Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Private


Essence of Sicily

Palermo, Italy To Catania, Italy

Valid for Departures: 01 Apr 2019 - 30 Sep 2019


Day 1
Palermo, Italy
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa 4* None

Arrival at Palermo

Today you will be met upon arrival at Palermo airport by your private Mercedes Vehicle and English speaking driver. Follow your guide in a fascinating exploration of Sicilian culture and cuisine. 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 (the Four Corners of the City), Palermo's extravagant baroque square and the twelfth-century Duomo (Cathedral).

Day 2
Monreale, Italy
Sclafani, Italy
Agrigento, Italy
Hotel Villa Athena 5* Breakfast, Lunch

Monreale - Regaleali Winery

After breakfast, you will be escorted by private driver and guide to Monreale to discover the Arab-Norman splendor of 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.

After your private visit you will follow the route to Regaleali Wine estate in the heart of the Sicilian countryside where you can enjoy a gourmet lunch and wine tasting. The estate is a restored 18th century farm villa built by Sicilian aristocracy. Experience a charming lunch in the heart of Sicily surrounded by vineyards that stretches over several hundred acres in Sclafani Bagni.

It will be an authentic culinary experience. Afterwards, continue the route to your hotel located in Agrigento with breathtaking views of the Valley of the Temples.

Day 3
Agrigento, Italy
Hotel Villa Athena 5* Breakfast, Lunch

Archeo Trekking and pic nic at Valley of the Temples

After breakfast enjoy a private guided archeotrekking visit of the majestic Valley of the Temples, one of the most fascinating and visited places on the island. The location offers a marvelous landscape, one of the most important testimonies to the presence of ancient Greeks in southern Italy. Following the line of the hill we will visit the sacred zone of Akragas with the amazing view on the coast. From the temple of Hera/Juno we will reach the temple of Concordia after the fortification wall of the town. Then the temple of Hercules and the enormous temple of Zeus and the sanctuary of the ctonic deities. Crossing the Kolymbetra Garden a wonderful Mediterranean botanical Garden that was an old Greek water reservoir. Originally, this garden was an exquisite artificial lake, surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers. It was not only used as a water reserve for the city, but also a place for people to sit and contemplate. For years, it has been left abandoned. It was only in 1999, thanks to the FAI (National Trust for Italy), that the five-hectare garden was restored to its original splendor. Today, the Kolymbetra Garden, represents an enchanting concentration of the ancient agricultural and natural landscapes of Southern Sicily. Thanks to the restoration of the garden, visitors are able to explore the Mediterranean shrubs rich in pistachio, broom, myrtle, tamerix, citrus, ancient varieties of lemon, orange and mandarine, which are irrigated using a system based on that realized by the ancient Arabs. Then you will visit the temple of Vulcan and we will walk in the countryside until the heart of the Greek town: the Agorà were is possible to see the public buildings and the area of the recent excavations of the roman temple. For lunch you will enjoy a unique experience in an unexpected location, Surrounded by colors, flavors and scents of Sicily, we will offer you an amazing pic nic! You will taste arancini, cheeses with home made marmalade, olives and extra virgin olive oil, street food as Sfincione Siciliano, panelle and “pani cunzatu” with oregano, olive oil and caciocavallo cheese… A different way to enjoy so many Sicilian specialties and taste fine wines in a little corner of paradise among Greek temples. After the pic nic you will return back to the hotel and enjoy some free time to relax.

Day 4
Ragusa, Italy
Modica, Italy
Noto, Italy
Seven Rooms Villa Dorata - Boutique Hotel Breakfast, Snack

Ragusa – Modica - Noto

Pick up in hotel after breakfast by your private driver who will escort you direction to the Baroque towns of Modica and Ragusa Ibla. Rebuilt after the devastating 1693 earthquake, and now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. you will start the tour with Modica to admire beautiful Baroque churches, including the famous Cathedral of San Giorgio. You will visit the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the oldest confectionary shop of Sicily where you will taste the unique chocolates of Modica. The owner will demonstrate (and you will sample) a few of his spectacular chocolates.

The tour continue with Ragusa Ibla to explore the magnificent Church of San Giorgio, the Hyblean Gardens, the Church of San Giuseppe, and La Rocca Palace. 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.

Enjoy your lunch at leisure in a local trattoria. (not included)

After Lunch you will reach the amazing city of Noto, one of Sicily’s most beautiful baroque cities, whose heritage, both for importance and beauty, has been declared World Heritage by the UNESCO.

The evening will be entirely at your disposal to dine in one of the city center restaurants for an excellent culinary experience with a beautiful view to the small and well maintained streets of the center.

Day 5
Noto, Italy
Palazzolo Acreide, Italy
Siracusa, Italy
Seven Rooms Villa Dorata - Boutique Hotel Breakfast, Lunch

Noto – Palazzolo - Siracusa

After breakfast, your cycling guide meets cycle to Noto Antica, the ancient town of Noto, which was completely destroyed in the devastating 1693 earthquake. Continue to the Monastery of Madonna della Scala, enjoying the spectacular landscapes of the Hyblaean Mountains. After passing the Salitello Bridge you continue to modern- day Noto—named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and called the “Stone Garden” for its many gorgeous architectural masterpieces of the 18th-century Sicilian Baroque style.

After the Noto tour reach Palazzolo Acreide, with stops along the way to admire and take photographs of the stunning views. The tour will continue to Syracuse and, after a light lunch included you will enjoy a guided walking tour of Ortygia Island in the historical centre of Syracuse, discovering its winding medieval lanes and romantic Baroque palaces and churches. After the visit of Siracusa you will be driven back to Noto to relax for the rest of the day.

Day 6
Salina, Aeolian Islands, Italy
Capofaro Malvasia Resort 5* Breakfast

Aeolian Islands

After breakfast, you will be taken by private transfer direction Milazzo harbor and reach by hydrofoil Salina Island, one of the seven Aeolian islands in the far south of Italy.

Here you will admire the volcanic landscape through amazing hikes and peaceful silence around the area. Salina is known for its beautiful volcanic cliffs plunging into the sea, colorful fishing boats on pebbly beaches, and vines like the famous Malvasia wine. Enjoy the rest of the day and explore the island at leisure.

Day 7
Salina, Aeolian Islands, Italy
Capofaro Malvasia Resort 5* Breakfast

On The Peack of The Aeolian Islands: Salina

Breakfast in hotel. Meet your naturalistic guide for a spectacular adventure walking tour to the hill of the Island.

With his 962 meters Monte Fossa delle Felci is the peak of the Aeolian islands; you will start the way up along the easy unpaved road where you can admire the incredible changing colors of the flowers and of the volcanic stone; arriving on the top you can see an astonish view of all the archipelago. After walking in the middle of the old crater under the shadow of centenary chestnut trees we start going down back to the church. The duration of this tour is about 5 Hours. Taste the typical Sicilian “ pane cunzato” for lunch da Alfredo. Afternoon is at leisure.

Day 8
Salina, Aeolian Islands, Italy
Capofaro Malvasia Resort 5* Breakfast, Dinner

Panarea – Stromboli’s “La Sciara del Fuoco”

Breakfast in hotel and morning at leisure. In the late afternoon start your private guided boat tour to the discover the island of Panarea. Before sunset reach the island of Stromboli for an unforgettable on board culinary experience while assisting to the Sciara del fuoco. Enjoy an unique experience and assist to the spectacular Sciara del Fuoco while consuming your gourmet dinner on board. Panarea is the oldest island of the Aeolian Island. What makes Panarea unique are many elements: the scents of the Mediterranean, the clear air without pollution, the Aeolian architecture intact is not marred by poles and wires. The rest is done by the sea, in many places near the coast, takes tropical colors and transparencies. The Island of Stromboli is a high bluff broken in to small beaches with black sand alternating between caves and inlets. The white Mediterranean houses, the green from palm and olive trees and citrus trees all rest on a baron but fascinating volcanic cone, in the middle of an intense blue sea. This is the black pearl that has always attracted people looking for uncontaminated nature and total relax. In the night you can see bright red eruptions also on board. Upon arrival you will have time to visit the city center of Stromboli, full of bars, restaurants and enjoy some shopping in the typical Sicilian boutiques of the island full of handmade products. Relax at the piazza and experience an aperitivo in Sicilian style.

Finally enjoy a spectacular charming dinner with breathtaking view to the Sciara del Fuoco. After dinner you will return back to Salina.

Day 9
Taormina, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast


After breakfast you will reach the harbor and hide back to Milazzo by Hydrofoil. Meet your private driver, who will escort you to the beautiful city of Taormina. In the afternoon you will join your tour guide for private visit at the Greek Theater. Taormina, founded by the Greeks in 358 B.C., 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. After a walking tour enjoy some free time to relax and enjoy the city by your own.

Day 10
Etna, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast, Lunch

Mount Etna & Benanti Etna Doc Winery

Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up by Jeep and naturalistic driver and guide. Explore Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Discovering Mount Etna is one of the greatest adventure tours in Sicily, not only for the volcanic phenomena but also for the different kinds of vegetation visible during the ascent. This volcano has more than 400 craters, split all over the Catania county. The first stop of the tour is Valle del Bove, a wide valley located on the eastern slope of the volcano. Valle del Bove is part of the protected area of the Etna Regional Park. Proceeding, you will go through old lava flows that date back to 1979 until you reach Mount Fontana, 1300meters above the sea level. This is a great panoramic point, from which you can admire the majesty of the valley and of the Monti Sartorius. Afterwards, a short walk will lead you to the craters of the Sartorius Mountains, which date back to 1865 and are characterized by seven little eruptive cones. Halfway down from the top, you will reach another panoramic point which offers a breathtaking view of the Ionian Coast, from Riposto to Taormina and a glimpse of the Calabrian Coast, of the North-East crater and of the latest new lava flows and craters of 2002. 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.

Day 11
Catania, Italy
None Breakfast

Breakfast in hotel. Pick up in hotel by English speaking driver and Mercedes Vehicle and private transfer to Catania airport.

Tour Features


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If you are a lover of good food, nature, beautiful beaches, culture and sightseeing and you hate to be bored during your vacation than this tour combination is the perfect holiday for you. The tour is addressed to curios guests that love to discover new authentic experiences located in a typical Sicilian environment. We want to escort you from Palermo up to Taormina, discovering the Aeolian islands with a spectacular dinner with view to an active Vulcano.

We will permit you to live the Sicilian quotidian life with a real and authentic overview of the different locations. The program is full of tasteful food and wine tastings, walking experiences and sightseeing.

Did we make you curios about Sicily than 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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Reviews and Recommendations for Essence of Sicily


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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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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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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