(Palermo, Agrigento, Syracuse, Taormina)
Travel throughout the island of Sicily starting in Palermo and finishing off in Catania (with option to return to Palermo at the end of your trip and visit the northern coastline en route). On your private guided trip, you will have the opportunity to get intimately connected to the Sicilian cuisine as you partake in a number of private cooking lessons, winery visits and tastings and guided market stops. And because it simply wouldn't be right to be in this place that is so rich in history and culture, you'll get to visit many of the magnificent archaeological sites and interesting towns such as Monreale with its majestic cathedral and Piazza Armerina with its magnificent floor mosaics. Explore Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe - and learn about the barren landscape in the company of a naturalist. Then spend some time in Taormina, exploring the historical city and lounging on the beach. Staying in luxurious and charming accommodations throughout, this trip will give you an insider's view at Sicilian culture through its cuisine, archaeology and varied landscapes.
Meet your driver for a private Airport (Falcone Borsellino) transfer with a private vehicle and driver.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a city map, train tickets (if relevant) and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Explore Palermo at your leisure. Palermo is full of worthy destinations, and in the historic district in can seem as though they are all competing for your attention. Of all the things to see in Palermo, few showcase as completely the differing influences that have swept through the city as the city's cathedral. Refurbished and shining, the Teatro Massimo is one of the premier Palermo sights. It is the largest theatre in Italy and presents a full slate of performances each year. Blending flea market, kasbah, souk, and haggler’s heaven, the markets in Palermo vibrate with energy. The street foods are one attraction, and the goods quite another. See them at the Vucciria, Borgo Vecchio, Capo, Ballaro, or Piazza Perani. The museum and gallery of Islamic art, Zisa, was built in the 12th century, and was the hunting lodge of the Norman Kings. The interior highlights the architectural influences of the Moorish tribes who had only recently been conquered. One of the most memorable Palermo sights is underground. More than 8,000 corpses have been mummified and put on display in the Catacombs of the Capuchins, a monastic order whose ossuary is under the Santa Maria della Concezione.
The Excelsior Palace Hilton Hotel (4*) in Palermo is a restored 19th century palazzo with art nouveau features, within 150 meters of the Politeama and Massimo theatres. The guestrooms feature traditional décor and antique wood furnishings; all include balconies and satellite TV. The Liberty Hall Restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine and features 19th century décor. Having being completely restored in the year 2005, this historic building now houses one of the most impressive hotels in Palermo. Located beside the Giardino Inglese, Villa Garibaldi and Villa Trabia the property is perfectly suited to visiting the city's many sites.
Meet your guide in your hotel lobby this morning to visit Palermo and Monreale. You’ll be enchanted by Palermo’s wide boulevards, traditional Sicilian Old Quarter, and baroque palaces. You’ll see the city’s main sights, including Quattro Canti (the Four Corners), an extravagant baroque square ringed by four buildings with baroque sculptures that depict the Four Seasons, Spanish kings, and the patron saints of Palermo’s four old quarters. You’ll also see the twelfth-century Cathedral, which houses a pantheon of royal tombs. Afterwards, you will be taken to Palermo’s food market Il Capo, typical “par excellence”, full of color and folkloric. Here you will taste typical street food such as pani ca meusa, panelle, arancini....
Later you’ll discover the Arab-Norman splendor of the Monreale Cathedral. This treasure dates from the 12th century and shows the diverse architectural influences of both the Normans and the Arab population. At day's end, you'll be returned to your hotel in Palermo by private vehicle. At the end of the day you will be transferred to Regaleali, south east of Palermo.
Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would like to have any dinners included during your time in Palermo. There are lots of options from casual restaurants to ones of historical note such as the Osteria dei Vespri, where scenes of Visconti’s movie "The Leopard" were filmed.
Leave Palermo today for Agrigento. En route, you'll get to stop off at the Tasca D’Almerita Wine Estate in Regaleali. Tasca d'Almerita is one of the most important wine-producing estates in Sicily and is the most famous Sicilian cooking school. Fabrizia Tasca Lanza, a cooking teacher and cookbook author, will share her knowledge of local cuisine and its history with you today and you will learn how to prepare the caponata, arancini and cannoli with ricotta cheese at Casa Vecchie, in the middle of the vineyards.
Enjoy lunch at the Estate before exploring the countryside and enjoying the vineyards. Then depart for Agrigento to visit the beautiful Valley of the Temples, one of the most representative sites of Greek civilization in the Mediterranean area. In the company of a local guide, you'll get to visit the Temple of Hercules, the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the wonderful Temple of Concord and finally the beautiful Garden of Kolymbetra. At days end you will be transfered to your accommodation in Agrigento.
The Mandranova Estate (4*) holiday resort is set in a garden of palm trees and African plants. We offer a stay of absolute comfort and tranquility in the rustic simplicity of the old farmhouse and renovated rooms in a train station and an old millstone. The "Gebbia, formerly used for agricultural irrigation, has been transformed into a small but lovely pool where guests can go for a refreshing swim in the summer heat. The charming owners are renowned for the warmth of their welcome and wonderful sense of hospitality and the restaurant, which is for the exclusive use of guests, offers excellent food prepared with locally produced ingredients. For beach lovers, there are several nice sandy beaches nearby.
Mandranova Estate has a long tradition of specialized cultivations which has been passed from one generation to the next. Today, after a reclamation and cultivation, 40 hectares are dedicated to olive trees, with extremely innovative cultivation, gathering and processing systems. This morning you will be privy to a private tour of the farm including its olive grove, and oil press. After learning the process of making quality olive oil, taste some of the best Extra virgin Olive Oil made on the island.
Enjoy lunch at the Mandranova Estate outside of Agrigento this afternoon.(beverages not included).
Consider taking a cooking lesson and enjoying the spoils in the Mandranova Estate. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if you would like this organized for you during your stay.
Leave Agrigento today and relax on the drive to view the famed Roman mosaics housed in the third-century Villa del Casale where a local guide will meet up with you. The mosaics are among the best preserved in the world, depicting scenes from everyday life. Scenes include children at play, and big game hunts showing some of the exotic African animals brought to Rome for gladiator games.
After your visit, you'll be transfered to Caltagirone whose ceramics are a symbol of Sicily. Spend some time at leisure if this is of interst as it has an evocative city center full of artisan shops. Enjoy lunch at leisure (not included) before being transfered to Siracusa this afternoon.
On the edge of the island of Ortigia, the Hotel Des Etrangers et Miramare (4*) is within easy walking distance of the centre of Syracuse. The hotel is made up of 78 guestrooms and 13 suites. The architecture is rather elegant, in a neoclassic Sicilian style. The floors are covered with precious marbles, while the walls and ceilings are enriched with stucco work. Most bedrooms open onto the Porto Grande sea. On the 6th floor, there is a restaurant that offers a panoramic view of the Ortigia rooftops, bell towers and the expansive sea below.
Meet with Mrs Fiora, a colorful local character to visit the fish and vegetable market and have an entertaining cooking class at her restaurant before sitting down to a great lunch which you have helped prepare!
Fully sated, meet up with a local guide for a guided tour of Syracuse and Noto. Until the Arab conquest of 878, the Siracusa was the capital of Sicily. It was by far the most important city on the island. You will visit the Ear of Dyonisus, the Greek Theatre, the Altare di Ierone. Walk through the historical centre on the Ortigia Island to admire the Cathedral, constructed over the ancient Temple of Athena, the Aretusa fountain and the ancient streets. Then discover the historical centre of Noto, the capital of Baroque in Sicily, and a very beautiful town with amazing Baroque style palaces. In 1693 an earthquake totally destroyed the town and nowadays, the new Noto is a masterpiece of Sicilian Baroque architecture and is listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
Depart for Catania this morning in the comfort of your chauffeur driven vehicle. In the company of your driver escort, you can visit its impressive Duomo and experience the city’s strong personality during at the "Pescheria", the daily fish and vegetable market.Enjoy lunch at leisure (not included) before taking in the scenery as you are driven along the famous Cyclops Coast through Acireale, its most important town, and Acicastello, with its Medieval Norman Castle built in 1076 on a prehistoric basalt lava terrace. As you gaze out over the Ionian Sea, you’ll can admire the Rocks of the Cyclops, imposing, spiky shards of black lava that rises up from the water.
Located in a peaceful 20th century Sicilian Villa in the heart of Taormina, The Ashbee Hotel (4*) was built in the 1908 by Colonel Shaw-Hellier who commissioned the famous Architect and designer Charles Robert Ashbee. Easy to locate, just a few steps from the main street and chic boutiques of Taormina, the hotel offers easy access to the main theaters, museums and heritage centers of the city. A short walk leads to the areas renowned restaurants. Today, this new charming house offers some of the finest accommodation in Sicily. With 25 guestrooms and a number of suites, you will find everything you require for a relaxing English hospitality style stay.
Get the most out of your time spent in Taormina, and in the company of a local Guide, visit the amazing Greek Theatre set on a hill overlooking the sea and the Duomo. The historical centre is rich in luxurious shops, so feel free to do some shopping before returning to your hotel. (includes entrances).
Every day is beach day in Taormina. Even during the winter months, you can enjoy water sports such as wind-surfing, sailing, fishing, scuba-diving, canoeing, and snorkeling. In some beautiful nearby villages, there are excellent Paragliding clubs for those looking for a little more adventure. Stroll on the beach today and enjoy some relaxation time. Take the time to enjoy a beach side lunch and to take some photos of the sunset.
Take a private transfer to Catania airport today in time for your onward journey. The transfer should take approximately 45 minutes.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Italy for the most up to date visa information.
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