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Sicily

Sicily

Tour Dates:
October 2-16, 2020

5,850.00 (per person)


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Day 1: DEPART US
Day 2: OCTOBER 3: PALERMO

Arrive Palermo, the capital of Sicily. You will be welcomed to this beautiful, rugged and ancient island at the airport and transferred to our elegant, modern, boutique hotel. We will depart for a relaxing tour of nearby picturesque Monreale. Known for its mosaics and Norman architecture, we will tour the great cathedral and stroll the cloisters of the Benedictine monastery, which also dates back to the 12th century. We will return to the hotel, and have an evening at leisure with dinner of your own choosing, from the many nearby cafes, or in the hotel’s bistro, where you will find a selection of local wines and Sicilian craft beers to accompany regional dishes and tastings of local cold cuts and cheeses, all prepared with fresh products carefully chosen by the chef. This is the first of many days where you will appreciate the best of the best: Sicilian cooking is known for its use of fresh and natural foods and ingredients coming straight from the island’s ecosystem. Mt. Etna is to be thanked for the rich, volcanic soil that helps produce many “super foods” such as (extra virgin) olive oil, fruits, legumes, vegetables, berries, tomatoes, artichokes, eggplant, garlic, figs, basil, etc. One-third of all organic farms in Italy are located in Sicily.

Overnight at Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel

DAY 3: OCTOBER 4: PALERMO

Today in Palermo we will start with the markets. The historic markets of Palermo are not only places for the exchange of goods, but also meeting points of cultures, foods, smells, colors and centers for the city’s street food. These multi-ethnic markets are accessed through the ancient gates of the city. We make a shopping stop for one of Sicily’s original products: the coffe, a traditional handmade straw basket-style bag, once used by peasants and farmers, and most recently — a high fashion accessory.

We will also visit the ancient part of the city and tour the cathedral and the magnificent (and notorious) Pretoria Fountain. We wrap up our tour by sharing an aperitif with Prince and Princess Alliata in their Palazzo Alliata.

For dinner, choose from any number of trattorias located near our hotel.

(B)

Overnight at Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel

DAY 4: OCTOBER 5: AGRIGENTO

Breakfast and check-out of the hotel. We begin our journey across the picturesque countryside, and visit the spectacular archaeological ruins at Segesta and Selinunte. We have a lovely lunch near Castelvetranto. Arrival to Agrigento in late afternoon.

Our hotel will welcome us with an optional Sicilian-style barbecue in their garden. (B)

(3 nights Agrigento Doric Bed Hotel)

DAY 5: OCTOBER 6: AGRIGENTO, VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES

We spend the morning touring the world-famous Valley of the Temples, and enjoy a picnic inside the archaeologic park. Afternoon and evening at leisure.

DAY 6: OCTOBER 7: AGRIGENTO

On this day we fully experience, “La Dolce Vita,” just like the Sicilians.

We will drive to S. Angelo Muxaro, a small village with an ancient history, overlooking the Platani river valley. Here, time passes slowly and is enhanced with panoramic views of wide valleys, hills, peaks, and mountains. The river flows slowly, the flocks, the people walking in the streets or playing cards at the bar, proceed slowly as if they are unwilling to move away from a past that is still too present. The millennial and fascinating history, the important archaeological heritage, the pristine and enveloping nature are only a backdrop for the real attraction of the place: the human relations and the great heart of the people.

We begin our tour with a walk among the picturesque village lanes with stops, tastings and encounters. A dairy stop will feature a tasting of cheeses produced each day by a local family. A bakery stop produces a tasting of “pani cunzatu” (bread with local olive oil and pepper), almond cookies and honey. This is one of the oldest bakery of Sicily, which still works by wood and
preparing every day fresh bread for locals. You will taste bread with extra Virgin Olive oil and almond biscuites. At this point, our focus is on the gastronomic and you are going to stop between the narrow lanes of Sant’Angelo Muxaro for cheese, bread with olives, oil, typical omelets of the season, and red wine tasting. Finally we will buy ingredient for your pizza making at Fontes Episcopi in the late afternoon.

Private typical wood oven cooking class: In Sicily, the wood oven has always been an important element of community, where moments of joy and sharing with friends and family are celebrated
around it. In Sicilian the verb “Famiare” means to light a big flame in the oven until the top turns white. That’s the sign the oven is ready. We will prepare “cuddirunedda”, a hard wheat flour little pizzas, where you indent the dough with your fingers to allow the olive oil to settle in, seasoned with spiced tomato sauce, garlic, anchovies and grated pecorino. Guests obviously participate in the various phases, from the preparation and rolling of the dough, to the seasoning, to the baking.

DAY 7: OCTOBER 8: SIRACUSA, ORTIGIA

After breakfast at the hotel and check-out, we transfer to Siracusa. We stop en-route at Piazza Armerina, to visit Villa Romana del Casale, an ancient Roman residence, which dates back to
the 4th Century A.D. made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. We will continue to Syracuse and take an afternoon tour in Ortigia, where we will enjoy a Sicilian aperitif. This magical little island is a short walk from the main island, and is the historical centre of the city of Syracuse.

(2 nights Siracusa Henry’s House Hotel)

DAY 8: OCTOBER 9: SIRACUSA AND NOTO

We begin our day with a guided tour of Noto, a Baroque masterpiece in the province of Siracusa. Such is the town’s beauty that it has been awarded status as Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by Unesco. A powerful earthquake completely destroyed the town in 1693, leading to Noto being rebuilt in sumptuous Baroque style. According to your expert guide’s suggestions, stroll through the city: grandiose flights of steps lead worshippers and tourists alike up to the ornately carved entrance doors of the churches, the roads open out in to sweeping piazzas lined by palaces built in a stone of soft pink and golden yellow hues.

This visit would not be complete with a tasting of the typical granita (fresh flavored ice) at Bar Sicilia. Later that afternoon, we tour of the archaeologic park of Syracuse.

DAY 9: OCTOBER 10: CATANIA, TAORMINA

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out, and begin our day’s adventures. Our first stop on our drive today , en-route to the seaside town of Taormina, will be Catania, for a market tour, including a tasting of the local products. Upon arrival in Taormina, we will get settled in our exquisite boutique hotel, nestled on the slopes of Mt. Etna. We will gather as a group for dinner at the hotel.
(4 nights Monaci delle Terre Nere)

DAY 10: OCTOBER 11: TAORMINA, SAVOCA, FORZA D’AGRÒ

After breakfast, we begin with a tour of Taormina, which includes the ancient Greek theatre, still in use today. We also enjoy a tasting of Sicily’s traditional cannoli. We then travel the short drives to Savoca and Forza D’Agrò. You may recognize these little towns if you have seen “The Godfather.” We will include a stop at the Castello degli Schiavi, also a scene location for “The Godfather,” for a private tour with the Barone Platania.

DAY 11: OCTOBER 12: TAORMINA

Soak up the surroundings on a private boat tour of Taormina Bay, where the spectacular waters of the Ionian Sea framing the rugged beauty of the island are our main feature. We will enjoy a private half-day boat tour of Taormina Bay, by yacht, and stop for snorkeling and swimming, weather permitting. We conclude this beautiful day again as a group for dinner at our hotel.

DAY 12:OCTOBER 13: MT. ETNA

The best way to experience Sicily’s largest and most active volcano is on a jeep tour. This is how we will pay a call to Mt. Etna, who is credited with providing the wild and rugged backdrop, and the fertile soil, for the many surrounding wineries. Our thrilling jeep ride up the northern side of Mt. Etna will bring us to a lovely winery for tastings and a light lunch. (B,L)

DAY 13: OCTOBER 14: CEFALU

Breakfast, check-out, then depart for Cefalu — Today we travel along the northern coast of Sicily. Depending upon the weather, we may make a stop at Milazzo, which is the ferry port for traveling to the Aeolian Islands. We proceed to Cefalu, a seaside historic town, known for its Norman cathedral, a 12th-century fortress- like structure with elaborate Byzantine mosaics.

Relaxing in the picturesque little city is easy with the dramatic backdrop of the Tyrrhenian Sea and countless cafes. Cefalu is known for beautiful sunsets, unpretentious charm, and a perfect blend of things to do and see. (B) (2 nights La Calette)

(2 nights La Calette)

DAY 14: OCTOBER 15: CEFALU

We have a private guided tour of the town, and an optional activity that afternoon will be a hike on La Rocca, a rocky mountain which was once the site of an Arab citadel. To reach the top, one climbs the Salita Saraceni, a winding staircase, through three tiers of city walls before emerging onto rock-strewn upland slopes with spectacular coastal views. Or, feel free to enjoy the final day at leisure in Cefalù, a perfect setting for the last day of an unforgettable trip. (B)

Enjoy a day at leisure in Cefalù, a perfect setting for the last day of an unforgettable trip. Cefalu is known for beautiful sunsets, unpretentious charm, and a perfect blend of things to do and see.

DAY 15: OCTOBER 16: DEPART FOR U.S.

Early morning check-out, transfer to airport in Palermo for flight back to U.S.


Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
Includes
  • Private luxury Mercedes Bus (wifi, water and wipes on board) as per itinerary
  • Accommodation in hotels 4* and 5* as per itinerary
  • Private English speaking tour guide for all the itinerary and entrance fees

Exclusions

Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.

  • **International Flights booked separately. Please call for quote.
  • **Customary end-of-tour gratuities for the guide and driver.
  • **Drinks not included

This program should be considered as a sample only – please keep in mind that your tour may vary, depending upon availabilities, weather, etc.

Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.

  • Rates based on Double Occupancy
  • Single Supplement Applies
  • Subject to Availability
  • All Prices subject to change