Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Private

Luxury Sicily (10 days)

Essence of Sicily

Palermo, Italy To Catania, Italy

Valid for Departures Now Through: 17 Jan 2021


Day 1
Palermo, Italy
Grand Hotel Villa Igiea deluxe room None

Arrival at the airport. Pick up by your private English speaking driver and Mercedes vehicle. Transfer to your Hotel located in Palermo. A walking orientation tour would be possible during the afternoon in case of early arrival in the city.

Day 2
Palermo, Italy
Monreale, Italy
Grand Hotel Villa Igiea deluxe room Breakfast, Lunch, Snack

Palermo and Monreale with street food tasting

Breakfast in hotel. This morning, follow your guide in a fascinating exploration of Sicilian culture and cuisine. The itinerary begins with a morning visit of the Capo market, the oldest in Palermo, where you will see and taste famous Palermo Street Food such as “panelle”, “arancine”, “crocchette” and “PaniCaMeusa”. Admire colorful stalls featuring an abundance of fruit, vegetables, seafood and meats as the sellers’ cry for our attention.

Founded by the Phoenicians in the VIIth and VIIIth centuries B.C., the city was conquered by Arabs in 831, and a period of immense prosperity commenced. You will be enchanted by the city’s wide boulevards, traditional Sicilian Old Quarter, and baroque palaces. You will then visit the city's main sights, including the Norman section, Quattro Canti di Citta (the Four Corners of the City), Palermo's extravagant baroque square and the twelfth-century Cathedral.

Gala Lunch will be served at Palazzo Alliata di Pietratagliata (built in 1473) . You will be enchanted by the finest examples of Sicilian Rococo . Surrounded by a blaze of stuccoes , gilding and frescoes by Vito D’anna and in the grand ballroom there is a stunning glass chandelier made in Murano that has 99 arms and that is the largest in Europe . The palace stands among the stalls of the market in via Bandiera , where the family still lives. With its majestic fortified tower, which was the city’s tallest at the end of the fourth century, the main façade is truly unique: decorated with mullioned and single lancet windows as well as one of the rarest examples of angular windows in the Mediterranean region, an emblem of the late Gothic Catalan period.

In the late afternoon you will visit the Monreale Duomo. This nearby treasure dates from the 12th century and shows the diverse architectural influences of both the Normans and the Arab population. Dinner can be arranged in a local restaurant in Monreale or a the hotel.

Day 3
Marsala, Italy
Verdura Resort or Hotel Villa Athena Breakfast, Lunch, Snack

Mothia Island and Marsala

Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Drive to Marsala and visit the Salt Pans along the Salt Road from Trapani and Marsala. These are large salt water pools divided by narrow strips of land where, for centuries, salt has been produced.

This route is called “la via del sale” (the Salt Road), remarkable for its many Dutch-style windmills, used to pump sea water and grind the salt. The many mounds of salt (piled up salt creating little white hills) are then covered with terracotta tiles to prevent the rain from melting them. The salt-pans were probably established by the Phoenicians who set these basins to collect the salt. Today, this thousand-year-old salt culture is still in use. Embark to Mothia a little Phoenician Island, that was once a strategic outpost during the Punic Rein in Sicily which was later destroyed by the Syracusans in 397 aC. The island was bought by Joseph Whitaker at the beginning of the 20th century. Whitaker began archeological studies on the island and founded a museum there to house his findings. On 26 October 1979 during the excavations lead by the University of Palermo it was found the famous Greek marble statue - “Giovinetto di Mozia”- dating back to 480/450 aC and according to the hypothesis most widely credited it represents a charioteer or Phoenician-Punic god Melkart. You will enjoy a private tour of Mothia and your lunch in an exclusive location. During the afternoon visit The Famous Florio Winery, a place of warm, mineral-rich soil and sea-kissed breezes where Marsala wine has been produced for nearly two centuries.

Arrive in Agrigento and accommodation at your hotel.

Day 4
Favara, Italy
Agrigento, Italy
Verdura Resort or Hotel Villa Athena Breakfast, Lunch

Marzipan Museum and Valley of The Temples

After breakfast you will reach Marzipan that is the first almond museum in Sicily, housing a permanent collection of over 200 varieties of the precious fruit. The Museum is located close to the archaeological area of the Valley of the Temples, in Favara, a town well-known for the traditional Easter lamb cake made from almond paste. The museum is in a beautiful building that was once an almond factory and host a collection of Sicilian almonds, which is a great resource for the study of almonds and, in particular, the Sicilian varieties. At the Marzipan Museum you will learn about the history of almonds and their properties. It hosts antique tools used in the various stages of production, from the harvest to the culinary uses. Almond sweet, marzipan, cubaita (Sicilian nougat), cakes… Marzipan is also a Cooking School where you will learn how to prepare traditional Sicilian dishes and enjoy typical Sicilian Pastry.

After lunch you will follow your guide for a breathtaking visit of the Archeological Park Valley of The Temples Agrigento was one of the greatest cities of the ancient Mediterranean. Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., it became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy is demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples, much of which still lie intact and preserved in an exceptional condition. Its great row of Doric temples is one of the most outstanding monuments of Greek art and culture. The area was included in the UNESCO Heritage Site list in 1997. The Valley includes remains of seven Doric temples. You will visit the Temples of Juno, Concord, Castor and Pollux and the Necropolis.

Day 5
Modica, Italy
Ragusa, Italy
Eremo della Giubiliana 5*L Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Luxury Food Experience

Breakfast in hotel and check out. Today you will spend a full day experiences along the baroque towns of Modica and Ragusa with the countryside to discover the best typical products of the area and the cuisine of a great Chef. A full immersed day into the tradition of tastes and smells of the ragusano dairy products.

You will reach a farm, keeping in touch with the pure nature framed between dry stone walls, carob and olive trees of the hinterland. The experience begins from the main origin of product of dairy production, the milk, and from the knowledge of farm animals. The first step is the familiarization with the calf that are looked after in the nursery, where the cattles are daily grow up, that will be destined to the production of milk, the development and the increase in an area of best attention for the animals before to enter in the most important area, the barn, where they follow a correct and customized diet for each of them, by the use of important technological instruments able to supervise constantly the state of health. The morning finishes with a cooking show and light lunch.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Ragusa Ibla and finally to Modica where you can admire picturesque lanes, narrow streets, many old workshops, and St. George’s Church. You will then visit the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the oldest pastry shop of Sicily, to taste the famous chocolate of Modica. The owner Pierpaolo Ruta will explain the secrets of the Modican chocolate, which is made with only two ingredients: cacao and sugar.

Visit to the gorgeous Palazzo Arezzo di Trifletti and in the elegant and historic setting of this noble palace, enjoy a tasting of local products along with an aperitivo as you learn about the fascinating traditions and legends of Ragusa Ibla’s 18th- and 19th-century nobility.

We will reach the 2 Starred Michelin Restaurant Vincenzo Candiano at the “Locanda Don Serafino” for an exclusive Gala dinner.

Day 6
Noto, Italy
Syracuse, Italy
The Asbee Hotel , Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo - Villa Sant' Andrea Breakfast, Lunch, Snack

Noto and Siracusa

Breakfast in your hotel and check out. In the morning, a tour of Noto is planned. Noto is one of Sicily’s most beautiful baroque cities, whose heritage, both for importance and beauty, has been declared World Heritage by the UNESCO. Here, you will meet Corrado Assenza, the master of all Sicilian pastry chefs, who will delight you with his amazing and unique pastry creations (gelato, jams, creams). Next stop, Siracusa. You will enjoy lunch in an amazing historic “Salumeria” located in Ortigia, tasting typical Sicilian products (cold cuts, cheeses and “caponata”). In the afternoon, there will be a guided tour of Siracusa, a window into the ancient history of the Mediterranean. Its vast archaeological site, on the edge of the modern city, is a rare treasure of temples and amphitheaters. Siracusa flourished in 480 B.C. and soon became the most important Greek city in Sicily, both economically and politically. You will visit remarkable Greek and Roman ruins, such as: the cave called “The Ear of Dionysius”, because of its unusual shape resembling a human ear, baroque buildings and classic churches such as the Duomo, built upon the old temple of Athena. After your excursion you will join Taormina, your head quartier for the rest of your stay.

Day 7
Catania, Italy
Lentini, Italy
The Asbee Hotel , Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo - Villa Sant' Andrea Breakfast, Lunch

Catania & Historical Sicilian Garden

Breakfast at the hotel, and drive to Catania, city situated between the Ionian Sea and the majestic Mount Etna. The city is often blanketed by a dark rain of ash and cinders. In 1669, there was a violent eruption of the volcano and it covered everything with lava. Less than thirty years later (1693), when the city was still nursing its wounds, an earthquake destroyed anything that was still left of it. Today, Catania is one of the greatest baroque cities of the Mediterranean. The city radiates a strange romantic beauty with its broad boulevards, spacious squares and great cathedrals, still striking in their black and white colours, lava and limestone, crumbling plaster, and cracked marble columns. Also a stop at the “Pescheria”(a daily fish and vegetable market) will be held as it is a must for an authentic experience of the Sicilian quotidianity life. After the city center tour you will reach San Giuliano Garden, 120 acres near the village of Villasmundo, between Catania and Syracuse Where you will experience an open air garden Lunch.

After Lunch you will have the opportunity to visit this historic Garden that contain much of the history of an ancient local noble family, and indications of a Sicilian territory that still shows signs of ancient civilizations, such as a bronze age necropolis and remains from the Greek era. The garden is next to a late 15th century fortified farmhouse, and has been built on the area that used to be occupied by the immense farmyard where the wheat was thrashed, and the olives for oil where grapes and olives were collected before the conversion to exclusive citrus-fruit production. Guided tour of the Garden with Rachel Lamb.

Return at Hotel and evening at leisure.

Day 8
Etna, Italy
The Asbee Hotel , Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo - Villa Sant' Andrea Breakfast, Lunch

Etna Jeep & Helicopter Tour and lunch in an exclusive winery

Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up in hotel by jeep. Then, you will be driven to Mount Etna where you will enjoy a private helicopter tour (20 min) where you will admire the beauty and power of Etna's fiery craters seen from above.

On the tour, you will fly over the Piano Provenzana and the whole district of Etna North, reaching 3400 meters, to see the craters, the Valle del Bove and have an overall view of the volcano. Then, return onto your jeep to continue your tour. You may then visit the recent craters of Monte Nero and the Bottoniera, or walk through the Linguaglossa pine forest, crossing a corridor of lava flow. Here you can go and visit the crater of 2001-2002 by cable-car (not included and weather dependent).

Lunch will be served at the prestigious Benanti Etna Doc Winery. By visiting the winery you can admire the huge Palmento – the typical Etnean millstone – from the 19th century and walk among the ancient vines that grown on an extinct vulcano, Monte Serra. During the lunch you will enjoy a Sicilian Cannolo Cooking Show, a cruncy pastry filled with mouth-watering ricotta cheese cream and chocolate and garnish with pistachio and candied fruits.

Return at Hotel and evening at leisure.

Day 9
Taormina, Italy
The Asbee Hotel , Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo - Villa Sant' Andrea Breakfast, Lunch

Private Lunch at Casa Cuseni and Taormina

After breakfast you will join Casa Cuseni, a private and historical Villa. Its dining room is the only interior in the world entirely designed by Sir Frank Brangwyn, member of the Royal Academy of British Artists, one of the first decorators of Louis Confort Tiffany, and inventor, together with Gaudì, of the Art Nouveau. The small dining room hosted heads of state, politicians, artists and intellectuals, from the first Ninetheen hundred up to nowadays. Today Casa Cuseni entered in Historic Homes Association "Case della Memoria", an European network connecting the homes of the greatest artists, writers, and academics. Before to have dinner, enjoy an aperitif at the refined esoteric garden, with its botanical rarities, joined “Great Italian Gardens” network. After the visit enjoy a private lunch in the famous dining room and enjoy the Art Nouveau style during your lunch.

After lunch follow your guide for a discover tour of Taormina, town, founded by the Greeks in 358 B.C.. It was occupied by the Romans and then fell into Byzantine hands. The little town is located on the East coast of Sicily, overlooking the Ionian Sea. Taormina is called the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” for several reasons: nestled on Mount Tauro, it offers the beauty of Mediterranean architecture all the while surrounded by endless magnificent views of both sea and mountains. Thanks to its high position in altitude, Taormina offers visitors a breathtaking panorama. From its Greek theatre, you can admire the bay of Giardini Naxos and Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, while on the other side you can gaze out over the coastline toward Messina and view the proximity of the Calabrian coast.

Evening and dinner at leisure.

Day 10
Catania, Italy
None Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up and transfer to the airport of Catania

Exclusively for Virtuoso Guests

Essence of Sicily Virtuoso Amenities

Complimentary Meet & Greet Service at the Airport

Welcome Package including tipical Sicilian products: homemade jams, biscuits, natural hand cream and soaps, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, Sicilian cookbook

Welcome cocktail at hotel and bottle of wine and local biscuits in the room

Available services during the excursions : Onboard Water, Snacks and refreshing towels


Virtuoso Amenities for your stay

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full breakfast daily for up to two in room guests, served in restaurant
  • A EUR 85 Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi


Virtuoso Amenities for your stay

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full American breakfast (buffet)
  • $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full, to be utilized at the hotel restaurant for Lunch or Dinner)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Tour Features


Experiences have not been selected at this time


Sicily is the largest of the Italian islands and known as the pearls of Southern Italy. The island can be discovered, understood and experienced with several itineraries dedicated to areas of interest ranging from nature to history and traditions.Nature seems to have endowed all its wonders to this land: mountains, hills and above all the sea, with its incredible colours, its crystal-clear water and the beauty of its seabeds.If you would like to live a tailor-made and luxury experience of Sicily than “The Luxury Sicily Tour” will be the best choice for you. We will permit you to live the Sicilian quotidian life with a real and authentic overview of the different location. The program is full of tasteful food and wine tastings. Experience an alternative way of sightseeing like the street food tasting in Palermo market or luxury private food experiences in hidden location like San Giuliano Garden or Casa Cuseni.

Welcome to Sicily or better welcome to the Essence of Sicily.

What's Included


  • Accommodation in charming hotels, breakfast, Private English speaking Driver Escort and Mercedes Sedan / Viano as per itinerary,Local Guide and entrance fees,Meals and tastings as per itinerary.

Not Included

  • Individual extras and suggested lunches

    All that has not been clearly indicated in “Price includes”


    City tax at hotels

About Us

Essence of Sicily is a boutique DMC offering luxury and unique experiences in Sicily and Aeolian Islands to suit any individual or group. Our customized luxury tours are chosen to offer a balance of Sicilian history, culture and cuisine, bringing you all the best that the beautiful island has to offer. All of our tours go above and beyond the normal remits – with private guides, private transfers and a personalized service, tailoring the experience exclusively for our clients. We pride ourselves on the connections we have on the island, ensuring we can offer proven quality from start to finish.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.


Our company tries to exalt the Sicilian culture in every activity or experience we offer to our customers. From a guided tour of Palermo city where we do cover corners of the city that are out of the typical tourist itinerary to our cooking lesson held by local directly at their bakery. All our experiences are very connected with the local territory and we try to integrate in each of our experiences local peoples that are not working in the tourist environment but that tries to transmit our way to be Sicilian.

All our onsite partners are locals and we try to support our local economies also from the culinary way. For example, all the cooking lessons held on our territory are based on local product and even on local bio gardens respecting the KM0 rule in order to not impact the environment with big distribution system but incentive local producers, local bio products and as consequence local bio food.

Our aim is to protect the planet for this reason we are very attentive to useless waste. For example, we have reduced the waste of paper in our office or do not use any plastic bottles for the consume of water. From our gardens where we do have our Bio farms nothing is wasted. We create our bio Jam or even fruits liquor in order to protect our culinary origin and our traditions.

Terms & Conditions

Terms and conditions vary by program. Details will be provided upon request.

The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Essence of Sicily


of 15

Virtuoso Verified Traveler

All reviews are from confirmed guests sharing exclusive insights

Sort reviews by

Italy trip

By: mb

Reviewed on: 14 Jun 2018

Essence of Italy was fantastic! Their guides were wonderful and very carefully selected for each city and site we visited. The local team was very prompt when we needed their help to coordinate with one of our hotels and they communicated well with our Departure Lounge Travel Advisor back in the US.
Travel Advisor:  Kim Shraibati
  Loading comments. Please wait...


By: Cheryl

Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2018

Our tour of Mount Etna, helicopter ride and tour of the Valley of Temples were incredible! We highly recommend all of our tours.
Travel Advisor:  Debbie Hires
  Loading comments. Please wait...


By: Familyfun

Reviewed on: 05 Oct 2018

All was great with all of the hotels where we stayed. They were perfect - location and accommodations and food. The tour guides were fabulous, and their recommendations for meals, etc. were great! The drivers were excellent. Only complaint was that one event was not as promised, and if we had been given accurate information, we would not have done it.
Travel Advisor:  Lynne Adams

Wonderful Sicily

By: Nancy h

Reviewed on: 28 May 2019

Essence of Italy was fantastic., the itinerary was fabulous , we toured the whole area for 7 days with our van, driver and excellent and professional guides in each place . We totally bonded with our terrific driver , and added bonus of cooking class plus hiking around mt etna ... will be sure to travel with essence of Italy again soon.
Travel Advisor:  Robin Fox

Essence of Sicily

By: Scheck

Reviewed on: 01 Jun 2019

They did a superb job getting us around and sharing local information. The drivers were very professional. When we had a problem, it was fixed immediately
Travel Advisor:  Angela Caes

Italian Advenures

By: Bella

Reviewed on: 17 Jun 2019

I wish there was a maybe button. The beginning of our trip was not as fabulous as the end. I was disappointed with a change in our schedule and also unhappy with the first hotel. The hotel/resort clearly was fabulous at one time. They were not on their A game when we were there and it was very expensive. For the price we paid it should have been 100 percent.
Travel Advisor:  Crisney Lane

Essence of Italy

By: Duke

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2019

Very nice itenerary
Travel Advisor:  Karen Schmiser

Essence ofSicily


Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2019

It was an outstanding experience. Every connection—and there were several of them—was perfect, every driver was friendly and good behind the wheel and every guide was easy to understand and willing to share their vast store of knowledge with us.
Travel Advisor:  Deb Velli

Nice day

By: JP

Reviewed on: 21 Aug 2019

She was very helpful and listened to us and made it more of a trip for us not just a local highlight film. Fun day...
Travel Advisor:  Gregg Robert Humble

Sicily Honeymoon

By: Heather Haiduk

Reviewed on: 19 Oct 2019

We were overly impressed with how Essence of Sicily created such a VIP experience for us in Sicily. We had a private wine tasting at the most beautiful vineyard! Our drivers were always so professional and took care to introduce us to local guides and accommodate for our special needs during the trip. The tour guides were fabulous and truly private. We just loved the experience. It would not have been the same trip without their guidance and recommendations with so much knowledge of their region. We had the trip of a lifetime and so many memories. Thank you!
Travel Advisor:  Carol Brant

Sicily and Sorrento

By: Happy Traveller

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2019

We had private tour guides to Mt Etna, and two walking tours in Taormina and Palermo. I highly recommend the 'private guides'. All three of these tours were fantastic! The guides were so enthusiastic and eager to tell you whatever you wanted to learn or discuss. Also, they go at the pace of the tourist, so we enjoyed not feeling rushed through places, or not understanding what the guide was discussing. They took their time to enjoy the sights with us.
Travel Advisor:  Bill Beckett

Very nice trip

By: Sue

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2019

The trip was overall, excellent, the drivers were very professional and punctual with very clean and luxurious vehicles. Perhaps their English could have been a little better, but substantially better than my Italian. The guides were very professional and knowledgeable about their venues, as well as punctual. We chose hotels that were very comfortable, but not five star. They each had unique characteristics. The hotel in Favara was excellent, but the town had many abounded buildings, which was strange. Since a number of sights we attended were in Agrigento, that might have been a better location
Travel Advisor:  Lori Seeley



Reviewed on: 21 Oct 2019

We loved every minute of every tour.
Travel Advisor:  Amber Ringler


By: arlina

Reviewed on: 22 Nov 2019

Tour guides were always prompt, very professional and well informed. In addition, they were very receptive to client needs and nimble if weather was a factor.
Travel Advisor:  Louisa Gehring

True local knowledge

By: Marilyn

Reviewed on: 15 Jan 2020

Thank you Viviana. Your accommodation of our requests was much appreciated. The guides were very knowable and hospitable. The drivers accommodating and prudent. We were amazed at how much we were able to see within a week. Never felt rushed and always felt that our request were honored. Everything went off without a hitch and always on schedule.
Travel Advisor:  Judy Schild