South of the boot of Italy you will find an island with 1,000 kilometers of coastline and warmer-than-usual weather year-round thanks to its s
In this part we would like you to make an introduction of approx. 10-12 sentences like the one you made for Andrea’s Trips. Join us in delighting all of your cultural and aesthetic desires in Sicily, an area where past political upheavals and deep cultural tradition intertwine into a breathtaking and indulgent Italian getaway. South of the boot of Italy you will find an island with 1,000 kilometers of coastline and warmer-than-usual weather year-round thanks to its southern location. Influenced by its occupation by Arab, Greek, and Spanish forces over the centuries, Sicily’s cuisine and culture will entice and excite you throughout your journey. You will be enthralled by dramatic cliffs dropping straight into the Mediterranean sea and the mountainous landscapes dotted by small traditional towns, as well as the largest active volcano in Europe imposing in the background. Lauded by some as Italy’s cultural capital, Palermo will leave you yearning long after your return for its unique mix of architecture, mouthwatering wines, and hyper-local food like arancini (a fried saffron rice). Other attractions throughout your trip will only grow your curiosity and understanding about this unique place, from a private boat tour of the islands to a salt tasting that will leave your mouth watering. All of this paired with the perfect wine (whether you choose Marsala or another varietal) will surely invigorate your senses and leave you wishing you had 9 weeks in this stunning location rather than 9 days.
"even now I miss Italy dearly, I dream about it every night"
- EILA HILTUNEN -
DAY 1 -Pick-up at Palermo Airport and drop off to the hotel
Welcome to Sicily! Arrive at the Palermo Punta Raisi airport and meet our tour leader who will stay with you during your entire experience in Sicily! From the airport of Palermo, we will transfer you to your accommodation near Trapani (transfer time 1 hour 20 minutes). Your accommodation will be an ex-wine and oil production factory dating back to the eighteenth century. This stunning property was recently restored as a country hotel featuring world-class service, stunning panoramic views, and a wine shop to start off your vacation. After check-in, you will have the time to relax and regain energy after the long flight. Take a dip in the picturesque pool with views of the countryside, find a quiet corner to read, or explore the property to discover hidden gems. Dinner will be conveniently arranged at the restaurant of the hotel, the perfect place to celebrate you arrival in Italy! Overnight stay at 4-star hotel.
DAY 2- Palermo and Monreale
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, you will be transferred back to Palermo, (transfer time 1 hour 20 minutes), the regional capital of Sicily! Palermo is one of those cities with its own very distinct, almost tangible atmosphere, a place of mystery where reality often outperforms the traveller’s imagination and preconceived stereotypes. Palermo’s history has been anything but stable as the town passed from one dominating power to another with remarkable frequency. Its strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean brought wave upon wave of invaders including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Saracen Arabs, Normans, Swabians, French and Spanish Bourbons (just to name a few of the most influential). The result of this quilted history is evident today in the vast range of architectural styles, the intriguing fusion of ingredients used in many local dishes and in many names of locations which are obviously not of Italian origin. Thanks to this mix of cultures, part of of the city was declared UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Our guide will bring you to discover the city center with a visit to the Cathedral of Palermo, the Palatine Chapel, I Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria. After the visit of the city center we will take a break for lunch (on your own with recommendations from our expert guide). In the afternoon, we will transfer you to the Arab-Norman town of Monreale, with its awe- inspiring views overlooking the famous Conca d’Oro and the entire city of Palermo. Here we will visit the stunning Duomo of Monreale, rising impressively at the centre of its main square. The visit to the interior of the Duomo is a one-in-a-lifetime experience, as this church is a unique example of magnificence for finesse of details, luminance, and conservation of the mosaics from the Norman period. The Duomo embracing and bedazzles embracing the visitor with thousands of tiny tesserae in gold, silver, and precious stones. After the visit, you will be transferred back to your hotel for the evening. Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight stay at 4-star hotel.
DAY 3 - Marsala’s Islands Boat Experience: Mothia, Marsala, Salt and Wine
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the salt plains area between Marsala and Trapani. Here you will depart for your Marsala's islands private boat tour, an experience you will find to be at once cultural, archaeological, and natural in unprecedented proportions. You will enjoy historical importance of the area as well as the natural wonders of the territory of Trapani. Join us in admiring all the islands in the lagoon of Stagnone from the comfort of the boat. The lagoon tour allows you to see and visit Mothia, a memorable archaeological site known for its wind mills and salt plains. The shallow and refreshing lagoon will be welcome after a long morning in the boat. After the visit, you will be transferred to a traditional farm specializing in salt production. The location is in the heart of the "salt route” along a tract of land lapped by the sea.We visit the majestic and picturesque mill with a notably secular history, a real jewel of industrial archeology. Then we will proceed with a guided walk between the salt plains, traveling along its banks and canals, to discover the flora, fauna, and most beautiful and impressive landscapes of the lagoon. After the tour, we will have a unique and original salt tasting experience. We say “there is salt, and there is SALT”, and in this exclusive experience you will have the chance to taste some unusual varieties of salt produced by the company. These salts come in pure and flavored varieties, and are delicious when combined with some typical Sicilian products like fresh bread, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, fresh seasonal fruit and a refreshing lemon juice. After the tasting/light lunch, we will proceed to Marsala for a brief walking tour of the historical city center. Did you know that Marsala is famous for the docking of Giuseppe Garibaldi on 11 May 1860? After the walking tour, you will be transferred to a very nice winery that deeply represents the wine tradition of this area. With sweet, nuanced flavors, the wide variety of Marsala wines will be on display for your journey. You will have a tour of the historical cellars with a tasting of three distinct Marsala wines. After the wine tasting, you will be transferred back to the hotel. Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight stay at 4-star hotel.
DAY 4 - Trapani, Erice and Segesta
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, you will be transferred to Trapani and we will visit the city center together with our expert guide. The legacy left by the numerous dominations suffered by the region can be easily recognised in each building and across the city center as we admire different architectural styles, from the Arabian to the medieval to Baroque. Crystalline blue waters meet limestone cliffs and turreted home built into the mountain: the Province of Trapani is sure to Take your breath away during our visit! After the visit to the historical part of the city, we will transfer you to Erice, a Medieval town perched on a mountain that offers an incredible panoramic view and boasts a millenary history evident in its still-extant section of Punic walls. Our walking tour starts from Porta Trapani and proceed through the alley streets and the squares bordered by churches and palaces that, in open spaces, reveal majestic landscapes. The area was once used as a defense stronghold, providing critical cover for the city of Trapani below. Many locals say Erice holds a feminine energy and have dedicated shrines to goddesses such Venus and Aphrodite. Take a breath during our exploration to enjoy lunch on your own. In the afternoon, we will reach the Segesta archaeological area, dominated from above by a majestic Doric temple. Besides traces of fortified doors and perimeter walls, we will admire the magnificent Greek theatre and the remains of a sanctuary. Abandoned in the 13th century, this archeological treasure gives you plenty of opportunities to explore and see the variety of architectural styles in Sicily for yourself. After the tour, you will be transferred back to the hotel. Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight stay at 4-star hotel.
DAY 5 - The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento (transfer time approx. 2 hours). The Valley of the Temples is an exceptional historic testimony to Magna Graecia’s presence in this area and was inserted onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. Here you will be met by our expert guide and together we will explore this authentic gem of Sicily for 2.5 hours! After the tour, we will have lunch at a local restaurant located close to the Valley of Temples (lunch on your own). After lunch, we will proceed to our next destinations: we will go to Modica or Siracusa according to the availability (transfer time approx. 3-4 hours). Time to settle into your accommodation and relax after the long journey. Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight stay at 4-star hotel.
DAY 6 - Ragusa, Modica and Chocolate
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, you will be transferred to Ragusa, another charming baroque city in the heart of the so called “Baroque Triangle”. Set amid the rocky peaks northwest of Modica, Ragusa is a town of two faces. Sitting on the top of the hill is Ragusa Superiore, a busy workaday town with sensible grid-pattern streets and all the trappings of a modern provincial capital. Etched into the hillside further down stands the Ragusa Ibla. The Ragusa Ibla is an authentic gem you will explore with our expert guide, strolling through tangled alleyways, grey stone houses, baroque palazzi on handsome squares, the Church of Santa Maria delle Scale, the Duomo of San Giorgio, and the Iblei Gardens. Lunch will be on your own at a traditional local restaurant of your choice. After lunch, you will be transferred to Modica, a UNESCO World Heritage baroque town of the Val di Noto. Known worldwide for its distinctive chocolate and as he birthplace of Salvatore Quasimodo (recipient of the Nobel prize for literature), the city of Modica rises between two caves on the riverbed of a watercourse buried in the last century. We will visit the historical area, Saint Georges’s Church, Saint Peter’s Church, and enjoy a tasting of the famous and delicious chocolate of Modica! This aztec- inspired chocolate is described by some as the best-kept secret in the chocolate world, and your taste buds will thank you for the experience. After the tour, you will be transferred back to the hotel. Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. Overnight stay at 4-star hotel.
DAY 7 - Siracusa, the Island of Ortygia and Taormina
Breakfast and check out from the hotel. After checking out, you will be transferred to the Siracusa, a city with more than three thousand years of history. Many Mediterranean populations have passed through and dominated the region, including the Byzantines, Bourbons, Arabs, Normans, and Aragonese. To start the day we will visit Archaeological Park of Neapolis. Inside the park, you will appreciate the Roman Amphitheatre, the Ierone Altar, the Greek Theater, the Latomia del Paradiso, the Cordari Cave, and the Dionysus Ear. Enjoy lunch on your own at a local restaurant overlooking the coast or in the bustling city center. Next, we will tour the Island of Ortygia, including the Temple of Apollo and the Duomo of Siracusa. First settled over 2,700 years ago, Ortygia is one of the oldest settlements in the Mediterranean. The history is evident as you climbs its cobbled stairs or descend to a hidden beac retreat. After the tour, you will be transferred to Taormina. As soon as you arrive in Taormina, you will feel the magical, mythical atmosphere permeating the surroundings and enchanting visitors. Settled on a hill of the Monte Tauro, Taormina dominates two grand, sweeping bays below. On the southern side, the top of Europe’s highest active volcano, Mount Etna, sits capped with snow and offering visitors a breathtaking, dramatic, and memorable view over almost one hundred miles of the Mediterranean Sea. Your accommodation in the evening will be a 4-star hotel located in the heart or the lower part of the city. Overnight stay at 4-star hotel.
DAY 8 - Etna winery tour, cooking class, and farewell dinner
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Take time to relax and enjoy Taormina city center. Enjoy handmade local ice cream while you indulge your senses in this charming but glamorous town. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to a winery located closed to Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2013. Winegrowing and producing is currently one of the Etnean area’s most lucrative industries, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of the region’s labor. In order to give you a better idea about the location, we love these words from the winery owner himself: “To me, producing wine means carrying on a family tradition. Since my father, an entrepreneur, purchased in the sixties our “house of delight” in Cerreto Guidi (Florence), Villa Petriolo, I have been honoring his industriousness by actively pursuing and molding my passion for wine. This winery is my latest venture, stemming from the love of this land featuring extraordinary cultural, historical, and environmental resources. Exuberant nature, layers upon layers of different civilizations, a deeply-rooted and complex cultural heritage. Sicily is the land of earth, sky, water and fire. And the land of fimmine, women. Even the Muntagna, the mountain, has a female spirit. I look up to Mount Etna like a daughter would look up to a mother. It procreates like a poet. A natural female prerogative. The Muntagna is as rash, unpredictable, generous, and elegant as a woman. And as unique.” Once arrived, you will have a tour of the property, including the cellar, vineyard, and surroundings. After the tour, get ready to get your hands dirty as you will immerse yourself in an authentic, fun hands-on Sicilian cooking class! If you want to do a good job, we will give you an insider tip: put all the love you have for food and the result will be super! Your farewell dinner will include the dishes you prepared with a tasting of the property’s local wines! After dinner, you will be transferred back to Taormina. Overnight stay at 4- star hotel.
DAY 9 - Pick-up and drop off to Catania airport
Enjoy your final breakfast of the trip at the hotel. You will be transferred to Catania airport according to your flight schedule. Arrivederci and we hope to see you again!
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