1st day/Saturday: PALERMO
Independent arrival at Hotel MERCURE PALERMO EXCELSIOR, prestigious historical Hotel located in one of the city centre’ s main streets. Enjoy a welcome cocktail. Dinner and overnight in your hotel.
2nd day/Sunday: PALERMO – CEFALU’ – CATANIA
After a buffet breakfast, visit of the Capital of Sicily, Palermo, one of the richest towns in the island for history and art: the Cathedral (during the Holy Mass, exterior visit only), the Palace of the Normans and its superb “Palatina” Chapel, the “Quattro Canti”, the fountain of “Piazza Pretoria”, the Church of Santa Caterina and its Cloister. Lunch in a local restaurant. Depart to Cefalù, charming coastal town, a former fishing village which is also home to a breathtaking Norman Cathedral, famous for its Mosaic of Christ Pantocractor – a stunning Byzantine mosaic that’s considered as one of the most important pieces of religious artwork in Sicily. Take a stroll to the city centre and down main street to reach the Cathedral and the medieval wash-house built in the rock. Proceed to Catania. Accommodation, dinner and overnight at the Hotel MERCURE CATANIA EXCELSIOR.
3rd day /Monday: CATANIA – PIAZZA ARMERINA – CALTAGIRONE – CATANIA
After a buffet breakfast, depart to Piazza Armerina in the inland of Sicily, to visit the worldwide known Villa Romana del Casale: it is the richest, largest and most complex collection of late Roman mosaics in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch in a local restaurant. Proceed to Caltagirone known for its ceramics whose handcrafted production is secular. The outstanding quality and creativity of Caltagirone’s ceramics is best admired in the most famous landmark of the town: the monumental Santa Maria del Monte staircase, whose 142 steps are all decorated with hand-painted ceramic tiles, using the typical colors, shapes and patterns of the most traditional pottery production and art. Time at leisure to enjoy the many shops. Back to your Hotel in Catania: dinner and overnight.
4th day/Tuesday: CATANIA – MOUNT ETNA honey tasting – TAORMINA – CATANIA
After a buffet breakfast, weather conditions permitting, excursion to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Across fascinating landscape, we will reach a height of 1900 metres to visit the Sylvester Craters where you can enjoy a spectacular panorama over the Ionian Sea. On the way stop to the village of Zafferana Etnea, “the City of Honey” to visit a beautiful place where they produce honey and taste the precious nectar made by skilled hands. Continue to Taormina, charming city called “the pearl of the Ionian Sea”, founded in 400 BC and beautifully located overlooking the sea and the peak of Mount Etna. Lunch in a local restaurant. Enjoy time at leisure to shop for handmade lace, coral jewels, ceramics, home-made sweets and preserves down “Corso Umberto” or simply walk through its tiny streets. Individual visit of the fascinating Greek-Roman theatre. Back to your Hotel in Catania: dinner and overnight.
5th day/Wednesday: CATANIA – SIRACUSA – NOTO – RAGUSA (Optional: visit of RAGUSA IBLA “BY NIGHT”)
After a buffet breakfast, depart to Syracuse to visit the most beautiful Greek colony of Sicily. Visit of the archaeological park “Neapolis”, including the famous Latomie of the Paradise, the Greek Theatre and the Dyonisios “Ear”. Visit the island of Ortigia, the small baroque old city centre of Siracusa: here you can admire the Cathedral, which is built on the site of the Temple of Minerva, the legendary “Fontana Arethusa” and the Temple of Apollo. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, proceed to Noto, one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily renowned for the harmony and unity of its Baroque style and today declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The splendid cathedral is one of the most famous buildings in Noto. Proceed to Ragusa: accommodation and dinner at the Hotel MEDITERRANEO PALACE. Optional visit “by night” of the ancient city Ragusa “Ibla”, cradle of Sicilian baroque, with its Cathedral, situated in the beautiful square of the Dome and the “giardino Ibleo” (supplement on the spot; the excursion will take place with a minimum of participants). Overnight.
6th day/Thursday: RAGUSA – MODICA chocolate tasting – AGRIGENTO
After a buffet breakfast, depart to Modica to visit the city divided into two parts: Modica “Bassa” and “Alta”. Modica is also a UNESCO site and is famous for its Baroque churches and scenographic squares; tasting of the famous chocolate (Xocoatl) made with ancient methods brought to Sicily with Spanish domination. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, proceed to Agrigento to visit the magnificent Valley Of Temples of Agrigento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Temple of Concord, which is in almost perfectly preserved conditions, Juno and Heracles that represent the most beautiful example of the Greek Civilization in Sicily. Accommodation, dinner and overnight at Hotel DIOSCURI BAY PALACE.
7th day/Friday: AGRIGENTO – SELINUNTE oil tasting in a farmhouse – MARSALA wine tasting and visit of a winery – PALERMO
After a buffet breakfast, depart to the Archaeological Park of Selinunte, the largest in the Mediterranean area with the impressive Temples and Acropolis. Stop in a local farmhouse famous for olive oil production where, before lunch, it will be possible to have an oil tasting of local production. Continue to Marsala, a city on the western coast famous for its production of sweet Sicilian wine. Visit of the historical centre and stop to a prestigious winery, where we can enjoy a wine tasting and learn about local production. Proceed to Palermo. Accommodation, dinner and overnight at Hotel MERCURE PALERMO EXCELSIOR.
8th day/Saturday: PALERMO
After a buffet breakfast, end of the Tour.