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8 Days Sicily & Aeolian Islands Cooking Holidays & Wine Tasting

Cooking Vacations and Food Tours in Italy

Come and join us for an all-inclusive gastronomical tour and cooking holidays of Sicily and its Aeolian islands. Youll enjoy a truly authentic cooking vacation and wine tasting experience with a chance to explore the islands and their volcanoes. For this holiday well be based on the island of Vulcano, visiting the nearby islands of Lipari and Salina with an optional visit to Stromboli.


  • Hands-on cooking classes
  • Local wine tours and tastings
  • Fishing trips with fresh fish cooked meals
  • Visit a local goat cheese farm for a cheese tasting
  • Night time trip to see the erruptions on the Stromboli Volcano
  • Boating around the islands with sea swimming
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Fish market visit

Skill level

  • Beginner


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: Italian, English
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UNA Palaca Hotel

Your first night will be spent at the UNA Palace Hotel in the historic centre of Catania. It's an elegant period building which has been restored in keeping with local traditions and Sicilian style. Breakfast is served in the rooftop restaurant with spectacular views of Mount Etna.

Villa Saracena

For the rest of your holiday, you will be staying at the charming Villa Saracena, which is situated in an idyllic and tranquil location on the edge of the small town of Vulcano. Villa Saracena is a small family-run hotel in a lovely garden setting with rooms that lead out onto a pool and striking views of the volcano in the backdrop. The perfect place to relax and recharge. The villa is within 5-minute walking distance from the town, the volcano and the Porto Ponente black sand beach, perfectly situated for all local amenities and the weeks activities. A light continental style breakfast will be served daily with tea and coffee, fruit juices, fresh fruits, local pastries and fresh local produce.

Villa Saracena is also part of an agritourismo, which means they have farmland where they grow their own produce. For those who wish to be more independent and explore, there is the option to have breakfast at one of the local bars. Petty cash will be available to subsidize this. One of Aeolian Adventures' favorite things to do in Vulcano, is cycle down to the sea in the early morning and have coffee whilst watching the sun rise over the little fishing port. Bicycles are also available upon request.


Day 1, Sunday - Arrival

  • Arrival into Catania Airport (CTA), where you will be met then transferred by private car or minibus to the elegant 4-star UNA Palace hotel which is perfectly situated in the center of Catania with roof top views over the historic city and Mount Etna.
  • Sunday is dedicated solely to arrivals as all flights coming from the UK arrive late afternoon.
  • This evening, you are free to relax or explore the surrounding area and have dinner. Restaurant recommendations and a map of the local area can be given, if required.
  • The Aeolian Adventures team will be on hand for assistance and local phones will be provided in the event that you should need to contact them at any time.

Day 2, Monday - Vulcano

  • Begin your adventures in the bustling, baroque city of Catania with an early breakfast followed by a short walk to the amazing, sprawling fish market which winds around historic streets and piazzas.
  • There, you will find every form of sea life imaginable, a truly mesmerizing experience and the perfect introduction to the importance of Sicilian seafood on the table.
  • Remaining in the center of Catania, you will have your first hands-on cooking lesson, with an Italian pastry chef.
  • You will learn how to make cannoli, the iconic Sicilian dessert, a crispy pastry tube filled with sweetened ricotta, and also arancini (rice balls), a traditional Sicilian street food.
  • You will then have lunch of what you have made.
  • After lunch, transfer to the port of Milazzo by minibus and from there, take the hydrofoil for 45 minutes to the island of Vulcano, your base for the rest of the week. *On arrival, transfer directly to your hotel, Villa Saracena, a short distance from the port.
  • You now have time to relax, settle into your accommodation, and enjoy welcome drinks.
  • In the evening, before dinner, you will visit the center of vulcanology for a brief but informative talk on the history of the islands, their evolution and their volcanoes, presented with an aperitif, a glass or even two, of the local bubbles.
  • Then, on to the venue for your welcome dinner; La Forgia restaurant, owned and run by the delightful Maurizio, who serves and entertains his guests whilst cooking at the same time! His specialties combine classic local dishes with middle-eastern flavors, influenced by Sicilys turbulent ancestral and cultural history.

Day 3, Tuesday - Vulcano

  • Begin your day with the option to take a mud bath in the bubbling volcanic mud pools of Vulcano, thought to have healing and rejuvenating properties, or for those feeling more energetic, an early morning hike up the volcano, accompanied or self guided, to watch the sun rise over the archipelago.
  • The walk up the volcano is steep but short. The crater can be reached within 20 minutes or 30 to 40 minutes at a more leisurely pace whilst you look back to admire the views which become more magnificent with elevation.
  • Mid-morning, you will be driven into the hills of Vulcano for a hands-on cooking lesson at the family-run Trattoria Maria Tindara established by its namesake Maria Tindara in the early 1960s, in the days before there was electric light in Vulcano.
  • Rosi, Maria's daughter-in-law is now the head of the kitchen and will be showing you how to make her legendary tagliatelle with typical sauces plus some of her favorite local dishes.
  • This is followed by lunch, which will be the dishes you have prepared, all washed down with local wines.
  • After lunch, there will be time to relax and recharge before the evening ahead.
  • This evening, after dark, you will go fishing for squid, a local variety known as totani (broad-tailed flying squid), with fishermen such as local character Capitano Felice, who will show you how to prepare the catch and then, cook it for you on board.

Day 4, Wednesday - Salina

  • Today, after breakfast, you will head down to the port, a short walk from the villa to take the hydrofoil for 45 minutes to the island of Salina, the second largest and most verdant island in the archipelago, on the trail of some of the islands better known vineyards.
  • These include the wineries Francesco Fenech, Caravalglio and Hauner famous for its Malvasia dessert wine with tours and tastings.
  • Lunch at the famous Da Alfredo trattoria, located in the tiny seaside town of Lingua to sample the local specialty Pane Cunzatu (a grilled flat bread spilling with typical fresh local ingredients) followed by granita (fruit ice), arguably the best in Sicily.
  • Return to Vulcano late afternoon with time to relax before dinner.
  • Dinner this evening is a traditional Sicilian barbecue in a relaxed garden setting with live traditional Sicilian music.

Day 5, Thursday - Lipari

  • This morning, you will have the opportunity again to hike up the volcano, one of the highlights of Vulcano, or for those who have not already done so, take a steaming mud bath and soak up the therapeutic benefits.
  • If you are up early enough, you will see the locals strolling through the streets in their bathrobes heading for the daily ritual of bathing in the mud pools.
  • Mid-morning, enjoy a drive to Trattoria Maria Tindara for your second hands-on cooking lesson with Rosi and family.
  • Today, you will be cooking zucchini Parmesan, made with sweet seasonal zucchini as an alternative to the better known eggplant Parmesan.
  • Then, onto the main course of Sicilian sweet and sour rabbit (coniglio in agrodolce) which can be substituted, for those who prefer, with lamb or even fresh local tuna steaks.
  • For lunch, you will eat what you have prepared, accompanied by local wines.
  • This evening, you will take the hydrofoil for 10 minutes to Lipari, the largest island in the archipelago, for wine tastings paired with local produce.
  • You will also have time to explore the historic center and visit the pretty little fishing harbor of Marina Corta. Return by water taxi.

Day 6, Friday - Vulcano

  • This morning, you will visit the local goat cheese farm, a lovely walk from the villa along blossoming bougainvillea lined tracks.
  • Here, farmer Fabrizio keeps a herd of a hundred plus goats which graze freely on the slopes of the volcano.
  • The goats are hand-milked, and traditional methods are used to make the highly regarded ricotta and pecorino cheeses which are freshly made by Fabrizio daily. *For those who wish, there is the possibility of joining in with the production, from herding to milking to making the cheese.
  • Afterwards, you will choose a selection of cheeses to be accompanied with fresh bread and local preserves for a well deserved breakfast!
  • The day continues with a cooking demonstration and lunch at Diavolo de Poli family-run restaurant, a quaint unassuming locale, where daughter Nancy runs front of house, whilst mother Santina is firmly in charge of the kitchen.
  • Among the home cooked delights that will be prepared today are the delicious antipasti for which they are locally renowned followed by pasta alla Vulcanara and stuffed swordfish rolls, all Aeolian specialties.
  • This afternoon, there is time to relax, perhaps find a quiet corner of the garden to read, or maybe take a dip in the pool ahead of your evening activity.
  • In the evening, you will learn the secrets of how to make the perfect pizza and focaccia.
  • For those who wish, there is the opportunity to prepare the ingredients, get messy, and attempt to throw the dough. Aprons will be provided! When the work is done, you will dine on everything you prepared.

Day 7, Saturday - Lipari, cooking class

  • Departing early, today's first port of call is the island of Lipari, arriving by hydrofoil in 10 minutes with the day ahead to further explore.
  • For breakfast, you will head to the famous Pasticceria Subba, another family-run business since it opened in 1930.
  • There, you can try a typical Sicilian breakfast of mouthwatering miniature pastries with coffee as you like it or the granite (topped with whipped cream for an extra treat) served with brioche.
  • This morning, you will wander around Lipari's main town and visit the ancient fortification dating back to the Greeks and Romans with an optional tour of the archaeological museum.
  • Then, there is the busy main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which is packed with shopping opportunities. All can be accompanied or self-guided.
  • Late morning, drive out of town for your last cooking lesson and hands-on experience at La Dolce Vita farmhouse, perched 200 meters high upon rolling cliffs with spectacular views out to sea and the coast of Sicily with Mount Etna looming in the backdrop.
  • Today, amongst other local dishes, you will sample the different pesto, almond, pistachio and caper, which are typical of the islands and Sicily, and learn how to create recipes using their different flavors.
  • As always, lunch is what you make paired with the local or Sicilian wine.
  • Then, back to the island of Vulcano with time to relax before our sunset boat cruise, depending on sea conditions, with picnic supper and local wine.

Day 8, Sunday - Departure

  • After breakfast, it's time to say goodbye, taking with you not just many happy memories, but ideas, inspiration and plenty of know-how to create your own Sicilian menus for friends and family back home.
  • For those planning to stay on the island or travel onward within Sicily or Italy, Aeolian Adventures will ensure all necessary connections and assist with any advice or information as required.

Included excursions

  • Squid fishing
  • Visit cheese farm
  • Visit fish market
  • Visit Lipari
  • Visit Salina


Your destination, the Aeolian Islands, is a volcanic archipelago made up of seven islands scattered off the north-east tip of Sicily in the sparkling azure waters of the Mediterranean sea. All astonishingly beautiful with an identity all their own, the Aeolian archipelago was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. The islands' geography and climate are perfect for the cultivation of crops and vines, the ideal setting for your cooking holidays and wine tastings. Volcanic soils are the richest agricultural lands on earth.

And this, combined with a sun drenched climate, ensures that the islands slopes and plains are spilling over with olive groves, fruit orchards, capers and vineyards. Then, there's an abundance of sea life to be caught fresh daily that can speedily go straight to the plate. Delicious simple cooked food, great wine, historic towns, volcanic landscapes and outstanding natural beauty.

What's included

  • 1 cooking demonstration
  • 5 hands-on cooking lessons
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Fishing trips
  • Food and wine
  • Printed recipes
  • Transportation
  • Wine tours and tastings and any other activities detailed in the itinerary

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 80 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 80 days before arrival.
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