Short & Long Version
of Walking Tours in Sicily
Rendezvous in the city of Catania and drive through rich countryside to an undiscovered village replete with faded churches and curious townspeople. An enthusiastic local friend joins us on our 8 km (5 mile) walk past fields of prickly pear cactus and citrus groves perfumed with the scent of orange blossoms. Continue to a rustic farmhouse built of black lava rock, where we are treated to a relaxed, delightful lunch of Sicilian specialties prepared by local cooks, including fragrant cudduruni - a stuffed focaccia - baked in a wood-burning oven. Transfer to the spectacularly situated town of Taormina, where we stay two nights in a luxurious 5-diamond hotel, and our well-appointed rooms enjoy splendid views of the sea and Mt. Etna.
We begin the day with a visit to the ancient Greek theatre in a stunningly beautiful position, before a short drive brings us to the town of Castelmola, perched high above the sea, where our 11 km (7 mile) walk begins. We roam past steep terraced hillsides of almond and figs, with striking views of powerful Mt. Etna puffing in the distance. Our walk loops through the hills following an old mule track all the way back to Taormina. Free afternoon to stroll the town before dinner in a favorite restaurant serving specialties fragrant with lemon leaves.
We drive through graceful, dusky towns built of black lava stone to the lower slopes of Mt. Etna, the powerful active volcano that dominates Eastern Sicily. Our exciting 12 km (7.5 mile) walk takes us across the lava fields from the 1983 eruption above the town of Randazzo, which the lava flow narrowly missed. Drive to Syracuse, where we will be staying for two nights in the heart of the picturesque old quarter of Ortygia in a stylish hotel just steps from the Duomo. Tonight we dine in a noted restaurant serving the freshest fish and best antipasti in town.
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. Later we visit a local friend’s workshop, where traditional Sicilian puppets with elaborate costumes are still meticulously handcrafted one by one. We’ll then be treated to a private puppet show replete with sword-brandishing knights and damsels in distress. Free evening for dinner.
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 the delightful Baroque town of Noto, built of golden sandstone and bedecked with ornate carved facades and fanciful balconies. We indulge in a plate of delicious pasta alla Norma before continuing on to Ragusa, where we stay in a family-run inn for two nights. Ragusa is an undiscovered jewel with few tourists, and we join the local scene for the passeggiata in the beautifully lit piazza, where you might choose a tiny trattoria serving the cannoli of your fondest dreams, or a Michelin-starred ristorante.
Our 16 km (10 mile) walk meanders past peaceful farms framed in artful dry-stone walls, and brings us down through a deep canyon shaded by carob trees. We emerge below the intriguing old town of Ragusa Ibla, where fanciful Baroque churches and splendid gardens vie for our attention. During our walk, we stop for a bountiful buffet of local specialties and sample the freshest ricotta from this morning’s milk. Tonight we celebrate with a festive farewell dinner prepared by Emanuele and served in our home overlooking our Mediterranean garden.
Short Version ends here. Transfers to Catania airport will be arranged (90-minutes).
Long Version: We 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. Continue along the coast to Eraclea Minoa, an ancient site in a spectacular position where we enjoy a relaxing lunch. Continue westwards to our next hotel perched on a hilltop with views stretching out to the sea and the Egadi Islands.
Wind up the hairpin turns to the top of Monte Giuliano to the unique hilltown of Erice. Wander the polished stone streets to the stunning overlook by a Norman castle and stop for a rejuvenating almond sweet in the town's many pastry shops. Walk along the imposing ancient walls to the city gates, and through open countryside with striking views. Stop for a luscious picnic lunch before continuing our 12 km (8 mile) walk by the seaside. Prepare for a festive evening with our Sicilian folksingers serenading us as we dine on an all-Sicilian menu.
Morning transfer to Palermo airport to arrive by mid-morning (earlier transfers can be arranged.) Arrivederci!