By: Maya Keith, Travel Consultant
Bonjourno! The Sicily and Southern Italy with Trafalgar tour provided me with insights in to the Italian language, culture, history, food, and their beautiful amazing landscaping and coastline.
Our Italy with Trafalgar tour started with an evening orientation drive through the city to see St. Peter’s basilica in the Vatican City, an independent state with some of the world’s most extra-ordinary art and antiques. This day ended with a welcome reception where we had an opportunity to meet and greet our fellow travelers at a lovely, underground, carved rock restaurant.
Day two of the tour departed Rome to Sorrento. On our way to Sorrento, we stopped at a small town called Cassino at the Cassino War Cemetery. This is the burial site to thousands of British and Commonwealth Soldiers who died during the Italian campaign in World War II.
Our next stop was the fascinating city of Pompeii. Our Local Specialist took us on a walking tour of the excavations buried under a layer of volcanic ash from Vesuvius, which erupted in 79 AD. Pompeii was so much fun, informative, and fascinating.
My favorite part was learning about the history of how they ran this incredible city. For example, the roads were designed to stop flooding and also had symbols engraved in the stone as a built in GPS system—incredible! The view of this city below was breathtaking. We then departed Pompeii and headed to the beautiful city of Sorrento.
One word to describe Sorrento: PERFECT! The view is out of the world!
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The evening included a cooking lesson on how to make gnocchi (Italian pasta) in five minutes from scratch at an Italian restaurant. After we prepared the gnocchi, it was cooked and served to us. The pasta was delicious and the staff was also amazing. Our evening ended with some great music and entertainment, with two girls performing the Terantella dance. It was fun!
We spent the next two days in Capri and the Amalfi Coast. It was a glorious beautiful during our time there. Our tour took a boat to the island of Capri. This tour showed us the coral reef, the color of the water (turquoise waters), white Grotto, rocks in the ocean and houses on the mountains with spectacular cliffs. In a James Bond film, 007 sails through the very hole in the rock in this photo (above), and we got to do the same! We all felt like we were James Bond at that moment.
We then had some free time to explore Capri. We took the funicular railway train to the top to enjoy a nice handmade oven baked pizza at an Italian restaurant. The pizza was outstanding. There is a lot of shopping in every corner. I also participated in an optional excursion to the famous Amalfi Coast and Positano. The Paradise of Positano city is magnificently positioned on the Mediterranean coast.
On day five, we headed to Taormina, on the slopes of Monte Tauro, overlooking the sea. There, we spent several days sightseeing. We also took a walking tour to see the Greek Theater and the sub-tropical terraced gardens. There were splendid panoramic views across the bay. After the tour, we spent a couple of hours shopping for souvenirs and handmade items.
The Be My Guest experience by Trafalgar was out of this world. We visited Maroia Marano’s wine farm at the foot of Mount Etna.This is a family run business, and everything from the wine, food, and appetizers were so delicious.
We viewed Mt. Etna from the City of Savoca. It is the largest active volcano in Europe. Savoca city is also where The Godfather was filmed.
Our amazing tour ended after 3 days in Palermo. Our Tour Director took us on a panoramic drive through the verdant forest with spectacular views over the city of Palermo. Palermo, the Sicilian capital, is known for having the most famous and colorful markets, with its stalls full of olives and spices.
Italy with Trafalgar will completely change how you appreciate beauty, great food and the people that you meet on a daily basis. It was completely a new experience for me, and I brought back great memories, ancient Italian history, culture, and pasta-making skills, in a very short time. I also made a lot of great friends from all over the world.
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