Throughout this journey, you will discover a land rich in history, culture and cuisine.
DAY 1 : Arrival Catania – Taormina
Arrival at Catania . Warm welcome by our English speaking driver –guide. Continue to Taormina, a beautiful spot, which offers also historical and cultural attractions, such as the Greek Theatre, used as stage for many important international events. You can also admire the various buildings in Corso Umberto, the main road that in the summer evenings is always crowded, and just in the middle it widens on a “belvedere”, with an unforgettable view on the whole bay. Check in at our hotel 4-star hotel, set in the historical center of the town.
Welcome dinner at a local restaurant . Overnight at the hotel. (D)
Day 2: Wines Between Sky and Fire- On the Slopes of Etna- Tread on Steps of the Godfather Film
After breakfast, we depart for your “Special morning on Mt. Etna,” one of our unique excursions.
You will see the highest active volcano in Europe as well as discover many habitats and beautiful scenery, characteristic villages at its slopes, and, of course, the terrific power of nature. Following our excursion we’ll continue to a winery Estate situated on Etna’s slopes at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level. These lands have always belonged to the family and since 1727 they give birth to great wines. The wines that come to life in the wine cellar are expressions of the territory. A small and elegant wine resort nestled among forests and historic vineyards allows international wine tourists to discover the hospitality and cuisine of Sicily.
Enjoy a guided visit of the cellar and a lunch based on Etna’s local cuisine paired with their wines.
Afternoon: Back to Taormina but first a stop at Fiumefreddo for a visit to the ancestral home of the notorious Corleone family at the heart of Francis Ford Coppola’s classic nine-hour cinematic : the “Castello degli Schiavi,” the house of DON CORLEONE.
This beautiful looking residence was built in 1700 as a country house for the Nobility.
The house was location for several scenes throughout the Godfather films including the unintentional murder of Apollonia in the Godfather and also the brutal revenge Killing of Don Ciccio, by Vito Corleone in Godfather part II.
Time on your own in Taormina .
Dinner on your own. Overnight in Taormina. (B, L, 1 wine tasting)
Day 3- Catania and History of Siracusa
Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Departure for Catania, a city that radiates a strange romantic beauty with its broad boulevards and spacious squares, grand palaces, and great cathedrals, that are still striking in their black and white colors, lava and limestone, crumbling plaster, and marble columns. Catania lies in a delightful geographical position between the Ionian Sea and the slopes of Mount Etna. It was repeatedly destroyed over the centuries by eruptions and earthquakes. In 1693 a massive earthquake leveled much of the city, but the people of Catania created an even better city.
Travel to Siracusa. Check in at the hotel 4 star hotel. In the late afternoon, meet a local guide for a visit. Ancient history surrounds you during a visit of the city . The historic center is located on an isthmus where a mix of Medieval and Baroque provide a delightful blending of architectural styles in the narrow streets. Fonte of Arethusa, a mythical spring-fed fountain tied to legend , the Temple of Apollo, a 7th century BC site that was the first great Doric temple, the beautiful baroque Duomo dedicated to St. Lucy who was born and martyred here.
Visit the “Archaeological Park of Neapolis” (Parco Archeologico della Neapolis) and of its Greek theatre, nowadays still stages new theatre performances, the Roman amphitheater, and a rock cave known as the “Ear of Dionysus”.
Dinner on your own and overnight in Siracusa. (B)
Day 4- Wine and Delicacies in the Garden of Stone: Noto – Siracusa
Breakfast at the hotel. Our adventure today begins in Noto, the capital of Sicilian Baroque, an authentic treasure chest brimming with baroque jewels of churches and palaces. Next, stop at a special café for a different experience of Sicilian pastry.
What it was in the last century a factory of nougat and jams is now the laboratory of a craftsman whose monumental creations as the host of this city will be one of the greatest tasting experiences of your life.
We are now in direction of a special winery set among a spectacular landscape. The aspect of the soft hills of the winery, the white limestone soil, and the breezes arising from the meeting of two seas create the best conditions to make the vines grow successfully and give rise to great wines. Here, Nero d’Avola and Moscato grow together amongst almonds, carobs and olives; symbolic plants of the Mediterranean location. After visiting the ‘Invisible Winery’ and a wine tasting, we’ll have lunch in the rooms of the old wine press or with a picnic in the shade of carob trees enjoying the typical products of the territory.
Back to Siracusa. Time to relax at the hotel . Dinner on your own and overnight in Siracusa. (B, L)
Day 5- Live the Precious Jewels of the Baroque with a Multi-Sensory Experience in Scicli and Modica
Breakfast at the hotel. Set in rolling countryside among rocks and giant carob trees, we’ll discover Scicli, situated in the south-eastern part of Sicily, close to the Mediterranean sea and included in the World Heritage List. The extraordinary late baroque buildings makes this city unique in the Val di Noto.
Our visit will be carried out in a nursery between Scicli and the sea, where we will be guided through an olfactory “Journey” made of unknown aromas and forgotten scents.
An itinerary of sensuous experiences with instructions-for-use recipes and tastings-aperitifs in an event space created in one of the greenhouses.
Discover now the baroque jewels of Modica. This town has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, with its terraced narrow alleys and its successful integration into the wildly romantic landscape. Modica is an open air museum. Hard to describe, you have to be there!
But Modica needs also to be smelled: when chocolatiers and cake shops bake local specialties. Enjoy all this still made in the traditional way that is based on Aztec methods and old recipes. For the real “chocoholic”, it will be possible to watch the “chocolatiers” at work.
(B, L, chocolate tasting included)
Day 6- The Glory of the Past: Agrigento – Marsala
Breakfast at hotel and check out. Departure for Agrigento to visit the beautiful Valley of the Temples. You will have a private guided tour with a specialized guide. The archaeological ruins of the Greek domination are numerous and they were visited and narrated by Goethe in his work, “ Viaggio in Italia”. In the middle of the valley, the most spectacular structure is the Concordia temple. And now a surprise awaits us: a Picnic lunch at the Kolymbetra Gardens.
This Garden has fruit trees from every part of the world and some of the trees are over 1,000 years old! Surrounded by pomegranate, pistachio, orange, and lemon trees, you will enjoy a typical Sicilian lunch served to you outdoors, complete with local fruit, cheese and wine. This is sure one of the highlights of your trip!
Continue to Marsala. Check in at our 4 star hotel. Time for rest. Dinner on your own and overnight in Marsala. (B, picnic included)
Day 7- The Sicilian Pastry in Erice & Olive Oil and Salt in Marsala
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart for Erice, famous in antiquity for its temples where the Phoenicians worshipped Astarte, the Greeks venerated Aphrodite, and the Romans celebrated Venus. Erice is the best preserved medieval town in the world , rich of castles and churches. Enjoy a breathtaking view from the hilltop. Stop in a historical pastry shop in Erice to learn about the tradition of dolci Siciliani made by nuns. Then tasting.
Then, a typical lunch in a olive oil farm under the olive trees followed by an olive-oil tasting and a visit of the resort.
And now, are you ready for a special “trip”? The coast from Marsala to Trapani is characterized by one of the landscapes’ most peculiar to Sicily: the saltworks. Large mirrors of saltwater from an irregular and multi-colored chessboard, typical windmills, which at one time served to pump water and grind the salt. In few words, a breathtaking view. We will reach the Stagnone and head to the Museum of Salt, which recounts the different stages involved in collecting salt from the salt pans.
Have an aperitif overlooking the salt-pans; a very charming place, especially at sunset with colors that shift from red to orange to pink, encircling the ancient mills and the silhouettes of the Egadi Islands.
Back to the hotel for overnight in Marsala. (B, L, D)
Day 8- Life Vibrates in Palermo
Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Travel to Palermo. Departure for a great cooking experience: a cooking class in the splendid Palermo. We will venture to one of Palermo’s historic markets were together with the chef and we will purchase all the ingredients necessary to prepare our meal. Along the way, we will also taste some of Palermo’s most typical food, such as “panelle ( chickpea fritters) ” and “ pane con la milza.”
Pass major Palermo monuments during the tour: “Palermo Arabo-Normanna”, “Palermo Barocca.” The lunch that you will prepare will be served with just the right Sicilian wine, and dessert accompanied by local biscuits and Sicilian sweet dessert wine. A visit to Palermo is not truly complete without a visit to the Dome of Monreale: architectural masterpiece which dates back to the Norman period. Its wall are almost completely covered by Byzantine mosaics and it covers a very large area, including a magnificent cloister, surrounded by 228 columns with inlaid capitals.
Dinner on your own. Overnight in Palermo. (B)
Day 9: Cefalù Suspended by Land and Sea- Medieval Time in Castelbuono
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart for a particular place: Abbazia Santa Anastasia in Castelbuono, a former Benedictine abbey built in the twelfth century in the hills high above the north coast. The medieval abbey or “abbazia” is steeped in a natural landscape so extraordinary that the present owner, entrepreneur Francesco Lena, originally purchased the land to turn the estate into a holiday resort. Instead, he began experimenting with international varietals such as Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the indigenous Nero d’Avola. Visit this nice village, which is 20 minutes from Cefalù. Have a walking tour of the village and stop in a very known pastry shop to taste the famous “pistachio panettone”. Have a lunch in a typical restaurant (known for its mushrooms and asparagus).
Back to Cefalù, famous for its rich historical center ( The Norman Cathedral and the medieval quarter) as well as for its beautiful beach and blue sea. Visit : The Norman Duomo, initiated under Roger II in 1131, that preserves precious mosaics which adorn the apse and a representation of Christ Pantocrator; The Giudecca and the jewish ghetto, from Postierla to Megalithic walls; the striking medieval wash-house .
Time to rest.
Back to Palermo. Dinner on you own and overnight in Palermo . (B, L)
Day 10- Departure
A private car will transport you at Palermo’s airport.
The curtain falls… It’s time to say Goodbye to Sicilia… See you on your next ‘relational experience’ in another corner of Sicily!
TAORMINA: Villa Diodoro– ★★★★ or similar
SIRACUSA: Hotel Roma ★★★★ or similar
MARSALA: Hotel Carmine ★★★★ or similar
PALERMO: Centrale Palace ★★★★ or similar
WHAT IS INCLUDED
- 9 overnights accommodations in 4-star hotels as per program in double rooms superior or deluxe
- Welcome dinner in Taormina- day 1
- Private visit of Don Corleone House- day 2
- 1 wine visit on Etna- day 2
- Lunch in a winery- day 2
- Demo, lunch and sensory journey in Scicli- day 4
- Chocolate tasting- day 4
- Stop at cafe for pastries- day 5
- Lunch, wine and oil tastingday 5
- Picnic in Kolymbetra Gardens day 6
- Aperitif in front of the Saline day 7
- Visit, taste and lunch at olive farm day 7
- Visit and taste at winery in Castelbuono day 9
- Lunch in a trattoria in Castelbuono day 9
- Private car + English speaking driver guide at disposal of the clients for the entire tour from arrival to departure
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- International Airfare
- Meals not mentioned
- Drinks during meals
- Entrance fees at all the monuments and archaeological sites
- Excursions not mentioned
- Gratuities and extras of any personal nature
DECEMBER TOUR: Total cost of $4,295 per person… single supplement of $750
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