Today we arrive at Palermo airport where we will be met by our Tour Manager and transferred to our hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
PALERMO – MONREALE – CEFALU
This morning we visit Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Our walking tour will include the historical center: the Norman Cathedral, the four corners, Pretoria fountain, the church of Martorana, the Politeama theatre and the Teatro Massimo. Our visit continues with Monreale, the famous Cathedral and Benedictine’s cloister built by the Normans over an ancient Mosque. This afternoon we visit Cefalù, a beautiful medieval town built in the 12th century with narrow streets lined with buildings featuring elaborate architectural decorations. Overnight at our hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
This morning we drive to the 13th century city of Erice with its medieval Norman Castle and mother churches. Lunch in an ancient windmill and a wine tasting in Marsala. This afternoon we return to Palermo, rest of day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
PALERMO – AGRIGENTO – CATANIA
This morning we depart for Catania, with a stop in Agrigento. We visit the Valley of the Temples including the Temple of Juno,Concord, Heracles, Zeus, Castor & Pollux. Agrigento’s Greek Ruins are considered by many better than any others, even in Greece itself. Free time for lunch. This afternoon we continue to Catania. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Catania
This morning we take a walking tour of Catania, which was built in 729 BC with the name “Katane” meaning “grater” in Sicilian. It was conquered by the Romans in 263 BC. The Roman influence can still be felt, as some architectural ruins of the Augustan period still remain. After the Byzantine domination there was the Arabic and then the Norman supremacy, bringing many changes and innovations to the town, the building of the Cathedral, and the many monasteries. With the Aragonese,(1282-1492) Catania had a period of economic recovery and cultural revolution; in fact, it was during this period that the first university of the island was born. The Spanish domination and the earthquake in 1693 plunged the land into a serious economic crisis followed by an important rebuilding campaign which continued throughout the unification of Italy. The XIX century saw a flourishing period of cultural splendor for Catania, involving expansion and growth in worldly, literary, musical, and theatrical expressions. We visit Catania’s most significant monuments: the Elephant Fountain, the Cathedral (XI century), and the beautiful baroque city centre.afternoon free for shopping or relaxing. Dinner at local restaurant and overnight at hotel.
SIRACUSA – NOTO
This morning we visit Siracusa. This town became the most important city in Magna Grecia and for a time competed with Athens as the most important city in the Greek world. Siracusa expresses all the variety and cultural complexity of Sicily, spanning from the ancient times to today. The visit includes: the Archaeological Park with the Greek Theatre, the Ara of Ierone; the Roman Amphitheater, where the gladiator competitions occurred; the Latomie of the Paradise, ancient hollow stones known for their different shapes, the most famous being the “Orecchio of Dionisio”. Time for lunch on your own…this afternoon we continue to Noto. This brand new city of the 18th centry shows its beauty through the stairways of its impressive cathedral. The churches of San Domenico, Santa Chiara, San Salvatore, San Carlo and the beautiful palazzi of the local aristocracy. UNESCO declared this town world heritage in 2001. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
TAORMINA – ETNA
This morning our first stop will be Mt. Etna. Sicily’s tallest peak and one of Europe’s most famous active volcanoes. The most violent eruption to take place in the XX century was in 1910, which formed twenty-three additional craters. Today our lunch will be at a local agriturismo near Mt Etna. We then continue to Taormina, known in the ancient times as Tauromenion. The town lies in an elevated position of amazing, almost unique beauty, affording magnificent views of the sea and clear sky with miles of a curving coastline and picturesque mountain scenery, while the majestic pyramid of Mt. Etna on the other side constitutes a scene of indescribable beauty. Upon arrival, we visit the most impressive monument of the city: the Greco-Roman Theatre. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to Catania airport. End of the tour