Friday, May 31, 2024 DEPARTURE: Overnight flight
Departure from the US for overnight flight to Palermo. We’ll be flying into Palermo departing from the US on Friday, May 31 and returning from Catania on Monday, June 10.
Airfare is not included but Celestial Voyagers can help you get the best airfare and schedule.
DAY 2: Saturday, June 1, 2024 WELCOME TO BELLA SICILIA! | Meals: D | Hotel in Palermo
Individual arrival transfer can be arranged on arrival to reach your hotel but is not included.
Check-in for 3 nights at our hotel located in the city center. Free time in the afternoon to explore. In the evening, meet your travel companions and get a taste of Sicily at a welcome dinner at a typical local restaurant, then relax and get a good night’s sleep.
DAY 3: Sunday, June 2, 2024 MONREALE | Meals: B D | Hotel in Palermo
In the morning, we drive to nearby Monreale where Arab-Norman art and architecture reached their pinnacle of glory. We will have a guided tour of its cathedral, begun in 1174 by William II, and see its famed dome covered with golden mosaics. Next, we visit a venerable bread bakery and sample the famed Pane nero di Monreale, crusty brown bread topped with sesame seeds, a legacy of Arab influence. Produced by artisan bakers by traditional methods, this bread has been designated a “traditional agri-food product of Italy”. Return to Palermo for lunch on your own.
In the afternoon, we will participate in a traditional Sicilian Cooking Class at the Mama Corleone cooking lab. Dinner will consist of the dishes we have prepared together.
DAY 4: Tuesday, June 3, 2024 PALERMO | Meals: B L | Hotel in Palermo
In the morning, join the group to explore Palermo on a guided walking tour including the Cathedral, Norman Palace, Palatine Chapel, Palazzo Mirto the Politeama Theatre, and the Massimo Theatre.
For lunch, we visit the lively Capo Market, a large open-air street market that captures the colors, aromas, and flavors of Palermo's Saracen Arab past. This hodge-podge of general confusion amidst a jumble of vendor stalls winds toward the old gate (Porta Carini) of what used to be the city wall. You will learn about seasonal products at the market and meet some of the vendors. Taste typical Palermitan Street Food like arancini (crispy-fried stuffed rice balls), panelle (chickpea flour fritters), potato crocchette and Sicilian beers for lunch.
Free evening for dinner or a snack and a glass of vino on your own. We can make recommendations and reservations.
DAY 5: Tuesday, June 4, 2024 TRAPANI, MARSALA & AGRIGENTO | Meals: B L | Hotel in Agrigento
After breakfast, check out and depart to Trapani on Sicily’s far western coast, about 1½ hours. We’ll have a brief tour of Trapani followed by a cooking demonstration of Sicilian-style couscous, a legacy of its Arab inhabitants, today found in Sicily only in Trapani, which is close to the North African coastline where it is the national dish of Algeria and Morocco. Enjoy the couscous for lunch accompanied by local Trapani wine.
After lunch, we continue to the Marsala salt pans with its windmill, a charming place, where the "culture of salt" has shaped the territory in the wake of a tradition passed down through generations.
In the early evening, relax and take part in the rite of Italian Aperitivo at Mama Caura served with olives and "bruschetta" facing the Salt Pans. Then proceed to our hotel in Agrigento.
Check in at our countryside hotel for 2 nights. Hotel dinner on your own.
DAY 6: Wednesday, June 5, 2024 VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES | Meals: B L | Hotel in Agrigento
We depart on a scenic drive to meet our guide to visit the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the fascination of ancient history is enhanced by the beauty of its location with the sea on one side, the old city-hill on the other, and the majestic Doric style temples built from tufo (soft volcanic stone) in the center.
The Temple of Concordia is the most well-preserved of the temples because it was transformed into a church. The Temple of Juno still boasts 25 of its original 34 columns. The Temple of the Dioscuri is the most symbolic, while the Temple of Hercules is the oldest. Together with the Temple of Zeus, these five giants dominate the Valley of the Temples.
Continuation to Naro, a charming medieval village where we'll enjoy a typical leisurely Sicilian country lunch at a local family-owned trattoria. A promenade after lunch to see the old castle on top of the hill will help our digestion!
Dinner on your own in Agrigento.
DAY 7: Thursday, June 6, 2024 SCICLI & MODICA | Meals: B L | Hotel in Siracusa
We depart on a scenic drive to baroque Scicli where we will visit an herb farm in a spectacular setting and enjoy a relaxing outdoor lunch prepared by the farmers.
We’ll continue to Modica, known for its old-style chocolate. Here we’ll see a chocolate demo and have a unique chocolate experience: hands on workshop and of course tasting!
Continuation to Siracusa. Check-in at hotel for 2 nights. Dinner on your own.
DAY 8: Friday, June 7, 2024 SIRACUSA & ORTIGIA | Meals: B L D | Hotel in Siracusa
First we’ll see Dionyssos' Ear famous for its acoustic properties; then our local guide will take us for a walk through ancient Ortigia; a “foodies” tour will be part of the visit as well as our lunch; we’ll see the cathedral, the old town, and the market.
In the afternoon, we'll have a hands-on private cooking class followed by dinner using seasonal products of the region. Possibilities include ravioli with pesto made from deep-green Bronte pistachios for “primo.” The “secondo” could be scabbard fish rolls with crab or eggplant meatballs with basil and a salad of oranges and fennel. For “dolce” perhaps cassata siracusana or ricotta ravioli fried with honey and cinnamon.
After dinner, stroll through the town with its artisan shops and walkable streets.
DAY 9: Saturday, June 8, 2024 MT. ETNA & TAORMINA | Meals: B L | Hotel Villa Fiorita, Taormina
We depart for an excursion to the magnificent Mount Etna; view the volcano and the rich agricultural land surrounding the mountain.
Lunch and wine tasting at the Gambino Winery on the slopes of Mount Etna. We continue to Taormina and check-in at our exquisite hotel for 2 nights. Promenade in this quaint hilltop town for a Granita experience and more at a local pastry shop.
In the evening, wander the narrow medieval lanes of Taormina and then choose a restaurant among abundant choice for dinner on your own. Perhaps you will order delicate, ultra-fresh anchovies fried or grilled, a dish enjoyed throughout Sicily.
DAY 10: Sunday, June 9, 2024 TAORMINA | Meals: B D | Hotel Villa Fiorita, Taormina
Morning walking guided tour of historic Taormina including the Antique Greek theater.
Afternoon at leisure for strolling the charming byways of Taormina and doing a little shopping at the town's many boutiques until it is time for a cooking class and our farewell cooking class and dinner at the home of Chef Massimo.
DAY 11: Monday, June 10, 2024 ARRIVADERCI SICILIA | Meals: B |
After breakfast, drive to Catania Airport for flights home (or extend your stay in Sicily--we can help).
INCLUDED ON THIS TOUR
- Nine night’s accommodation, double occupancy
- Daily breakfast at the hotels
- Welcome dinner (drinks not included)
- Six lunches (drinks not included) at restaurants and as part of cooking classes
- Four dinners (drinks not included for most meals)
- Bottled water on coach and with meals
- Coffee and tea with meals
- Expert commentary, culinary advice and background by Chef Aliza Green
- All culinary activities and excursions in the program.
- Three cooking classes, chocolate workshop, and winery visit and tasting
- English-speaking assistance for airport arrival and departure?
- Professional English-speaking local guide for the visits in the program
- All entrance fees to museums and historic sites
- Luxury, private coach for transfers and excursions
- Daily city tax at the hotels
- VAT and Local taxes
NOT INCLUDED ON THIS TOUR
- Single room supplement
- International flights between US and Palermo and between Catania and the US for the return
- Beverages (other than bottled water, coffee and tea) with lunches and dinners
- Meals not mentioned in the program
- Gratuities to guides and drivers (we will help with suggested amounts)
- Trip cancellation and travel insurance (travel insurance is required)
- Passport and visa fees as needed (Note: if you are not a US citizen a visa may be necessary; a green card is compulsory.)
All passports must expire at least six months after the trip end date
so after December 10, 2024