Join Laney Sachs for 10 exceptional days and 9 nights exploring, touring and experiencing the beautiful island of Sicily.
Arriving in Palermo and departing from Catania, our small group of 12* people will travel by our own comfortable minibus and visit some of the most fascinating towns, cities and sights. We've planned everything to the last detail, but have made sure to include time for you to do a little exploring on your own.**
*Minimum of 10 people
Day 1 - October 11
Afternoon check in and free time to settle into the 5 star Grand Hotel Villa Igiea in Palermo where we'll stay for 2 nights. We dive right into the culture with a welcome dinner in a private home with a Palermo family! We will be treated to a lovingly prepared authentic meal. This exceptional evening pairs a rustic Italian feast with an in-person connection served with the warmth of a Sicilian family.
Day 2 - October 12
In the morning, we follow our guide in a fascinating exploration of Sicilian culture and cuisine. The itinerary begins with a morning visit of the Capo market, the oldest in Palermo, where you will see and taste famous Palermo Street Food such as panelle, arancine, crocchette and PaniCaMeusa. We continue our tour of Palermo with its wide boulevards, traditional Sicilian Old Quarter, and baroque palaces. We visit the city's main sights, including the Norman section, Quattro Canti di Citta (the Four Corners of the City), Palermo's extravagant baroque square and the twelfth-century Duomo (Cathedral). Lunch is at your leisure. We will next be driven to Monreale, dating from the 12th century, to discover the Arab-Norman splendor of the Cathedral and Cloister. After returning to the hotel, we enjoy dinner together in a typical Sicilian trattoria.
Day 3 - October 13
Our first stop is Segesta, for a guided tour of the Greek temple. Next stop is Erice, a wonderfully preserved mediaeval hill town at the extreme north-west corner of Sicily, on the top of Monte San Giuliano. The town overlooks the city of Trapani and the lower western coast towards the Egadi Islands, where sea salt is made, offering a most breathtaking view. We will visit the Norman Castle and the Duomo as wewalk through the cobble-stoned streets of the town, taking in the fresh air and a variety of aromas emanating from the numerous pastry shops for which Erice is known. We visit the famous pastry Maria Grammatico's Pastry School for a pastry demonstration and to see the variety of sweets she lovingly creates. Our special treat is we have lunch with Maria followed by...a pastry tasting! Enjoy some free time exploring Erice on your own. In the evening, we arrive in Favara, a town being revitalized and rebuilt into the island's capital of cool. Dinner and two nights stay at the beautiful new 4 star Alba Palace Hotel.
Day 4 - October 14
We arrive in the town of Sant'Angelo Muxaro to begin our Sicani Day, a step back in time with a full immersion into rustic, authentic Sicily. Through walks, tastings, and meeting the local townspeople, in addition to admiring the beauty of our surroundings, we gather ingredients for our evening cooking class. Lunch in the countryside at an agritursimo. In the evening we will enjoy a cooking class with traditional Sicilian dishes. Almonds are an important part of Sicily and our hands on cooking class takes place in Marzipan, the Almond Museum. Local folklore music entertains us while enjoying our home made dinner at this unique location.
Day 5 - October 15
In the morning, we visit Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples, a place where time seems to have stopped. We explore all the iconic temples such as Juno, Concord, Castor and Pollux with our private guide. Next we travel to Piazza Armerina to visit the mosaics of the Roman Villa del Casale, a beautiful Roman Villa of mosaic pavement, still perfectly intact. We depart for historic Siracusa and will stay on the island of Ortigia at the 5 star Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel for 2 nights. Dinner this evening is at a local trattoria.
Day 6 - October 16
Siracusa flourished in 480 B.C. and soon became the most important Greek city in Sicily. In the morning, a tour of Ortigia and the food market is planned. Then, continue with a walk through the narrow streets of the Giudecca (the ancient Jewish quarter). Discover the site of the synagogue and the Miqwè (Mikvah)—the Jewish ritual bath, which lies eleven meters below ground level—the oldest in Europe. We will enjoy lunch at an amazing historic Salumeria. In the afternoon we visit remarkable Greek and Roman ruins, baroque buildings and classic churches such as the Duomo, built upon the old temple of Athena. Explore Siracusa on your own for the rest of the day and dinner is at your leisure.
Day 7 - October 17
Catania is our highlight, situated between the Ionian Sea and the majestic Mount Etna and one of the greatest baroque cities in the Mediterranean. The city radiates a strange romantic beauty with its broad boulevards, spacious squares and great cathedrals, still striking in their black and white colors, lava and limestone, crumbling plaster and cracked marble columns. We visit the Pescheria, a daily fish and vegetable market, for lunch in a typical trattoria. Then we travel to Taormina, the Pearl of the Mediterranean, which offers a breathtaking panorama. From its Greek theatre, you can admire the bay of Giardini Naxos and Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, while on the other side you can gaze out over the coastline toward Messina and view the proximity of the Calabrian coast. We will stay for three nights at the gorgeous 5 star Ashbee Hotel. Dinner is at your leisure .
Day 8 - October 18
We drive to Mt Etna and arrive in Milo to visit the Barone di Villagrande Winery surrounded by organically cultivated vineyards, where, for centuries, the tradition of winemaking has been handed down from generation to generation. Meet the chef as we enjoy a cooking class followed by winery visit and wine tasting during our lunch together. After lunch, we explore Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Discovering Mount Etna is one of the greatest adventure tours in Sicily and this volcano has more than 400 craters, split all over the Catania county. Dinner is at your leisure.
Day 9 - October 19
Spend the day exploring Taormina on your own and enjoy some Sicilian Dolce Vita! Founded by the Greeks in 358 BC, Taormina was occupied by the Romans and then fell into Byzantine hands. Picturesque and charming, Taormina is now one of Italy's top resort towns with spectacular views of the Ionian sea. Take the funicular down to the beach or spend some time meandering through pedestrianized streets where shopping is a popular pastime. Our farewell dinner will be served at a local restaurant.
Day 10 - October 20
Departure from hotel to Catania Airport
** Itinerary subject to change due to weather, transport strikes, natural disasters or other issues that might cause a modification to the schedule.
Double Occupancy (double room) $5,900 per person
Single Occupancy (double room) $7,600 per person
Price includes 9 nights of hotel, group ground transportation from Palermo airport and to Catania airport, daily breakfast, all activities and meals as noted above.
Airfare, travel insurance and incidentals are not included.
*Reduced price available for pre or post Sicily Experience travel planning by Ortensia Blu Italian Adventures $150 (regularly $250)
Questions? Contact Laney@Ortensiabluitalianadventures or 203-705-7527
Run Time: 1 Min
A peak of one day on our Sicily Experience Tour!
A Beautiful Walk - 2 Mins
A visit to spectacular Mount Etna - an active volcano, UNESCO World Heritage Site
and incredible beauty.