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4 days special Sicily tour with local guides, overnight in charming 4* Hotels.
Departure from Catania on Saturday February 3rd, 2024.
Individual arrival to the hotel in the charming city of Catania (optional private transfer on request). In the evening you will meet our tour-leader and your travel companions for a short briefing.
Today it starts in Catania the celebration in honour of St. Agatha, its Saint Patron in a ritual that has been handed down for thousands of years. You will experience the third most famous festival in the world, a blend of traditions and spirituality! This is the night thousands of devotiees wearing the traditional white “sacco” (a votive white canvas gown up to the ankle and tightened at the waist by a cord) gather in the Cathedral square to honor St. Agatha with orchestral music, songs and amazing fireworks! For those who will like to, we offer our guests as a supplementary service, the possibility to enjoy this special night living a unique experience from the terrace of a nearby hotel sipping a glass of champagne! Dinner on your own and overnight in hotel.
This morning after a short visit of the famous “pescheria” (the ancient fish market) in Catania, the tour will continue with an excursion to the Mount Etna, the highest (c. 3350m) volcano in Europe and one of the largest and most active in the world, nowadays Unesco World Heritage Site. Its regional park protects 59.000 hectares of unique geology, flora and fauna, villages and farms, and traditional methods of forestry, bee-keeping, wine manufacture, stonework and carpentry. Views of stunning landscapes will amaze you heading to Rifugio Sapienza. You will reach the “Crateri Silvestri”, small volcanic cones now inactive, surrounded by ancient lava flows. The view beyond the mountain’s hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters, can extend across the whole of Sicily, the Aeolian islands and Calabria. The spectacle is unique! You will have the chance to enjoy the local homemade honey and some typical products of the area. Then you will have lunch in a lovely restaurant. The tour continues towards Taormina, charming town renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna. Visit of Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre which will leave you breathless for its commanding view on Giardini Naxos bay and the Etna mountain! Free time for a nice walk among the picturesque Medieval typical narrow streets, to go shopping and looking around the local handicrafts (coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, pastries and much more). The day will end with an overview of the beautiful Riviera dei Ciclopi. Back in Catania to experience the exciting atmosphere of the procession of St. Agatha. The coffin – adorned with red carnations symbolizing martyrdom – in this day walks along the places connected to her life and martyr. There are four-thousand or five-thousand devotees that pull the heavy “fercolo”. All of them wearing the traditional “sacco”, the black velvet hat and the white gloves drag in the crowd the fercolo which, empty, weighs 17 tons but, weighed down by the casket, the bust and loaded with huge candles, can weigh up to 30 quintals. At a rhythmic pace they cry out: “citizens, viva Sant’Agata”!
The ” tour ” ends late at night when the fercolo returns to the Cathedral. Dinner on your own and overnight in hotel.
This day is dedicated to the visit of Catania and to the feast of St. Agatha. Catania’s historical center with its original Baroque style and its unique streets built with black lava stone is stated Unesco World Heritage Site. The color scheme of the city-centre buildings is black and dark grey, relieved with white limestone details around doors and windows. The effect is extremely elegant! The guided walking tour will start from the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous “Liotru” statue, antique lava-stone elephant, symbol of the city. Not far from here we will reach University Square and we will have a walk along the splendid baroque Via dei Crociferi, the most representative 18th century street in Catania, where we will admire the famous S. Benedict Monastery, Unesco World Heritage Site. Continuing the visit enjoy a light lunch in a historical bar of the city centre to taste the local street food and the typical “minnuzze”. Free afternoon to enjoy the feast.
On this day the city center is a riot of colors and lights dedicated to the procession of the rich and sumptuous fercolo of St Agatha – saint patron of Catania – that is carried around the main streets of the city by the devotees. You will experience the exciting trails of devotees who follow the fercolo in procession, wearing the traditional white “sacco” and carrying on their shoulders heavy candles lit in sign of devotion. You’ll admire the extraordinary beauty of the silver reliquary and bust made for the virgin martyr and decorated with fresh white carnations; the royal crown belonged to King Richard the Lionheart and offered by the king to the Saint in 1191 in occasion of his stay in Sicily. It is of rare beauty the amazing bust in embossed silver (inside which is the chest of the Saint) embellished with enamels and precious stones created in the 14th century. It is a masterpiece of high jewelry and of considerable artistic value to which they have been added over the millennia the votive gifts of precious goldsmith and the ex-votos offered to the martyr by the devotees. You will treasure the magic atmosphere that you breathe in the streets of the city center pervaded by the scents of freshly crystallized nougat and cotton candy… We suggest you not to miss the traditional parade of the 12 “candelore” in Duomo square – majestic wooden buildings richly carved and gilded on the surface which symbolize “the light of the world” against the darkness of night. Just think they weigh from 400 up to 900 kilos, and they are carried on the shoulder of 4 or 12 men, depending on their weight. Dinner on your own and overnight in hotel.
Breakfast in hotel and end of services. We strongly recommend for those who were willing, to experience the thrilling singing of the cloistered nuns greeting St. Agatha in front of San Benedetto Monastery (behind the back of your hotel) before she goes back to the Cathedral to be placed in the room from which she will come out next year. This will be your personal greeting to the Saint and your “arrivederci” to Catania!
For organizational reasons or due to force majeure, the itinerary may be modified.
€ 160,00 p.p. in double/twin room
€ 350,00 p.p. in single/Double single use
Includes: Superior/Deluxe Room – Private transfer in/out – City taxes – All entrance fees as per program.
Arrival or Departure Day: on request, it is possible to arrange optional HD private excursions to Acireale or Caltagirone.
Transfers in/out, Meals and beverages not included by the program, Entrance fees at monuments/museums, City taxes, Anything not specified under “The rate includes”.
* To be confirmed
Private transfers from Catania airport to hotel in Catania or vice versa:
€ 40,00 per car (1/2 pax)
Note: for festivities the transfer rates from and to the airport might change
Assistance – Medical Expense Reimbursement – Luggage insurance – Travel Cancellation Expenses Insurance: on request
Accommodation in charming 4 stars hotels located in the city centers, carefully selected for their location and design to combine tradition with comfort
|HOTEL OR SIMILAR
|Il Principe Hotel 4* – Romano House Hotel