- About Us
- Guided Tours
8 days special Sicily tour with local guides, overnight in charming 4* Hotels.
Departure from Palermo on Tuesday January 30th, 2024.
Saint Agatha Tour of Sicily special 8 days provides individual arrival to the hotel in the charming city of Palermo (optional private transfer on request). In the evening you will meet our tour-leader and your travel companions for a short briefing. Dinner on your own and overnight in hotel.
After breakfast in hotel, the morning will be spent visiting Monreale, its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry! Later you will discover the stunning Palermo, one of the richest towns in the island for its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay dominated by Mount Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. While the Baroque predominates, there is a profusion of different architectural styles reflecting the city’s multicultural past: Punic walls, Art Nouveau villas, noble residences, 17th century squares, including an elegant opera house. Visit of the wonderful eclectic Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, admirable example from an historical and an artistic point of view, and a prove of how different cultures, religions and way of thinking apparently incompatible can coexist. Ruggero II employed Bizantyne, Muslim and Latin workers. During the day, you will have a stop to enjoy a typical lunch with local food. Along the path you will admire the famous Teatro Massimo and the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with 16th century sculptures. Dinner on your own and overnight in hotel.
This morning the tour will continue visiting the popular Salt Road: here the salt marshes have given rise to one of the oldest salt-extracting industries in the world! Between Trapani and Marsala, the Salt Road is now protected for its interesting birdlife, and also as an important site of industrial archaeology. Proceeding on, the visit of the charming and well-known town of Marsala, where Garibaldi went ashore in May 1860. Marsala is a Mediterranean modern city, divided between sea and land, featuring unforgettable colors: bright yellow, intense blue, strong red, dazzling white and natural green. After a walk along the city centre, guided tour of the Florio Cellars. The visit starts in front of the majestic giant vats, built at the end of the 19th century and still used for the refinement of Marsala wine. It continues inside the 3 fascinating barrel chambers, 165 meters long and running beneath 104 arches, under which 1.400 small barrels and about 600 larger barrels and vats of different capacities are arrayed, as c. 5.500.000 liters of Marsala wines age in silence and stillness. After a thirty minute tour through the barrel vaults, where the ancient tuff stone floor has been restored, you will reach the avant-garde tasting rooms named Donna Franca and Duca Enrico. You will enjoy a delicious light lunch and a memorable wine tasting experience!
The day goes on to Agrigento visiting the famous Valley of the Temples stated World Heritage Site. It was defined by Pyndar “the most beautiful city of mortals”. As one of the most prosperous of the ancient Greek cities on the island, Agrigento presents a remarkable series of Doric Temples of the 5th century. Among hundreds of almond trees you will admire the rests of the ancient Akragas. You will see the “Temple of Hera”, the “Temple of Concordia” and the “Temple of Heracles”. Accommodation in hotel, dinner and overnight.
After breakfast in hotel departure towards the charming Piazza Armerina to visit the famous Villa Romana del Casale, Unesco World Heritage Site, to admire the splendid polychrome mosaics! This majestic villa, belonged to a member of the Roman Senatorial aristocracy, hosts prestigious mosaics representing mythological and historical episodes and scenes of hunting and entertainments: you will love it! The tour proceeds towards Modica chest of innumerable Baroque architectural treasures and for this reason stated Unesco World Heritage Site. Walking along the tiny streets of this charming town, you will have a stop to visit Sabadì, one of the most renowned chocolate manufacturers whose chocolate has been awarded as the best Modica chocolate in the last 9 years! You will enjoy a multisensorial chocolate tasting discovering the authentic Sicilian perfumes… the local nepitella (wild mint), the orange blossom honey, the raw PGI – quality Sicilian lemon and the PGI – quality Sicilian red orange are just some of the many flavours you can taste! Proceeding on you will visit the beautiful and perfectly preserved noble seventeenth-century Palazzo Castro Polara Grimaldi. You will be astonished by its amazing balcony which dominates the town with a spectacular view and you will feel to be brought back to the past at the beginning of the XX century where time seems to have stopped. The style of the interior has the typical flavor of Sicilian noble palaces: frescoes of landscapes, wallpapers in splendid satins, vases and furnishings of the most precious manufacture, together with the private collections of Donna Grazietta Grimaldi are all signs which give you the impression that nothing has changed and that the ancient traditions of the house are still alive. You will then be brought back to present time savoring some local dishes in a typical restaurant. The day goes on to Ragusa Ibla and its historical centre cradle of Sicilian Baroque. Used as a location of the extremely popular Police Inspector Montalbano Tv series, it is today stated among the 44 Italian World Heritage Sites. This little precious ancient town hosts more than 50 churches and many Baroque architectural treasures! You will be fascinated by its Cathedral, situated in the beautiful Dome square and you will love the “Giardino Ibleo”, the oldest of the four main gardens in Ragusa… At 383 meters above sea level, from this beautiful garden you can admire a spectacular panorama! Departure to Ragusa. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Today the tour continues to Noto, the capital of Sicilian Baroque, famous for its fine buildings of the early eighteenth century and declared Unesco World Heritage Site. Inspired by Baroque ideals of “open city”, Noto is a rare masterpiece and the clearest example of theatrical tastes in 18th century architecture whose local limestone has been burnt gold by the sun. Noto’s Baroque is a game of elegant curves, floral weaves, perspective views, palaces and gardens, capitals and ornaments that adorn the facades of churches and monasteries. Visit of Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata, beautiful noble residence in Baroque style. Free time for a walk along the town. Departure to Syracuse to visit the most beautiful and greatest Greek colony in Sicily and World Heritage Site! The visit will start with the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, with its Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomie of Paradise and the Ear of Dionysius. Proceeding on and visit of the splendid Ortigia, a small island which is the historical centre of Syracuse. In Ortigia you will admire the beautiful Cathedral which dominates the square with its authoritative presence. The façade is a powerful Sicilian-Baroque composition but it gives no hint that this building was once a Doric temple! From Piazza Duomo you will reach a wide terrace on the waterfront surrounding the famous Arethusa’s Fountain, one of the most famous fresh-water sources of the Greek world. Then you will have lunch in a lovely restaurant. Transfer to Catania where it starts the celebration in honour of 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.
€ 280,00 p.p. in double/twin room
€ 425,00 p.p. in single/Double single use
Includes: Superior/Deluxe Room – Private transfer in/out – City taxes – All entrance fees as per program.
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
Post-night in hotel in Catania (BB treatment):
€ 80,00 p.p. in classic double room per night
€ 129,00 in classic single room per night.
Private transfers from Palermo airport to hotel in Palermo or vice versa:
€ 49,00 per car (1/3 pax)
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
|HOTEL OR SIMILAR
|Mercure Palermo Centro 4* – Ibis Styles Palermo Cristal 4*
|Baia di Ulisse Wellness & SPA 4*
|Mediterraneo Palace Hotel 4*
|Il Principe Hotel 4* – Romano House Hotel 4*