Discover the rich history of the island of Sicily with the Ultimate Sicily tour. Feel the passion of the Sicilian people through their art, culture, history and food as you travel north to south and east to west. Visit UNESCO listed sites, historical churches, ancient ruins and even participate in a cooking class using traditional recipes. Let the beauty of the Ultimate Sicily take your breath away.
Departure from the United States on your overnight flight to begin your Ultimate Sicily tour.
Upon arrival in Palermo, you and your English speaking tour escort will join your private motorcoach and driver for a direct transfer to your 5* hotel in Palermo. Relax and make yourself comfortable for the remainder of the day. Enjoy your first Italian group dinner together (3-4 course menu, beverages not included) at your hotel.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking local guide for a half day tour of Palermo. A cultural mix makes Palermo one of the most interesting cities in Europe. Take in the city’s picturesque piazzas – Piazza Pretoria and Piazza Bellini and see the Quattro Canti – the most remarkable intersection in Palermo. The city’s architecture reflects the Sicilian cultural mosaic through its Moorish, Norman and Spanish Baroque styles. See such highlights as the byzantine Martorana Church, the Church of San Cataldo, the Church of St. John of the Hermits, the Palatine Chapel inside the Norman Palace, and the Palermo Cathedral which houses royal tombs and the impressive Imperial Crown of Constance of Aragon. Experience a lunch filled with products from Palermo’s famous street food and markets. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore the city on your own and have dinner at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a half day tour of Monreale and Monte Pellegrino. Take a short drive to the lovely town of Monreale to explore its Cathedral and Benedictine Cloister. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s one of the greatest examples of Norman architecture in Italy – decorated with over 6,340 square meters (almost 70,000 feet) of mosaics and 24-carat gold brilliantly portraying scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Your journey continues with a drive to Monte Pellegrino, defined by writer Wolfgang von Goethe as the “most beautiful mountain (promontory) in the world”. Take in the beautiful panoramic view overlooking the city and the Gulf of Palermo. Step inside the fascinating Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia, named for Palermo’s patron saint. This pilgrimage site is an actual 17th century church and shrine built inside a cave. Relax with a lunch in the beautiful beach town of Mondello Bay. Return to Palermo with the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. Prepare for an exciting evening out with dinner at a local restaurant followed by Opera at the Palace: Il Bel Canto. At a beautiful and historic palace in Palermo, trained tenors and sopranos will perform classic opera selections in this intimate audience setting.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a tour of Erice and Marsala. Drive to Erice, known as Monte San Giuliano until 1934, at an altitude of approximately 750 m. Views of Trapani, the Aegadian Islands and Monte Cofano from here are breathtaking. Walk through Erice’s narrow streets and visit the city’s Duomo. Also see the Church of Santa Maria dell’Assunta, the massive city walls and the Venus castle ruins. Don’t forget to taste the delicious traditional ericini almond biscuits. Your tour continues to Marsala to visit one of the region’s most important wineries. Indulge in a tasting of their main wines accompanied by a light lunch. Return to your hotel in Palermo and enjoy dinner on your own.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a half day tour of Santo Stefano Quisquina and a local dairy/cheese farm. Pack your bags and depart Palermo for drive into the Sicani Mountains. Stop to visit the 17th century Hermitage of Santo Stefano di Quisquina. It’s here where Saint Rosalia, the patron saint of Palermo, spent her life during her escape from her family and oppressors. Continue to a local dairy farm in Cammarata for a cheese tasting and light lunch (beverage included). Try the traditional pecorino or primo sale – a Sicilian sheep milk cheese meaning “first salt”. Perhaps you’ll enjoy the pani cunzatu – a speciality of the Sicani Mountains of bread with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and either pecorino or Sicilian ricotta cheese. After lunch, continue south to the city of Agrigento where you’ll spend the next 3 nights at your 5* hotel. Dinner is at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a half day tour of Agrigento – “the most beautiful city of the mortals…” as defined by Pindar and home of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Valley of the Temples. Experience the world of Ancient Greece in Sicily by visiting the Temple of Heracles, Temple of Concordia, Temple of Zeus, Temple of Juno and the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Relax with a lunch at a seaside restaurant in Agrigento. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Enjoy dinner at a local Antico Casale that will also be entertaining thanks to a Sicilian folk group.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Full day of leisure. Perhaps you’d enjoy relaxing at your hotel or explore the old city of Agrigento. Visit the Archaeological Museum or the Church of St. Mary of the Greeks or take in some shopping on Agrigento’s main road, Via Athena. Perhaps a day at the local beach is how you’ll choose to relax.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a half day tour of Piazza Armerina and Caltagirone. Depart Agrigento and travel east to Piazza Armerina where you’ll visit the Villa Romana del Casale. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world. Discovered in the 20th century, there are more than 3000 square meters of almost perfectly preserved mosaic floor divided amongst 40 rooms. Next, a short drive away is the town of Caltagirone which is famous for its ancient and modern pottery making and ceramics. There you can see the monumental staircase of Caltagirone, decorated with the city’s famous ceramic tiles, that leads to the Santa Maria del Monte Church. Continue to the city of Ragusa, your home for the next 3 nights at your 5* hotel. The remainder of the day and dinner tonight is at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a tour of Ragusa Ibla and Modica. The city of Ragusa is divided in two by a deep ravine: Ragusa Superiore the upper town and Ragusa Ibla the older, lower town. Ragusa, along with 7 other regional towns, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site representing the unique Sicilian Baroque architecture. The town of Modica, just south of Ragusa, is also a part of this spectacular Baroque display and has a reputation for its own culinary delicacy – chocolate! The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Tonight, you’ll partake in a cooking class, followed by dinner prepared by you! Get closer to the history and culture of Sicilian cuisine. Discover the scents and tastes of the past through recipes that have been handed down over the centuries. You’ll be driven to a 19th century hilltop villa overlooking the Gulf of Capopassero. Your 3 hour cooking lesson includes everybody’s own personal workspace, apron and necessary cooking utensils. A few examples of dishes you might prepare in the Ragusan tradition are arancini, focaccia alla modicana, caponata all modicana, ravioli with a ricotta pork sauce and the use of local ingredients such as almonds, honey and ricotta cheese. Enjoy a full dinner of your prepared dishes that also includes your “self-prepared” wine.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a tasting day in Modica. Today, discover the specialties of the beautiful town of Modica: chocolate and olive oil. Modica’s chocolate is the most famous product in the Ragusa area. Their chocolate making techniques were first brought to Sicily by the Spaniards in the 16th century who had learned about chocolates from the ancient Aztecs in Mexico. These traditional techniques are still used today in Modica. Later, you’ll witness the Sicilian method of olive oil production – from fresh olives off the tree into its oil form used for cooking and products. Enjoy an olive oil tasting alongside a light lunch. The remainder of the day and dinner is at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a tour of Noto and Syracuse. Pack your bags for your departure to the beautiful city of Taormina with stops in Noto and Syracuse on the way. First, a short visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Noto – another beautifully preserved example of the Sicilian Baroque architecture unique to buildings constructed in southern Sicily in the 1700’s. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant in Noto. Next, you’ll discover the ancient beauty of the city of Syracuse – the largest and most important city-state in Greek controlled Sicily. There you’ll visit the Neapolis Archaeological Park which has the Latomia of Paradise, the Rope-Makers’ Grotto, the Ear of Dionysius, the Greek Theatre, the Altar of Hieron and the Roman Amphitheater. Then you’ll travel to Ortygia, a small island which is the old town center of Syracuse. On your walking tour, experience the Fountain of Arethusa, the Cathedral of Syracuse and the Temple of Apollo. Drive to Taormina where you’ll spend the next 2 nights at your 5* hotel and enjoy dinner at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Free morning at your leisure. Spend time relaxing at the hotel, go shopping at the shops in Taormina or walk through the medieval alleyways of this beautiful town. Lunch is at your leisure.
We also have one of our optional excursions to Mount Etna and Taormina (€68 per person). Admire the gorgeous views of the Sicilian orange and lemon groves on your drive to Europe’s largest active volcano – Mount Etna. You’ll reach the Silvestri Craters located below the top of Mount Etna at an altitude of about 2000 meters. There’s the opportunity of taking an optional tour of crossing the crater by cable car at an altitude of 2,600 meters or of climbing up to an altitude of 3000 meters in special 4×4 Jeeps. Lunch will be provided after visiting Mount Etna should you choose this optional excursion. (Cost: about €65.00 per person)
In the afternoon, your entire group will depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and driver and English speaking guide for a tour of Taormina. This charming resort town became a haven for writers, artists and musicians beginning in the 19th century. You’ll see why Taormina’s natural beauty has earned the name “the jewel of Sicily” and has inspired so many in the arts. On your tour, you’ll visit the impressive Ancient Greek theatre – built in the 3rd century BC and still in use for performances and as host of the annual Taormina Film Festival. The remainder of the day and dinner is at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Transfer with your motorcoach and driver to Catania Airport. Your tour comes to a close as you return home with many cherished memories of Sicily.