Italy - south, Sicily and Sardinia
Carlo Gabriele, Italian garden and landscape designer shares his native country, inviting others to join him on this tour to enjoy delicious authentic Italian meals, to meet locals and shop where Italians do, while exploring the rich history and culture of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia, through their most beautiful gardens, parks and historical sites.

Garden Tour to Naples, Sicily and Sardinia with Carlo Gabriele


Hidden Gardens, Classical Ruins and Vibrant Culture



Day 1 Tue 17 Oct Naples

The beautiful city of Naples welcomes you with its rich history, art, culture and gastronomy. Mediterranean pines and the volcano Mount Vesuvius are the iconic landmarks of this city with a terrific history, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its narrow alleyways lead to mysterious churches, catacombs and underground caves. Until today, Naples’ old folk-culture reveals itself to the visitor among artisans, fluttering laundry and shouting fish sellers. (D)


Day 2 Wed 18 Oct Reggia Di Caserta

Covering an area of approx. 235,000 m² the Royal Palace of Caserta, erected during the 18th century, is the largest royal residence in the world. You will discover this monumental complex created by the Bourbon King Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid. What makes it exceptional is the way it brings together a magnificent palace with its park and gardens, as well as natural woodland, hunting lodges and a silk factory. After the visit, you will be transferred to Naples airport for your flight to Palermo. (B,L)


Day 3 Thu 19 Oct Palermo

Palermo, one of the largest ancient historical centres of Europe, is a unique mix of influences: from Roman to a distinctive Norman/Arab mix, from the Baroque style to the Liberty style (the Italian expression of the Art Nouveau). In the morning you will take a walking tour of this charming city including the traditional street markets. In the afternoon you will discover the beautiful Villa Tasca; originally built in the 1500 A.C., the oasis which protects it is one of Sicily’s most emblematic Victorian-era Romantic gardens. The curvilinear stone-bordered pathways and the lush tropical vegetation carry one away into a rich world of silence and suggestion. (B,L)


Day 4 Fri 20 Oct Bagheria and Palermo

Today you will have the privilege to visit one of the most charming Villas of Bagheria, and meet its owner: the Princess Vittoria Alliata di Villafranca e Valguarnera. Journalist, writer and the only Italian translator of J.R. Tolkien, she will open the doors of her house and garden, Villa Valguarnera, for an exclusive tour and lunch. In the afternoon, the Director of the Botanical Garden of Palermo will take you on a private tour of this urban oasis built between the 18th and the 19th century. To conclude the day, you will visit the Palazzo Alliata di Pietratagliata, a prestigious gothic building erected around the second half of the fifteenth Century. (B,L)


Day 5 Sat 21 Oct Palermo and Agrigento

In the morning you will meet with Massimiliano Marafon Pecoraro, Researcher in the Department of Historic and Artistic Studies at the University of Palermo who will show you the secrets behind one of the most striking buildings of Palermo: the Palazzina Cinese (The Chinese Palace). Conceived as a royal residence on commission by the King Ferdinand III of Sicily, it was designed in 1799 in the style of Chinoiserie; internally is completely decorated with terrific paintings and frescoes. The afternoon is dedicated to relaxation and leisure, followed by the transfer to Agrigento. (B)


Day 6 Sun 22 Oct Agrigento and Ragusa

Today you will visit one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture: the Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples). Included in the UNESCO Heritage Site list, the area is the largest archaeological site in the world with its 1,300 hectares. The Valley includes remains of seven temples, all in Doric style, including the Temples of Concordia, Hera and Zeus. After visiting the Greek temples you can enjoy a moment of relaxation, or you can follow me for a stroll along the ruins of a historic garden from 500 B.C.: the Giardino della Kolymbetra. (B,L)


Day 7 Mon 23 Oct Ragusa and Modica

Today’s walking tour will explore two symbols of the Sicilian Baroque: Ragusa and Modica. Ragusa, made world famous thanks to the television series ‘Il Commissario Montalbano’ (Inspector Montalbano), is a two faced city: sitting on the top of the hill is Ragusa Superiore, the modern heart of the city, built after the earthquake that destroyed the old city in 1693. The next stop will be Modica, a small gem that lies nestled in a deep valley. The picturesque scenic view is dominated by the imposing churches of San Giorgio and San Pietro, both set atop a wide staircase. (B)


Day 8 Tue 24 Oct Siracusa

The day will start with a visit to the island of Ortigia, the historical heart of Siracusa. The tight lanes are pleasant for strolling, so you will wander down narrow medieval lanes, Baroque palaces and churches. You will discover the many gems of the island, like the small Chiesa of San Martino, a simple and ancient church with a lovely interior, decorated with a mosaic in the apse. In the afternoon you will visit the Neapolis Archeological Park: a vast area that contains Siracusa’s greatest concentration of ruins, including the stone quarries, the Greek theatre, and the Roman amphitheatre. (B)


Day 9 Wed 25 Oct Taormina

This morning you will say farewell to Siracusa and travel to Taormina where you will enjoy leisure and relaxation before we meet for a walking tour of the Florence Trevelyan garden. When Florence Trevelyan arrived in Taormina in 1884 she set about creating her own corner of England next to the Greek/Roman amphitheatre. She called it Hallington-Siculo, after the name of her hometown in England. The area was given to Taormina after Florence’s death and is now part of a much larger municipal park. This unique garden is the second biggest tourist attraction in Taormina. (B,L)


Day 10 Thu 26 Oct Taormina

You have a further day to explore Taormina: after a morning walk where you will visit some of the most characteristics monuments of the town, including the Greek-Roman amphitheatre, you will have free time to enjoy the atmosphere of this Sicily’s most famous touristic destinations. Its reincarnation as a tourist destination dates to the 18th century, when northern Europeans discovered it on the Grand Tour. Among its fans were Goethe and DH Lawrence, who lived here between 1920 and 1923. (B)


Day 11 Fri 27 Oct Catania-Cagliari

It’s time to say goodbye to Sicily and fly to Sardinia. You will land in Cagliari, the main city of the island. When DH Lawrence arrived in the 1920s, he compared the Sardinian capital to Jerusalem: ‘…strange and rather wonderful, not a bit like Italy.’ You will be met on arrival at the airport by one of our drivers and transported to the hotel, to relax and freshen up. (B,D)


Day 12 Sat 28 Oct Cagliari

During this walking tour around the old town of Cagliari we will evoke the crucial events that took place in the most important city of Sardinia. You will discover representative monuments and spots of its historical centre and get captivated by its secrets, legends and fascinating anecdotes. In the afternoon the Landscape Architect Maurizio Usai will wait for you in his own private garden, La Pietra Rossa. He will guide you in an exclusive tour of his garden that he started to create when he was 17 years old. Extremely passionate about roses, his private collection counts over 250 varieties. (B)


Day 13 Sun 29 Oct Barumini-Oristano-Bosa

In the morning you will leave Cagliari and travel north-west to Bosa. A first stop will be the prehistoric archaeological site of ‘Su Nuraxi’. Included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, Su Nuraxi is a settlement consisting of a bastion, called Nuraghe, and a village. A second stop will be the nursery ‘I campi’, specialized in drought tolerant plants and gardens or the ancient city of Tharros probably founded by the Phoenicians at the end of the 8th century B.C. (B,L,D)


Day 14 Mon 30 Oct Alghero

Alghero is one of Sardinia’s most beautiful medieval cities: with its animated historic centre is a terrific place to hang out. Presiding over everything is a palpable Spanish atmosphere, a hangover of the city’s past as a Catalan colony. In the afternoon you will visit the Neptune’s Grotto: a suggestive a stunning stalactite and stalagmite cave accessible via a short boat trip from the port of Alghero. Within the grotto, tourists can visit a 120-metre-long saltwater lake. (B)


Day 15 Tue 31 Oct Stintino-Asinara Island

Fine, white sand, breathtaking panoramas, waters that range from hues of azure to turquoise, and one of the most beautiful seascapes of the entire Mediterranean: welcome to Stintino, renowned touristic destination on Sardinia’s north-western extremity. It started out as a fishermen’s village, when the Island of Asinara was made a penal colony. Stintino today is synonymous with magnificent beaches, like the most celebrated La Pelosa characterized by its luscious white sand and transparent sea. Isolated for almost a century, it has become an oasis of rare and sometimes-almost-extinct species of plants and animals, such as the white albino donkey. (B)


Day 16 Wed 01 Nov Telti-Bosa

Today you will have the pleasure to meet again the Landscape Architect Maurizio Usai who will guide you through a beautiful private garden: Il giardino dei Fontanili. Designed in 2011, the garden is characterized by a profusion of water that flows generously through a series of granite basins framed by lush borders Salvia chaemdryoides, Aster x Frikartii and several varieties of Agapanthus. Another feature of this garden is the presence of numerous varieties of roses (Rosa candida ‘Sally Holmes’, Rosa ‘Clair Matin’, Rosa ‘Mlle Marie van Houttei’). (B,L)


Day 17 Thu 02 Nov Olbia-Porto Cervo

In the morning you will take a walking tour for discovering every hidden corner and the of this old town, including the oldest Romanic church in Sardinia (San Simplicio) and the Archaeologic Museum where you will learn about the early Greek foundation of Olbia. In the afternoon you will meet again with the Landscape Architect Maurizio Usai who will take you for a private and exclusive tour of Villa Certosa, a 168-acre estate formerly owned by the ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. (B)


Day 18 Fri 03 Nov Depart Olbia

Our tour ends after breakfast. (B)

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Price per person twin share: $9,770
Single room supplement: $1,715

Internal flights Naples-Palermo, Catania-Cagliari with taxes and surcharges, 17 nights’ twin-share accommodation, porterage at hotels, meals as stated, comprehensive touring, local English Speaking guides in each city, gratuities to local guides and drivers, tour manager with the group throughout.