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Hidden Secrets of Sicily from Catania to Taormina – 10 days escorted tour

10 Days
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  • English,
  • Luxury Bus
  • 4 Stars Hotels
  • Catania/Aci Trezza
  • Taormina
  • some meals included
  • Escorted
  • Deluxe option available
  • 2 - 40

This comprehensive tour starting in  Catania and ending in Taormina, will take you through its picturesque villages, well-preserved archaeological sites and splendid scenery, including Catania, Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa, Modica, Piazza Armerina, Agrigento, Marsala, Monreale, Palermo, Cefalu’, Etna, Taormina, Castelmola, Savoca and more inclusive of local delicacies and many inclusions. Good value for money in an escorted medium size group and 4* accommodation….

Itinerary

Independent arrival to your hotel in Catania or in the picturesque and delightful seaside village of Aci Trezza,
known for its famous Faraglioni (optional private transfer on request). Dinner on your own and overnight in
a hotel.

After breakfast in hotel departure to Syracuse to visit 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. Proceeding on and visit of the splendid Ortigia, a small island which is the historical centre of Syracuse. In Ortigia you will admire the beautiful Cathedral which dominates the square with its authoritative presence. The façade is a powerful Sicilian-Baroque composition but it gives no hint that this building was once a Doric temple! 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. Inspired by Baroque ideals of “open city”, Noto is a rare masterpiece and the clearest example of theatrical tastes in 18th century architecture whose local limestone has been burnt gold by the sun. Noto’s Baroque is a game of elegant curves, floral weaves, perspective views, palaces and gardens, capitals and ornaments that adorn the facades of churches and monasteries. Visit of Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata, beautiful noble residence in Baroque style. Free time for a walk along the town. Transfer to Ragusa for dinner and overnight in hotel.

Breakfast, Dinner
4* Star Hotel

Today visit  Ragusa Ibla and its historical centre, the cradle of Sicilian Baroque. 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 charming ancient town hosts more than 50 churches and many Baroque architectural treasures! You will be fascinated by its Cathedral, situated in the beautiful Dome square, and you will love the “Giardino Ibleo”, the oldest of the four main gardens in Ragusa… At 383 meters above sea level, you can admire a spectacular panorama from this beautiful garden!

The tour proceeds towards Modica chest of innumerable Baroque architectural treasures and, for this reason, stated Unesco World Heritage Site. Walking along the tiny streets of this charming town, you will have a stop to visit Sabadì, one of the most renowned chocolate manufacturers whose chocolate has been awarded the best Modica chocolate in the last 9 years! You will enjoy a multisensorial chocolate tasting discovering the authentic Sicilian perfumes… the local nepitella (wild mint), the orange blossom honey, the raw PGI – quality Sicilian lemon and the PGI – quality Sicilian red orange are just some of the many flavours you can taste! Proceeding, you will visit the beautiful and perfectly preserved noble seventeenth-century Palazzo Castro Polara Grimaldi.

You will be astonished by its amazing balcony, which dominates the town with a spectacular view, and you will feel brought back to the past at the beginning of the XX century when time seems to have stopped. The style of the interior has the typical flavour of Sicilian noble palaces: frescoes of landscapes, wallpapers in splendid satins, vases and furnishings of the most precious manufacture, together with the private collections of Donna Grazietta Grimald are all signs which give you the impression that nothing has changed and that the ancient traditions of the house are still alive. You will then be brought back to the present time,e savouring some local delicacies under the shadow of the amazing Orti di San Giorgio: 7 gardens suspended between light and beauty. A breathtaking panorama will be the setting of your relaxing lunch! The day goes on to the charming Piazza Armerina to visit the famous Villa Romana del Casale, Unesco World Heritage Site, to admire the splendid polychrome mosaics! This majestic villa belonged to a member of the Roman Senatorial aristocracy and hosts prestigious mosaics representing mythological and historical episodes and scenes of hunting and entertainment: you will love it! Departure to Agrigento. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning the tour continues in Agrigento, visiting the famous Valley of the Temples stated World Heritage Site. Pyndar defined it as “the most beautiful city of mortals”. As 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. Among hundreds of almond trees, you will admire the rest of the ancient Akragas. You will see the “Temple of Hera”, the “Temple of Concordia”, and the “Temple of Heracles”. You are proceeding on a visit of the charming and well-known town of Marsala, where Garibaldi went ashore in May 1860. Marsala is a modern Mediterranean city, divided between sea and land, featuring striking colours: bright yellow, intense blue, strong red, dazzling white and natural green. After a walk along the city centre, a guided tour of the Florio Cellars. The visit starts in front of the majestic giant vats, built at the end of the 19th century and still used to refine Marsala wine.

It continues inside the 3 fascinating barrel chambers, 165 meters long and running beneath 104 arches, under which 1.400 small barrels and about 600 larger barrels and vats of different capacities are arrayed as c. 5.500.000 litres of Marsala wines age in silence and stillness. After a thirty-minute tour through the barrel vaults, where the ancient tuff stone floor has been restored, you will reach the avant-garde tasting rooms named Donna Franca and Duca Enrico. You will enjoy a delicious light lunch and a memorable wine-tasting experience!

The tour will continue visiting the famous Salt Road: here, the salt marshes have given rise to one of the oldest salt-extracting industries in the world! Between Trapani and Marsala, the Salt Road is now protected for its interesting birdlife and is an essential site of industrial archaeology. Transfer to Palermo, accommodation in hotel, free dinner and overnight.

Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast in the hotel, the morning will be spent visiting Monreale, its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: an admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry! Later you will discover the stunning Palermo, one of the wealthiest towns in the island of its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay dominated by Mount Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. While the Baroque predominates, a profusion of different architectural styles reflects the city’s multicultural past: Punic walls, Art Nouveau villas, noble residences, 17th-century century squares, and an elegant opera house.

Visit the wonderful eclectic Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, an admirable example from a historical and an artistic point of view and proof of how different cultures, religions and ways of thinking can coexist. Ruggero II employed Byzantine, Muslim and Latin workers. During the day, you will have a stop to enjoy a typical lunch with local food. Along the path, you will admire the famous Teatro Massimo and the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with 16th-century sculptures. Dinner on your own and overnight in a hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch
4* Star Hotel

After breakfast, transfer to Cefalù, a charming Medieval town situated on the northern coast of Sicily. Visit its stunning Norman Dome and have, free time to stroll through the city or to visit the famous and well-known Mandralisca Museum. You wi have a stop to have lunch in a renowned restaurant. Arrival in Catania to visit Catania’s historical centre 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 buildings is black and dark grey, relieved with white limestone details around doors and windows. The effect is exquisite!

The walking tour will start from the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous “Liotru” statue, an antique lava-stone elephant symbolising the city. Not far from here, we will reach University Square and walk along the splendid baroque Via Dei Crociferi, the most representative 18th-centuryth century street in Catania, where we will admire the famous S. Benedict Monastery, Unesco World Heritage Site.  Continuing the visit enjoy a break in a historical bar of the city centre to taste the typical “granita & brioche”—dinner on your own and overnight in a hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch
4* Star Hotel

This morning after a short visit of the famous “pescheria” (the ancient fish market) in Catania, the tour will continue with an excursion to the Mount Etna, the highest (c. 3350m) volcano in Europe and one of the largest and most active in the world, nowadays Unesco World Heritage Site. Its regional park protects 59.000 hectares of unique geology, flora and fauna, villages and farms, and traditional methods of forestry, bee-keeping, wine manufacture, stonework and carpentry. Views of stunning landscapes will amaze you heading to Rifugio Sapienza. You 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.

The spectacle is unique! You will have the chance to enjoy the local homemade honey and some typical products of the area. Then you will have lunch in a lovely restaurant. The tour continues towards Taormina, charming town renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna. Visit of Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre which will leave you breathless for its commanding view on Giardini Naxos bay and the Etna mountain!  Free time for a nice walk among the picturesque Medieval typical narrow streets, to go shopping and looking around the local handicrafts (coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, pastries and much more). Back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

The spectacle is unique! You will have the chance to enjoy the local homemade honey and some typical products of the area. Then you will have lunch in a lovely restaurant. The tour continues towards Taormina, charming town renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna. Visit of Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre which will leave you breathless for its commanding view on Giardini Naxos bay and the Etna mountain!  Free time for a nice walk among the picturesque Medieval typical narrow streets, to go shopping and looking around the local handicrafts (coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, pastries and much more). Back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
4* Star Hotel

After breakfast, departure for Castelmola, near Taormina, with a wonderful landscape over the Ionian Sea. It is a small village characterized by narrow medieval alleys, little squares and ancient churches, officially recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. You will visit the highest point, having a nice walk from the main square, Piazza Sant’Antonino, decorated with an extraordinary mosaic in local white stone and lava stone, up to the ruins of the Castello di Mola, of Greek-Byzantine origin. Proceeding on, the excursion will continue to Savoca, also one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and located over a rocky hill.

Savoca treasures vestiges of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque origins in its territory. You will visit the famous open-air set of the famous movie “The Godfather” by Francis Ford Coppola, walking through the delightful alleys and lingering in front of the famous “Vitelli” bar. You could imagine yourself as being in one of the most famous scenes of the film, when the character played by Al Pacino meets the father of the future bride and asks Apollonia’s hand. Continuing on you will reach the church of Santa Lucia, chosen to shoot the wedding scene. Return to Taormina and free afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Breakfast, Dinner
4* Star Hotel
Day 9 :
Taormina

In the morning, after breakfast at the hotel, take the high-speed train to Naples. After an hour drive, start his wonderful day with a tour of the Sorrento Peninsula, stopping to see the extraordinary Pompeii and its magic. Marvel at the dramatic history of the Roman city destroyed and buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Walk among the ruins of this mysterious city. Afterwards, head to Sorrento, where there are hotels overlooking the sea. Dinner will be held at your hotel, after which you are free to enjoy the rest of the evening.After breakfast, free day in Taormina, defined by Goethe as the “paradise on earth”. You can enjoy the Medieval village visiting its historical monuments, or doing shopping buying some of the local handicraft products. As an alternative you can relax by the sea and enjoy the colors and scents of its Mediterranean vegetation… We suggest to visit Isola Bella, one of the most enchanting beaches in Sicily, also called the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” thanks to its particular location and vegetation: a perfect mix of tropical plants and local flora! Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Breakfast, Dinner
4* Star Hotel
Day 10 :
Taormina

Breakfast in the hotel and end of services.

Breakfast

Dates and Costing

TRIP DATES AVAILABILITY PRICE SPACE LEFT
24 August, 2024 - 2 September, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
31 August, 2024 - 9 September, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
7 September, 2024 - 16 September, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
14 September, 2024 - 23 September, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
21 September, 2024 - 30 September, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
28 September, 2024 - 7 October, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
5 October, 2024 - 14 October, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
12 October, 2024 - 21 October, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
19 October, 2024 - 28 October, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
26 October, 2024 - 4 November, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
2 November, 2024 - 11 November, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
9 November, 2024 - 18 November, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available
16 November, 2024 - 25 November, 2024 Guaranteed $2,760
Available

The Cost Includes

  • Multilingual Tour leader and professional travel guide* (English, Italian or Spanish) for the whole tour (from the 2nd day to the evening of the 9th day), local guides or audio guides where necessary.
  • Deluxe bus from day 2 to day 9
  • Whisper Kit
  • Accommodation in charming 4* hotels, primarily located in the city centers, with international breakfast included.
  • 5 lunches in exclusive restaurants and 5 dinners in hotels to taste Sicilian and Italian cuisine.
  • Visit the main suggestive Unesco World Heritage Sites: Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa, Modica, Piazza Armerina, Agrigento, Monreale, Palermo, Cefalù, Catania city centre, Etna.
  • Tasting of Sicilian typical products: Modica (day 3): visit of the well-known chocolate manufacturers Sabadì with tasting; Marsala (day 4): visit of the famous Florio wine cellar and wine tasting; Palermo (day 5) tasting of local street food; Catania (day 6): tasting of Sicilian “granita & brioche”; Etna (day 7) visit of a beekeeping honey company and honey tasting.
  • *Monolingual departures during the high season

The Cost Excludes

  • Flights
  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Other meals and drinks
  • Entrance fees at monuments/museums (unless purchased the privilege pack)
  • Hotel tourist taxes (where required) - (unless purchased the privilege pack)
  • Insurance and everything not listed as “Included.”

Entrance fees to pay locally (Unless purchased the privilege pack)

  • Syracuse Archaeological Park € 10,00 p.p.
  • Syracuse Cathedral € 2,00 p.p.
  • Noto Palazzo Nicolaci € 4,00 p.p.
  • Piazza Armerina Villa Romana € 10,00 p.p.
  • Agrigento Valley of the Temples € 12,00 p.p.
  • Monreale Cathedral € 4,00 p.p.
  • Monreale Cloister € 6,00 p.p.
  • Palermo Cappella Palatina € 12,00 p.p.
  • Palermo Martorana Church € 2,00 p.p.
  • Taormina Greek theatre € 10,00 p.p.

Accommodation:
Hotels are carefully selected for their location and design to combine Sicilian tradition with comfort. They will be confirmed up to 7 days before tour departure

  • Catania: Il Principe Hotel / Romano House Hotel or similar
  • Aci Trezza: I Malavoglia Hotel 4* / I Faraglioni Hotel 4* or similar
  • Ragusa: Mediterraneo Palace Hotel or similar
  • Agrigento: Baia di Ulisse Wellness & SPA or similar
  • Palermo: Mercure Palermo Centro / Ibis Styles Palermo Cristal  or similar
  • Taormina: Hotel Villa Diodoro / Hotel Caparena Wellness & SPA or similar

Special GIFT to participants: A splendid illustrated book about Sicily, its history and its culinary tradition with recipes in English.

Payment and Cancellation

Payment:  Deposit A$600 per person within 7 days of confirmation and balance 60 days before leaving from Australia

Cancellation:

  • cancellation received 45 working days or more before departure: deposits will be not refundable.
  • cancellations made from 44 to 30 working days before departure: 40% of the payments will be not refundable.
  • cancellations made from 29 to 15 working days before departure: 70% of the payments will be not refundable.
  • cancellations made from 14 to departure: 100% of the payments will be not refundable.

Map

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Hidden Secrets of Sicily from Catania to Taormina – 10 days escorted tour