Palermo, Trapani, Agrigento, Syracuse, Taormina
Dates are customizable for private departures.
Italy is a grand adventure that immerses its visitors in the spirit of La Dolce Vita, especially during this 10-day best of Sicily tour. Experience the highlights of history and heritage as you travel from Palermo to Taormina to witness the famous monuments and hidden charms along the way. Sample delicious wines, uncover the ancient history of Sicily, and discover its authentic wonders that sweep from the golden shores to the foothills of Mt. Etna.
Palermo – Arrive in Sicily with the Remaining Day at Leisure
Palermo is an amalgamation of the Mediterranean, hosting a combination of Byzantine mosaics, Arabesque domes, and European cuisine that is shaped by North African spices. The island once acted as the center of the known world, where souks lined the alleyways next to Baroque churches. Your flight will land at Falcone Borsellino Airport, and your private transfer will greet you at baggage claim before transferring you to your luxurious accommodation in the heart of the city. You will settle in to the comforts of your opulent hotel before having the rest of the day at your leisure.
With the day yours to explore Palermo at your own pace, you can visit Palazzo Abatellis, which possesses a Catalan Gothic façade that dates back to the 15th century. The decorated doorway leads to the inner courtyard, where you can view the masterpieces, such as the Triumph of Death, which is a 15th-century artwork that was crafted by an unknown artist. In the painting, you can see Death as it rides a skeletal horse.
Palermo – Explore the History of Palermo and Monreale
In the morning, the vibrant streets of Palermo return to life around the Mercato di Ballaro. The famous market place fills the blocks near Palazzo dei Normanni with festive merchant calls and the aromas of Mediterranean spices accompanied by fresh seafood, pungent cheeses, and marinated olives. Your guide will lead you through the marketplace during your private tour to begin your exploration of Palermo at the Palazzo dei Normanni and the Cappella Palatina. The chapel was constructed in the 12th century and contains a Byzantine dome that is accentuated by an Arabic ceiling. The scent of frankincense will fill the chapel as you find a mystical ambiance that stems from the brilliant mosaics.
You will continue to Monreale Cathedral, which embodies the secular and religious authority of the Norman kingdom in Sicily. The mosaics date back to the 12th century and span over 68,243 square feet. At the cathedral, you can find gilded images that depict the Fall of Man, Noah’s Ark, the Passion, and the Crucifixion. The incredible cloister contrasts the drama of mosaics with 26 arches and 228 double columns that surround a luxurious garden.
Trapani – Discover the Beauty and of Segesta and Erice
In the morning, the scent of cinnamon and espresso often drift through the streets of the Mercato di Ballaro. You will depart Palermo after breakfast and make your way to the 5th-century BC ruins of Segesta. The centerpiece of the majestic ancient site towers over the isolated fields of wildflowers and grasses with 36 Doric columns that span over 200 feet long. The neighboring Greek Theater was built in the 3rd century BC and remains one of the most prominent ruins of the settlement. The engineers used the natural contours of the hillside to create the stadium seating that resulted in a fantastic view of the Golfo di Castellammare.
Your tour will continue to the elevated medieval town of Erice, which stands on a plateau on the peak of Eryx, which is over 2,460 feet above sea level. A cable car will carry you to the summit and the edge of the 12th-century wall. From the top, you can enjoy the sweeping view across the sea and valley. Your guide will lead you on a marvelous tour of the preserved cobbled lanes, taking you to Real Duomo, which is the Royal Cathedral.
Trapani – Traverse the Salt Pans of Trapani and Island of Mozia
After breakfast, your guide will lead you to the western edge of the island to the harbor on which the Spanish first landed in the 13th century. The relaxed ambiance may sweep along the pedestrianized main street of Via Garibaldi, where mansions made with golden stone lead passersby to alleyways that create a maze of ancient churches. At the salt pans, you will find a mixture of segments of land that shimmer with white salt, resembling pockets of snow. The warm African winds and golden Mediterranean sun has helped harvest salt from the sea for over 2,700 years, beginning with the Phoenicians. The marine reserve covers over 4,942 acres.
You will then continue to the nearby island of Mozia to discover elements of the ancient Phoenician settlement, which was established in the 8th century BC. The strategic position contains fields of ruins that lead to trails that punctuate the unique contours of the landscape. Here, you will find hints of the former road that once connected to the mainland as well. The small museum gallery displays fascinating artifacts, including ancient beads, terracotta masks, a funeral stele, and a marble statue from the 5th century BC.
Agrigento – Visit the Scala dei Turchi and Ancient Agrigento
In the morning, you will travel to the unique scenery of the Scala dei Turchi, which is located west of the ancient city of Agrigento. The name reflects how Arab pirates once used the area to hide during storms. The natural scenery will enchant you with its smooth rocks that plunge into the indigo water. A long stretch of sandy beach is nestled below the rugged shelf, and, after exploring the gorgeous coastline, you will continue to the remains of ancient Agrigento at the Valley of the Temples.
The grandeur of the Valley of the Temples stems from the scattered ruins that decorate the valley. The grand structure of the Temple of Concordia was built in the 5th century BC and was converted into a Christian basilica in the 6th century AD. The stunning design retains the Doric columns and descriptive metopes. You can also find an 800-year-old olive tree near a series of Byzantine tombs along the walkway that connects to other temples. The colonnade of the Temple of Hera remains intact and borders the altar and was once used for sacrifices. The largest remaining temple is the Temple of Giove, which stands 367 feet by 183 feet.
Syracuse – Witness Roma Mosaics and the Heritage of Ortygia
Today, you will make your way to the stunning Villa Romana del Casale in the morning to view the preserved art and architecture outside of the town of Piazza Armerina. The artwork was created in the 4th century AD, spans over 37,673 square feet, and was protected by a landslide. You will enter the villa through the famous three-arched gateway, where fountains and military paintings add to the opulent setting. Your guide will lead you through the grounds and highlight the unique pieces of the villa, including the mosaic known as the Little Hunt. The preserved artwork decorates a dining room and depicts a row of three hunters as they present their offering to Diana.
You will reach Syracuse in the afternoon to find an immaculate city at the edge of the island that shimmers with golden hues and an elaborate history. The setting embodies the timeless beauty of Sicily and the island’s importance along the Mediterranean Sea with ancient Greek ruins, citrus orchards, and winding medieval lanes. Here, you will have a guided tour of the historic center known as Ortygia, where the narrow alleyways will lead to refined piazzas, and lavish antique mansions line the main boulevards.
Syracuse – View the Past Marvels of Syracuse
In the morning, the aromas of cheese, blood oranges, and hot chilis will fill the market on the streets of Ortygia. Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby after breakfast to introduce you to the depths of history around the city of Syracuse, beginning with the Archeological Park. The Greek Theater was built in the 3rd century BC and could once hold up to 16,000 spectators. It also hosted the works of playwrights like Aeschylus and Euripides. The grotto of Orecchio di Dionisio rises more than 213 feet into the soaring cliff and stands over 75 feet tall.
At Piazza del Duomo, you will find how contemporary life continues to unfold around the masterpiece of Baroque architecture. The flamboyant facades of elegant palaces border the public square, and thick Doric columns decorate the exterior of the Duomo. The cathedral was built using the outline of the original 5th-century BC Greek temple, and a series of 13th-century bronze lions glint against the baptismal font, which consists of a large ancient vase.
Taormina – Enjoy Wine Tasting at Mt. Etna en route to Taormina
The brooding summit of Mt. Etna looms over the landscape of eastern Sicily, standing over 10,912 feet above sea level. As the highest mountain south of the Italian Alps and one of the most active volcanoes in Europe, Mt. Etna will captivate you with a combination of remarkable scenery and delicious cuisine. Your guide will lead you along the volcanic slopes beneath the fumes of the four summit craters, and, to truly understand the unique ecosystem of the region, your guide will lead you on a marvelous wine tour that visits a selection of premier vineyards in the area.
During your wine tour, you will wander through the vines of an antique farm and notice the sweet aroma of ripening grapes in addition to the earthy scent of the soil. The volcanic activity fills the soil with rich nutrients, fortifying the flavors of the ingredients grown around the foothills. When you sample the wine, you will discover hints of cinnamon and floral herbs that derive from the use of Nerello Mascalese grapes, which are a unique varietal of Sicily. The aroma will give way to a lingering acidity and earthy flavors, such as leather and volcanic rock.
Taormina – Delight in the Enchanting Ambiance of Taormina
The city of Taormina is perched on a coastal cliff and embodies the spirit of La Dolce Vita. The elegant ambiance stems from the Baroque architecture, seaside views, and charming boulevards that are lined with chic boutiques and lively cafes. Your guide will lead you through the city on a half-day tour to discover the charms of life between the hilltops and the indigo water. At the Greek Theater, you will find a marvelous edifice that was built in the 3rd century BC. The diameter of the theater reaches 357 feet long, and, from the top row, you will have an undisturbed view that spans the coastline to the peak of Mt. Etna in the distance.
After your tour, you will have the remainder of the day at your leisure to bask in the beauty of Taormina. You can stroll down Corso Umberto to enjoy the romantic buildings, venture to the collection of terraces, or linger in the public square of Piazza IX Aprile to indulge in the open-air cafes. The small islet of Isola Bella is a nature reserve at the base of the mountain and possesses crystal-clear water that laps at the narrow-pebbled shoreline.
Taormina – Depart for Home
In the morning, the scent of espresso will accompany the fruity aroma of granita, which is a refreshing drink of ice, sugar, fruit juice, and water. Before leaving for the airport, you can enjoy one last view of Mt. Etna in the distance. Your private driver will greet you in your hotel’s lobby to escort you to the Catania-Fontanarossa Airport, where you will board your flight home, bringing an end to your 10-day highlights tour of Sicily.
- Witness the magnificent mosaics that adorn the walls of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo, which depict elaborate scenes from the Bible
- Sample delicious wines while learning about the unique minerals and ecosystem of Mt. Etna during a private wine tour
- Discover the marvels of ancient history in Sicily when viewing the preserved mosaics of the Roman villa at Villa Romana del Casale
- Step into the depths of ancient life in Sicily when touring the ruins at the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento to find preserved Greek temples
- Uncover an ancient technique for harvesting salt that dates back to the Phoenicians when visiting the salt pans of Trapani
- Explore the charming and distinctive medieval streets of Erice, which crown a steep hill and were built over an ancient Greek settlement
- Delight in the unique scenery of the natural milky-white walls of the Scala dei Turchi that plunge into the indigo water of the Mediterranean Sea
The mystery, history, and beauty of Italy will come to light as you discover the splendor of Sicily on this 10-day customizable tour. From Phoenician settlements to Baroque churches and from Norman mosaics to pristine beaches, Sicily embraces the marvels of its heritage and the charm of its island location that once acted as the center of Mediterranean trade. You will visit ancient Greek temples, enjoy the pleasures of contemporary Sicilian wines, witness radiant mosaics, and experience enchanting medieval lanes. Your Sicily tour will lead you to the best of the island while allowing you to explore, discover, and relax at your own pace.
Your exploration of Sicily’s highlights will begin with your arrival in Palermo, where you will have two nights. You can discover the city with time at your own pace before venturing through the historical center and lively market with a guide. You will also visit the opulent artistry and architecture of Monreale Monastery for an encompassing perspective on the treasures around Palermo before traveling to Trapani for two nights. In Trapani, you will visit the ancient Greek ruins of Segesta and wander the mountaintop town of Erice, where you can discover marvelous temples, dramatic ramparts, and delicious chocolate. When spending time in Trapani, you will also have a guided tour of the famous salt pans that have Phoenician origins before visiting the island of Mozia, where you can witness the ruins of ancient Phoenician settlements.
With one night in Agrigento, you can enjoy the coastline at the Scala dei Turchi, which will allow you to view the unique landscape that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea in addition to wandering along the preserved Greek temples that rise above the Valley of the Temples. You will then transfer to the remarkable city of Syracuse for two nights and stop at the Villa Romana del Casale to observe the magnificent mosaics that were preserved over nearly two millennia ago. In Syracuse, a guided tour of the ancient island of Ortygia will reveal the epic layers of history for which the city is famous. Afterward, a full-day tour of Syracuse will further unveil how the ancient ruins and preserved architecture are still used and decorate contemporary life.
You will then have two nights in Taormina to conclude your highlights tour of Sicily, which will lead you to the foothills of Mt. Etna, where you will sample the seductive flavors of the wines that are produced on the island. When exploring Taormina, you will experience the elegance of the boulevards and the dramas that were once performed on the stage of ancient Greek theater. On your final day in Taormina, your private transfer will escort you from your hotel to the airport in Catania for your flight home.
$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.
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.
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