THE TREASURES OF SICILY
9 DAYS/7 NIGHTS

DESCRIPTION

Sicily is eventful, exotic, intriguing and fascinating in every aspect. The biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily captivates from the start with its legendary tales, art, history and time-honored traditions. On Sicily, travelers can embrace the island's mystique...from the fascinating city of Palermo, the enchanted beauty of Taormina and the majestic ruins of the ancient Greek city of Agrigento, to the charming fishing village of Cefalu, historic ports of Messina, and archeological treasures of Syracuse, plus much more! Come let the magic of Sicily envelop you today!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Extended stay in one location
  • Delve into romantic Taormina and its Greek Theater
  • Views of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano
  • Wine tasting on the slopes of the ancient Volcano
  • Sample delicious Sicilian Gelato
  • Explore Syracuse and see the Ear of Dionysius
  • Participate in an unforgettable Godfather tour
  • Town of Savoca
  • Catania, the volcano city
  • Cruise the Naxos Bay
  • Medieval village of Castelmola
  • Admire the stunning Cyclopes Rivera
  • Tour the Crusade town of Messina and Reggio Calabria, “the rainbow of Italy”
  • Discover the history and the unique traditions and customs of Palermo
  • Monreale’s Benedictine Abbey

Photo and Video



DAY BY DAY ITINERARY


Day 1 Depart USA
the USA for Sicily, Italy. Meals and refreshments served on board.

Day 2 Catania, Italy
Upon arrival in Sicily, you will be met by your tour director and transferred to your hotel in the Taormina/Giardini Naxos area. Sicily’s history is marked by outside rulers who rose and fell, from the Phoenicians to the Moors to the Normans to the Spanish and beyond. Today the island showcases all of those influences, fused into an ambiance, range of customs, traditions and a culture that is distinctively Sicilian! This evening you will savor a delicious dinner to welcome you to Sicily. (D

Day 3 Naxos - Taormina - City Tour
Your day starts discovering Taormina with a visit of the Greek Theater built in the 3rd century BC. As we explore the streets of Taormina on our city tour, learn about the culture and archaeology of this historic beach town in eastern Sicily from your guide as you explore the Greek Theatre, Piazza Duomo, Palazzo Corvaja, Jewish Quarter, and an ancient Roman theater. This afternoon on your optional tour of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, sweeping views from thousands of meters high in the mountain welcome you. A starkly different ambiance from the coastal vistas and azure seas down below, Mount Etna’s volcanic rock and black lava sand surround you, offering a distinctive experience beyond the beaches and quaint towns that Sicily is best known for. Along the way enjoy a local lunch & wine tasting on the slopes of the ancient Volcano - Cultural Discovery Series. (B)

Day 4 Naxos - Syracuse & Godfather Tour
This morning, following breakfast, join in a tour to Syracuse, home of Archimedes and the famous picturesque mountain town of Savoca. In Syracuse, you visit ancient Greek and Roman ruins on a tour of Parco Archeologico della Neapolis and see attractions including the Ear of Dionysius. Later, compare the unforgettable plot of the Godfather story with actual Mafia history during this guided tour, with a stop at an idyllic Sicilian village. Visit the real-life locations in those iconic scenes from “The Godfather”. There is a Sicilian town called Corleone, but alas the movies weren’t filmed there. Instead, the town of Savoca sets the scene. See the famous Bar Vitelli, among other places you’ll recognize from the films, while your guide tells stories about the movies. Hear true stories from Sicilian Mafia clans and learn about their grasp on southern Italy. (B,D)

Day 5 Naxos
Today is a free day to relax, shop or explore independently or join us on an optional tour to cruise the Naxos Bay and Castelmola. Our morning cruise will start from the original Ancient Greek lava rock natural harbor. From the bay enjoy the views of ancient villages and mythological rock formations. Centuries of sea erosion have created natural grottoes that we will experience with our Captain. Beverage and snacks will be served on board. In the afternoon, enjoy one of the most impressive villages along the coast. Originally used as a fortress, today Castelmola has breathtaking viewpoints overlooking Giardini-Naxos, the Cape of S. Alessio, the strait of Messina and the Calabrian coast. This small village is a real genuine hidden jewel and features a natural terrace built around the ruins of a Norman castle. Castelmola still follows an ancient Greek tradition to offer almond wine to visitors. Enjoy almond wine and local pastries before some time at leisure to experience on your own. (B)

Day 6 Naxos - Catania & Cyclops Rivera Tour
This morning, after breakfast, you will explore the vibrant city of Catania. The city has been, for centuries, affected by volcanic activities and devastating lava flows. Upon arrival you will visit Via Etnea and the Villa Bellini gardens, admiring the beautiful Duomo dedicated to St. Agata. Enjoy time at leisure before heading north of Catania, beneath the mighty peak of Mt. Etna, to Sicily’s Cyclops Riviera (Riviera dei Ciclopi), known for its dramatic black basalt rocks and mythological connection with Odysseus (Ulysses) and Polyphemus, the giant son of Poseidon. Along the way, you will enjoy a local gelato tasting. Most agree that it’s delicious, but the origins of Sicilian Gelato (ice cream) have been debated for many years. As part of our Cultural Discovery Series, learn its history, the local recipe, and much more before returning to your hotel. (B)

Day 7 Naxos
Today enjoy some free time to shop, relax, and drink-in the beauty of the area or take an optional half day Pizza cooking class. Learn to make pizza like a pro during our cooking class. Under the skillful tuition of a local “pizzaiolo,” you’ll make a versatile dough from scratch and top it with a fresh zesty sauce. Gain tips, learn about the ingredients and then sit down to savor your hard-earned Sicilian meal. Bruschetta, wine, and soft drinks are also included. (B)

Day 8 Naxos
Today, on your last day in Sicily and Italy, enjoy a full day at leisure to explore nearby villages, shop, or relax or you have the opportunity to join in an optional tour to Messina and Reggio Calabria. With easy access to Italy, as the closest in proximity to the mainland, Messina is unique in comparison with the smaller villages and towns that dot Sicily. Known as the city that launched a thousand ships as a major port during the Crusades, its extensive history dates back thousands of years. Next, cross the Straits of Messina and head to Reggio Calabria on the Italian mainland, known for its panoramic waterfront promenade. More recently called "the rainbow of Italy" for the changing colors of the seas of its coastline, you can enjoy the unforgettable display of changing shades from cobalt blue, to violet, to turquoise, to grey-blue, to sparkling blue-green, and more throughout the day. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner to bid arrivederci with your new travel companions. (B,D)

Day 9 Naxos to USA or extend your stay with an optional Palermo extension
After breakfast, your departure transfer awaits to take you to the airport for your flight home. (B)

OPTIONAL PALERMO EXTENSION
Day 9 Naxos - Agrigento Tour/Palermo
This morning, power up with breakfast at your hotel, then depart for Palermo along the Sicilian coast. Stop on the route in Agrigento where Sicily's most impressive Greek ruins are found. Known for its amazing archeological finds, here you will participate in a guided tour of the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 5th century B.C. Celebrate your time in Agrigento, exploring the town's vibrant medieval center from Via Atenea, where you will delight in tantalizing treats from local shops, trattorias, and bars. Arrive in Palermo, the stunning capital of Sicily. Palermo has a rich culture, having been occupied by a number of civilizations over hundreds of years, such as the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Arabs, and even the Normans. What has been left behind is a city full of historic structures and relics, such as the grand Palermo Cathedral and the eerie Capuchin Catacombs. Baroque churches hiding in plain sight and local markets bursting with delicious street food are just some of the gems you’ll find by simply wandering around the city. Palermo’s history is marked by outside rulers who rose and fell, from the Phoenicians to the Moors to the Normans to the Spanish and beyond. Today Palermo showcases all of those influences, fused into an ambiance, range of customs, traditions and a culture that is distinctively Sicilian! Tonight, you will enjoy an included dinner at your hotel in Palermo. (B,D)

Day 10 Palermo - City Tour
After breakfast at your hotel, you will embark on a half-day tour of Palermo. For centuries at the crossroads of civilizations, Palermo bears witness to its rich history offering a unique mix of Byzantine mosaics, Arabesque domes, and frescoed cupolas. Discover Sicily’s capital, visiting the highlights such as Palermo Cathedral, the famous Palazzo dei Normanni, and Massimo Vittorio Emanuel Theatre, one of Europe’s largest opera houses and a great example of Spanish Baroque architecture. Visit the vibrant Palermo market and stop to sample some of the Sicilian delicacies. Continue to Monreale and visit the Benedictine Abbey known for its exquisite mosaics, depicting episodes from the Old and the New Testament. (B)

Day 11 Palermo to USA
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)


Hotel and itinerary are subject to change.

INCLUDES

  • ROUND TRIP AIR TRANSPORTATION - Air transportation from New York
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 10 included meals consisting of 7 buffet breakfasts and 3 dinners. Wine, mineral water & coffee served with lunch and dinner
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAM - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: City tour of Taormina, Tour to Syracuse, Tour of Catania & Cyclops Rivera, and Godfather Tour. Optional tours available
  • CULTURAL DISCOVERY SERIES - Our program encompasses cultural connections, in-depth learning on the local economy and social systems, and interaction with locals such as a visit to an ice cream shop to enjoy and learn about traditionally made Sicilian-style Gelato
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour upon arrival in Sicily
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

OPTIONAL PALERMO EXTENSION TOUR FEATURES
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 2 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 3 included meals consisting of 2 buffet breakfasts and 1 dinner
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAM - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as follows: Tour of Agrigento, including the Valley of Temples and City tour of Palermo
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACH - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside airport

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