Travcoa - vacations and travel

Splendors of Sicily

Italy, Europe

from $6,995* per person 10 Days June, September, October
Luxury accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Travcoa 24 people max
  • Palermo, sicily
  • Active & Adventure trips
The island of Sicily embodies the best of Italy; glorious landscapes, quaint coastal towns plus exquisite food and wine, all surrounded by centuries of history. Join us on this luxury exploration of Sicily’s many wonders. Wander the ancient streets of Palermo, visit one of the world’s best-preserved Greek architectural sites with your expert historian-guide, and immerse yourself in the charm and intrigue of Taormina, a lovely city with snowcapped Mount Etna as a backdrop. Throughout your journey, you’ll never be far from the glittering Mediterranean — you’ll enjoy sumptuous seafood feasts at acclaimed local restaurants and deluxe sea-view rooms at many of our opulent hotels.

Locations visited/nearby

Italy, Europe

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Itinerary

DAYS 1 – 3

Palermo, Italy

Arrive in Palermo on Day 2. You will be met and transferred directly to your hotel. Relax in the Villa Igiea Hilton, one of Sicily’s most famous hotels. From your deluxe room or suite, enjoy a spectacular view of the sunset and the expansive horizon of the Mediterranean Sea. On the evening of Day 2 you will enjoy welcome cocktails and dinner to meet your Travel Director and fellow travelers and hear about the unforgettable journey ahead.

Palermo was a cradle of civilization, a transit point, and battlefield for territorial ambitions, and its personality comes from the Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. Stroll its intricate streets and admire the blending of architectural styles that mark its history. Palermo’s Arab-Norman buildings have no equal and as you will discover during today’s sightseeing, the entire city is a treasure trove of museums and Baroque oratories. Visit Palermo’s 12th-century cathedral, lively Capo markets, and the Norman’s Royal Palace.

Later, travel to Monreale, a town overlooking the beautiful valley beyond Palermo, and world-renowned for its 12th-century cathedral, a dazzling mixture of Arab, Byzantine and Norman artistic styles and beautiful mosaics. A special treat awaits you as you will be welcomed by the Countess Federico for delightful conversation over aperitifs at her mansion.

Villa Igiea Hilton, Palermo

DAYS 4 & 5

Segesta, Erice, Sciacca & Selinunte

Explore Segesta, an abandoned ancient city located in the province of Trapani. Segesta is known for its magnificent Doric temple and ranked as one of the best-preserved Greek architectural sites to be found anyplace. Continue to the beautiful Phoenician and Hellenistic town of Erice, dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of fertility and love. Located on the top of Mount San Giuliano, you’ll be captivated by the seaside scenery, the intricate maze of cobblestone streets, and the churches and monasteries scattered throughout the town.

On Day 5 travel to Selinunte, an abandoned ancient Greek city, with ruins of an acropolis and numerous temples that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. Selinunte’s glorious zenith lasted for a period of about two centuries, when it was one of the most progressive Greek cities in Sicily, famous throughout Magna Grecia.

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca

DAY 6

Agrigento & Siracusa

This morning arrive in the classical city of Agrigento, founded as the Greek city of Akragas around 582 B.C. The extraordinary saga of Agrigento includes being renamed Agrigentum by the Romans, and Girgenti by the Saracens, both of whom left their mark on this remarkable place. Visit the Valley of the Temples, a series of temples erected in the 5th century B.C. as a testimony to the prosperity of the city at that time. Continue to Piazza Armerina for lunch at a local Sicilian trattoria. After our meal take a guided visit of the archeological site of Morgantina. View the remains of the Agora with its Roman shops and Roman Gymnasium. Nearby is the 4th-century Greek Theatre. The Venus of Morgantina, currently at the J. Paul Getty in California, is one rich treasure due to be returned to Italy at the end of 2010.

Next, it is on to Siracusa, the great city of legend and home of Archimedes. Magnificent remnants of the ancient world surround you and commingle with modern life. We take an expert-guided walk around the island discovering the rich history and tides of conquest that have shaped this city since its birth. Spend the night at the prestigious Grand Hotel Des Etrangers in the heart of Ortigia Island, with stunning sea views of the Mediterranean.

Grand Hotel Des Etrangers, Siracusa

DAYS 7 – 9

Siracusa & Taormina

Ancient Siracusa was a Greek city that flourished from 733 until 211 B.C. when it was conquered by Rome. When Roman general Marcellus entered the gates, he was so amazed by the richness and beauty of the city that he refrained from destroying the temples and buildings that were the legacy of the Greeks. The highlight of your visit to Siracusa will be the archaeological park, including the ruins of the Teatro Greco, built in the 5th century B.C., where the great dramatist Aeschylus staged plays. The oldest portion of Siracusa, an island called Ortigia, harbors the famous Spring of Arethusa of Greek mythology as well as the Temple of Apollo. Enjoy a walking tour of the island, including a visit to the Cathedral.

Arrive in Taormina. With its fabulous position high on the rocky plateau opposite dramatic Mount Etna, it is considered one of the world’s most picturesque resort cities. German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe described this place as “a strip of paradise on the earth” and it was a favorite resort of the 19th-century English aristocracy.

On Day 8, take a funicular ride to the top of Mt. Etna, Sicily’s tallest peak and Europe’s tallest active volcano. Later, a walking tour will reveal the fine palaces that dot the old town center. The highlight of your tour is a visit to the Greek Theater, built just before the Roman occupation of Sicily.

On Day 9, drive to Catania, a scenic coastal town and the second largest city in Sicily. Your guided tour of Catania includes a visit to Ursino Castle, originally built on the coast but moved inland by the lava flow of 1669, and the Piazza del Duomo with its 17th-century cathedral, Porta Uzeda, and elephant fountain, all created by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. Next, enjoy a special treat. Upon arrival at our next stop, the Palazzo Biscari, we will be welcomed by the owner, Prince Ruggero Moncada di Paterno. This charming noble will guide you on a special private tour of his palace home. Explore the buildings, courtyards and museum rooms displaying vast collections of ancient artifacts, artwork, Sicilian history and the “Fruits of Etna.” After the tour, relax and enjoy some time and an Italian aperitif with the prince.

San Domenico Palace Hotel, Taormina

DAY 10

Depart for Home

This morning you will be transferred to the airport in Catania for your flight back home or to your next destination.

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