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16 Day Eastern Sicily and the Aeolian Islands Culinary Holiday in Italy

Duomo Suites and Spa, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 23, 95121 Catania CT, Italy

Cultural and Culinary Food Tour in Italy

Come to this celebration of East Sicilian cuisine! Pure Food Cooking Tours has planned a unique holiday for you to experience the best of Eastern Sicilian cuisine, as well as to discover the jewels of the Aeolian Islands. You can explore the rich lands surrounding the famous Mount Etna in Sicily. Furthermore, you can journey to some of the most beautiful historical provinces, namely Catania, Taormina, Randazzo, and sail to the island of Salina.

Meet the instructors

Dominique
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Highlights

  • 3 hands-on cooking classes
  • Cheese tastings and 3 wine tasting
  • Palermo street food tasting and caper tasting
  • Private boat tour and lunch in the Aeolian Islands
  • Visit and tasting in Catania Markets
  • Enjoy guided walking tours
  • 15 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers

Styles


15 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: German, Italian
Group size: 10-14 participants
Airport transfer included: Catania–Fontanarossa Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
13:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

During the tour, you will stay at four and five-star hotels, resorts, and agriturismo. All have private rooms with en-suite bathroom.

  • Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa - Via Cartari, 18, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy
  • Duomo Suites and Spa - Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 23, 95121 Catania CT, Italy
  • Borgo Pantano - Traversa Fontana Mortella, 13, 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy
  • Agriturismo Case Perotta - Via Andronico, 2, 95010 Sant'Alfio CT, Italy
  • Hotel Signum - Via Scalo, 15, 98050 Malfa Salina ME, Italy

Program

Day 1: Arrival and welcome to Catania

Pure Food Cooking Tours team welcomes you to the majestic city of Catania and escort you to your hotel right in the heart of this bustling city. You have the day free to do your own exploring of this cosmopolitan city with its close proximity to the sea and views of Mount Etna.

You meet in the lobby in the early evening for your first dining experience celebrating local ingredients and classic specialties. Overnight in Catania.

  • Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2: Catania

With a guided tour, you explore deeper into this interesting city. After a light lunch in one of the historical patisseries in the city center, Pure Food Cooking Tours leaves you free for the rest of the day.

In the afternoon, you meet at the hotel to head out to your first cooking class where you learn about foraging for edible greens and wild herbs.

Your dinner includes a fabulous menu celebrating the Sicilian garden and an evening of fun, laughter, eating and drinking. Overnight in Catania.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Villa Romana Del Casale

Today you drive to your morning stop just outside Piazza Armerina. Here, you visit the Villa Romana del Casale one of the finest examples of Roman mosaics and one of the most luxurious of its kind.

Villa Romana del Casale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is especially noteworthy for the richness and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room. You stop for a banquet-style lunch celebrating local produce including the traditional Piacentino cheese PDO made with locally grown saffron.

You return to Catania for a siesta and have the night free to enjoy this wonderful city. Overnight in Catania.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch

Day 4: Catania Markets and Taormina

Your morning begins with a visit to the historic "La Pescheria", Catania's' famous fish markets with an atmosphere that has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. You enjoy tastings as you go, sampling some of Catania’s best and interesting produce.

You then drive to Taormina in the province of Messina. Set in a magnificent position above the sea, Taormina is famous for its breathtaking and most photographed views, Greek theatre and great cafes and shopping.

Enjoy a guided visit to the Greek theatre with its spectacular views, then leave you to wander free, enjoy a bite to eat, grab a gelato or just sit and watch the passing crowds. You meet in the afternoon to return to the hotel and meet in the evening for a sensational dinner a short walk from the hotel. Overnight in Catania.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner

Day 5: Caltagirone city of ceramics

After checking out of the hotel, you board the bus to Caltagirone, one of the iconic Baroque towns in central Sicily and known as “The city of Sicilian ceramics” due to its thousand-year-old ceramic tradition. The name itself – Caltagirone – derives from an Arabic word meaning the Castle or Fortress of the vases.

Here you are free to wander through the many artisan workshops, do a spot of shopping, visit the Regional Museum of Ceramics and tackle the 142-step monumental Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte, built from 1608 in the old part of the town. Lunch is in a local restaurant with a menu sourced from produce with a 0 km distance.

Checking into a resort in the afternoon in Syracuse, you have time to relax poolside before wine tasting and canapes. Then a delicious dinner from your creative chef. Overnight in Syracuse.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Syracuse and Ortigia

Today, you make your way to Syracuse with a guided cultural visit to the Neapolis Archaeological Park which encompasses outstanding examples of Roman and Greek theatres, including one of the most celebrated theatres in Syracuse.

With a guide, you drive to the island of Ortigia to wander the narrow cobblestone streets, chance upon elegant Baroque piazzas and enjoy the character and charm of this beautiful living museum of a town. You enjoy the famous granita and brioche in the heart of Ortigia overlooking the stunning Duomo, a spectacular backdrop to a beautiful day.

You return to the hotel for an alfresco lunch, giving you the afternoon and evening free to enjoy Ortigia by night with the transfer service from the hotel. This is a great opportunity to further enjoy this beautiful historic island, take a walk by the sea, enjoy the boutiques and artisan shops or enjoy some of the Eastern Sicilian cuisine. Overnight in Syracuse.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch

Day 7: Noto, gelati, wine, and Marzamemme

You start the day with a stop at Noto for a relaxed tour admiring the baroque style and to taste some of Sicily’s best gelato. In the fertile Valley of Noto lies the Eloro DOC zone, one of the best suited to the cultivation of the Nero d’Avola and Moscato di Noto grapes.

You head to a historical family estate for a wonderful wine tasting and lunch. Then drive to the seaside town of Marzamemme, famous for its world-class tuna, anchovy, sardine, and fish products that can be purchased and tasted in the many shops throughout the town.

There will be some free time to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this quaint town then meet for drinks and dinner by the sea. Overnight in Syracuse.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Etna wine and cooking in St Alfio

Wine tasting is on the agenda for the day as you drive to a beautiful estate set amongst the rocky slopes of Etna. Noted as one of Sicily’s most exceptional wineries, here you enjoy a vineyard tour, wine tasting and lunch in their stunning historic surroundings.

You then head to the little town of St Alfio and to a 16th-century monastery. Set amongst cherry and almond trees and with views of Mount Etna, you will have some time to relax and enjoy the grounds before meeting for drinks and the cooking class. You will end the day with a delicious dinner thanks to Chef Salvatore. Overnight in St Alfio.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Randazzo and music

You venture to Randazzo, one of the most historically important towns in Sicily and the closest town to the volcano crater. destroyed by both war and earthquakes, surprisingly it has never been destroyed by the eruption of Mount Etna.

Randazzo offers an amazing medieval atmosphere with ancient churches and laneways built entirely in lava stone. You will visit the most interesting museum, learning about the history of music, from prehistory to renaissance, and beyond.

Ancient instruments will be brought back to life with a philosophically enlightening experience that will give you a glimpse of how music fits into the great workings of the universe, according to the geniuses of the past like Galileo Galilei.

Lunch is a celebration of Mount Etna and surrounding areas as you explore and enjoy a banquet of local specialties and you finish the day with a traditional Sicilian barbeque with Salvatore your chef, brushing local meats with bunches of wild mountain oregano. Overnight in St Alfio.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Salina Island

With an early start, you check out of the Agriturismo and drive to Milazzo, a town made famous as the port to paradise. You board a private transfer bound for the stunning Aeolian island of Salina, where the great Italian actor Massimo Troisi set the film “Il Postino”.

Arriving on Salina Island, you will feel instantly relaxed as you are escorted into your beautiful room in a resort in Malfa. Traditionally built to suit the island life the whitewash walls and lush gardens are a picture-perfect postcard of rest and relaxation in the Mediterranean.

After the check-in, you enjoy lunch in the restaurant. You then have the rest of the afternoon free to enjoy the panoramic views of the sea, take in the surroundings or wander to the beach. The night is yours to either dine in the hotel or take a transfer to Santa Marina to enjoy one of the many restaurants on the island. Overnight in Malfa.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch

Day 11: Relaxing and cooking on Salina

After dining on a delicious Salina style breakfast, you meet for the hands-on cooking class, finishing with an alfresco lunch overlooking the Aeolian Islands. The rest of the day is free for you to continue enjoying this little piece of paradise.

Take the bus to Lingua to enjoy one of the islands best granitas or enjoy some of the all-natural massage and body treatments at the resort spa. Meet others in the evening for a drink and a relaxed dinner Salina style. Overnight in Malfa.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Private boat island tour

Today you are taken to a private boat to discover some of the Aeolian Islands. You will have free time to wander and explore, swim in the crystal waters and you finish the tour with a panoramic sea view around Salina itself, all while enjoying a relaxing lunch on board. Your evening is free in Malfa. Overnight stay in Malfa.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch

Day 13: Salina your way

After breakfast, the day is yours. Take day trip visiting the islands you haven’t seen, hire a fiat, Vespa or three-wheel ape and cruise around the island, or simply relax at the resort with herbal, all-natural massages and treatments, floating around in the Greek-like thermal and mineral pools.

You meet in the afternoon to drive to Pollara to watch the sunset, enjoy an aperitivo with local Malvasia wines, a delicious tasting of local capers and finish with dinner sampling some of the islands freshest catch of the day. Overnight in Malfa.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner

Day 14: Palermo

You say goodbye to Salina and transfer back to Milazzo then onto Palermo. You check into your hotel right in the heart of this bustling city and enjoy a light lunch in the hotel piazza. The rest of the afternoon is yours.

For the shoppers, Palermo will not disappoint with some of the best shopping only a few minutes’ walk away from the hotel. Take a horse and carriage ride through the city, grab a gelato, visit one of the fantastic Pasticceria’s or just take a passeggiata and take in the Palermo lifestyle.

Pure Food Cooking Tours will meet you in the afternoon to take you to your evening entertainment and then onto enjoy some of Palermo’s traditional street food. Overnight in Palermo.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15: Palermo and Monreale

Palermo, the capital city of Sicily is where you visit some of the most notable churches, monuments, and sites. With a local guide, you discover why Sicily is so rich in history and culture with a local’s insight to the Sicilian life dominated by the political and religious powers.

After the walking tour, you drive to Monreale, a town located on the slope of Monte Caputo which overlooks the very fertile valley called "La Conca d'oro" (the Golden Shell), famed for its orange, olive, and almond trees. You visit the stunning Norman-Byzantine cathedral, one of the most exquisitely gold mosaic churches in Italy.

You stop for a light lunch then head to Palermo. Then, you meet in the evening to walk to a fabulous local restaurant famed by its cuisine with a focus on local Sicilian ingredients with a modern twist. Overnight in Palermo.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 16: Saying goodbye to Sicily

Pure Food Cooking Tours hopes that you have enjoyed your Sicilian experience with them. You say goodbye as Pure Food Cooking Tours organizes all of your transfers and wishes you well for your return home or your onward journey.

  • Meal plan: Breakfast

Included excursions

Guided walking tours

  • Palermo
  • Catania
  • Randazzo
  • Taormina
  • Monreale and the Duomo
  • Syracuse and Ortigia

Sites

  • UNESCO-listed Norman monuments, city center in Palermo
  • UNESCO-listed mosaics of Villa Romana
  • UNESCO-listed archaeological park and theatre of Syracuse and old Ortigia
  • UNESCO-listed baroque monuments of Val di Noto

Instructors

Dominique Rizzo

Location

This vacation will take you to explore Eastern Sicily and the Aeolian Islands in Italy. You will travel to:

  • Catania
  • Syacusa
  • Ortiga
  • Caltagirone
  • Taormina
  • Marzamemi
  • Noto
  • Mount Etna
  • St Alfio
  • Castiglione di Sicilia
  • Salina Island
  • Lipari Island
  • Monreale
  • Palermo

Food

During the tour, all breakfasts are provided, 10 lunches and 13 dinners are also included, some morning or afternoon teas and aperitives are provided as stated - where lunches are not provided, morning activities and tastings and dinners are of ample abundance. All beverages with meals including wine, beer, juice, soft drink, tea, and coffee are provided.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Alcoholic beverages

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

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

Things to do (optional)

During free time, you can go shopping, relaxing by the pool, walking through the vineyards, shopping in the local markets, or bike riding.

What's included

  • Fully escorted tour, 16 days, 15 nights in the beautiful scenic surrounds of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands
  • Specialized escorted service of Dominique Rizzo, chef / author and owner of Pure Food Cooking, Pure Food Wine and Cooking Tours
  • Private Italian guide for 16 days also speaks German / English / Spanish
  • Pick up transfer from Catania Airport or your hotel in Catania on the tour start date
  • Transfer to Palermo Airport / train station or hotel in Palermo on the tour finish date
  • Air-conditioned comfortable private bus with your own private driver
  • All accommodation and taxes in 4 and 5-star hotels or agriturismo and spa resort
  • Souvenir apron, bag, maps, printed recipes, travel hints and tips, address and phone numbers of all the hotels on the tour
  • All private escorted visits and tastings
  • Meals – All breakfasts are provided, 10 lunches and 13 dinners are also included, some morning/afternoon teas and aperitives are provided as stated– where lunches are not provided, morning activities and tastings and dinners are of ample abundance
  • Beverages – All beverages with meals including wine, beer, juice, soft drink, tea and coffee are provided
  • All guided tours as specified in the tour are included
  • All transfers by boat, bus, car, taxi as specified in the tour itinerary are included
  • Admission to all historical sites, galleries, and museums mentioned in the itinerary are included
  • Tips for restaurants and guides

What's not included

  • Airfares to and from Sicily
  • Everything not included in the itinerary (tour inclusions)
  • General expenses – phone calls, laundry, room upgrades
  • Transfers outside of the tour dates, personal transport outside the tour dates, excess baggage, security and government taxes outside the tour dates, travel and medical insurance
  • Beverages and meals outside of described “tour inclusions” – (you will not need to buy anything to eat)
  • Room service beverages and meals when not participating in the scheduled meals
  • Tourist taxes where applicable

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Catania Fontanarossa Airport (CTA). Pick up transfer from Catania Airport or your hotel in Catania on the tour start date and transfer to Palermo Airport / Falcone Borsellino Airport (PMO) or train station or hotel in Palermo on the tour finish date are included in the price.

Airport: Catania–Fontanarossa Airport Airport transfer included: Catania–Fontanarossa Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 15% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
16 days / 15 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 10 participants

Availability

Arrival: Friday June 11, 2021
Departure: Saturday June 26, 2021

Solo travelers

This retreat can accommodate solo travelers.

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