Sicily… a magic Island where history, art, traditions as well as smells and tastes wisely melt together to present a never-to-be-forgotten stay. Sicilian Secrets – Tour of Sicily reveals the hidden treasures of the best Mediterranean island: 8 days tour discovering the most famous places in Sicily. Sicily hosts a hugely rich archaeology and dramatic architecture. You will be stunned by the luxuriant flora. Not to be missed, the characteristic noisy, exotic and colorful markets. Sicilian cousine? Its cookery tradition is a joy of colours, spices, perfumes and flavours, an inimitable mixture. Finally you and your travel companions will celebrate this wonderful journey and a beautiful land with a succulent wine and food surprise, tasting typical products and attending an amazing show cooking. Made in Sicily, of course!
Escorted Tour with guaranteed departures, 8 days and 7 nights, half board, in double room.
Available from April 2 to October 29, every Saturday.
The rates include:
- Multilingual Tour leader and professional travel guide (English, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese) for the whole tour (from the evening of the 1st day to the evening of the 7th day), local guides or audio-guides where necessary.
- Modern and comfortable bus, minibus or minivan for group with less than 15 pax for the whole tour (from the 2nd day to the 7th).
- Accommodation in charming 4 stars hotels mostly located in the city centres of the main Sicilian towns.
- Visit of the main suggestive Unesco World Heritage Sites: Siracusa, Noto, Etna, Catania city centre, Palermo, Cefalù, Monreale, Selinunte, Agrigento, Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina, Ragusa.
- Half board basis (dinner – 3 main courses menu to have a taste of Sicilian cuisine) + 1 lunch on day 3.
- Tasting of typical Sicilian products:
- Palermo (day 5): tasting of local street food;
- Marsala (day 5): visit of a wine cellar and wine tasting;
- Ragusa (day 7): tasting of local products;
- Etna (day 3): visit of a beekeeping honey company and honey and typical Sicilian preserves tasting;
- Taormina (day 7): lunch and show cooking.
The rates do not include:
- transfers in/out
- all lunches except for the one on the 3rd day
- entrance fees for monuments/museums
- city taxes (where compulsory)
- tips and extras in general
- anything not specified under “The rate includes”
Available in Italian and English; upon request, on Spanish or German too.
Hotels are carefully selected for their location and design to combine Sicilian tradition with comfort.
Comfortable shoes are advised and appropriate dressing is needed to enter churches. Children under 3 years are free; elder children sleeping in the third bed of their parents' room have 35% discount. Please book them as adults, and request the price difference refund by email, answering to the copy of the order.
The program may be modified.
- Cancellations up to 15 business days before departure: 30% penalty
- Cancellations from 14 to 3 days before departure: 60% penalty
- Further cancellations and no shows are not refundable
Sicilian Secrets: Discovering the Hidden Treasures of Sicily in 8 Days
Day 1/Saturday: CATANIA – (hotel in Catania)
> Independent arrival at hotel in Catania (*Catania Vincenzo Bellini (CAT) is the main international airport).
> Meeting with your tour leader and travel companions.
> Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 2/Sunday: SIRACUSA – NOTO (hotel in Catania)
> After breakfast departure for Siracusa, most important city of ancient Magna Graecia, the Greek colonies in what is today Italy; 2,700-year-old Siracusa was not only a key city for trade and culture, it was also the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and physicist Archimedes (287 BC-212 BC). Your visit of Siracusa will start with the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, its Greek Theater, the Roman Amphitheater, the Latomie (limestone rock caves) of the “Paradise” and the “Ear of Dionysus.” This experience will be followed by a visit of Ortigia, the small island which is the historical centre of Siracusa. Visit of the Cathedral of Siracusa, erected in the 7th century over the site of the Temple of Athena. Visit of the famous Arethusa Fountain, surrounded by a wide terrace on the waterfront, one of the most famous fresh-water sources of the Greek world.
> Free time for lunch.
> In the afternoon, transfer to Noto. Capital of the Sicilian Baroque, famous for its fine buildings of the early 18th century, Noto is considered one of the important sites for the Sicilian Baroque style. The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. Inspired by Baroque ideals of the “open city”, Noto is a rare masterpiece and the most clear example of the theatricality alive in 18th century architecture. Noto’s Baroque is in fact an interplay of elegant curves, floral weaves, perspective views, palaces and gardens, capitals and ornaments that adorn the golden facades of churches and monasteries. You will visit Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata, beautiful noble residence in Baroque style and once the residence of Don Giacomo Nicolaci, a patron of the arts.
> Back to Catania for dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 3/Monday: ETNA – TAORMINA – CATANIA (hotel in Catania)
> After breakfast, departure to the Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe (almost 11.000’). You will reach the “Crateri Silvestri” - small, now inactive volcanic cones, surrounded by ancient lava flows. You'll see the recent craters, originated by the eruptions in 2001/2002. The view beyond the mountain’s hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters can extend across the whole of Sicily, the Aeolian islands, and Calabria. The spectacle is unique! Later, visit to a beekeeping company and rustic cellar, where you will visit the honey extraction workshop, and enjoy a tasting of homemade honey and traditional products of the area.
> Transfer to Taormina, famously picturesque town with breathtaking panorama of the Ionic Sea and Etna. Lunch in a traditional restaurant where you will experience a cooking demonstration of some examples of the great Sicilian cuisine.
> In the afternoon, visit to Taormina's Greco-Roman theater (which Goethe called the most beautiful theater in the world).
> Free time to walk through the small streets, past the ancient Cathedral and Palazzo Corvaja, for example. You'll have time for a little shopping (coral jewels, precious lace, ceramics, sweets, and much more).
> On the way back to Catania, panoramic stop on the Riviera dei Ciclopi with its “Faraglioni” - three tall, cone-shaped islands. According to Homer’s legend, the cyclop Polipheme threw these enormous rocks at Ulysses after the hero had blinded him (in “The Odyssey”).
> Back to hotel in Catania for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 /Tuesday: CATANIA – CEFALÙ – PALERMO (hotel in Palermo)
> After breakfast, visit to the historical center of Catania (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its original baroque style architecture and unique streets built with black lava stone. The colour scheme of the city-center buildings in fact is black and dark grey, relieved with white limestone details around the doors and windows. The result is extremely elegant! The city still preserves ruins of the Imperial Roman period despite having been almost completely destroyed during the earthquake of 1693. Catania was the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily under the Aragonese dynasty. The walking tour will start across the “pescheria” (the traditional fish market) to reach the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous “Liotru” statue, symbol of the city - a black elephant, made of lavic stone. You will reach University Square and walk along the splendid baroque Via dei Crociferi, the most representative 18th century street in Catania, where you will see the famous Benedictine Monastery, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
> Free time for lunch in Catania’s precious historical city center.
> Transfer to Cefalù, charming medieval town situated on the northern coast of Sicily. Visit to the Norman Dome and free time to stroll through the town (famous also for having been one of the locations for Giuseppe Tornatore’s Oscar-winning film “Cinema Paradiso”). Possibility to visit the well-known Mandralisca Museum exhibiting the collections of the 19th century nobleman Enrico di Mandralisca. The museum shows numismatics, archaeological artifacts, majolica, and paintings, with the highlight being the magnificent Portrait of a Man by Antonello da Messina.
> Transfer to Palermo for overnight. Dinner at the hotel or in a restaurant nearby.
Day 5/Wednesday: PALERMO – MONREALE - MARSALA (hotel in Marsala)
> After breakfast at the hotel, morning visit of Palermo, capital of Sicily, probably the richest city on the island for its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay at the foot of Mount Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. While the Baroque predominates the architectural cityscape, there is a profusion of different styles reflecting the city’s multicultural past, including an elegant opera house, the 3rd in size in Europe. Your tour of Palermo includes a visit to the stunning Arab-Norman Cathedral, the kaleidoscopic Martorana Church and the Palazzo dei Normanni with its precious Palatine Chapel. The medieval Palermo of the Norman king Ruggero II was in fact an admirable example of how different, apparently incompatible cultures, religions, and ways of thinking can coexist. Ruggero II in fact employed Byzantine, Muslim, and Roman workers who joined their talents to create some of the most beautiful art and architecture in the Mediterranean. Continuing our walk we will admire the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with 16th century sculptures. Along the way you’ll enjoy a food surprise in the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco.
> Free time for lunch.
> Continue to Monreale (8km/5 miles southwest of Palermo) to visit its Norman Cathedral proclaimed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” for the largest cycle of Byzantine mosaics in Italy. Visit also of the cathedral's splendid cloister in Arab-Norman style, admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry.
> In the afternoon, transfer to Marsala (Western Sicily), the city who saw Garibaldi and his troops disembark in 1860 on their campaign for the unification of Italy. And of course, Marsala is famous for its wine - which you will get to discover during a visit of a prestigious wine cellar and wine tasting.
> Dinner and overnight at hotel in Marsala.
Day 6/Thursday: MARSALA - MARSALA SALT ROAD SELINUNTE – AGRIGENTO
(hotel in Agrigento)
> Breakfast in hotel.
> Your tour will continue along the charming and well-known Salt Road on the west coast of Sicily. Its many salt marshes gave rise to one of the oldest salt-extracting industries in the world. These landscapes are now protected between Trapani and Marsala, in part because of the interesting birdlife, and also as important sites of industrial archaeology. On the way you will see the Island of Mothia, site of a once powerful city founded during the 8th century, originally a colony of the Phoenicians. The island of Mothia is situated at the center of the lagoon of Marsala, known today as “stagnone”, a landscape of salt ponds and windmills.
> On to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Selinunte to visit the largest archaeological site in the whole Mediterranean, surrounded by a splendid landscape near the African Sea. Here, you'll walk among the traces of the ancient Greek city and its magnificent temples.
> Free time for lunch.
> Transfer to Agrigento to visit the large sacred area of the Valley of the Temples, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient Greek city of Akragas was named by the Greek poet Pindar “the most beautiful city of mortals”. Once one of the most prosperous of the ancient Greek cities on the island, Agrigento presents a remarkable series of Doric Temples from the 5th century. You will see the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia (which is the model for the UNESCO logo) and the Temple of Heracles.
> Accommodation at hotel in Agrigento, dinner and overnight.
Day 7/Friday: PIAZZA ARMERINA – RAGUSA (hotel in Catania)
> Breakfast at your hotel.
> Transfer to Piazza Armerina and visit to the famous Villa Romana del Casale with its splendid polychrome mosaics representing mythological and historical episodes and scenes of hunting and entertainments. The complex, which has some of the most extensive and most beautiful Roman mosaics known, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
> Free time for lunch.
> In the afternoon, departure to Ragusa Ibla and visit of its historical center, cradle of the Sicilian baroque, with its Cathedral, situated in the beautiful square of the Dome and the “giardino Ibleo” garden, listed among the 44 Italian World Heritage Sites. This small ancient city, well known thanks to being used as one of the locations for the Police Inspector Montalbano television series, boasts more than 50 churches and many baroque architectural treasures. The day will conclude with a tasting of local products.
> Transfer to Catania for dinner and overnight.
Day 8/Saturday: CATANIA
> Breakfast at hotel and end of services.
PLEASE NOTE: THE PROGRAM MAY BE MODIFIED.
HOTELS are carefully selected for their location and design to combine Sicilian tradition with comfort.