They say Palermo is a city born to seduce – and we’ll test that theory as we explore this place ancient Phoenicians called ‘the flower.’
After our festive Welcome Dinner, we’ll set out in the morning to explore. Here, in Sicily’s regional capital, we’ll find a classic mosaic of Mediterranean life – a bridge between Europe and Africa.
We’ll have lunch in Monreale on the slope of Mount Caputo and visit the Cathedral with art surpassed only by Saint Sofia in Istanbul.
Agrigento (Erice & Segesta)
A scenic drive takes us west along the coast to Erice, a beautiful Hellenistic town built to the glory of Aphrodite. A cable car takes to this perfect setting where we browse the intricate maze of cobblestone streets. After a classic Sicilian lunch and a cannolo making demonstration (and tasting!), we head to Segesta. There, we’ll find a magnificent Doric temple said to be one of the best preserved on earth. We arrive in classical Agrigento in late afternoon.
Ragusa (Piazza Armerina & Modica)
On our way to Ragusa, we will visit the Valley of the Temples, erected in the 5th century B.C. All of these buildings face east, so that the gods would be illuminated by the rising sun. One more stop in Piazza Armerina reveals the exquisite mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale. Enjoy an evening at your leisure in Ragusa.
Our morning in Ragusa introduces us to what many believe is the most beautiful city in Sicily. We will visit the city’s beautiful buildings and lunch at the two-star Michelin restaurant, Il Duomo. A short drive takes us to the Baroque town of Modica with its intriguing geography. This town is also custodian of Sicily’s 400- year history of chocolate making – and we’ll get a hands-on lesson of the process. We’ll return to Ragusa for a relaxing dinner and evening.
Taormina (Siracusa, Mt. Etna, Messina & Reggio Calabria)
We drive this morning to Siracusa, the ancient home of Archimedes, where magnificent remnants of the ancient world comingle with modern life. After visiting amazing sites, including the Temple of Apollo, we arrive in Taormina, high on a rocky plateau opposite dramatic Mount Etna. This is widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most picturesque cities. Geothe called it ‘a strip of paradise on the earth.’
A drive to Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest peak, and a funicular ride partially up the slope, show us this majestic mountain. We return to Taormina to wander this enchanting city and explore its magnificent ruins.
A morning drive to Messina ferries us across the Straits of Messina to Reggio Calabria – its lush olive and citrus groves and its mysterious bronze warriors at the National Archeological Museum. We return to Taormina to relish the beautiful setting and enjoy our last night in Sicily at your leisure. Tonight, we toast this beautiful island as we say good-bye at our Farewell Dinner.
Taormina & Home
You will enjoy a private transfer from Taormina to Catania airport for your flight home or to your next destination.
Grand Hotel Villa Igiea, Palermo
The Grand Hotel Villa Igiea is an immersion in a prestigious villa belonging to the Florio family, restyled by Ernesto Basile at the end of the 19th century. Here you can discover the exclusive combination between precious interiors and state-of-the-art facilities. Villa Igiea Palermo has been a landmark building in the area for more than one hundred years and is one of the best examples of art nouveau decor, certain to impress anyone who visits. This hotel features 122 rooms, including 17 suites and junior suites, which have all been recently refurbished.
Hotel Villa Athena, Agrigento
Situated within the Archaeological Park of the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Villa Athena stands only two hundred meters from the Temple of Concordia, a true masterpiece of Doric art dating back to the 5th century B.C. Here can be found a Sicily which goes back millennia.
Antica Badia Relais Hotel, Ragusa
The Antica Badia is situated in the historical center of Ragusa, a short distance from Ibla and the downtown shopping area. This beautiful XVIII century building has chandeliers made by Muranos glassmakers who redesigned them from the originals.
San Domenico Palace Hotel, Taormina
The San Domenico, in the citadels historic heart, has hosted history's luminaries amid the entrancing charms of its ancient surroundings. Built on the site of a 15th-century monastery, the San Domenico Palace Hotel still conserves the original structure. It frames a scene of rare beauty, which sweeps from the ancient Greek Theatre to the peak of Mount Etna. To enhance your stay, the hotel features and services include an outdoor pool, fitness center, beauty salon, boutique shops, and a wonderful one-acre Mediterranean garden. There's also a choice of dining venues and a lounge. A 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List Hotel