Don’t just see Sicily, experience it! Be welcomed as one of the family by our Sicilian friends, and get ready for some close encounters of the quirky kind on this unique walking & tasting tour from eastern to western Sicily. Visit offbeat sites like a cheese-filled grotto, dazzle your senses in a wild and wonderful street market, greet our home cooks and learn the simple tricks to a great Sicilian meal, or just bask in the quiet pleasure of a walk in the splendid countryside with an equally splendid lunch.
Of course, our walking tour encompasses some of Sicily’s hotspots, too, such as the sublime Greek temples at Agrigento and the exquisite theatre of Segesta. Relax as we effortlessly get you from place to place, and make tasting gelato or granita your toughest daily decision.
This unique walking and tasting tour will be led by Italian Connection’s founder Anita Iaconangelo, who lives in Sicily and has led insider tours of the island since 1996.
E-mail to reserve your place today!
|•||Walk along an ancient Greek road scented with wild thyme, dip your feet in the turquoise sea, and rest in the shade of a carob tree|
|•||Tie on an apron and cook with a Sicilian mamma in our home kitchen, poke through a spooky grotto filled with aging cheese|
|•||Sail across a lagoon past piles of sea salt, visit the sacrificial burial ground of the Carthaginians, and learn the 2000-year old secret of making crimson cloth|
Dance with a folksinger and learn the hilarious words to naughty Sicilian songs
Arrive at Catania airport and transfer to Syracuse, where we’ll stay two nights in the heart of the picturesque old quarter of Ortygia, just steps from the Duomo. Welcome aperitivo with your Italian Connection tour leader and stroll to dinner.
Morning visit with a local guide, touring the archaeological park and magnificent Greek theatre, still used for performances during theatre festivals. Then it’s on to the market, raucous and colorful, with a fabulous variety of fresh produce spilling into the streets. In the afternoon we take an excursion to the ancient ramparts of Syracuse, where Archimedes helped defend his native city from destruction. Visit a local friend’s workshop, where traditional Sicilian puppets with elaborate costumes are still meticulously handcrafted. Enjoy a puppet show where brave knights in shining armor save damsels in distress.
We drive south to the nature reserve of Vendicari, a sparkling gem of unspoiled coast scented with eucalyptus and wild thyme, and walk for 8 km (5 miles) along the ancient Greek road bordering the impossibly blue sea. Visit an olive farm and revel in a tasting with an olive oil master and a light lunch of fresh ricotta and bruschetta drizzled with the farm's oil. Continue to Ragusa, where we stay in a family-run inn for three nights. Ragusa is an undiscovered jewel with few tourists. Join the local scene for the passeggiata in the piazza, and enjoy dinner in a family-run trattoria.
Descend into a damp old grotto, now an aging cellar for the area’s prestigious Ragusano cheese, where hundreds of cheeses hang by thick ropes in the moldy darkness. Ascend to a hilltop at Palazzolo Acreide, once an important Greek town that protected ancient Syracuse, and visit the tiny Greek theatre and Byzantine tombs. Stroll through the town admiring the great mix of Art Nouveau architecture and sumptious pastry shops before heading on to Noto. Visit a noble palace reminiscent of The Leopard and admire the absurdly extravagant Baroque buildings carved of honey-colored stone. Free evening for dinner where you may choose a casual trattoria or an elegant Michelin-starred ristorante.
|Marina di Ragusa|
Take a 5 km (3 mile) walk in the bucolic countryside surrounding our home, across the terraced fields of ancient olive and magnificent carob trees, to a little farm hamlet where our cooks await us. Help prepare a seasonal Sicilian lunch, then dine in our kitchen, overlooking our Mediterranean garden. In the afternoon, visit the town of Modica, working off lunch traipsing the narrow stairways that connect the upper and lower town. This evening we head to the Marina di Ragusa where we meet a young chef who treats to the finest fresh fish prepared with Sicilian flair.
Depart for Agrigento, where a local expert will be our guide through the Valley of the Temples, as we view some of the best preserved Greek temples in the world. Lunch at a seaside locale below the ancient Greek site of Eraclea Minoa, before we continue to western Sicily for 3 nights. Check into a country hotel with lovely views of the Egadi islands.
|Camminando fra i fiori|
Travel along the via del sale, where sea salt is still gathered as it was 500 years ago, and huge piles of salt are drying in the sun. Here 15th century windmills, used to grind the coarse salt, harness the strong scirocco wind from North Africa. We take a short boat ride across the lagoon to the fascinating island of Mozia, once an astonishingly powerful Carthaginian stronghold destroyed some 2500 years ago. Archeologists have unearthed some splendid finds that are on display here, including the elegant, sensuous statue of the Young Man of Mozia. Our peaceful 5 km (3 mile) walk takes us through fields of wildflowers as we explore the ruins of this fascinating ancient city. In the afternoon, stroll the streets of Marsala, and stop for a glass of its sweet golden wine.
|Cantante folklorico e compagnia|
Visit the lofty hilltop town of Erice, and explore its polished stone streets. Enjoy a walk with stunning sea views, before continuing to Segesta with its majestic Greek theatre and solitary Greek temple. Our last evening we’ll be entertained by musicians and folksingers who’ll teach us the latest steps to Sicilian square dancing.
Transfer to Palermo airport in time for noon or later flights. Arrivederci!.