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Package Overview

Sicily has been one of the most sought-after places in the Mediterranean. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards have each settled here, making it one of the most culturally dense and diverse regions of modern Italy. The setting for this long and distinctive history is unmatched – the towering volcano of Mount Etna, rolling hillsides in the interior and the dramatic coastline. Discover the beauty, history and culture of Sicily – from ancient cities and Greek temples, to Norman mosaics and elegant baroque towns – on this new 13-day tour, timed to take advantage of low-season visitor numbers and mild weather.

Explore
The history, art and architecture of Sicily, showcasing more than 3,000 years of Mediterranean civilisation
The island’s rich classical heritage at some of Europe’s best preserved Greek and Roman archaeological sites
Palermo’s extraordinary history, where medieval Arab and Norman rule is seen today in distinctive art and architecture
Varied and dramatic landscapes, from active volcanoes to rugged seaside cliffs and pristine coastlines
The benefits of low-season travel, with fewer visitors and mild weather
HIGHLIGHTS

Exceptionally well-preserved Greek and Roman archaeological sites in Siracusa, Agrigento and Taormina
The exuberant ‘Sicilian Baroque’ architecture of Siracusa and Noto
Delightful 4th-century mosaics in the palatial Roman villa at Piazza Armerina
Agrigento’s ‘Valley of the Temples,’ including some of the world’s finest surviving examples of Greek architecture
The remarkable medieval Arab-Norman architecture of Palermo
UNESCO World Heritage-listed mosaics in Monreale and in Palermo’s Palatine Chapel, undertaken by Byzantine masters for their Norman rulers
Sicily’s excellent wines and Arab-influenced cuisineReturn international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

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Day wise Itinerary

  • Day 1 : Arrive Siracusa

    Meet your tour leader Dr Jeni Ryde at Rome Fiumicino airport to commence the tour. Take an early afternoon group flight to Catania, then transfer by private coach to our hotel in Siracusa. In the early evening we meet for welcome drinks and a light dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel, Siracusa

    • Meals & Drinks : Dinner
  • Day 2 : Ancient Siracusa

    Siracusa was the most important Greek city of Antiquity, a formidable competitor of Athens. Today we explore the area with a local guide, visiting the main archaeological sites of the town. Highlights of our visit include the famed theatre of Siracusa, the altar of Hieron II, and the ancient quarries as well as the recently discovered Byzantine-era Jewish baths which are over 1,500 years old. We also visit the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia to admire Caravaggio’s The Burial of St Lucy. Overnight Siracusa

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 3 : Taormina and Catania

    The resort town of Taormina offers a breathtaking landscape and outstanding archaeology. After a talk in the hotel we travel to Taormina to stroll through the town visiting the Greek/Roman theatre and other highlights. In the afternoon we head to Catania. Lying in the shadow of Mount Etna, it was rebuilt in the Baroque style after the 1693 earthquake that devastated much of south east Italy. Many of the city’s fine buildings were constructed using black volcanic rock, Etna’s legacy. Overnight Siracusa

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 4 : Paolo Orsi Museum

    This morning we make our way to the excellent Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum. Extensively renovated in recent years, the Paolo Orsi is one of the principal archaeological museums of Europe. The museum contains artefacts from the prehistoric, Greek and Roman periods found in archaeological excavations in the city and other sites in Sicily. Overnight Siracusa

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 5 : Sicilian Baroque

    The Sicilian Baroque style of architecture was introduced following the devastating earthquake of 1693. The epicentre was at the town of Noto which was destroyed along with other towns and villages. After the earthquake, wealthy Sicilian families, along with the church, entered into a period of extravagance. They employed architects trained in Rome, and gave them free reign to indulge in lavish creations in the Baroque style. The result is a highly decorative Baroque style that lasted barely 50 years, but left Sicily with a unique architectural identity. Today we will see wonderful examples of this style of architecture in Noto and Ragusa Ibla. Overnight Siracusa

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 6 : Villa Romana Del Casale

    Departing Siracusa today, we head to Agrigento. En route we visit the impressive Roman villa at Piazza Armerina, thought to have been a hunting lodge of the emperor Maximian (early 4th century BCE). The villa features a series of remarkable floor mosaics spanning over 1,100 square metres, believed to have been created by North African artisans, and are the best Late Imperial mosaics outside of that continent. In the late afternoon we arrive in Agrigento and have dinner together. Overnight Hotel Colleverde Park, Agrigento

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 : Valley of the Temples

    The monuments within the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are considered to be, along with the Acropolis in Athens, the finest Greek ruins in the world. Agrigento – ancient ‘Akragas’ – was founded in the 6th century BCE and enjoyed a reputation as one of the wealthiest colonies of the Greek world. The extensive and well-preserved sacred area is testament to these riches, comprising four major temples in excellent preservation as well as a number of smaller structures. Today we tour the temple site with a local guide and visit the nearby archaeological museum. In the late afternoon we arrive in Palermo and have dinner together. Overnight Hotel Piazza Borsa, Palermo

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 8 : Palermo

    Once the intellectual capital of southern Europe, Palermo has always been at the crossroads of civilization. Today Palermo is a colourful city, with the atmosphere of North Africa or perhaps Asia rather than of Europe. Once conquered by the Phoenicians, Arabs, and Spanish, Palermo today bears witness to its rich past, from Byzantine mosaics and crumbling baroque buildings, to Arabian gastronomic delicacies in La Vucciria and Ballarò markets. Splendid medieval churches, archaeological gems and first-class museums are what Sicily’s capital city does best. Today we tour some of the main historic sites of the old city, including the Palace of the Normans, the seat of the Kings of Sicily during the Norman domination, and the castle of La Zisa. Overnight Palermo

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 9 : Norman Brilliance

    The Arab-Norman dynasty of Sicily, cousins of the Normans in England, were among the most sophisticated rulers of medieval Europe. In Palermo they created a tolerant and sophisticated society that was a marvel of Christendom and Islamic territories alike. Today we begin our survey of Palermo’s Norman sites at the La Martorana. Although this small church was subsequently redecorated in the Baroque style, some of its mosaics still show Roger II and donor George of Antioch, the king’s naval commander. At Palermo Cathedral we find the massive sarcophagi of a number of the Sicilian monarchs, their heavy porphyry mass a direct statement about imperial ambition. The power, knowledge and wealth of the kings are no more evident than at Roger II’s Palatine Chapel, a jewel of a structure inside the Norman Palace. Its Byzantine mosaics glitter amongst ceiling paintings and stone carvings that reflect the Arabic style of its Muslim craftsmen. After a coach transfer back to the hotel, we meet for an evening talk. Overnight Palermo

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 10 : Monreale and Cefalu

    The cathedral and abbey of Monreale, in the hills overlooking Palermo, were founded by the Norman King William II in the 12th century to demonstrate the power of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. There are more than 6,000 square metres of mosaics here, using 2,200 kg of real gold. We spend the morning visiting the cathedral and the surrounding medieval hill town. Afterwards we travel along the north coast to Cefalù, a fishing town dominated by a splendid Norman cathedral, reputedly built after King Roger II survived a shipwreck near the town. Its imposing size dominates the landscape of the town, while the interior is embellished with the oldest in a series of brilliant mosaics found in this part of Sicily. We have lunch in Cefalù before returning to Palermo in the late afternoon. Overnight Palermo

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 11 : La Kalsa - Palermo’s Arabic Heart

    Palermo’s Al-Khalesa (“the Chosen”) quarter was the Sicilian emirate’s administrative centre from 831 to the Norman conquest in 1072. Earthquakes and World War II bombing mean that ruins still dot this quarter, but it is also home to some of the best-preserved medieval palaces in the city. We start our visit at Palazzo Abatellis, a wonderful regional museum that preserves Antonello da Messina’s exquisite Virgin Annunciate, along with Renaissance sculptures and a large fresco that shows the Grim Reaper’s Triumph of Death over the unsuspecting. We stroll through the neighbourhood, visiting Santa Maria dello Spasimo, an evocative 16th-century church that was damaged by an earthquake and never rebuilt; the nearby Magione was built ca 1190 by Matthew Aiello, William II’s powerful chancellor, and housed a Teutonic order of knights. After a break for lunch at the Antica Focacceria di San Francesco, established in 1834, there is free time for shopping or leisure. In the evening there is an optional visit to a traditional Sicilian puppet show (the opra dei pupi), schedules permitting. Overnight Palermo (

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast
  • Day 12 : Sicily’s Ancient Heritage

    As one of the most important sites of ancient Greek colonisation, the island preserves some of the best Greek art and architecture to be found. This morning we travel by coach to nearby Segesta, the home of the elusive Elymian people, who built a beautiful temple in the Greek style. The theatre here, oriented towards the sea, and the atmospheric ruins have inspired generations of travellers and artists. We continue on to the town of Marsala where we visit a wine producer to tour the vineyard and taste the famous drop. We return to the hotel in the later afternoon and have our farewell dinner in Palermo. Overnight Palermo ( wine tasting)

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 13 : Departure

    Our group flight departs mid-morning for Rome, where the tour ends. (B)

    • Meals & Drinks : Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
  • Airport Transfers
  • Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

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Exclusions

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Contact Agent Plan A Trip Text Me

Terms & Conditions

Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.

Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.

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This Tour is Offered by

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About Academy Travel

Academy Travel is an Australian-owned travel company, dedicated to providing tailored small group journeys for individuals and associations. Academy Travel is a qualified travel agency. As well as managing your tour booking, our experienced consultants are happy to assist with all aspects of your travel, including international flights, pre and post-tour accommodation and travel insurance. Read More...

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  • Budget | Private Tour Package
  • Palermo, Siracusa, Agrigento
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