GRAND TOUR OF SICILY
DAY 1 PALERMO CEFALU'
Upon arrival in Palermo, we will me met by our tour host and transferred to Cefalù for check in at the Hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to freshen up prior to an orientation meeting and dinnerthis evening.
DAY 2 PALERMO
Today, following breakfast, we will enjoy a full day in the capital of Sicily Palermo!We will visit both the most sacred and the most profane of the Arab, Norman and Svevo periods. We will visit the Norman Cathedral, the Norman Palace (today home of the parliament), the Cappella Palatina and San Rosario. Following lunch (on our own), we will visit the Cathedral of Monreale, site of the Capital of the Monasteries, followed by a walk to the Piazza Politcamo in the heart of the city. Dinner and overnight in Palermo.
DAY 3 SEGESTA MARSALA SCIACCA, AGRIGENTO
After breakfast and hotel check out, we head southwest to Segesta to experience the inspiring Doric temple (built in 424 BC)and the Greek theater. Continuino west, we next journey to the westernmost tip of Sicily and Marsala. We will have a panoramic tour of the city (founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC)to see the Duomo, the Church of St. Peter, the Church of St. Mary of the Grotto and much more. We will stop for our noon meal (not included). And in the afternoon, proceed to Sciacca on the southern coast. Sciacca lies between the mouths of the Platani and Belice rivers. In Roman times, it was called Antro del Fazzello, Sicilians can find traces of their ancestors dating back to the Sicilian Neolithic period (5000 BC). Our last stop today is in Agrigento for check in, dinner and overnight at the Hotel.
DAY 4 VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES
After breakfast, we will head off for the Valley of the Temples, the largest concentration of Greek ruins outside of Greece. We will tour the Archeological Museum and the temples of Vulcan, Zeus, Heracles, Concordia, and Castor and Pollux. Lunch is on our own. Return to our hotel in Agrigento for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5 PIAZZA ARMERINA TAORMINA
After breakfast and hotel check out, we will depart for Piazza Armerina, where we will be able walk through the impressive 3rd century Roman Villa which was excavated in 1955. We will visit its crowning jewel, the famous Roman Villa of Casale, a country estate from the 2nd century of the Roman era. One of the most outstanding features of the villa is its more than 3500 square yards of ancient mosaic tiling depicting hunting scenes, mythical creatures and natural landscapes among many others!We will enjoy lunch in a typical area restaurant (on our own)before continuing on to Taormina, ”the Jewel of Sicily”, and check in at the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 6 TAORMINA
After breakfast at the hotel, a local expert guide will conduct a half day sightseeing tour of Taormina, including visits to all of the major attractions (such as the world famous Greek and Roman theater)and a complete orientation of the city. Lunch is on our own and the afternoon is free for independent sightseeing, shopping or a visit to the beautiful local beaches in the Taormina area!Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 7 CATANIA MOUNT ETNA
At the southern foot of Mount Etna lies Catania. We will have a panoramic tour of this wonderful city known for its straight streets and attractive buildings which date from the reconstruction after the eruption of 1693. We will visit the Duomo (site of the Chapel of Saint Agatha)and the open air market. Lunch is on our own. In the afternoon, we will travel through the many varied vegetable and fruit areas on the slopes of Mount Etna. Arriving at an altitude of 2500 feet, we will be above the tree line. We will have a perfect view of the three Silvestri Craters and the River of Lava (a remnant of the 1983 1985 eruption). Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 SIRACUSA
Following breakfast, we will have a full day tour of the Siracusa Geological Zone where we will visit the Greek Theater, the Roman Amphitheater, the Altar of Gerone, the Cave of Cordari and the Ear of Dionysus. Continuing on to the Medieval City, we will see the beautiful architecture of the Baroque Period, constructed at a time of much wealth and prosperity. We will also stop and visit The Cathedral. Lunch on our own. Return to Taormina for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9 TINDARI PATTI
Today, we are off on a full day excursion to Tindari and Patti. In the morning, we will travel to Tindari, formerly the ancient city of Tyndaris built by Dionysius in 396 BC. Here we will see a basilica and thermal baths, as well as many other archeological excavations. Lunch on our own. In the afternoon, we will visit Patti, a famous center of ceramic manufacturing. We will have a chance to our one of these wonderful ceramic factories and a ceramic shop or two with time afterwards to shop and browse.