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Sicily Discovery

Explore the history, culture, and cuisine of Sicily. Meet and dine with locals in Palermo after spending time in the ornate Palatine Chapel, Piazza Pretoria, and the baroque palaces that remain from the days of Spanish rule. Enroute to Siracusa, stop at the Valley of the Temples, an ancient archeological landscape declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a Sicilian style cooking class by the sea, and in the elevated village of Taormina, admire the curving coastline, wonder the impressive Greek-Roman Theater, and pay a visit to Mt. Etna. Unwind in the beach town of Cefalù as you marvel at the mosaics inside the massive Norman Cathedral and lunch at a nearby wine estate.  

Trip Type: Cosmopolitan

Gallery

Sicily Discovery
Sicily Discovery
Sicily Discovery
Sicily Discovery

Day By Day

Day 1 – Arrive in Italy and Palermo Walking Tour and Private Dinner

Welcome to Palermo. Upon arrival into Palermo Airport please make your way into the arrivals hall where you will be met by a local representative. An English speaking driver will transfer you by private vehicle from the airport to your accommodation for check in.

A great way to get in touch with the welcoming atmosphere of Palermo will be joining a local guide who will share information about the city with their personal touch. After a pleasant walk in the core of the city, you will be hosted in a Sicilian house for a delicious welcome dinner and an introduction to Sicilian cooking. You will sit together around the table and share food, stories and laughter – all the right ingredients for a great experience!

Starting Accommodation: Hotel Principe di Lampedusa
Meals: Dinner


Day 2 – Urban Exploration, Palermo and Monreale

Today you will explore the beautiful city of Palermo. A private English speaking guide will pick you up at the hotel and show you around the Classic Palermo sites. You will visit the Palatine Chapel, which was the crowning architectural achievement of William II’s grandfather, Roger II. You will then continue by seeing: Piazza Pretoria and Via Maqueda with its four corners converging Palermo at a quartet of Baroque palaces left over from the heyday of Spanish rule dating back to 1560. You will also visit the 'Hidden Palermo', an exciting tour to discover the real heart of this amazing city. Taste the delicious typical Sicilian finger food: arancine, and pane con panelle.

In the afternoon, your guide will take you to Monreale to admire the Duomo, whose construction was started in 1174 by William II, where the Arab-Norman art and architecture reached the pinnacle of its glory. The interior represents scenes from the Old and New Testaments all in golden mosaics. Transfer back to your accommodation in Palermo at the end of your tour.

Starting Accommodation: Hotel Principe di Lampedusa
Meals: Breakfast


Day 3 – Self Drive Palerma to Siracusa via Valley of The Temples

The direct drive from Palermo to Siracusa is 165 miles, and would take 3 hours. A detour with a 3 hour stop at The Valley of the Temples is suggested, so please allow for a full day. It is a little over 2 hours for the 85 mile drive from Palermo to the Agrigento Archaeological site, and then 2.5 hours for the 130 mile drive on to Siracusa.

Make your way to the incredible archaeological park of Valle Dei Templi, where you will visit with an expert local tour guide the finest of all ancient Greek sites, with complete Doric Temple. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greek art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument. The 'Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples' extends over 1300 hectares and contains exceptional monumental and landscape heritage, which includes the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas and its surrounding territory up to the sea. In the Valley of the Temples, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, there is one of the main archaeological complexes of the Mediterranean, immersed in a rural landscape of rare beauty characterized by the presence of century-old olive and almond trees.

Starting Accommodation: Grand Hotel Minareto
Meals: Breakfast


Day 4 – Sicilian Cuisine - Cooking Class and Ortigia

Cooking is an art, especially Sicilian cooking, and this morning you will participate in a typical Sicilian cooking class in Ortigia with lunch included. Recipes from this region keep traces of several civilizations such as the Arabian, the Norman, the Angevin, the Aragonese, the Spanish and the Greek. They blend precious scents and flavors coming both from land and sea. The Cooking Class will start with grocery shopping of the ingredients in the local market of Ortigia. After you have completed the grocery shopping, you will learn from a true Sicilian the secrets of delicious dishes of this land (and sea) in an informal environment where with passion and cheerfulness, the chef will show how to prepare some of the many Sicilian delicacies. And, of course, you will get to enjoy what you have prepared!

After lunch explore Ortigia with a local guide, seeing the ancient part of the town of Siracusa located on the sea and full of beautiful shopping streets. It is the true heart of the city because it was chosen by the Greeks for their first settlements to found their colony on.  Due to its position and the presence of water it was subject to many successful invasions: by the Greeks, Romans, Swabians, Aragonese and Arabs which is reflected in the beautiful buildings and monuments that nestle majestically among the island’s streets.

Starting Accommodation: Grand Hotel Minareto
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 5 – Siracusa at Leisure

Siracusa is a city on the Ionian coast of Sicily, Italy, and is known for its ancient ruins. The central Archaeological Park Neapolis comprises the Roman Amphitheater, the Teatro Greco and the Orecchio di Dionisio, a limestone cave shaped like a human ear. The Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi exhibits terracotta artifacts, Roman portraits and Old Testament scenes carved into white marble. In the city, there are several points of access to the sea – from the island of Ortigia to Via dell’Arsenale – to experience the thrill of a dip in the waters of Siracusa, admiring the city from the sea.

The area south to Siracusa is the Aretusa coast. A must is the passage to the Marine Protected Area of Plemmirio: the name of the peninsula derives from the presence, until the nineteenth century, of a small church dedicated to the Maddalena. The emerald sea, protected all year round, offers Caribbean atmospheres to those who decide to go and cool off in its waters. Here you can even see offshore herds of passing dolphins. A few miles further on you will find the seaside of Arenella. Today famous for its pristine and white beach, in ancient times it was known for wine. In fact, a sweet muscat was produced here, heir to the famous Greek 'pollion', of which Esiodo and Plinio were fond of.

Starting Accommodation: Grand Hotel Minareto
Meals: Breakfast


Day 6 – Self Drive Siracusa to Taormina and Urban Exploration, Taormina

Please allow up to two hours for today's drive (approximately 75 miles), longer if planning to drive during busy traffic.

Today, an afternoon tour with professional local English speaking guide. The village of Taormina lies in an elevated position of amazing, almost unique beauty, affording magnificent views combining sea and sky of a marvelous blue and miles of a curving coastline and picturesque mountain scenery. You will first visit the most impressive monument of the city: the Greek-Roman Theatre (there is still uncertainty of its Greek versus Roma origin). It has the finest site of any theatre in the world and one of the most striking monuments of antiquity. After contemplating this true wonder, you will walk back along Via Teatro Greco 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. The visit continues to the village center, with the cathedral and the Corso Umberto I, Piazza 9 Aprile, with its lovely Clock Tower and Church of S. Giuseppe.

Starting Accommodation: Villa Ducale
Meals: Breakfast


Day 7 – Exploring a Volcano - Mount Etna

Your driver will collect you from your hotel and take you to Mount Etna. Enjoy a lovely experience through the Etna area: Mount Fontana (view of Bove Valley), extinct craters of Sartorius Mounts, lava flow from the 2002 eruption. You will then reach to the West side of the Mountain, where you will admire the unique Etna vineyards in the area between Randazzo and Castiglione. You will visit a boutique winery, where the winemaker will be your host and explain the unique characteristics of the wines from this area. Today's excursion by private vehicle includes lunch with wine pairing.

Starting Accommodation: Villa Ducale
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 8 – Self Drive Taormina to Cefalù and Cefalu at Leisure

Please allow up to three hours for today's drive (approximately 135 miles), longer if planning to drive during busy traffic.

Cefalu is a charming coastal village, home to a massive Norman Cathedral with outstanding mosaics. Visit the city center and stroll down the main street to reach the Cathedral. Nearby, the Mandralisca Museum is home to archaeological exhibits and a picture gallery with a portrait by Antonello da Messina, and the beaches of Mazzaforno and Settefrati lie to the west. Perhaps enjoy the sunset and a delicious dinner at a typical local restaurant, set on a terrace with breathtaking sea views.

Starting Accommodation: Le Calette No. 5
Meals: Breakfast


Day 9 – Wines Under the Sicilian Sun Tour

You will be provided directions to the winery hosting your visit today. Enjoy a tour in a beautiful wine estate near Cefalù, in Castelbuono. You will learn about the tradition and wine philosophy behind the amazing typical Sicilian wines. The tour will end with a lovely wine tasting including local delicacies.

Starting Accommodation: Le Calette No. 5
Meals: Breakfast


Day 10 – Self Drive Cefalù to Palermo

Please allow approximately one hour for the 45 mile drive from Cefalù to Palermo, longer if planning to drive during a busy traffic time.

Starting Accommodation: Le Calette No. 5
Meals: Breakfast


Day 11 – Depart Italy

Drive from your hotel in Palermo to the airport in Palermo and drop off the rental car (1 hour and 30 minutes drive).

Meals: Breakfast


Pricing

Package Level: Deluxe

Pricing for this package is on request. Please call a Swain Destinations Specialist to customize this journey.


Terms and Conditions

Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: www.swaindestinations.com/terms

Details

Length:

11 Nights

Pricing:

Pricing on request

Destinations:

Palermo; Padua; Taormina; Cefalù

Inclusions:

  • Airport Transfers
  • 2 nights Palermo
  • Palermo Orientation Walking Tour
  • Home Hosted Dinner
  • Palermo Walking Tour and Monreale
  • 9 Days Rental Car
  • Guided Visit of Agrigento Archaeological Site
  • 3 nights Siracusa
  • Sicilian Cooking Class and Ortiga
  • Guided Tour of Taormina
  • 2 nights Taormina
  • Day Tour Mount Etna with Winery Visit
  • 2 nights Cefalù
  • Castelbuono Wine Tour and Tasting
  • 1 night Palermo
  • Meals: 10 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner
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