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 12
Afternoon check in and free time to settle in to a small, charming boutique Palazzo Natoli in Palermo where we'll stay for 2 nights. We dive right into the culture with 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 a warm in-person connection.
Day 2 - October 13
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 ristorante.
Day 3 - October 14
Our first stop is Segesta, for a guided tour of of our first 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 you walk 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 most famous pastry shop, 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! 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 15
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 will be a traveling one while stopping along the way at the local shops. 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 16
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 a luxury 5 star Ortea Palace for 3 nights. Dinner this evening is at a local trattoria.
Day 6 - October 17
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, including the cave called "The Ear of Dionysius), baroque buildings and classic churches such as the Duomo, built upon the old temple of Athena. Dinner is at your leisure.
Day 7 - October 18
We drive to Noto, one of Sicily’s most beautiful baroque cities and a UNESCO World Heritage site. A powerful earthquake completely destroyed the town in 1693, leading to Noto being rebuilt in sumptuous Baroque style. Here, we will visit Caffe Sicilia to taste some special Sicilian pastries. Return to Siracusa and enjoy the afternoon and dinner at your leisure .
Day 8 - October 19
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. Our hotel is the gorgeous 5 Star Mazzarò Sea Palace Hotel for 2 nights. Spend the afternoon in Taormina and dinner at your leisure.
Day 9 - October 20
We drive to Mt Etna and and with our guide, explore the largest active volcano in Europe. Discovering Mount Etna is one of the greatest adventure tours in Sicily, not only for the volcanic phenomena but also for the different kinds of vegetation visible during the ascent. Next we 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 and wine tasting during our final lunch together. We return to Taormina for the afternoon at your leisure and our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 10 - October 21
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) $5,700 per person
Single Occupancy (double room) $6,800 per person
Price includes 9 nights of hotel, 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 $125 (regularly $250).