The Best of Sicily
• Palermo • Monreale • Agrigento • Siracusa • Taormina
Sicily encapsulates drama; the bated fury of Etna and Stromboli, the beautiful evening glow on ancient buildings, bustling markets, fiery but endlessly kind and generous locals all collide with delicious food and extraordinary vistas to create a special destination you won't ever want to leave.
Day 1: Palermo Transfer from the airport to your hotel in the historic centre of Palermo, close to Teatro Politeama.
Day 2: Palermo This morning meet your guide for a tour of Palermo. See the highlights of historical Palermo, the capital of ancient Sicily. The many great empires that once ruled Sicily's capital left behind wonderfully diverse architecture, from Roman to Byzantine to Arab-Norman, which you will see in the city's palaces, churches and crypts. You will also visit the city's eclectic cathedral - originally Norman, then Catalan Gothic, and in the 18th century, transformed by Baroque and Neoclassical styles.
In the afternoon you will enjoy a unique experience reserved for you: welcomed by the owners, you will enter the walls of one of the city's most important historic residences for a guided tour. In the lavish halls, you can relive the life of Palermo's aristocratic families who were guests at the palace between the 18th and 19th century, up to the Art Nouveau period. Marvel at the library, the Red Room and the winter garden, where the owners will entertain you with an aperitif, telling stories and anecdotes of the aristocracy.
Day 3: Monreale & Cefalu Full day excursion to Monreale and Cefalu. Monreale is famous for its 12th century cathedral decorated with Byzantine mosaics. Cefalu is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Day 4: Palermo > Agrigento The day is dedicated to Greek temples of Agrigento and the Archaeological Park at Selinunte, the two largest archaeological areas of the Mediterranean. Your accommodation tonight is surrounded by olive trees, producing extra virgin olive oil and featuring a breathtaking view of the Valley of Temples.
Day 5: Agrigento > Siracusa Visit Villa Romana del Casale and Donna Fugata Castle before continuing to the coastal town of Siracusa. Enjoy the rest of your time at leisure.
Day 6: Siracusa Today meet your guide for a half day guided visit. One of the centres of ancient Western civilisation, south-eastern Sicily is a sightseeing mecca filled with glorious, evocative ruins. Of all the Greek cities of antiquity that flourished on the coast of Sicily, Siracusa (Syracuse) was the most important, a formidable competitor of Athens. In its heyday, it dared take on Carthage and even Rome. Colonists from Corinth founded Siracusa on the Ionian Sea in about 735 BC. You will also visit the Archaeological Park "Neapolis": the Greek Theatre, the Altar of Hieron II, the "Ear of Dionysius" Grotto and the Roman Amphitheatre, and then to the Ortigia Island, the most ancient part of the city. Time at leisure in the afternoon.
Day 7: Noto & Ragusa Travel by car with English speaking driver to Noto, one of the most important Baroque towns of Sicily and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you will meet your guide. Visit a private palace which represents the expression of the striking Baroque of Noto. The palace, which was built in 1730, has 90 rooms, frescoed vaulted ceilings and 18th century paintings. For a long time it was the residence of the princes of Villadorata. Then onto Ragusa, a small Baroque town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a guided walking tour. Transfer back to Siracusa.
Day 8: Siracusa > Taormina Transfer to Taormina. At leisure to perhaps visit of the Greek-Roman Theatre , or the historic centre. An optional excursion to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, is also possible today.
Day 9: Taormina Transfer to Catania airport, where arrangements end.
• Tailor-made journey • 8 nights' accommodation in 4-star hotels • Private transfers and excursions by car with English speaking driver as per itinerary • Full day guided visit in Palermo • Half day guided visit of the Valley of Temples • Half day guided visit in Siracusa • Half day guided visit in Piazza Armerina and Villa Romana del Casale • Private visit of the historic palaces in Palermo and in Noto • 8 breakfasts
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Booking conditions • Supplements may apply over peak periods and/or national holidays
• Supplements may apply over peak periods and/or national holidays
Not included • City taxes to be paid at the hotels
• Tickets for Selinunte, Agrigento Temples Valley, Archaeological Park in Siracusa, Villa Romana in Piazza Armerina, and sites in Palermo and Monreale
• City taxes to be paid at the hotels • Tickets for Selinunte, Agrigento Temples Valley, Archaeological Park in Siracusa, Villa Romana in Piazza Armerina, and sites in Palermo and Monreale