Sicilian Escape

Enjoy a special holiday in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea: discover a land where culture, art , nature and excellent eno-gastronomy merge in a unique panorama. Visit Palermo and its Arabian-Norman art; admire the Greek ruins and traces of an ancient age in Taormina and Siracusa, walk on the Etna spectacular crater, taste local excellent wines. Fall in love with Sicily!

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN PALERMO

Arrival at Palermo airport. Private transfer to Palermo city center and check-in at your hotel, located in the very heart of the town. Afternoon at your disposal to relax at your hotel or to discover the beauty of Palermo on your own. Welcome dinner in a typical restaurant in the city center, that will offer you some specialties based on the great Sicilian tradition. Overnight at your hotel in Palermo

SPECIALS

Special welcome dinner in a local restaurant in Palermo.

DAY 2 – PALERMO AND MONREALE

In the morning, meet your private guide who will lead through Sicilian history; you will realize how important the influence of the Arabian domination was in the city architecture, traditions and art. Lunch at leisure. In the afternoon enjoy a visit to Monreale , another interesting example of Arabian-Norman center. Dinner on own in Palermo and overnight.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Palermo’s main attractions: the cathedral, that was transformed in a mosque in the past and that hosts the tombs of the Norman emperors; you will be amazed by the Royal Palace that includes some of the most beautiful examples of Arabian-Norman art; the Favorita’s park, a wonderful green area, the several palaces in Baroque style, the churches with wonderful mosaics and frescos; the Sicilian Gallery full of art masterpieces.

Monreale with the Dome, the Royal Palace and the monastery, three magnificent examples of Arabian-Norman art.

DO NOT MISS

The wonderful and colorful Vucciria Market, full of enthusiastic sellers and quaint stands

The restaurant “Ristorantino Palazzo Sambuca”, where you will have the possibility of having wonderful fish dishes for dinner.

DAY 3 – ERICE, SAN VITO LO CAPO, RISERVA DELLO ZINGARO

Check-out. In the morning, private transfer to the Natural Zingaro Reservation, a wonderful natural area with several flora and fauna species, directly overlooking the sea and with several wonderful gulfs and beaches. The natural reservation is full of beautiful trekking paths that will show you the beauty of the panorama. Afterwards, transfer to San Vito Lo Capo, awarded with the title of the most beautiful beach in Italy in 2011, one of the most interesting sea resorts of the whole country. Lunch on own in San Vito lo Capo. In the afternoon, visit of Erice, a medieval town with several architectural attractions dating back to the Arabian- Norman period. Final transfer of the day to Marsala, check-in at your hotel. Dinner on own and overnight in Marsala.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Erice, that presents ancient Elymian and Phoenician walls indicating different stages of settlement and occupation in antiquity; two castles, dating back to Saracen and Norman times, one of whom built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus.

ESSENCE SPECIALS

A walk within the Natural Zingaro Reservation, one of the most beautiful Italian natural settings.

A photo taken in San Vito lo Capo sandy beach with a bath in the clear blue sea.

DO NOT MISS

The cous-cous festival in San Vito lo Capo, taking place in September and offering visitors an unforgettable culinary experiencer

DAY 4 – AGRIGENTO, VALLE DEI TEMPLI, OVERNIGHT CALTANISSETTAI

Check out and transfer from Marsala to Agrigento. In the morning, visit of Agrigento “Temples Valley”, one of the best preserved Greek archeological site. The Valley includes remains of seven temples, all in Doric style. At lunch time, transfer to a wine estate in Canicattì, where you will have the possibility of tasting not only special wines but olive oil as well. Transfer back to your hotel in Caltanissetta and free afternoon to relax or visit the town. Dinner on own and overnight in Caltanissetta.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

The Temples’ Valley, with the temple of Juno, built in the 5th century BC, usually used for the celebration of weddings; the temple of Concordia, that was turned into a church in the 6th century AD, the temple of Heracles, the most ancient of the Valley; the temples of Zeus, built in the 480 BC to celebrate the city –state’s victory over Carthage….and many others!

SPECIALS

Wine and olive oil tasting in Canicattì surroundings at the Wine estate Masseria del Feudo

DO NOT MISS

Caltanissetta city center, with its Baroque Cathedral, elegant palaces such as Moncada Palace dating back to 17th century.

Vicolo Duomo Restaurant in Caltanissetta, where you will taste local specialties based on seasonal vegetables.

DAY 5 – PIAZZA ARMERINA CALTAGIRONE WINE TASTING OVERNIGHT IN SIRACUSA

Check-out and transfer to Piazza Armerina. In the morning, guided visit of the wonderful Roman Villa del Casale, dating back to the Diocletian domination and presenting several well-preserved mosaics. Afterwards, transfer to Caltagirone, where you will have the possibility of taking a walk in the city centre on your own and of admiring the magnificent steps entirely covered with ceramic tiles. Lunch on own in Caltagirone. In the afternoon, transfer to Siracusa with stop for a wine tasting on the way. Check-in at your hotel, dinner on own and overnight in Siracusa.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Piazza Armerina and the Roman Villa del Casale, a magnificent evidence of Roman residential architecture and art. The Villa presents extremely well-preserved mosaics with mythological scenes.

Caltagirone: the main landmark of the city is the 142-step monumental Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte, built from 1608 in the old part of the town. The peculiarity is that each step is decorated with different hand-decorated ceramics, using styles and figures derived from the millennial tradition of pottery making.

SPECIALS

A special wine tasting with the best wine qualities in Siracusa surroundings.

DO NOT MISS

Caltagirone craftsmen shops, with the artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures.

Nonsolovino, a restaurant in Caltagirone city center with several fish specialties.

DAY 6 – VISIT OF SIRACUSA

In the morning, join a half-day walking tour of the city. There, you will see how centuries of glorious history influenced its architecture and its monuments: you will visit both the new part of the city and the old one, characterized by a magic atmosphere. Lunch on own in Siracusa. In the afternoon, free visit of the archeological area of Siracusa. Dinner on own and overnight in Siracusa.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

The Cathedral, which once was a doric temple and was transformed, throughout the centuries, into a bizantine church, a norman palace, a gothic and finally a baroque religious building.

Ortigia, Siracusa’s soul: you will see greek temples and Christian churches, Norman, Spanish and baroque palaces, courts, Arabian streets, elegant palaces.

Archeological area in Siracusa, that presents one of the best preserved Greek theatre in the whole world, and a series of ruins that belonged to a sacred area in the past. Near the archeological area, you can the famous Dionysus’ ear, a mystical cave.

DO NOT MISS

A lunch or dinner at the restaurant Sicilia in Tavola, specialized in home-made pasta dishes with fresh sauces and in fish dishes

A wine tasting at the Enoteca Solaria, in the heart of Siracusa

DAY 7 – NOTO, AVOLA AND MODICA

Today, you will enjoy a full day excursion to Noto, Avola and Modica. In the morning, private transfer to Modica, a pearl of the Sicilian Baroque art and paradise of the Italian chocolate home-made production. Afterwards, enjoy a guided walking tour of Noto, characterized by impressive squares, grand staircases, terraces, wonderful buildings. Decorations here are massive and original: the Baroque style dominates the city streets and the churches and palaces of the city center. Noto is so original and so well preserved that it has been defined as the perfect Baroque town. Lunch on own in Noto. After that, you will have an excellent wine tasting in beautiful winery in Avola, where you will taste the famous “Nero d’Avola” wine accompanied by typical Sicilian sweets. In the afternoon transfer back to Siracusa, balance of the day at leisure and overnight.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Modica with its Baroque churches (one of them, the Chiesa di Santa Maria di Betlem, hosts the famous Palatine Chapel), the Castle, the 17th century Palazzo Tomasi Rosso

Noto and its Baroque wonderful palaces and attractions: the Baroque Cathedral, Palazzo Ducezio with the magnificent Glass salon and the city theatre.

SPECIALS

Special wine tasting in Avola with the best Sicilian wines qualities

DO NOT MISS

Hand-made chocolate shops in Modica, above all Cioccolateria Don Pugliesi and Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, where you can taste and buy several chocolate specialties.

Trattoria Mannarazzi in Noto, where to taste local excellent specialties

DAY 8 – CAPO PASSERO, MARZAMEMI, VENDICARI

Today, enjoy an excursion to Capo Passero, Marzamemi and Vendicari. In the morning, private transfer from Siracusa to Capo Passero, where you will enjoy one of the most beautiful Italian panoramas. Walk down Capo Passero beach and admire the clear sea water. Afterwards, visit a really original attraction, the Marzamemi tonnara, where tuna fish were killed and prepared to be sold. The tonnara dates back to the Middle Age and represents a very original building. Marzamemi village is deeply evocative as well: originally a fishermen village, it has been transformed in a very quaint and typical tourists’ attractions. Lunch on own. After lunch, transfer to Vindicari natural reservation and visit of the area. Return to Siracusa, balance of the day at leisure and overnight

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Capo Passero breathtaking panoramas

Marzamemi village and its picturesque aspect

Vindicari natural reservation, characterized by an original ecosystem, a wonderful flora and a rich fauna

SPECIALS

Marzamemi tonnara, a traditional, historical buildin

DO NOT MISS

Campisi fish shop in Marzamemi, where you will be able to buy the most delicious Italian fish products.

DAY 9 – CATANIA AND TAORMINA

In the early morning, check-out transfer from Siracusa to Catania, where you will have the possibility of visiting the city on your own. Catania presents several Baroque attractions and monuments. Lunch on own in Catania. In the afternoon, transfer to Taormina and check-in at your hotel. Visit of Taormina on own. Dinner on own and overnight in Taormina.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

The ancient Arx or citadel in Taormina. Numerous fragments of ancient buildings are scattered over its whole surface, including extensive reservoirs of water, sepulchers, tessellated pavements, etc., and the remains of a spacious edifice, commonly called a Naumachia.

The Ancient Theatre in Taormina which is one of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily, on account both of its remarkable preservation and its beautiful location

Catania city center, with the Elephant fountain, the Cathedral, the Collegiata Church dating back to the 18th century.

DO NOT MISS

Gambino winery in Taormina, where to taste the best Sicilian wine qualities

Rossodivino Restaurant in Taormina, located in a wonderful position and serving typical fish products

Spinella cake shop in Catania, where to try local pastries.

DAY 10 – ETNA VOLCANO

In the early morning, departure from Taormina to the Etna: you will experience a walk on this volcano, which is still active. Monte Etna is characterized by a wonderful landscape made of lavic rocks, moonscapes, breathtaking tracks. More specifically, you will visit Monte Fontana, which is a part of the whole volcano, and its wonderful belvedere over the Bove Valley and the major craters. Lunch near the volcano, in a typical restaurant of the area, where you will taste some local food based on meat, mushrooms, several vegetables and pistachios. In the afternoon, transfer to Taormina and balance of the day at leisure. Dinner on own in Taormina and overnight.

ESSENCE SPECIALS

Trekking walk on the Etna mountain, in a wonderful and unspoiled environment.

Lunch in a typical “rifugio”, a mountain restaurant where to relax after the walk and where to enjoy a special lunch

DAY 11-CHECK OUT

Check out. Private transfer to Catania airport or to alternative destinations.

OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR THE TOUR: 3*, 4*, 5* HOTELS, VILLAS AND HISTORICAL RESIDENCES

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