You'll start your Sicilian journey in Palermo, whose rich trading history has left its unforgettable mark on the city's Italian, Arab and Norman-styled piazzas, street markets and churches. Enjoy some free time to relax before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception to kick-start your Sicilian adventure.
Palermo's rich history, culture and gastronomy are revealed on this morning's sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist, who will take you on a journey into the city's tumultuous past. Head to Monreale on the slopes of Monte Caputo where a Local Specialist will guide you through one of the greatest examples of Norman architecture, the 12th-century Cattedrale di Monreale. This evening, why not join an Optional Experience to the beautiful fishing village of Sferracavallo, at the foot of Mount Capo Gallo? Here you'll feast on Palermitano specialties, perfectly paired with delicious Sicilian wine.
Leaving Palermo behind, we stop in the fishing village of Mondello, historically a favourite seaside retreat for the who's who of Palermo. Breathe in the cool sea air and savour the easy-going atmosphere before you head to Erice, the hilltop 'Town of a Hundred Churches'. You'll have some free time for lunch before continuing to Marsala, home to the nutty-flavoured wine which shares its name. Dive Into Culture along the way, stopping at the salt pans to visit the Infersa Mill to learn about the ancient 'culture of salt' and industry which has shaped this region. You'll be thrilled with an evening at leisure in picture-perfect Marsala with its marble streets and expansive piazze filled with colourful restaurants. Find a trattoria spilling out on to the pavement and indulge in the favourite local Pollo al Marsala (Marsala chicken).
Today's first stop is Agrigento where you'll join a Local Specialist for a visit to the UNESCO-listed Valley of the Temples. You'll explore one of the world's most treasured centres of Greek art and architecture, including the seven sandstone Doric temples overlooking the city. There's time for lunch before we head to Ragusa, a city with two very different souls- the lower and older Ragusa Ibla and higher Ragusa Superiore separated dramatically by a deep ravine, the Valle dei Ponti. You'll want to explore both after dinner at your hotel.
Learn about the rebuilding of Ragusa after a 17th-century earthquake which all but levelled its skyline. Your Local Specialist will reveal how this devastating seismic event led to the development of an entirely new city on a nearby ridge, while some of its brave residents remained to rebuild what was lost. You'll hear how it was only in the early 20th century that the two were eventually fused together. Later, take a drive to Modica - your Travel Director is on hand to give you an orientation of this Baroque beauty before you'll Dive Into Culture and learn the secrets of Modican chocolate. You'll return to Ragusa for an evening at leisure, the aroma of roasted cocoa beans lingering long after your visit to the local chocolatier.
Once a major Mediterranean power and the birthplace of Archimedes, the historic city of Syracuse takes centre stage this morning as you join your Local Specialist for in-depth insights into its colourful past. You'll see some of its treasures at the Archaeological Museum, then visit the island of Ortygia, the ancient heart of the city connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. Your afternoon is open to spend as you wish. This evening you'll join your fellow travellers for dinner at a local restaurant.
Continue up the coast to Catania, the city that lies in Mount Etna's shadow. You'll have some free time to explore on your own and perhaps sample arancini, a favourite Catania snack. Later join a Local Specialist to delve into the history and culture of the ancient town of Taormina. A particular highlight of this afternoon will be a visit to the beautifully preserved ruins of the Teatro di Taormina. Imagine masked actors performing against the backdrop of glorious sea views more than 2,500 years ago. You'll have an evening on your own to spend as you wish or consider joining our Optional Experience evening enjoying Sicilian specialties in Castelmola, one of the most dramatically located villages in Sicily.
Taormina is yours for the taking today. You could choose to visit the 10th-century Palazzo Corvaja with its Islamic-style tower or explore the elegant boutiques along Corso Umberto. Work up an appetite and stop for some of the city's signature cannoli or cool down with a famous Sicilian granita, a half-frozen dessert served with a piping-hot brioche. Movie buffs will delight in an Optional Experience to Mount Etna and Savoca, the hilltop village of 'The Godfather'. Besides the stunning views, you should visit the bar where Al Pacino's character asks for his future wife's hand in marriage. Later this evening, you'll head up to the slopes of Mount Etna for an exclusive Be My Guest experience with Maria Marano. Connect With Locals as you visit the estate and cellars and enjoy the flavours from secret family recipes.
Your journey through Sicily has come to an end. All that's left is to say a fond farewell to new friends and take your airport transfer for your return journey home. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.