Falling For Italy

Pompeii is the famous home to a ruined city, dug from the ashes rained on it by volcano Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago.


With the summer crowds gone, but the sun and sea still warm and the vineyards laden with grapes, autumn and spring are ideal times for an Italy vacation.

An Italian Sampler Perillo Tours has introduced its off-season Vesuvius Tour, a 10-day journey visiting the sights of Rome, Sorrento, Florence, Naples, Pompeii, Capri and Venice.

This itinerary, which collectively has nine departures from Oct. 28, 2011-April 13, 2012, begins in Rome with a 3-night stay at NH Vittorio Veneto, a four-star hotel situated between the grounds of Villa Borghese and Via Veneto. While in the city, guests will take a tour of Imperial Rome and visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums accompanied by an expert local guide.

En-route to Sorrento, guests will enjoy a full-day excursion to Naples where they’ll be able to explore the San Carlo Opera House and the Angevin Castle, among other sites. Other highlights include a visit to the city of Pompeii, one of Italy’s best-known archaeological sites preserved by the ashes of Mount Vesuvius; a 3-night stay at Grand Hotel Minerva in Florence; and a full-day excursion to Venice, including visits to St. Mark’s Square, the Basilica and the Bridge of Sighs.

Pricing for the Vesuvius Tour ranges from $2,890 to $3,390 pp dbl land-only. For more information, visit perillotours.com/italy/tours-of-italy/index.html.

Exploring Sicily TourCrafters has put together a 7-night land-only tour of this Mediterranean island that starts in Catania every Friday through Nov. 11.

The Sicily Tour Embracing itinerary is priced from $1,235 pp dbl and includes four-star hotel accommodations in Taormina and Palermo, daily buffet breakfasts, five dinners, two lunches, a cooking lesson, a wine tasting, a special lecture on the mafia, sightseeing with local guides, a professional tour director and transportation by air-conditioned motorcoach or minivan, depending on the number of tour participants.

The itinerary takes in the charming resort town Tomaormina, which boasts views of the currently erupting Mount Etna, the ancient city of Syracusa and its Greek ruins, and the hillside town of  Agrigento, famous for its Valley of the Temples. From Palermo the itinerary continues to Segesta and its fifth century B.C. temple and the seaside town of Marsala, known for its sweet wines. Then there’s a tour of Palermo’s palaces and churches, a visit to the 12th century Cathedral of Monreale and its mosaics, and a tour of inland Sicily and the area of Corleone.

For more reservations and more information, call (800) 482-5995 or visit tourcrafters.it.

Just For Travel Agents Travel agents can discover Sicily first-hand with Gate 1 Travel’s 8-day Classic Sicily tour.

Priced from $1,099 pp dbl land-only, this itinerary includes two nights at the Mercure Palermo Centro in Palermo, one night at the Hotel Kaos in Agrigento and three nights at the Sant Alphio Garden in Taormina-Giardini Naxos.

During their visit, participating agents will get a chance to visit Norman Cathedral in Monreale, take an Old City tour of Palermo, enjoy wine tasting in Marsala and explore Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples.

Departures are available Sept. 23 and Oct. 13, 2011, as well as several dates from March-November 2012. For more information, visit gate1travel.com.