• The South: Sicily & Apuglia: My Private Services

    In addition to private transfers, and customized services, a listing of my more popular private tours in Sicila & the up and coming region of Puglia.

  • Note: Private tours that do not include transportation can always have transportation and drivers added at additional costs. In addition I can arrange private boat, yacht and charter services for full days or multi days.

    Agrigento the Land of Gods - 8 Hours [Sicily]

    Typically, this tour would begin from your hotel in Palermo, but please contact us to see how tour can be operated from your hotel in Sicily (if not in Palermo). With your private driver, you’ll head south out of Palermo down the temple complex outside of Agrigento. Where you’ll meet with your English-speaking expert local guide who will tour this UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered the best-preserved Greek temples in the world. You’ll visit the Valley of the Temples, with its classical Doric structures that date from the 5th century B.C. Built in a straight line on a ridge parallel to the sea, they are hauntingly beautiful, especially at dawn and twilight, or at night when they are illuminated. Although the temples are in various states of ruin, the most intact, the Temple of Concord, has 34 exterior columns still standing. Colossal statues once stood between the columns of the massive Temple of Jupiter, one of which has been reconstructed and is now on display in the nearby Archaeological Museum.

     

    Agrigento has a special place among classical sites in the history of the ancient world because of the way in which its original site, typical of Greek colonial settlements, has been preserved. The temples on site include the Temple of Hera Lacinia (Juno) and fortifications, Temple of Concordia, Temple of Heracles, Temple of Olympian Zeus among others. Return to Palermo or hotel in region at conclusion of day trip.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local expert English speaking guide & all transportation

    Catania - 3 Hours [Sicily]

    Starting with your local expert English speaking walking guide at the Roman Amphitheatre in the heart of Catania. It was built using basaltic dark lava stones, at a lower level than the baroque town. You will enjoy a special baroque atmosphere strolling Catania at your own pace through its elegant streets & piazzas, and splendid churches. Your expert guide will also introduce you to three thousand years of foreign domination on the island.

    You will see archaeological finds showing you the layers below the baroque town, dating all the way back to the Roman period, the University Palace with its lovely courtyard (not on Sundays) decorated with Etna pebble mosaic, The Cathedral (a fortress church), two of the "Seven Doors" protecting S. Agatha's treasure and the famous "candelora" (weighing around 2.500 pounds-1 ton, 200 kg), in full silver sculptured by hand and carried on people's shoulders all around the town during the patron saint's celebration week.

     

    You will also see the Ursino Castle, where Frederic the second lived and finally admire an abundance of quaint shops, boutiques, great restaurants, very tempting cafeterias, with unique Sicilian ricotta or almond and pistachio cookies or traditional ice-creams (the first one in history was produced in this province).

     

    Before finishing the tour, you can't miss a visit of "Pescheria", the open fish market which reminds us of an African souk.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local English-speaking expert walking guide

    Highlights of Palermo & Monreale - 4 Hours [Sicily]

    Enjoy a private guided tour with a local expert guide in Palermo and a driver. You’ll go through the different areas of Palermo to view its various architectural styles, that consist of Art Nouveau, Baroque, Arabic & French Norman. Along with seeing its more important sites: Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria, & the Massimo Theatre. Palermo is going though a rebirth, and is becoming revitalized with new art galleries & restaurants. It's a charming city where the air smells of sweet pastries, backstreets open onto pretty squares and mosaic churches found throughout.

    Visit inside the imposing Palermo Cathedral, which at one time was a mosque & view its Arabic, Gothic and Baroque influences. Then with both your driver & guide you’ll head out of Palermo and drive to Monreale to see its famous 12th century splendid Duomo, considered to be the finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily. Its dazzling interior is almost completely covered in gilded mosaics, the work of Byzantine artisans. You’ll be able to survey Palermo from up here.

     

    The Duomo and cloisters of Monreale are frequently cited as the island's greatest Norman buildings. They date to the twelfth century, when the Norman ruler William II, known as William the Good, founded a Benedictine monastery here; this Duomo was its abbey. In competition with the great cathedral being built down in Palermo, Monreale's Duomo was finished rapidly and extravagantly; William wanted this to be an important royal church where he and his successors would be buried, though these plans didn't last beyond his own burial.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local expert English speaking guide & all transportation

     

    Alternate Version of this tour:

    Palermo - 4 Hours - walking tour: (without Monreale)

    Mt. Etna - 6 Hours [Sicily]

    A Full day excursion with a private driver from Taormina. This morning your driver will meet you at your hotel to begin the day of touring. You’ll have an incredible excursion to Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, (as well as one of the worlds). You will have a pleasant drive through the countryside & mountain villages to Rifugio Sapienza, where you will see the evidence of the eruptions of 1982, 2001 & 2002.

     

    From there, you’ll take the cable car up to La Montagnola (8250 ft.), where you’ll meet your alpine licensed guide, and travel by off road vehicle through the eerie lava-scape to the top of the crater (9,500 ft.). Together you’ll walk to the crater edge to see the lava. A light lunch (NOT included) can be enjoyed at Rifugio Sapienza. Your Mt. Etna Tour can be extended to include volcanic vineyard and tastings!

     

    Mt. Etna is a stratovolcano & it has been erupting for thousands of years and continues to erupt today. However, this is not its most famous feature. Mt. Etna contains a six-story Caldera that was created by the collapse of part of the volcano during an eruption in 472 CE, which collapsed around 5,000 years ago forming a large crater at the summit.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local expert English speaking alpine guide & all transportation, including cable car cost.

    Mt. Etna & Taorimina - 9 Hours [Sicily]

    Tie together our Mt. Etna tour, with a visit of Taormina with a local guide. This tour is best operated from starting in Taormina at your hotel. Today you’ll have an incredible excursion to Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, (as well as one of the worlds). You will have a pleasant drive through the countryside & mountain villages to Rifugio Sapienza, where you will see the evidence of the eruptions of 1982, 2001 & 2002.

    From there, you’ll take the cable car up to La Montagnola (8250 ft.), where you’ll meet your alpine licensed guide, and travel by off road vehicle through the eerie lava-scape to the top of the crater (9,500 ft.). Together you’ll walk to the crater edge to see the lava. A light lunch (NOT included) can be enjoyed at Rifugio Sapienza. Your Mt. Etna Tour can be extended to include volcanic vineyard and tastings!

     

    Mt. Etna is a stratovolcano & it has been erupting for thousands of years and continues to erupt today. However, this is not its most famous feature. Mt. Etna contains a six-story Caldera that was created by the collapse of part of the volcano during an eruption in 472 CE, which collapsed around 5,000 years ago forming a large crater at the summit.

     

    Upon returning to Taormina this afternoon, you’ll meet with a local expert guide, who with you’ll enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the sites and charm of beautiful Taormina. You’ll see the Greek Theatre atop Taormina, the little piazzas and centro of the village, and its public gardens. Taormina is the pearl of the Mediterranean. Its idyllically perched on a rocky promontory high above the sea and has been the most popular tourist destination in Sicily for a several hundreds of years, ever since it became an integral part of the Grand Tour of Europe. Beautifully restored mediaeval buildings, breathtaking views around every corner and a network of winding streets strewn with shops, bars, and restaurants.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local expert English speaking alpine guide & local Taormina guide + all transportation, including cable car cost.

    The Godfather: Savoca & Forza d'Argo - 7 Hours [Sicily]

    Savoca is a hilltop medieval village perched on a hill overlooking the Ionian coast in Sicily. Savoca is famous for being the filming location of several scenes of The Godfather movie by Francis Ford Coppola.

     

    Today’s tour begins in Savoca. This tour can start for several different hubs in Sicily, please enquire with us where our driver should pick you up. Upon arriving in Savoca the tour will begin by visiting this small but very interesting town. First, we must see the Bar Vitelli! Where you can sit down and taste the fresh granita, while thinking back that this was where Michael Corleone asked Apollonia’s father for her hand in marriage. After which a short walk through the narrow streets you’ll come to see the wedding church where they got married, named San Nicolo. Also, in Savoca is a Cappuccini Cloister, where there are some mummified monks and nobles.

     

    Moving on from Savoca we will visit the town of Forza d’Agro, this charming small village overlooks stunning Taormina. Forza d'Agro is famous as the filming location of The Godfather movies, and we will visit the locations in the village.

     

    Inclusions: Private transportation [Optional local guide at additional cost]

    Taormina - 2 Hours [Sicily]

    Taormina is a beautiful and charming coastal village in the hills eastern Sicily. It was once an ancient Greek town, renowned for its incredible position above the sea on a spur of Mount Taurus. Today enjoy a leisurely walking tour of this magnificent village & it’s beautiful views as we stroll the elegant corso with its bustling cafes & boutiques, of which run off intriguing little stepped streets; admire the medieval churches; and learn the history of its most famous site, the spectacular Greek Theatre, that sits stop the village & the inspiration for many writers, artists, and musicians. With awe inspiring views looking out over the Straits of Messina, the Ionian Sea and as well the active volcanic Mt. Etna.

     

    Inclusions: Local expert English speaking walking guide

    Siracusa - 8 Hours [Sicily]

    Today you will visit Siracusa (Syracuse) which was found in 734 B.C. by colonist from Corinth. Enjoy your private driver & expert guided tour today with pickup in Taormina or in region, as we drive south to the southeastern end of Sicily. Here we will arrive in Siracusa, it was a major sea power of the ancient world & the location of a sea battle where the Athenian fleet was sunk offshore in (one of history’s greatest maritime battles). The ancient Greek famous mathematician Archimedes was born in Siracusa, and the once Greek city reached its zenith under the rule of Dionysius. There are two main sites you’ll see with your guide today. The first is the offshore beautiful island of Ortygia, where you’ll enjoy a walking tour of its medieval structures including the 7th century cathedral which was built over a Greek temple, the pillars of that temple were incorporated into the church. Then we continue our tour to see the Neapolis archaeological zone. Where you’ll see the stupendous Greek theater from the 5th century B.C. that was able to seat 15,000 people. In antiquity it had great international fame and prestige being the most important building for shows of the Greek-western world. We will visit the grotto named the Ear of Dionysius because of its unusual acoustics & also see the 2nd century A.D. Roman amphitheater where gladiators once battled.

     

    Inclusions: Private local expert English speaking guide & all transportation

    Matera - 4 Hours [Puglia]

    Perhaps you seen Matera in the latest install of James Bond films ‘No Time to Die’, or perhaps you knew about Matera before that, today in your half day tour you’ll see this incredible place in eastern Italy. Matera was labelled the Europe Cultural Capital in 2019, and today Matera is a pride of Italy, but in the 70’s Matera was known as the “shame of Italy”. Your private guided walking tour today will have you walk through the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano. These two "rocks" are crossed by a valley and give an amazing overlook of the surrounding area: the "Murgia". We also include a tour of Underground Matera to admire the city that sits under the actual one and the waters running thru.

    Very comfortable shoes mandatory, walking difficulty is medium-high.

     

    Matera, Italy is home to the Sassi, a fascinating cave-pocked region of the country. While it used to be a highly populated area, it has since fallen into disrepair with only a small fraction of the people returning to the caves after their cave houses were razed in 1962. Matera is so stunning that it has been dubbed the Sassi capital of the world, after its main district.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local English-speaking expert walking guide

    Lecce - 4 Hours [Puglia]

    Enjoy your private guided walking tour through Lecce, known as the Firenze of the South for it’s beautiful Barocco style architecture that is seen all over the city. Your guided visit will tour through the history of Lecce and its symbols (churches, monasteries, palaces, squares, castle): from the Roman domination (when it was called Lupiae) to the Barocco style.

     

    During the tour it will be possible to stop for shopping (typical hand made products, a papier-mâché workshop, food, etc.) Lecce is an experience of wandering narrow streets of golden sandstone, piazzas, beautiful baroque churches & more. The Baroque architecture here is so unique, so beautiful, elaborate, and lyrical that it is known as “Barocco Leccese”. There are countless chapels and churches, vast palazzi carved from this soft, local, golden limestone (pietra Leccese) which through the ages local artisans sculpted to decorate the facades throughout the city.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local English-speaking expert walking guide

     

    Bari - 4 Hours [Puglia]

    A private guided walking tour of Bari, today enjoy with your local guide you’ll discover the old town and the Murat district (the "new" town built in 1813 during the French domination by Gioacchino Murat).

     

    During the guided visit you will see the Basilica of S. Nicola (one of the most beautiful examples of Romanesque architecture in Apulia), the cathedral of S. Sabino, the Swabian castle, the Fortino di Sant'Antonio Abate, Piazza del Ferrarese, Piazza Mercantile and the old port. You will enjoy the experience of Arco Alto e Arco Basso where there are some old ladies making and selling orecchiette (homemade typical pasta).

    You will also see some very interesting palaces (some of them are of liberty style in architecture) in the Murat district these include: the Palace of the Aqueduct, Petruzzelli Theatre, Fizzarotti Palace & Mincuzzi Palace.

     

    Bari holds the typical Italian mix of old-world charm with modern touches. Many of the buildings in the city center date back centuries, including the original medieval walls that once surrounded all of Bari, has an antique feel to it.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local English-speaking expert walking guide

    Castel del Monte - 5 Hours [Puglia]

    Best seen as a 5-hour tour experience from Bari or Trani with your private driver and local guide, other starting locations can be considered, please contact us to enquire. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel, and along with your local expert English speaking guide you head to the impressive Castel del Monte. In 1996 UNESCO added the castle to its world heritage sites. It is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Southern Italy. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II built many castles in his beloved Puglia, but this one is the most famous one. Driving through the Apulian countryside with its old olive trees and vineyards we will pass the outskirts of Andria and finally reach the hill where Castel del Monte is situated, which is visible from miles away.

     

    Your guide will then walk you inside the eight interconnected chambers of each one of the 2 stories; from the terraces one can see miles away, easy to understand why it was such a great strategic advantage during the Middle Ages, as you could see enemies approaching from all sides.

    Learn of the many legends based on the castle’s features having to do with the number 8 including, an octagonal shape, an octagonal courtyard, 8 octagonal towers, 8 rooms at the ground floor and 8 rooms at the first floor. The shape, however, doesn't make it look like a castle, as it lacks the original elements that are necessary for proper defense: it has no ditches, no drawbridge, no basement, but very large, marble-covered rooms, worthy of a lavish royal residence...

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local expert English speaking guide & all transportation

    Salento: Gallipoli & Nardo - 9 Hours [Puglia]

    Salento is known to many as the heel of Italia & today from your hotel in Lecce your driver will pick you up and enjoy a visit of multiple destination on the Salento peninsula. This is southern Puglia and visitors travelling through this area could take several days to see everything there is to see down here. We’ve built a detailed full day itinerary that highlights the region. As we start with your local expert guide & driver in Lecce, you will drive along the coastline to see the beautiful so called “Maldives of Italy” an amazing sandy stretch of coastline that runs between Torre San Giovanni & Gallipoli. Upon reaching Gallipoli itself, where we will then admire this Grecian colony, with its lively atmosphere, The Gallipoli Castle, the baroque cathedral of St. Agatha’s, the magnificent Chiesa della Purità richly decorated with stuccoes and huge paintings. The old town centre sits on a tiny island connected to the mainland by a 17th century bridge. It is almost fully surrounded by defensive walls, built mainly in the 14th century.

     

    The east side is dominated by a robust fortress dating back to the 13th century, but largely rebuilt in the 1500s when the town fell under Angevin control. The island heart of Gallipoli is home to numerous impressive Baroque churches and aristocratic palazzi, a testament to the town's former wealth as a trading port. A labyrinthine weave of narrow streets all eventually lead to the broader sea-front promenade with its wonderful views.

    The art and history of the itinerary continues to our next stop Nardò with its Piazza Salandra (one of the most beautiful piazzi in Italy) before heading back to Lecce.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private local expert English speaking guide & all transportation

    Salento: Otranto & Castro - 7 Hours [Puglia]

    Salento is known to many as the heel of Italia & today from your hotel in Lecce your driver will pick you up and enjoy a visit of multiple destination on the Salento peninsula. This is southern Puglia and visitors travelling through this area could take several days to see everything there is to see down here. We’ve built a detailed full day itinerary that highlights the region. As we start with your local expert guide & driver in Lecce, you will drive to reach the lovely village of Castro, known as the pearl of Salento. Castro occupies a promontory that plunges to the sea and is backed by hills. This setting of green hills, whitewashed buildings & sapphire water is captivating. Here we will have a stop to have a leisurely coffee at one of the bars in the charming old port before visiting the Grotto Zinzuluse. Which is decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, and even an internal lake.

     

    As we leave Castro, we will take the coastline road that will give you amazing views of this rocky side of Puglia. We will then reach the lovely town of Otranto to spend a couple of hours rolling thru the quaint streets, shops, have a seafood lunch and to admire the Fortress. Otranto is one of Puglia's most charming towns and worth the visit today. Its imposing castle, thick perimeter walls and robust towers dominate most of town, giving way to a small port & a series of sea-front promenades with excellent fish restaurants and the town's very own beautiful white sandy beach. After a nice lunch here lunch you’ll be taken back to Lecce.

     

    Inclusions: Private local expert English speaking guide & all transportation

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