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Fratelli Group Travel

TRAVEL & TOURS

Day 2 —  Arrival in Rome / Transfer to Florence
Upon arrival at Fiumecino, Leonardo daVinci Airport, we will clear customs, baggage claim, meet our motor-coach and driver.  We will head north to the city of Florence; birthplace of the Renaissance.  Upon our arrival in Florence, we will check in to our hotel and have some time to settle in, unpack and freshen up before tonight’s group supper (included) in a local Florentine restaurant with wine, water and coffee included.  Overnight will be in Florence.  For those still energized after supper we can take a walk around city center in the evening to catch some of the sites beforehand.

Italy Friends Tour

July 28-August 10, 2018
Click the above link for the full brochure in PDF form.

        with Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio Bianco DOP (100% Caprettone), Rosato (100% Piedirosso), and Rosso (100% Piedirosso). 

  • Pasta made with durum wheat flour and embellished with a sauce made from heirloom Piennolo tomatoes and basil, paired with Lacrima Christi Riserva (80% Piedirosso and 20% Aglianico, aged in French oak barrels for 18 - 24 months.
  • Pastiera Napolitana, a traditional dessert featuring sweetened ricotta, candied fruit, and boiled wheat berries, paired with Capafresca Spumante Rosato (100% Aglianico) and Acquavite di Albicocche del Vesuvio, our apricot distillate (grappa). 

Before returning to Sorrento we will continue up the slopes of the volcano in a special 4x4 vehicle called a “ “Busavia” to the observation area, the rest of the journey to the crater is on foot for those who are still willing!  Overnight in Sorrento.

period of the Italian Renaissance.  Tickets can be purchased at the main entrance for approximately 16.50 Euro per person.  (The museum is vast so you should allow at least 3 hours or more  to visit the many galleries). Supper (included) Overnight in Florence.

Day 8 — Sorrento / Pompeii / The Slopes of Mount Vesuvius
This morning, after breakfast, we will journey to the remarkable and extraordinary city of Pompeii at the foot of Mount Vesuvius; the volcano responsible for the destruction of this city and the surrounding area of the Bay of Naples.  Pompeii lay under ashes and lava for almost 2000 years until it was discovered in the 19th century.  Here, we can marvel at the advanced culture of this Roman city and the Pompeian citizens.  The baths, the homes, the market place and the gardens had all been remarkably preserved under the lava for nearly two millennium.  The catastrophic eruption re-shaped the entire coastline of the Bays of Pompeii, Naples and Sorrento. 


Day 9 — Sorrento to Positano by Private Boat
Today we’ll depart Sorrento and travel south by private boat to the magnificent city of Positano, which like the legendary Sirens of Li Galli, never fails to seduce.

Day 5—Florence  —  Cinque Terre (The Five Lands)
Today we will spend an unforgettable day discovering the most impressive of Ligurian landscapes.  In this area, which has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, you will find the earth and sea blend and create a unique landscape.  The area consists of kilometers of rocky coasts with caves, beaches, hiking paths and breathtaking views.  Our first stop is Porto Venere; an elegant and popular tourist destination where nature and human architecture are perfectly balanced.  Afterwards, we continue on to the Cinque Terre National Park by train and/or ferry boat.  The first visit Manarola; a tiny urban jewel characterized by Genoese style ‘case-torri’.  Then on to Vernazza; overlooked by the remains of a Medieval castle with a cylindrical tower.  Finally, we come to Monterosso, known as the ‘pearl of

Since the 1920s, this territory has been the official area of production for the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico Gallo Nero wine makers consortium.  Our first stop today will be village of Greve.  Greve's history is connected to the beautiful Castle of Montefioralle located above the town when it served as the castle's marketplace in the 13th century.  The strategic position at the crossroads of three important pilgrimage roads - the Chiantigiana road, the road to Valdarno and the road to Val di Pesa - favored its economic growth.  At the beginning of the 1500s, the curious shaped square was already built and was later described by the Grand Duke Leopold I as "a beautiful square where every Saturday a big market of livestock and food takes place".  While in Greve we will have our first wine tasting of the day.  Later we continue our journey south along the Chianti Road to the medieval village of Monteriggioni.  Monteriggioni represents one of the most important walled castles in the territory.  It has incredibly preserved an intact structure as if time had never passed on the hill from which it elegantly dominates the surrounding landscape.  Its perfect circular perimeter makes one suppose it to be an artificial construction while, in actuality, it was created by just following the curves in the natural ground.  The castle was built by the Sienese between 1213 and 1219 for defensive purposes; its strategic location atop a hill overlooking the Cassia Road allowed the castle to control the cities of the Val d’Elsa and Staggia and be on the lookout for any armies approaching Siena.  The intact fortified wall presents 14 towers along which the guards used to walk and patrol the walls and 2 gates, one called the Romea Gate which faces Rome and the other known as the Florentine Gate since it heads toward Florence.  Here in Monteriggioni we will have a typical Tuscan “pranzo” (lunch) (included) in one of the local restaurants serving up regional cuisine of local products with wine pairing.  Later there will be some free-time to explore this fascinating city before heading back to Florence.  Overnight in Florence. 

Day 13 — Ancient & Monumental Rome
Today, after breakfast, we will begin our tour of some of the most important and popular sites of Ancient & Monumental Rome.

  • Coliseum: Located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. In A.D. 80, Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseum–officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater–with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights.
  • Capitoline Hill: The Capitoline Hill is the smallest among the seven hills of Rome. Even though it is the smallest it played a huge part in the religious and political aspects of Rome since the founding of the city center.  
  • Pantheon: The Pantheon is the best preserved building from ancient Rome and was completed in 125 AD in the reign of Hadrian. Its magnificent dome is a lasting testimony to the genius of Roman architects and as the building stands virtually intact it offers a unique opportunity for the modern visitor to step back 2,000 years and experience the glory that was Rome.  

Day 1—-Departure Day—Saturday, July 28, 2018
Today we depart from Philadelphia International Airport for our evening trans-Atlantic flight to Rome, Italy.  Meals and entertainment are aloft and early afternoon arrival in Rome. Time schedule TBA.

Emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica, which replaced the basilica of the 4th century, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed in 1626.  St. Peter’s Basilica is also famous as a magnificent work of art, to which major Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo, Bramante, Raffaello, Sangallo and Giacomo della Porta contributed. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the ample staircase and elliptical square surrounded by columns, which “introduces” the basilica, with the façade by Carlo Maderno.  Inside the Basilica you will visit Michelangelo's famous “Pieta`”, the Baldacchino Altar and crypt where the many of the popes are buried and much more.  Later we will continue onto the Sistine Chapel to see one of the world’s most famous masterpieces by Michelangelo—”The Ceiling”.  The remainder of the afternoon will be free.  You may want to stay  to continue exploring the Basilica on your own, or climb the 500 or more steps to the Dome or just meander the neighborhood around Vatican City with all its wonderful shops and boutiques.  Overnight in Rome.

Day 3 — Florence City Tour
This morning, after breakfast, we will begin our walking tour of Florence.  We’ll begin with the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s famous “David” and “Prisoners in Stone”, then onto the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the largest Cathedrals in the world, the Baptistery, with its magnificent bronze doors and Piazza del Duomo, once the center of religious life in medieval times.  We continue on to visit the Piazza della Signoria which was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio.  It is the main point of the origin and history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political focus of the city.  The next stop will be the famous Ponte Vecchio; the bridge spans the Arno at its narrowest point where it is believed that a bridge was first built in Roman times.  Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.  After the tour there will be free time to visit the city or visit the Uffizi Gallery; one of the most important Italian museums, and the most visited, it is also one of the largest and best known in the world and holds a collection of priceless works, particularly from the  

Day 14 —  Departure Day—Friday, August 10, 2018
Today, we bid not farewell, but Arrivederci (see you again) to Italy as we transfer to Leonardo DaVinci Airport in Fiumecino.  Upon boarding our flight homebound, not only will we be carrying many kilos of Italy in our luggage, but many memories of fun days, wonderfully interesting meals shared with friends, a bit more culture to add to our already cultured consciousness, but above all, the recollection of an impressive and wonderful journey on the ITALIAN PENINSULA.  Dinner aloft and overnight at HOME!!!

Day 12—Rome/Frascati—Castelli Romani Region
Frascati: This ancient town sits on the rim of a dormant volcano.  Its rich volcanic soil was much sought after by the Etruscans, Ancient Romans, the Vatican State and most recently by Romans on a weekend get-away.  Wine has been produced in Frascati for thousands of years.  Frascati wine is known as the ‘Golden Wine of the Romans’, the ‘Pope’s Wine’ and the white wine of Rome.  Each stone building, cobblestone street, and ancient church tells the story of the centuries of people who have called Frascati home.  Here in Frascati we will enjoy a wine and pecorino cheese tasting. (included)  While in Frascati consider trying the famous “Porchetta d’Ariccia sandwich with a liter of Frascati wine.  Swoon as you eat the best roasted pork you ever had in your life and then wash it down with the homemade wine.  Overnight in Rome.

Cinque Terre’. This ancient fishing village with lovely beaches and lush vegetation covering the rocks will certainly enchant you.  After lunch (included) you will have the chance to taste the local ‘Limoncino ligure’ in a quaint wine shop.  In the afternoon you will have free time to meander around the village or have a drink in a café..   Overnight in Florence.

Later we will make our ascent to Caserta Vecchia (literally the “Old Caserta”) at the foot of Mount Virgo.  This tiny hamlet is a splendid medieval and very well-preserved hamlet founded by the Longobards in the VIII century.  This enchanting village, at only 10 km from the Royal Palace of Caserta, was built over a pre-existing Roman hamlet.  It offers a great view of the plains of Caserta.  You will be mesmerized by its rustic simplicity and the silence in which every house is wrapped!  The name derives from "Casahirta" (Casa = House; Hirta = rough, hard to reach). 

Today you will have a pizza lunch (included) in one of the many medieval type osterias in this little storybook hamlet.  An osteria in Italy was originally a place serving wine and simple food.  Today the simple food has come to mean local products and foods typical of the village or immediate local area.  Most osterias were, and still are, family owned and run.  Many times you find a room or two in a family’s home transformed into an osteria.  {Mozzarella di Bufala is from this region and used on their pizzas} Overnight in Rome.

Day 11—  Rome—Vatican City & Sistine Chapel
Today after breakfast we will visit Vatican Hill; one of the Seven Hills of Rome where the seat of Christianity; St. Peter’s Basilica is located atop it. At 22,067 square meters, (approx. 210,000 square feet) St. Peter’s is the world’s largest church; regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines, it is a popular place of pilgrimage, even though it is neither the Mother Church nor a cathedral (San Giovanni in Laterano is both).  It is hard to grasp its proportions until you have seen it.  Particularly impressive is its height, 136 meters from the ground to the top of the magnificent dome, the tallest in the world.  According to Catholic tradition, the Basilica is the burial site of the apostle St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome.  St. Peter's tomb is said to be below the high altar.  Many popes have been buried here since the Early Christian period.  A church has been on this site since Roman 

Day 7—Castrociello to Sorrento Orientation Tour of the City
This morning we depart from Castrociello to make our journey south to Sorrento.  Our destination today will be one of the most romantic and picturesque regions of Italy, the Sorrentine peninsula.  En route we will pass beneath the awesome and mysterious shadows of Mount Vesuvius, which in 79 AD, destroyed most of the area and created an entirely new coastline with its cataclysmic eruption.  As we travel along the serpentine coastal road, hovering over the turquoise Mediterranean Sea called “La Sorrentina”, the views will be breathtaking.  Upon arrival at our hotel you will have some time for check in and to freshen up before our short walking tour of this magnificent city of cliffs hovering over the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.  Overnight will be in Sorrento

 

Day  10 — Caserta—Palazzo Reale & Caserta Vecchia—Rome
Today will be a full day excursion to the Province of Caserta, slightly north of Naples.  We will visit the Royal Palace (La Reggia) of  the Bourbon Royal Family.  A splendid palace, a gracious garden, and all the opulence you'd expect from a royal residence is found at the Palace of Caserta.  It was built by King Charles when he took the throne of the Kingdom of Naples, wanting to establish a prestigious place that would be "fit for a Bourbon king".  The magnificent mansion and gorgeous gardens were meant to rival the splendor of Versailles in France, Schonbrunn in Vienna  and Palacio Real of Madrid and act as a symbol of the new kingdom.  Charles enlisted the architect Luigi Vanvitelli to design the palazzo; the foundation stone was laid on January 20, 1752, on the king's 36th birthday.

Afterwards we will begin our ascent of the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.  Along the way we will be stopping at a local winery and agriturismo for much needed refreshments of food and wine tasting.  This will be our lunch (included) of the day.  Here we will sample the unique Lacrima Christi  (tears of Christ) wines, paired with local products from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. The tastings are held on the terrace (weather permitting) overlooking the Mediterranean.

Tasting menu (sample menu below subject to change with seasonal availability - included):

  • Antipasto appetizer with local products: salami, provolone cheese, "casatiello" (a savory bread), and bruschetta with heirloom Piennolo tomatoes on bread baked in a wood-burning oven, paired  

Seen from the sea, Positano is set in a dramatic vertical panorama of colors; the green of the Monti Lattari, the white, pink and yellow of the Mediterranean houses, the silvery grey of its pebble beaches and the blue of the sea.  Once a vital part of a mighty sea power, Positano is today a sophisticated resort on the central Amalfi Coast.  Moorish-style architecture rises up steep slopes that gaze out on the Sirenuse Islands.  Smart boutiques, selling fashions for visitors to display on Grand Beach, abound in the village; it’s a great base for exploring the area.  You'll find everything you could possibly make with the Amalfi Coast's lemons in Positano.  Spend your day at leisure on the beach or walking through this piece of paradise on earth with it’s many shops, boutique and ceramic artisans.  There are many great restaurants to sample the local seafood.  Return by boat to Sorrento for overnight.

  • Piazza Navona:The main attraction of Piazza Navona is the trio of fountains that adorn the square. The central and largest fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). It was constructed between 1647 and 1651 on request of Pope Innocent X.
  • Fountain of Trevi: It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and the most beautiful in the world. A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome.  The Trevi Fountain is situated at the end of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC by Agrippa, the son-in-law of Emperor Augustus.
  • Spanish Steps: The elegant staircase of 135 steps was inaugurated in the Jubilee Year of 1725 by Pope Benedict XIII, originally used to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy to the Church of Trinità dei Monti. The name comes from the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican that has been located in the piazza since the 1600s.

Much of today’s tour will be on foot, please wear comfortable shoes and clothing. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner (included) with music, wine, water and coffee included  in Rome.  Overnight will be in Rome.

Day  6—Florence to Lenola
This morning we will depart from Tuscany and head to the south central region of Italy, know as Lazio.  Our  destination; Lenola; the ancestral village of the DeFilippis Family, located in the Ausoni Mountains. There will be time to leisurely visit and explore this medieval walled village with a stroll through the ancient quarter, dating to the BC era. We can view the Mediterranean sea from one of it’s highest points known to locals as “’ncoppa la Madonna”.

Day 4 —  The Chianti Road “La Chiantigiana”
This morning, after breakfast, we will leave Florence for the Chianti Wine Region.  We will be traveling along the “Chianti Road” or ”Chiantigiana”.  The Via Chiantigiana is one of the most enjoyable motoring routes in Italy.  It runs directly south from Florence to Siena through the middle of the Chianti Classico wine zone of Tuscany, one of the most instantly recognizable landscapes in the world.  After passing Ugolino Golf Course, the oldest golf club in Italy, the Chiantigiana runs upward and follows the ridges between the Val d'Elsa and the Valdarno, wandering from one farmhouse and villa to another, from time to time passing through villages and small towns.  The territory traversed by the Via Chiantigiana has been one of the most important wine producing regions in Italy for over two centuries.  In fact, it was the Habsburg-Lorraine ruling family, most notably Leopold I, Grand Duke of Tuscany,, who, during the 18 C and 19 C, began cultivating the grapes that would become modern Chianti.

Today you will enjoy the regional cuisine of the “Ciociaria” or Lazio region of Italy.  Today’s dinner, (included) in Lenola, will be a full course meal (included) in the family owned “Hostaria ai Pozzi”.  The restaurant, located in what was once a working farm, now an “agriturismo” has been owned and operated by Salvatore and Rosanna since the early 1990s.  All the produce are locally grown and meats are locally raised, the pastas are homemade on the premises.  Dining at “I Pozzi” is truly a magnificent and memorable experience.  You truly feel as though you are dining with family.  The wines, olives, cheeses, olive oil, cured meats etc. are prepared or produced by the owners and local people.  Dinner includes wine, water and coffee.  Lenola; being a tiny hamlet, does not offer accommodations for a larger group therefore overnight will be in Castrociello.