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 Explore Sicily:

Layers of Art Food & Culture

           25 May  - 3 June 2024

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itinerary

day 1 arrival 

Arrive on your own schedule to Palazzo Planeta in the center of Palermo. First group meeting in the late afternoon at Palazzo Planeta for an orientation cocktail. Walk to group welcome supper at our favorite fish restaurant.  

day 2 Palermo

Walking tour of Palermo with a palermitana for historical background of the ancient Phoenician center with a pit stop at the Arab-Norman church called la Martorana, with the earliest and most spectacular of the byzantine mosaics on the island, and lunch in the Ballarò market. Afternoon on your own: choose from optional guided visits or go out exploring on your own. Evening free in Palermo.

day 3 Selinunte and Mazara

Down to the south coast for a lesson on heritage grains and cooking class with lunch. Afternoon visit to the vocative archaeological site of ancient Selinus: bastion on the western edge of Greek ruled Sicily with the remains of temples and civic areas on a bluff above the Mediterranean Sea. Evening free in Palermo.

day 4 wine, tuna, Segesta

In the Alcamo production zone visit and tasting with a natural wine maker. Lunch with Sergio the tuna expert, descendant of a tonnarolo / tuna fisherman he transforms tuna using all the parts to make us an all-tuna lunch.  Explore Segesta, an ancient Elimian settlement on the Greek/Carthaginian border with a spectacular temple and theater with sea view. Evening free in Palermo.

day 5 to Noto via Piazza Armerina

Transfer to Noto with a stop in central Sicily for a visit with an archaeologist who is an expert on the area’s ancient remains: the most magnificent and most extensive ancient Roman mosaic cycle ever discovered at the Villa Romana at Casale and the artifacts now housed at the museum at Aidone including spectacular objects recently recovered from US museums.  Group supper in Noto.

                        

day 6 Noto & Modica

Visit Noto with a netina, the historical center is an explosion of Sicilian baroque architecture built after the 1693 earthquake leveled the ancient town. Pastry lab and lunch with a young pastry chef and his mamma who have spearheaded the movement to save the near extinct sesamo d'Ispica, the super flavorful local sesame seed that is the basis for the historical sweets of this part of the island. Afternoon in Modica, the city that was county seat during centuries of Spanish dominion. See medieval frescoes in a newly re-discovered rupestrian church, learn about and taste Aztec chocolate and traditional pastries. Evening free in Noto.

day 7 Palazzolo Acreide & Siracusa 

Day trip high up on the Iblean plain to visit to an olive oil producer who cultivates the region's supreme olive variety: Tonda Iblea. Visit to a family farm that produces cheese in their dairy and continues the sausage tradition of Palazzolo Acreide with a cooking lesson and tasting lunch. Afternoon free in Ortigia, the lovely peninsula that was ancient Siracusa with archaeological sites, optional visit with Elaine to see the Basilica of Santa Lucia and Caravaggio’s Burial of St. Lucy. Evening free in Siracusa or Noto.

day 8 to Taormina via Catania

Transfer to Taormina via Catania. Tour the historic center of Catania, Baroque rebuilding made heavy and dramatic use of black lava stone from Mt. Etna, and the amazing show of culture that is the fish market. Walking tour with a progressive street food lunch. Afternoon and evening free in Taormina.

day 9 Taormina & Mt. Enta

Morning free in Taormina. Guided tour of Mt. Etna taking jeeps up to high altitude to explore the landscape of Europe’s tallest active volcano. Traversing lava flows from different epochs witness different stages of the earth’s regeneration. Winery visit and our last group supper with savory foods and wines from Mt. Etna's mineral rich soil. 

day 10 departure Taormina

Transfers to Catania Fontanarossa CTA airport can be arranged. 

Please note that this is an initial itinerary to provide a template of what to expect.

The people and places that we will be visiting are not typical tourist destinations

so plans may be modified at the last minute. We will craft the final itinerary

to provide the experience as described above.

details

Planned in collaboration with Celia Cerasoli, this is an exclusive Sicily visit for  just 10-12  travelers.

In Palermo we’ll stay at a private palazzo with self-catering apartments, you will find breakfast supplies in your apartment, there are coffee bars on our block as well as one of the best pastry shops in the city just a few minutes walk from the palazzo. In Noto and Taormina we have chosen centrally located boutique hotels.

We will have private vans and drivers for all ground transportation.

Your activity level should allow you to walk for 2 - 4 miles per day including up and down steps, on uneven cobblestone streets and through vineyards and olive groves that are planted on hills and terraces. 

The total program cost for this 10 day itinerary is $7,575 per person in double rooms, $9,385 per person in single rooms

We’ll visit food producers, major monuments and out of the way ancient sites. We’ll relax over amazing meals while getting a feel for the varied culture of one of the richest regions of Italy. 

In the capital city of Palermo layers of time are palpable: shop in the riotous food markets choosing ingredients for cooking classes, see Byzantine mosaics, Renaissance paintings and ancient sculpture. Enjoy the heartwrenchingly beautiful landscapes and seascapes of western Sicily while out exploring evocative ancient Greek ruins.

Visit the Baroque villages of the Southeast, spend an afternoon in Siracusa, learn why Aztec style chocolate is made in Modica, visit a cheesemaker and learn about the traditional Sicilian lifestyle. 

Enjoy elegant Taormina, visit the vibrant modern city of Catania and explore Mt. Etna, an active volcano where, according to ancient Greeks, a tear shed by Dionysius nourished the first ever grape vine. Expect exclusive visits and guided tastings, amazing food and free time to explore.   

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