Day 1 : Arrive Catania
The slopes of Mount Etna are never far when you stroll around Catania. You'll start your Sicilian journey in the city that lies in its shadow, spending your first day exploring on your own before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception. There's free time to savour the city's celebrated gastronomic talents and history as a leading Renaissance centre before you embark on your adventure.
Accommodation : NH Centro
Day 2 : Catania – Taormina (Giardini Naxos) (3 Nights)
Begin your day with a guided sightseeing tour. Your 'Local Specialist' will delve into the history and culture of this ancient port city, including a visit to Basilica Cattedrale Sant'Agata which you'll have an opportunity to explore on your own. Take a leisurely stroll through Giardino Bellini, one of Italy's most exquisite public gardens with incredible vistas of Catania and Mount Etna. Continue to Taormina, once a highlight along Europe's Grand Tour. Here you'll have an afternoon to spend at your leisure.
Accommodation : Caesar Palace
Day 3 : Taormina Sightseeing
Sea views and sun-kissed pastel façades feature along your sightseeing tour with a 'Local Specialist' this morning. Before the stylish cafés and luxury boutiques lined Corso Umberto I, the ancient Greeks chose the perfect spot to plant their theatre over 2,500 years ago. You'll have an opportunity to explore the well-preserved ruins of the Teatro Antico di Taormina, imagining how captivating the theatrical performances would have had to be to pull the attention of the audience away from the glistening bay beyond. This evening, the slopes of Mount Etna provide a dramatic backdrop for an exclusive 'Be My Guest' dinner with Maria Marano.'Connect With Locals' as you visit the estate and cellars and enjoy the flavours from secret family recipes.
Day 4 : Taormina Free Day
Indulge in a full free day to explore Taormina on your own. Wherever your exploration takes you, don't miss a chance to sample some of the famous Sicilian granita served with a piping hot brioche. You could choose instead to join your fellow travellers for an Optional Experience to Mount Etna and Savoca. You'll see first-hand why this Sicilian hilltop village was chosen as a backdrop for scenes from The Godfather, before you return to Taormina. This evening, maybe choose to join a traditional Sicilian dinner in Castelmola, perched picturesquely above Sicily's stunning coastline.
Day 5 : Taormina – Syracuse
Once a major Mediterranean power and the birthplace of Archimedes, the historic city of Syracuse takes centre stage today as you join your 'Local Specialist' for in-depth insights into its colourful past. In its heyday, the city was described as 'the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all'. 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 you'll cross on foot. Among the many highlights of the Città Vecchia (Old City), is the beautiful Baroque Cathedral of Syracuse, which has occupied pride of place, in one form or another, since 480 BC. This evening, you'll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodation : Mercure
Day 6 : Syracuse – Modica – Ragusa – Agrigento
The aroma of roasted cocoa beans will linger long after your visit to a local chocolatier in Modica. Here you'll 'Dive Into Culture' and learn the secrets of Modican chocolate, produced the same way the Aztecs once did thanks to the legacy left behind by Spanish conquistadors. Continue to Agrigento, stopping along the way in Ragusa, whose Duomo di San Giorgio, with its remarkable stained glass windows, stands out amongst a multitude of beautiful Baroque façades. Join a 'Local Specialist' later for a visit to the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO-listed site featuring some of the world's most treasured Greek art and architecture. Gain in-depth insights as you explore the world's largest archaeological site, featuring seven temples dating as far back as the 5th century.
Accommodation : Dioscuri Bay Palace
Day 7 : Agrigento – Erice – Mondello – Palermo (2 Nights)
A day of discovery awaits as you head to Palermo, stopping first in Erice where ancient and medieval come together in the 'city of a hundred churches'. With its alleyways and pretty squares, palaces and castles, Erice is delightfully historic. Next on your journey is a visit to the pretty fishing village of Mondello, a favourite seaside retreat for the who's who of Palermo. Soak up the holiday atmosphere along its lively seafront promenade before arriving in Palermo for a free evening. You could choose instead to join an Optional Experience to Sferracavallo at the foot of Mount Capo Gallo for dinner.
Accommodation : Garibaldi
Day 8 : Palermo Sightseeing
This morning, enjoy some free time and soak up the atmosphere. Take a stroll through the Piazza Bellini, at the heart of Palermo, or take a moment to admire the beautiful Pretoria Fountain. Palermo's rich history, culture and gastronomy are revealed on today's sightseeing tour with a 'Local Specialist', who will take you on a journey into the city's tumultuous past. You'll head to Monreale on the slopes of Monte Caputo where a 'Local Specialist' will join you on a tour of one of the greatest examples of Norman architecture, the 12th-century Cattedrale di Monreale, with its intricate gold mosaics. Later, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a rousing Farewell Dinner.
Day 9 : Depart Palermo
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. Conditions apply.