Best of Calabria and Malta Tour
Bilingual travel host throughout itinerary
All ground transportation with your group’s private driver
Abundant lunch with free-flowing wine daily
Welcome to Calabria dinner with free-flowing wine
Exclusive farewell to Malta dinner, with free-flowing wine
Evening aperitivi EVERY NIGHT
Wine tours and tastings
You asked for it, and it's here. A tour that combines not only my favorite parts of Calabria, but also a stop-over in Sicily, and four nights on the beautiful island archipelago country of Malta.
This 10-day tour includes a stop in my favorite part of Calabria, my adopted home province - Catanzaro. We'll visit an ancient olive grove, a thriving mulberry orchard, the swiss-like La Sila mountains, we'll have award-winning wine, delicious Calabrese food, cocktails, and more before traveling south across the Strait of Messina to Sicily. There, we'll taste wines from the volcanic soils of Mt. Etna and overnight in a seaview hotel on the island of Ortigia. In Malta, we'll explore the UNESCO city of Valletta, hit the water with a private boating excursion, visit a Maltese farm, cook local specialties, and have a private dinner curated just for our group and based on ancient recipes from the Knights of Malta.
DAY 1: FRIDAY, MAY 19
BENVENUTI IN CALABRIA!
We will meet you at the Lamezia Terme Airport in time for the group transfer at 11:00AM, or - if you are able to take our advice and arrive a day early, we’ll pick you up directly at your airport hotel.
You will be greeted by Cherrye, your bilingual travel host for the tour, as well as your private driver. Together, we’ll drive a short distance to Catanzaro Lido where we’ll have a hearty welcome lunch “aperitivo” at one of my favorite local bars, then you’ll check into your seaside hotel, overlooking the Ionian Sea.
You’ll have a few hours to rest and recover, then we’ll meet in the evening for a tour of Scolacium, one of the most significant monuments in Medieval Calabria. The 12th Century Byzantine Basilica of Santa Maria in Roccelletta just happens to be sitting proudly amid an olive plantation. We’ll explore ruins they say may have been discovered by Ulysses and walk through time with a visit to the archeological museum which features statues, coins, columns, and other relics that were discovered beneath the olive grove that date back to the 6th Century BC. We’ll have an early’ish dinner and settle in for the night.
DAY 2: SATURDAY, MAY 20
DISCOVERING CALABRIA’S ANCIENT SILK TRADITION
This morning we’ll take an in-depth look into Catanzaro’s ancient silk tradition. Since the 1600s, Catanzaro has been home to one of the most important silk industries in Europe, and once supplied tapestries to the Vatican. We’ll join our good friends, Miriam and Domenico, who have brought new life to this dying tradition. From their base nestled in a beautiful Mulberry Tree orchard, they breed silkworms and give visitors hands-on experiences at extracting silk. Following our visit, we will be their special guests for a delicious multi-course lunch, with wine. After lunch, we’ll return to Catanzaro Lido and you’ll have the evening on your own.
DAY 3: SUNDAY, MAY 21
AN ARTIST’S JOURNEY
La Sila Mountains are divided into three areas – La Sila Grande (Big Sila), La Sila Piccola (Little Sila), and La Sila Greca (Greek Sila). Today we are heading into La Sila Piccola where we’ll explore the town of Taverna and learn more about its most iconic citizen – the world-famous Italian Baroque artist, Mattia Pretti. Born in this small mountain town in 1612, he became well-known for his Caravaggio-esque influence. His works can be seen all over the world and as we will discover later on in the tour, he has a strong connection to Malta where he was appointed as a member of the Order of Saint John!
We’ll have a fabulous multi-course mountain lunch, complete with homemade products from the La Sila area at one of my family's favorite restaurants in the country. In the early evening we’ll return to Catanzaro Lido. Evening on your own.
DAY 4: MONDAY, MAY 22
(Almost) Extinct Vines on the Coast of the Gods
Today we’ll set out across the narrowest strip of land in Italy and hit the Tyrrhenian Coast where we’ll visit our friends Giovanni and Barbara for an intimate look at their thriving vineyard. We will learn how Giovanni revived the quasi-extinct zibibbo grape, fought the vicious red tape of the Italian system, and within a decade won a NY Times award for creating one of the best white wines in the world!
You’ll get to taste a variety of their wines where you can judge for yourself, and have an aperitivo overlooking the mesmerizing Costa degli Dei aka the Coast of the Gods. We’ll head to Vibo Marina for a seafood lunch al fresco before finishing the day with a delectable chocolate and hazelnut gelato truffle. We’ll return to Catanzaro Lido and you’ll have the rest of the day on your own.
DAY 5: TUESDAY, MAY 23
VOYAGE ACROSS THE STRAIT
You’ll have breakfast, then will bid farewell to Calabria and cross over the Strait of Messina to Sicily. We’ll stop at Mount Etna – Europe’s largest and most active volcano. We’ll ascend its volcanic slopes, then tour an 18th century winery where we’ll have a late lunch and wine-tasting amidst chestnut trees. We’ll continue our journey to Siracusa and settle into our seaside hotel on the Island of Ortigia. You’ll have the rest of the evening on your own.
DAY 6: WEDNESDAY, MAY 24
WELCOME TO MALTA: THE MALTA - CALABRIA CONNECTION
After breakfast we will explore the historical center of Siracusa located on the island of Ortigia. The island, which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a labyrinth of charming side streets that take you through the numerous important monuments and along the beautiful coastline.
We’ll stop for a light lunch in the characteristic market of Ortigia before saying arrivederci to Italy as we make our way to Malta an archipelago in the central Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and the North African coast.
Following a 90-minuted ferry ride, we’ll arrive in Valletta, the capital of Malta and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its rich history and culture. You’ll check into your hotel overlooking the city before we reconvene for a welcome drink followed by a visit to the St.John’s Co-Cathedral. This Baroque-style church was built in the 17th Century and is one of the most important landmarks on the island. We’ll admire the work of Calabrian painter, Mattia Preti, who was commissioned to paint the vaulted ceilings with images depicting the life of a St. John the Baptist, as well as other paintings on display in the cathedral. Along with Preti’s works of art, you’ll also find two masterpieces by Caravaggio. We’ll then return to our hotel and you’ll have the evening and dinner on your own.
DAY 7: THURSDAY, MAY 25
STUNNING VIEWS FROM DINGLI CLIFFS AND MALTESE COOKING EXPERIENCE
This morning we are making our way to the Northern region of Malta on the western coast for a day trip to Dingli Cliffs. Be mesmerized by these stunning cliffs that rise over 250 meters above sea level offering some of the most spectacular panoramic views along the coastline and out into the seemingly never-ending horizon of the sea. Afterwards, we’ll roll up our sleeves and learn how to make some authentic Maltese dishes with fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs that we’ll harvest ourselves. We’ll feast on our home-cooked three-course meal and get a real taste of traditional Maltese family cuisine. After lunch, you’ll return to Valletta and have the evening on your own.
DAY 8: FRIDAY, MAY 26
MALTA BY SEA: COMINO AND THE BLUE LAGOON
This morning we are heading out for the day on our very own private boat for an unforgettable excursion exploring some of Malta’s most captivating and magical places. We’ll visit the third largest island in the Maltese Archipelago, Comino, known for its crystal-clear water and exceptional snorkeling. This island, so-named because of the wild cumin that was found there, is virtually uninhabited making it the ideal place to relax, unwind, and enjoy this little corner of paradise. Don't forget your swimsuit because our next stop will be the island’s Blue Lagoon with its vibrant turquoise water and white sandy seabed surrounded by jagged cliffs. During our time on the boat, we’ll also be treated to a very special Maltese “BBQ” lunch grilled by our skipper and served to us on the boat. We’ll return to Valletta where you’ll have the rest of the evening free.
DAY 9: SATURDAY, MAY 27
RABAT AND MDINA
After breakfast, we will cross the island and have a guided tour of Rabat and Mdina. Rabat, an ancient city dating back more than 2000 years, was once part of the old Roman colony of Melita. During the Arab period, the walled city became known as Mdina, but an area just outside the gates was named Rabat, which means suburb in Maltese. Rabat has a rich cultural history with its Catacombs of St. Paul and many remains dating back to the Roman period.
Next, we’ll enter the walled-city of Mdina, once the capital of Malta, and see one of the finest examples of a medieval walled city in all of Europe. Surprises await us at every turn, but none more delicious than where we’ll make our pit stop - right in the center of town where we’ll have drinks, appetizers, and desserts.
We’ll return to the hotel and rest before heading to our farewell dinner - an exclusive private experience where we’ll dine inside the former Royal Naval Bakery on ancient recipes that have been passed down from the Knights of Malta.
DAY 10: SUNDAY, MAY 28
You’ll have breakfast, then you’ll have a group transfer to the Valletta Airport. Saħħa, Malta!
The price of the tour is $5,300.00, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement is $815.00.
Accommodations and Transportation:
– 10 days, 9 nights in a double-occupancy room with private bath
– Group transportation throughout the itinerary
– Group transfer from Lamezia Terme Airport on Day 1 and Malta International Airport on Day 11
– Breakfast daily in hotel
– Abundant lunch with free-flowing wine daily
– Multicourse Welcome dinner, Day 1
– Multicourse Farewell dinner, Day 9
– Surprise stops for aperitivi and cocktails various places throughout the tour
Group Excursions and Experiences
– Visit to Mulberry Farm/Silk Coop
– Excursion into La Sila National Park
– Wine tour and tasting near Pizzo Calabro
– Wine tasting on Mt. Etna
– Visit to Ortigia Market
– Guided tour of UNESCO site Valletta
– Farm visit and Hands-on Cooking class
– Boating excursion from Malta
– Private tour of Rabat and Mdina
** Abundant wine is included with all meals.
What Not Included
– Airfare / transportation to Calabria
– Airfare / transportation from Malta
– Transportation outside of group airport transfers
– Travel insurance, which is highly recommended. We can make recommendations.
– Shopping and personal expenses
– Meals not listed as ‘included’ in the itinerary
– Drinks or other cocktails not included in the itinerary
– All other expenses incurred during free time