We are delighted to feature a unique small group tours to discover spicy Western Sicily. Sicily may be Italian, but the islanders are Latin only by adoption. The greatest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily was for centuries the center of the known world. Its geographic position made it vulnerable to attacks by foreigners, but also a meeting place of civilizations, a bridge between East and West.
Sicily is an island with a unique identity and rich historical past. A melting pot of different cultures, traditions and architectural styles as well as beautiful landscapes and a coastline, which is home to some of Italy’s most stunning beaches.
The most African of the island’s landscapes, the North West saw a cultural melting pot of Phoenicians, Greeks and Arabs settling in Sicily. Their stamp remains. Incontestably some of the island’s most charismatic ancient sites are also to be found in the West, the Greek temple and theater in Segesta, surrounded by rolling meadowland and the Phoenician site on the island of Mozia, just off Marsala. Selinunte Doric columns are special too, as is the Phoenician ruins of Solunto, perched on the slopes of Monte Catalfano. But be prepared for contrast. From the vibrant port town of Trapani you can take a boat across to Sicily’s captivating Egadi islands or a cable car which whisks you up into the medieval walled town of Erice where you can almost feel that you have been transported to Tuscany.
We have a real passion for Western Sicily and look forward to sharing it with you!
Day 1 : WELCOME TO PALERMO
Arrive in Palermo International airport and travel to the the city center for an unforgettable two nights stay at our exclusive “CENTRALE PALACE HOTEL” or similar. Welcome dinner is included tonight in a local restaurant following the evening on your own. Overnight in PALERMO
Day 2 : PALERMO’S HIGHLIGHTS & MONREALE CATHEDRAL
Breakfast in hotel. An included guided tour will help you to discover the highlights of PALERMO,the Sicilian capital. A crossroads of history, Palermo holds the distinction of being the world’s most conquered city, following conquests by the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. We have included today a visit to the Byzantine MARTORANA CHURCH, which has some of the most impressive Norman mosaics in Palermo,the bustling open marketIL CAPO located in the ancient Arabic quarter of the city, the striking PALATINE CHAPEL, an evocative chapel dating back to the 12th century with amazing mosaics and some of the rooms of the ROYAL PALACE. After an included lunch in a local tavern,we’ll visit the famous MASSIMO THEATER, the biggest Opera House in Italy and one of the largest of Europe. In the afternoon we head towards MONREALE, renowned for its striking Cathedral, the greatest monument of Norman Sicily. Here we’ll also experience a unique mosaic demonstration. This evening dinner is on your own. Overnight in PALERMO
Day 3 : SEGESTA, ERICE , SALT PANS EXPERIENCE & MARSALA
Breakfast in hotel. Western Sicily has always been more African than European. This morning we take a panoramic drive to SEGESTA, a unique archaeological site famous for its magnificent 5th century Doric temple. Though never completed it is one of the best preserved examples of a Greek temple. Afterwards, we’ll be reaching the spectacular hill town of ERICE which combines medieval charm with astounding 360-degree views. It boasts a breathtaking setting high above the Tyrrhenian Sea, perfectly preserved medieval treasure and an impressive Castle with views over the Egadi Islands.After a “slow food” lunch in a local tavern we’ll descend to Trapani by a 10 mins panoramic cable way ride (weather permitting) travelling along the Salt Road, passing Salt Pans and windmills and learning about the history and process of salt harvesting at the Museum of the Salt. Stay for two nights at the central ” HOTEL CARMINE“or similar. Overnight in MARSALA
Day 4: MARSALA,WINERY VISIT & THE ISLAND OF MOZIA
Today we begin touring Western Sicily with an included visit to the striking town of MARSALA, the most popular wine producer on the entire island.A local tour guide will take you on an orientation tour of the town followed by a ferry ride to the Phoenician city of MOZIA, on the island of San Pantaleo, and today home to the Whittaker museum which we will visit today.Return to Marsala to visit a popular winery for a wine tasting of the engaging white from Catarratto grapes or the beguiling Mille e una Notte, named after Scheherazade, a spicy deep blend of Nero D’Avola, Petit Verdot and Syrah with a delicious lunch.Enjoy the rest of the day on your own.Overnight in MARSALA
Day 5: THE VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Following breakfast,we’ll visit AGRIGENTO where you’ll view the finest of all ancient Greek sites – the complete Doric Temples and the “Archaeological Museum“,one of the most important and visited archaeological museums in Sicily. The Museum displays over 5688 artifacts that illustrate the history of the town from prehistoric times to the end of the Greek period. Overnight at the country hotel “BAGLIO DELLA LUNA“or similar, with dinner included.Overnight in AGRIGENTO
Day 6: ROMAN VILLA MOSAICS & CEFALU’
Today we leave for travelling through the interior of Sicily to reach PIAZZA ARMERINA where we will view the ruins of the ROMAN VILLA DEL CASALE, an ancient villa decorated with the finest Roman floor mosaics in existence. It is one of the 44 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy. Lunch is included in a family owned tavern near the Roman Villa.This afternoon we’ll drive to the charming fishing town of CEFALU’ for your last two nights staying at the exclusive “HOTEL LA PLUMERIA” or similar. Overnight in CEFALU’
Day 7: CAPTIVATING CEFALÙ’
Breakfast in hotel. Depart for a discovery of the charming fishing town of CEFALU‘. The squares, streets and churches of this medieval town are so postcard-pretty that it’s no wonder director Giuseppe Tornatore chose to set parts of his much-loved film Cinema Paradiso here. Most of Cefalu sites are found in the historic town center around Corso Ruggero and Piazza del Duomo, where you can visit the striking Cathedral, a mosaic-adorned outpost of Norman power and one of the jewels in Sicily’s Arab-Norman crown.A farewell dinner is included this evening. Overnight in CEFALU’
Day 8: ARRIVEDERCI SICILIA
Morning transfer to Palermo airport for your flight home.