Calabria

Achaean colonies

11days - 10 nights

Total1499

 

 

What lands did the Greeks who came to the coast of southern Italy cross to found the ancient Achaean colonies? 

Which rivers did they navigate and which peoples did they encounter on their explorations of the new land?
Imagine reliving all this in an epic experience that, between past and present, will lead us in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks on a journey that, starting from the opulent city of Sybaris, arrives in Naples, along routes that traverse millenary places.

Our journey will start from Bariof which we will discover the ancient historical centre and its centuries-old traditions. We will then move on to Taranto, a city with an ancient history founded by the Spartans in the 8th century B.C. under the name 'Taras', and we will reach Trebisaccewhose name derives from the six victories (tres bis acies) that the Roman legions won over the Carthaginian army. After settling in at the hotel, a tasty seafood dinner will conclude our day. We will arrive at the archaeological site of the opulent Sybaris: the city-state (today Sybaris) in the Upper Ionian Sea of Cosenza, founded by colonists of Achaean stock in the 8th century B.C. and soon to become one of the most flourishing colonies of Magna Graecia; we will reach Rossanoa city with a glorious Byzantine past, where we will visit the Romanesque Pathirion Abbey and see the exquisite Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, an illuminated gospel book dating back to the 6th century, stopping at the Giorgio Amareli Liquorice Museum. We will visit the Arbëreshë village of Civitaamong the most beautiful in Italy and we will travel along the banks of the Akalandros river (today known as Raganello). We will cross the Pollino Massif (according to the ancient Greeks, the home of Apollo). We will navigate the crystal-clear waters of the Lao River in Laino Borgo and finally arrive at Praia a Mare in the footsteps of Aeneas on the picturesque beach of Arcomagno. We will arrive at Paestum where we will admire the famous Temples, majestic vestiges of the Magna Graecia era, and finally arrive at Naples - the ancient Parthenope, then Neapolis - of which we will discover its ancient centre with its long and rich history, now a Unesco heritage site.

 

 

Programme

Day 1

The Journey Begins

After arriving by coach or plane in Bari, a transfer will take us to our hotel. After a welcome drink in the company of our tour leader, who will explain the main stages of the trip, free time will follow to spend in Bari vecchia, a place rich in history and popular traditions to be discovered among the alleys and lanes of the old town. We will stop at the famous Basilica of San Nicola, a grandiose example of Apulian Romanesque architecture, the church of San Sabino where the rose window designed on the floor is illuminated - at certain times of the year - by the light of the second rose window carved on the façade. We will discover the 'Strada delle Orecchiette' (Orecchiette Street) where housewives still make the traditional fresh pasta by hand, and we may go as far as the seafront for a relaxing stroll. After this free city tour, we will dine at a restaurant in the historic centre where we can sample the flavours of the local gastronomic tradition.

Planned hotel for day 1
Boston hotels or equivalent

At dinner
Borgo Antico R45 or equivalent
Programme
Afternoon: Arrival in Bari and accommodation in hotel
Free time to spend in Bari vecchia
Evening: dinner at a restaurant in the city centre and return to the hotel for an overnight stay

Day 2

The coast of the Achaeans

Our journey will continue to Taranto, a city with an ancient history founded by the Spartans in the 8th century B.C. under the name 'Taras' and soon becoming one of the most important centres of Magna Graecia. We will visit the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto, which houses a large collection of Magna Graecia artefacts and the famous and exquisite Ori of Taranto. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will reach the Castle of Taranto, an imposing Aragonese construction, and finally Trebisacce, whose name derives from the six victories (tres bis acies) that the Roman legions won over the Carthaginian army. After settling into the hotel, a tasty seafood dinner will conclude our day.

Lunchtime
La Paranza or equivalent

Hotel planned for days 2,3
Albidona Tower or equivalent
Programme
Morning: departure from Bari, arrival in Taranto and visit to the Archaeological Museum
Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: visit to Taranto Castle
Evening: Arrival at the hotel and seafood dinner prepared by chef Pietro Acciardi

Day 3

Greek and Byzantine cities

The first stop of the day is the Archaeological Park of Sybaris, where we will see traces of the urban layout of one of the richest and most flourishing colonies of Magna Graecia. Passing through the fragrant orange groves of the Piana di Sibari we will reach Rossano, a city with a glorious Byzantine past, which is clearly visible in the sacred buildings of the rich historic centre. We will visit the Romanesque Pathirion Abbey, with its floor adorned with ancient mosaic works, which houses an authentic masterpiece of art and sacredness: the highly refined Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, an illuminated gospel book dating back to the 6th century. After lunch, our afternoon will have the tantalizing flavour of liquorice, with a visit to the ancient 'Giorgio Amarelli' Museum, still operating as a production plant, where we will see first-hand the processing phases of this typical Calabrian product. Finally, we will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Lunchtime
The Byzantine or equivalent
Programme
Morning: Visit to the Sybaris Archaeological Park and Pathirion Abbey
Lunch in a local restaurant
Afternoon: visit to the Giorgio Amarelli Liquorice Museum
Evening: return to hotel for dinner and overnight stay

Day 4

Towards the mountains of Apollo

We will leave the Ionian coast to reach the Pollino Mountains following in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks. We will travel through the valley of the Akalandros (present-day Raganello), a river once powerful and almost feared by ancient peoples, which over the centuries has carved a spectacular canyon through the rocks, one of the longest and deepest in Europe. We will arrive in Civita, an "Arbëreshë" (Italo-Albanian) village listed by the Touring Club as one of the most beautiful in Italy, where we will stroll in search of the "gijtonie", the typical districts made up of narrow streets, stairways and subways, where we can admire the typical Comignoli and the Case Kodra, ancient architectural legacies that the Arbëreshë imported from the Balkans on their arrival in Italy at the end of the late Middle Ages, fleeing from the Ottomans. A stop at the famous Devil's Bridge over the Raganello canyon cannot be missed. After lunch, those who wish can participate in an optional activity to get to know the Pollino birds of prey, with the I Setteventi del Pollino association, a few kilometres from the village. Our day will end with a musical dinner.

Lunchtime
Agora or equivalent

At dinner
The Host of Arberia or equivalent

Hotel planned for days 4.5
The Belvedere or equivalent
Programme
Morning: departure for Civita and visit to the village and tour of the Devil's Bridge
Lunch in a local restaurant
Afternoon: free time and optional activities
Musical dinner

Day 5

A mountain between two seas

After a hearty breakfast, a trekking route awaits us that will take us to the summit of Mount Sellaro, which offers a panoramic view of the Pollino Massif and the Ionian coast. After a sack lunch, we will reach the eastern ridge of the mountain and visit the Sanctuary of Byzantine origin of Santa Maria delle Armi: the name of the complex has nothing to do with weapons, in fact it seems to derive from the Greek (Tōn armōn), meaning 'of the caves', with reference to the presence of some historical and mystical rocky sites that centuries ago were inhabited by Byzantine monks. We will return to Civita where a dinner based on the typical products of the ethnic Arbëreshë cuisine is planned.

At dinner
Kamastra or equivalent
Programme
Morning: trekking on Monte Sellaro
Packed lunch
Afternoon: visit to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Armi
Evening: return to Civita and ethnic dinner

Day 6

The Great Pollino Crossing

Today we will retrace the steps of the ancient Greeks who walked through these still unspoilt lands on their way to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Along the way, we will discover the great variety of local vegetation characterised by a great variety of plants and herbs. We will understand, therefore, why the Pollino Massif was called by the Achaeans 'the mountain of Apollo', god of the Sun and Medicine. At the end of the excursion we will be transferred to our hotel, where a tasty dinner awaits us.

Hotel planned for days 6,7
At the Verneto or equivalent
Programme
Morning: hike through the great gateway of the Pollino
Packed lunch
Afternoon: transfer to Laino Borgo
Evening: transfer to farmhouse for dinner and overnight stay

Day 7

Water and land routes

Our day will be dedicated to canyoning along the Torrente Jannello in the Pollino National Park, crossing the watercourse on foot, with appropriate harnesses, among waterfalls, small lakes and streams: a dynamic activity in total contact with an uncontaminated ecosystem, where the encounter between water and rock gives life to a very special and evocative environment. This activity also takes us back to an archaic and adventurous dimension along the routes that ancient peoples, before us, travelled through these lands. At the end, we will have lunch in a local restaurant, followed by free time and return to the hotel for dinner.

Lunchtime
Moonlight or equivalent
Programme
Morning: canyoning on the Jannello Torrent
Lunch in a local restaurant
Afternoon: free time
Dinner on a farm

Day 8

The descent of the Lao River

After breakfast, we will set out for the Lao river, a waterway that is the symbol of the Pollino, which has been ploughed and known since ancient times by successive populations over the centuries. Once again our steps will mingle with those of the ancient Greeks on an area they certainly knew and frequented: according to some findings, in fact, it was on the banks of the Lao river that this people built a town around the 6th century B.C., choosing the site for its proximity to the water and the lush natural surroundings. The Stop & Go rafting experience awaits us with a route that goes from Laino Borgo to Laino Castello, on an ancient river stretch where we will experience moments charged with adrenalin and emotions, immersed in a naturalistic context that is more unique than rare. We will then have lunch on the river bank amidst the sounds, colours and regenerating atmosphere of nature. In the afternoon, before leaving the Apollo Mountains, we will visit the ancient Romito Cave, a site dating back to prehistoric times, which houses the famous Bos Primigenius graffito, and leave for Praia a Mare, where we will arrive at our hotel for accommodation and dinner.

Lunchtime
Lao River Camp or equivalent

Hotel planned for days 8.9
Garden or equivalent
Programme
Morning: rafting on the Lao River
Farmhouse lunch
Afternoon: visit to the Romito Cave
Evening: departure for Praia a Mare and arrival at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay

Day 9

From Sybaris to Laos

Finally arriving on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, we will embark on a short trek along a path carved into the rock that will lead us to a picturesque viewpoint and then past the imposing Aeneas Arch. According to legend, the Trojan hero, having fled from his city, came to this spot during his long pilgrimage: this is why this small stretch of coastline is also known as Aeneas' Beach and the magnificent natural arch above it is called Aeneas' Arch. Once on the beach we will embark on a motorboat that will take us to the discovery of Dino Island, a small pearl of wild beauty, which emerges in front of the village of Praia a Mare, full of suggestive inlets and caves. After the excursion we will have lunch in a restaurant and those who wish can book a visit to the Cedar Museum or to Diamante, the city of murals. In the evening we will return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

Lunchtime
Lao River Camp or equivalent
Programme
Morning: trekking Arcomagno Beach and boat trip to Dino Island
Lunch in a tavern
Afternoon - Free time
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay

Day 10

Poseidonia and Neapolis

We will prepare to leave the Calabrian coast to reach the Neapolitan coast. We will embark on our journey to Naples and, en route, we will stop at Paestum, ancient Poseidonia, where we will visit the Archaeological Area that houses the famous temples, imposing vestiges of the Magna Graecia era. After lunch, based on local products, at a farm we will reach our hotel in Naples. In the afternoon we will have some free time to explore the historic city centre and - on request - it will be possible to book a tour with the association "Le Capere". In the evening, we will have a free dinner and return to the hotel.

Lunchtime
Azienda Agricola Il Tempio or equivalent

Hotel planned for day 10
Napolart or equivalent
Programme
Morning: departure and visit to the Temples of Paestum
Lunch on the farm
Afternoon: arrival in Naples, hotel accommodation and free time
Free dinner


Day 11

End of the Journey

After breakfast, we will say goodbye and our guests can go to the airport or train station to reach their destination. Transfert Autoservizi Marino can be booked on request.
Programme
Morning: breakfast and final greetings
possibility of reaching the airport/station by transfer
en_GBEnglish (UK)