- David’s Blog
My Best of Southern Italy tour takes you to many off-the-beaten path regions still untouched by the tourist frenzy. You’ll begin by settling into Rome with an afternoon stroll and traditional dinner. Then, we’ll head cross country to the Gargano Peninsula and the Adriatic Sea. In the Puglia and Basilicata regions, enjoy unique ancient dwellings, boat cruises, fortified castles, delightful dinners and fine wine. Back across the boot, you’ll visit historic sites such as Paestum and Pompeii and then finish up on the amazing Amalfi Coast for some fun in the sun.
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Rome - 1 night
Gargano Peninsula - 2 nights
Ostuni - 2 night
Matera - 1 night
Salerno - 1 night
Sorrento - 3 nights
Naples - 1 night
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Exploring Europe – 4036 Hidden Acre Rd. – Middleburg, FL 32068 FAX 800-570-1351
DAY 1: BUON GIORNO A ROMA! – Let’s plan to meet in our hotel lobby at 2:00 p.m. for introductions and a tour overview. Then, we will set off to explore some of Rome’s hidden neighborhoods and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Later, enjoy a grand “welcome to Italy” dinner at a favorite restaurant. Sleep 1 night in Rome. Walking: moderate. Dinner.
DAY 2: VILLA ADRIANA AND THE ADRIATIC – Leaving the busy streets of Rome, we will head west to Tivoli and Villa Adriana. It was here that Emperor Hadrian built a beautiful countryside retreat in the 1st century A.D. Then we will drive across “the boot” to the remote Gargano Peninsula, an area still unfamiliar to most Americans. We will set up for the evening at our beachside hotel and enjoy dinner in a nearby restaurant. Sleep 2 nights in Vieste. Driving: 6 hours. Walking: moderate. Dinner.
DAY 3: CRUISIN’ AND CHILLIN’ – The Gargano Peninsula is loaded with soaring cliffs, serene coves and mysterious caves. Today, you’ll get a chance to experience all this from sea level on an Adriatic cruise (weather permitting). Later, enjoy the remainder of the day in Vieste just chillin’ in a café or soaking up some sun on the beach. Cruise: 4 hours. Walking: your choice.
DAY 4: CASTEL DEL MONTE – The Norman castle of Frederick II dominates the countryside from its hilltop perch in a remote area of Puglia. The castle was built in an octagonal shape with an octagonal tower on each of the eight corners. It is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in southern Italy. Later, enjoy a walking tour in nearby Bari visiting the old town and its beautiful Basilica di San Nicola. Afterwards, we will proceed to nearby Ostuni. Sleep 2 nights in Ostuni. Driving: 3 hours. Walking: moderate. Dinner.
DAY 5: LECCE AND OTRANTO - Today’s tour takes us to Lecce, also called the “Florence of the South”. The magnificent baroque buildings, palaces, churches and the ancient amphitheater make this city truly unique. Later, enjoy a taste of the local wine in nearby cave. In Otranto, enjoy a seaside town way down in the “heel” of Puglia. Otranto’s most important attraction is the 12th-century mosaic in the town’s Romanesque cathedral. Enjoy the remainder of the evening back in Ostuni for a little exploring on your own. Driving: 3 hours. Walking: moderate.
DAY 6: TRULLI AND SASSI - Heading west enjoy a scenic ride through the Basilicata region. We’ll visit Alberobello with its unique cone-shaped “Trulli” houses made of stone. Then, assist at a typical pasta making demonstration, here we will see how the locals make the famous “orecchiette pasta” followed by lunch in a typical masseria. Later, arrive in Matera with its famous “sassi” houses. This city, considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, was built into the hills and ravines made of soft tufa stone. The local people carved their homes right into the “sassi” or stones, where they lived in cave-like homes. Sleep 1 night in Matera. Driving: 3 hours. Walking: moderate. Lunch.
DAY 7: CAMPANIA AND SALERNO – It is a beautiful ride through the lush green mountains and countryside down to the Campania region. Here you’ll visit an organic water buffalo farm which produces the famous mozzarella di bufala cheese and later, enjoy a lunch featuring their cheesy products. Nearby, we’ll visit Paestum, a collection of three of the best-preserved Greek temples in Europe. We’ll settle in for a relaxing evening in Vietri and an enjoyable dinner together. Sleep 1 night in Vietri. Driving: 5 hours. Walking: moderate. Lunch and Dinner.
DAY 8: THE AMALFI COAST- Today we will drive along the stunning Amalfi coast. You’ll have an opportunity to visit and walk the streets of Positano, characterized by narrow alleys and steep staircases. In Amalfi enjoy the Cathedral, the bell tower and the “Paradise Cloister”. The highlight of our day will be Ravello. The little village is located higher up in the mountains affording breathtaking views of the coast. Finally, we’ll arrive in tranquil Sorrento for a relaxing dinner. Sleep 3 nights in Sorrento. Driving: 4 hours. Walking: your choice. Dinner.
DAY 9: POMPEII – We’ll begin the day with a visit to Pompeii, the city that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 B.C. Our local guide will help interpret the life and times of these people before and during the volcanic eruption. Back in Sorrento, enjoy the remainder of the day and evening to poke around Sorrento on your own. Driving: 1.5 hours. Walking: strenuous.
DAY 10: SORRENTO AND CAPRI – There are no sightseeing plans for today. We’ve left it free for you to make some discoveries on your own! Your guide can help arrange an optional trip to nearby Capri Island where you can see the famous Blue Grotto, visit hilltop Anacapri and hop-nob with the rich and famous. Or simply spend the day enjoying Sorrento on your own. The choice is yours!
DAY 11: NAPLES – No trip to southern Italy is complete without a visit to Naples where you’ll visit the bustling city and experience the local way of life. Then you will see the greatest treasures of Pompeii now housed in Naples’ National Archeological Museum. Here too, see the “Farnese Bull,” the largest sculpture ever recovered from antiquity. After a bit of free time on the streets of Naples we will take part in a pizza cooking class in an authentic Napoli pizzeria. We’ll cap off our tour experience with a farewell dinner consisting of our handmade pizza! Sleep 1 night in Naples. Driving: 1 hour. Walking: strenuous. Dinner.
DAY 12: THE TOUR CONCLUDES AFTER BREAKFAST – We’ll get you to the Naples airport if needed. From there you can head home or enjoy more of Europe. Your guide will be happy to assist with your post-tour travel needs, leaving you all set and prepared for the adventures ahead. Ciao e buon viaggio!
This itinerary is subject to change.
Transportation provided by coach or minibus from your Rome hotel to the airport in Naples.
11 nights’ accommodation in centrally located hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs. All rooms have private en-suite baths.
All tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, restaurant and hotel staff.
Guaranteed Small Group with no more than 24 travelers.
All breakfasts and seven of your dinners or lunches.
Traditional and gourmet dining experiences at some of David’s personal favorite restaurants. Eating well is a priority and you’ll enjoy fine regional fare featuring the best each locale has to offer.
Water is included with all group meals. Sodas, wine, beer and other drinks are your responsibility.
All tours and admissions at no extra cost: Guided walking tours in Rome, Bari, Ostuni, Lecce, Matera, Sorrento and Naples; Guided tour and entrance fees of the Villa Adriana in Tivoli, Castel del Monte, Pompeii, Paestum, and the Naples Archeological Museum; Gargano Peninsula cruise; wine tasting in Puglia and more!
A fulltime Exploring Europe guide and local experts dedicated to bringing to life the art, history, and culture of the tour destinations.
David’s printed tour handouts detailing each day’s historical and cultural experiences.
Free luggage tags and David’s custom-designed drawstring backpacks.
Our Unconditional Tour Price Guarantee that once locked in will never change.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance providing full coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the moment you depart for your tour.
$50 Tour Alumni discount for each David McGuffin tour you’ve taken prior to 2018.
$100 discount if making all payments by check, cash or bank draft. The $400 initial deposit may be made by credit card and still qualify for this discount.
Single rooms for solo travelers are available for an additional cost of $735.
Walking and Physical Activity: We have planned this trip to provide maximum tour experiences by foot, boat, and vehicle. The basic nature of Europe does require some degree of physical activity to get out and see the sights, especially in the countryside. To help you plan, we’ve included a daily projection of physical activity. Here is our key for our walking activity ratings:
Light – Walking done on level surfaces with some small hills and elevation gains. In most cases, the bus will drop-off and pick-up at nearby locations. Two miles or less of required walking during the day.
Moderate – Walking done on paved and gravel paths. To enjoy the full tour experience, some up and down hill walking is to be expected. Four to five miles of walking per day.
Strenuous – Walking done on rugged and rocky paths with some steps and stairs. Up to six miles of walking per day.
Your Choice – No matter what your walking ability, we will help you find alternative ways to enjoy and experience all Europe has to offer. To get the most out of our tours you should be able to operate at the light level everyday with spurts of moderate and strenuous.
THE ESSENCE OF ITALY & TUSCANY VILLA EXPERIENCE - My husband and I just finished up our second Italy tour with David and were delighted every step of the way. David takes a personal interest in those that travel with him which makes traveling abroad a great adventure! The places we've eaten as well as the hotels have all been top notch. David provides a wealth of local knowledge and his relationship with the local people allows you to experience the best of cuisine and wine. All of the details are taken care of so you can focus on a stress-free vacation. I highly recommend and look forward to our next European trip! - Tammy, Middleburg, FL
A CUSTOM DESIGNED ITALY TOUR - We were on the shadow tour of the Niceville Singers choir. It was the best trip ever! They made our trip enjoyable and easy. We met some amazing people and Charlotte and David were so knowledgeable everywhere we traveled. My husband is an airline pilot and I was a flight attendant. We have been to Europe many times. We went to places and restaurants on this tour I did not know existed!!! Not only were the places amazing but we enjoyed getting to know Charlotte and David. Such a fun couple!! We will definitely be taking another trip with them!!!!- Tammy, Niceville, FL
A CUSTOM TOUR TO ITALY - Best food, never felt unsafe, had an authentic experience, and loved began able to experience so much in such a short amount of time. He can really tailor an experience to your interests and what you would like to do! Highly recommend. - Courtney, Middleburg, FL
THE BEST OF GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND – David’s tour ran very smooth. Great hotel rooms with breakfast each morning. He gave informative tours of the cities and areas we visited and then we had time on our own to visit in more detail or go shopping (my favorite activity anywhere). David was happy to stop along the way for photo opps and rest stops. We did check out some new sites with him. Each day was an adventure filled with great food, wine, and sites. Loved every moment of the trip. Planning next adventure with him now. –Elizabeth, Orange Park, FL
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN GERMANY & AUSTRIA – This was my 5th tour with David to Europe and he never disappoints. This trip was different than the rest because it was focused around the Christmas markets…nevertheless, I had a fantastic time! David always finds a great balance of hitting the mandatory “touristy” locations and allowing us the freedom to go off on our own and explore the cities we’re visiting. – Tom, Atlanta, GA
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-DUBLIN – The diversity of our group form the newbie teenagers to the well-traveled ladies was great. I learned so much from both. Very thoughtful when coming to issues of courtesy to our hosts, money, customs of the country. David’s calmness was greatly appreciated. Walking right in line, not having to buy tickets was a great plus. Your guides of Dachau and the Louvre were right on and helped to make the visit much more enjoyable. Packing light paid off. I am glad I did not have to lug a lot of baggage the whole time. We had talked about wifi for the bus as a potential plus. Having brewed coffee and a refrigerator was great (on the bus). Newsletter good for whetting the appetite for traveling. More Museli! Never can get enough of it. The dining was all good. Nothing can replace the time at K&K in Salzburg. The restaurant was empty. Just a few people sharing food and conversation. The food was the icing on the cake for a wonderful experience all around. Salad with huge slices of parmesan cheese. Sea bass that was exquisite and apple tart. Trying to serve a group of 26 effectively is difficulty. I saw the waitresses really working to serve us well. Thanks again for an awesome trip. – Kent, St. Johns, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE – All meals were very good (much better than meals experienced on river cruise after tour with David.) Swiss dinner in Salzburg was favorite evening meal. My favorite was dinner in Salzburg with small group (not included in tour) Picnic in park at Eiffel Tower was unique & something not normally offered by tours. – Ramona, Sarasota, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE –Well worth the money spent!!! We enjoy going with David on trips, because we KNOW the food will be GREAT & the hotels will be nice! Really enjoyed the time in the “Paris neighborhood” where we shopped for our picnic. The cheese shop was amazing, as was the aged Sheep’s milk cheese from France that we purchased there! – Laurie, Jacksonville, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE- The entire tour was an awesome experience! The organization, events, destinations, accommodations were all great and I believe the only way to tour Europe! Although each day we kept saying “It just keeps getting better”, I’d have to say that Paris was the best as there was so much to see and experience and the food was very good. I was very impressed with the amount of information David shared with us daily and how knowledgeable David is regarding each of the countries and the sites that we visited. – Donna, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Now that you’ve decided to join this tour, we are sure you’ll have some questions. Don’t worry, we are here to help you through each aspect of your tour from start to finish.
Join David as he shares impromptu moments from his travels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Watching these short 60 second segments are a great way to experience David’s travel style and adventures. Watch David’s Explore Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
David and his team have answered many travel related questions and they are all tucked away on his blog. But, no need to go there, just type in a keyword in the search box at the top or bottom of this page (it’s the gray rectangle with a small magnifying glass icon) and you will get results for your query.
David’s newest blog describes his personal adventures in Europe, timely information and travel hints.
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