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Food & Wine:...

Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily

13 days |  15 days with Naples extension
Group size1222 travelers

4.6 star rating

people climbing stairs up to santa maria monastery in tropea italy
red wine being poured into a wine glass
A bucket of fish at an Italian fish market
a row of purple grapes hanging in a vineyard in southern italy
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Eating in this region is truly a Mediterranean experience.

Fresh and bright, Southern Italian cuisine is a direct offshoot of the region’s pleasant weather, Mediterranean influences, and laid-back lifestyle. Long summers bring bountiful tomato harvests—and the red sauces, pizzas, and salads that most diners associate with Italian cooking. On this small group Food & Wine Tour, explore the region’s best tastes in the undiscovered coastal towns and tucked-away villages where staples like olive oil and wine are lovingly produced.

Your tour package includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 5 dinners with beer or wine
  • 3 wine tastings
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Included highlights

  • Baroque Noto
  • Avola wine region
  • Italian contessa dinner
  • Sassi di Matera cave dwellings
  • Campanian cooking lesson
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Start planning today

An expert specializing in tours of this region is here to help.

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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Catania today.

Catania3 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Catania
Included meal: Welcome dinner

Welcome to Italy! Meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Noto & the Avola wine region
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Dinner

Pay a visit to the Baroque city of Noto and the Avola wine region today.

  • Stroll along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, visiting Noto Cathedral
  • Sample Sicilian pastries and chocolate
  • Head to the Avola wine region for a light snack and Nero d’Avola wine tasting
  • Transfer to Azienda Casabianca, home to an Italian contessa, for an included countryside dinner at a Sicilian villa
Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Catania
Included meal: Breakfast

Meet your local guide and set out to discover Catania, which sits at the base of Mount Etna.

  • Discover Catania’s historic city center
  • Explore the world-famous fish market held near the Baroque Catania Cathedral
  • Tour the Museo Storico dello Sbarco, a WWII museum focused on the allied invasion of Sicily

Enjoy a free afternoon in Catania or add an excursion.

Mount Etna Wine Region Tasting & Dinner

From $135 per person

Tropea Region2 nights
Day 5: Tropea Region via Messina & Reggio Calabria
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to Messina and take a ferry across the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria. You’ll explore this coastal city alongside your Tour Director.

  • View the iconic Riace Bronzes inside the National Museum of Magna Graecia
  • Enjoy free time to explore the historic city

Then, continue on to the Tropea region and sit down for an included dinner.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Tropea & Pizzo
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Dinner

Get to know the region on a sightseeing tour led by your Tour Director.

  • View the spectacular Santa Maria dell’Isola monastery perched high above the sea in Tropea
  • Stop for a tasting of local pecorino sheep’s cheese, salami and cipolla rossa, the sweet red onions for which Tropea is famous
  • Continue on to the coastal town of Pizzo to sample handmade gelato

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Matera2 nights
Day 7: Transfer to Matera
Included meal: Breakfast

This morning, pass through the Calabrian countryside to Matera.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Matera
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting

Explore Matera, known as the Subterranean City, with a local guide. (Depending on the season, this may take place on the afternoon of day 7.)

  • Visit Sassi di Matera, the two districts that make up Matera, which are known for their 9,000-year-old cave dwellings
  • Stroll through the Old Town, passing Matera Cathedral and the ruins of Castello Tramontano
  • Admire the architecture in Palazzo del Sedile
  • Step inside the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario and the chiese rupestri, or rock churches
  • Taste regional cheeses and bread at a local shop

Enjoy a free evening in Matera or add an excursion.

Puglia Wine Tasting & Dinner

From $129 per person

Benevento Countryside2 nights
Day 9: Samnium villages & Sannio wine tasting
Included meals: Breakfast, Liquor tasting, Wine tasting, Lunch

Today, discover some of the Benevento region’s flavors on a tour with a local guide.

  • Stroll the medieval streets of Guardia Sanframondi
  • Visit a local bar and enjoy a cocktail of made with Falanghina wine and strega, a famous after-dinner liquor infused with saffron
  • Enjoy a wine tasting and lunch at a farming cooperative, tasting wines the group produces on vineyards in the Sannio region
  • Sample Janare wines with an included lunch

Please note: The order of today's activities is subject to change.

Then, settle in to your agriturismo in the Benevento countryside for the evening.

Day 10: Benevento Countryside via San Marco dei Cavoti & cooking class
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Lunch

Visit the town of San Marco dei Cavoti to learn about the art of chocolate making.

  • Join a local chocolatier for an artisanal chocolate tour
  • Watch a chocolate making demonstration and try a few different sweet treats including Croccantino

Later, learn to craft traditional Campanian recipes in a cooking class followed by lunch at a local restaurant.

Please note: The order of today's activities is subject to change.

Salerno2 nights
Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Benevento & Salerno via Taurasi wine region
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Wine tasting, Farewell dinner

Take a guided sightseeing tour of the Benevento this morning.

  • View the Arch of Trajan and Benevento Cathedral
  • Enter the UNESCO-recognized Church of Santa Sofia
  • Sample ice cream flavored with strega liquor

Then, visit the Taurasi wine region. You’ll walk through a local vineyard to learn about wine production and taste local varietals.

Then continue on to Salerno, a lively port town steeped in cultural tradition, and celebrate your trip during a farewell dinner.

Please note: The order of today's activities is subject to change.

Day 12: Mozzarella farm & Paestum
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, explore the Cilento region, home to the Mediterranean diet, stopping to visit a mozzarella farm and archaeological museum.

  • Tour a local organic dairy farm and savor farm-fresh mozzarella during a light lunch and tasting
  • Travel to nearby Paestum for a guided tour of the Greek and Roman ruins
  • Visit the Archaeological Museum of Paestum to see the famous frescos of the Tomb of the Diver

Raise a toast to your trip as you enjoy a farewell drink this evening.

Flight Home
Day 13: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Naples airport for your flight home or extend your stay to visit Naples.

Extension to Naples
What’s that line that Dean Martin sang? Ah yes... “That’s amore!” He was singing about Naples, of course, and for good reason: There’s so much to love about this second-to-none destination. Discover that feeling while exploring with a local guide and seeking out your interests with the help of your Tour Director.
Naples2 nights
Day 13: Transfer to Naples & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting

After a short ride to Naples, set off on an afternoon tasting tour in the city with a local guide.

  • Walk through Piazza del Gesù to view the Church of Gesù Nuovo
  • Stop at a local cafe to try espresso Napoletano
  • Enter the Basilica of Santa Chiara to see the unique and ornate cloister
  • Step inside a shop to taste the famous Vesuvius chocolate
  • Walk along Via dei Tribunali and enjoy a cuoppo, or cone, filled with fried street foods such as arancini, polenta, croquettes, and vegetables
  • Sample sfogliatella, a flaky pastry, near the Church of San Domenico Maggiore
Day 14: Free day in Naples
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free day in Naples or add excursions.

This evening, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

A Naples Tradition: Neapolitan Pizza

From $99 per person

The Lost City of Herculaneum

From $89 per person

Flight Home
Day 15: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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4.6 star rating

Overall rating 4.6 out of 5

Based on 94 authentic traveler reviews
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    1.0 star rating

    Not worth the money :(
    10/10/22 by 4th-time traveler Megan

    PROS: You're in Southern Italy. It is gorgeous. There was food and wine. CONS: You start in Catania. This city is really run down, trash & graffiti everywhere. Not exactly what you picture when someone says “southern Italy”. We didn’t feel comfortable exploring at all. Ditch this location and eithe...

    Read more +
    EF Go Ahead Tours replied on 1/11/23

    Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear ab...

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    5.0 star rating

    Traveling southern Italy with a fantastic guide.
    10/16/22 by 1st-time traveler Robert

    We have just completed a truly wonderful food and wine tour with our fabulous guide Gabriella. We have traveled throughout Italy on our own before but this tour took us to places we would never have gotten to on our own. Small villages and ancient towns while visiting amazing wineries. Thank you EF ...

    Read more +

    4.0 star rating

    Great adventures
    10/3/22 by 1st-time traveler Susi

    The overall experience was nothing short of fabulous. I could not have asked for a better Tour Director than Eleonora. Our group was wonderful and made new friends. Only one point to note about hotels. The hotels we stayed at where 4 star standard which I appreciate. Wish in some of the locations ...

    Read more +
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    Traveler photos

    Hotels, flights & FAQ

    Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


    We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
    Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
    Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze

    This charming hotel is located on Catania, Italy’s famous Via Etnea. Guests enjoy Sicilian specialties for breakfast, Turkish bath, and gym. Nearby yo...

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    Popilia Country Resort
    Popilia Country Resort

    This elegant hotel is located in Maierato municipality of Calabria. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a restaurant. Nearby, you'll find C...

    Read more +
    Hotel San Domenico al Piano
    Hotel San Domenico al Piano

    This recently renovated hotel is located in the center of Matera. Guests enjoy the quiet and comfortable rooms, the on-site restaurant, and compliment...

    Read more +
    Villa Traiano Hotel
    Villa Traiano Hotel

    This sleek hotel is located in the historic center. Guests enjoy a covered garden, a bar, and WiFi. Nearby, you’ll find the Roman Theatre, the Arco di...

    Read more +
    Lloyd's Baia Hotel
    Lloyd's Baia Hotel

    This seaside hotel is located in the town of Vietri sul Mare. Guests enjoy a private beach, nightclub, and pool table. Nearby, you’ll find the Path of...

    Read more +
    Grand Hotel Oriente
    Grand Hotel Oriente

    This modern hotel is located in the historical center of Naples. Guests enjoy a restaurant, a lounge bar, and meeting space. Nearby you’ll find Castel...

    Read more +


    Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.
    Add our airfare package and you'll get:
    • Round-trip flight for your tour
    • Airport transfers at your destination
    • A great price locked in today
    • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
    • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
    • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
    • Find out more about flights


    Print FAQ
    Passport, visa & entry requirements
    • In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
    • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
    • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
    • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
    • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code TSI.
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    Tour pacing & mobility
    • You will walk for at least 2 hours daily across uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets and paved roads, with some hills and stairs.
    • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the amount of walking on your tour.
    • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
    • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
    • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
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    Transportation & arrival information
    • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Catania and depart from Naples. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
    • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
    • A ferry between Messina and Reggio Calabria is included in the price of your tour.
    • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
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    Baggage allowance
    • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
    • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
    • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
    • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
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    Clothing & packing tips
    • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
    • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
    • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
    • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
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    • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at
    • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
    • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
    • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code TSI.
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    • The cuisine of Southern Italy is often what diners think of when imagining Italian flavors—pasta with tomato sauces, olives and olive oil, zucchini, veal, and fish are all featured prominently on menus throughout the region.
    • Sicilian cuisine in particular is heavily influenced by Spanish, Greek, and Arab traditions. The Spanish brought New World influences to the region in the form of tomatoes, chocolate, and maize, while the Arab influence can be tasted in recipes that include rice, spinach, saffron, and citrus fruits. Regional specialties include arancini, cannoli, and granita.
    • The incredible wine regions of Southern Italy and Sicily grow prized grapes thanks to volcanic soils. Try varietals or blends made with grapes such as nero d’Avola and anglianico.
    • For more authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants set away from the main piazzas. A typical Italian meal includes wines and the occasional beer, followed by a few sips of after-dinner drinks like grappa or limoncello.
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    Electricity & air conditioning
    • Italy operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and use Types C, F, or L plugs with two or three small, round pins.
    • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
    • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
    • Your hotel may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
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    • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
    • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
    • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
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    Time zones
    • Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET).
    • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm on tour.
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    • You will use the euro on this tour.
    • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
    • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
    • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
    • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
    • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
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    • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
    • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $8USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
    • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
    • Tips can only be paid in cash.
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    Purchasing excursions on tour
    • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
    • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions.
    • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
    • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.
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