Sicily in Depth | Exploring Hidden Gems in Sicily
11 Days from $9,909 per person
Catania, Taormina, Linguaglossa, Syracuse, Aragona, Palermo
Embark on an unforgettable 11-day journey through Sicily, where you'll indulge in delicious Sicilian cuisine, explore ancient ruins, and witness breathtaking landscapes. From the picturesque vineyards on the slopes of Mount Etna to the historic streets of Palermo, immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of this captivating island. Discover hidden gems like Taormina, Syracuse, and Agrigento, and savor the unique flavors of traditional Sicilian dishes. Your adventure will be filled with remarkable experiences and unforgettable memories.
Day 1: Catania to Taormina | Welcome to Italy! Meet your private English-speaking assistant outside of airport customs in the baggage claim area, where they will be holding a sign with your name on it. When you're ready to depart, they will bring you to your private vehicle and transfer you to your hotel in Taormina. Approximate travel duration is 1 hour. A welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if relevant), and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful, will be provided to you on your first day in destination.
Day 2: Taormina | Michelin Man - Meet a great Michelin-starred Sicilian chef for a cooking lesson in a small group of up to 8 participants at a cooking lab in the heart of Taormina. You'll visit a nearby market where fresh ingredients will be selected for use in your dish. The Chef will guide and oversee the cooking lesson, illustrating the best techniques to handle and cook the dishes, freely adapted and designed by you, the new "chefs for a day". Through the interplay of flavors and senses, the kitchen will become the stage where to observe teamwork, leadership skills, and the ability to find solutions quickly. After concluding the cooking portion of your experience, sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor as you dine a delicious and freshly prepared lunch accompanied by beverages.
Day 3: Taormina to Linguaglossa | Of vineyards and vintages - Meet your private driver and vehicle for a transfer to Linguaglossa. Approximate travel time is 45 minutes. Meet your private driver and set out on a half-day excursion to visit a renowned local winery, whose vineyards grow on lava stone, 2,300 feet above sea level, on the northern slopes of the Etna volcano. The winery and its vineyards are located near to each other so that all phases of production are carried out on-site, from harvesting to bottling. Upon arrival, you'll be met by a member of the staff to learn about the history of the winery and the territory on which it's located, followed by a visit of the cellar where stacked rows of barrels age the wine to perfection. Walk through the picturesque vineyards, and grasp at a perfect photo opportunity. You'll be treated to a tasting of 5 different wines produced by the winery on Etna’s slopes, accompanied by a 3-course lunch made from recipes which follow ancient family traditions. Upon completion of your visit, you'll transfer back to your hotel.
Day 4: Lingualossa | Breathe the Mountain Air - Immerse yourself in nature with a Jeep adventure around Etna National Park. Your private driver will transfer you to the park, where you'll meet up with a specialized guide and their Jeep, setting out to discover the unique landscapes of Mount Etna. Embark on a short hike on a volcanic trail, trekking amidst ancient lava flows and typical Etna vegetation, reaching the south-east side of the Valle del Bove. Drive out toward some lateral craters, with your guide explaining the origins of the geological phenomena of the incredible valley. A walk along the edge of the explosive mouths will offer some magnificent sea views, and a greater awareness of the power of some of these natural forces. You'll be brought to explore a volcanic cave, taking a walk inside the lava tube, learning about what occurs once lava leaves the surface and flows inside the ground. Midday, you'll be treated to a typical Sicilian lunch along with a glass of local Etna wine. In the afternoon, drive toward the Alcantara Valley, reaching its beautiful gorges where you'll be able to walk in the river's cool waters to get some incredible views of the splintered volcanic rock that line the stunning gorge walls. At the end of your day, you'll conclude with a return transfer to your hotel.
Day 5: Linguaglossa to Syracuse | A change of scenery - Meet your private driver and vehicle for a transfer to Syracuse. En route, you'll stop in Noto for an opportunity to experience the historic Baroque city at leisure. Be sure to check out the stunning 18th century Noto Cathedral, a notable UNESCO World Heritage Site. After approximately 2 hours in Noto, you'll continue with your transfer to Syracuse.
Day 6: Syracuse | It's all ancient history - Meet your private guide and driver for a day of ancient discoveries around Syracuse and Ortigia Island. Set out on a guided walk of Syracuse's archaeological site, visiting the undisputed main attraction, the massive, 2,500-year-old Greek theater that was built to accommodate up to 15,000 spectators. Nearby, the old stone quarries are host to the famous “Ear of Dionysius”, a slender arch cave cut into the rock face that is said to have been used by Dionysius the Tyrant as a prison for his most hated enemies. Admire a Roman amphitheater and altar, both from the 3rd century BC, where ancient spectacles of blood-curdling violence would occur. Continue to the remains of the Euryalus Fortress, built around 400 BC by the Greeks of ancient Syracuse. The castle was eventually left to decay and nowadays consists of flower-strewn ruins. On Syracuse's Ortigia Island, you'll be lead on a walking tour through 2,500 years of history, encompassing Greek, Roman and Norman influences, with a bounty of understated Baroque architecture. Visit Europe's oldest surviving mikveh, a ritual bath of Jewish tradition, underlining Judaism's foothold in Sicily prior to the arrival of Christianity. You'll also visit the interiors of the 13th century Castello Maniace, a citadel and castle along the coastal tip of Ortigia, home to a stunning salon featuring rich columns and fireplaces. Conclude on arrival back to your hotel.
Day 7: Syracuse | Tools of the trade - Immerse yourself in traditional Sicilian history and culture, visiting a Sicilian cart atelier, exploring the UNESCO-listed town of Ragusa, and finishing the day with a tasty Sicilian specialty, cannoli. Your private driver will first take you to the workshop of a cart atelier in the lower part of an 18th century building near Ragusa. The traditional Sicilian cart was once a sign of wealth, as the owner would show off the vivid colors taking their horse-pulled cart through town. Watch as the craftsman demonstrates the restoring and painting of this almost forgotten craft before trying your hand at emulating the craftsman with a painting class! Rejoin your driver and proceed toward Ragusa Ibla, a division of the UNESCO-listed city of Ragusa that has a wide array of 18th century cathedrals and churches celebrating the region's deep Catholic roots. Meet up with a private local guide for a walking tour, witnessing the magnificent Church of San Giorgio, the Hyblean Gardens with its palm lined entrance, the Church of San Giuseppe, and La Rocca Palace, with its renowned sculpted balcony corbels. Finish your day with a sweet traditional treat as you feast your eyes and tastebuds on a cannoli demonstration, being treated to a tasting of a variety of fresh cannolis, a Sicilian delicacy. Conclude with a return transfer to your hotel.
Day 8: Syracuse to Aragona | Some time on your own - Meet your private driver and vehicle for a transfer to Aragona. Approximate travel time is 2 hours. This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Day 9: Aragona | Cross an item off your bucket list - Meet your private driver and embark on a full-day tour of the ancient Valley of the Temples, serene Kolymbetra Gardens, and the historic center of Agrigento. You'll first head to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Valley of the Temples, one of the must-see highlights of Sicily where you'll meet your private local guide. A testimony to the presence of ancient Greeks in southern Italy, you'll witness and visit temples dating back to the 5th century BC along the Sacred Way, including the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of the Dioscuri. Continue to Kolymbetra Gardens where citrus trees blossom, pomegranates flourish, and wild olives grow as emerald as the surrounding leaves. Enjoy an included picnic lunch in this unique location, with arancini, cheeses with home made marmalade, olives, extra virgin olive oil, and fine wines, all in a little corner of paradise among ancient Greek temples. In the afternoon you'll spend some time exploring the medieval center of Agrigento. Lose yourself in a maze of narrow streets and hidden courtyards spilling off the main street Via Atenea, spotting the 14th century Basilica dell'Immacolata, the Santa Maria dei Greci Church with its ancient Doric columns intact, and more. Visit the 11th century Cathedral of San Gerlando, with its impressive stuccos and decorated wooden roofs. Conclude on arrival back to your hotel.
Day 10: Aragon to Palermo | City streets and tasty treats - Meet your private driver and vehicle for a transfer to Palermo. En route, you'll stop for approximately 30 minutes to bear witness to the stunning white rocky cliffs of Scala dei Turchi, a renowned coastal gem where erosion over millions of years have created what resembles an elegant set of stairs climbing up a shining white cliffside. After your brief stop, continue to Palermo. Approximate travel time including the stop is 3 hours.
Meet your private guide and depart on foot for a half-day walking tour of the fascinating city of Palermo. This diverse crossroads of Mediterranean and northern European civilization is a vibrant city whose unique culture has been forged and molded by three millennia of history emerging from three continents. The streets of old Palermo are a mixture of intriguing outdoor markets, subtle niches and long-forgotten secrets. You’ll be enchanted by Palermo’s wide boulevards, traditional Sicilian Old Quarter, and baroque palaces. You’ll see the city’s main sights, including Quattro Canti (the Four Corners), an extravagant baroque square ringed by four buildings with baroque sculptures that depict the four seasons, Spanish kings, and the patron saints of Palermo’s four old quarters. You’ll also see the 12th century Cathedral, which houses a pantheon of royal tombs, and visit Palermo’s food market, Il Capo, full of color and folklore. Here you'll enjoy some included samplings of typical Sicilian street food such as “pani ca meusa”, “panelle”, and “arancini”.
Day 11: Palermo | Journey Home - Meet your private driver for a transfer between the airport and your hotel. Safe travels!
- Learn to cook Sicilian cuisine with a Michelin-starred chef.
- Wander the historic streets of Palermo with a private guide.
- Wine tasting and visit of a Mt. Etna vineyard.
- Learn the tricks of a traditional Sicilian Cart atelier.
- Expert selection of Premier accommodations.