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Duration: 8 days Visiting: Italy
Enjoy warm Mediterranean hospitality, as you journey from picture-perfect fishing villages to ancient Greek temples. Witness the rich legacies of the ancient Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Ottoman Turks and even uncover a few secrets about the local Maﬁa. Taste Sicilian wine, feast on delicious seasonal cuisine and meet passionate locals along the way.
Welcome to Sicily.
On arrival at Catania airport, transfers leave for your hotel at 10:00, 12:30 and 15:30. Relax and settle in to your seaside hotel. After time to relax, join your Travel Director at 17:30 for a short exploration of this bustling port town. See the magnificent Duomo and Piazza and the elegant noble buildings of the Palazzo Senatorio. Get to know your fellow travelling companions during your Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Ancient Syracuse en route to Ragusa.
Sightseeing with your Local Expert takes you to Syracuse’s Paradise Quarry with its unusual Ear of Dionysius, an ear-shaped grotto with an unusual echo. Continue to the superb Greek theatre, carved out of solid rock, one of the largest of the ancient world. There is time to explore the atmospheric Old City, a maze of narrow streets lined with palaces, sprawling over the island of Ortygia. It was here that the famous geometrician Archimedes ran naked through the streets, crying ‘Eureka!' Continue around the southeastern corner of Sicily to Ragusa.
Explore the Valley of the Temples and on to Palermo.
Journey along the southern coast of the island, past the oil producing town of Gela to Agrigento. Join a Local Expert to explore the Valley of the Temples, Sicily's finest Greek sanctuary. Especially impressive is the massive Temple of Concordia and the clifftop Temple of Juno overlooking the sea. Your travels continue to the Sicilian capital of Palermo.
Palermo & the Golden Age of the Normans.
Your Local Expert shows you the highlights of the city. Pass through the Baroque Quattro Canti and admire the beauties of the Fountain of Shame. Visit Palermo Cathedral which has been altered may times over the years and observe its unique blend of architectural styles. In Monreale, visit the finely-decorated cathedral and see its magnificent gold mosaics, a masterpiece of Arab-Norman art. Return to Palermo and enjoy a free afternoon exploring the rest of the city. For your dining pleasure, you are offered a selection of local restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening, each with their own ambience and cuisine.
Wind your way up to the charming hilltop walled town of Erice. Walk through the labyrinth of quiet alleyways, past medieval churches and enjoy sea views from the gardens next to the Castle of Venus! At a farm near Trapani, sample some of the freshest olive oil produced on the island and savour a tasting of Sicilian wine, followed by a light lunch of delicious local produce. Back in Palermo the evening is at your leisure.
Cefalu and the Taormina Riviera.
Travel to the quaint fishing town of Cefalu. The town's imposing cathedral was erected to fulfil a vow made by the Norman King Roger II. Stroll down to the medieval stone fountain and seek out the Gothic arch of the Porta Marina for a picture-perfect view of the little harbour.
Taormina and the Dawn Coast of Europe.
Your hotel faces east, so early risers may experience why D.H. Lawrence christened this 'The Dawn Coast of Europe.' After breakfast, perhaps take an Optional Experience through the vineyards to Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano. Travel to the old town of Taormina, which clings to the side of Mount Tauro overlooking the Ionian Sea and the snowy peak of Mount Etna. With your Local Expert, visit the Greek theatre set on a cliff and open to the sky. Take a moment to sit in this ancient theatre and absorb the view through the crumbling arches to snowy Mount Etna. Stroll on to the tiny courtyard of the Palazzo Corvaja, Taormina’s grandest building and further along the elegant Corso Umberto, the Piazza IX Aprile offers panoramic views. At a local restaurant, rejoice with your new-found friends over your Celebration Dinner of delicious, freshly prepared Farm-to-Table cuisine, accompanied with exquisite Italian wines.
Appreciate the vistas of Mount Etna one last time on your departure transfer to Catania Airport. Transfers arrive at the airport at 06:30 and 08:30.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
Catania (Historic) - Italy
The Il Principe Hotel is centrally located in the heart of Catania's historic centre, surrounded by Baroque architecture. The beautifully refurbished rooms feature high ceilings and have been designed with your comfort in mind.
Ragusa (Contemporary) - Italy
A hotel next to the Santa Domenica Valley and crossed by three historic bridges. Located in a strategic position of the city, just a few minutes away on foot to the Municipal Gardens of Villa Margherita.
Hotel Palazzo Sitano/Mercure Palermo Centro.
Taormina Riviera (Traditional) - Italy
Overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Hilton Giardini Naxos boasts traditional Mediterranean hospitality and fabulous rooms and facilities.