Taormina, Catania, Syracuse, Noto and Ragusa, Agrigento, Palermo
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
A marble balcony overlooks the azure water of the Mediterranean Sea. Snow caps the conical summit of Mount Etna. Baroque churches create an elegant and lavish atmosphere along the streets of hillside towns. Gold-trimmed walls reflect endlessly into the collection of mirrors hanging in the dining hall of a lavish palace. Your luxury tour of Sicily highlights takes you through the majesty of the island’s past in the comforts of contemporary five-star hotels. Take in Greek ruins and stunning panoramas,...
Taormina - Onto the Island
Sicily is an island encompassing thousands of years of history and blending the traditions of uncountable cultures from around the world. The island casts a light over the Mediterranean Sea, brimming with active volcanoes and vivacious legends. Vineyards line hillsides and windmills help drain marshes, leaving pristine salt glinting in the sunshine like snow.
Your private transfer meets you at the Catania Airport and escorts you to the charming town of Taormina. Designer shops line the main laneway and give a chic, resort ambiance to the quiet streets perched on the mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean. Settle into your luxury hotel offering you a panorama of the Gulf of Naxos stretching to the impressive peak of Mount Etna, Italy’s highest mountain south of the Alps. Palm trees speckled the skyline and fill the air with a subtle sweetness. Cliffs edge against the ancient theater nudging the mountainside. The landscape is a swirl of colors, from the rustic foothills descending into azure waters to the limestone cliffs brushed with lemon trees emanating the luscious scent of citrus. You can easily sit back and relax into your accommodation, surrounded by incredible history and the indelible charm of Sicily.
Taormina - Finding Mountaintops
The sun climbs over the horizon and fills the sky with golden orange. The water glistens beneath the layers of color, and the marble tiles in Piazza IX Aprile reflect the light against the stone façade of Sant-Agostino Church. At breakfast, the aroma of rich espresso overtakes the simmering scent of lemon trees sweeping through the streets.
Your guide meets you at the hotel for your private tour along the ridges of Mount Etna. The summit is visible from Taormina, towering over the nearby town and into the sky. The volcano stands 10,922 feet and is the tallest active volcano in Europe. The scent of lemon gives way to the earthen aroma of vineyards growing along the fertile soil of the volcanic foothills. The upper layers of the mountain turn to rugged landscape, filled with pebbles and sporadic greenery.
Your guide leads you to the lava caves known as Grotto dei Ladroni, Thieves Cave, one of many caves created by lava flow historically sloping down the mountainside. The cave was once used to collect and preserve snow to use as ice in the summer. Steps help guide you into the cave-mouth, each stair carved directly into the rocks. The walls are cold when you press your fingers to them, feeling the smooth crevices carved by time. Over time, the ceiling caved in certain places. One hole now houses a strong birch tree whose roots plunge into the dried lava. When you exit the cave, you return into the woods, surrounded by the emerald leaves and fresh aroma of the soil.
Syracuse - Vivacious Sicily
In the morning, you wake up to the view overlooking the sea and Greek Theater. The amazement you feel remains every time you take in the view. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the second largest city in Sicily, Catania. The markets erupt like live theater along the main streets, filled with jovial vendors calling out to each passerby. Locals stroll through the fish market behind Piazza del Duomo with wide eyes, calmly searching for the perfect choice amongst the daily catches. The display tables practically creak under the weight of the immense fish, from decadent swordfish to succulent pink prawns, and even purple sea urchins.
Mount Etna continues to loom on the horizon, overlooking the broader city whose origins date back to 729 BC. The Baroque architecture encompasses the streets embodied in the opulent black and white tower connected to the palace. Biscari Palace was constructed pressing against the city walls for protection. The 17th century edifice was completed in the 18th century with a dining hall decorated in the Rococo style complete with extravagant mirrors reflecting the gilded frescoes and stucco embellishments. Eight allegorical figures decorate the cupola enhancing the artistry of the architecture with a nod to mythological beauty.
Syracuse - Elegance of Antiquity
Wake up in the luxury of your five-star hotel situated in the architectural majesty of a neoclassical façade in Syracuse. Your balcony overlooks the Mediterranean, bringing the azure color into sweeping view. After breakfast, your guide escorts you to the archaeological park near the city where the ancient world comes to life. The city embodies Sicily’s timelessness as the largest city to ever have existed. Ancient Syracuse was founded around 734 BC. The archaeological park showcases the pearl-white remains of the ancient city erupting out of the rocky hillsides.
The 5th century BC Greek Theater is emblematic of the antique architecture, ascending the mountainside with a proud, pristine glow underneath the drifting sun. The theater could hold up to 16,000 people and continues to entertain visitors during the classical theater season on the island. The scent of lemon citrus and magnolia trees rises from the Latomia del Paradiso, the limestone quarry from which the city extracted its stone. You follow your guide to the Ear of Dionysus, a grotto famed for its perfect acoustics. The sounds bounce off of the stone rising to 76 feet tall and 213 feet deep. Your footsteps resound in the cave; even your breath sounds bombastic.
Syracuse - Centered Around History
The masts of the local fishing boats wade in the marina after returning to the shores. You can see the boats are painted lively colors that stand out against the blue of the water and hue of the city. After breakfast, you make your way to Noto, an enchanting city surrounding the elegance of its historic center. Baroque palaces and elegant churches line the manicured walkway of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, emanating red-gold hue across the city. The city as you see it dates back to the 18th century, redesigned and reconstructed after a devastating earthquake toward the end of the 17th century.
Piazza Municipio bisects the avenue and opens to the dramatic façade of Noto Cathedral. San Nicolo Cathedral was consecrated in 1776 and rebuilt in the mid-1990s with a pale limestone glow to the façade and a Sicilian Baroque design. Four saints stand on pillars in front of the cathedral, standing with the central dome in the background. The interior is pristine, showing how simplicity can also be opulent. The white walls shimmer underneath the soft light and line the arched colonnade bordering the nave.
Agrigento - Coming Across the Valley
The ancient walls of the city border the coastline, natural frames rising over the water and reinforced with stone by civilizations throughout history. The sea laps at the edge of the walls from the gentle current. After your breakfast, your guide escorts you to Agrigento, a modern city overlooking the detailed ruins of the Valley of the Temples. You find the savory scent of olive groves spreading across the rolling hills. Rugged terrain intersperses through the green grass encircling the temples that date back to the 5th and 6th centuries.
The leaves of the olive grove rustle in the wind and you can hear the nearby sea just beyond the ridge. At the Temple of Hercules, you find Agrigento’s second largest edifice with an outer colonnade of 6 by 15 columns. The temple stands 220 feet long and 83 feet wide flanked by a front and back portico. You can see the grooves etched into each column. The temple’s grandeur remains even in its ruins, connoting the dedication and attention to detail it took to complete the gargantuan construction. The entire archeological park emanates splendor, filled with the prominence of the past and offering insight into the religious and political beliefs of ancient Sicily.
Palermo - Connection of Past and Present
Palermo is a city that blends its past with its present, connecting its eclectic architecture with continuing traditions across the unique design of the streets. You arrive in the city to find the bustling market of the Capo located behind Teatro Massimo extending to the city wall. The city maintains vibrant energy throughout the day in Piazza Politeama, where two separate squares converge. Locals sit under the café canopies, sip coffee or wine, and linger in the reflections of the Modern Art Gallery of the theater.
Your guide leads you through the opulent history of the city, dating back to the Philistines. Travel around the fringing churches and into the Palazzo dei Normanni, the Norman Palace. The 9th-century edifice was remodeled by the Normans and projects the magnitude of the city’s heritage along with the splendor of its patrons. The palace once marked the city’s southern boundary and stands between two shady piazzas.
Inside the palace, you find the Palatine Chapel, a combination of Arab and Norman art erected in the 12th century. The gilded edges of the chapel sparkle in the light and showcase the mosaics depicting famous Bible scenes. One piece shows Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit and reaching for the tree to take another piece. The vivid colors add to the realistic portrayal of the characters. The mosaics lead to the wooden honeycomb ceiling that resembles stalactites and is decorated with stories of Norman and Arab noble life.
Palermo - Continuous Precious Streets
In the morning, the Ballarò Market erupts with life. The stalls meander down the street, once home to the North African district, which remain strong in architecture and culture around the marketplace. At breakfast, you can indulge in a freshly brewed espresso and find the pleasurable aroma blending with the scent of orange groves. The Mediterranean lingers at the edge of the city and boats venture out into the azure water for the day.
Soon your guide will meet you at the hotel to escort you to the Palermo Airport, but for now you can relax in the gentle rustle of swaying palm trees. You could even continue your luxurious tour with a visit to mainland Italy, soaking in the comforts of the Amalfi Coast and historical treasures of Rome.
- Indulge in panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Etna in five-star luxury accommodations
- Visit the majestic Valley of Temples to see the remains of the wealthy ancient city of Agrigento
- Enjoy a private guided tour up the foothills of Mount Etna to visit Thieve’s Cave, extinct volcanic craters, and Monte Fontane
- Traverse the elegant shops and rich ancient history around the resort town of Taormina
- Witness the opulence of Biscari Palace and the Baroque architecture of Catania
- Explore the sensational Baroque streets ascending the verdant hillsides of Noto and Ragusa
- Discover the tremendous ancient artifacts in Syracuse, the largest city in the ancient world
Ancient history decorates Sicily like a fresco, emanating beauty and mystery, opulence and ingenuity, encompassed by the glowing turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This 8-day luxury tour of Sicily highlights is meant for lovers of history and luxury, island life and Italian cuisine, and those that love to see the amalgamation of cultures from around the world. Find North African markets and Norman palaces, Spanish sentiments and French accompaniments when walking along the cobbled streets. This Italy package to the magnificent island of Sicily has something for everyone.
Your exploration of Sicily begins with your arrival in Catania, the island’s second-largest city. Your private transfer meets you at the airport before escorting you to the luxurious resort style town of Taormina. The town is located on a mountaintop with extravagant views of the Mediterranean. Relax in the comforts of your five-star accommodation with a private panorama of the coastline.
The following day, your guide leads you to the base of Mount Etna to explore the remarkable volcano. Return to Taormina where you are guided through the historical streets, including a visit to the ancient Greek Theater. You leave behind the mountaintop city and return to Catania to explore the sensational Baroque architecture, such as the Biscari Palace. Then, continue to Syracuse to luxuriate at your five-star hotel overlooking the water. Spend the day adventuring through Syracuse to find the elaborate ruins and natural wonders both inside and outside of the city. The next day, your private guide leads you through the hillside towns of Noto and Ragusa, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites radiant with historic Baroque architecture.
In Agrigento, you traverse the Valley of the Temples to find an unparalleled collection of Greek temples decorating the landscape. Once in Palermo, your guide takes you on a private tour of the city’s elaborate architecture stemming from thousands of years of cultural amalgamation. On your final day, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and takes you to the airport for your flight home, but you can always extend your stay to visit the charming comforts of mainland Italy. For ideas on how to add-on to your custom trip, read the Italy trip reviews on Zicasso.
$4,795 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.
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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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