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CLE SICILY
March 22-27, 2024

Starts in Palermo and also visit Alimena, Cefalù, Taormina and Agrigento.

Embarking on a journey through Sicily promises an enchanting exploration of Italy's rich cultural heritage, captivating landscapes, and delectable cuisine.  The journey begins in Palermo, the vibrant capital city nestled along the island's northern coast.  Steeped in history, Palermo invites travelers to wander through its labyrinthine streets adorned with ornate architecture, bustling markets, and centuries-old churches.

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Venturing inland, the journey continues to the picturesque town of Alimena, cradled within the rugged terrain of Sicily's interior.  Nestled amidst rolling hills and olive groves, Alimena exudes a timeless charm, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquil rhythms of rural life.  Here, travelers can savor authentic Sicilian flavors, partake in age-old traditions, and relish panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside. From leisurely strolls through historic piazzas to culinary escapades in local trattorias, Alimena offers a serene respite from the bustle of modernity, inviting guests to unwind and connect with the island's rustic allure.


Continuing the odyssey, the journey unfolds along the sun-kissed shores of Cefalù, a picturesque coastal town renowned for its golden beaches, crystalline waters, and medieval charm.  Cefalù is known for its’ colorful ceramics and artisanal wares and provides an unforgettable rendezvous with Sicily's coastal splendor.


Following the coastline further eastward, the journey arrives at the enchanting town of Taormina, perched high above the Ionian Sea.  Taormina's allure lies in its breathtaking vistas of the azure waters below, framed by the majestic silhouette of Mount Etna.  From the ancient Greek theater, offering panoramic views of the coastline, to the charming streets lined with boutique shops and quaint cafes, Taormina casts a spell of timeless elegance. 


Continuing southwestward to Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples stands as a testament to Sicily's ancient legacy.  Home to a stunning array of Greek ruins, including the iconic Temple of Concordia, Agrigento's archaeological treasures offer a glimpse into the island's illustrious past.  As travelers wander amidst the towering columns and weathered stone, they are transported back in time to an era of myth and legend, where Sicily's storied history unfolds amidst the timeless splendor of its landscapes.

​You will be guided by an Italian insider, Phil of Philítaly.  He will leverage his Italian language, access to family and friends to show you the real Italian “day in the life”, and take you to places off the beaten path.

5 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS
March 22-27, 2024

Price for Full Land Package All Inclusive $ TBD Per Person

 

Purchase your flight on your own to have more control over possible changes.  Choose a flight from the closest airport with non-stop flights to the Italian hub city where the group meets.  If you are not close to a city with non-stop service to the hub in Italy, we suggest you take a domestic flight to the US city that offers non-stop service to Italy hub or fly to a European city with layover to the hub city in Italy where the group meets. ​

Consider travel insurance for peace of mind to protect land, air and trip cancellation as well as medical service and evacuation insurance.  Click here to view options for comprehensive insurance, not just for flight cost, like most airlines sell. 

Day 1, Friday March 22, 2024
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Morning

• Palermo Cathedral
• Historic center and the Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria, home of the municipality of Palermo
• Teatro Massimo among the largest theaters in Europe. 
• Free time in via Maqueda, the most famous street in Palermo with its shops and fast food 

Afternoon/Evening
• Free time for lunch. On your own
• Guided tour of the Cathedral of Monreale among the most beautiful Cathedrals in Europe with its most representative mosaics 
• Late afternoon arrive at the Hotel Mediterraneo Palace (very central hotel in the historic center of Palermo) 
Self-guided walk in the evening.  
• Accommodation in the rooms reserved for us. 
• Dinner at the restaurant reserved for us. 
• Sleep at Hotel Mediterraneo

Day 2, Saturday March 23, 2024
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Morning

• Wake up to a delicious breakfast in the hotel.

• Depart for Geraci Siculo, the jewel of the Madonie, one of the most beautiful villages in Sicily.

• Meet with our tour guide and visit the historic center and admire the majestic ''drink'' of the Holy Trinity.  Through alleys and streets we reach the remains of the castle of probable Byzantine origin, later transformed by the Ventimiglia family into a military fortress. 

• Finally the Salto del Ventimiglia, an urban-facing work in glass and steel, which juts out into the void for a few meters and is certainly one of a kind in Sicily.  The structure that detaches from the edge of the wall for a few meters, allows you to walk almost in ''nothingness'', with an exceptional panorama under your feet, the floor is, in fact also made of glass. 

Afternoon/Evening:

• Lunch in the historic center  

• Guided tour of Alimena, a small town with just over two thousand inhabitants.  The small village is framed by the wonderful Madonie Park with breathtaking views.  

• Vsit the symbol of the town which is represented by the Church of Sant'Alfonso de' Liquori a unique historical building.  It was born around 1600 as a watchtower and only later transformed into a place of worship.  The Mother Church, on the other hand, is the true fulcrum of the town's activity.  Inside there is a statue of Santa Maria Maddalena, the patron saint of the town. 

• Continue to Palermo with a fish-based dinner in Sferracavallo. 

• Return to the hotel. 

• Sleep at Hotel Mediterraneo.

Day 3, Sunday March 24, 2024
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Morning

• Wake up to a delicious breakfast in the hotel. 

• Depart for guided tour of the ancient Greek fortress of Cefalù. 

• Arrive by bus at the ancient Arab quarter of Giudecca. 

• Walk along the ancient walls of the 4th century BC with a cultural stop at the ancient Pescara gate which overlooks the fishermen's pier.  The location appeared in numerous films, including Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. 

• Visit the Medieval Wash House, an ancient public wash basin of probable Arab origin (optional ticket cost 1.00 euro.)
• Visit the Norman Arab cathedral, with the splendid mosaic icon of Christ Pantocrator, a UNESCO heritage site. 
• Visit the cathedral towers and its cloister with twin capitals (ticket included for Cathedral Towers and Museum) walk through the ancient Francavilla district, built in the Rogerian era, and still retains its medieval characteristics unchanged today. 
• Relax in Piazza del Duomo.

Afternoon/Evening:
• Free time and enjoy lunch on your own
• Around 2 pm depart for Taormina known as the Pearl of Sicily, arrive and take guided tour of the medieval village, a popular destination for many VIPs in the summer.  Among the alleys and streets of the historic center, we will visit the most important and best-preserved ancient monument in Taormina which is the theater (ticket included). It was built on a wonderful panoramic point, from which you can admire the mass of Etna and the Ionian Sea.  On some steps the name of Philistide is engraved, the wife of Hieron II, the tyrant of Syracuse who most likely built the Taormina theater in the 3rd century BC.  The building was rebuilt in Roman times and more precisely in the 2nd century AD. 
Transfer to the President Park Hotel in Acicastello with accommodation in the reserved rooms. 
• Dinner at the hotel. 
• Sleep President Park Hotel in Acicastello.

Day 4, Monday March 25, 2024
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Morning/Afternoon
• Wake up and have breakfast. 
• Depart by bus for the guided tour of the Villa Romana del Casale (ticket included) in Piazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, supreme example of a late-imperial Roman luxury villa included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  At the gates of Piazza Armerina, in the suggestive valley of the Gela river on the slopes of Monte Mangone, there is one of the most prestigious monumental testimonies of the late ancient period in the Mediterranean, the Villa Romana del Casale, built in the 4th century AD.

It is decorated with enchanting mosaics considered the most beautiful and best preserved of their kind. 

 

Afternoon/Evening:
• Free time and lunch on your own.  
• In the afternoon visit to Agrigento Valle dei Temples (ticket included), which is one of the most representative archaeological sites of classical Greek civilization and one of the largest in the world.  Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1998, the Valley of the Temples Archaeological and Landscape Park extends over 1300 hectares (approximately 5 square miles) where you can walk through centuries of history.  At the end of day back to hotel accommodation in Agrigento, Hotel della Valle. 
• Dinner in hotel. 
• Sleep at Hotel della Valle.

 

Day 5, Tuesday March 26, 2024
Cooking Class

Morning
•Wake up and have breakfast.
• Departure at 8 AM for Palermo. 
• Meet our tour guide and visit to the Zisa Castle (ticket included).  The Palazzo della Zisa, conceived as the summer residence of the kings, represents one of the best examples of the combination of Norman art and architecture with typical environments of the Norman house (including the double spire tower) and Arab decorations and engineering for air exchange in the rooms. 

Afternoon/Evening:
• 3 hour cooking class where you will have the opportunity to see and learn how to cook the specialties of Palermo and its street food and then taste the specialties for lunch. 
• Free time in the afternoon. 
• Dinner on your own. 
• Sleep at Hotel Mediterraneo Palace.

Day 6, Wednesday March 27, 2024
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Morning
• Wake up and have breakfast. 
• Early morning transfer by GT bus from Hotel Mediterraneo to Palermo Airport.  Viaggi sicuri (safe travels)

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