On a crossroads in the Mediterranean, part of Europe and Africa, yet belonging to neither, Sicily was tramped across by half the ancient world. Sicily is a curiosity, and the legacy of the past is redolent everywhere. The fact that it is an island, has intensified the cultural impact of each successive occupier. They say that today, there is less Italian blood in Sicilian veins than there is Phoenician, Greek, Arabic, Norman, Spanish or French. As conquerors came and went, they left behind a rich and varied cultural deposit. This has resulted in a quirky mixture in almost every aspect of the local vernacular from language, customs and cooking, to art and, most notably, the diverse architecture of the island. The resulting mixture – exotic, spicy and highly flammable – has created a separate nation at the foot of Italy.
Join us on this beautiful tour to Sicily, sampling its culture and heritage....
An exciting city to explore, with a mix of oriental and European influences. Its architecture ranges in style from Arabic to Norman, Baroque to Art Nouveau.
Magnificently adorned, and with a splendid view of the Conca d’Oro. The Cathedral of Monreale is one of the great sights of Norman Sicily, founded in 1172 by the Norman King William II.
Poised on a crag overlooking Trepani, Erice was once the seat to the cult of the fertility goddess, Venus. Her temple stood on the present site of the Norman Castle.
Home to world famous Marsala wine, which has been in production here since the 18th century. Visit two wineries in the area, and sample their products.
Straddling a low ridge to the south of Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples ranks among the most impressive complexes of ancient Greek architecture outside of Greece.
One of the most important cities of the ancient Greek world, and the most beautiful according to Cicero, the Roman consul. The peninsula of Ortigia is the self-contained hub of the old city.
A delight to visit: its climate is a dream, its position is perfect, its monuments and luxurious flora admired by all who visit it. The city lies on a terrace, with a view of the ancient Amphitheater against a backdrop of citrus groves with Mount Etna engulfed in the glory of the Ionian Sea beyond.
Participants arrive in Palermo (individual arrangements). Transfer to your hotel. Evening welcome cocktail, followed by a dialogue/introduction to the complex history of Sicily by your expert guide. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Palermo.
Buffet breakfast, followed by 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. It was founded in 1172 by the Norman King William II, and given to a monastery of the Benedictine Order. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Palermo.
Depart for Erice, perched on a crag overlooking Trapani. The most exciting way to get to Erice is by taking the cable-car (funivia) which climbs from the outskirts of Trapani to the town wall of Erice. The ten-minute journey is wonderfully panoramic, with views back over Trapani, the sea and the Egadi Islands. Visit the Gothic Cathedral, which dates back to the 14th century and Norman Castello di Venere, built on the former site of the Temple of Venus. Erice is also famous for its almond biscuits and pastries, proudly stacked up in the windows of several “pasticcerie” (pastry shops). After some free time for lunch, depart for Marsala. Visit the Cantine Florio winery, for a wine tasting of Marsala wines (the tasting will include 6 wines with snacks, cheese, almonds, salty biscuits). Continue to your hotel located Marsala for dinner and the night.
Leisurely buffet breakfast at your hotel, followed by a visit to the Donnafugata Winery for a wine tasting tour and tasting of their products (4 wines, Sicilian cold cuts, cheeses, seasonal fruits and dessert). In the afternoon enjoy a cooking lesson. Dinner will consist of the items cooked during the cooking lesson. Overnight will be at your hotel in Marsala.
Depart for Agrigento. 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. After the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel, for an afternoon at leisure in this majestic location. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Agrigento.
Depart for Siracusa. The name suggests a warm climate, blue skies, a beautiful bay and the ancient ruins of a Greek city which was the rival of Athens. On arrival enjoy a half day guided tour of the Archaeological Site with a local guide. See the 5th-century B.C. sparkling white Greek Theatre, the Garden of Paradise, the Ear of Dionysus, the Altar of Hieron II, the Roman Amphitheatre, and the Cord Makers’ Cave. After the tour, transfer to your hotel. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Siracusa.
Enjoy a half day tour to Ragusa. The town’s baroque architecture has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status. The town is divided into two parts - the Upper Town and Ibla. After the earthquake of 1693 destroyed most of the town, half the people decided to build on the ridge above town and the other half renovated the old town. Ibla, the lower town, is reached on foot by a series of stairways or by bus or car on a winding downhill road. From the upper town there are enchanting views of Ibla. After free time for lunch, depart for Modica, home to one of the best chocolate companies in Italy, the beloved L’Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. You will have the opportunity to taste some of their products. Return to your hotel in Siracusa for dinner and the night.
Depart for Taormina, Sicily’s best known resort. The town stands on a wonderful site, at an altitude of 206 m, forming a balcony overlooking the sea and Mt. Etna. The town is known for its sandy beaches and a wide range of restaurants. Interesting sights include the Greek Theatre, the public gardens and the castle. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy this beautiful location. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in Taormina.
Depart for 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 as the life of those who live in the villages on the skirts of the Volcano. After the tour, visit Chiuse del Signore, an ancient winery which sits grandly on a charming hilltop located 550 metres above the sea level, in the small town of Linguaglossa. Producing first-rate wines and olive oils, this is a viticultural family-owned farm. Your tour will include a sampling of their wines and olive oil. Return to Taormina for dinner and the night.
Full day at leisure in Taormina. Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel.
Free time at your hotel to prepare for your departure. At the appropriate time, depart for Catania, in order to take your flight home (independent flight arrangements).
Our Tour Escorts are personable and knowledgeable. Contact us for more information on any of the travel experiences we offer.
Transfers between airports and hotels
10-night accommodations in superior 4-star hotels, as follows:
- 2 nights in Palermo
- 2 nights in Marsala
- 1 night in Agrigento
- 2 nights in Siracusa
- 3 nights in Taormina
Buffet breakfast at the hotels every morning;
Welcome cocktail and introduction to Sicily by an expert guide
4-course dinner every evening (including mineral water, half litre of wine and coffee);
Deluxe chartered coach transportation throughout the tour;
Sightseeing tours and excursions as follows:
- Half day tour of Palermo (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Monreale and Conca d’Oro (with a guide)
- Half day visit to Erice (with a guide)
- Half day Agrigento (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Siracusa (with a guide)
- Half day tour of Ragusa and Modica (with a guide)
- Half day tour to Mount Etna (with a guide)
Entrance fees to the following places:
- Cappella Palatina and Palazzo dei Normanni (Palermo)
- Cathedral (Palermo)
- Monreale Dome and Cloister (Palermo)
- Cable car in Erice
- Erice Cathedral (Erice)
- Valley of the Temples (Agrigento)
- Archaeological site (Siracusa)
The following special activities:
- Wine tasting at the Cantine Florio Winery in Marsala
- Cooking lesson in Marsala
- Wine tasting at Donnafugata Winery in Marsala
- Chocolate tasting at L’Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica
- Winetasting at Chiuse del Signore Winery in Etna
Some of the activities may be replaced with similar locations, depending on availability
Services of a TOURINGHOUSE representative from the time of arrival until departure
Baggage handling at the hotels and tips to the bus driver and guides
All service charges and taxes