Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Private

EASTER IN SICILY (9 days)

Essence of Sicily

Palermo, Italy To Catania, Italy

Valid for Departures: 28 Mar 2018 - 05 Apr 2018

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
28 Mar 2018
Palermo, Italy
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa None

Arrival Palermo Today you will be met upon arrival at Palermo airport by your private luxury Mercedes vehicle and English speaking driver. You will be privately transferred to your hotel in Palermo. Time at leisure.

Day 2
29 Mar 2018
Palermo, Italy
Monreale, Italy
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa Breakfast, Snack

Palermo and Monreale

Breakfast in hotel. Pick up by private English speaking driver and and transfer to Palermo. 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. 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 (the Four Corners of the City), Palermo's extravagant baroque square and the twelfth-century Duomo (Cathedral). Afterwards you will be driven to Monreale to discover the Arab-Norman splendour of the Cathedral and Cloister. This nearby treasure dates from the 12th century and shows the diverse architectural influences of both the Normans and the Arab population. Finally, you will return to your hotel.

Day 3
30 Mar 2018
Trapani, Italy
Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel Breakfast

Good Friday: Erice and the Misteri procession in Trapani

Breakfast at hotel. Pick up by English speaking driver. Meet your private guide and visit of Erice in the morning where statues are carried through the town on Holy Friday. Brief view of town and cyclopean walls. Lunch at leisure. Probably the most renowned religious manifestations of devotion in Sicily are the "Mysteries" of Trapani on Good Friday, in which the townsmen carry statues through the streets. Each statue represents one of the stations of the cross and are all made by the various local guilds. Thousands of Sicilians line the streets awaiting the arrival of the Virgin Mary "in search" of her son. Transfer to Verdura Resort and time at leisure.

Day 4
31 Mar 2018
Agrigento, Italy
Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel Breakfast, Lunch

Valley of the Temples and Cooking class at Marzipan

Breakfast in hotel.and pick up by driver. At Arrival meet your guide and visit 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. Finish the tour at the wonderful botanical Garden of Kolymbetra, an old Greek water reservoir that represents an enchanting concentration of the ancient agricultural and natural landscapes of Southern Sicily.

Enjoy a private lunch at Marzipan, the almond Museum in Favara. The experience involves the preparation of Almond Sweet and a very special Easter lamb, a typical sweet of the city of Favara. This delicacy is made of almond and pistachio paste, shaped into the form of a lamb. It is especially made during the Easter season, but can be found throughout the year. It is an ancient tradition that is handed down from mother to daughter still to this day, making it a unique delicacy rich in culture and history. Return at the hotel.

Day 5
01 Apr 2018
Piana Degli Albanesi, Italy
Prizzi, Italy
Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel Breakfast

Breakfast in hotel. Pick up by private English speaking driver and local guide. This morning, follow your guide in a fascinating exploration of Sicilian culture. The itinerary begins with a morning visit of Piana degli Albanesi, a mountain village just south of Palermo on Easter Sunday. As the name suggests, Piana degli Albanesi was founded by Albanian immigrants fleeing a Turkish invasion in 1488. Being somewhat isolated, the town has managed to maintain much of its original identity and many of its traditions, one of which is its Orthodox Easter celebrations (it has been a Greek Orthodox Bishopric since 1937). On Palm Sunday, there is a procession through the streets to mark Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem. Festivities continue all week until Easter Sunday when the townsfolk put on their traditional 15th Century costumes and hand out previously blessed red hand-painted eggs. After Mass there is the procession of the Holy Veil, a piece of cloth in which believers can make out the face of Christ. Lunch will be at leisure. Afterwards move to Prizzi where a very different event takes place on Easter Sunday. Wearing red and black satanic masks complete with horns and grotesque noses, The Dance of the Devils takes place whence a portion of the townsfolk wreak havoc, inviting passers-by to buy them drinks (a metaphor for stealing their souls). In the struggle that ensues between good and evil, it is Christ and the Madonna who triumph, along with other locals dressed as angels. During the ensuing celebrations the devils are "forced" to get the drinks and "cannateddi", a typical Easter cake, is distributed. Return at Hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 6
02 Apr 2018
Agrigento, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast, Lunch

Scampagnata and Taormina

Breakfast in hotel and pick up by local guide. Today, you will enjoy a typical Sicilian Scampagnata, a sort of daily excursion in a country house. Barbeque and excellent Sicilian wines, accompanied by the typical Eastern sweets such us the Colomba and the Agnello or the Cassata will make unforgettable this day. In the afternoon transfer to Taormina.

Day 7
03 Apr 2018
Taormina, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast

Taormina

Breakfast at the hotel. Meet your guide to visit 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. Lunch and afternoon are at leisure. Overnight stay.

Day 8
04 Apr 2018
Etna, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Breakfast, Lunch

Etna Volcano by Jeep

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 thevalley 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. Driving up the Mareneve Road, you will reach Piano Provenzana. Here you will have time to relax and enjoy an espresso. Later you will walk through the pine forest of Ragabo and reach the Corruccio cave. Return to Hotel.

Day 9
05 Apr 2018
Catania, Italy
None Breakfast

Arrivederci Sicilia!

Breakfast in hotel. Private transfer to Catania Airport.

Exclusively for Virtuoso Guests

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Food & Wine
  • Sightseeing

Description

Sicily takes Easter very seriously! All over the island, in large towns and tiny villages alike, processions weave their way through narrow streets, central thoroughfares and piazzas until finally they arrive at the local parish church or Cathedral.

Easter also signals the arrival of Spring and many pagan traditions that used to mark the arrival of the "beautiful season" have been incorporated into the religious festivities.

For food lovers Easter is a great time to come to Sicily: It is the time for “Martorana” or “Pasta Reale” marzipan confectionary that is delightfully shaped and painted to resemble fruit of all types. With Easter being a time for celebration, the “Cassata”, Sicily's signature cake, made of sweetened ricotta cheese, marzipan and candied fruit, graces tables all over the island. Fresh peas, fava beans and artichokes combine wonderfully in "frittella”, and the tuna fish season gets underway...

Returning to the more sacred aspects of 'Pasqua' however here are a few interesting events which we will experience in the atmosphere of age-old traditions.

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.



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

Virtuoso Verified Traveler

All reviews are from confirmed guests sharing exclusive insights

Sort reviews by