Eastern Sicily – A volcanic pattern of stories and archaeology

  • 8 Days
  • Sicily
  • Archaeological, Naturalistic

Description

What is Sicily? Such a various island is not easy to be defined: incredible archaeological sites, dramatic landscapes, a still active volcano, beatiful and secluded beaches stretching along a clear blue sea. These are just few aspects of a land that offers to curious travellers also one the finest cuisine in Italy, genuine local meetings, fascinating little “borghi” hidden inside the mountains. All the reasons why travellers from all over the world wonder about a journey to Italy are gathered here in one breathtaking dream named Sicily.

 

What to Expect

On this trip we will discover the eastern side of Sicily. Between Catania, Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa and many other historic cities we will be able to retrace the footsteps of the past. Sicily is marked by beautiful hidden gems that represent the complexity of the many cultures that have intertwined over the centuries. From ancient Medieval and Baroque architecture, to Aztec traditions, Spanish and Islamic influences, to Greek ruins such as the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Sicily still retains an enormous heritage and many of these are recognized worldwide by UNESCO, such as the mosaics of Piazza Armerina, among the oldest in the world, dating from the 3rd-4th centuries AD.
Of course, a taste of genuine local cuisine, wines, Modica chocolate, Sicilian “Granita” and all the flavors of this region cannot be missed. Our trip will end with a visit to the better known Taormina and some of the most beautiful Italian villages such as Savoca and Forza d’Agrò, and then a magnificent excursion to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.

This itinerary can be combined with Western Sicily – A patchwork of knowledge, flavours and enchanting views

  • UNESCO Archaeological sites
  • Etna volcano
  • Cultural heritage
  • Local sicilian food

Itinerary

Day 1 - Catania- Siracusa • Arrival

Arrival in Catania and transfer to the hotel in Syracuse for a welcome dinner and the overnight.

Day 2 - Siracusa • Archimede's hometown

After breakfast, we start the visit of Syracuse. Situated in one of the loveliest maritime places of the Mediterranean Sea, Syracuse is marked by its clean white buildings and the beauty of its medieval and baroque architecture. We will visit the cathedral, located in the heart of the Ortygia Island, the fountain Arethusa and the famous archeological site. One of the most beautyful hidden gems of Siracusa is the Mikveh, the biggest and oldest Jewish ritual bath in Europe, which has been discovered just about 25 years ago. At the end of the day we will enjoy a tasting of delicious Sicilian wines, with the unique flavour which only the Sicilian sun can give to the grapes.

Day 3 - Siracusa- Noto- Modica- Ragusa • Baroque vibes (85 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Then departure to Noto, UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest expressions of Baroque architecture in Southeast Sicily. The old town is located in the same place of Noto Vecchia, that was destroyed in 1693 and then rebuilt in the present site only 8 km eastwards. Scicli can still be considered a town off-the-beaten-track, even if it was the film location of the ”Commissario Montalbano”, a famous Italian detective series. The Baroque style is evident everywhere in Scicli, but Palazzo Beneventano is for sure among the most interesting examples, and certainly stands out for the inventiveness of the balconies decorated with bizarre grotesques. We proceed to Modica. This small city is a jewel of Baroque architecture and is gastronomically important because it maintains the ancient Aztec traditions of chocolate manufacture, learned from the Spanish occupation of southern Italy and Sicily from the early 1500s, when Spain was discovering the New World. Here we will make a stop in a chocolate laboratory to taste the Modican chocolate, also called ” the food of the gods”. At the end of the visits, we travel to our hotel for the overnight.

Day 4 - Ragusa- Morgantina- Piazza Armerina- Agrigento • Ancient mosaics (185 km)

Breakfast at the hotel. Today we start of our visits in Morgantina. It was founded by a tribe form Latium, who migrated here toward the end of the 1st millennium. On the lower level there is the theatre, dating from the 4th century B.C. preserved in excellent condition with most of the stone benches and the scaena; the long building that faces the scaena of the theatre must have been used as a grain silo, with kilns to produce ceramics at the southeastern end. Then we will reach Piazza Armerina, where we can find Villa Romana del Casale, an amazing UNESCO archeological Site. This famous villa, part of a 3rd-4th century AD, is one of the most fascinating attractions in archeologically rich Sicily. The exceptionally beautiful mosaics that decorated every one of the rooms of the landowner’s apartment have been preserved through the centuries. At the end of the visit, we travel to our hotel for the overnight.

Mosaics in Piazza Armerina, Sicily

Day 5 - Agrigento- Castiglione di Sicilia • In the heart of Magna Graecia (190 km)

Today, after breakfast, we explore the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento, one of the most evocative sites of the ancient world. We will see the famous Greek temples, among the best preserved in the world, which stand on a high ridge overlooking the sea. The temples of Agrigento all belong to the Doric order and are entirely built of the local limestone with a deep yellow colour. Traces of white material on the surfaces lead scholars to think that the stone was covered with a plaster made of marble powder. The visit ends at the ruined Temple of Zeus, the largest temple built by the Greeks. Sicily is rich of beautiful gardens and one of them is right in the Temple Valley, the Kolymbethra Garden. Established by the Greeks, it was part of the old Akragas (ancient name of Agrigento) and due to the most dry climate, an extensive irrigation system was developed, which is still visible. At the end of the visits, we move to Castiglione di Sicilia for the overnight.

Day 6 - Castiglione di Sicilia- Forza d'Agrò- Taormina- Castiglione di Sicilia • Sicilian borghi (75 km)

Today, after breakfast, we will visit one of the traditional Sicilian villages that has been preserved in its authenticity over the years—including some places that inspired Francis Ford Coppola and “The Godfather”. We first reach the medieval village of Savoca, listed as one of the “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (Most beautiful hamlets of Italy) with its 15th-century buildings and the city’s panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea. Then we will move to Forza d’Agrò, an attractive medieval hamlet caps the furthermost spurs of the Monti Peloritani with a splendid view of the coast. In 1990, Al Pacino and Sophia Coppola shot some scenes of the film “The Godfather III”. Our tour continues to Taormina, widely regarded as Sicily’s most picturesque town. From here it is possible to enjoy a spectacular view of Mount Etna in the west. Its streets are a magnificent blend of historic sites such as the “Teatro Greco” and smart shops and restaurants. The Greek Theatre is built to exploit the natural slope of the hill. The Romans transformed it from a theatre for dramatic performances into an amphitheatre for gladiatorial spectacles, replacing the semicircular orchestra with a circular arena, set below the level of the foundation of the steps. At the end of the day, we travel back to our hotel.

Romantic street of Corso Umberto in beautiful town of Taormina with “I love Taormina” writing, romantic stairway, Sicily island, Italy

Day 7 - Castiglione di Sicilia- Mount Etna- Castiglione di Sicilia • Volcanic scenaries (70 km)

After breakfast, departure directly from the hotel with jeeps 4×4 to explore Mount Etna. Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe: all around the craters, the lava flows confirming the ceaseless activity of the volcano.
This excursion will bring you to the Northern side of the volcano. We will drive on streets and off-road. Our guide will bring us to the recent lava flows and he/she will explain the vulcanologic evolution of the volcano. Equipped with helmets and torches we will explore an underground lava flow cave and cross century-old woods. During the exploration we will stop in a winery for a wine tasting lunch. At the end of the day, we travel back to our hotel for the overnight.View of the volcano Etna, Sicily

Day 8 - Castiglione di Sicilia- Catania • Departure

After breakfast, according to the flights, transfer to Catania airport for the departure.

Price Includes

  • Transfers from/to airport
  • 7 overnight in BB treatment
  • Private minibus (20 seats) with driver for the entire tour
  • Lunch/tasting on day 7
  • Welcome dinner on day 1
  • Wine tasting on day 2
  • Lunch on day 7
  • Road tools, fuel and parking fees
  • Chocolate tasting in Modica on day 3
  • Tasting of "granita" OR almond wine on day 6
  • Jeep 4x4 from/to the hotel for the daily Etna excursion
  • Tourist tax
  • Tour leader from 6 pax

Price Excludes

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • All the meals not specified in the program
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Everything not specified in "the quote includes"
  • Entrance fees

FAQ

When can I travel ?

From April to October. 

How much does it cost ?

On request – quotations from 2 to 12 pax.

For further information on the price or a tailor-made quotation please contact us at info@out-of-italy.com. 

How's the climate ?

Best time to visit Sicily is between late spring and autumn, with some hot months in July and August.

Are meals included ?

The quote includes 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch/tasting, 1 dinner, 1 wine tasting, 1 chocolate tasting, 1 “Granita” tasting.

Which transportation will be used ?

We travel by minibus and by Jeep 4×4 during Etna excursion.

For logistics or technical reasons, the itinerary can be run with some amendments on the sequence of the visits and excursions.

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