Sicily, the island of colors and flavors

Thanks to its geographical position, it has played a role of great importance in the historical events that have had as protagonists the peoples of the Mediterranean. The succession of multiple civilizations has enriched Sicily with urban settlements, monuments and vestiges that make the island one of the privileged places, where history can be relived through the images of the signs that time has not scratched and that has handed down to our days. Sicily has been influenced by the many ethnic groups that have passed on its territory marking its art and culture: Pieces of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Muslim, Norman, Angevin, Aragonese, Catalan culture … Each of them has left marks, architectural traces, masterpieces of art, transforming the whole island into an open-air museum unique in the world.

What will we do

First day, arrival in Palermo

Arrival in Palermo, meeting with the guide and transfer to the hotel. At night, stroll through the fashionable and colorful streets of the Sicilian capital, a cosmopolitan city, the daughter of many dominations and always owning itself.

Palermo and Monreale

Second day dedicated to the guided tour of the capital of Arab and Norman art. We will visit some of the symbolic places of the harmonious coexistence between different styles and cultures. We begin the tour in the magnificent Piazza del Duomo, where the largest mosque in the city was transformed into a cathedral in 1185, we will continue the visit with the Royal Palace, or Palazzo dei Normanni, the Palatine Chapel which is located inside the Royal Palace, the Quattro Canti square, triumph of the Baroque, which marks the center of the old city, crossing two main roads, Formwork and Maqueda.

We will end the morning in the unmissable public markets, Capo, Vucciria and Ballarò, an incredible kaleidoscope of colors and flavors in which to free your senses. Free time for lunch and in the afternoon we move just 5 km, along a wonderful road between orange trees and olive trees that will lead us to Monreale, which dominates Palermo from the top of Monte Caputo. A magnificent setting for the Cathedral of Monreale, a truly inimitable work of art. After the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, it is the largest set of Byzantine mosaics in the world.

Something that is impossible to describe, we can only leave eyes and senses lost in that immensity of beauty. In the late afternoon I return to Palermo to attend one of the thousand fairy tales told by the Opera dei Pupi siciliani, an Italian theatrical expression included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Palermo and its coast.

Third day. After breakfast we will leave for a short journey along the beautiful Sicilian coast to Cefalu, certainly one of the most beautiful villages on the island, postcard scenery and a Unesco World Heritage Cathedral. Cefalù is a small town suspended between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Madonie Mountains, a concentration of beauties dominated by the imposing profile of its Fortress, which in mythology is none other than the poet Dafni transformed into stone by the Gods for an unforgiving betrayal.

After the guided tour of the Cathedral and a nice walk along the promenade of the Borgo, it’s time to taste the Sicilian specialties in a nice restaurant in the historic center. A coffee and we are ready to take the way back to Palermo, but not before a stop in one of the most important Sicilian wineries to taste some of the most important wines of Sicily. In the late afternoon return to Palermo

Fourth day – Traveling – Palermo / Trapani

Free morning and in the early afternoon we will leave for a pleasant and slow transfer to the city of Trapani, passing first through the “Lo Zingaro” Nature Reserve, a bay where nature is expressed in its maximum beauty and then crossing the promontory of San Vito lo Capo, a real pearl of the Mediterranean, with some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Interesting are the Sanctuary, the temple of Santa Crescenza and the torrazzo, all in Arab-Norman style, but also the towers scattered along the coastal strip: Scieri, Mpisu and Isulidda.

Fifth day Erice

In the morning, immediately after breakfast, we will climb Mount Erice, by road, or if the weather permits with a beautiful cable car that takes us directly to the center of Erice. A mountain, a village, a magic that dominates the city and the coast. Glued to the top of Mount Erice, it is one of the most fascinating cities in the entire Mediterranean, a thousand-year history and an unforgettable beauty. Defended by ramparts and walls, the city is a labyrinth of cobbled streets and passages so narrow as to allow the passage of a single man.

Wandering among its typical climbs and descents, from Erice you can see truly unforgettable stretches of the Mediterranean and admire sunsets among the most beautiful in Sicily. A village with a unique atmosphere, with ancient roots that have their origins in myth and intrigue the walls of Erice with legend. Let’s slowly explore this charming village with a fresh air that can give moments to remember forever.

In antiquity, Erice was known for its temple where the Phoenicians worshiped Astarte, the Greeks Aphrodite and the Romans Venus. Mount Eryx served as a reference point for navigators of whom Venus soon became the protector. For lunch we will abandon ourselves to the pleasures of Trapani cuisine between arancini and cunzato bread (bread seasoned with cherry tomatoes, anchovies, pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil), a delight and for lovers of desserts not to be missed the Genoese of Erice.

In the afternoon continuing our tour through the paved streets, breathtaking views and the scents of Sicily we approach Porta Trapani and the cable car or our means of transport that will take us back to Trapani. Free evening.

Sixth day – Our proposals

Seventh day – Traveling – Trapani / Agrigento

In mattinata lasceremo Trapani per Agrigento e la Valle dei Templi. Ma la nostra non sarà solo una giornata di trasferimenti,  poco più di 30 km nell’entroterra incontriamo il Parco Archeologico di Segesta, una delle principali città degli Elimi, un popolo di cultura e tradizione peninsulare che secondo la tradizione antica, proveniva da Troia. Maestoso il Tempio Dorico su 36 colonne e bellissimo il Teatro ellenistico che domina il Golfo di Castellamare.

In summer the theater resumes its original function and from historical testimony becomes a lively and fertile place where you can attend classical shows and musical concerts of the highest level. We continue our itinerary crossing the island from north to south to the Mediterranean and its enchanted coasts. We meet the sea in Selinunte, the largest Archaeological Park in Europe. A precious gem, harmonious synthesis of history, culture and Sicilianity.

Stop for lunch in the wonderful seaside village of Marinella and then we immerse ourselves in the magical atmosphere of the Selinunte Park, visiting with our guide, the most beautiful and important temples and places.  In the evening arrival in Agrigento and overnight stay.

Eighth day – Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples

Agrigento, an ancient history that preserves extraordinary archaeological, artistic and architectural riches. Founded in 581 a.C. it was one of the most important cities of Magna Graecia in the Mediterranean, known by the name of Akragas. It then became the scene of the struggles between Carthage and Rome for the domination of the Mediterranean, and when it was definitively conquered by the Romans, it acquired the nickname of “Agrigentum”.

After having breakfast at the hotel, we will visit the heart of the archaeological area of Agrigento, the area of the Temples is a unique place. The Temple of Zeus was one of the largest Greek temples of antiquity, the oldest is that of Hercules, while the best preserved is certainly the Temple of Concordia but there are countless temples and places in this Valley that are worth knowing told with the voice and steps of those who have always lived this wonder.

Tenth day – Agrigento and its coast.

The Valley is reflected on the waters of a coastline of spectacular beauty, a coastline that today will be our destination.  Long coasts of white sand, cliffs overlooking the sea, uncontaminated nature reserves, bays with dunes but also many organized beaches equipped with every service all with the same common denominator, a crystal clear sea.

The first village we meet is Siculiana, a picturesque village with multicolored facades. In its territory falls the   Torre Salsa Nature Reserve which preserves one of the most beautiful and wild areas of the Agrigento coast, here the caretta caretta turtles nest. Its coastline extends for about 6 km and is an alternation of cliffs, dunes and immense and solitary beaches.

Immediately after we arrive at Eraclea Minoa ancient Greek city dating back to the fourth century a.C, whose Archaeological Park is a site of great charm also for its strategic position, the site, in fact, offers an exceptional panorama, on the one hand the blue arch of the gulf and on the other the white rocks of Capo Bianco overlooking the sea, in this area stands the Nature Reserve Foce del Fiume Platani .

After having lunch savoring the typical Sicilian specialties. We continue our day visiting an unmissable place, the Scala dei Turchi, a white rocky wall overlooking the sea long the coast of Realmonte, 15 km north of Agrigento. Already a tourist attraction for the beauty of the sea and for the whiteness of the rock, it owes its name to the fact that it descends towards the sea not to sheer, but to steppeds and that that region was often shelter of Turkish pirates.

Eleventh day – Traveling Agrigento/ Ragusa/ Modica/Scicli/Siracusa

In the morning departure for Syracuse, the city of the famous mathematician and physicist Archimedes. We will pass through the magnificent coast that is reflected in a cobalt blue sea, crossing ancient seaside villages, and then climbing the hills to Ragusa, one of the 8 Baroque cities UNESCO Heritage, the others are Scicli, Modica, Palazzolo Acreide, Catania, Caltagirone, Militello and Noto.

Known in antiquity as “Ibla”, Ragusa has two different city centers, one faithfully rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 and the other built according to the old medieval model. The baroque route in Ragusa winds through nine main churches (such as the Church of San Giovanni Battista, the Church of San Giorgio, the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli) and seven palaces (including Palazzo della Cancelleria, Palazzo Bertini, Palazzo Cosentini).

A few kilometers from Ragusa we meet Modica, a city that stands on an extensive plateau that was once crossed by two rivers. Between 1700 and 1800 in Modica there were 17 bridges that allowed the crossing of the streams, which made it look like Venice. A break to taste the famous chocolate of Modica and admire the beautiful ceramics before continuing to another stage of our journey, Scicli.

Scicli is a splendid city, from the sumptuous Via Francesco Mormino Penna, to the Madonna del Carmine Church, from the Palazzo Beneventano, to the caves and ancient rock churches, from the Church-Convent of Santa Maria that dominates the whole valley, to the imposing Baroque Palaces, used for some very successful television series. We will enjoy with our guide all the views, stories and myths of Scicli before continuing to our last stop, following the wonderful landscapes of the interior of Sicily arriving in view of Syracuse in the evening.

Twelfth day – Syracuse

Its territory has more than three thousand years of history, witnessed by countless monuments, archaeological sites and museums. To visit it, understand it and really enjoy it, it would take weeks but even on a well-planned day we can enjoy the beauty of the city that rises in the frame of a suggestive natural port, closed to the east of the island of Ortigia and to the west by the plateau of Epipoli.

We start our day from the old core of the island of Ortigia, from its colorful and boisterous Public Market. An open-air show around the Temple of Apollo. Here we can taste the famous Sicilian street food and get lost in the colors of the island’s products and in the inevitable chat / bargaining with farmers and fishermen.

We continue to the other side of the island, where we find the Castle of Maniace, a remarkable example of military architecture built by Frederick II of Swabia in the first half of the thirteenth century. We return to the center of the island to admire the cathedral, with a baroque façade that stands above the Dorian temple of Athena of the fifth century a.c. dominating the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, near which we can visit the Museum of Archimedes.

Syracuse is not only the Island of Ortigia, no less wonderful is the Neapolis district, where there are the remains of the Greek theater, the Roman amphitheater, the high altar of Gerone, the high altar of the Greek era that has come to us, the Technopark of Archimedes and the cave of the Cordari, the most famous among “Latomie” (old pits and / or chains dug into the rock). The rest of the day we leave to you.

Thirteenth day – Siracusa/ Marzamemi/Noto/Palazzolo Acreide

Breakfast and departure for another slow day to discover other Sicilian wonders. Half an hour from Syracuse, on a beautiful plateau we meet Palazzolo Acreide, a village much sought after even by fashion designers to launch their collections. Palazzolo is a small gem surrounded by exuberant nature, so much so that trekking lovers have made it their ideal starting point for excursions.

We take the way of the sea, crossing spectacular views, to visit Noto, a small great jewel of the Sicilian Baroque. A beautiful village nestled on a plateau overlooking the valley of the River Asinaro. The historic center is characterized by a main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele and three squares, Piazza dell’Immacolata with the homonymous church, Piazza del Municipio surrounded by four buildings, the town hall, the church of the Santissimo Salvatore (1791-1801), the Bishop’s Palace and the splendid Cathedral of San Nicolò (1771), which dominates from the top of a scenic staircase, and Piazza 16 de Maio, with the church of S. Domenico (1727) and the convent of the Dominicans.

In Noto we take all the time to breathe and savor the beauties of the village in a ups and downs of narrow streets and staircases, the most famous of which, Via Corrado Nicolacci, on the third Sunday of May turns into a riot of colors and floral designs, the famous Infiorata di Noto, made even more fascinating by the profile of the Church of Montevergini, which determines the end of the road and from Palazzo Nicolacci, or Villa Dorata located halfway through whose balconies are considered among the most beautiful in the world. 122 meters long by 6 meters wide of pure spectacle for the senses.

And finally some time to get lost in the baroque streets and the timeless flavors before calmly resuming the road to the sea. Following the profile of the Vendicari Oasis, we reach Marzamemi, an ancient fishing village, where we can taste the seafood specialties and cannoli made on the spot before returning to Syracuse.

Fourteenth day – Traveling Siracusa / Catania

Free morning that we suggest to spend in the beautiful and colorful market of the city and before noon departure from Syracuse, along the sea along the coast of the Giants, towards Catania (an hour), the last of the 8 UNESCO Heritage cities for the Sicilian Baroque. Arrival in Catania, hotel accommodation, lunch and ready to visit the city.

Fifteenth day: Catania

The city owes its foundation, in 729 a.C., to the Greek settlers, called Calcidesi, from nearby Naxos. Its name derives from its position lying at the foot of Etna, that is, from the union of the Greek terms katà and aitné (near or leaning on Etna).  The city itself seems to connect two forces of nature, perfectly opposite and complementary, the white that cloaks the steaming volcano and the blue of the Mediterranean.

Along its streets life flows above and below the vic stone of Etna with which many buildings, historical and not, are built; in the Greco-Roman ruins that testify to the millennial passage of peoples in this extremely rich area; in the Baroque and medievalcatanias; in the ferment of its alleys, its historical markets, its Piscarìa, for centuries the beating heart of the people of Catania.

From Piazza Duomo, to the popular markets, from Via Etnea, the street of “walking” and shopping, to the Monastery of San Nicolò, one of the largest in Europe, from the Castle of Ursino to the Greek-Roman archaeological route. We will live Catania and all its nuances accompanied and pampered throughout the day, savoring from time to time the wonders of street food.

Sixteenth dayCatania/ Taormina

Today we walk along the Etna coast to the wonderful Taormina, the ancient Tauromenion, one of the most beautiful Italian villages, which stands on a natural terrace, which is reflected on one side the Ionian Sea and on the other is lost in the imposing beauty of Etna, the largest volcano in Europe, a few steps from the strait that separates Sicily from the Italian continent,

With its medieval appearance, its ancient Greek soul, the colors and aromas of the Mediterranean vegetation, Taormina is certainly one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is impossible not to be fascinated by the immense beauty of this place and its Greek theater (III a.C.), symbol of the city. Located in the midst of cypresses and thorny plants, with the auditorium carved into the rock, the Hellenistic theater of Taormina, transformed into an arena by the Romans, offers a spectacular view of the turquoise sea to the Calabrian coast, the city of Syracuse and the smoky summit of Etna.

During the day we can go down to the coast with a short and panoramic cable car and enjoy the spectacle of Isola Bella, a promontory that depending on the tide becomes an island or peninsula and on which the English noblewoman Florence Trevelyan built her home and transformed it into a garden.

Seventeenth dayCatania and the Volcano

Day trip to the slopes of the Etna volcano, to discover one of the most beautiful coasts of Sicily and the wonderful cuisine of this island rich and generous with high quality agricultural products expertly transformed into unique dishes.

Etna is often in activity but unlike volcanoes such as Stromboli, in the Aeolian Islands, incandescent lava is visible only at certain times, during an eruption. During such periods of activity, from a safe distance or from the foothills it is possible, especially at night, to admire the red tongues of fire.

Arrived at rifugio Sapienza, we find bars, restaurants and the Etna cable car station that will take us up to 2500 m of altitude and then with off-road vehicles up to 2900 m of altitude. Once you get off the vehicles the guides will accompany you for a short distance until you see up close some of the side craters still active, you can often see them smoking, you can hear the typical smell of sulfur of a volcano and you can feel the heat of the volcanic stones. At the start we will take care to make you wear the appropriate clothing for this excursion, basically comfortable shoes and a jacket even in summer, a kway in the bag. At that altitude there is frequent snow. The large central crater, on the other hand, for safety reasons can only be visited at certain times. It will be necessary to inquire in the moment about the possibility of reaching it.

Then, in the afternoon, returning we will visit the small farms where we can taste wines, pasta, muesli and the famous Sicilian sweets.

Here ends our travel proposal in Sicily, a land of contrasts and millennial cultures, from this proposal choose the parts you like the most, or maybe the entire route, then, from Catania airport you can reach all destinations with a stopover in Rome, Bologna or Milan.

We offer you the opportunity to continue the journey through the Strait of Messina with overnight stay in Tropea and then continue to Matera and Puglia, or towards Sorrento and Naples.

What is included::

  • Overnight stay in a chosen structure with breakfast service,
  • Taxes
  • All scheduled visits with accompaniment and guidance where provided
  • All transport by public transport and / or private transport
  • The entrances and tickets provided in the program
  • An accompanying person for the whole period and a local guide where provided.
  • Personal insurance
  • All expenses of the accompanying person
  • Personalized assistance throughout the period
  • What is not included::
  • Anything not expressly provided for
  • Personal expenses.