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 2019

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
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. Enjoy a street food tasting. Then, visit Palermo that stretches along a beautiful bay on the Tyrrhenian Sea. 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 Duomo (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

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

Luxury Food Experience: FROM THE BARNS TO THE STARS 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 local 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 including a cheese tasting. Return at the hotel.

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 hide 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. Catania managed to react to these natural calamities and started a huge building project that foresaw a wide use of black lava and light colored limestone. The city was one huge, busy building site for decades and slowly the baroque aspect that still characterizes the city today began to form. 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

Virtuoso Amenities for your stay

For 2018

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

Typical sicilian welcome gift upon arrival

Early check in, late check out and upgrade upon availability

ROCCO FORTE VERDURA RESORT

Virtuoso Amenities for your stay

For 2018:

  • 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

BELMOND GH HOTEL TIMEO – VILLA SANT’ANDREA

Virtuoso Amenities for your stay

For 2017-2018:

  • 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

Experience(s)

  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Food & Wine
  • Romance, Weddings & Honeymoons
  • Sightseeing

Description

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.

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.

Terms & Conditions

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



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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
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Sicily

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
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