9 Days: Central to Southern Italy
A series of unique and unforgettable experiences will take you off the beaten track in Italy, to a world where time is on your side and culture is on your doorstep, all drawn together by common threads of a pure authenticity, complete exclusivity, and genuine hospitality.
- Luxuriate in a stay at a renovated 12th century castle in beautiful Maremma in Tuscany
- Enjoy intimate cooking classes with Tuscan recipes and wine tastings or learn how to make Pecorino cheese!
- Experience the genuine hospitality of Bernalda’s people, untouched by tourism, that makes every guest feel like a local.
- Delight in the cuisine, wines, and history of the Basilicata region – visit ancient wine cellars and historic, fortified farms, or participate in intimate cooking classes!
Discover the central and southern regions of Italy, from picturesque Tuscany, the “green heart of Italy” to the sensuality of Basilicata in the small hilltop town of Bernalda, as you travel on our 9-day Leonardo da Vinci itinerary. You’ll travel back in time to an Italian heyday – the 18th and 19th century rite of passage “The Grand Tour.”
DAY BY DAY
Day 1 ~ Arrival – Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany
From Rome or Florence, take a private transfer north to Castello di Vicarello, a 12th-century castle in the Tuscan coastal region of Maremma (2 hours 30 minutes).
Depending on your pick up time, en route you have option to stop for lunch and enjoy a short visit of Capalbio. Also known as “little Athens,” Capalbio is reknown across Italy for its preserved medieval atmosphere and enviable beauty. This small medieval village lies in the heart of Maremma, set amidst lush green fields and shrub forests like an island, looking out onto the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Etruscans and Romans both left traces, as did Emperor Charlemagne in a.d. 805 when he donated Capalbio’s castle to the Abbazia dei Tre Fontane (Abbey of the Three Fountains) of Rome.
At Castello di Vicarello, history lives on each path, in each stone, and every wall sings a song of the ancient past. A stay at the Castello is truly the experience of a lifetime, a destination for all seasons. You’ll spend your days here luxuriating on the property, or exploring beyond. The towns of Grosseto and Siena are nearby, offering the opportunity to explore the surrounding Tuscan landscape and culture.
The kitchen is always open to guests: central to the castle’s intimate house-party spirit, this stone clad realm of wonderful aromas and taste sensations is an irresistible draw. And this is where cooking classes with Aurora take place. Come and swap recipes while chopping parsley, take an impromptu course in homemade pasta, or simply watch the action over a glass of robust red wine, a product of Carlos’s vineyard.
Independently owned and operated by Aurora and Carlo Baccheschi Berti, Castello di Vicarello opened as a hotel in 2003, a new spa opened in 2008, and in 2012 the Castello celebrated its 900th anniversary!
Days 2,3,4 ~ Castello di Vicarello
During your stay at Castello di Vicarello, choose and enjoy one of the proposed experiences for your journey (experiences may vary by season):
- Wine tasting with Carlo and tour of the vineyards with explanation of the trellis system
- Cooking classes with Aurora
- Learn how to make Pecorino cheese, and discover the characteristics of good a Pecorino as you enjoy a cheese tasting
Day 5 ~ Palazzo Margherita, Basilicata
In the morning, a private transfer will take you to the Florence airport, and from here a short flight to Bari airport (BRI, flight not included). From the airport, a private transfer will take you to the town of Bernalda (1 hours 30 minutes).
You’ll enjoy a stop for lunch en route, depending on flight transfers.
Palazzo Margherita is a luxury hotel in Southern Italy, situated in the small hilltop town of Bernalda, near the Ionian Sea in the Basilicata region. While the nearby region of Puglia has become popular for sightseeing, Bernalda is one of a few beautiful towns where the food and wine have remained authentic and untouched by mass tourism. The townspeople welcome visitors with a genuine hospitality that makes every guest feel like a local.
Palazzo Margherita is just twenty minutes from numerous pristine, white-sand beaches on the Ionian Sea and just 40 minutes from Bernalda is Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the 2019 European Capital of Culture in Italy. Here ancient cave dwellings and other rock-cut structures, known as Sassi, have been reclaimed as picturesque churches, homes, museums, and restaurants.
Compliment your stay in Bernalda, by experiencing our customized excursions for food and wine lovers. Visit ancient wine cellars and Masseria (historic, fortified farms) for a full immersion in the everyday life of local farmers. Or participate in intimate cooking and pizza classes, followed by preparation and tasting at the property.
Days 6,7,8 ~ Palazzo Margherita
During your stay, choose and enjoy one of the experiences proposed for your journey at the Palazzo Margherita, (experiences may vary by season):
- Discover the Crypt of the Original Sin and trekking in the Ravine of Matera
- Visit ancient cellars
- Visit the Fortified Masseria
Day 9 ~ Departure
Take a private transfer to Bari Airport (BRI), and from here fly to the Rome International Airport (FCO) an onward to your final destination (flight not included).
- In/out airport transfers
- All transfers (except flights to/from Bari)
- 4 nights accommodation at Castello di Vicarello
- 4 nights accommodation at Palazzo Margherita
- 1 “Experience” at each property
- Welcome aperitif at the properties
- Meals as noted in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Soft drinks at the properties
- Digestives after dinner at the properties
- Local tourist tax
- 22% VAT Italian tax