Exclusive Baroque Tour of Sicily

A 7 day trip to Italy 
5
5 out of 5 stars
2 reviews

Sicily will enchant you with its stunning architecture, embracing culture, and elegant flavors on your custom tailored Sicily Baroque tour. Elegant statues frame trickling fountains. Locals dine on timeless recipes passed down from generation to generation. Quality olive oil is as coveted as celebrated wine, and sampled with the same reverence. Marketplaces alight with the colorful rinds of fresh produce. The aroma of citrus emanates from wild orange groves. Sicily’s layered history emboldens and enhances the wonders of its contemporary lifestyle, from the cities to the countryside, and to those that hold its traditions dear.  

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Palermo, Casteldaccia, Mount Etna, Catania, Castelbuono, Menfi, Trapani, The Salt Road, Erice, Marsala

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Beauty of Sicily

Catania is a vibrant and energetic city founded in 8th century BC. The history is palpable in the culture and architecture filling the streets. The La Pescheria fish market takes over the lanes behind Piazza del Duomo. Swordfish and ruby prawns weigh down the tables. Fishmongers call out to passersby, telling them to see the fish they caught earlier that day. The Basilica Cattedrale Sant’Agata was erected in the 11th century after the Norman invasion. The remains of the ancient civilizations that had settled the area were used to erect the exterior of the building.

Rich carvings illustrate the life of Saint Agatha, decorating the 16th-century wooden choir stalls. Your private transfer meets you at Catania-Fontanarossa Airport upon your arrival. Wide streets and open public squares indicate the heart of the Baroque in the city. You make your way to a luxurious wine hotel located in the foothills of Mount Etna, the largest volcano in Europe. The estate has been family owned and operated since the early 1800s. Vines comb the hills, leading to a view of Mount Etna’s lingering summit.

You settle into your luxurious room before setting out on a tour of the marvelous grounds. Your guide leads you along the segmented vines, showcasing the various types of grapes shown on the property. The fertile volcanic soil on the northeastern slopes of Etna enhances the nutrients that the crops receive, which enriches the overall flavor of the wines. At dinner, you have your first taste of traditional Sicilian cuisine, accompanied by delectable wine from the estate and creamy olive oil produced from the olive orchards alongside the vineyards.

What’s Included: dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Visions of the Mountaintop

In the morning, the earthen aroma of the rich soil accompanies the decadent flavors of your frothy cappuccino. You indulge in the traditional delights of a Sicilian breakfast, from the sensational coffee to the soft, sweet texture of a ciambelle, fried dough dusted with sugar, similar to a donut. After breakfast, your guide takes you to the hills of Mount Etna. Consider learning more about your Sicily tour companies who strive to produce a highly memorable and personalized experience for you.The peak towers into the sky at an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet. You step into a jeep and make your way across the rugged terrain.

You reach Rifugio Sapienza, a rest area on the southern ascent at 6,309 feet above sea level. A gondola ferries people closer to Torre del Filosofo. Your jeep follows the winding path along the slopes. The rugged landscape turns into black, barren hills the higher up the mountain you climb. Four craters surround the summit. The southeast crater forms a perfect black cone. At times, puffs of smoke drift from the crater and mix with the clouds. You return to the stable grounds and venture to the seaside town of Taormina, perched on the side of a hill overlooking the Bay of Naxos.

Cobblestones pave the streets. Boutique shops surround the squares. Medieval churches create a unique skyline set against the backdrop of the bay. The Dominican monastery was erected in the 15th century and was the first castle in Taormina during the middle ages. It is now a luxurious hotel with a view straight to Mount Etna. Contemporary beauty meets classical splendor in the city. The Greek theater was erected in the 3rd century BC. The marble structure remains intact with the majority of its stadium seating etched into the hillside. It is the second largest classical theater in Sicily.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Inheriting a Castle

At breakfast, you can linger with your refreshing espresso and take in the panorama of Mount Etna once more before leaving the vineyard behind. Your guide greets you in the lobby and escorts you to the town of Castelbuono, which grew around its 14th-century castle. The streets are humble and charming. Wrought iron balconies decorated with blossoming flowers and ivy overlook the walkways. The tranquil ambiance accompanies the aroma of a freshly baked brioche. The castle adorns the hillside.

The façade contains elements of Norman and Arabic architecture. The Matrice Vecchia Church was erected in the 15th century atop the ruins of a pagan temple. The central portal maintains a Catalan-Gothic embellishment. You arrive at your accommodation located inside a medieval Benedictine abbey, first established in the 12th century. You have a perfect view of the Parco delle Madonie. The lush trees give way to the craggy mountaintops. Wildflowers blossom with bright yellow petals. Your guide meets you in the lobby and escorts you through the vineyard located on the property, founded by the monks who established the monastery.

The present day winery was founded in the 1980s and focuses mainly on indigenous grape varietals, such as Grillo and Nero d’Avola. The producers pride themselves on their biodynamic and organic approach to the wines. When you enter the tasting room, your guide pours you a sample of the Abbazia Santa Anastasia Zurrica. You find traces of quince and elderflower on the nose. When you sip your sample, you delight in the wine’s light body and short finish. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 4: Luminous Palermo

Today you leave behind the vineyards of the countryside and make your way into the big city of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The sunlight glints off of the honey-hued buildings. The Tyrrhenian Sea laps against the harbor. Colorful fishing boats wade in the sparkling water. The morning markets brim with activity, filled with locals and visitors searching for the perfect flavors of the city. You follow your guide through the streets behind the city’s cathedral to find the vivacious calls of vendors echoing underneath the tarps.

You feel as though you have been transferred from Palermo to a market in North Africa. Il Capo is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and maintains its distinctive Moorish character. The narrow streets lead to Piazza del Monte. Vendors display a vivid assortment of pine nuts, espresso beans, and soft bread. You even find an antique wooden rocking horse painted with elegant colors. The Spanish occupied Sicily for nearly five centuries and left their distinctive mark on Palermo in many of the lavish and graceful buildings, from churches to palaces.

The circular open space of Quattro Canti was erected in the 17th century at the junction of two of Palermo’s major avenues. The four bordering buildings were erected to mirror one another in height and decadence. Fountains trickle at the base of the three-story buildings. Statues adorn the central niches on the upper floors, flanked by Greek columns. The statues on the top floors represent four female patron saints. Like the Norman Palace and the glittering mosaics inside the Palatine Chapel, the Baroque architecture of Palermo connects the city to its complex and eclectic past. 

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: Salt like Snow

The coastline between the cities of Trapani and Marsala look as though they are covered in snow. The white powder glistens in the sunlight along with the ripples of the shining edges of the sea. After breakfast, your guide leads you along the Salt Road to see the famous Salt Pans of Sicily. The winds sweep across the water, causing a gentle ripple. The sun envelops the landscape in the summer. The coastal waters are shallow. The Phoenicians were able to use these elements to harness salt 2,700 years ago. The Stagnone, the largest lagoon in Italy, covers 4,942 acres and is home to the ancient tradition of producing sea-salt.

Windmills create the skyline overlooking the coastline. The wings slowly rotate around, highlighting their simple function, powering water through the gates of various basins. Terracotta tiles cover the harvested salt and decorate the area between the basins and the road. The salt produced in the saltpans is natural and contains high concentrations of potassium and magnesium. Your guide leads you away from the snow-like quality of the region to a medieval city adorning a mountaintop at 2,460 feet above sea level.

Cobbled roads wind along the triangular summit of the mountain, connecting the avenues and walkways leading to the 60 churches around town. From the rim of the plateau, you can look out over the water and see the coast of Trapani to the Egadi Islands. Imposing towers mark Venus Castle, named for its settlement over an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess. The aroma of sweet pastries drifts down Via Vittorio Emanuele. Traditional Sicilian treats, such as almond pastries and cannoli, decorate the display case. You can relax with a glass of Masala wine and indulge in a tasting of macaroons.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation,

Day 6: Cooking with Sicilian Style

In the morning, you wake up to the emerald glow of the vines outside of your window leading to the base of the distant mountains. The scent of fresh espresso accompanies the bright flavors of breakfast. After your meal, your guide escorts you to the estate of Tenuta Ravida, a family owned estate. The family can trace their lineage back to the 13th century. The grounds have been in the family since the mid-18th century. Olive orchards pepper the landscape. The hills undulate across the valley reaching the coast.

Ripe olives glow a bright green beneath the verdant leaves. Your guide leads you through the grove, introducing you to the soil, trees, and beautiful scenery across the estate. The trees grow best at an altitude over 328 feet above sea level. You taste the olive oil at various stages of its maturity, finding a light bitterness in the youngest production, and a smooth creaminess in the most-aged olive oil. After your tour of the grounds, you meet your chef to embark on a private culinary class meant to highlight the usages of olive oil in any course and dish. Stroll through the herb garden to pick fresh herbs, from rosemary to thyme. The aroma is refreshing.

Your chef introduces the ingredients, each one seasonal by the traditions of Sicilian cuisine. A glass of wine accompanies you in the kitchen. You slice eggplant and slowly cook it into a tomato sauce simmering with thyme. You add dried oregano and grated pecorino cheese as the sauce continues to cook. The dish turns into the simple pleasures of pasta alla norma. The panelle di ciciri is a chickpea fritter fried in olive oil and sprinkled with lemon juice. The combination of flavors is light and satisfying, creamy and zesty. The splendor of Sicily is in the architecture, landscape, culture, and undoubtedly in the cuisine. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Baroque Aside 

In the morning, the sunlight pours through the windows of the Palatine Chapel and captures the gilded frames of the mosaics decorating the walls. The color creates a mystical glow overtaking the triple-aisled basilica. Arabic style stalactites decorate the ceiling, creating a honeycombed effect. You wake up to the quiet sounds of the countryside sweeping across the panorama outside the city of Masala. After breakfast, your guide escorts you to Palermo. The city is robust with people heading to the market. The aromas and sounds of Palermo are familiar. The combination of Norman and Arab architectural styles adorns the Norman Palace. You continue to Falcone-Borsellino Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$4,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.