Hidden Secrets tour of Sicily & Aegadian Islands from Catania

10 days Escorted group

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Hidden Secrets tour of Sicily & Aegadian Islands from Catania – 10 days

This comprehensive tour starting in Catania will take you through some of north Sicily picturesque villages, well-preserved archaeological sites and splendid scenery, inclusive of local delicacies. The tour also includes the extension to the Aegadian Islands with the amazing Faviglaian. Good value for money in a group of max 30 people in peak season and 4* accommodation….

Day 1 CATANIA – (hotel in Catania)
Arrive independently to the hotel in the charming city of Catania (optional private transfer on request). In the evening you will meet our tour-leader and your travel companions and enjoy a welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel.

Day 2 – Sunday: SYRACUSE – NOTO (hotel in Catania)
After breakfast in hotel we will visit Syracuse the most beautiful and greatest Greek colony in Sicily and World Heritage Site! The visit will start with the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, with its Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomie of Paradise and the Ear of Dionysius. We will continue visiting the splendid Ortigia, a small island which is the historical centre of Syracuse. In Ortigia you will admire the beautiful Cathedral which dominates the square with its authoritative presence. The present façade is a powerful Sicilian-Baroque composition but it gives no hint that this building was once a Doric temple! From Piazza Duomo you will reach a wide terrace on the waterfront surrounding the famous Arethusa’s Fountain, one of the most famous fresh-water sources of the Greek world. Free time for lunch. Departure to Noto, the capital of Sicilian Baroque, famous for its fine buildings of the early eighteenth century and declared Unesco World Heritage Site. Inspired by Baroque ideals of “open city”, Noto is a rare masterpiece and the clearest example of theatrical tastes in 18th century architecture whose local limestone has been burnt gold by the sun. Noto’s Baroque is in fact a game of elegant curves, floral weaves, perspective views palaces and gardens, capitals and ornaments that adorn the facades of churches and monasteries. We will visit Palazzo Nicolaci Villadorata, beautiful noble residence in Baroque style and once the residence of Don Giacomo Nicolaci, a patron of the arts. Back to Catania for dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 3 – Monday: ETNA – TAORMINA (hotel in Catania)
This morning we will leave to visit Etna, the highest (c. 3350m) volcano in Europe and one of the largest and most active in the world, nowadays Unesco World Heritage Site. Its Regional Park protects 59.000 hectares of unique geology, flora and fauna, villages and farms, and traditional methods of forestry, bee-keeping, wine manufacture, stonework and carpentry. Views of stunning landscapes will amaze you heading to Rifugio Sapienza. We will reach the “Crateri Silvestri”, small volcanic cones now inactive, surrounded by ancient lava flows. The view beyond the mountain’s hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters, can extend across the whole of Sicily, the Aeolian islands and Calabria. The spectacle is unique! Later we will visit a company of beekeeping: visit of the honey extraction lab, tasting of homemade honey and typical products of the area. We will proceed to Taormina, charming town renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna. Lunch in a lovely restaurant in the city centre, where we will attend to an interesting cooking class for the preparation of typical dishes of the sicilian culinary tradition. In the afternoon we will visit Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre, and then you will have free time for a nice walk among the picturesque Medieval typical narrow streets, go shopping and looking around the local handycraft (coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, sweets and much more). The day will end with an overview of the beautiful Riviera dei Ciclopi. Back to our hotel in Catania for dinner and overnight.

Day 4 – Tuesday: CATANIA – CEFALU’ (hotel in Palermo)
Today we will visit the historical centre of Catania stated Unesco World Heritage Site, with its original Baroque style and its unique streets built with black lava stone. The colour scheme of the city-centre building in fact is black and dark grey, relieved with white limestone details around the doors and windows. The result is extremely elegant. The walking tour will start across the “pescheria” (the ancient fish market) to reach the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous “Liotru” statue, antique lava-stone elephant, symbol of the city. Not far from here we will reach University Square and we will have a walk along the splendid baroque Via dei Crociferi, the most representative 18th century street in Catania, where we will admire the famous S. Benedict Monastery, Unesco World Heritage Site. Before going on along the precious city center, we will stop in a historic bar of the city to taste the typical “granita & brioche”. Free time for lunch. Transfer to Cefalù, charming Medieval town situated at the northern coast of Sicily. We will visit its stunning Norman Dome and you will have free time to stroll through the town or to visit the famous and well-known Mandralisca Museum. We will proceed to Palermo for overnight. Dinner at the hotel or in a restaurant nearby.

Day 5 – Wednesday: MONREALE – PALERMO (hotel in Palermo)
After breakfast in hotel, the morning will be spent visiting Monreale, its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry! Later we will discover the stunning Palermo, one of the richest towns in the Island for its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay at the foot of Mt Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. While the Baroque predominates, there is a profusion of different architectural styles reflecting the city’s multicultural past: Punic walls, Art Nouveau villas, noble residences, XVIIth century squares, including an elegant opera house. We will visit the wonderful Arab-Norman Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, mirable example from an historical and an artistic point of view, of how different cultures, religions and way of thinking apparently incompatible can coexist. Ruggero II in fact employed both Bizantyne, Muslim and Latin workers. Along the visiting day, we will have a stop for a food surprise in a local bakeryFree time for lunch. Continuing our walk we will admire the Teatro Massimo and the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with XVI century sculptures. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 6 – Thursday: PALERMO – FAVIGNANA (AEGADIAN ISLANDS) (Hotel in Favignana)
After breakfast in hotel, private transfer to Trapani. Boarding on the hydrofoil to reach Favignana. The larger and most important of the Aegadian Islands, in the 70’s was named “La Farfalla” by the painter Salvatore Fiume, thanks to its butterfly shape. Free time in the afternoon. Dinner in a local restaurant and overnight in hotel.

Day 7- Friday: FAVIGNANA  boat excursion (Hotel in Favignana)
The day will start with the departure from Favignana harbour, for a relaxing circumnavigation of the island. During the excursion it is possible to listen to the historical background of the Tonnara factory and Florio family and stay in the most ashtoning bays. First stop of this tour will be in Cala Rossa, one of the most known destination of Favignana, whose cliff is characterized by wonderful tuff caves surrounded by blue and crystalline waters. Later you will get to Bue Marino, Cala Azzurra – famous for its sandy white beach and the most crystalline sea of the island – and Lido Burrone where you will enjoy free time for a dip. Arrived to the southern side of the island (Marasolo/Preveto), it is possible to enjoy a relaxing pause for a typical lunch on board. Time for snorkeling or swimming to discover the charming coves. In the afternoon, departure for Cala Rotonda for a swim, break with coffee and pastries and return to Favignana, after one last stop to Cala del Pozzo for a swim. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 8- Saturday: FAVIGNANA  (Hotel in Favignana)
After breakfast, free time available to discover this beautiful island. Walking around the two squares of the city, you will be attracted by traditional Mediterranean architectures, popular for their white walls and blue or green windows. Moving towards the waterfront, you will see a beautiful scenery similar to a portrait! The vintage mood of Favignana’s harbor will enchant you: ancient boats, nets and anchors give to this place a magic atmosphere! Do not miss the chance to have a swim in one of the splendid sea coves or, as an alternative, choose an extra boat excursion to Levanzo. You will have the occasion to visit this lovely fisherman village and have a stop to taste the delicious local “granita” and “gelato”. The tour will proceed heading to the Il Faraglione, Cala Fredda and Cala Minnola, with a stop for a dip.Back to Favignana harbour in the late afternoon. Dinner, overnight in hotel.

Day 9 – Sunday:  FAVIGNANA – TRAPANI (hotel in Trapani)
Breakfast in hotel, free time, check-out in hotel and boarding to Trapani. You will spend the free afternoon in the lovely Trapani’s city centre, also known as the “City of 100 churches” and popular for its which hosts an impressive collection of fine local coral art crafts! The city owns a fascinating and legendary history; represented by Virgil in the Aeneid, Trapani’s origins are connected to Carthage, the most bitter Rome’s enemy. Dominated by the Roman empire and the Spanish kingdom, it still reveals this fusion made of different cultures and people. You will have the chance to stroll among the nice alleys, discovering its Arab atmosphere.Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 10 – Monday :  TRAPANI
Our tour of Sicily and Aegadian Islands ends today.  Breakfast in hotel and end of services. (optional private transfer on request)

NB:Please note  the company is not responsible for any disruption due to weather and sea conditions concerning all hydrofoil and ferry crossings among the islands.

Dates, Inclusions, Cost , Supplements

Guarantee Departure dates 2020:

  • June 06…13…20…27
  • July 04…11…18…25
  • August 01…08…15…22…29
  • September 05…12…19…26

Fees for the entrances to pay locally (to  be confirmed):

  • Syracuse Archeological Park € 10,00 p.p.
  • Syracuse Cathedral € 2,00 p.p.
  • Noto Palazzo Nicolaci € 4,00 p.p.
  • Taormina Greek theatre € 10,00 p.p.
  • Monreale Cathedral € 4,00 p.p.
  • Monreale Cloister € 6,00 p.p.
  • Palermo Cappella Palatina € 12,00 p.p.
  • Palermo Martorana Church € 2,00 p.p.

Price per person (2 people twin share): A$2300 per person (supplement of A$120 per person for August departure)

Payment : Deposit A$600 per person within 7 days of confirmation and balance 60 days before leaving from Australia

What is included:
  • Multilingual Tour leader and professional travel guide* (English, Italian or Spanish), from  the evening of the 1st day to the evening of the 5th day, local guides or audio-guides where necessary. (*Monolingual departures during high season)
  • Deluxe bus form day 2 to day 5 and  Whisper kit
  • Accommodation in charming 4 stars hotels, mostly located in the city centre, international breakfast included
  • 6 dinners in hotels or local restaurants (dinner – 3 main courses fixed menu, beverages not included) to have a taste of Sicilian and Italian cuisine.
  • 1 lunch on day 3 in Taormina, with a cooking class.
  • Visit of the main suggestive Unesco World Heritage Sites: Syracuse, Noto, Etna, Catania city centre, Cefalù, Monreale, Palermo.
  • Tasting of Sicilian typical products: Etna (day 3): visit of a beekeeping honey company and honey tasting;
  • Catania (day 4): tasting of Sicilian “granita & brioche”. Palermo (day 5) tasting of local street food;
  • Private transfer Hotel in Palermo – Trapani Port
  • Private transfer Trapani Port – Hotel in Trapani
  • Accomodation in charming 4 stars hotel, mostly located in the city centre, international breakfast included
  • 3 dinners in hotels or local restaurants (dinner – 3 main courses fixed menu, beverages not included) to have a taste of Sicilian and Italian cuisine.
  • Hydrofoil go and back Trapani/ Favignana/ Trapani
  • 1 excursion in group (max 12 pax) Favignana (lunch on board included)
  • City taxes Aegadian Islands
Not included:
  • Flights
  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Other meals and drinks
  • Entrance fees at monuments/museums
  • Hotel tourist taxes (where required)
  • Insurance and everything not listed as “Included”
Additional Supplements:
  • Single supplement A$900
  • Pre-night /Post-night in hotel in Catania including breakfast A$140 per person in double room  and A$250 in single room.
  • Transfers from Catania to hotel in Catania and vice-versa: from A$60 per service  (car 1/2 pax) each way
  • Transfers from Trapani hotel to Airport and vice-versa: from A$75 per service  (car 1/2 pax) each way
  • Transfers from Trapani hotel to Palermo Airport and vice-versa: from A$240 per service  (car 1/2 pax) each way
  • Privilege pack A$700 per person ( or A$1020 for single) which includes: Superior/Deluxe room , return private transfers, City taxes and all entrance fees as per program
Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation:
Hotels are carefully selected for their location and design to combine Sicilian tradition with comfort. They will be confirmed up to 7 days before tour deparure

  • Catania: Il Principe Hotel 4*/ Romano House Hotel 4*  or similar
  • Palermo: Mercure Palermo Centro 4* Ibis Styles Palermo Cristal 4* or similar
  • Trapani: Hotel Vittoria 4* or similar
  • Favignana: Hotel Tempo di mare 4* or similar

Special GIFT to participants: A splendid illustrated book about Sicily, its history and its culinary tradition with recipes in English.

Price from: A$2300

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