TOUR OF SICILY
(8 DAYS - 6 OVERNIGHTS WITH FULL BOARD, ONE OVERNIGHT WITH HALF BOARD)
Tour fully escorted by our experienced multilingual tour manager. 13 meals are included in this tour (7 dinners, 6 lunches guaranteed varied and typical of the visited areas. with four-course menus).
This tour features Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, lying just off the toe of the Italian boot, separated from the mainland by the Straits of Messina: an island packed with scenic attractions and well preserved remains of the three civilizations which shaped its history and unique character: Greek, Moorish and Norman.
For practical reasons all tours of Sicily start and end in Palermo, the island's capital and major gateway, but a link up with other tours can easily be arranged on request either by sea (overnight crossing from Naples) or by air (via Rome or Naples).
1st day - Palermo
Arrive in Palermo Airport and transfer to the hotel. Independent Lunch today. Free time. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel is provided.
After breakfast departure for a sightseeing tour of the Sicilian capital to see the great Cathedral, the Norman Palace (now seat of the local government), the splendid Palatine Chapel, the church of St. John of the Hermits, the Catacombs, etc. Then up to nearby Monreale to view the cloister and the remarkable mosaics of the Cathedral. On return to downtown Palermo you will be shown the heart of the city with the historic Four Corners, Pretoria Square, the Teatro Massimo Opera House and other landmarks.
Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
3rd day - Palermo - Selinunte - Agrigento
After breakfast you start the real tour of Sicily by air-conditioned motorcoach. A first stop will be made at Segesta, famous for its solitary Doric temple, a true masterpiece of Greek art; then proceed to Selinunte, a former Greek colony destroyed by the Phoenincians, with many excavations and temples dating back to the 6th century B.C., built on a cliff overlooking a golden beach. (For those not familiar with the island's eventful history, Sicily belonged to Greece and was known by the name "Magna Grecia").
After a typical lunch at Selinunte, the tour turns south and reaches Agrigento near the southern coast in time for dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
4th day - Agrigento - Piazza Armerina - Acireale
After breakfast, the morning will be devoted to a visit to the so-called "Valley of Temples", a vast archaeological area boasting the world's finest and best preserved Greek ruins, an architectonic complex of incomparable harmony and beauty.
Proceeding further inland, a stop will be made at Piazza Armerina to see the ancient Roman Villa of Casale dating back to the 3rd or 4th C. AD, famous for its perfectly preserved mosaics. Here you have lunch and then continue to Acireale, arriving there late in the afternoon.
Check in at hotel for 3 nights, including breakfasts and dinners.
5th day - Acireale - Taormina - Acireale
This day features Sicily's best known and most delightful resort, Taormina, on the east coast overlooking the wide blue expanse of the Ionian Sea and the beach of Mazzaro below. Also here you will be impressed by the aloof majesty of the Greek Theatre, dominated by the snow-covered peak of the Mt. Etna volcano in the distance.
Before driving back to Acireale for lunch, there will be time for a walk through Taormina's picturesque, narrow streets and lush gardens.
Afternoon at leisure, or else excursion to the slopes of Mt. Etna up to some of its extinct craters at 1800 m. a.s.l. Dinner and overnight stay at Acireale.
6th day - Acireale - Syracuse - Catania - Acireale
A full tour from Acireale will again take you to the south, namely to famous Syracuse, the home of Archimedes, a city founded by the Greeks some 2800 years ago and packed with antiquities.
Its old area is on an island, where the Arethusa Fountain, the Cathedral and the Senate are located.
The mainland area boasts such remarkable archaeological remains as the Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomiae and the legendary Dionysius' Ear (an underground cave). After lunch in a good restaurant the tour will return to Acireale with a stop-over in Sicily's second largest city, Catania, for a panoramic tour and time for a walk or shopping.
Dinner and overnight at Acireale.
7th day · Acireale - Messina - Cefalu - Palermo
After breakfast departure for Messina, driving along the scenic eastern coast overlooking the lonian Sea. After a short stop in Messina, on to Tyndaris, on a large terrace overlooking the sea and the Eolian Islands, where you will visit the Sanctuary of the Black Virgin.
A stop will be made at Brolo for luncheon and a further stop at Camastra, renowned for ceramics and pottery. The next stop will be Cefalu, a well-known seaside resort boasting a splendid Arab-Norman Cathedral with unique Byzantine mosaics.
Return to Palermo for farewell dinner with wines in a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
8th day - Palermo
Breakfast at the hotel and end of our services.