Day 1 London - Rome - Caserta
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Rome. Upon arrival we journey to Caserta and the Hotel dei Cavalieri (4T), where dinner is included this evening.
Day 2 Caserta - Padula - Cosenza - Vibo Valentia
This morning we journey to Padula, to visit its striking Benedictine Abbey. Continuing on towards the region of Calabria, our first stop is Cosenza and away from the busy centre, its old town is perched high on a hill filled with traces of intriguing history. Later this afternoon we arrive in Vibo Valentia, where we check into our hotel for six nights, the Popilia Country Resort (4T), and enjoy dinner each evening.
Day 3 Vibo Valentia
Considered to have been established by the Greeks as Hipponion in the 7th century BC, Vibo Valentia has since been under varied rule, resulting in a mix of historical architecture and style. While here we join a local guide for a walking tour of the highlights including the Norman castle, the cathedral and the National Archaeological Museum, which tells all there is to know about the city’s ancient past. This afternoon we visit a salami producer for a tasting of ‘nduja’ - a spreadable form of the meat made from air-cured salami and hot chillies - before heading to Tropea. We have a short guided tour of this timeless seaside town, before time to explore the maze of pretty lanes yourself. Its clifftop location offers impressive views, and its popular beaches can be reached by steps or a zig-zagging road.
Day 4 Reggio Calabria - Scilla
Our destination this morning is Reggio Calabria, separated from Sicily only by the Strait of Messina. We see the impressive Riace Bronzes - two magnificently-preserved, life-size Greek bronzes of bearded warriors. Cast in the 5th century BC, they demonstrate skilled craftsmanship and reside in the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria. After time to obtain lunch, we stop in beautiful Scilla for a delightful stroll through the quaint fishing village of Chianalea, known as the ‘Venice of Southern Italy. Effortlessly-mesmerising, the village rises up the rugged cliffs from the beautiful sea, forming characterful streets of pretty buildings, delightful cafés and an exquisite harbour. On a guided tour here we also see Ruffo Castle. Later we return to our hotel, with time to relax before dinner this evening.
Day 5 Calabria’s Ionian Coast
The ancient Greeks considered the Ionian Sea of great importance and particularly the Ionian coast of Calabria. Our guided tour today calls at Le Castella, an Aragonese fortress situated on a small peninsula, before continuing to Capo Colonna, a beautiful cape overlooking the glistening ocean. Here, the sanctuary of the goddess Hera Lacinia built in the 6th century BC, once stood and now remains as a single Doric column. Enjoy some time to independently explore beautiful Crotone, before visiting the museum. An afternoon visit to Santa Severina concludes the day with time to visit the medieval castle - boasting grand towers, a moat, and walls decorated in elegant Byzantine, Norman and Suevian styles - and the cathedral.
Day 6 Lamezia Terme - Pizzo Calabro
After a leisurely start, we experience a delicious wine tasting with snacks in the Lamezia Terme region. This afternoon, an adventure down a winding path to the cliff base takes us to the unique Church of Piedigrotta - a spectacular cave church with many statues carved in limestone, and breathtaking sea views. Continue exploring with a walk in the village of Pizzo Calabro, with charming squares and lovely sea views, along with its local style of chocolate and hazelnut ice-cream ‘Tartufo di Pizzo’, which we taste here. Return for dinner at our hotel this evening.
Day 7 Serra San Bruno - Mongiana
This morning’s excursion sees the highlights of Calabria’s central area, with our first stop being Serra San Bruno to visit the museum of Certosa di Serra San Bruno, a monastery founded in the 11th century by Saint Bruno of Cologne. Following this we enjoy a peaceful walk through the village, typical of this area and famous for its mushroom recipes and dishes. This afternoon we visit the charming town of Mongiana, home to a small museum on its history of ironworks, and the Villa Vittoria Park, a picturesque park with many examples of topiary.
Day 8 Vibo Valentia - Altomonte - Caserta
This morning we depart from our hotel and journey back towards the vibrant city of Caserta, calling at the beautiful village of Altomonte along the way. Here we will see the Church of St Mary of Consolation and the Civic Museum. When arriving at Caserta we have time at leisure to explore; perhaps visit the Royal Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site constructed during the 18th century for Charles VII of Naples. The marvellous structure has been deemed the largest royal residence in the world, home to 1,200 rooms, a theatre, library and breathtaking botanical garden boasting exquisite fountains and stunning cascades. We arrive in Caserta, returning to the Hotel dei Cavalieri (4T).
Day 9 Caserta - Rome - London
We transfer to Rome Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.