The finer details of Jewish tradition have left a tangible mark on Sicily, adorning ancient buildings and shaping local culture. A hidden mikveh (bath used for ritual immersion) continues to bubble with fresh spring water. Stars of David decorate municipal buildings in towns that have not had a Jewish community for centuries. Synagogue foundations and demarcations of Jewish Quarters are found throughout the region. Jewish culture and traditions are as spirited and as tenacious as the...
Palermo – Legacies of Palermo
Palermo is a city that encompasses history, combining its past and present in the ancient architecture and energetic markets. The Mediterranean Sea brushes against the edges of the city at the 9th-century port. The people are friendly and eager to speak with visitors from around the world. Your private transfer meets you at Falcone-Borsellino Airport upon your arrival. Elements of Jewish life on the island can be traced back almost two millennia ago. Palermo’s community thrived in the 15th century. Your private transfer escorts you to your hotel in the heart of the city.
The mixture of architectural styles paints an elaborate portrait of Palermo’s past and the Island’s history, having been claimed by invaders from Carthage and Spain. The city is a melting pot of history, as shown in the Norman architecture of the Palazzo dei Normanni, and the Arab influence in the cuisine at the Ballarò Street Market. Quattro Canti, a circular space erected in the 17th century, has a Baroque elegance. Three-story facades have niches decorated with lavish neoclassical sculptures framed with Greek columns. The statues symbolize the four seasons. Female patron saints adorn the uppermost floor and grace the square with good fortune and protection.
Palermo – The Root of Jewish Culture
Segesta – Images of the Ancient and Medieval Times
Sciacca – Wine Culture
Sciacca – View from the Past in Agrigento
Syracuse – Allure of Medieval Stone
Noto – View to a Different World
Catania – In the Shadow of Etna’s Peak
Messina – Life and Times in Messina
Taormina – Reshaping the Ruins
- Witness the remnants of Jewish culture in Sicily adorning the buildings and hidden in the ancient ruins around the island
- Explore a historic mikveh in the city of Syracuse, home to a large Jewish population up until the late 15th century
- View the remnants of a medieval Torah ark situated in a small church located in the town of Agira
- Discover the tremendous amalgamation of cultures that have enriched the traditions of Sicily
- Tour the ancient Greek temples and theaters scattered across the island, from Segesta to the Valley of the Temples outside of Agrigento
- View the frame of an ancient synagogue that now stands as the foundation to a serene church
- Indulge in private wine tours and tastings in commemoration of the celebrations of life’s cycles and traditions
The history of Jews in Sicily spans thousands of years, dating back to before the destruction of the Second Temple. Your 10-day Jewish cultural tour of Sicily allows you to uncover the Jewish heritage of cities and towns, marketplaces and churches. Sicily has embraced and absorbed elements of civilizations that have landed on the island’s shores, Jewish culture included. When you arrive in Palermo, your private transfer greets you at the airport and escorts you into the heart of the historic city. The following morning, your guide meets you at the hotel ready to take you on the first of many private Sicily tours, beginning with an exploration of Palermo’s eclectic past. Visit the location of the city’s synagogue, the Jewish Quarter, and the nearby Cathedral of Monreale, to see the masterpieces of Arab, Norman, and Byzantine art and architecture.
The next day, you transfer to the seaside resort town of Sciacca, visiting the ancient ruins of Segesta and Medieval hilltop town of Erice along the way. Enjoy the luxuries of your accommodation and a view of the shore. You venture out to a nearby vineyard for an introduction to the winemaking past and present of Sicily, connecting the Jewish tradition to the culture of the island. Your day ends with a delicious wine tasting. Then, venture out to the Valley of the Temples to discover the exceptional Greek ruins rising along the landscape. The following morning, you transfer to the charming Baroque city of Noto. Before reaching Noto, you visit the town of Agira to see the Torah ark , which is on display in a historic church.
Continue to Villa Romana del Casale to view the exquisite Roman mosaics that have been carefully preserved. You traverse the ancient streets of Syracuse to find traces of Jewish life, including the stunning mikveh. You continue your tour, exploring the elegant streets of Noto. The next day takes you to the vibrant city of Catania, the second largest city in Sicily. The history is vibrant and vast. In the afternoon, you visit a winery on Mount Etna to learn how the volcanic soil affects the crops, before arriving in the gorgeous seaside town of Taormina.
Your private guide leads you on a tour of Messina to discover the lingering details of the city’s Jewish heritage, along with the Stars of David adorning the buildings in Taormina. On your final day in Sicily, your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escort you to the airport in Catania for your flight home. You could always extend your stay in Europe and travel to mainland Italy to continue your discovery of the history of Italian Jewish communities.
$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
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
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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