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The Splendours of Sicily - Back Roads Experience

Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,393

Sicily has a wealth of attractions to entice the visitor. One week here will reveal many of these. Corleone of “Godfather” fame, a medieval village, a nature reserve, local wine tasting, Greek and Roman historical sites, an active volcano and colourful resorts plus much more.


Join one of our unique small group Back-Roads touring experiences (maximum 18 participants) that includes specially selected accommodations, transportation in purpose built Mercedes Benz Sprinters, sightseeing, special culinary experiences and a knowledgeable Tour Leader. Click here for all the EXCLUSIVE DIFFERENCES.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and abounds in natural beauty and ancient history. It is rich in culture, archaeological discoveries and is known for its outstanding gastronomy,

Begin your tour in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, renowned for being featured extensively in the movie “The Godfather”. Travel today to Corleone, a small town associated with the Italian Mafia. You will meet the son of a Corleone couple who will explain the origins and transformations of the Mafia. Return for overnight in Palermo. 

The next morning, depart for the medieval village of Erice reached by cable car. Enjoy not only the old town but the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Erice dates back to the days of the original settlers in Sicily from as far back as the Iron Age. Then continue to medieval Trapani and visit a nature reserve situated in a wetland with over 170 species of birds including flamingos.  Then it’s on to Marsala, home of the famous fortified wine. You will have the opportunity to enjoy samples. Finally today, spend overnight in the Valley of Temples Archaeological Park in Agrigento. 

BRT

The next morning, you will explore the valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its 8 temples dating back to 510 BC. Next travel to Piazza Amerina, a charming town with one of the largest surviving Roman dwellings, the Villa Romana del Casale. Eventually reach your hotel in Ragusa Ibia, a charming converted monastery where you will spend the next 2 nights.


The following day brings you to Modica, known as the capital of baroque Sicilian art. Enjoy a walk around the old town with its splendid cathedral. Continue to quaint Scicili used often as a movie site. Return to Ragusa Ibia where the remainder of the day is at leisure. 

The ancient city of Syracuse is next. Situated on the sea, it contains many archaeological treasures dating back to the Ancient Greek occupation. Nearby is the island of Ortiga also rich in archaeological sites including the 6th Century BC Temple of Apollo. Continue to Taormina, a pretty hill town perched on top of high cliffs where you will spend the next 2 nights.

Today you will enjoy a visit to the dramatic Mount Etna, the slumbering active volcano.  Later spend the afternoon at leisure in Taormina.

On your final day in Sicily, you will visit Savoca, a village which was featured in many scenes in “the Godfather”. Return to Taormina where your tour comes to an end.

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Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,393

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Palermo

This tour begins from the Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa (Via dei Cartari, 18, 90133 Palermo) at 09:00am. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.

We meet in Sicily's captivating capital, Palermo, and dive straight into its warren of streets with a local guide. Although part of Italy, Sicily feels like a world of its own, where a mix of architectural styles stand testament to the various cultures that have laid claim to it. One custom feels thoroughly Italian however: browsing markets laden with everything from fruit and vegetables to fresh fish, meats and cheeses. We take our pick and sample fresh-from the- farm local produce. This afternoon is dedicated to the Norman Palace, a wonder of Palermo. Behind its formidable exterior lies the Palatine Chapel - with walls coated in glimmering paintings that will astound. This evening we enjoy a welcome dinner together.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa

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    Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa



    Classic elegance and historical beauty all combine to make the Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa a truly exceptional place to stay on your trip to Sicily. The impressive hotel in the centre of Palermo has a distinctive noble facade which is further complemented by a superb ...

    Classic elegance and historical beauty all combine to make the Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa a truly exceptional place to stay on your trip to Sicily. The impressive hotel in the centre of Palermo has a distinctive noble facade which is further complemented by a superb location only footsteps from the squares, parks, shopping streets and cafes. The first thing that guests cannot fail to notice at check-in is the regal splendour of this historical hotel, part of which was originally a convent, and which features many artistic, architectural and cultural influences throughout. As the hotel is near the Quattro Canti Square, guests are in the ideal place to absorb the atmosphere of this a baroque piazza, famous for its towering palm trees and awe inspiring cathedral in the heart of Palermo.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Reception
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Laundry Service
    • Restaurant

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Day 2

Palermo - Monreale - Corleone - Palermo

This morning, a native guide unlocks the secrets of Monreale, a historic town outside Palermo. We peer inside the cathedral, a monumental building adorned with fascinating early-medieval paintings. Then it's on to Corleone, whose rural beauty jars with its infamous connection with the Corleonesi mafia clan - as well as being immortalised as the birthplace of several characters in The Godfather. Here we meet local Gino Felicetti, who tells us about the mafia's origins and impact on Sicily. Then we travel back to Palermo, where you're free for the rest of the day.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Palermo - Erice - Trapani - Arigento

Today we swap city streets for the sleepy medieval village of Erice. Then we delve into the Nature Reserve of Trapani and Paceco, a fascinating coastal wetlands area home to over 170 different bird species, including flamingos. After that, it's time for a well-deserved treat - a spot of wine tasting in Marsala. Savour the heady tastes of this distinctive wine, which has a hint of Port or Madeira about it, before dinner beckons us in Agrigento.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hotel Foresteria Baglio della Luna

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    Hotel Foresteria Baglio della Luna



    Foresteria Baglio della Luna in Agrigento is a boutique hotel with 23 rooms and suites that overlooks the Valley of the Temples.This 13th century building, carefully restored to guarantee all the modern conviences of today, is an oasis of absolute peace and silence in graceful ...

    Foresteria Baglio della Luna in Agrigento is a boutique hotel with 23 rooms and suites that overlooks the Valley of the Temples.This 13th century building, carefully restored to guarantee all the modern conviences of today, is an oasis of absolute peace and silence in graceful Sicily and offers the unique experience of sleeping in a medieval watchtower. All its rooms and suites have a marvellous view on the Valley of the Temples or on the countryside. A comfortable and charming stay in the midst of nature.

    The hotel is located in the countryside but just a few minutes from the city centre, from the beach of Maddalusa and from the fantastic Scala dei Turchi, an ideal place from where to start discovering the beauties of Western Sicily.

    Facilities

    • Garden
    • Restaurant

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Day 4

Agrigento - Piazza Armerina - Ragusa Ibla

Rocky hilltops crowned with temples. Rugged scenery scattered with the remains of immense statues. Agrigento's Valley of the Temples is one of ancient Greece's greatest legacies and a wonderfully evocative landscape. A local guide brings to life the history and legends behind the eight temples, which have stood here for thousands of years. From Greek monuments to a lavish Roman home -- our next stop is Piazza Armerina, where we visit the one-of-a-kind Villa Romana del Casale. Then our path turns towards Ragusa as we follow the winding rural back roads to peaceful Antico Convento, our converted monastery home for the next two nights.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Antico Convento

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    Hotel Antico Convento



    The Antico Convento Dei Cappuccini is located in Ragusa Ibla. This former convent is set within the Giardino Ibleo garden. A continental-style breakfast is served daily at Convento Dei Cappuccini. The Cenobio Restaurant specialises in local cuisine. Ragusa's Saint George cathedral is 450 metres from ...

    The Antico Convento Dei Cappuccini is located in Ragusa Ibla. This former convent is set within the Giardino Ibleo garden. A continental-style breakfast is served daily at Convento Dei Cappuccini. The Cenobio Restaurant specialises in local cuisine. Ragusa's Saint George cathedral is 450 metres from the property.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Reception
    • Bar
    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Restaurant
    • Room Service

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Day 5

Ragusa Ibla - Modica - Scicli Ragusa Ibla

Modica, the crowning glory of Sicilian baroque art, is our first port of call today. We stroll through the old town and explore the majestic Chiesa di San Giorgio. Then we follow in the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano in Scicli, one of the filming locations for the cult detective series. Our trail takes us on to the Palazzo del Municipio and Piazza Italia, among many other interesting sites. Back in Ragus Ibla, take the rest of the day to wander the town at your own pace. You could seek out a local trattoria to try some Sicilian specialities.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 6

Ragusa Ibla - Syracuse - Taormina

Seaside Syracuse, which rivalled Athens as the most important city of ancient Greece, is our stomping ground today. Our local guide leads us to the temples and sacred caves of the archaeological park. Then we cross over the bridge to discover Syracuse's Ortigia district. The best way to enjoy it is to forget the map and happily get lost in its winding streets, which open out on baroque piazzas, bustling markets and beautiful sea views. Later we turn north to Taormina, a cliff-town overlooking the ocean. Enjoy a leisurely introduction -- and perhaps sample the town's standout seafood for dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Monte Tauro

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    Hotel Monte Tauro



    A few steps away from the Taormina center and from the Greek-Roman Theater, the Monte Tauro Hotel overlooks the marvellous Sicily sea with a view that spans from the Gulf of Naxos to the Etna volcano. Built in the 1970's according to a futuristic project, ...

    A few steps away from the Taormina center and from the Greek-Roman Theater, the Monte Tauro Hotel overlooks the marvellous Sicily sea with a view that spans from the Gulf of Naxos to the Etna volcano. Built in the 1970's according to a futuristic project, it has maintained, after a complicated restructuring, its same character of sophisticated modernity, finding in the new project a new image of refined design. Precious materials were selected for the new internal areas: exotic wood for the floors of rooms and balconies, waxed stucco as solidified silk for walls and ceilings, exclusively designed furniture and a suffuse lighting that follows environmentally friendly criteria in all common areas. The Monte Tauro Hotel has a large panoramic swimming pool with a Jacuzzi corner, and a restaurant with a view of the Gulf of Naxos.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Reception
    • Bar
    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant

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Day 7

Taormina - Mount Etna - Taormina

Now it's time to take an up-close look at Mount Etna, a slumbering giant that towers over the surrounding landscape. As we scale its slopes by coach, look out at the immense lava flows that have reshaped the land over centuries of dramatic eruptions. Afternoon gives us time to give Taormina the attention it deserves. The capital of Byzantine Sicily in the 9th century, this pretty town has plenty of surprises up its sleeves. You could visit the 13th century Cathedral of San Nicola, or step further back in time at the splendid Greek Theatre. Then it's time to meet up again for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 8

Taormina - Savoca - Taormina

Sicily's enticing landscapes have been captured forever in iconic films such as The Godfather. So a fitting finale to our adventure is the pretty hamlet of Savoca - whose church provided the backdrop for the film's wedding scene. Finally, we return to Taormina, where we take our final bows.

The tour finishes at 3:00pm at Hotel Monte Tauro, 3, via Madonna Delle Grazie, 98039 Taormina.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Sep 2, 9, 16, 30 ; Oct 7.
2018: Feb 10; Mar 3; Apr 14, 18, 28; May 12, 19, 26, 30; Jun 2, 9, 16, 23; Sep 1, 8, 15, 19, 29; Oct 6

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 6 nights’ accommodation
  • BackroadsTour leader, driver and mini-coach transportation
  • Local guides in Valley of the Temples, Villa del Casale and Syracuse
  • European breakfast daily
  • 2 evening meals
  • 1 lunch
  • Marsala wine tasting
  • Included Entrance Fees: Erice church, Valley of the Temples, Villa del Casale, Syracuse archaeological site and Syracuse Cathedral

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Pre and post tour accommodation
  • Arrival and departure transfers

OTHER INFORMATION:

Mobility:
The tour involves walking and requires guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility.

Trip Highlights:

  • Cook your own Italian lunch with a chef who will share the secrets of how to make the perfect pasta and tasty breads.
  • Enjoy olive oil and Chianti wine tasting.
  • Relax in a gorgeous villa in the heart of Tuscany.
  • Enjoy the relaxed pace of the tour and the great flexibility offered.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

TB BACKROAPAL15SG: BRSSIC 17
7 Oct 2017
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