Sicilian Secrets from Catania
Catania-Siracusa-Noto-Etna-Taormina-Cefalu-Palermo-Monreale-Marsala-Marsala Salt Road-Selinunte-Agrigento-Piazza Armerina-Ragusa
8 days/7 nights, Catania/Catania
2019 depart Sat: Mar 23-Nov 09
Cost from: $1328 pp twin share (s/supp $423) Apr, Jun-Aug, Oct-Nov
Cost from: $1374 pp twin share (s/supp $433) May & Sep
**Shorter tours 5days/4nights available Catania/Palermo or Palermo/Catania
day 01 Catania
Arrive indipendently to the hotel in the charming city of Catania (optional private transfer on request). In the evening meet the tour leader and your travel companions and enjoy a welcome dinner.
day 02 Siracusa–Noto-Catania
After breakfast in hotel we will visit Siracusa, the most beautiful and greatest Greek colony in Sicily and World Heritage Site. The visit will start with the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, with its Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomie of Paradise and the Ear of Dionysius. We will continue visiting the splendid Ortigia, a small island which is the historical centre of Siracusa. In Ortigia you will admire the beautiful Cathedral which dominates the square with its authoritative presence. From Piazza Duomo you will reach a wide terrace on the waterfront surrounding the famous Arethusa’s Fountain, one of the most famous fresh-water sources of the Greek world. Free time for lunch. Departure to Noto, the capital of Sicilian baroque, famous for its fine buildings of the early eighteenth century and declared Unesco World Heritage Site. We 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.
day 03 Etna–Taormina–Catania
This morning we will leave to visit Etna the highest (c. 3350m) volcano in Europe and one of the largest and most active in the world, nowadays Unesco World Heritage Site. There are splendid views of the lava fields on the approach roads to Rifugio Sapienza. We will reach the “Crateri Silvestri”, small volcanic cones now inactive, surrounded by ancient lava flows. The view beyond the mountain’s hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters, can extend across the whole of Sicily, the Aeolian islands and Calabria. Later we will visit a company of beekeeping and rustic cellar: visit of the honey extraction lab, tasting of homemade honey and typical products of the area. We will proceed to Taormina, charming town renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna! Lunch in a typical restaurant where you will assist to a show-cooking lesson for some typical Sicilian cuisine dishes. In the afternoon we will visit Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre, and then you will have free time for a nice walk among the picturesque medieval typical narrow streets and go shopping and looking around the local handycraft. The day will end with an overview of the beautiful Riviera dei Ciclopi.
day 04 Catania–Cefalu’–Palermo
Today we will visit the historical centre of Catania stated Unesco World Heritage Site, with its original baroque style and its unique streets built with black lava stone. The colour scheme of the city-centre building in fact is black and dark grey, relieved with white limestone details around the doors and windows. The city still preserves ruins of the Imperial Roman period despite having been rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693. The walking tour will start across the “pescheria” (the ancient fish market) to reach the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous “Liotru” statue, antique lava-stone elephant, symbol of the city. Not far from here we will reach the University Square and we will have a walk along the splendid baroque Via dei Crociferi, the most representative 18th century street in Catania, where we will admire the famous S. Benedict Monastery, Unesco World Heritage Site. We will continue walking along the precious historical city centre. Free time for lunch. Transfer to Cefalù, charming medieval town situated at the northern coast of Sicily. We will visit its stunning Norman Duomo and you will have free time to stroll through the town or to visit the famous and well-known Mandralisca Museum. We will proceed to Palermo for dinner at the hotel or in a restaurant nearby.
day 05 Palermo-Monreale–Marsala
The morning will be spent visiting the capital of Sicily Palermo, one of the richest towns in the island for its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay at the foot of Mt Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. We will visit the wonderful Arab-Norman Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, mirable example from an historical and an artistic point of view, of how different cultures, religions and way of thinking apparently incompatible can coexist. Continuing our walk we will admire the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with XVI century sculptures. Along the visiting day we will have a stop for a food surprise in the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco. Free time for lunch. Later on we will proceed to Monreale to visit its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry! In the afternoon we will continue to Marsala in whose port Garibaldi landed in 1860. Visit of a prestigious wine cellar and wine tasting.
day 06 Marsala Salt Road-Selinunte–Agrigento
This morning the tour will continue along the charming and well-known Salt Road: the west coast of Sicily with many salt marshes, which have given rise to one of the oldest salt-extracting industries in the world. Between Trapani and Marsala they are now protected, in part because of the interesting birdlife, and also as important sites of industrial archaelogy. On the way you will see the nice Island of Mothia (situated at the centre of a large lagoon in Marsala, known today as 'Stagnone'), and the famous Salines and windmills. Departure to Selinunte to visit the largest Archaeological Park in whole Mediterranean and World Heritage Site. Surrounded by a splendid landscape near the African Sea, we will walk among the rests of the ancient Greek city. Free time for lunch. Transfer to Agrigento and visit of the Valley of the Temples stated World Heritage Site. It was defined by Pyndar “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 of the 5th century. You will see the “Temple of Hera”, the “Temple of Concordia” and the “Temple of Heracles”.
day 07 Piazza Armerina-Ragusa-Catania
Today we will reach Piazza Armerina where we will admire the splendid polychrome mosaics of the famous Villa Romana del Casale, World Heritage Site. The complex, which has some of the most extensive and most beautiful Roman mosaics known, is a World Heritage Site. After free time for lunch, departure to Ragusa Ibla and visit of its historical centre cradle of Sicilian baroque, with its Cathedral, situated in the beautiful square of the Duomo and the “giardino Ibleo”. Used as a location of the extremely popular Police Inspector Montalbano Tv series, it is today stated among the 44 Italian World Heritage Sites. This little precious ancient city, well known thanks to the Commissario Montalbano television series, hosts more than 50 churches and many baroque architectural treasures. We’ll conclude the visiting day with a tasting of local products.
day 08 Catania
Your tour comes to an end in the morning. Own arrangements for departure.
Inclusions: twin share in a 4 star accommodation, breakfasts and dinners daily, 1 lunch on day 03, deluxe coach, multilingual (English with either Italian, Spanish) tour leader and professional travel guide, porterage, tasting of typical Sicilian products and visits as per itinerary.
Sightseeing: Siracusa, Noto, Etna, Catania, Palermo Cefalu, Monreale, Selinunte, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, Ragusa.
Exclusions: transfers, beverages, entrance fees for monuments and museums, city taxes, tips and extras.
Hotels: 4* Catania-Il Principe, Palermo-Hotel Federico II/ Ibis Styles Palermo Cristal, Marsala-hotel Stella d’Italia/ Baglio Basile, Agrigento- Baia di Ulisse Wellness & Spa (or similar) Hotels will be definitely confirmed only 5 days prior the strat of the tour.
Note: For organizational reasons or due to force majeure the itinerary may be modified