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8 Days Tour - The Best of Sicily, Italy

Cefalu, Italy

The Best of sicily

You might think you know something about Italy’s sunny island of Sicily and perhaps you do. But there is so much more to this mysterious region that you may not know. Come along and join Food N' Wine Vacations as they take you on a road trip through Sicily and discover why this region is fast becoming more popular among those travelers who embrace the authentic. Take this road trip and explore the region's the diverse culinary, cultural, and natural secrets!

Highlights

  • Sicilian cooking class
  • Winery visits with a tasting session
  • Cheesemaking experience and taste different cheeses
  • Tour and explore Sicily’s gastronomic and historical culture
  • Enjoy olive oil tasting and stay on an olive grove farm
  • Scheduled group airport transfers
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast

Styles


7 days with instruction
The maximum participants in the group is 12
Airport transfer included: Falcone–Borsellino Airport
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Accommodation

You will be staying in the loveliest accommodations. From a charming hotel by the sea to a resplendent family estate set amid verdant hills and vineyards to exclusive boutique hotels conveniently located in the center of town, your lodging will delight, providing the perfect place to refresh and renew.

You will begin your journey from Cefalu and end in the island of Ortigia. You will be spending two nights in Cefalu, two nights in Agrigento, and three nights in Ortigia.

Program

Day 1 – Arrival, Cefalu dinner. (D)

To begin our tour we will meet at the Palermo Airport. We will then make our transfer to Cefalu. The historic town of Cefalu sits on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea and is as celebrated for its breathtaking beaches as its Arab-Norman architecture. This picturesque town is where the classic Italian film, Cinema Paradiso” was filmed.

We’ll check in to our accommodations where we can freshen up prior to this evening’s Welcome Dinner.

For a pre-tour stay in Palermo - contact us.

Day 2 – Unique Cooking class, free afternoon (B,L)

Today we will take part in a Sicilian cooking class . The class is taught by a father and his sons and promises to be as entertaining an experience as much as an opportunity to learn some classic Sicilian cooking. It is guaranteed to be a memorable-and enjoyable-time! We’ll enjoy our lunch al fresco, on the terrace, overlooking the beautiful sea.

You will have your afternoon free to discover the many historic sites around Cefalu. Marvel at the cathedrals, museums, and churches, peruse the shops for unique mementos, or simply delight in a relaxing stroll along the beach.

Day 3: Medieval towns, Olive oil estate (B, L,D)

We’ve much to experience in our travels today! We’ll visit the medieval village of Castelbuono, built entirely around the castle of Ventimiglia. As you look about you’ll believe you’ve been transported back in time, the village is so wonderfully preserved.

Castelbuono is a spectacular experience for foodies and epicures. As the center of the Sicilian Slow Food Movement Castelbuono offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to taste and enjoy organic jams, wild honeys, artisan salami, and many other foods unique to the area. We’ll taste such palate-pleasing edibles as sausages, panettone, marzipan, pistachio cream, and a Nutella-like spread, served as locals enjoy, with sugar crystals and manna. All of these delicious bites are exclusive to the area.

Another pristinely preserved town is Petralia Soprana. From the Italian word, Sopra, for above, this village sits at the highest point in the Madonie mountain range, offering spectacular vistas from amidst the cobbled lanes lined with quaint stone houses.

After our lunch we’ll amble southward to a family-owned olive oil estate. The estate, near Sicily southern coast, is surrounded by olive groves. This serene setting will provide our accommodations for the night. Each room is magnificently appointed and sure to please.

This evening we will enjoy an olive oil tasting and a sumptuous dinner prepared by our lovely and welcoming hosts.

Day 4: Valley of the temples, A day in a life (B,L, D)

Our 4th day finds us journeying to the Valley of the Temples. (We'll start early to beat the crowds). This UNESCO World Heritage Site (so declared in 1997) encompasses over 1300 hectares of stunning monumental and landscape, spilling toward the sea. On this site are the ancient ruins of the city of Akragas, founded by colonists from the nearby Gela and the island of Rhodes in or around 582 BC. The ruins are immersed in rare beauty characterized by centuries-old almond and olive trees, making the ancient Akragas one of the single most important Greek colonies in Sicily.

Our tour of the Valley of the Temples will be led by an official tour guide of the archaeological park. Our guide is knowledgeable and well-versed in the archaeological and historical sites of the Valley of the Temples. The tour begins with the Temple of Hera, situated at the very top of the hill, offering an absolutely one-of-a-kind vista of the Sicilian Sea. The tour takes us on a mile-long trek (nearly entirely downhill) along the holy path (sacra via) where we’ll stop to admire the fortifications of Byzantine tombs, The Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Zeus, and the Sanctuary of Chthonian Deities (the Temple of Castor and Pollux, or Dioscuri). Truly fascinating.

You'll spend the rest of the day in a sicanian community. Walk among the picturesque village making few stops. A dairy stop:Tasting cheeses produced each day by a local family. A bakery stop: Tasting "pani cunzatu " (bread with local olive oil and pepper), almond cookies and honey. An artisan stop: Tasting artisanal products that will introduce you to a less known Sicily, through its people.

Day 5: Ragusa, Chocolate, Noto, Ortigia(B,L)

This morning we will travel to Ragusa and Noto. The town of Ragusa is situated among the rocky peaks of Modica. Having succumbed to the 1693 earthquake, as many of the neighboring towns did also, Ragusa has two side. There is Ragusa Superiore, the rebuilt work-a-day town noted for it’s easy-to-navigate grid streets and common sense 18th century architecture, and then there is Ragusa ibla-The Old Town. This town is a sloping series of narrow streets and pathways leading past stone houses and into historic town squares.

We will have a memorable lunch in a restored watermill.

Noto is a lovely, walkable community nestled in the southeastern corner of Sicily. The Baroque beauty of Noto cannot be denied and you may find yourself thinking you’ve stumbled across a movie set, it is that beautifully preserved.

Along the way we will taste true Sicilian chocolate! And the best gelato you’ve ever had. Sicily invented ice cream, by the way. We’ll then check into our hotel on the stunning island of Ortigia.

Evening at leisure.

Day 6: Market, Enjoy fabulous Ortigia (B)

We’ll awaken to the sound of the sea on the island of Ortigia where we’ll spend the morning strolling the colorful market. This is an experience unlike any other-a treat for all the senses. The colors of the fresh produce, the aroma of exotic spices, the excited chatter of the shoppers and enticing call of the vendors. Be sure to sample many of the renown street foods offered for sale and you’ll come to understand why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy, and why Sicilians are so passionate about their food-and life!

Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon on your own. Pick up some mementos of Sicily to take home, or simply share a bottle of wine and reflect on your once-in-a-lifetime trip so far.

Day 7: Mt. Etna, Wine tasting lunch, Taormina (B, L)

One of the most famous sites in Italy is located on the island of Sicily. Mt. Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, with eruptions dating back 3,500 years or more. The volcanic mountain dominates the landscape along north-eastern Sicily and is a sight to behold! Jagged volcanic remains form rock rivers along the sides of the road leading to the fiery cauldrons. Lava caves form all along the hillsides and volcanic rocks are strewn everywhere you look.

Not all the land around Etna is rocks, however. In fact the slopes of the volcano offer extremely fertile black soil and ideal conditions for vineyards. Winemakers may find the soil a difficult one to work, but the end result is quite pleasing. We’ll be fortunate to visit two of the wineries in this region and sample the luscious and unique wines that come from the volcanic soil. We’ll also have lunch.

On to Taormina for the afternoon. Stroll in the main street or take in the views before we head back to our hotel in Ortigia Island.

Day 8: Departure

Group transfer to Catania airport at 7:30 am, so plan accordingly!

Included excursions

  • Spend time with a community - can't get more authentic then that
  • Visit to the Valley of the Temples a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Stay in the island of Ortigia
  • Visit and explore the medieval village of Castelbuono
  • Visit Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world
  • Travel and explore the towns of Ragusa and Noto
  • Taste local specialties
  • Cook in a family owned restaurant
  • Have lunch in a water mill

Location

This food tour takes place in the island Sicily, Italy. Sicily has been called the “eternal crossroads of the Mediterranean” and the vast diversity of its people, cultures, and even topography will certainly support that claim. The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily, offers warm sandy beaches, cloud-scraping mountains, and an epic volcano. The tender climate nurtures olive groves and fruit plantations, providing tasty results including some excellent Sicilian wines.

Sicily’s gastronomic culture is unlike any other you’ve experienced. As you might imagine this epicurean island has been influenced by the flavorful traditions and customs of the Mediterranean. Each country and culture has left its mark on the Sicilian palate and the results are mouth-wateringly memorable. The lush vineyards around Mount Etna are boosting the region's reputation for glorious wines far beyond the well-known Marsala.

The architecture of Sicily is a living example of design periods spanning time and tradition; Baroque palazzos, Greek temples, and Norman churches stand practically side by side, beckoning the visitor to wander and enjoy. There’s a wealth of natural wonder on the island as well. From the smoking craters of the mysterious Mount Etna to the relatively undiscovered beaches along the southern coast Sicily is erupting in natural breathtaking beauty.

With such sites as the historic temples of Agrigento, the bustling markets of Palermo, secluded beaches of Noto, and the picture-perfect hilltops of Ragusa, there is no shortage of classic Italian charm in Sicily. The passion of the locals for their home is contagious. Together let’s sample the legendary cuisine, view the artfully crumbling architecture, marvel at the stunningly dramatic coastal landscapes, and seek serenity in the pastoral vistas that await in Sicily.

Food

Breakfast will be provided every day. Five lunches and three dinners including wine would be provided. As part of the culinary experience, you will be indulging in unique Sicilian foods, fresh and soul-stirring, cooking with local families, visiting wine estates and sampling their product, going to olive groves and tasting olive oil, visiting cheese makers, and tasting different varieties of cheeses and also tasting gelato.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Winery visits
  • Olive oil tasting
  • Market visit
  • Cooking class
  • Boat ride
  • Group transfers
  • Transportation according to the itinerary
  • Breakfasts
  • 5 lunches including wine
  • 3 dinners including wine
  • 7 nights accommodation

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Private expenses
  • Activities not mentioned in the program
  • Meals not mentioned in the program

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 10% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 90 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Sunday May 24, 2020
(8 days / 7 nights)

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