Taste of Sicily: VIP Food & Wine Tour

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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On this VIP culinary Italy itinerary, experience life beyond the mainland with a gourmet taste of Sicily’s rich history of cuisines. Sample fine wines on premier estates. Wander the vibrant open-air markets in Palermo, passing colorful produce and fresh seafood. Witness the golden stones of Arab-Norman palaces. Discover the largest ancient temple on the island rising out of the blossoming wildflowers. Discuss ideal wine pairings with an experienced sommelier and enjoy an unparalleled panorama of the beach on a secluded cruise of a gorgeous bay. Bask in the beauty, luxury, and flavor of Sicily on this unforgettable Italy vacation. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Palermo, Cefalu, Mazara del Vallo, Marsala, Trapani, Segesta, Erice  

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Palermo – Arrive in Sicily and Enjoy a Relaxed Walking Tour of Cefalù

Cefalù offers the best and brightest of Sicily, combined into a single, gorgeous city. The beach shimmers with powdery white sand bordering the crystal-clear turquoise waters. Arab-Norman architecture glows with golden sandstone facades, arabesque windows, and crenulated walls. Mosaics glint with gold leaf within dramatic cathedrals set against the backdrop of rolling mountains. The cobbled lanes carry the aroma of the sea with sporadic bursts of zesty oranges. The relaxed pace and walkways retain the friendly ambiance of the fishing village, embodied in the colorful boats wading in the quiet port.

Your flight lands at Falcone-Borsellino Airport, where your private transfer greets you upon your arrival. You venture to Cefalù to view the medieval streets and quiet, welcoming ambiance. The stunning cliff of La Roca once held an Arab citadel, which led to a Norman castle overlooking the coastline and the cityscape. A staircase winds along the outer ridges of the imposing figure to reach the windswept summit. The plateau offers a view down to the ruins of the 4th-century BC Temple of Diana. Couples stroll along the strewn rocks and preserved columns. You make your way to the Arab-Norman cathedral at the heart of the city, which contains brilliant Byzantine mosaics dating back to the 12th century. The image of Jesus surrounded by shimmering gold dominates the apse and standing above images of the Madonna, archangels, and the Apostles.

Consider reading some of our travelers' Italy travel reviews for further inspiration in crafting your dream Italy vacation. 

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Palermo – Enjoy a Wine Tour and Cooking Class in the Palermo Countryside

Palermo, the capital of Sicily, exemplifies the island in the way contemporary lifestyle incorporates the daily reminders of ancient history. The city has acted as a crossroads of civilizations, as embodied in the mix of spices, flickering Byzantine mosaics, arabesque domes, and bustling markets. The aromas of oranges and bananas drift through the open-air market at Ballaro, which winds through the narrow cobbled lanes between Piazza Ballaro and the Albergheria district. Your guide greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you out of the vibrant streets of Palermo to reach the quiet, sophisticated grounds of a private estate.

The gentle hills of the countryside roll along the horizon. The scent of olive groves and lemon orchards fill the air. Vineyards drape the landscape and bloom with plump, juicy fruit. The estate began producing wine in the 19th century and is known for crafting refined flavors. The verdant, lush scenery contrasts the arid landscape surrounding the valley. Stroll through the vineyards with your guide to feel the waxy skin of the grape.

You taste one of the grapes directly from the vine, finding a fortified flavor from the dry, rocky soil spreading across more than 2,470 acres. In the tasting room, your guide pours a sample of a reserve red made from Bordeaux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The rich, ruby hues glow over the wooden table. The aroma of sweet cherries blends with subtle hints of tobacco and vanilla. You sip the wine, finding a silky texture with a rich, long finish coating your palate. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Palermo – Sail around Mondello and Delight in a Delicious Tour of

Palermo

The morning breeze rushes through the fronds of the soaring date palms scattered around Palermo. The sunlight washes over the turquoise and indigo hues of the Mediterranean Sea. The ferns and bougainvilleas shade the cobbled walkways around Via Cartari, where the aroma of fresh brioche and delectable espresso drifts through the doors of the cafes. You begin the day with a private boat ride around the bay of Mondello, a beachside neighborhood connected to Palermo. The white sand beaches overlook the bayside cliffs and shimmering indigo sea.

The sun casts a warm, inviting glow on your shoulders. You drift along the water and look back at the pastel-colored changing rooms lining the beach. Colorful fishing boats wade in the water with fishermen eager to return to shore with their day’s catch, carrying nets filled with snappers, squids, and prawns. You return to shore, finding the aromas of chickpea fritters and refreshing mulberry granita, a semi-frozen dessert. After a lunch of traditional, fresh cuisine accompanied by a sampling of Sicily’s fine wines, you return to Palermo for a guided walking tour through the grand history preserved around the cobbled lanes.

The confectionaries showcase the elegant molds of marzipan shaped into small fruits in their windows. The aroma of the sweet almond paste fills the air, overtaking the memory of the fresh sea from earlier. Your guide leads you to Cappella Palatina, a 12th-century chapel connected to the larger Norman Palace at the heart of the city. The mosaics glitter with gold above the marble floors. The breathtaking Byzantine mosaics depict the Apostles and Jesus with rare complexity. You find aromatic frankincense lingering in the chapel before your guide points to areas in the palace connected to the original 9th-century foundations.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Mazara del Vallo – Explore Ancient Segesta and Indulge in Lunch with Wine

The distinctive aroma of spices drifts along the lanes decorated with the activity of the Ballaro Market. Fishermen display mussels and delectable octopuses caught fresh that morning. Dairy farmers offer samples of different types of cheese made on their farms in the Sicilian countryside. The briny aroma of marinated olives contains subtle bursts of garlic or chili pepper. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel and escorts you into the countryside to reach the ancient ruins of Segesta, once home to the Elymian people.

Wildflowers blossom orange and blue against the lush, tall grasses growing around the rolling hills and soaring mountains. The majestic ambiance emanates from the dramatic pillars of the preserved temple, erected in the 5th century BC. The Doric figure glows with flecks of gold hidden in the stone in the sunlight. The ancient civilization claimed a connection to the Trojans. When the wind blows through the field, you can hear the musical notes echoing in the air cast by the temple’s 36 giant columns. The nearby theater once held Greek plays with a view overlooking the neighboring valley.

The architects utilized the natural grade of the hillside to graft the stadium seating. Continue to the quiet, mountaintop town of Erice for lunch at a celebrated restaurant serving traditional Sicilian cuisine with a modern twist. The town welcomes you with medieval Norman architecture and ancient history dating back to settling Greeks. The scent of chocolate emanates from the confectionaries. The crowning castle overlooks the cliff at more than 2,600 feet above sea level. You settle into the luxury of the restaurant and bask in the scent of sautéing prawns and artichokes.

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

Day 5: Mazara del Vallo – Discover Sicilian Vineyards on a Full Day Wine Excursion

The date palms at your resort rustle in the morning breeze. The scent of fresh espresso fills the dining room. The arabesque architecture of the resort offers the relaxing and luxurious atmosphere of a secret oasis. After breakfast, you venture out into the countryside around the Mazara Valley for a VIP wine tour beginning at one of the premier wine estates on the island. The vineyards shimmer emerald along the valley floor, leading to the bordering hills spanning nearly 400 acres.

Woods surround the estate and offer the aroma of pine with the earthy quality of the soil. Nets drape the ground beneath the olive trees to catch the falling olives. Your guide leads you along the vineyards and cellars of the winery to learn the mixture of traditional and modern techniques to shape the best flavors of their wine. You sample the grapes to taste the fortified flavors from the rich soil. In the tasting room, you enjoy the view of the vineyard while enjoying the scent of peach with a subtle hint of almond.

The medium body offers a buttery texture with a long, smooth finish. The estate offers samples of the olives grown on the property and marinated in oil with garlic and chili pepper. The citrus of the wine cuts nicely through the briny and spiced flavor of the olives. The Fiano-based wine offers a leafy, smooth scent and a crisp, refreshing finish, allowing you to taste the variety of flavors in the white wines before moving to taste the reds.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Mazara del Vallo – Revel in a Spa Day and a Sommelier Guided Wine Tour

The aroma of fresh-baked brioche fills the dining room of the resort in the morning. The sunlight washes over the surrounding vineyards and olive orchards along the nearby private estates. After a relaxing traditional breakfast of a flaky pastry stuffed with orange cream and accompanied by a decadent espresso, you indulge in the luxuries of the onsite spa. You plunge into the refreshing, warm pool in the grotto beneath the resort. The mineral rich water helps refresh your body and hydrate your skin. You can hear the ripples of the trickling fountain echo against the wall’s framing stone.

Continue to relax the body and mind with a deep tissue massage. The tranquil sound of trickling water carries into the private room, where you find the scent of jasmine. Your masseur finds the sensitive muscles, releasing the tension along your back, shoulders, neck, and legs through a mixture of soothing aromas and pressing deep into your tissue. The zesty aroma of orange citrus adds to the layers of therapeutic scents filling the room during your spa day. You emerge from the treatment refreshed and ready to venture out into the countryside for a sumptuous lunch at a winery. At lunch, a trained sommelier provides six samples of prominent Sicilian wine on the table to accompany the delightful meal. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Mazara del Vallo – Visit Marsala and Trapani before Returning to Palermo

Wake up refreshed after a relaxing day of gratification from the spa treatment and a satisfying gourmet lunch. The epicurean delights of Sicily continue today as you make your way to Marsala to learn of the ancient and contemporary history of the celebrated city. The charm of the city goes beyond the sweet desert wine for which Marsala is famous. Baroque palaces line graceful piazzas and marble. In the evening, the locals take a stroll around the city center, enjoying the night air with a glass of wine.

The roots of the city date back to the Phoenicians in the 4th century BC and gives way to Greeks, Romans, and Arabs over more than 2,000 years. The Chiesa Madre church crowns Piazza della Republica. The town hall of Palazzo VII Aprile has a supportive arcade harboring the entryway. Outside the city, your guide leads you to a historical winery for an epicurean experience at the vineyard. The vineyard produces an array of popular wines ranging from dry reds to fruity whites, each with a scintillating, distinctive flavor.

The estate was established in the early 1980s. Your guide leads you away from the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and into the cool, oaky aroma of the cellar. Wine barrels line the walls and a private table at the center of the room provides a space for you to sample the various flavors of the marvelous wines, ending with a fabulous wine that uses 100 percent Zibibbo grapes. Characteristics of peach and orange blossoms rise from the glass amongst the enticing bubbles popping at the rim of the glass.

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

Day 8: Palermo – Depart for Home 

Sicily is known for its cuisine and its people are renowned for their zest for life. The sunlight washes over the golden stones of the Norman Palace. The date palms rustle in the passing sea breeze. The scent of crepes dressed with orange cream emanates from the quiet doors of a café on via Principe di Scordia. Fishmongers gesture to passersby at the heart of the Ballaro Market, showcasing the fresh marlin and large oysters set beside delicious grapefruit and the layered leaves of artichokes. Your private transfer greets you in the lobby of the hotel after breakfast and escort you to Falcone-Borsellino Airport for your flight home, ending your VIP tour of the delicacies of Sicily.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$4,795
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.