Sicily: Temples, Town & Country
Dates to Suit
is a fascinating place – surprisingly sophisticated as well as culturally
rewarding. A privileged few will follow me into private homes
and palaces of the aristocracy, and the rural villas and fattorie
of the country gentry for a true insider's view of the best that
is Sicily. Our experiences will range from old-world white-glove
service, while dining with a Contessa in her in-town palazzo, to
stirring the curds during ricotta-making in a rustic country farmhouse.
Sicily is a
melange of cultures from down through the ages. It is a study in
contrasts: strange and beautiful; peaceful and chaotic; frustrating
and charming. The people are warm and friendly. The
food is a blend of the simple and the sophisticated, and always
delicious. The archeological sites are second to none and
the landscape is spectacular. Sicily is never dull. It is
full of hidden treasures.
arrival in Palermo jump right into the fray with a morning survey
of the highlights of Palermo's historic centre: the Palazzo dei
Normanni most notably. See Sicily's most important art treasures
at the Palatine Chapel. Break for lunch in a characteristic
trattoria. Continue your explorations with the small church
and cloisters of San Giovanni degli Eremiti and the main cathedral.
Walk off lunch through the heart of the old city- the Quattro Canti
(Spanish Baroque) and the famous open-air market, La Vucciria.
Make a stop at the Antica Foccacceria where typical Sicilian bread
and desserts are made. Back to the hotel for a rest before
dinner. Dine this evening at the Enoteca Picone in the city
morning visit the Casale Fontana Murata which is the country property
of the noble family, Gioia Donata (olive oil, cheese and wine).
Have a cooking demonstration highlighting pasta and typical
desserts using their freshly produced ricotta cheese, followed by
bountiful country luncheon, of course. In the afternoon visit
Monreale. Set in the hills overlooking Palermo and founded
in the 12th century by the Norman, William II, its highlight is
the spectacular Cathedral complex filled with golden mosaics.
Tour the Benedictine cloisters, abbey and convent and stroll through
the town's maze of steep and picturesque streets. Return
to the hotel in the late afternoon for the remainder of the day
at leisure. You may choose to have a light dinner on the
terrace or even fast after your indulgent lunch.
morning a visit to Segesta with its majestic temples and Greek theatre
(420 BC). Spend the entire morning there – it is well worth
it. Continue on to the medieval hill town of Erice where
you can have a simple fish “pranzo” at the Moderno and then walk
the cobblestone streets.
morning get an early start to visit the archeological sites at Selinunte
by the sea (700 B.C.). Stop for lunch at the private villa
of the Baron and Baronessa Nicolo Ravida in Menfi, producers of
top quality virgin olive oil. Upon arrival in Agrigento head
directly to your hotel overlooking the temples. This evening
we will be on your own.
morning visit the temples of Agrigento (there is nothing I can say
to bring them to life for you – you must see them for yourselves).
Move on to see the famed mosaics of Piazza Armerina and take
in some of its other sights. Lunch en route. In the
late afternoon reach the Villa Criscione, a typical masseria fortress
and the residence of the noble family Giorgio Criscione, which has
been featured in Architectural Digest.
breakfast visit an enthralling and unusual area, including the town
of Ragusa, which features Sicilian Baroque architecture.
Then back to the Villa Criscione for a cooking demonstration followed
by lunch based on typical local products, especially the fresh ricotta.
Then visit the newly restored Palazzo Donna Fugata.
morning a leisurely start to your day and arrive in Siracusa in
time for a lunch on your own. This afternoon a walking tour
of the ancient city island “Ortygia” with its medieval and baroque
morning visit the Neopolis Archeological Park. Mid afternoon
departure for Taormina to arrive in time for cocktails and dinner.
walking tour of the historic center of town. The rest of
the day at leisure to further explore Taormina, shop or just relax.
Lunch in Castelmola (the village above Taormina) and dinner
on your own.
morning take a half-day tour to Mt. Etna (volcanic activity permitting).
Lunch at Il Limonetto with the afternoon at leisure to get
organized for departure. Perhaps your farewell cocktails
and dinner at the Timeo (on the terrace, weather permitting).
morning transfer to the Catania airport for departure to other points
in Italy or home.
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