One-of-a-kind tour for lovers of Italian food and wine, based in an elegant 4-star hotel in the wine region of Ragusa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy five-course dinners accompanied by wine. Visit Etna and the hilltop town of Taormina with its Greek Theatre. Enjoy wine tasting at the COS winery, chocolate tasting at a bakery in Modica, visit a cheese factory to learn the art of matching cheese and wines. Discover Siracusa, the birthplace of Archimedes and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Enjoy the famous Marsala Wines at the Marco de Bartoli winery. Visit the Church of Monreale in Palermo, burial place of the House of Orange....
Depart on your overnight flight to Catania via a European gateway.
On arrival in Catania, you will be met by our ground operator and transferred to your hotel located in Ragusa. The Ragusa area is known as the "white province" after the limestone which dominates in the baroque style of the palazzo and in the dry-stone walls of the countryside. It is one of the most important towns in the Sicilian Baroque District, proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Located in the south-east side of Sicily, the African flavour can be breathed deeply along with the architectural shapes, the vegetation, olive-groves, carobs, almond trees, vineyards and the red, yellow and ochre colours of the landscape. In the evening, enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast, depart for Taormina, Sicily's best known resort. It retains an air of exclusivity, while being on the tourist trail, with sandy beaches and a wide range of restaurants. Your half day guided tour will include a visit the magnificent Greek Theatre, begun in the 3rd century BC by the Greeks, and subsequently rebuilt by the Romans. After the tour, you will have some free time for independent lunch, and to further explore this beautiful city on your own. Return to your hotel in Ragusa for dinner and the night.
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, enjoy a morning visit to the COS winery. Established in 1980, it is one of the top wineries in Sicily producing such wines as Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Pithos, Vastunaca, and more. Enjoy a rustic lunch at the winery, accompanied by the house wines. After lunch, proceed to Modica to visit the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, an ancient cake shop/bakery, to taste their famous chocolate. Dinner this evening is on your own.
Leisurely buffet breakfast at your hotel. Enjoy a visit to Corfilac a local Cheese Consortium. You will have the opportunity to see the process of cheese making, and taste different products. The class will also teach you the art of matching cheese with wines and jams. Dinner at your hotel.
After a leisurely buffet breakfast, enjoy a visit to Catania and its lively fish market in the historical center of the town, for a truly impressive experience of local life. Continue to the south-east side of Mt. Etna, facing the Ionian Sea. Mount Etna is the biggest active volcano in Europe, an exciting and fascinating world of its own, constantly shaped by lava-flows which condition the landscape and the life of those who live in the villages on the skirts of the Volcano. We will visit a winery on the slopes of Mt. Etna, in the village of Santa Venerina. This vineyard extends for 25 hectares and produces excellent Etna D.O.C. red and white wines, as well as a delicious sparkling wine. The group will enjoy a rustic lunch, accompanied by the house wines. In the late afternoon, there will be a cooking class at "La Cucina del Sole", where the group will be taught how to cook typical Sicilian dishes by chef Eleanora Consoli. The class is held in her lava-stone made home in Viagrande, one of the most charming villages on the slopes of Etna. Dinner will be at "La Cucina del Sole", and will consist of the items cooked during the cooking lesson.
After breakfast, depart for Siracusa. Enjoy a half day guided tour of Siracusa, birthplace of the mathematician Archimedes, and once a powerful Greek port whose fleet was feared throughout the Mediterranean. It attracted visitors such as the philosopher Plato and later the Apostle Paul who converted its citizens to Christianity. Enter the archaelogical site with a local Guide for a visit to the 5th-century B.C. sparkling white Greek Theater, the Garden of Paradise, the Ear of Dionysus, the Altar of Hieron II, the Roman Amphitheater, and the Cordmakers' Cave. After lunch (independent), return to your hotel. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Ragusa.
Buffet breakfast at your hotel, and check-out. Depart for Vallelunga Pratameno, a small village in the heart of Sicily. Visit the Regaleali Estate, an oenological oasis of more than 500 hectares, producing a wide range of white and red wines, as well as a sparkling wine. The estate dates back to 1830. The vineyards currently include over 80 examples of Italian, Greek, Spanish, and French varietals from all over the world. The tour will include visiting the vineyards and tasting the wines. After an independent lunch, depart for Palermo, the capital of Sicily. On arrival, you will check into your hotel. Dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast, depart on a half day guided sightseeing tour of Palermo, to include the main sights: ornate Piazza Bellini, the Cathedral and the Arab-Norman Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace. In the afternoon, we will drive up to Monreale for a panoramic view of the Conca d'Oro and a visit to the 12th century Norman Cathedral famous for its 50,000 square feet of precious Byzantine mosaics. Dinner this evening is on your own.
After breakfast, depart for the agricultural town of Menfi, on the southwestern coast of Sicily. This area is mostly devoted to olive oil and wine production. Enjoy a visit to the Ravida Farm, praised by food critics and consumers around the world as one of Sicily's most outstanding olive oil producers. The tour will include a stroll in the olive grove and a visit to the family's Summer Residence in Menfi, followed by olive oil tasting. Lunch will be at the Ravida farm. After lunch, depart for Agrigento, where you will enjoy a guided tour of the Valley of the Temples. Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today's fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas throw light on the later Hellenistic and Roman town and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants. Return to Palermo. Dinner this evening is on your own.
After breakfast, depart for the Marco de Bartoli winery, located in the countryside of Samperi, a small suburb of Marsala. This old-style winery is a champion of the oenological renewal which brought Sicily into the international stage. The Marsala Superiore and Passito di Pantelleria are the best among the "meditation wines". Enjoy a wine tasting and lunch in the winery's typical old-style living-room. In the afternoon, visit the historical cellars of Tenuda di Donnafugata to taste some of their best production. After the tour, return to your hotel in Palermo. Farewell dinner at your hotel.
Transfer to the airport in Palermo, in order to take your return flight home.
Our Tour Escorts are personable and knowledgeable. Contact us for more information on any of the travel experiences we offer.
Airfare from Toronto or Montreal to Catania and back from Palermo via a European gateway
10-night accommodations in Superior 4 and 5-Star hotels, based on double occupancy:
- 6 nights in a heritage 4-star hotel in Ragusa
- 4 nights in a 5-star hotel in Palermo
7 dinners as follows:
- Four 5-course dinners at the hotel in Ragusa (includes 3 different types of wine with dinner each day: 1 with the appetizer, 1 with the main course, and 1 with dessert)
- One dinner at the "Cucina del Sole" cooking school
- Two 4-course dinners at you hotel in Palermo, including 1/2 litre of wine, mineral water, and coffee
Four lunches and 1 cheese-tasting at a Cheese Consortium - all lunches will be accompanied by local wines
Deluxe chartered coach transportation throughout the tour (from the time of arrival in Catania until departure from Palermo)
All guided tours, visits, winetastings and excursions (including all entrance fees):
- Half day Taormina
- Wine tasting in Ragusa and chocolate tasting in Modica
- Visit to Cheese Consortium and cheese tasting
- Visit to Catania and wine tasting in Mount Etna
- Cooking lesson at "Cucina del Sole"
- Half day excursion to Siracusa
- Wine tasting at the Tenuta Regaleali near Vallelunga Pratamento
- Full day tour of Palermo, including Monreale
- Visit to Ravida Farm in Menfi and guided tour of Agrigento
- Visit + wine tasting Marsala wines at the Marco de Bartoli winery
- Visit to Tenuda di Donnafugata + wine tasting
All service charges and taxes