A fully escorted tour from Brisbane by Leo Scanlan, Tour Leader and former RGSQ President.
This exciting 16-day tour takes in much of the central and south eastern portion of Italy focusing on Umbria, Marche, Puglia, and Campania. During the course of this BELLA ITALIA tour we will explore magnificent landsapes, historical cities and villages, art and architecture, food and wine, and, of course, the wealth of culture for which Italy is so famous.
While we have endeavoured to put a geographical bent to our itinerary, it is almost impossible to overlook the historical background of many of the places we will be visiting, some of which date back over the past 2000 years.
As you can appreciate, this part of the world is steeped in history and it would be difficult to cover every aspect of what you can expect to see. The emphasis on this tour is the more provincial parts of Central, East and Southern Italy with the Island of Ischia off Naples something different to cap off our journey.
I hope you can join us as we explore the magic of BELLA ITALIA.
What's Not included:
Booking & Enquiries
$10,945* per person twin share, single supplement $2,263*; $500 deposit ** per person required to secure booking.
Bookings: RGSQ Office phone (07) 3368 2066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Register your interest and we will keep you up to date with news about this tour
Enquiries: for details about the tour, contact the Tour Leader, Leo Scanlan 07 3343 4398 or email email@example.com
*Please note, the price will cover return airfares ex Brisbane. Surcharges will apply for alternations to air arrangements. Itinerary subject to change. Prices may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency rates change. Payments by credit card will incur surcharge. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information at the time of publication, RGSQ cannot accept responsibility for the errors, changes, omissions or for descriptions which have been supplied by third party providers. Tour departure is subject to a minimum number of bookings. Flights and accommodation are subject to change and availability.
Bella Italia Itinerary
[Click on each day for more detail]
Day 1: Brisbane - Rome, 21 Sep 2019
For those arriving on the group flight we will be transferred to our accommodation where we stay one night. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner in your hotel. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers. (D)
Day 2: Orvieto, 23 Sep 2019, 2 nights
Travelling north our first stop will be at the remarkable medieval city of Civita di Bagnoreggio. This ancient town sits incredibly perched on a rock pinnacle in a giant crater and is linked to the outer rim via a raised stone pedestrian walkway. Dating back to the 7th century, the town is a delight and the views are stunning. Inside town you will find an intriguing Geological and Landslides Museum, which documents the efforts over the years to shore up the village's eroding hillside. Later we continue to the famous town of Orvieto, perched high on a hillside, where we stay the next 2 nights. Dinner tonight is outside of town in the 7th century La Badia Abbey. But first a welcome drink on the Abbey terrace. (B,D)
Day 3: Orvieto, 24 Sep 19
This morning we are joined by a local guide for a walking tour through the streets and alleys of ancient Orvieto. The exterior of the Cathedral is an incredible work of art. We have included entrance fees. Later we have included lunch in Il Labirinto Di Adriano - a special restaurant with a secret entrance into…. This will be a surprise. Part of your afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps visit the 16th-century Pozzo di San Patrizio (St Patrick's Well). 248 steps wind down past 70 windows, you go down one ramp, and come up the other on a double helix spiral ramp. Later that afternoon we have included a guided tour deep underground to explore the Etruscan caves and cisterns. Your evening is at leisure. (B,L)
Day 4: Montefalco, 25 Sep 2019, 2 nights
Next we venture into the hills of Umbria and the wonderful walled town of Spoleto. Medieval Spoleto is easily explored on foot. There are numerous Romanesque churches and cobbled stone alleyways lined with shops, bars and trattorias. Later we continue to the hilltop town of Montefalco where we stay the next two nights. (B,D)
Day 5: Montefalco, 26 Sep 2019
Today we visit the pretty town of Spello. A highlight will be visiting the Santa Maggiore church to see the magical frescoes of Pinturicchio. Later we will also visit the bustling town of Bevagna and enjoy a tasting of one of the regions specialities – salami! Since this is a prominent wine region we just have to complete the day in a nearby winery sampling the local produce. (B,D)
Day 6: Ascoli Piceno, 27 Sep 2019, 3 nights
First stop today will be at the spectacular Cascata delle Marmore. Built by the Romans this 2,000-year-old waterfall is the highest man-made waterfall in Europe and intriguingly even has an on/off switch to control waterflow. We now step back in time and drive into the wild Apennines of the Abruzzo region and the hilltop town of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, in the province of L'Aquila. Deserted for many years, we have time to explore the centuries old, crumbling buildings, scaffolded alleyways and towers before enjoying a light lunch in a renovated cantina. What an experience! As a finale we climb up to cross the famous Gran Sasso plateau, known as Italy's "Little Tibet", in the MontidellaLaga National Park. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Ascoli Piceno, 27 Sep 2019
This morning we are joined by a local guide for a walking tour. Dating back well over two centuries, the massive Piazza del Popolocentral square, resplendent with travertine marble, is generally recognised as one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, if not all of Europe. This compact city is bursting with colonnaded walkways, Roman antiquities, churches, palaces and, remarkably 50 stone towers still exist. The highlight of your tour will be visiting the glorious Duomo. The mosaics and shimmering blue roof are stunning, as is the 900 year old crypt beneath. The rest of your afternoon is free in this gorgeous town. There is so much to see and enjoy. Dinner has been included tonight. (B,D)
Day 8: Ascoli Piceno, 28 Sep 2019
Today we visit one of the little gems of Le Marche – the lovely little 'lace town' of Offida. One of the 'Borghipiù belli d'Italia' – most beautiful villages in Italy, this was one of the most important lace making towns in Italy, and on a warm day you will still see ladies sitting in their doorways using bobbins to make intricate lace garments. The medieval church of Santa Maria della Rocca (church on the rock) impressively sits perched on a craggy rock outcrop. We have included entrance to the catacombs with their 13th century, time worn frescoes. There is also a lace museum and a highlight will be the visit to the quaint 19th century opera theatre. An absolute delight! Lunchtime will be enjoyed at leisure in the seaside resort town of Grottammare, on the Adriatic, before we return to Ascoli. This evening we have included a real treat as we dine at CaffèMeletti, looking down directly on the beautiful polished marble main square. This period-piece restaurant still retains the traditional, fashionable décor of over a century ago, and even brews its own aniseed liquor! (B,D)
Day 9: Alberobello, 28 Sep 2019, 3 nights
Heading down the East Coast we will visit the Castel del Monte. UNESCO listed this octagonal medieval castle was built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick the Great. We continue deep into the Puglia region to the remarkable city of Alberobello where we stay three nights. This is one of the most unusual towns you will ever see. The whole city centre is a mass of whitewashed 'bee hive' type houses called 'Trulli' which date back hundreds of years. Puglia is known as Italy's bread basket and is also justifiably famous for its olive oils, wine and local produce. Dinner tonight is included in a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 10: Alberobello, 28 Sep 2019
This morning we are joined by a local guide who will take us on a walking tour of this remarkable 'bee hive' town. In the afternoon we will enjoy a relaxing tasting of local wines. The rest of your afternoon is at leisure before dinner in a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 11: Alberobello, 29 Sep 2019
Driving down into the Salentine Peninsula – the 'heel of Italy' – we spend the morning exploring the city of Lecce on a walking tour with our local guide. Dating back to the early Greek empire, the city boasts numerous baroque monuments and also has a Roman Amphitheatre on the central square. Later we visit 'La Città Bianca' (the 'white city') of Ostuni. Perched on a hill, with views down over the coast, we enjoy time at leisure amongst the winding streets and white washed alleys. (B,D)
Day 12: Matera, 30 Sep 2019, 2 nights
This morning we have included a special visit to explore the Grotte di Castellana. These are Italy's largest caves system and, with its famous Grotta Bianca (White Grotto), they are a visual feast! Lunchtime will be spent in Polignano a Mare, where the whitewashed buildings perch atop cliffs over the sea. Crossing to the 'ankle' of Italy we reach the extraordinary city of Matera. On arrival we visit the MurgiaTimone, a huge rock plateau riddled with ancient man-made stone caves or 'Sassi', to take in the views directly over the 'la Gravina' ravine to the old town. Reputed to be the oldest inhabited settlement in Italy, your view encompasses rock churches and numero. (B,D)
Day 13: Matera, 1 Oct 2019
This morning we are joined by a local guide who will show us around this extraordinary town from the ancient rock hewn churches to the baroque city above. We have included entrance fees to view the rock wall frescoes in the church of Madonna de Idris and San Giovanni. Entrance fees are included. Your afternoon is free to relax and explore before dinner. (B,D)
Day 14: Naples, 2 Oct 2019, 2 nights
Crossing Italy we reach the Neapolitan Riviera. Here we join a local guide to visit the ruins of ancient Herculaneum. Destroyed in 79 AD Herculaneum is much better preserved than its more touristy cousin Pompeii. Easier to visit, and boasting original wooden artefacts, and complete buildings, this site provides a deeper impression of Roman life in that ancient era. We will stay the next 2 nights in Naples. What a city – some call it Italy's hidden masterpiece. Once run down and often derided Naples has now cleaned up its act and redefined itself. It is bursting with castles, palaces and squares, plus there is also a revitalized sea front, excellent shopping and of course it is home to the country's best pizza and pasta! (B,D)
Day 15: Naples, 3 Oct 2019
Today will be a major highlight as we catch the ferry across Tyrrhenian Sea to the delightful island of Ischia. A local guide will meet us on arrival in Ischia and accompany us on a tour around this beautiful island. After time for lunch, we explore the world-famous gardens – the Giardini la Mortella. This evening back in Naples, we have included a Farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day 16: Transfer to Rome Airport, 4 Oct 2019
This morning we drive north to Rome and where we say farewell to you at the airport. (B)
Alberobello in Puglia, Italy