Sicily Optional Tours from Taormina

Tour 1 – EXCURSION TO MT. ETNA
Not applicable for delegates on the 6 night Sicily program as it is included in your itinerary.
Date: Sunday 30 April
Depart time: 12.45pm
Return time: 5.45pm
Tour Grade: 3
$165.00
Admire sweeping Sicilian views from Europe’s most active volcano; it’s an experience you’ll never forget!
Sicily’s greatest natural attraction is its highest mountain, Mt. Aetna. At approximately 3,350 metres it is Europe’s largest active volcano, constantly smoking and frequently erupting, putting on quite a display. The height of its summit changes with each eruption, depending on whether eruptions are constructive or destructive and over the centuries a few lava flows have reached the coast.
Transfer by coach from Taormina to the base station located at 1,900m altitude. From there, proceed by cable-car to the 2,500m station, where you meet the mountain’s guides. Then by 21-seater Unimog jeeps, you reach the 2,900m parking lot from where you proceed on foot to the “summit craters” located at 3,000m. The tour includes approx. 60 mins of walking, climbing and descending.
NOTE: In case of bad weather or strong wind, the excursion might be modified or cancelled. The relevant amount will be refunded.

Tour 2 – IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF “THE GODFATHER”
Date: Sunday 30 April
CANCELLED

Tour 3 – HALF DAY TOUR TO CATANIA
Date: Sunday 30 April
Depart time: 1.15pm
Return time: 5.45pm
Tour Grade: 1
$59.00
Catania is dominated by the looming bulk of Mount Aetna, which often rains ash upon the streets. Founded by Greek colonists, Katane was later conquered by Syracuse and then by the Romans. The lava-and-marble Roman Amphitheatre, part of which can be seen in Piazza Stesicoro, dates to the 2nd century AD. Piazza del Duomo is Catania’s main square, at the end of the busy Via Etnea, and most of the town attractions are close by. In its centre stands the much-photographed 18th century Elephant’s Fountain with its statue of an elephant, supporting an Egyptian obelisk.
The Cathedral is one of Catania’s major highlights. Its façade dates from the Baroque rebuilding of the town, although some of the earlier church did survive the earthquake in 1693. The city opera theatre, Teatro Bellini, inaugurated in 1882, has a grand frontage and a lavish interior. Its name honours Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835), the composer of the Norma, played all over the world. Today, the Bellini still hosts grand opera performances.

Tour 4 – THE CYCLOPS RIVIERA
Date: Sunday 30 April
Depart time: 1.15pm
Return time: 5.45pm
Tour Grade: 1
Now $53.00
The Ionian coast, with its citrus groves and the view of the Mount Etna summit in the distance, is named “Riviera dei Ciclopi” (The Cyclops Riviera) after the Homeric myth. According to the legend, here a Cyclops (one-eyed giant) named Polyphemus, out of jealousy for his beloved Galatea, killed a young man called Acis, who was then transformed by the compassionate gods into the river that still bears his name.

Your guide will take you to Aci Trezza where you will be dropped off at the entrance of this fishing village for a pleasant walk to the coast to see the “Faraglioni”, eight rocks emerging from the sea. According to Homer’s narration, Ulysses blinded Polyphemus sticking a pole in his only eye, to run away with his mates. The furious Cyclop threw the rocks into the sea to prevent Ulysses from escaping his wrath.

Next stop will be Aci Castello, an attractive village dominated by the Norman Castle. The Castle, overlooking the Ionian sea from a basaltic cliff, now harbours the Civic Museum, which you will visit.

Proceed to Acireale, a beautiful town and important hot springs centre, to view its fine Baroque monuments, mostly clustered around the spectacular Cathedral Square.

Rome Optional Tours

Tour 1 – ANCIENT OSTIA
Date: Tuesday 2 May
Depart time: 1.45pm
Return time: 6.15pm
&
Tour 11 – ANCIENT OSTIA
Date: Saturday 6 May
Depart time: 8.45am
Return time: 1.30pm
Tour Grade: 2
$120.00
Often referred to as ‘The Better Pompeii’ due to the astonishing preservation of its buildings, the ancient town of Ostia Antica makes for an incredible visit. Walk the streets of this once busy Ancient Roman port town, visiting its most important and interesting sights. Toga-clad Romans would have been bustling through the streets you see today, working to protect the main city or to receive the olive oil, wine, grain, and other treasures from the far-flung points of the Empire. Many others, though, were simply here holidaying. In fact, the same characteristics that tempted ancient Romans to vacation in Ostia still apply, from the cool sea breezes to the tranquillity, making Ostia Antica the perfect escape from Rome even today!
Founded in the 4th century B.C., as the power of Rome increased, Ostia became more and more important mainly as a naval base, but also as a commercial hub and as a passage-way of important representatives of the cultural and political life. The decline of Ostia came along with the financial and political crisis of the Roman Empire. The continuous raids and sacks to the city convinced the few people still living there, to finally evacuate the city.
NOTE: this tour requires extensive walking on uneven surfaces. Flat comfortable shoes are recommended.

Tour 2 – PANORAMIC DRIVE & BAROQUE PROMENADE
Date: Tuesday 2 May
Depart time: 2.00pm
Return time: 5.00pm
Duration: 3 hours
Tour Grade: 2
$59.00
Meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a panoramic drive highlighting the main sites of the Eternal City. We leave the coach and proceed on foot for a walk through the Baroque heart of Rome to see the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.
On top of the Spanish Steps stands an Egyptian obelisk, while at the base of the stairs is the Spanish Square with the majestic Barcaccia Fountain by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The most celebrated of the countless Roman fountains, the Trevi Fountain, was built in 1762 by Nicola Salvi. The impressive Pantheon has survived 2,000 years of history virtually intact: it is remarkable for grandness and building knowledge. Built in the Imperial era, the Popes embellished it in the Baroque period.
Piazza Navona, one of the most famous Roman squares, rises on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, in which were held mock naval battles. In its centre stands the monumental Four Rivers Fountain, one of Bernini’s greatest works.
Stop by one of the renowned gelaterie of Rome, to experience how brilliant the Italians are in the delicate art of creating ice-creams, always innovating the ingredients.
At the conclusion of the tour you may have time at leisure and return to the hotel at your own pace.

Tour 3 – ROME BY BIKE
Date: Tuesday 2 May
Depart time: 2.15pm
Return time: 5.15pm
Tour Grade: 3
$99.00
If you wish to make the most of your stay in Rome, don’t miss the chance to discover it by bike! This environmentally-friendly tour of the Italian capital city takes you through the lesser known sides of the city while following your guide. Enjoy a different introduction to Rome and see its famous sites as well as some of the city’s most popular local districts: discover romantic squares and see some of the hidden gems of Rome. Finally ride through the luxuriant Villa Borghese gardens and reach the Pincio hill to enjoy a breathtaking view of the “Eternal City”.
Includes: English speaking guide, rental of bike & helmet, escorted transfer on foot from the Excelsior to the bike store and return.

 

Tour 4 – TWILIGHT TRASTEVERE FOOD TOUR
Date: Tuesday 2 May
Depart time: 3.00pm
Return time: 8.00pm
Tour Grade: 2
$162.00
Trastevere is a neighbourhood like no other. Its ivy-coated, cobblestone streets come alive at night earning it comparisons to Greenwich Village and Paris’s Left Bank. It’s where Romans choose to eat with their families on a Sunday and where young Romans go for buzzing nightlife at evenings and weekends. You can’t leave Rome without walking through these streets, tasting the best food on offer, and taking a million pictures of this amazing hotspot.
On this guided 4-hour walking food tour you will explore this photogenic neighbourhood by night. You’ll sample a sumptuous blend of Italian classics like pizza and pasta, real Roman street food, less-known meats and cheeses and amazing wine in a secret cellar – its history will blow you away. Few activities in Rome deliver as many hidden surprises and enchanting moments as this, so be sure to sign up for an unforgettable night in one of the best neighbourhoods in Rome. Take advantage of Rome’s vibrant nightlife by walking through the streets of Trastevere with a local.

Note: Due to the popularity of this tour, a second tour has been added at a slightly later time.  The second tour will operate from 3.45pm – 8.45pm.

All delegates’ half day excursion to THE VATICAN

Date: Wednesday 3 May
Depart time: 3.00pm

Return time: 5.00pm

Visited by over 5 million people per year, the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums are top of the “must see” list for most visitors to Rome. With over 9 miles of art spread across 2,000 rooms, seeing the Papal Palace on your own can be a little overwhelming.  Our exclusive guided tour makes it easy and memorable.

You will see the Gallery of Geographical Maps, Gallery of Tapestries, masterpieces in Raphael’s Rooms, the Pio Clementino Museum, the Gallery of the Candelabras and the Sistine Chapel. Before entering the Sistine Chapel, your expert guide will provide insight into Michelangelo’s world-famous ceiling and Last Judgement frescoes, then give you time in the chapel to take it all in.  For many, the highlight of the tour is a visit to the Sistine Chapel, which is made even more fascinating when your guide explains the stories and characters hidden in the art by Michelangelo.

Note: The Vatican Museums tour is included complimentary to all delegates, however you may choose an extended tour option which also includes entry to St Peter’s Basilica, for an additional cost.

Tour 5 – VATICAN TOUR INCLUDING ST PETER’S BASILICA
Date: Wednesday 3 May
Depart time: 3.00pm
Return time: 6.00pm
Tour Grade: 2
$10.00
After completing your two hour tour your guide will escort you to St Peter’s Basilica where your tour continues.  Explore the monumental altar and see Michelangelo’s famous La Pieta sculpture, among other beautiful works.

 

 

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHING ROME
Date: Friday 5 May
Depart time: 1.45pm
Return time: 4.45pm
Tour Grade: 2
$127.00
The lazy Roman atmosphere provides a perfect setting for pleasant walks, especially when accompanied by a professional photographer, who will guide you to shooting inimitable pictures to bring back as an unforgettable souvenir. Meet your “tutor”, a professional photographer, in the hotel lobby to determine the itinerary, according to the weather and the light. You will walk and take public transport like the Romans do. It is a hunt for the genuine side of Rome – off the beaten tracks.
NOTE: guests will use their own cameras. The tour includes a coffee stop and 24-hour public transport pass.

 

Tour 7 – CYCLING ON THE APPIA ANTICA (ancient Roman road)
CANCELLED

Tour 8 – IMPERIAL ROME & THE COLOSSEUM
Date: Friday 5 May
Depart time: 2.00pm
Return time: 5.00pm
Tour Grade: 2
$88.00
Visit the majestic Colosseum, the symbol of Rome, and learn about its amazing structural design and how it became known as “il Colosseo”. Hear stories about the amazing and terrifying events which took place in its sand and wood arena, where thousands of gladiators and other Roman personalities fought to their death or were fed to wild beasts in front of the screaming Populus of Rome. Often it was flooded to simulate sea battles.
Once you’ve had your fill of blood and gore (and learned how it took the Romans 325 years to get their fill!), re-board the coach for a panoramic drive viewing the impressive remains of the Imperial age. Stop by the Circus Maximus, the biggest of Roman circuses (able to hold up to 300,000 (!) spectators) and the scene of chariot races and mock battles. The Roman people used to go to the Circus wearing the colours of their favourite team (green, blue, red, or white) and idolized the best chariot drivers like today’s pop stars.
Time permitting, on the way back to the hotel, stop for a short walk to view (from outside) the excavations of the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis Augustae, the altar celebrating the peace declared by Augustus throughout the empire in 14 B.C. Unearthed in 1938, it is now exhibited in a “glass cage” designed by the US famous architect Richard Meier.
NOTE: this tour requires extensive walking on uneven surfaces. Flat comfortable shoes are recommended.

Tour 9 – ROMAN HOUSES AT CELIO
Date: Friday 5 May
Depart time: 2.15pm
Return time: 4.45pm
Tour Grade: 1
$99.00
The common visitors do not know the magnificent Roman residential complex underneath the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. According to tradition, this was the dwelling of John and Paul, officers at the court of the Emperor Constantine both of whom, having suffered martyrdom, were buried on the site of their own house. In 1887 a Passionist brother, excavating beneath the church, uncovered a fascinating site comprising more than twenty rooms, some of which were richly decorated with paintings dating from the 3rd through the 12th centuries. Enjoy a tour of the decorated rooms, revealing aspects of Roman daily life. Along the way actors performing short plays evoking the ancient Rome Empire will also surprise you. On the drive back to the hotel, stop by the Circus Maximus, the scene of chariot races and mock battles.

Tour 10 – TRASTEVERE WITH MICHAEL BROUSE
Date: Saturday 6 May
Depart time: 9.00am
Return time: 12.30pm
Tour Grade: 2
$105.00

Don’t miss the unique opportunity to absorb the history and true ambiance of the Eternal City on a tour with Michael Brouse, an American who has lived in Rome for over thirty years. Michael is the co-author of “National Geographic’s Traveler: Rome” and teaches history at one of Rome’s exclusive international schools. Michael’s tours are entertaining and personalized in a way to feel as though you actually live in Rome.
On this walking tour of Trastevere, visit one of the illustrious Roman noble residences, the Villa Farnesina designed by Peruzzi and frescoed by Raphael or the Palazzo Spada with Borromini’s Perspective Trompe L’Oeil and the famous Spada art gallery. The Spada Collection is one of the few noble family art collections where the paintings are still hung as originally displayed and so gives one a good idea of how the private family collections looked when they were acquired.

Stroll through characteristic Trastevere – the Rome of Romans. En route see the Basilica St. Maria in Trastevere; Porta Settimiana – one of the gates of of the Aurelian walls in Rome and Palazzo Corsini. Walk over the 15th century Ponte Sisto over the Tiber to Via Giulia – so named for Pope Julius II of Sistine Chapel fame. See the Fountain of the Mascherone and St. Maria dell’Orazione e Morte – the Church of St. Mary of Prayer and of Death and see the Piazza and Palazzo Farnese – the epitome of high Renaissance architecture. The tour concludes in Campo dei’Fiore – the most famous open-air food market in Rome.

Tour 12 – TASTE OF TESTACCIO FOOD TOUR
Date: Saturday 6 May
Depart time: 9.15am
Return time: 2.00pm
Tour Grade: 2
$113.00
Known to locals as the “heart of Rome”, Testaccio is the city’s original foodie neighbourhood and where cucina romana (roman cuisine) was born. This guided 4-hour walking food tour lets you experience Rome like a local, in an authentic neighbourhood where people live, eat and shop. Travel by metro to Testaccio where you’ll get to escape the crowds and really get a glimpse of daily life while tasting the best of what the city has to offer. Visit the local market and meet the vendors who have been there for generations, try out tiramisu at the local café and taste the most delicious pasta you’ve ever had (no joke). You’ll also be sampling everything from classic Italian dishes to typical Roman street food snacks. Along the way, your local guide will entertain and educate you with stories and insights into Rome’s culture and history, while exploring the city’s most fascinating offbeat landmarks. There is no better way to really live like a local than on this Taste of Testaccio Food Tour.

Tour 13 – FULL DAY TOUR TO CASTELLI ROMANI & CASTEL GANDOLFO
Date: Saturday 6 May
Depart time: 9.30am
Return time: 4.30pm
Tour Grade: 2
$210.00
Today you enjoy a sightseeing drive in the enchanting Castelli Romani hills. Meadows and sweet chestnut trees spread up the hillsides, while the lower slopes are covered with olive groves and vineyards, which produce the famous Castelli wine. In the valley, the volcanic soil is particularly suited to the cultivation of early vegetables. Travel through the Castelli to visit the Papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. The Pontificial Villas of Castel Gandolfo comprise about 55 hectares, 30 of which make up a garden, while 25 are used for farming.
The properties include the Papal Palace, the Barberini Palace, apartment housing for 21 employees, an electrical plant, offices, farm buildings and animal stables. A Vatican State guide will walk you for two hours through the magnificent Barberini Gardens. You will then have the chance to visit the Apostles’ Palace Museum with audioguide.
Proceed to Casal Pilozzo to visit a wine estate where the wine producer and his family are waiting to welcome you. They will arrange a tasting of their best Castelli wines and a rustic lunch. Weather permitting, the lunch will be arranged at open air to enjoy the charming landscape of the Castelli.
NOTE: this tour requires extensive walking through the Barberini Gardens.

Tour 14 – FULL DAY TOUR TO TIVOLI
Date: Saturday 6 May
Depart time: 10.00am
Return time: 5.00pm
Tour Grade: 2
$117.00
During the Imperial era, the Roman patricians elected Tivoli and its environs as their favourite country retreat, building splendid villas. First visit Villa Adriana, located a few miles from Tivoli, which was commissioned by the Emperor Hadrian. The Villa featured reconstructions of the sites he had visited in Greece and Egypt, but nowadays is in ruins. You can still appreciate, however, the grand pools and porticos, as well as the remains of the Imperial Palace.
There will be a lunch stop where you can purchase lunch at your own expense.
After lunch, visit Villa d’Este which was originally a monastery and later remodelled as a villa in 1550 to become the personal residence of the Cardinal D’Este. After a 20-year renovation and landscaping of the grounds, the Villa became a sumptuous mansion and is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. You will admire the outstanding park which features over 500 fountains!
NOTE: this tour requires extensive walking. Flat comfortable shoes are recommended.

Tuscany Optional Tours

HALF DAY TOUR TO VOLTERRA
Date: Monday 8 May
Depart time: 1.15pm
Return time: 6.15pm
Tour Grade: 2
$89.00
The mysterious and fascinating Volterra is the oldest continuously-inhabited town in Tuscany. A great Etruscan centre, it was thereafter a Roman possession, then ruled by the bishops until the 13th century, before falling under the Florence dominion. Despite its medieval appearance, Volterra still preserves Etruscan remains, like the impressive Etruscan Arch, dating to the 4th century B.C. Walking along streets lined with alabaster shops, you will reach a striking medieval square, Piazza dei Priori. Here you will admire the Palazzo Pretorio with its Podestà Tower, the Bishops Palace and the Priori Palace, which was erected in 1208, thus being the oldest city hall in Tuscany. Last stop will be the 13th century Cathedral with its Baptistery.

HALF DAY TOUR TO LUCCA
Date: Monday 8 May
Depart time: 1.30pm
Return time: 6.00pm
Tour Grade: 2
$89.00
Tuscany is well known for its stunning renaissance architecture and historic monuments. But few cities can boast as much great architecture in as small a space as Lucca. An important Latin colony since 180 B.C, Lucca has preserved many of the iconic buildings that helped cement its reputation as an important regional capital, including its amphitheatre, cathedral and traditional street layout of cardo (narrow streets running north to south) and decumano (wider streets running west to east). Also unmissable are the fortified walls surrounding the city, one of the few intact medieval walls in Italy. It is also named “The City of 100 churches” because of the countless churches built through the centuries. It is an open-air museum and a little shopping paradise. Your guided walk starts from the famous Walls, to reach the splendid St.Martin Cathedral, home to the famous Ilaria del Carretto burial monument and the St. Michael Church with its imposing façade. A stop will be made at the curious Guinigi Tower, on top of which the powerful Guinigi family created a garden to symbolize the re-birth of the city when they ruled it. There will be some time to stroll along the Fillungo, lined with medieval houses and towers, and in the ellipse-shaped marketplace, rising on the site of a Roman amphitheatre.

HALF DAY TOUR TO PISA
Date: Monday 8 May
Depart time: 1.45pm
Return time: 5.45pm
Tour Grade: 2
$78.00
Pisa is known all over the world for its famous Leaning Tower standing in the Piazza dei Miracoli – a UNESCO heritage site. Your guided walk starts from the coach parking lot, at the city limits, through the medieval streets to the grassy Piazza dei Miracoli, sided by the Romanesque Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Monumental Cemetery and the Leaning Tower. The gigantic building project which led to the Campo dei Miracoli complex started in the 11th century when Pisa ruled over the Western Mediterranean Sea, wrested control of Sardinia and acquired a political and artistic influence which lasted for centuries. Each single monument is worth the visit, but most admirable is the complex itself. Despite the fact that the buildings date from different periods (11th to 14th century), they convey an impression of utter stylistic harmony.

NOTE: The inside visit of the Leaning Tower is not included: it lasts approx. 30 minutes and requires a considerable physical effort. The inside narrow spiral staircase has approx 300 steps that can be slippery. No intermediate stops are possible and the climbing goes straight to the top.

WINE EXPERIENCE AT ARTIMINO
Date: Monday 8 May
Depart time: 2.00pm
Return time: 5.00pm
Tour Grade: 1
$46.00
Tuscany is the Italian region which produces the top Italian wines, the so-called “super Tuscans” like the Chianti DOCG, the Brunello di Montalcino, the Nobile di Montepulciano and many others. Meet your wine expert for an interesting walk through Artimino’s vineyards and olive groves and learn how much passion and science are required to produce superior wines. Visit the cellars where the wines mature in giant barrels and the oenologists refine the production. Last stop is the winery where you will have a tasting of 3 superb wines, accompanied by local products.

 

COOKING CLASS AT ARTIMINO
Date: Monday 8 May
Depart time: 2.15pm
Return time: 4.15pm
Tour Grade: 1
$86.00
You cannot really get to know a place until you taste its food. Cuisine, especially in Tuscany, is part of a path of discovery, not only in relation to geography. So with this objective in mind, your chef will introduce you to the ancient art of homemade pasta as well as the famous «cantucci di Prato» – delicious Tuscan cookies. There are plenty of tricks and advice on some traditional Tuscan dishes to learn along the way.
This 2-hour course covers classic Tuscan recipes featuring the freshest ingredients, in the evocative Artimino property, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.

 

GUIDED TOUR OF THE ARTIMINO ESTATE
CANCELLED

All delegates’ half day excursion to FLORENCE
Date: Tuesday 9 May
Depart time: 1.30pm
Return time: 6.15pm
Complimentary return coach transfers will be provided to Florence on Tuesday 9th May. Once in Florence, you may choose to have free time to discover the city at your own pace, or join one of the organised optional tours below at an additional cost. There will be some time at leisure after each of the tours to independently explore the city before re-boarding the coaches to return to the hotel.

EASY WALKING TOUR OF FLORENCE
Tour Grade: 2
Depart time: 2.30pm
Return time: 5.00pm
$26.00
Meet your guide upon arrival in Florence and set out for a lovely walking tour of the city centre. The main monuments that can be seen during the tour include the Cathedral with Brunelleschi’s brown tiled dome, the Romanesque Baptistry, Giotto’s bell tower, Piazza della Signoria, heart of the city’s political life and the Palazzo Vecchio, the traditional seat of Florentine government.
NOTE: no inside visits included
Duration: 2.5 hours.

 

HISTORICAL WALK including DAVID
Tour Grade: 2

Depart time: 2.30pm
Return time: 5.00pm
$79.00
Meet your guide upon arrival in Florence. The first stop is the picturesque Ponte Vecchio, spanning the River Arno in its narrowest point. From there you walk to the Cathedral with Brunelleschi’s brown tiled dome. In front of the Cathedral you find the Baptistery of San Giovanni, with its bronze doors including the famous Porta del Paradiso. To the right of the Florence Cathedral stands the Giotto’s bell tower, a masterpiece built in 1334. In a few minutes you are at Piazza della Signoria, heart of the city’s political life where you will see the Palazzo Vecchio, the traditional seat of Florentine government. A short walk through the historic heart of Florence takes you to the Galleria dell’ Accademia where you can admire the David by Michelangelo. The David was sculptured using a huge blank white marble block and required an uninterrupted work of the maestro during two years.  Duration: 2.5 hours

MASTERPIECES OF THE UFFIZI
Tour Grade: 2
Depart time: 2.30pm
Return time: 5.00pm
$54.00
Meet your guide upon arrival in Florence and walk to the Uffizi Galleries, one of the world’s most important museums of art. The Uffizi’s collection of Renaissance paintings features several universally acclaimed masterpieces of all times, including works by Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.
Duration: 2.5 hours

 

 

INFERNO TOUR
CANCELLED

All delegates’ full day excursion to SAN GIMIGNANO and SIENA
Date: Wednesday 10 May
Depart time: 9.00am
Return time: 6.15pm
The full day coach tour to San Gimignano and Siena today is included as part of the PSA travel package. In each location, you may choose to have free time to discover the town at your own pace, or join one of the organised optional tours below at an additional cost.

SAN GIMIGNANO GUIDED WALKING TOUR
Tour Grade: 2
Depart time: 10.30am
Return time: 11.45am
$19.00

Set on top of a hill, the village and its peculiar towers can be seen from several kilometres away. It looks oddly like….Manhattan. The towers witness the political and economic power the city reached in the Middle Ages. Your guide will walk you through the narrow streets, flanked by noble palaces, to the Cisterna Square with its medieval well in the middle, then on to the Collegiata (cathedral) proudly standing on top a flight of stairs. Visiting the Collegiata, you will be surprised by the most beautiful frescoes on its walls, depicting scenes of the Old and New Testament and also a scary representation of Hell! Duration: approx. 1.5 hours. Includes: Admission fees to the Collegiata.

 

HISTORICAL WALK IN SIENA
Tour Grade: 2
Depart time: 2.00pm
Return time: 4.30pm
$19.00
You are met by your guide in town and led on a lovely walking tour showing the town’s landmarks, most of which date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, the times of the city’s splendour, when the best artists came to honour the free commune of Siena. You will see the Piazza del Campo, the great fan-shaped square where the Palio horse races take place every summer, the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall) with its imposing Tower, the 12th century Cathedral with its peculiar decoration in black and white marbles and the Gothic brick Church of San Domenico.
Duration: approx. 2.5 hours.

 

GRAND MEDIEVAL ART TOUR IN SIENA
Tour Grade: 2
Depart time: 2.00pm
Return time: 4.30pm
$58.00
Very few cities in the world were celebrated by their artists like Siena. This tour focuses some of the most famous works of civil and religious art harboured in the city. The Palazzo Pubblico houses the Allegory of Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (dated 1338) and the Guidoriccio da Fogliano by Simone Martini. Inside the Cathedral you will see the Nicola Pisano’s pulpit, the Baptist statue by Donatello, the Michelangelo’s Piccolomini altar. Last stop is the Museum, home to the enchanting Majesty by Duccio di Buoninsegna, absolute masterpiece of the 1300s painting. Duration: approx. 2.5 hours. Includes: Admission fees to Palazzo Pubblico, Cathedral & Museum.

 

Sardinia Optional Tours

GALLURA (INNER SARDINIA)
Date: Wednesday 10 May
Depart time: 1.15pm
Return time: 6.15pm
Tour Grade: 2
$260.00
This excursion will take you through the Gallura region to visit archaeological sites, also viewing typical Sardinian villages built in granite, a typical local rock, driving into the forests of cork oaks. Since the Neolithic age, Sardinia produced flourishing diversified cultures that left their traces in many monuments and handcrafted artefacts. The nuraghes are the typical features of this mysterious and extraordinary land.
Not far from the Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu stands the nuraghe La Prisgiona. A nuraghe is the Sardinian kind of construction dating back to the Bronze Age. They are the only evidence we have about the ancient nuragic people. The nuraghe is a kind of tower built with roughly worked boulders. Over the centuries, this kind of fortress became more and more elaborate. Some side rooms and spaces added to the basic tower-shaped building, changed the external aspect. In the period of the biggest development, the most elaborated nuraghes were built. Various serious studies have investigated the magnetic energy present inside the nuraghes.

You will also stop at the Tomb of Giants, the ancient burial area dating back to the same period. Since the most important people of every tribe were buried there, it was also the place where the local tribes held spiritual meetings to ask their predecessors for advice. The itinerary will be completed with a panoramic drive in the Sardinian countryside by jeep. Many roads are passible by jeep only and require experienced drivers. Your guide will help you to discover amazing sites scattered along the routes, i.e. the 4,000-year-old olive trees or the peculiar small church near Luras.

SAN PANTALEO VILLAGE AND SURRAU VINEYARDS
CANCELLED
SAN PANTALEO AND COSTA SMERALDA
Date: Wednesday 10 May
Depart time: 1.15pm
Return time: 6.15pm
Tour Grade: 1
$99.00
San Pantaleo is a typical village from the beginning of the 20th century. This charming hamlet is set around a picturesque Piazza flanked by lively cafés and several artisan shops. Right in the heart of the village you’ll find a church built at the end of the 19th century for the shepherds living in the area. With its stone-built cottages, stunning position and relaxed atmosphere, it inspired many artists throughout the centuries. Next to foreigners, here live also local artisans, sought after for their handicrafts, made from essential materials: wood, wrought iron and other metals, but also pottery and ceramics.

The Costa Smeralda was discovered by the Prince Karim Aga Khan, who created the Costa Smeralda Consortium in 1962. That was the beginning of the world-known Sardinia. The Architectural Committee was tasked to transform an unspoiled area into an organized holiday paradise. They decided to promote homogeneous architectural development: low buildings emerged into the green surroundings, gardens, summer-flowering plants, etc… With white sandy beaches, golf clubs, private jet and helicopter services and exclusive hotels, the area has drawn celebrities, business leaders and other affluent visitors. The Costa Smeralda is now the most expensive resort area in Europe. The Aga Khan gradually sold his properties to Starwood Hotels & Resorts, however, the Prince returns to the Costa Smeralda every summer in his role of President of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda located in Porto Cervo Marina. The main town in the area is Porto Cervo, nestled in a breath-taking landscape. Your coach will drive you to other famous holiday resorts like Capriccioli and Liscia di Vacca, or along the world-known luxury hotels in Cala di Volpe and Romazzino, to view their peculiar architecture.

Customised cruise Excursions for PSA

A CRUISE TO CINQUE TERRA
Date: Monday 15 May
Depart time: 10.20am
Return time: 5.30pm
Tour Grade: 2
$279.00

One of the most pristine areas in the Mediterranean, the Cinque Terre consists of five miles of rocky coastline nestled between two promontories. It is named for the five small neighboring towns – Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso. The towns, terraced along the coastal cliffs, are all quite similar in appearance, with dry-laid stone walls, winding footpaths, hillsides dotted with vineyards, and perhaps most famously, breathtaking views of the sea. The towns couldn’t be more delightful or unspoiled, which earned Cinque Terre the distinction of being both a National Park and UNESCO protected territory.  One of the best ways to enjoy the towns is from the sea. Our scenic cruise also includes a stop in two of the five towns – Monterosso and Manarola.

PALMA & VALDEMOSSA
Date: Friday 19 May
Depart time: 1.30pm
Return time: 6.30pm
Tour Grade: 1
$150.00

After a short panoramic drive, visit the Bellver Castle which was constructed in the early 1300s, during the reign of Jaime I of Mallorca. It is the only circular Gothic castle in Europe with a double gallery of arches inside the central patio. Continue to the Gothic cathedral known as ‘La Seu’, for a photo stop (no inside visit).  A splendid landscape of mountains and plains filled with almond and olive trees greets you, en route to Valldemossa, a peaceful town which has served to inspire musicians, and painters.  Enjoy a walking tour of Valldemossa followed by some free time before returning to the ship.

REGULAR CRUISE SHORE EXCURSIONS

For regular cruise shore excursions, these are usually booked directly with the cruise line via the Oceania website.  However, this booking process is currently not working due to a technical error, therefore please download a manual booking form here which you can complete and return to PSA Travel by fax on 03 9561 4507 or scan and email to info@impactevents.com.au

Oceania apologises for the inconvenience caused by this technical error.

Please note the cruise shore excursions that are booked directly with Oceania are priced in US Dollars.

Terms & Conditions

All bookings must be made online using the link emailed to you.  Phone bookings will not be accepted. Full payment is required at the time of booking.

All tours are based on a minimum number of participants. If there is less than the required number of participants on a tour then we reserve the right to cancel the tour.

Tour prices include: Admission fees, bottled water, gratuities to the driver and guide.
All tours take place outside of conference session times.
Tour prices are in Australian dollars.

CANCELLATIONS:
1. No refund if you cancel a tour within 48 hours prior to the tour departure.
2. No refund if you cancel a tour more than 48 hours prior to departure which results in the tour falling below the minimum number of participants required.
3. Some tours require PSA Travel to pre-purchase entry tickets therefore if you cancel a ticketed tour more than 48 hours prior to departure and the ticket cannot be on-sold then you will forfeit the cost of the ticket.
All standard Terms and Conditions apply as per the PSA 42nd Offshore Refresher Conference brochure.

We recommend that you look at the overall program and consider your energy levels when deciding which optional tours you will purchase. Please leave yourself enough free time to just walk around and enjoy the sights and sounds of the cities you are visiting.

When booking tours you must make your own decision regarding your physical capacity. Please let us know in advance if you have problems with boarding coaches, walking or any other mobility issues. Some excursions involve a fair amount of walking or activity. The following coding system has been used to assist you with this:

TOUR GRADES
Tour Grade 1: Easy – Short walking/touring distances
Tour Grade 2: Moderate – Long walking/touring distances
Tour Grade 3: Difficult – Walking longer distances or extra exertion

Sightseeing tours already included in the program are:

Sicily 7 Night Pre Conference Program – Included tours as in the itinerary here

Sicily 6 Night Pre Conference Program – Included tours as in the itinerary here

Umbria Pre Conference Program – Included tours as in the itinerary here

Rome 3rd May: Afternoon excursion to the Vatican, excluding St Peter’s Basilica

Rome 4th May: Afternoon excursion to the Roman Forum and private concert at San Lorenzo

Tuscany 9th May: Afternoon transfers to Florence

Tuscany 10th May: Full day tour to San Gimignano & Siena

Sardinia Post Conference Program – Included tours as in the itinerary here