Rome & Sicily with PJ Calapa

October 2 - 11, 2024 | One Exclusive Departure

Book Now

Italy's Heart & Soul

The ultimate culinary & cultural deep-dive with Chef PJ Calapa

October 2 - 11, 2024

Reserve your spot — Just one exclusive departure with PJ Calapa

10 Days, 9 Nights

The very best of Rome and Sicily from Taormina and Mt Etna to Siracusa and Palermo

Price from


per person based on double occupancy; includes internal flight from Rome to Sicily

Questions? Text or call us
+1 (855) 219-8018

You’re on the volcanic slopes of ancient Mt Etna, sipping the finest Carricante and Nerello Mascalese wines alongside a winemaker sharing the secrets of her craft. Yesterday, a shepherd demonstrated the centuries-old traditions of Sicilan cheesemaking. Tomorrow, you’re sailing the sparkling waters of the Ionian Sea, pausing for lunch in a quiet fishing village to explore ancient Greek temples. You’ve sampled Rome’s finest street foods and learned the art of pizza under the benevolent eye of one of the city’s most revered pizzaioli. This is Rome and Sicily as few others can experience—a rare inroad to Italy’s culinary and cultural secrets.

Your host on this Italian odyssey is PJ Calapa, executive chef at New York’s Marea. A chef intent on artistically marrying the land and sea—with delicate crudos, artisanal pastas and impeccably grilled fish—PJ is obsessed with Sicily’s sea-to-fork cuisine. That same drive helped him earn a Michelin Star at Ai Fiori and a 2013 StarChefs Rising Star Chef Award, and we can’t wait to feed off his passion in his favorite place on Earth.

If you like your food and culture layered over thousands of years of history, this trip is for you. From the buzz of Rome’s markets to starlit nights in the shadow of Mt. Etna, serene al fresco picnics to glamorous Belle Epoque palace dinners, we’ll explore Rome and Sicily from every angle, tasting everything as we go.

Go Deeper

With local winemakers, artists and chefs in the heart of Rome and the backroads of Sicily


Ancient Greek ruins, medieval villages, a star-lit night under the gaze of Mt Etna


World-class wines, delicate pastas and the freshest seafood — and we’ll try it all!


In the finest accommodations — palatial hotels and noble rural villas, all perfectly located

3 Reasons to Travel with PJ Calapa

Inspired by afternoons spent in the kitchen with his grandmother, PJ loves cooking with nostalgia in mind. That’s always been the essence of his NYC restaurants, from Scampi and Ai Fiori to his newest venture, Marea. He’s looking forward to revisiting tried and true classics with you in Italy.

A Ladder to the Stars

From line chef to sous chef, to a member of the Alatamarea Group, PJ rose through the restaurant ranks quickly. By 2013 he had earned 3 stars from the New York Times, a Michelin star, and a Rising Star Chef Award.

Real to Reel

It’s no surprise that seafood dominates PJ's menus: as a child, he worked at his grandfather’s wholesale fish business. Now an avid fisherman himself, PJ can't wait to explore the Mediterranean Sea’s endless bounty.

All in the Family

PJ’s first teacher was his grandmother. In their large Mexican-Italian family, meals were a way to connect. According to PJ—despite all his experience in top kitchens—his grandmother’s eggplant parm has his beat.

Your Experience

“The perfect day in Sicily is fishing and then cooking our catch together.”
PJ Calapa

Rome, Taormina, Siracusa, Palermo

“I'm excited to once again experience the seafood in Italy, especially sea urchins and swordfish.”
PJ Calapa

Day by Day

Day 1: Rome

Benvenuti a Roma! Your first step onto the Eternal City’s fabled cobblestones is the beginning of a journey through the pages of history—from the awe-inspiring Colosseum, where gladiators once clashed, to the timeless beauty of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo’s genius awaits your gaze, this city is a canvas of exploration.

Before we let the whispers of the past propel us forward, a proper introduction is in order. In the late afternoon, we’ll convene at the hotel for some light snacks and cocktails. Here, PJ will take center stage, sharing his profound love for both Rome and Sicily and setting the table for the incredible journey ahead.

Day 1: Rome Highlights

  • Transfer from Rome airport
  • Welcome reception with PJ
  • Stay at Sina Bernini

Day 2: Rome

We’ll start bright and early and slip right into the teeming street life of Italy’s capital with a foodie walking tour—we’ll visit and taste at off-the-beaten-path bakeries, covered markets and gelaterias, and try Italy’s finest pizza by the slice (sorry, Naples!) in Rome’s former Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere neighborhoods. Every dish has a story attached, and we’ll look to PJ and our expert guide to fill in the blanks between bites of the city’s finest. Just in case we’re still hungry, we’ll belly up to a local trattoria to officially sate our appetites.

The balance of the day is yours to embellish. Rome simply dazzles with art, history and culture, and this is your opportunity to bask in your own private piece of the capital. See you at breakfast tomorrow.

Day 2: Rome Highlights

  • Rome food tour
  • Trattoria lunch
  • Dinner on your own
  • Stay at Anantara Pallazo Naidi

Day 3: Rome

This morning, we embark on a sensory journey through the eternal city while experiencing the capital’s most storied attractions. As we navigate the winding alleys of ancient Rome, we’ll follow the plot of the famous film, La Dolce Vita (watch it before you arrive!) and immerse ourselves in the history of the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Stadium of Domitian.

After some free time in the afternoon, we’ll dive into two of Italy’s greatest culinary gifts: pizza and gelato. We’ll tackle gelato first, hands-on, learning every step in the process from sourcing ingredients to mixing techniques. While our gelato sets in the freezer, we’ll turn to pizza, crafting and rolling out our own dough and selecting just the right toppings: perhaps a mix of zucchini blossoms and artichoke, or spicy salami and Sicilian peppers — or whatever fresh, delicious ingredients capture our imagination.

We’ll dine together—trading bites of our pizzas—and leave feeling electric and armed with a recipe, so we can recreate this magic at home.

Day 3: Rome Highlights

  • Rome walking tour
  • Hands-on gelato making
  • Hands-on pizza dinner
  • Stay at Sina Bernini

Day 4: Rome to Sicily

We’ll be up bright and early this morning for the short flight to Sicily, landing in Catania on the island’s east coast. After breakfast we’ll head out to visit majestic Mt Etna, an active volcano that towers almost 11,000 feet over the island—and occasionally glows red with lava.

We’ll meet a local shepherd and sample his homemade ricotta, then head to one of the area’s vineyards, I Custodi delle Vigni, on the slopes of Mt Etna, once Sicily’s most important wine-producing region. Heritage vines clamber up the volcano’s slopes to an altitude of over 3,000 feet, producing delicate whites and intense, fruit-forward rosés and reds.

Following our tasting, we’ll pause for a bright and lively local lunch. As the afternoon rolls around, we’ll check into our stunning basecamp for the next two nights. Relax and explore our hotel’s grounds, nestled among the foothills of Mt Etna, before settling in for dinner. Every single dish on the menu, from the wild fennel risotto to the rabbit, features ingredients from the property’s abundant gardens.

Day 4: Rome to Sicily Highlights

  • Flight to Catania
  • Fish market tour
  • Trattoria lunch
  • Stay at Monaci Della Terre Nerre

Day 5: Taormina

Today is truly special—not only will we explore one of Sicily’s most iconic seaside hamlets, we’ll also be hitting the seas for the freshest local seafood. Our first stop is Taormina, pearl of the Mediterranean, to explore on foot starting with its ancient Greek amphitheater, overhanging the crashing surf below. From our perch at arguably the world’s most famous outdoor theater, the views of the bay of Giardini Naxos to the south, and mainland Italy to the north, are spectacular. We’ll take some free time to get to know the town, even pausing for an espresso at one of Taormina’s vibrant squares.

Next, it’s onto the ethereal blue waters of the Ionian Sea for a fishing excursion. Aboard our chartered vessel, PJ will be in his element, and we’ll look to him for advice on casting and reeling in our abundant (hopefully!) catch of the day. Of course, no fishing trip is complete without a fresh of-the-moment lunch, and today we’ll be treated to a seafood lunch, cooked and curated by chef PJ himself. As dusk descends, we’ll return to Mt Etna for an evening on our own.

Day 5: Taormina Highlights

  • Taormina walking tour
  • Fishing excursion
  • Fresh seafood lunch
  • Stay at Monaci Della Terre Nerre

Day 6: Siracusa

We’ll head for Siracusa today, wending our way across the island to this 2,700-year-old seaside wonder that’s an intricate blend of Greek, Roman, Byzantine and North African influences.

Siracusa’s ancient heart is the island of Ortigia; we’ll dive in on a walking tour of its cobblestone alleyways — crowded with markets and temples, castles and churches, tucked around every corner. Then we’ll head to Tenuta Cavasecca for a visit to its olive groves and the ancient temple that now houses vats of freshly pressed oil as it rests after harvesting and milling. Finally, we’ll head to the ancient hall for a tasting of this liquid gold, followed by a family lunch straight from the garden.

We’ll have time to rest back at our hotel, and explore the sprawling grounds of this beautifully restored baglio (fortified farm), before reconvening for dinner and a nightcap with PJ.

Day 6: Siracusa Highlights

  • Ortigia market visit
  • Olive estate visit and tasting
  • Dinner & nightcap with PJ
  • Stay at Baglio Occhipinti

Day 7: Ragusa

Ragusa, the City of Bridges, is a harmonious jumble of Greek and Roman ruins, Arab neighborhoods, ancient monasteries, Baroque churches and endless beaches. We’ll explore the old town of this UNESCO World Heritage site, squeezing our way into the warren of tiny medieval streets leading up to the magnificent Cathedral Square.

Our next stop is one of the area’s restored ancient water mills. Here we’ll see firsthand how wheat transforms to flour, and before we know it, we’ll be apron-clad and rolling our own pasta for an unforgettable lunch.

We’ll have the option of playing sous-chef for tonight’s feast, selecting vegetables and herbs from the hotel garden, then rolling up our sleeves and assisting PJ to craft a menu celebrating many of the market ingredients he’s foraged over the past week. 

Day 7: Ragusa Highlights

  • Ragusa walking tour
  • Water Mill pasta workshop
  • Dinner prepared by PJ
  • Stay at Baglio Occhipinti

Day 8: Agrigento & Palermo

We’re off to Palermo this morning, stopping along the way in Agrigento. This former Greek colony was established in the 6th century BC and was a leading city-state in the Mediterranean world. Agrigento’s magnificent Doric temples dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact among acres of olive, pistachio, almond and fruit trees. We’ll drink in the sumptuous beauty of the gardens over an al fresco lunch.

Palermo, the former capital of the Kingdom of Sicily, is one of the most dynamic cities in the Mediterranean. We’ll have some downtime and then meet for dinner at our hotel, a gracious Belle Epoque space with views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, showcasing timeless Sicilian dishes and flavors

Day 8: Agrigento & Palermo Highlights

  • Transfer to Palermo
  • Agrigento exploration & picnic
  • Dinner at Villa Igiea
  • Stay at Villa Igiea

Day 9: Palermo

There’s no better introduction to freewheeling Palermo than the colorful Capo market; even better, experiencing it in the company of Nicoletta Polo, a Sicilian duchess who will share stories of Palermo life as we wander the stalls, listening to the singsong calls of vendors and inhaling an intoxicating swirl of aromas: the sharp tang of Sicilian citrus fruits, fragrant sesame-seed loaves pulled from a wood-fired oven, savory arancini (fried rice balls) and thick slices of sfincione topped with  sweet tomato sauce.

We’ll meet the duchess again tonight at our farewell dinner at Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, the last home of Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the iconic novel The Leopard. Nestled in the heart of Kalsa, the old Arab quarter, this 18th-century palace overlooks Palermo’s stunning seafront, its terraces and courtyards a tapestry of hanging gardens perfumed with subtropical essence. It’s the perfect setting for our farewell banquet, as we raise a glass to toast PJ, our new friends and our adventure together.

Day 9: Palermo Highlights

  • Capo market & Palermo city tour
  • Farewell dinner at Palazzo Lanza Tomasi
  • Stay at Villa Igiea

Day 10: Palermo

Arrivederci Sicilia! We’re off this morning after nine immersive days of adventure and culinary adventure. After breakfast we’ll say ciao to PJ, and to each other, knowing the memory of our adventure together will live in our hearts forever! We’ll organize a group transfer to Palermo’s PMO airport for flights to mainland Italy and beyond.

Day 10: Palermo Highlights

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to Palermo's PMO airport

Where We Sleep

Beautifully curated accommodations—we’ll relax under the gaze of a volcano in Sicily, and feel like we’re part of the vibrant story of Rome

Sina Bernini


The Sina Bernini Bristol has long been esteemed as a symbol of opulent hospitality in the Eternal City for over 140 years. Nestled in the core of Baroque Rome, amidst Italian fashion and La Dolce Vita, it proudly stands as the sole 5-star luxury hotel on Piazza Barberini, a picturesque square mere steps away from the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.

Monaci delle Terre Nere

Zafferana Etnea

This exquisite boutique hotel is perched high on the eastern skirts of Mt Etna, forged out of an old palmento (wine estate) lovingly restored to traditional splendor, down to its chestnut flooring and lava-stone walls. The property boasts its own 15-acre winery, and its in-house restaurant draws heavily from the gardens. This is rustic living at its finest.

Baglio Occhipinti


This ancient, family-run baglio (fortified farm) is centered around a gracious manor house and 300-year-old citrus groves. It's a perfect home base to explore Siracusa and beyond. Meals are prepared over open flame in the enormous scullery fireplace, and culinary-minded guests are welcome to roll up their sleeves and join in the fun.

Villa Igiea


This immaculately restored palazzo is a fever dream of turrets, colonnades and classical statues, spilling out onto terraces overlooking the sparkling Tyrrhenian sea. For more than a century the Belle Epoque property has attracted A-List celebrities; today, after a top-to-bottom remodel by renowned interior designer Olga Polizzi, there’s nowhere grander on the entire island.

Everything was done superbly.
Kelly S.
I was blown away by how flawlessly Modern Adventure fulfilled and exceeded my expectations.
Josh S.
I loved the warmth, sincerity and caring of the Modern Adventure team.
Bob Z.

Book Rome & Sicily with PJ Calapa

Number of Travelers


Reserve your spot today with a $1,500 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs


per person based on double occupancy; includes internal flight from Rome to Sicily

Can't travel on these dates?
Call us at

+1 (855) 219-8018


That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.

  1. What does the price include?

    Nine nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; internal flight from Rome to Sicily; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.

  2. What does the price not include?

    International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.

  3. Where does this trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins in Rome, Italy, at the Anantara Palazzo Naiadi Hotel. The closest airport is Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO). We recommend arriving one day early to ensure you’re at our starting point on time. On our last day, the closest airport is Palermo’s Falcone-Borsellino (PMO) airport. Your flight should be scheduled to depart at 12pm or later from PMO airport.

  4. What travel documents are needed?

    US citizens are not required to have a visa for stays in Italy of under 90 days. Just bring a valid US passport. For citizens of other countries, please check with the Italian embassy or consulate for information and requirements.

  5. Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?

    For solo travelers, there is a $2,000 single-supplement fee paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. These spots are extremely limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  6. Who is going on this trip?

    Our adventures typically have between 10 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.

  7. Who is leading this trip?

    This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure trip leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.

  8. Do I need travel insurance?

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.

  9. What is the cancellation policy?

    You may cancel on or before June 4, 2024 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after June 5, 2024 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after August 3, 2024 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).

MO/AD News

Modern Adventure makes the Fast Company list of Brands that Matter in 2022. Next-level creativity and sustainable business practices build a brand with impact.

For the second year running, Modern Adventure is recognized as one of the top travel operators in the world by ​Condé Nast Traveller’s​ annual Readers’ Choice Awards, the most prestigious in the travel industry.

“I’d had Oaxacan food before, but few restaurants served meals like this—'celebration food' worth the effort only for births and weddings. And, apparently, for Modern Adventure.”

“Modern Adventure is curating a slew of foodie getaways, each spearheaded by the world’s most prolific culinary influencers. Who wouldn’t want to venture to faraway lands... eating really, really good food?”