COLOURS OF SICILY

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS

Crossroad of cultures and traditions, Sicily is the real beating soul of Italy. A land where landscapes, food, and warm hospitality are at their maximum level. Do not miss this corner of La Bella Italia

Day 1 – Arrival in Palermo

Arrival at Palermo International Airport. Transfer to your hotel in Palermo on your own and check-in. The capital of Sicily is a crumbling film set of a city with unmissable architecture, vivid street life, and a
great choice of alfresco restaurants and bars. Located in its bay setting at the foot of Sicily's Monte Pellegrino, Palermo is one of those cities with a very distinct, almost tangible atmosphere, a place of mystery, where reality often outperforms the traveller’s imagination. Palermo’s history has been anything but stable, and the city has passed from one dominating power to another with remarkable frequency, including the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Normans, the Swabians, the French, the Aragonese and the Bourbons just to name the most influential.

The result of this quilted history is evident today in the vast range of architectural styles, the intriguing fusion of ingredients used in many local dishes, and the many place names whose etymology bypasses
Italian linguistic traditions. The grandeur of many of Palermo’s wonderful palaces and churches in the centre gives way to popular
areas where the way of life doesn’t fully belong to the 21st century. This is particularly true of the markets, whose Arabic origins are still evident today thanks to their noise, aromas and colours, their
narrow labyrinthine streets, and the exotic array of food. In 2015, Arab-Norman Palermo and its neighbouring cathedrals were granted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spread over a combined 6,235 hectares and including nine monuments - the Royal Palace
and Palatine Chapel, the Zisa Palace, Palermo Cathedral, the Palermitan Churches of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio and San Cataldo, the Admiral’s Bridge, and the cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalù - the site provides, in UNESCO's words, "an outstanding example of a socio-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic, and Byzantine cultures.”

Palermo is full of wonderful tourist and cultural sites such as the Chiesa della Martorana, the Cappella Palatina, Palazzo dei Normanni, the Cappuccini catacombs and many others. For this reason, In 2018,
Palermo was both the Italian Capital of Culture and host city for Manifesta12, Europe's most prestigious itinerant festival of contemporary art.

Day 2 – Palermo and Monreale

Meet with our driver and transfer to the city centre where we’ll meet with the guide and will start a full day walking tour. During the tour, we will visit the Capo, one of the city's three medieval street markets:
this colourful, Arab-like market is the heart of Palermo's food district and the beginning of every savoury dish in town. We will reach Antica Foccacceria di San Francesco, founded in 1836, it is a delight to all food lovers: arancini (stuffed rice balls), caponata (Sicilian ratatouille with eggplants) and pane ca' medusa (beef spleen and lung sandwiches). A journey into Palermo's edible delights cannot end without a stop at Antico Caffé Spinnato: founded in 1860, it's the place
to have a real Sicilian cannoli (pastry with fresh ricotta cheese) and an espresso or cappuccino. In the afternoon continue to the historical
centre with a visit to the Cathedral, the Palatine Chapel and the marvellous Cloister in Monreale. 

Day 3 – Mozia, Marsala and Agrigento

Departure to Agrigento via the Salt Road. The coastline from Trapani to Marsala is characterized by the pans. Large pools of salt water, divided by narrow strips of land, form irregular and multicoloured
flats, where for centuries the salt has been produced. This route is called la Via del Sale (the Salt Road) and is remarkable for its numerous Dutch-style windmills, used for pumping sea water and grinding salt, and for the mountains of salt covered with terracotta tiles. A panorama is very impressive at sunset, when everything becomes tinged with red. We’ll visit the Salt Museum in Nubia.

Continue to the small Phoenician island of Mozia. Mozia (also known as Mothia, Motya), today San Pantaleo is an island of the Lagoon of
the Stagnone. It was founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century B.C. and, thanks to its location, Mozia soon became a very rich commercial town that represented a strategic port in the Mediterranean Sea. Through the 6th and the 5th centuries, the city had a period of great prosperity, but in 397 B.C. it was destroyed by Dionysius the Elder from Syracuse. The destruction of Mozia forced the survivors to move on to the nearby Sicilian coast, where they founded
the city of Lilybaeum, today known as Marsala.

At the end of the past century, a rich businessman - Giuseppe Whitaker, bought the island of Mozia and organized the first archaeological excavation campaign. His house on the island, now the Whitaker Museum, became a small antiquarian where the excavation findings were exhibited. 

Day 4 – Agrigento / Piazza Armerina / Siracusa

Visit the Temples’ Valley, where, among hundreds of almond trees, the rest of the ancient Akragas rise. It was defined by Pyndar as “the most beautiful city of mortals”. You will see the Temple of Hera, the
Temple of Concordia and the Temple of Heracles. Continue to the Archeological Museum. Departure to the eastern part of the island
visiting amazing villages like Piazza Armerina, where is possible to visit a unique Roman Villa adorned with very well-preserved mosaics (Villa
Romana del Casale). Ceramics is a millenary tradition here and it can be easily realized by visiting Caltagirone, a city of ceramics.

Day 5 – Noto and Siracusa

Visit this wonderful valley recently appointed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll first touch the city of chocolate, Modica visiting one of the oldest factories Antica Dolceria Bonajuti, and then we’ll proceed to Noto, the capital of Baroque in Sicily. The landscape is simply iconic in this corner of the world. We’ll have a chance to delight our taste-making an “aperitif in Cantina”, visiting Planeta’s wine cellar of
Buonivini. Here after a very interesting visit to the 
underground cellar, we’ll have a complete tasting with several wines and finger Sicilian food. Simply amazing. After our soul and body
are both satisfied, we’ll return to Siracusa. 

Day 6 – Siracusa, Catania and Taormina

Meeting with the guide and guided visit of the city. Founded in 734 B.C. by colonists from Corinth, it became a major sea power of the Mediterranean. In one of history’s great maritime battles, the Athenian fleet was sunk offshore. The Greek mathematician Archimedes was born in Siracusa, and the city reached its zenith under the rule of Dionysius. There are two main sites: the offshore island of Ortygia, and the Neapolis archaeological zone, where the stupendous
5th century B.C. Greek theatre, with seating for 15,000 people, dominates. Visit the grotto named the Ear of Dionysius because of its unusual acoustics. See also the 2nd century A.D. Roman amphitheatre where gladiators once battled. Then enjoy a walking tour on the beautiful island of Ortygia, with its predominantly medieval structures.

Visit the 7th-century cathedral that was built on top of a Greek temple, with most of the ancient columns incorporated into the church. Learn the legend of the Fontana Aretusa, a natural freshwater spring next to the sea. Continue to Catania, an amazing city full of real
pieces of art. Catania has had a long and eventful history, having been founded in the 8th century BC. In 1434 it witnessed the opening of the first university in Sicily. Then in the 14th century and into the Renaissance, Catania was one of Italy's most important and flourishing cultural, artistic, and political centres. Not to miss the amazing churches on Via Etnea and the delicious delicacies in the famous pastry shops all around the city. Continue to Taormina. 

Day 7 – Taormina

Free time at leisure to enjoy the pearl of the Mediterranean, Taormina.
Here culture, art, and gastronomy find their best. In 1787 the writer J.W. Goethe discovered the beauties of Sicily and, in particular, of Taormina. He wrote the world-known novel “Italian Journey”, in which he describes the beauties of this land and its people and defines Taormina as a “patch of paradise”. Settled on a hill of the Monte
Tauro, Taormina dominates two grand, sweeping bays below and on the southern side, the top of Mount Etna, the European highest active
volcano, often capped with snow, offering to the visitors a breathtaking, dramatic and memorable view over almost one hundred miles of Mediterranean sea.

Taormina seems to have been born as a tourist resort in past times when ancient people like the Sicels, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards chose it as their residential site thanks to its favourable position, mild climate and magic atmosphere. Nowadays visitors can still find fine examples of Taormina’s golden times: the splendid Greek Theatre, the Roman “Naumachiae”, the 10th century Palazzo Corvaja, the 13th century Cathedral of Saint Nicolò, the 16th century Palace of the Dukes of Saint Stefano, the public gardens, the “Badia Vecchia” (Ancient
Abbey) and many others. The tourist has a lot to do and see: top-level art performances at the Greek theatre, several painting exhibitions held in local palazzi and churches, fine elegant shopping along the famous “Corso Umberto” with its classical music cafès and pastry shops or visiting local art museums, taking naturalistic walks in
the surrounding countryside, golfing at the nearby 18-hole green, and enjoying the fantastic beaches at easy reach, where the mild Mediterranean climate allows one to practise all water sports as swimming, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, or just sunbathing for nearly eight months a year and even more. For those looking for world-known Sicilian cuisine, the town offers a wide choice of restaurants, trattorias and pizzerias, pastry shops, bars, cafes, pubs and for any taste and budget.

If you visit Taormina, You will feel the magical, mythical atmosphere spread all around which has enchanted visitors from all over the world for years and years. 

Day 8 – Departure day

Transfer to Catania International Airport by private car.

Arrivederci Italia!

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