Independent arrival to Catania Airport and private transfer to the hotel in Catania/Riviera dei Ciclopi. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 02 Etna-Catania
Breakfast at your hotel and depart to Trecastagni, nice village on the slopes of Etna, whose name derives probably from the “tre casti agni” (the three chaste lambs) or rather the three Martyr Saints, paron Saints of the town, who stopped there on their way. We will visit then the Shrine dedicated to the Martyr Saints Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino, a place full of history, passion and devotion. There you will admire the most copious collection of ex-voto paintings in Sicily. We will drive then to Mompileri, to admire the 18th–century Shrine dedicated to the Madonna della Sciara. We will then proceed to explore the highest active volcano in Europe: Mount Etna: we will reach the height of 2.000 meters to visit the “Silvestri Craters” and the recent lava flows of 2001/2002. Free time for lunch. The afternoon wll be dedicated to the visit of Catania’s historical centre: the Teatro Massimo Opera House, the Baroque Via Crociferi, Piazza Università, the Duomo Square with its Elephant (symbol of the city) made of lava stone and the impressive Cathedral, where the relics of Saint Agatha, patron of the city, are guarded. Back to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 03 Siracusa-Noto
Breakfast at the hotel and depart to Siracusa, to visit the Basilica/Shrine of our Lady of Tears, built to house a plaster plaque of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which exuded tears in 1953. The visit will continue with the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, famous for its Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Ear of Dionysius and the Latomies of Paradise. Then we will make a nice walking tour in Ortygia Island, the ancient historical centre, where we will see the splendid Cathedral (built on the rests of a Greek Temple dedicated to Athena), the Temple of Apollo and the Fountain of Arethusa with its papyrus plants. Free time for lunch. We will then proceed to Noto, the capital of Sicilian Baroque, for a walking tour in the historical centre: along the main street we will admire the magnificent Cathedral, Palazzo Ducezio, Palazzo Nicolaci and the Porta Reale. Back to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 04 Tindari/Cefalú
Breakfast at the hotel and depart to Tindari, to visit the impressive Shrine standing on the top of a hill overlooking the sea. The Shrine hosts a wooden statue of the Black Madonna with Child, which is considered to be the bearer of grace and miraculous. Free time for lunch in Cefalù. In the afternoon, visit of the historical centre of this nice medieval town. During the walking tour you will be charmed by the small streets and the breathtaking Norman Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful Sicilian Churches of the Norman Period. You will be charmed also by the suggestive medieval wash-house built in the rock and hidden among the ancient alleys of the town. Proceed to Palermo, accommodation at hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 05 Monreale-Palermo
After breakfast at the hotel, we will depart to Monreale to visit the cloister of the Benedictines monastery with Moorish architecture and the impressive Norman Cathedral, defined the eighth world wonder thanks to its splendid 12th-century mosaic. The visit will continue in Palermo’s historical centre: we will admire the Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Normanni with its "Palatina" Chapel, the "Quattro Canti", the Martorana Church and the Pretoria Square, adorned with statues. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon we will depart to Mount Pellegrino (Pilgrim's Mountain) to visit the Shrine dedicated to Saint Rosalia, the patron of the city, which is set into a cave. The Sanctuary hosts the relics of the Santuzza, that is how people in Palermo call affectionately the Saint. After the visit you will enjoy a stunning view of the Bay of Palermo. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 06 Erice-Trapani
Breakfast at the hotel and depart to Erice, charming medieval town, set on the top of Mount Erice, offering a charming panorama of Aegadian Islands and the coast of Trapani with its famous salt pans. During the walking tour among the small streets of the town, we will see the Duomo with its Campanile (bell tower) and the suggestive 12th-century Norman Castle. You will also have the chance to stop in one of the famous pastry shops, to taste the typical marzipan candies and other local delicacies like almond and pistachio pastries. Free time for lunch. We will then proceed to Trapani, to admire the Basilica-Sanctuary of Maria Santissima Annunziata, housing the skull of Saint Albert of Trapani in a silver statue and a marble statue of the Madonna of Trapani. The Basilica represents the most famous Madonna Shrine in Western Sicily. Proceed to Agrigento, accommodation at hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 07 Agrigento-Caltagirone
Breakfast at hotel. The whole morning will be dedicated to the ancient Akragas, dipped in a splendid naturalistic background with almond trees and centenary olive trees. We will visit one of the main archaeological sites in the Mediterranean: the Valley of the Temples. The site includes ten well-preserved Doric temples such as the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Castor & Pollux representing the most beautiful example of the Greek Civilization in Sicily. Free time for lunch. We will then proceed to Caltagirone, famous for the production of ceramics and pottery. During the walking tour we will admire the Cathedral of San Giuliano, built during the Norman domination, the Mother Church of S. Maria del Monte and the main attraction of the city: the 142-step monumental Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte, decorated with polychrome majolica tiles, using various geometrical patterns, floral, animal and decorative motifs. Accommodation at hotel in Catania/Riviera dei Ciclopi, dinner and overnight.
Day 08 Optional Taormina or Riviera Dei Ciclopi) - Departure
Breakfast at hotel. If departure is scheduled in the afternoon or in the evening you may go for an half-day excursion to Taormina or to the seaside towns in the Riviera dei Ciclopi: Acireale, Aci Trezza and Aci Castello. Otherwise, the morning is at leisure. Transfer to Catania Airport where your tour comes to an end.
Inclusions: twin share, breakfast and dinners daily, deluxe coach transportation, excursions as per program, English-speaking escorted tour, private guided tour and taxes.
Note: the itinerary may be modified without notice, according to opening/closing time of churches/shrines, archaeological sites and monuments.