, and a long-time veteran of European travel and unique private tour-leading. Larry wants just one thing: for you to have “the best time of your life”!
Complete Prices for the April 15 - 30, 2020 Tour
$4390.00 Per Person
*All prices are based on Double Occupancy. Single supplement is an additional $565.
A $500 deposit holds your place on the tour. Reservations and deposits for this fantastic opportunity should be made as early as possible, but not later than February 15, 2020. The final balance is due by March 15, 2020. Make checks payable to “Your Man in Europe”. Guests are invited to use our no-interest flexible payment plan.
Deposit and payment checks may be mailed to: Your Man in Europe 2608 S University Drive Fort Worth TX 76109 USA
Or visit "Tour Details" page on this website for information about PayPal and credit card payments.
Tour Includes: Fourteen (14) nights of overnight accommodation (based on double occupancy) in exceptional, very specially selected hotels, all fourteen (14) breakfasts, seven (7) lunches, and eight (8) dinners; all ground transportation (except April 30 airport transfers); First Class rail travel (where available), transfers by modern ferries to and from Sicily, admissions to all attractions described in the tour itinerary, knowledgeable guide services, and standard gratuities. There will be no additional charges for the tours and events specifically included by Your Man in Europe. There may be extra charges for tours not included in the detailed itinerary. These are optional activities.
Not Included: Airfare to and returning from Rome, optional travel insurance, extra beverages (meals will include one beverage and will be budgeted accordingly); a la cart or premium menu selections beyond the established meal allowances; between meal snacks; gratuities for extra services such as baggage porters, or for superior service (normal gratuities are included in the trip cost); souvenirs; and privately arranged activities.
Also: All overnight accommodations, as well as railroad and minibus travel will be NO-SMOKING.
This tour is strictly limited to a maximum of 10 guests travelling together