South Italy: Cities & Countryside

13-Day Northern Italy Holiday Itinerary - Italy

Prices from £898 pp

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Duration13 days / 12 nights (flexible)


ItineraryNaples - Sorrento - Maratea - Ostuni - Salento - Brindisi

Suitable for families

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Explore the Amalfi Coast on your vespa, meander past ancient cave dwellings in Matera and learn how to make pasta in the Italian countryside: on this journey you cross southern Italy from west to east. You’ll spend the night in special locations, such as in a cone-shaped trulli house, a cave house or on an old olive farm. End your trip on the most beautiful sandy beaches Italy has to offer.

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Excursions as described below
  • Car hire and insurance – prices may vary depending on departure dates

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Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Lemons & Lava

Today you’ll arrive in Vico Equense, a suburb of Sorrento, where the rooms of your hotel are spacious and the pleasant sea breeze blows in off the Gulf of Naples. If you need to freshen up after the drive, float in the swimming pool as you look out over bay and the Vesuvius volcano. There’s a free shuttle bus to take you to the centre of the city, where you can have a bite to eat in the evening or just walk the streets to the Piazza Tasso.

the sun sets on a harbour

Rise early the next morning, as there is a lot on your doorstep. First, drive to the ruins of Pompeii, where you will find one of the best preserved remains from the Roman Empire with streets, temples, fountains, and frescoes all intact. After lunch, it’s time to drive to the volcano and if you’re lucky, you’ll have fantastic views over the Gulf of Naples. After a hearty breakfast the following morning, you’ll head to Gelateria David, a local ice cream parlour. Time to make and taste the famous ice cream with Mario, the owner. He’s full of passion and loves to tell everyone about the special ingredients and techniques. After the demonstration, you’ll get to make your own ice cream and before you leave, you’ll be given a certificate that contains a secret recipe for real homemade Italian gelato and limoncello.

a woman near some ruins

Pristine Maratea

You’ll arrive in Maratea today to find picturesque villages atop rocky cliff faces rising from the sea and small, hidden beaches. Maratea is known for its coves, beaches and breath-taking views. Your hotel has an outdoor pool for you to cool off in with magnificent views of the sea and it’s just a fifteen-minute walk from the beach. In the evening, enjoy delicious food in the restaurant of the hotel, where the cook likes to combine specialties from the sea and the mountains.

a town in the hills

The next day you’ll explore the nature in the area by getting in the car and heading to Mulino, where you will find an untouched valley that is crossed by the Mulino River. This is the spot for your next adventure. Put on your wetsuit and helmet and crisscross through and along the river, working your way down the beautiful valley and taking a refreshing dip in a 30m high waterfall. The following day, you can choose to do nothing or stroll through the villages and appreciate the laid-back local lifestyle. Maratea is also known as ‘the city of 44 churches’. These churches are beautifully lit at night and open to the public.

a group jump into a river

Olives and Orecchiette

Today you’ll arrive ready for a special stay. Sleep in a typical cone-shaped trullo near Ostuni. The roofs of these whitewashed houses are often decorated with primitive or magical symbols, whilst inside it is surprisingly spacious. The trulli are located on a hill with a beautiful view and have a swimming pool, with a terrace tucked away between the olive trees. Its central location in the valley makes it perfect for you to easily explore the area.

a town with cone houses

After breakfast this morning, you can either head out to explore the white town of Ostuni or you can decide to cycle through the olive groves. In the afternoon it’s time to dive into the kitchen for a workshop, where you learn how to make your own orecchiette, a small pasta that is reminiscent of auricles in shape. You will be introduced to the secrets of kneading dough and shaping the ‘ears’. At the end of the workshop, enjoy your homemade dishes all washed down with a good glass of local wine. The next day you can burn off some of those home-cooked carbs and explore the surrounding area. The north of Puglia is greener and hillier than the south and you will find plenty of olive groves here.

a town up a hill

Carpe Diem in Salento

Today you’ll travel to Salento, the land of two seas. On one side of this peninsula is the Adriatic coast with its rugged cliffs and small pebble coves, along with quaint fishing villages and the ruins of watchtowers. To the west lies the Ionian coast with long white sandy beaches and azure blue water. You will stay in an old masseria (olive farm) that has been converted into a B&B with a comfortable room, a swimming pool and a beautiful roof terrace. The masseria is centrally located and within half an hour you can reach various beaches.

large rock formations in a turquoise sea

Time to explore the landscape of Salento. It may be relatively bare and flat, but it is the sandy beaches and blue water that steal the show, and you have plenty of choose from. We will arrange a sunset cruise on day two for you. Sailing from the port of Gallipoli, at Torre Pali, you’ll pass an island with ancient ruins and spot the medieval tower off the coast. Then you’ll sail further on to Santa Maria di Leuca, the cape that separates the Ionian from the Adriatic, for sunset and a few sundownders.

a woman walking on a sandy beach with the sea in front of her
David smiling

Speak to our Italy specialist, David

"Italy is a food fest! I absolutely loved the Italian cuisine before I visited Italy and even more so when I left! Having lived in Rome, I can give you insider tips to make your holiday a truly memorable one."

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