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Southern Italy Sampler

10 Days / 9 Nights

Sorrento, Lecce, Taormina, Palermo

Travel and LeisureFodorsUSA TodayNew York TimesNational GeographicWashington PostVogue

How about packing your summer vacation with some romance and exotics? Southern Italy is all about going back to the time where locals still enjoy the slow pace, mainly engaged to pass on “la vita e Bella” lifestyle to the next generations. This version of Italy is all about colorful streets, Mediterranean vibes, extremely rich gastronomic heritage, and unique historical sites. While the North of Italy is highly developed, the South of the country retains a sleepy and authentic nature. This carefully designed South Italy itinerary celebrates the culture of Sorrento in Campania – the ideal base for exploring the Amalfi Coast, the island of Capri, Pompeii, or the ancient Greek site of Paestum. Over in Puglia we've picked centrally located Lecce as your base. Sicily beckons and your time is split between Taormina and Palermo. We invite you to enjoy an exciting choice of activities in all destinations.

The services that we include as a part of our comprehensive travel package include small and boutique accommodation, gastronomy, and other themed private and group tours. All our destinations apart from a short internal flight between Puglia and Sicily are connected with private transfers including stops to visit small charming towns on the route.

In addition to the tours included we can arrange a number of excursions based on your own interests. All of our tours are custom, and this is just a sample meant to give an idea of what our trips are like, and the opportunities our destinations provide.

One of our team members in the region will be available to you leading up to and during your trip to answer any questions and arrange additional local services. You will receive access to your Guest Page, with its information on the best these destinations have to offer, including things to see and do, and other inside tips from restaurant recommendations to tipping advice. Upon your arrival, we will provide you with a local cell phone that you can use to reach your local JayWay contact throughout your trip. In all of our destinations, we offer a variety of memorable 3-5 star accommodation options, including boutique hotels, charming B&Bs, and spacious apartments. With our first-hand experience, we can ensure they are all clean, comfortable, and centrally located, with local ambience.

Route for Sorrento, Lecce, Taormina, Palermo tour

3 Nights in Sorrento

3 Nights in Sorrento

4 days in Sorrento
4 days in Sorrento

3 Nights in Sorrento

The genteel resort town of Sorrento on the southern end of the Bay of Naples is clearly designed for comfort. Complete with a solid portfolio of three to five star hotels, plenty of restaurants and gelaterias it's a typical slice of the Italian riviera. It makes for an easily accessible and affordable base for boat trips to Capri, a visit to Naples, Pompeii and Vesuvius or a jaunt to the other side of the Sorrentine peninsula to the Amalfi Coast. In Sorrento itself you'll enjoy all the advantages of a small town with a sizeable year-round population and a cosy Centro Storico packed with bars, antique shops, churches and grand old palazzos.

The genteel resort town of Sorrento on the southern end of the Bay of Naples is clearly designed for comfort. Complete with a solid portfolio of three to five star hotels, plenty of restaurants and gelaterias it's a typical slice of the Italian riviera. It makes for an easily accessible and affordable base for boat trips to Capri, a visit to Naples, Pompeii and Vesuvius or a jaunt to the other side of the Sorrentine peninsula to the Amalfi Coast. In Sorrento itself you'll enjoy all the advantages of a small town with a sizeable year-round population and a cosy Centro Storico packed with bars, antique shops, churches and grand old palazzos.

Day 1

Day 1 - Arrival in Sorrento

Upon landing at the Naples Airport, our driver will pick you up and take you directly to your accommodation in Sorrento. The drive should take about 1 hour.

Indulge alla Sorrentino

Suggestion to explore on your own

Even though limoncello is the most famous product of this area, there are many other foods and specialties to try in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Some of the most famous ones are Provolone del Monaco di Sorrento, a sort of semi-hard cows milk cheese that has a smooth texture and mild smoky flavors. It goes great with local wines of course! Another must-try are the tomatoes: you can find many different varieties but the best ones are big round ones, used to make the famous tomato sauce. Many recipes in Sorrento have tomatoes as the main ingredient, such as Gnocchi alla Sorrentina - traditional dish made of gnocchi with tomatoes, basil, oil, and mozzarella sauce. Of course, the list wouldn't be complete without Mozzarella! There are many places to try this famous cheese, but our favorite is the Caseificio Apreda Francesco, a traditional producer with different varieties (all very tasty)!

Indulge alla Sorrentino

Day 2

Day 2 - Your First Full Day in Sorrento

Amalfi Coast Private Day Trip from Sorrento

Amazing Amalfi

Included in your vacation package price.

The Amalfi Coast is your oyster today. We'll arrange for an English-speaking driver to pick you up in the morning and remain at your disposal for the whole day, so you can explore at your own pace and really make the most of your time in one of the prettiest parts of Italy.


Activity Level : Moderate
Duration : 8 Hours

Day 3

Day 3 - Your Second Full Day in Sorrento

Small Group Boat Excursion to Capri

Small Group Boat Excursion to Capri

Included in your vacation package price.

Today you'll be embarking by boat for the island Capri. Along the way you'll explore some of the most astounding natural beauties in Italy, including stops for swimming. On Capri you'll have several hours to explore on your own before returning back home. Bring a bathing suit and your camera, because you're really in for a treat!


Activity Level : Moderate
Duration : 7-8 hours

Day 4

Day 4 - Traveling to Lecce by Private Transfer

Today you're crossing "the Italian Boot", from the Mediterranean coast to Puglian Adriatic beauty. Your driver will meet you at your accommodation in Sorrento and transport you comfortably across the width of Italy. On your way, you'll stop at Pompeii, the unique archeological site, where you'll have 2 hours to explore before continuing to Lecce. The total duration of the journey is around 6.5 - 7 hours. Please note that this is a non-guided transfer. We can arrange for a guide to meet you at Pompeii for an extra fee and pre-book your Pompeii entrance tickets too if you prefer.

Lecce by Private Transfer with a Stop in Pompeii

2 Nights in Lecce

2 Nights in Lecce

3 days in Lecce
3 days in Lecce

2 Nights in Lecce

Lecce is the most important town on the Salentine peninsula, the very heel of Italy. The town's rich history, stretching back to the times of the ancient Greeks, is one of the main attractions. The centerpiece of the old town is a 2nd century Roman amphitheater. The amphitheater was only rediscovered in the early 1900s during construction work for the Bank of Italy building and remains half buried. It is now used for concerts. Much of Lecce's historical center's architecture dates from the Baroque period and has earned the city the nickname 'Florence of the South'. These beauties stand in stark contrast to some of the edifices erected during Mussolini's reign.

Lecce is the most important town on the Salentine peninsula, the very heel of Italy. The town's rich history, stretching back to the times of the ancient Greeks, is one of the main attractions. The centerpiece of the old town is a 2nd century Roman amphitheater. The amphitheater was only rediscovered in the early 1900s during construction work for the Bank of Italy building and remains half buried. It is now used for concerts. Much of Lecce's historical center's architecture dates from the Baroque period and has earned the city the nickname 'Florence of the South'. These beauties stand in stark contrast to some of the edifices erected during Mussolini's reign.

Day 4

Day 4 - Arrival in Lecce

Your driver will bring you directly at your hotel in the city center

Cooking Class and Social Dinner Small Group Tour

PSA Lecce: Pasticciotto, Salsa, Antipasti

Please ask your travel advisor for the cost to add this to your package

Being your first night in the city, our suggestion is to start your Lecce experience at one of the excellent restaurants all over the city, serving traditional local dishes. Once you choose your venue, ask for Antipasti della Casa to order an array of local dishes such as cooked seasonal greens, chicory, cheese, and bread. After that, you can continue with local favorites - some pasta (orecchiette is the one you want to go for). At the end of the meal it is typical to freshen up with some negroamaro (a traditional liquor) and a pasticciotto (a pastry stuffed with custard, better known as sweet cloud of goodness).

If you're up for some learning and activity, we can arrange for a cooking class with dinner included. You will learn to make your own pasta (which is quite big in this region), sauces, sweets, and of course, enjoy your homemade meal!


Activity Level : Easy
Duration : 6.5 hours

Day 5

Day 5 - Your First Full Day in Lecce

Lecce Private Walking Tour

Lecce Private Walking Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

Get to know the charming town of Lecce with your local guide. Splendid historic and artistic attractions of the center of Lecce await, spanning through over 2000 years of glorious history and with a spectacular scenic effect. An experienced guide will show you the main attractions of the Roman and Baroque times.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 3 hours

Ostuni, Alberobello, and Polignano Full Day Group Tour

Visit Alberobello Rooftops

Please ask your travel advisor for the cost to add this to your package

Just an hour and a half drive from Lecce lies one of the most famous and recognisable places in Puglia, Alberobello and its surroundings. Known for its unique Trulli dwellings with conical stone rooftops marked with mysterious signs, this is a definite must-visit for any culture and history lover, as well as for fantasy aficionados. Walk among Puglian Trulli, with all the stories they have to tell and try some of the delicious local food. To get there, we suggest renting a car (if you already don't have one). If you prefer not to drive, we'll be happy to arrange for a guided tour there.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 9 hours

Day 6

Day 6 - Traveling to Taormina by Private Transfer

Today our driver will meet you at your accommodation and take you for a comfortable ride. The journey to Bari airport takes about three hours depending on traffic. We'll arrange for tickets on Volotea flight which will take you to Sicily in just over an hour.

2 Nights in Taormina

2 Nights in Taormina

3 days in Taormina
3 days in Taormina

2 Nights in Taormina

Taormina is the most famous destination in Sicily, hosting actors and actresses in an atmosphere of glamor, luxury, and seaside relaxation. We recommend visiting the fascinating Greek theater, nestled in a splendid location with spectacular views of scenic beaches and the snow-capped volcanic Mt. Etna. Then take time for a walk among the picturesque medieval streets and go shopping for local handicrafts, which include coral, lace, ceramics, and sweets.

Taormina is the most famous destination in Sicily, hosting actors and actresses in an atmosphere of glamor, luxury, and seaside relaxation. We recommend visiting the fascinating Greek theater, nestled in a splendid location with spectacular views of scenic beaches and the snow-capped volcanic Mt. Etna. Then take time for a walk among the picturesque medieval streets and go shopping for local handicrafts, which include coral, lace, ceramics, and sweets.

Day 6

Day 6 - Arrival in Taormina

Once you arrive in Catania airport, our driver will wait for you and take you for a scenic one hour drive. Your driver will bring you as close as possible to your accommodation located in the historic center of Taormina.

Taormina at Sunset Small Group Walking Tour

Taormina at Sunset Small Group Walking Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

Admire Taormina in a whole new light with a small group sunset walking tour. You'll experience the unique relaxed atmosphere of the most famous Sicilian resort on this 2.5-hour walking tour, strolling down its magic medieval streets lit with romantic lights. Enjoy the charming scents of citrus and fresh seafood in the air, beautiful sounds of music played on the vivid streets, hear from your guide about the history and culture of Taormina and Sicily itself, and see the important sights. You will end your sunset tour on the terrace of one of the best restaurants in the very heart of Taormina with distinctive view of smoking Etna and illuminated Ionian coastline. You will be offered a glass of Aperol Spritz or wine of your choice, accompanied with light appetizers. 


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 2.5 hours

Day 7

Day 7 - Your First Full Day in Taormina

Private Tour of Mount Etna and Lunch at Etna Winery

Private Tour of Mount Etna and Lunch at Etna Winery

Included in your vacation package price.

During this private tour by comfortable air-conditioned car, you will visit Mt. Etna - the highest active volcano in Europe, and one of the best wineries on its prosperous slopes. This tour includes visiting a local honey farm for a tasting, and a visit to a cave traditionally held to be home to Cyclops. While this tour includes the upper reaches of Etna accessible by cable car, we can include an ascent to 3,000 meters with an alpine guide. After visiting Mt. Etna, your guide will chauffeur you to an excellent local winery. There, the owner will welcome you with a glass of cool white grillo, and take you on a tour. You'll see the vines and cellars as the owner explains how his family has made wine here for generations. Then you will sit on a beautiful terrace with an amazing panoramic view of the Mediterranean, and have a traditionally delicious and hearty lunch of locally produced cheeses, salami, prosciutto, homemade sausages, couscous, mushrooms, vegetables, fresh bread, olives, and homemade olive oil. A professional sommelier will offer you 5 glasses of Sicilian Etna DOC red and white wines.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 7 hours

Food Time in Taormina

Suggestion to explore on your own

Taormina has much to offer in terms of food and wine, so our suggestion for a fun afternoon is a "DIY" food tour with the following stops: Start at Bam Bar for the best granita in Sicily. This traditional Sicilian dessert is a great way to fresh up - delicious crushed ice with fresh-squeezed fruit juice, chocolate or even coffee - they have so many different flavors it will be hard to choose! Our pick for the next stop is La Bottega del Formaggio for some cheese and wine tastings, make sure to try the rich local red called Nero D'Avola. Finish your day with a dinner at Restaurant Baronessa where you can enjoy great food paired with some amazing views and of course pre or post-dinner drinks at Daiquiri Cocktail bar to chill the evening away with a cocktail or a glass of wine :-)

Food Time in Taormina

Day 8

Day 8 - Traveling to Palermo by Private Transfer

Today you'll leave Taormina for the lively city of Palermo. We have arranged a stop at the lively coastal town of Cefalu, where you will enjoy a 3-hour stop for lunch or a refreshing swim. With the stop, your journey takes up to 7 hours.

2 Nights in Palermo

2 Nights in Palermo

3 days in Palermo
3 days in Palermo

2 Nights in Palermo

Palermo doesn’t care if you like it. It’s the capital city of Sicily, and its biggest. Reminiscent in parts of Naples. It's not a place you'll find thronged with tourists, but the locals sure like to be outside. A hub of activity and a gridlock in rush hour and at weekends. Despite the order of the main avenues, the twisting lanes of the Centro Storico provide plenty of opportunities to get lost. Cheek by jowl here you will find grand palazzos (much of European royalty had their vacation palaces in Palermo) and scruffy tenements. Turn a corner in a grungy alley and you’re faced with an ornate fountain or pomp and circumstance statue. All of this provides a rich backdrop to your time in Palermo. Many have come before. The city was founded nearly 3,000 years ago and Palermo has truly been a crossroads of the great civilizations. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Spanish, Bourbon, and finally Italian rulers have held dominion over the city and left their mark. Its international airport and busy seaport make it a great starting or finishing point for an exploration of Sicily.

Palermo doesn’t care if you like it. It’s the capital city of Sicily, and its biggest. Reminiscent in parts of Naples. It's not a place you'll find thronged with tourists, but the locals sure like to be outside. A hub of activity and a gridlock in rush hour and at weekends. Despite the order of the main avenues, the twisting lanes of the Centro Storico provide plenty of opportunities to get lost. Cheek by jowl here you will find grand palazzos (much of European royalty had their vacation palaces in Palermo) and scruffy tenements. Turn a corner in a grungy alley and you’re faced with an ornate fountain or pomp and circumstance statue. All of this provides a rich backdrop to your time in Palermo. Many have come before. The city was founded nearly 3,000 years ago and Palermo has truly been a crossroads of the great civilizations. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Spanish, Bourbon, and finally Italian rulers have held dominion over the city and left their mark. Its international airport and busy seaport make it a great starting or finishing point for an exploration of Sicily.

Day 8

Day 8 - Arrival in Palermo

Once you arrive in Palermo, your driver will take you to centrally located accommodation.

Palermo by Night

Suggestion to explore on your own

First glimpses of Palermo can be quite overwhelming; this loud and colorful city engages all of your senses at once. We suggest starting easy, with a nice drink and a meal in some of our favorite spots. Piazza Olivella (two steps from Teatro Massimo) is one of the main areas for shopping, food, and drinks. A small part of the square, known as the Champagneria, is one of the places where young people hang out. Piazza San Francesco and Via Paternostro are two vibrant areas full of bars and restaurants where you can get a feel for the Palermian way of (night)life. Piazza Sant’Anna is the best square to enjoy a drink in summer and enjoy a favorite local past-time, people-watching, because the bars there put all of their tables outside.

Palermo by Night

Day 9

Day 9 - Your First Full Day in Palermo

Palermo Street Food Group Walking Tour

Discover Palermo on a Street Food Tour

Included in your vacation package price.

You'll meet your guide in the morning to take a three hour walk through the main squares, markets and monuments of the city center to taste the best palermitan street food, before the heat of the day sets in. A well balanced combination of food, art, history and culture. You'll join a like-minded group of travelers, meeting up in one of the city's most beautiful squares. As you stroll through the city's most famous markets your guide will tell you about the history of Palermo itself as well as the various food and drink you'll be sampling along the way. A light breakfast is advised!


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 4 Hours

Shopping like a Sicilian

Suggestion to explore on your own

If you want to do some shopping in Sicily, you've come to the right place! To get you started, we've collected some of the local's favorite places to shop: The best shopping streets are Via Ruggero Settimo, Via Roma and Via Liberta with Corso Alberto Amedeo which is full of small shops and antiquity stores. Real handcrafted ceramics can be found at Via Nicolo Gallo, Via Daita, and Via Isidoro La Lumia. Outdoor markets are among the best shopping places: Ballaro market dating back to the 11th century is mainly a food market. La Vucciria is the largest one, open every day except Sunday. Here you can find food, clothes, shoes, small crafts stores, as well as lots of bars and food places to enjoy a tasty snack.

Shopping like a Sicilian

Day 10

Day 10 - Departure Day

Today your driver will meet you at the accommodation and take you to Palermo Airport. The drive takes approximately 45 minutes.

What's Included

Here are all the services provided as part of your complete vacation package. See what every JayWay trip includes.
Please let us know if you'd like to upgrade any transfers or add any additional tours or excursions to your itinerary.

Sorrento

3 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Naples Airport - Sorrento Private Transfer
Amalfi Coast Private Day Trip from Sorrento
Small Group Boat Excursion to Capri
Sorrento - Lecce Private Transfer With a Pompeii Stop

Lecce

2 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Lecce Private Walking Tour
Bari - Catania One Way Flight
Lecce - Bari Airport Private Transfer

Taormina

2 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Catania Airport- Taormina Private Transfer
Taormina at Sunset Small Group Walking Tour
Private Tour of Mount Etna and Lunch at Etna Winery
Taormina - Palermo Private Transfer with stop in Cefalu

Palermo

2 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Street Food Group Walking Tour, Summer
Palermo Airport Transfer
The package excludes:

  • Flights to and from Europe.
  • Tips for Tour Guides, Drivers and Local Reps.
  • Meals (other than breakfast if included in room rate and meals listed as included in food tours and excursions, unless explicitly stated otherwise).
  • Parking fees for your Rental Car (if you are booking one with us) unless otherwise indicated. Some hotels provide free parking facilities.
  • Travel Insurance. See the insurance link on our website
Benefits of Traveling with JayWay

A JayWay vacation is more than the sum of its parts. Our team work tirelessly to ensure your experience is memorable for all the right reasons. Your trip is personalized to maximize your enjoyment. You're taken care of every step of the way.

A Travel Advisor who speaks your language
We will make sure that all your requirements and interests are taken into account in preparing your itinerary.
A totally tailored itinerary for your vacation
Your trip is customized for you by  an experienced trip planner and an expert on the region.
A choice of hand-picked hotels and excursions
We've personally inspected and tested all the hotels and local tour providers we work with to ensure quality.
Detailed pre-trip preparation to make the most of every day
Your Europe-based Tour Manager will be in touch by email and phone a month before you arrive to finalize timings.
On-trip Concierge Service to smooth out any bumps in the road
Our local staff are at your service throughout your journey via the local prepaid cellphone which we provide.
Personalized Guest Page to make sure you're not missing out
Packed with detailed information and recommendations curated by locals on the best things to do, see and eat.
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