While the reputation of Italian wine and food is legendary, the true art of the vinicultural and culinary spirit will shine during you custom-tailored wine and food tour of Sicily. Over the course of nearly three millennia, Sicily has acted as the center of Mediterranean trade, bringing vibrant culture and sensational flavor to the rugged mountains, fertile plains, and golden coastline. You will experience the majestic mixture of customs and the alluring continuation of tradition within the context...
Palermo – Arrive in Palermo with a Delicious Street Food Tour
Palermo will enchant you with a heavy mixture of mouthwatering aromas that drift away from street vendors and gilded Byzantine mosaics that shine in the sunlight and spread across magnificent chapels. Arabesque domes will decorate the skyline, and the interior of fascinating cupolas will shimmer with elegant frescoes. The city has stood at the center of Mediterranean trade for over a millennium, capturing the heritage of surrounding cultures within the souk-like markets that wind through the streets in the shadows of Baroque churches. Your private transfer will greet you upon arrival at Falcone Borsellino Airport and escort you into the heart of the bustling city. You will have time to freshen up and settle into the comforts of your luxury accommodation before meeting your guide for a captivating introduction to Palermo’s delicious treats.
You will join in the Italian tradition of the nightly passeggiata, which is a stroll where locals of a city or town wander through the streets to see and be seen. Your guide will take you through a neighborhood that will be brimming with the aromas of gelato, potato croquettes, and the savory thick crust of sfincione, which is a Palermitan pizza. You will sample the different flavors of traditional street food in Palermo for an introduction to the sensational cuisine that will begin with your first bite of the customary thick-crust dough that will be topped with tomato sauce a gooey mozzarella cheese, ending with the incredible crunch of a cannoli.
Palermo – Enjoy a Monuments and Wine Tour of Palermo
Your day will begin after breakfast when your guide meets you in the hotel lobby eager to introduce you to the fabulous history of Palermo on a half-day private tour. You will follow your guide through the streets of the city that fills with a magnificent ambiance and aromas of the morning market that will emanate with the scents of fresh seafood. You will make your way through the captivating marketplace where locals shop for ingredients that are required for the night’s dinner before you reach the majesty of the Cappella Palatina.
The chapel was built in the twelfth century and features sensational gilded mosaics that shimmer in the natural light that pours through the windows. Your guide will offer the distinctive history of the chapel that has allowed the captivating character to persist through the ages, combining a Latin basilica, Byzantine dome, and Arabic stalactite ceiling. Images of the Old and New testaments cover the walls and depict scenes from the Fall of Man to Noah’s Ark.
In the afternoon, you will continue your tour of Palermo with your guide where you will visit two popular wine bars to begin your tasting adventures in Sicily. A sommelier will provide you with information about the history of wine production on the island, as well as the methods for producing the wines that you sample, which will highlight local grape varieties for which Sicily is known. The regional characteristics and the features of the individual wine producers will come to light as you sample approximately five wines that will be paired with traditional Sicilian appetizers like caponata, fried mozzarella, and a refreshing orange salad. You will notice the nutty aromas of the Grecanico blend that lead to a flavor of honey and fresh apples.
Palermo – Discover the Vineyards and Cuisine of Palermo Province
Your guide will escort you outside of Palermo for the day for an in-depth tour of the wines that are produced in the Palermo province. Palermo’s entire wine industry covers approximately 5,405 square miles of the island in vines. Your guide will provide some context on the winemaking traditions on the island as you make your way to the first vineyard that explains the endemic and foreign grapes that are grown in Sicily.
At your first winery, your guide will lead you through the vines where the aromas of parched soil and sugars from the grapes will become palpable. You can touch the waxy texture of the leaves and plump skin of the grapes as you listen to the family history of the boutique vineyard. In the tasting room, your guide will pour a selection of wines that have been produced on the property, including a blend of Inoslia and Viognier. The straw-yellow hue will give way to floral notes and aromas of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.
You will return to Palermo to meet your chef for a private cooking class that will focus on the elaborate flavors of Sicilian cuisine. You will begin your exploration of the local gastronomy with a visit to the bustling market, indulging in the bright images of stalls that will be with vegetables, olives, and local cheeses. You enter into the chef’s home where the ingredients from your market excursion will fill the room with the aromas of orange citrus and briny olives. You will learn the art of a true four-course meal, sipping wine as you learn new recipes for crafting an antipasto that is filled with marinated bell peppers, eggplants, and cheeses. This will lead to the main course of pasta alla norma, which is a pasta dish with tomato, eggplant, and a ricotta salata.
Taormina – Travel Taormina for an Introductory Guided Tour
The gorgeous city of Taormina will stand on a rocky terrace 669 feet above sea level. It overlooks the golden sands of Sicily’s eastern shoreline and crystal-clear, azure waters of the Ionian Sea. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel after breakfast and escort you to the elegant city that is adorned with elegant gardens, crowned with the ruins of a dramatic castle, and graced with stunning beaches.
After your guide greets you at the hotel, you will have a fascinating introductory tour of the treasured city that will take you along the alluring views around Via Pirandello. The grandeur of Taormina will become clear when you reach the Teatro Greco, which is an ancient landmark that was built in the third century BC during Greek rule and was rebuilt during the second century BC during the Roman occupation. A gap in the back wall of the theater will frame the remarkable view of Mount Etna in the distance.
Taormina – Explore the Sensational Vineyards of Mount Etna
The foothills of Mount Etna possess a wine-lovers paradise that surprises many oenophiles with incredible flavors and remarkable diversity. The volcanic activity feeds the soils rich minerals that are absorbed by the vines, grapes, and produce that are cultivated on the lush slopes. Your guide will escort you into the countryside after breakfast for a private wine tour at select vineyards that have produced sensational wines for generations. The Mediterranean climate and native grape varieties add to the marvels of the fertile soil and will reveal to you a new perspective of Sicily’s complexity.
As you traverse the different wineries in the area, your guide will share the ancient history of winemaking in the region that dates back to the ancient Greeks in the eighth century BC while also offering comparisons on the heritage and traditions of vintners in the area. You can indulge in the beauty of the foothills and notice how the trellises lead to intermittent pine trees that are topped by the lingering volcanic crater that overwhelms the skyline. You will sample a variety of wines and enjoy the distinct properties where you will discover the aromas of dark cherries, black raspberries, and dried Mediterranean herbs.
Taormina – Indulge in the Sicilian Coastline and Olive Farms
The morning will be at your leisure to bask in the luxuries of the Mediterranean sunlight and splendors of the golden shores. You can take the funicular from Taormina to Lido Mazzarò and relax in the shade of the colorful umbrellas. The Ionian Sea will lap at the coastline, becoming a soothing soundtrack. Later in the day, you will have a private transfer to a family-owned olive farm for an insight into the history and culture of olives that are cultivated near the fertile slopes of Mount Etna.
Many of the olive orchards around the volcano grow alongside vineyards with the diversity of the crops adding to the complex flavors of both the grapes and olives. You will explore the olive groves with your guide for more information on the variety of olives that grown on the island, in addition to learning the characteristics of different olives. Before you indulge in a delicious lunch on the property where you will delight in a multi-course meal that will be paired with local wines, you will have a tasting of the extra-virgin olive oils that are produced on the property.
Siracusa – Traverse the Rich History and Vibrancy of Catania
In the morning, you will make your way to the lively city of Catania with your guide for a private tour of Sicily’s second-largest city. Your discovery of the grand ambiance and atmospheric streets will begin with an exploration of the famous fish market known as La Pescheria. The raucous ambiance will fill the streets behind Piazza del Duomo each morning with tables nearly buckling beneath the weight of the seafood vendor’s displays. The vendors will animate the marketplace by signing when they are not engaged with customers or calling out to one another.
You will continue exploring the sensational city with visits to witness the Baroque architecture and hidden history of the Ionian Greeks that dates back to the eighth century BC. The Teatro Massimo Bellini captures the elegance of the city with its undeniable charm that is featured in the foyer. The lights will glint against the four tiers of gilded boxes that peer down onto the stage. You will have an immersive tour of the city as it highlights the remarkable history and cherished culture that spreads from Piazza del Duomo to Castello Ursino before you reach the enchanting city of Syracuse.
Syracuse – Revel in the Culinary and Cultural Heritage of Syracuse
The marvelous city of Syracuse embodies the timelessness of Sicily’s beauty and history. Ancient Greek ruins adorn the city center with luscious, citrus orchards that grow around the borders of what was once the ancient world’s largest city-state. Baroque piazzas and medieval lanes that glowing with honey-colored stones will lead to the sparkling azure waters of the Ionian Sea. After breakfast, your guide will greet you at the hotel and take you deep into the history of the city, beginning with the archeological park where ruins date back to the fifth century BC. The remarkably preserved Greek Theater was built into the rocky hillside and could host up to 16,000 spectators in a single performance.
You will notice the aromas of citrus and magnolia trees that fill the air and the spectacular acoustics of the theater where an actor at the center stage can be heard easily from the sixty-first row. The basilica of Santa Lucia represents a twelfth-century masterpiece that juxtaposes the ancient design that you explored earlier. The Gothic allure of the portal and rose-window will lead to the Baroque porticoes. Your guide will provide you with the rich history as well as insight into the unique symbolism of the décor as you continue to explore the basilica and the greater city. The fascinating heritage of the small island of Ortygia connects to Syracuse and dates back to the ancient Greeks, containing restored medieval lanes and Baroque charms in the form of palaces and churches.
You can listen to the waters that ripple in the basin of the Fountain of Diana inside Piazza Archimede in Ortygia before you wander through the bustling marketplace for ingredients like seasonal fruit that will help you craft traditional and famous Syracusan desserts. Your private chef will teach you ins and outs of Sicilian sweets, ranging from traditional cannoli to mouthwatering buccellati, each made from local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. At the end of the lesson, you can bask in the aromas of the freshly brewed espresso and a delicious cassata cake, which is a sponge cake that is soaked in fruit juices, layered with ricotta cheese, and topped with candied fruit.
Syracuse – Delight in a Flavorful Day in and around Ragusa
You will continue your discovery of Sicily by venturing with your guide to the rocky peaks of Ragusa as the lower and upper neighborhoods climb up the rugged hillside. The streets of the upper town were designed on a grid while the alleyways of the lower town meander in a labyrinth of the gray stone house and Baroque palaces that rest beneath the central figure of the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Scale. The thirteenth-century church possesses a Gothic style with baroque embellishments that will offer you a wonderful panoramic view over the lower town and the Sicilian countryside.
After traversing the distinct, connected towns, you will travel into the countryside for a sample of the remarkable wines that are produced on a family estate and preserved in their ancient cellar. You will wander through the vines of the esteemed vineyard where you will notice the particular aromas in the lush soil and how they differ from the arid scent of the landscape outside of Palermo. The distinctive characteristics of the landscape will reveal themselves when you sample the wine, finding an incredibly intense aroma of black pepper, spices, and dark fruits.
Syracuse – Depart for Home
The market on Ortygia will return in the morning, filling the island with the aromas of marinated olives, lemon citrus, and fresh seafood. Your experience with Sicilian wines will have immersed you in the complexities of the landscape and the dynamic flavors of the varietals that are grown on the island. At breakfast, you can enjoy a decadent, freshly-brewed espresso. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel after breakfast and escort you to Catania-Fontanarossa Airport for your flight home.
- Embrace the comfort and familiarity of a private wine tour through Palermo province to meet local winemakers and sample diverse Sicilian wines
- Discover the complexities of wines that are produced on Mount Etna during a private tasting while learning about the impact of the terrain on the local viniculture
- Indulge in the marvelous flavors of Sicilian cuisine with a private cooking class that highlights the secrets of traditional dishes during a multi-course meal
- Sample the stunning sweet tastes of iconic Sicilian desserts with a private cooking class that highlights the sensational sweet tooth of the island
- Discover the rich history of Sicily at Syracuse during a private tour through the elegant lanes and fascinating ancient ruins at the archeological park
- Learn the art of crafting remarkable extra-virgin olive oil while visiting a family-owned farm on the slopes of Mount Etna
- Wander through the captivating fish market of Catania for an authentic view of the historic food culture that thrives in Sicily’s second-largest city
The flavors of the past have shaped the tastes of modern Sicily that are explored, experienced, and uncovered during your 10-day wine and food tour. The remarkable customs of the Mediterranean have become a shared culinary tradition on the island that combines the heritage of ancient Greeks, Phoenicians, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, and French. The marvels of the dynamic cultures remain prevalent in the architecture and regional cuisine that is celebrated from Palermo to Taormina, Catania to Syracuse, immersing you in the tasty customs of Sicily and its magnificent history.
Your wine and food tour of Sicily begins with your arrival in Palermo where you have three nights of guided tours that highlight the millennia of history in one of Europe’s most important cities. The impressive architecture and influential cuisine will become a sensational introduction to the greater culture of Sicily that has been defined by Norman and Arab designs. You will have the opportunity to experience a mixture of flavorful gastronomic customs in a private cooking class, on a street-food walking tour, and during two private wine-tasting tours, one inside the city and one featuring hand-picked wineries in the countryside.
You will then travel to Taormina for three nights to indulge in the legendary coastal charm of Sicily. Your time in the treasured town that overlooks the Ionian Sea offers a connection to the ancient and contemporary worlds on the island with guided tours that take you around the monuments of Taormina and onto the fertile slopes of Mount Etna. You will also have a chance to lounge on the beach and learn about olive and olive oil production within the province that will be accompanied by a sensational, multi-course meal.
You will arrive in Syracuse for your final leg of the journey and enjoy the vibrant ambiance of Catania during a private tour that is focused on the monuments of food in Sicily’s second-largest city, which will highlight the famous fish market. You will discover the ancient charms and Baroque allure of Syracuse with a private tour of the archeological park and the island of Ortygia before discovering the unique layered city of Ragusa. Your private tour of the elegant city will combine the distinctive architectural history of the neighborhoods and the welcoming ambiance of a family-owned estate in the hills that produce sensational wines. Make sure your perfect Italian vacation is an unforgettable one by seeing additional Italy travel ideas.
$2,745 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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