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Package Overview

Sardinia and Corsica each have a unique history, stretching back 5,000 years. In spite of centuries of invasion and occupation, both islands have maintained a distinctive culture, reflecting both their current status as part of modern Italy and France, and millennia of ancient and diverse Mediterranean influences. This tour showcases the very best of each island – from prehistoric archaeological sites, to Romanesque architecture, and the history of Napoleon – and explores how their history has been shaped by the superb mountainous landscapes and coastlines, living on in the distinctive cuisines and local traditions. Explore The history of these Mediterranean islands, whose diverse landscapes, cultures and past belie their proximity Remarkable archaeology, offering fascinating evidence of prehistoric and classical civilisation The influence of Pisa, Genoa and Catalonia, medieval maritime empires whose presence remains in Romanesque architecture and modern notions of independence Magnificent island scenery, combining dramatic coastlines with sweeping dry interiors Vibrant contemporary cultures that have remained defiantly independent, despite centuries of invasion and occupation Celebrated regional gastronomies that combine local traditions and heritage products in a recipe for longevity HIGHLIGHTS Key Bronze Age and Roman sites in Sardinia, particularly Nuraghic towers, tombs and fortress-villages Distinctive Pisan Romanesque architecture on both islands Bonifacio, a citadel perched on southern Corsica’s precipitous limestone cliffs, whose medieval laneways are lined with local restaurants Ajaccio, Napoleon’s birthplace, and the Musée Fesch, the extraordinary art collection acquired by his uncle Outstanding scenic drives along Sardinia’s west coast and the high mountains of central Corsica, plus the Scandola Nature Reserve The fresh and distinctive food and wine of the islands, with both seafood and mountain fareReturn international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

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Day wise Itinerary

  • Day 1 : Rome to Sardinia

    Meet your tour leader Dr Jeni Ryde at Rome Fiumicino airport to commence the tour. Take an early afternoon group flight to Cagliari, then transfer by private coach to our hotel in Pula, a resort town on the south coast about one hour away. In the early evening we meet for welcome drinks and a light dinner in our hotel. Overnight Pula (B, D)

  • Day 2 : A Snapshot of Ancient Sardinia

    After an introductory lecture we visit the Punic-Roman archaeological site of Nora, just a few minutes from our hotel. The site is beautifully situated on a narrow headland. Next to the site is an 11th century church built in honour of the martyr saint, Efisio. We then enjoy a welcome lunch in Pula before heading out to the Bronze Age nuraghe of Sa Domu and S’Orcu. These humble structures give us our first glimpse of Sardinia’s impressive pre-history. In the late afternoon there is the possibility of a swim at the beach at Nora. Overnight Pula

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 3 : Cagliari

    Sardinia’s capital is spread out around the base of a fortress, built by Pisans in the 13th century and strengthened by the Spanish in the 16th. After a morning lecture, we travel to Cagliari and visit the excellent archaeological museum, containing the very best artefacts from the Nuragic period, as well as Phoenician and Roman pieces. Next door is the small picture gallery, containing numerous altarpieces from the Spanish period. A walking tour takes us through the old city to the cathedral and down to the vibrant Castello district, where there are many restaurants in the narrow laneways. We return to Pula in the afternoon. Overnight Pula

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 4 : Su Nuraxi

    We depart Pula this morning and head north. Our first stop is the well-preserved Romanesque sanctuary church of Santa Maria, just north of Cagliari. The church is built in the Pisan style, and gives us our first evidence of the presence of the maritime empire of Pisa in Sardinia. Nearby is the town of San Sperate, attractively decorated with murals, a Sardinian tradition. We then visit Su Nuraxi, Sardinia’s largest Bronze Age fortified village and a UNESCO World-Heritage site. After a simple lunch, we continue to the small coastal town of Santa Caterina in Pittinuri. There is the possibility of a swim in the ocean or the hotel pool on arrival. Dinner is in our hotel. Overnight Santa Caterina

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 5 : Tharros and Cabras

    After a lecture, we visit Tharros, Sardinia’s most impressive Punic-Roman site, dating from the 8th century BC. Located on a headland jutting into the sea, there are well preserved Roman remains and evidence of a Tophet, a Punic burial ground, perhaps used for child sacrifice. In the nearby town of Cabras we visit the excellent archaeological museum before returning to Santa Caterina. Overnight Santa Caterina

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 6 : Bosa and the Western Coast

    We depart Santa Caterina and visit two varied archaeological sites. The first is a superbly preserved sacred well at Santa Cristina from the Nuragic period, evidence of the advanced nature of this period of prehistory. Next is a Roman bath complex of Fordongianus, built around a hot spring in the first century AD. We then drive along a charming country road to Bosa, perhaps Sardinia’s prettiest town. Situated on a river, it is dominated by a medieval Spanish castle. This afternoon there is a stunning drive up the isolated western coast to Alghero, with views rivalling Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast. Dinner is in a local restaurant. Overnight Alghero

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 : Alghero

    Alghero displays a clear Spanish influence and a form of Catalan dialect is still spoken. After a morning lecture, we tour the fortified old city, before taking a boat trip to the ‘Grotte di Nettuno’ a fine network of limestone caves in a national park just to the north of Alghero. The later afternoon is at leisure. Overnight Alghero

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 8 : Wine and Ruins

    This morning we visit two remarkable sites. Sant’Andrea Priu, on a remote inland hill is a large Neolithic burial chamber, perhaps 5,000 years old, and in continuous use right through to the Byzantine period in the 8th century AD. Nearby Santu Antime is a large and complex Nuragic fortress. Returning back to Alghero, we visit Anghelu Ruju, another burial chamber and then enjoy a tour and late afternoon wine tasting at one of Sardinia’s best regarded winemakers. Overnight Alghero ( wine tasting)

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 9 : The Costa Smerelda and Corsica

    We depart Alghero, bound for Corsica. En route we pass by the Costa Smeralda, an exclusive holiday destination on Sardinia’s east coast, developed by the Aga Khan. We then visit the Nuragic sites near Arzhachena. This includes the ‘giant’s tomb’ of Coddu Veccju, a monumental grave with a circle of impressive monoliths. We arrive at Santa Teresa in Gallura in time to check in for our 5.00pm ferry to Bonifacio. The approach to Bonifacio by water is spectacular. Dinner is in our hotel. Overnight Bonifacio

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 10 : Bonifacio

    This morning after a lecture a local guide shows us the highlights of Bonifacio. The town is named after its Tuscan founder, Count Boniface, who came here in 828. The Genoese, in their early phases of their maritime empire established a presence here in 1187, the first of their Corsican holdings. For centuries the town has faced attack from Saracens, Pirates and fighting Pisan, Genoese and Spanish forces, all wanting to control this strategic place. After our tour the afternoon and evening are free. There are several walks near the town and you might like to take a short cruise of the harbour and nearby islands. Overnight Bonifacio

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 11 : Sartene and Filitosa

    The day is spent traversing the rugged south-west corner of Corsica. The long drive takes us to the medieval town of Sartene and then to Filitosa, Corsica’s most important prehistoric site. Here we view the 4,000-year-old anthropomorphic menhirs – stone warriors – which were discovered by Charles-Antoine Cesari as recently as 1946. We arrive in Ajaccio in the late afternoon and there is dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Ajaccio

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 12 : Scandola National Park

    A coach and boat excursion takes us along the famously beautiful western coast of Corsica. A highlight of our day is a boat excursion through the Scandola Nature Reserve, whose sheer red granite cliffs, transparent waters and abundant flora, birdlife and marine fauna have earned in a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Overnight Ajaccio

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 13 : Napoleon and Ajaccio

    Napoleon Bonaparte is Ajaccio’s most famous son, and the city makes the most of the connection. After a lecture, this morning we visit the Maison Bonaparte, Napoleon’s childhood home, now a museum dedicated to the Emperor and his family. We also visit the nearby Palais Fesch, and fine arts museum which was once home to Napoleon’s uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch. The cardinal was a major art collector, and many of his paintings are now to be found in the National Gallery, London and The Louvre. The collection in Ajaccio has works by important Italian primitives, as well as big names such as Titian and Botticelli. Within the palace is the Chapelle Imperiale, containing the tombs of several members of the Bonaparte family. Overnight Ajaccio

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 14 : Corte and the Central Mountains

    A spectacular drive takes us over Corsica’s central mountain range. We stop to enjoy the fine scenery of massive granite cliffs, oak forests and river valleys. Corte lies at the geographic centre of Corsica and is intimately connected to the island’s struggle for independence in the 18th century and, more recently, with Corsica’s cultural identity. We visit the Musèe de la Corse which explores Corsica’s history and traditions. We then proceed to a lunch of traditional Corsican specialities before continuing to Bastia. Overnight Bastia

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 15 : Bastia and Cap Corse

    On our final day we explore the old city of Bastia. Named after its Genoese bastion, there is also a lovely old port and elegant city squares to explore. Napoleon’s island of exile, Elba, can be clearly seen from the bastion. This afternoon we visit the small Roman archaeological site and Pisan church at Mariana, named after its founder, the Roman consul Marius, an important player in Rome’s civil war in the 1st century BC. We then head to the hills to visit the magnificent Pisan Romanesque church of San Michele. This evening there is a farewell meal in a local restaurant. Overnight Bastia

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 16 : Departure

    There is a group transfer to Bastia airport timed to coincide with the early morning flight to Paris, from where connecting intercontinental flights can be taken. It is also possible to travel by ferry from Bastia to Livorno, Genoa or Nice.

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
  • Airport Transfers
  • Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

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Exclusions

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

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Terms & Conditions

Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.

Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.

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This Tour is Offered by

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  • Level 1, 341 George St Bank of New South Wales Building, NSW, Sydney, Australia
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About Academy Travel

Academy Travel is an Australian-owned travel company, dedicated to providing tailored small group journeys for individuals and associations. Academy Travel is a qualified travel agency. As well as managing your tour booking, our experienced consultants are happy to assist with all aspects of your travel, including international flights, pre and post-tour accommodation and travel insurance. Read More...

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  • Corsica, Calheta
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