Dates: October 26 - November 7, 2016
Autumn in Amalfi & Sicily, Italy with Rev. Jay McKell and Elizabeth McKell
A custom designed tour for Village Church and Friends by
Lisa Ball Travel Design, LLC
Tour Dates: October 26 – November 7, 2016
*Itinerary specifics subject to change based on availability of vendors and venues
October 26: Departure date from the U.S. to Rome, Italy
October 27: Arrive in Italy!
A private chartered motor coach will meet our group at the airport in Rome. We will transfer to Sorrento, the attractive and friendly resort town on the Mediterranean coast which will be our home base for the first 4 nights of our tour!
Soon after arrival, a local guide will lead us on a Walking Tour showing us the charms of Sorrento’s city center which ends with a Limoncello Tasting!
Our hotel for 4 nights in Sorrento will be a 4-star property located in the city center with easy walking distance to the many shops, restaurants and views over the bay! Hotel Continental Sorrento is one such hotel offering rooms with terraces, a lovely buffet breakfast each morning, free Wifi and pleasant, comfortable surroundings.
Tonight: Welcome to Italy Dinner at our hotel!
October 28, October 29 and October 30: On the Amalfi Coast
The next three days will be filled with activities associated with seeing the best of the Amalfi Coast region!
Included for everyone while in Sorrento:
- Isle of Capri Excursion – Our tour to this glittering island long fancied by the rich and famous includes ferry boat transportation and admission to the Blue Grotto then time for shopping and having lunch on the island.
- Costiera Amalfitana – A full day driving tour along the spectacular Amalfi Coast which offers one breathtaking view after another. Our day includes visits to enchanting coastal villages such as Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. In these villages you will enjoy time in the cafes, shopping and wandering through historic churches.
Optional Tours and Events while based in Sorrento:
Cooking Class of the Campania Region – Time in a culinary school to create and taste what you make paired with wines of the area! (Note: this will likely be a small group offering)
Mount Vesuvius Excursion and Wine Tasting of Lacryma Christi – Driving and then hiking to the famous volcano followed by a tasting of the unusual white wine grown in the ashes around Vesuvius known as “Christ’s Tears”! (Half-day tour)
The Sorrento Musical – A rousing and fun evening of entertainment in Sorrento featuring Neapolitan folk music and dance along with dinner and drinks! (This could be offered on more than one evening)
Paestum Excursion – Traveling south of Sorrento, this full day trip will visit one of the best collections of Greek temples anywhere plus visit a buffalo cheese farm for lunch!
October 31: The Wonders of Pompeii and Authentic Pizza in Naples
Following breakfast at our Sorrento hotel, a private chartered bus will take us to the evocative ruins of Pompeii in the company of an expert local guide. After our time viewing the well-preserved houses, streets and markets of this once-thriving port city, we will go into the city of Naples and a guide will lead us through the highlights of the Archaeological Museum which houses the finest art and artifacts excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Next, it is time for lunch and what better fare is a true Neapolitan specialty – Pizza! We will savor pizza in its birthplace in a fun and lively setting!
Overnight: We will depart the Amalfi Coast from the port of Naples with accommodations aboard a ship from Grandi Navi Velochi. Hotel-like cabins will be booked and on board, everyone will receive dinner and a light breakfast the next morning.
November 1: Arriving in Scintillating Sicily
With our luggage in tow, we disembark from the ship and board a private chartered bus to discover the vibrant intensity that is Sicily! We first visit the beautiful cathedral and abbey at Monreale, which sits overlooking the city of Palermo and the “Conca d’Oro, the shell-shaped coastal valley beyond the city.
The cathedral at Monreale and its cloister represent the largest concentration of Norman, Arab and Byzantine art in one place. This peaceful place is truly a masterful blending of many cultures.
Following this, we drive along Sicily’s northern coast highway to reach the seaside resort town of Cefalù. In this quaint and popular town, you can walk along its narrow streets, see the beach, shop and have lunch on your own.
Then we continue our drive to the eastern Ionian Sea coast road and make our way to the next hotel destination near the town of Giardini Naxos. For the next 3 nights our accommodations is the 4-star beachfront Hilton Giardini Naxos Hotel. Everyone will have sea-facing rooms with balconies at this distinctive resort hotel which offers a profusion of warm hospitality. Our stay includes dinner each night at the hotel’s La Sciara Wine Bar & Restaurant and a plentiful breakfast buffet each morning.
November 2 and November 3: Discovering the Ionian Coast
One delightful day, everyone will take part in an excursion to the ritzy resort town of Taormina. This town contains unparalleled views over the sea, a collection of ancient Greek ruins including one of the best Greek amphitheatres anywhere, in addition to attractive shops and restaurants once patronized by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Tennessee Williams.
Optional Tours while based in Giardini Naxos:
Another day you will have a choice of optional tours: enjoy a half-day outing to the top of Mount Etna to see Europe’s largest still active volcano or a day trip to the historic maritime city of Siracusa on the southern coastal end of the island. A third option to consider is relaxing at our Hilton Giardini Naxos Hotel, walking along the beach and strolling into the town or indulging in one of the offered spa services at the hotel.
November 4: Journey to Sicily’s brilliant capital city – Palermo
Upon leaving Giardini Naxos, our private bus will take us into Sicily’s interior driving past farms and hill towns. We will stop and tour Villa Romana del Casale, the former luxurious estate of the Roman emperor which contains the finest mosaics in situ anywhere from the ancient Roman world.
Arriving in Palermo, we are taken to our final hotel base for 3 nights, a 4-star property in the heart of this colorful city. One such hotel is Centrale Palace Hotel which was once a former private palace and since the late 1800’s is an outstanding hotel offering a top-notch city center location, free WiFi and delicious breakfasts set in elegant rooms.
November 5: Getting to Know the Real Palermo
Sicily’s capital is full of historic monuments and architecture representing the varied cultures that once thrived here from the Arabs, Spaniards and Normans to the Romans. One example is Palermo’s large and inspiring Cathedral. Today, we will take a Walking Tour of the city’s historic city center which explores these cultures, monuments and architecture and also talks frankly about the Mafia which took root in Sicily. A tour guide from Addiopizzo Travel will lead us through the fascinating streets of Palermo, showing us the city’s history as well as relating stories about the Mafia and the newer civil Anti-Mafia movement. You will meet shop owners who have said “No” to the pizzo and follow the ethical consumer campaign “Pago chi non paga” (I shop where they don’t pay pizzo). Our tour includes Lunch in Antica Focacceria San Francesco, one of the oldest restaurants in Palermo and whose owners had the courage to be some of the first in Palermo to denounce the Mafia.
Following this tour, you will have time on your own to continue your exploration of this enticing city.
November 6: The Richness of Segesta and Marsala
Following breakfast at our hotel, everyone will participate in an exciting excursion taking us to the western coast of Sicily. First, we stop to view Segesta’s ancient Greek temple located in the middle of almost nowhere. This magnificent Doric temple was never completed yet it is an impressive highlight of a large archeological park.
Another stop takes us to the lovely coastal city of Marsala which was founded as a Carthaginian colony in 397 BC and today is the home of the prosperous Marsala wine industry. Here, we will visit one of the more well-known Marsala wine producers, Cantine Pellegrino. At their headquarters we will have a tour of their historic cellars, have a pleasurable tasting at their Enoteca in the Panoramic Towers and enjoy a delicious Lunch prepared for us.
Our last stop today before returning to Palermo is the delightful mountaintop town of Erice. This hill town epitomizes the Middle Ages and comes complete with a castle, fortified walls and stone streets. For the modern-day traveler it is a great town to wander in, to see the valley and seas views below and partake in some shopping therapy.
Tonight: Everyone revels in our Last Night Dinner at our Palermo hotel, toasting the wonders and experiences we have shared in the Amalfi region and in fantastic Sicily!
Autumn in Amalfi and Sicily Tour Inclusions for Everyone from Lisa Ball Travel Design (LBTD):
- Round-trip airfare to/from Kansas City to Rome, Italy and from Palermo, Italy back to Kansas City. Please note: with advance notice, the tour director can arrange flights for travelers from other cities to the U.S. gateway city and/or a return to another U.S. city (note: additional charges may apply)
- Comfortable and competent ground transportation aboard private chartered motor-coaches and passage on a reputable overnight ferry cruise (includes airport transfers and ferry crossing from Naples to Palermo)
- Hand-selected hotels in Sorrento (4 nights at a 4-star property in the city center); one night aboard the cruise ship from Grandi Navi Velochi from Naples to Palermo; in Giardini Naxos (3 nights at the 4-star Hilton Giardini Naxos Hotel); and in Palermo (3 nights at a 4-star property in the city center)
- All Taxes and Gratuities applicable to airfare, hotels, ground transportation and group meals; all gratuities for hired guides and bus drivers; and all daily City Taxes collected by the hotels
- Porterage will be included at all hotels
- Sight-seeing venues and excursions included in the base tour (based on availability):
In the Amalfi Region: Walking Tour of Sorrento and included Limoncello Tasting; Excursion to the Isle of Capri; Day Trip and Drive along the Amalfi Coast with visits to villages Positano, Amalfi and Ravello; Excursion to Pompeii with local expert guide, and visit to Archeological Museum in Naples and Lunch at Naples Pizzeria; Overnight Ferry Cruise from Port of Naples to Port of Palermo
In Sicily: Visit to Cathedral and Abbey at Monreale; Visit to Cefalù; Excursion to Taormina; Tour of Villa Romana del Casale; Tour of Palermo’s City Center with Addiopizzo Travel and Lunch; Excursion to see Greek temple at Segesta, Tour, Wine Tasting and Lunch at Cantine Pellegrino in Marsala; and Visit to village of Erice
- Optional Tours: Various Optional Tours will be offered throughout the Tour to enhance your experience. The full menu of choices will be available later in 2015
- Meals: All meals included as part of the international flights: Dinner & Breakfast on the going and Lunch on the return (3); All Breakfasts at each of the hotels and on the Grandi Navi Velochi Overnight Cruise (11); Welcome Dinner at Sorrento Hotel; Lunch at Pizzeria in Naples; Dinner aboard the Grandi Navi Velochi Overnight Cruise; Dinner 3 nights at the Hilton Giardini Naxos Hotel; Lunch in Palermo as part of the Addiopizzo Travel Tour; Wine Tasting and Lunch at the Cantine Pellegrino; and Last Night Dinner at the Palermo Hotel – 23 total meals
- Whisper System: Throughout the tour, each traveler will have the use of an audio headset device which will allow you to hear any of our tour guides anywhere!
Projected Base Tour Cost: $5,100 – $5,500 per person based on double occupancy. Land only pricing and the single supplement cost will be communicated to those interested.
Deposits and Payments: A deposit of $500 per person will secure your spot on this tour due immediately at sign-up.
Monthly Payment Plan: Convenient monthly payments will begin July 1, 2015 through April 1, 2016. Your deposit goes toward your base tour costs. Please follow this schedule:
July 1: $500 per person December 1: $500 per person
August 1: $500 per person January 1, 2016: $500 per person
September 1: $500 per person February 1, 2016: $500 per person
October 1: $500 per person March 1, 2016: $500 person
November 1: $500 per person
April 1, 2016: Your final payment will include any remaining amount owed to the base tour costs plus any Optional Tours you elect to purchase.
You may also pay in larger sums if you wish, making fewer payments. However, if you participate in the monthly payment plan, please make your payments on or before the due date. Please note: if you join the tour after July 1, 2015 when the monthly payment plan kicks in, you must pay your initial deposit of $500 per person plus any monthly payments that have occurred to catch up.
Final Base Tour Cost: This amount will be set once we know the airfare cost. The tour director will communicate this cost to you as soon as it is possible to do so.
Payment Options: Lisa Ball Travel Design takes personal checks made out to Lisa Ball Travel Design, Credit Card Payments: Or, you can make payments using VISA or MasterCard via PayPal through the Lisa Ball Travel Design website: www.LisaBallTravelDesign.com and click on the Pay Now button. Please note: PayPal charges a 3% transaction fee so you must increase your payment amount by 3% to cover this fee. A monthly payment via PayPal would then be $515 per person.
Travel Insurance: Please note: Tour costs do not include travel insurance as this cost is based on the traveler’s age. If you have a pre-existing health condition and you wish to obtain travel insurance, you must do so within two weeks of paying your deposit to LBTD. LBTD’s airfare expert, Deborah Mason is authorized to sell Travel Guard; her phone number is 816-453-7062. This is one source of reputable travel insurance. AAA Travel also sells travel insurance through Allianz.
Cancellation Policy: If you must cancel your participation with this tour please note April 1, 2016 is the tour cut-off date. Canceling before April 1, 2016, LBTD will cheerfully refund your deposit and any monies you have paid prior to this date. Canceling on April 1, 2016 or after, your deposit will automatically be retained. LBTD will try, as a courtesy to travelers, to reimburse other tour costs though this amount will depend on the cancelation date. There is no guarantee of a reimbursement. If you cancel the tour and you have purchased travel insurance, LBTD will work with your insurance company to provide the necessary paperwork so you can receive a reimbursement from the insurance company. Please note: there are some tour costs which affect the cost of others going on the trip and these costs are not refundable. This includes the ground transportation costs, hiring of guides, group meals, and sight-seeing venues where fixed, timed tickets have been purchased. Due to their specialty nature, there can be no refunds on Optional Tours.
Tour Documents: All participants in this tour must fill out a Passport Information document; complete the Personal ID form giving LBTD known information on your basic health condition, any known allergies, food/diet restrictions and your emergency contacts; and sign and date the Tour Waiver form. These documents are due to LBTD by September 1, 2015.
Needed Documents: A valid U.S. Passport – please check your passport’s expiration date. Your passport must be valid for at least three (3) months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area though six (6) months are recommended.
Movie Nights & Tour Meetings: A series of fun movies nights and informative tour meetings will be offered beginning later in 2015 and into early 2016. These gatherings are optional though provide a great way to meet your fellow travelers!