Sicily is a region in South Italy known as the end of the 'boot' referring to the map of Italy. Despite it being a major touristic destination, it is also a focal point where arts and architecture meet in a quite unusual way from their Northern appearance.
The Sicily Classic tour is a perfect way to digest them in person. From buffet breakfasts to wine tasting events and a visit of the best fine dining restaurants, you will see both the modern side of Sicily and taste the culture through its culinary specialties. On top of that, this tour lets you visit a lot of cathedrals dating back to 5th century BC as the blossoming era of this region. From Segesta to Erice, Monreale and Palermo as the biggest city in Sicilia, you will visit a lot of Italian and Greek temples, ancient town walls, churches and various other remains.
Ragusa, Siracusa and Modica are the following stops, each known for its unique culture and amazing architecture, influenced by the Greek and Byzantine times. The end is reserved for the magical Savoca and Taormina, places that offer glorious views on the landscape and probably the best sunsets in this region. So, why not take a step back in time and explore Sicily?
Day 01: Palermo | Upon arrival at Palermo airport please proceed through the Passport Control and collect your luggage inside the customs area. Just outside this area meet your assistant and driver who will transfer you to your Hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Palermo.
Day 02: Palermo and Cefalu` Private Guided Tour | Enjoy a full buffet breakfast at your hotel. Meeting with the guide at your hotel for a 3 hour guided tour of Palermo; you will visit the Cathedral, Palazzo dei Normanni, Cappella Palatina, San Giovanni degli Eremiti. Your guide will show you the highlights of historical Palermo, capital of ancient Sicily. Colonized by the Phoenicians, Sicily boasts a rich 3,000 years of history, which particularly flourishing under the Arab and Norman rule. The many great empires that once ruled Sicily's capital left behind wonderfully diverse architecture, from Roman to Byzantine to Arab-Norman, which we will view in the city's palaces, churches and crypts. Lunch at leisure. This afternoon together with your guide you will visit Cefalù, a small and picturesque town on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and keeps the Cathedral-Basilica erected by the first Norman King of Sicily Roger II, the Mandralisca Museum, and some remains of the Doric buildings "Temple of Diana" on the summit of the rock that dominated the town. Transfer back to Palermo. Late afternoon return to Palermo. Overnight in Palermo.
Day 03: Day at Leisure or*Optional Tour: Palermo → Erice → Segesta → Monreale → Palermo | Enjoy a full buffet breakfast at your hotel. Meet your driver and Guide at the Hotel lobby. View ancient Italian cities on a full-day tour of the Sicilian cities of Erice and Segesta and on the return to Palermo you will also visit the Monreale Cathedral. You will drive to western Sicily to arrive in Erice. The Elymians settled in the medieval town of Erice, which was an important religious site associated with the goddess Venus. You will travel on to Segesta. Once in Segesta, you will learn how it was one of the major cities of the ancient indigenous Elymian people. Here, you may visit the unfinished Doric temple dating back to the late 5th century B.C. Built on a hilltop just outside of the ancient city; it has an impressive view of the surrounding area. On your route back to Palermo visit Monreale to visit the Cathedral and the Benedictine Cloister. Late afternoon return to Palermo. Overnight in Palermo.
Day 04: Palermo → Selinunte → Valley of Temples → Agrigento | Breakfast at the Hotel. Private transfer by car and English speaking driver from Palermo to Selinunte to meet your Guide for a personalized Tour of Selinunte Archaeological Park, one of Sicily's great Greek archaeological sites. Situated by the sea in the south-western corner of Sicily, the isolated ruins here have stood abandoned for most of their history. The archaeological park at Selinunte is huge, incorporating Greek temples, ancient town walls, and the ruins of residential and commercial buildings, countryside paths and zones not yet excavated. Lunch at leisure. In the afternoon continue to Valley of Temples for a Private Guided Tour. This splendid archaeological park consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between about 510 BC and 430 BC: the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestos, the Temple of Demeter, and the Temple of Asclepius (the God of Medicine). Apart from this latter, which is to be found on the banks of the Akragas river, all are situated in the same area on rocky crests south of modern day Agrigento. Late afternoon continue to your Hotel for an overnight in Agrigento.
Day 05: Agrigento - Ragusa | Breakfast at the Hotel. Pick up from the hotel and travel by car and English speaking driver to your Hotel in Ragusa. Lunch at leisure. In the afternoon meet your Guide in hotel lobby for a Private Walking Tour. Ragusa is a small Baroque town and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Ragusa is one of the most picturesque towns in Sicily. The view from the upper town over Ragusa Ibla on its own separate hilltop is quite breathtaking. The town was originally built on a small steep-sided hill with deep valleys on three sides separating it from the high plateau. After the earthquake of 1693, which destroyed many of south-eastern Sicily's buildings, it was decided to rebuild Ragusa on higher, more level ground nearby. This new planned town was built, with straight streets and a rational layout, but local aristocrats didn't want to move, and instead built themselves new palazzi on the ruins of the old town. So nowadays Ragusa has two parts: Ibla (or Ragusa Ibla), the older nucleus on its hilltop, and Ragusa Superiore, the more modern upper town which spreads from the post-earthquake streets into more recent developments. Overnight in Ragusa
Day 06: Day at Leisure or*Optional Tour: Ragusa - Modica - Noto – Siracusa | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meeting with your driver at the hotel. This morning you will be transferred to you Hotel in Syracuse. On route you will visit the towns of Modica and Noto. Lower and upper Modica have their own opulent Chiesa Madre. The church dedicated to San Giorgio, the patron saint of Modica (upper Modica) is of particular interest, notably for its remarkable grand façade and its elegant twin staircases leading to the church. In the church of San Pietro (lower Modica), its old rival, the largest chapel is decorated with a superb Madonna of Trapani by the school of Gagini. Next to San Pietro is the cave-church of San Nicolo Inferiore, the oldest church in Modica. Its earliest fresco depicting a scene of the Ascension, date from late Byzantine. After Lunch at leisure continue to Noto, entirely rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake. Famous for its masterpieces of Sicilian baroque style, Noto has umerous aristocratic palazzi with their delightful baroque facades and twisted iron railings flank the main Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the many adjoining streets. Late afternoon continue to your hotel in Syracuse. Overnight in Syracuse.
Day 07: Siracusa Private Guided Tour | Breakfast at the Hotel. In the morning meet your driver and Guide at the Hotel lobby for a Syracuse Private Guided Tour. Syracuse, splendid and magnificent, in the classic age was the richest and the most powerful among the Hellenic towns in Sicily and some archaeological ruins testify the former glory. Visit the superb Archaeological Museum Paolo Orsi, which displays an important and well organized collection of items covering the late prehistoric period up to the Magna Grecia era. Stroll through the archaeological park of Neapolis, admiring one of the largest of all surviving Greek Theatres, a Roman amphitheatre built to allow for gladiators ‘sporting’ activities, which the Greek theatre could not accommodate, and the Ear of Dionysius, a huge cavern shaped in a way that gives it surprising acoustic properties. A great many legends are associated with this cave. In Ortigya, you will stop at many important sites such as the ruins of the Apollo Temple, the famed Arethusa fountain and the Piazza del Duomo, certainly one of the most suggestive Italian Baroque piazza. Overnight in Syracuse.
Day 08: Syracuse - Catania - Savoca - Taormina | Enjoy a full buffet breakfast at your hotel. Meet your driver at the Hotel lobby to transfer you to your Hotel in Taormina. On route meet your Private Guide to explore Catania. You will visit the Roman Amphitheatre, built using basaltic dark lava stones, at a lower level than the baroque town. You will see archaeological finds showing you the layers below the baroque town, dating back to the Roman period, the University Palace with its lovely courtyard decorated with Etna pebble mosaic, The Cathedral (fortress church), two of the "Seven Doors" protecting S. Agatha's treasure and the famous "candelora", in full silver sculptured by hands and carried on people's shoulders around town during the patron saint's celebration. You will find an abundance of quaint shops, boutiques, very tempting cafeterias, with unique Sicilian ricotta or almond and pistachio cookies or traditional Gelato. You will visit the "Pescheria", the open fish market with all the fishermen shouting their prices. In the heart of this colorful and picturesque open market, just in front of a typical "bancarella" (fish stall) you can taste some fried fresh fish matched with the best of Sicilian DOC wine. After Lunch in a local characteristic restaurant continue to Savoca – the notorious backdrop of “The Godfather”. Arriving in the simple hillside town of Savoca is like taking a step back in time. Although recorded with its present name in 1415, the town probably dates back to the early 12th century, when a Norman Fortress was built there. While the town is beautiful and historic, it owes its real fame to Al Pacino and the rest of the cast of “The Godfather.” You will follow their footsteps, stopping for a lemon Granita at the famous corner Bar Vitelli, one of Coppola’s favourite spots, appearing many times throughout the film. You’ll then make our way to the church of St. Lucy, where Apollonia and Michael’s wedding was shot. Late afternoon continue to Taormina. Overnight in Taormina.
Day 09: Mount Etna and Taormina Private Guided Tour | Breakfast at the Hotel. Meet your driver and Guide at the hotel lobby. This morning visit Mt Etna Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes in Europe. You will reach 2.000 meters (7.000 ft) where you can admire and take a walk on the “Silvestri” craters (1892) and the latest new lava flows and craters from 2001/2002/2003 – Eruptions of Etna follow a variety of patterns. Most occur at the summit, where there are currently (as of 2008) six distinct craters: the Northeast Crater, the Voragine, the Bocca Nuova, and the Southeast Crater. Other eruptions occur on the flanks, which have more than 300 vents ranging in size from small holes in the ground to large craters hundreds of metres across. Summit eruptions can be highly explosive and spectacular, but rarely threaten the inhabited areas around the volcano. You will then visit a local family farm where it is possible to taste local Etna wine, a selection of different types of honey (orange, lemon, eucalyptus, strawberry…), almond pastries, olives, and extra virgin olive oil. Driving down from Mount Etna through wonderful scenery with photo stops at the most beautiful locations; you will visit the Piazza Belvedere (Lookout square) where you will have a breathtaking view of Isolabella (Beautiful Island) and the Messina coast line. We will then take you to the historical centre of Taormina. The gods must have been smiling on Taormina, because this Sicilian town has been blessed with heavenly beauty. Taormina, the ancient Taurominum, is a spot of infinite loveliness, the land of Dolce far niente - of sweet do nothing. The town lies in an elevated position of amazing, almost unique beauty, affording magnificent views combining sea and sky of a marvelous blue, miles of a curving coastline and picturesque mountain scenery, while the majestic pyramid of Mt. Etna on one side constitutes a scene of indescribable beauty. Upon arrival we will visit the most impressive monument of the city: the Greco-Roman Theatre. It has the finest site of any theatre in the world and one of the most striking monuments of antiquity. We continue our walking tour to the Villa Comunale: the public gardens which are planted with a huge variety of flowering plants and shrubs ranging from the most common to the exotic, your guide will be able to describe you all the botanical curiosity. Overnight in Taormina.
Day 10: Departure | Pick up from you hotel and private transfer to Catania airport.
- 3 Nights in Palermo: Butera Luxury Apartments or Similar
- 1 Night in Agrigento: Hotel Costazzurra Museum & SPA 4* or Similar
- 1 Night in Ragusa: San Giorgio Palace Hotel 4* or Similar
- 2 Nights in Siracusa: Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel 4* or Similar
- 2 Night in Taormina: Hotel Villa Ducale 4* or Similar
- Assistance and Porterage at Airports, Train Stations and Hotels
- Private Transportation by Mercedes E or V Class with English Speaking Driver
- Private Guided Tours with Professional Local Guides | Door to Door Service
- Entrances to Museums, Galleries, Archeological Parks and other Venues
- Breakfast at Hotels, All Food & Wine Tours/Enogastronomic and Most Lunches.
- 24/7 Assistance and Support from our Ground Operational Office in Italy
- Details up on request
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