(Mount Etna, Castelbuono, Marsala)
Sicily is the result of different cultural contributions which came from every side of the Mediterranean. Evidence of this is to be found from the remains of Punic, Arabic and Greek origin scattered throughout the Sicilian landscape. The art of oenology holds a long tradition in Sicily, and the island is probably best known for its Marsala wine which dates back to the 18th century. Enjoy a fully guided adventure of Sicily in the company of a knowledgeable driver-guide and meet up with wine experts and local guide’s enroute to gain a comprehensive understanding of the wines of Sicily as well as the rich culture and sense of history present to this day. Enjoy stays in rural, luxurious settings throughout and take things at your own pace on this privately guided itinerary.
Sicily has many varietals such as Chardonnay, the world's ubiquitous varietal, as well as Chardonnay Grappa and native varietals that are becoming more present in the international market. Inzolia, Cataratto and Grecanico are pleasant whites. The red Nero d'Avola (following section) is becoming increasingly popular. Cabernet Sauvignon is also popular, sold especially by better houses like Tasca (Regaleali). Pinot Bianco has been made in Sicily for some years. Pinot Grigio is used to produce wines that are soft and fragrant, with more color than most other whites, but it's not as popular among Sicilian vintners as Pinot Bianco. Throughout your trip you will get to meet with vintners, wine experts and various personalities involved in different areas of the world of wine in Sicily. Salute!
A welcome package with 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.
Upon your arrival into Catania airport, you will be met and transferred by private chauffeur driven vehicle to your accommodation by Mount Etna. The transfer should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Enjoy being shown around the Scilio Wine Estate by your host this afternoon. The farmhouse and cellars date back to 1815 and are surrounded by the organically cultivated vineyards, where for centuries the traditions of wine making have been handed down from generation to generation. You will be shown the vineyards, the old palmetto (milestone) and cellar before you get to sample some of their best wines such as a delicious red passito of Etna.
Enjoy a great dinner this evening at the Scilio Wine Hotel.
Today you will get to explore Etna volcano, the largest active volcano in Europe, and admire a unique combination of nature and the uncontrollable essence of fire. You will see the Silvestri craters at the Sapienza refuge or enjoy an amazing excursion by cable car if you are so inclined (not included). This afternoon, you will meet up with a private guide and see Taormina and visit its Greco-Roman amphitheatre with a guide. Enjoy the chic boutiques, bustling cafes and restaurants before returning to your accommodation.(includes entrance to amphitheatre).
This morning you can relax on a scenic drive from Mount Etna through the Madonie Region as you make your way westwards towards Castelbuono in the Madonie Mountains. The journey should take approximately 3 hours. Your driver and vehicle are at your disposal for the rest of the day.
Visit of the winery Sant’Anastasia in Castelbuono and taste some of their best wines. The vineyards are surrounded by greenery and fertile lands and produce delicious wine as Chardonnay and Inzolia.
Depart for Marsala today stopping off at various places of interest en-route. Your driver and vehicle are at your disposal for the full day (8hrs).
Visit the Corvo Winery in Casteldaccia. Today Corvo is a historical brand not only for Sicilian wine making, but also one of the Italian great classical wines, one of most popular wines in the world. You will visit the Museum of Agriculture and the ancient “Bottaia”. Finally you will taste special Sicilian wines.
Enjoy a half day guided tour of Palermo where you can get to admire the Baroque palaces, the twelfth-century Cathedral which houses a pantheon of royal tombs and Palermo’s food market “Il Capo”, full of color and life. Sample some typical Sicilian street food such as “pani ca meusa”, “panelle”, and “arancini”. Entrance fee included.
Visit the Baglio Donna Franca winery and enjoy a sampling of the wines produced by the estate, matched with bread and local gourmet treats.
After breakfast this morning, you'll be driven to along The Salt Road and its Salt Pans located on the coastline between the cities of Trapani and Marsala. Locals extract the salt from the seawater following the same procedure used by the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians who once colonized this part of the Sicily. Once extracted from the water and dried, the salt is heaped into mounds and covered in tiles so the rain won’t melt the salt before it’s packed. In the afternoon you will see Erice, a wonderful and mysterious medieval town made famous in ancient times as the birthplace of Venus. Take time to stroll along the cobble – stoned streets of the town, smelling a variety of aromas emanating from the numerous pastry shops for which Erice is famous. (includes entrance to Salt pan).
Locals extract the salt from the seawater following the same procedure used by the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians who once colonized this part of the Sicily. Once extracted from the water and dried, the salt is heaped into mounds and covered in tiles so the rain won’t melt the salt before it’s packed.
Enjoy a visit of the Donnafugata Winery. The winery grew out of the commitment of a family in Sicily that has always believed in the extraordinary enological potential of its land and has 150 years of experience in producing premium wines. Don't miss the delicious red Mille e Una Notte, and Donnafugata's version of the famous Passito di Pantelleria. During your visit, you will be guided through a tasting of 4 wines in the charming “sala delle botti”.
Stop at the world famous Pastry shop by Maria Grammatico to taste almond sweets, genovesi and nougat to match with Marsala wine.
You have the services of a private vehicle and driver for the day today.
Explore one of Sicily's important local produce - olive oil at the Becchina Estate today. Sixty acres of groves roll away behind high walls surrounding the estate, part of which were the hunting grounds of the Princes Aragona Pignatelli Cortez of Spain. Begin your visit at the Becchina olive mill and learn about the making of “Olio Verde”, luscious extra virgin olive oil. Then, enjoy a delicious meal in the relaxing surroundings of Casina Pignatelli. Experience exclusive tastes such as Castelvetrano’s unique whole wheat bread, called pane nero, drizzled with some fresh, deeply green and peppery Olio Verde Novello.Try Gianfranco’s green olive paste and hot & sweet chilly preserve on local cheese amongst a selection of homemade appetizers. End your meal with a green limoncello (digestive lemon liquor) or green mandarinetto (green mandarin liquor).
In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to relax.
Leave for Palermo airport this morning for your onward flight. The transfer should take approximately one hour and 45 minutes.
The Tenuta Scilio di Valle Galfina Wine Hotel (3*) and its cellars, date back to 1815 and are surrounded by the organically cultivated vineyards, where for centuries the traditions of winemaking have been handed down from generation to generation. Accommodation in the reserved rooms and meeting with the Scilio family, Luisa will show you the vineyard, the old palmento (milestone) and the barrique After you are invited to taste their best wine and a delicious red passito of Etna. The wine hotel, cellars and vineyards of the Tenuta Scilio di Valle Galfina are on the Eastern side of Sicily within the limits of Mount Etna’s Nature Park, distant 2 km away from the town of Linguaglossa. The estate is situated at 650 mts asl on the north eastern slopes.
The luxurious Relais Sant’Anastasia (5*) in Castelbuono is a beautiful Abbey that has been restored to its ancient and noble splendor. It is surrounded by greenery and fertile lands and produces delicious wine such as Chardonnay and Inzolia. The hotel has twenty-five bedrooms and three suites featuring elegant furnishings. The Relais Santa Anastasia offers several public areas such as the reading and music room, bar, swimming pool with whirlpool and garden. In the restaurant you can savor every dish and accompany them with intense wines chosen among the family "jewels" knowing that many of them have won the most important international prizes that can be awarded to a wine.
The Baglio Donna Franca (4*) hotel is a perfect example of the blend of oenology and luxury accommodation. The property manages to combine the local cultural, history and sense of tradition which are linked to Marsala wine which is the most prestigious among the other liquor wines. A baglio is a typical rural building in Sicily where wine is produced. Donna Franca, which is located in the depths of a real oasis, is one of the most striking Baglios that used to belong to the most important family that have made the Marsala wine so popular, The Florio’s. The property currently has 15 rooms and 1 suite and serves genuine Sicilian cuisine. Facilities include a wine bar, garden, swimming pool, children's playground, wine cellars, and a reading room.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery Westlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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