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DISCOVER ENCHANTING SICILY - Secret Italia · PDF file 2017-11-20 · Sicily has some of Italy’s best beaches and on this tour we make sure that you’ll have time to enjoy them

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    DISCOVER ENCHANTING SICILY…

    12 DAYS A LAND OF CONTRASTS

    SMALL GROUP TOUR

    DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF SICILY: A LAND OF CONTRASTS

    A wonderful journey to discover the beauty of Sicily travelling from west to east, through the magical interior of this paradise island.

    Travel to Sicily with its idyllic climate, its archaeology treasures, dramatic vistas and hearty cuisine that embodies all things Sicilian.

    Extravagant scenic beauty, a multicultural crossroads with a history that dates back to 3,000 years, an exuberant and richly layered culture

    and a tradition of food and wine that is celebrated the world over…all converge here in sunny Sicily!. On this small group journey, you’ll

    delve into one of the most fascinating and coveted regions in Italy.

    Stare face to face with some of the world’s best Byzantine mosaics in the cathedral of Monreale – a literal Bible in gold. Sit in Taormina’s

    Greek theatre looking out at still-smouldering Mt. Etna and you can’t help but feel Goosebumps. Marvel at the rich archaeological ruins of

    Siracusa dating to the 5Th century BC. Explore the brilliant Roman floor mosaics in the Villa del Casale. Enjoy an Italia evening Opera in

    Taormina and more. The Greek influence is particularly strong in the south of Italy – we’ll see better preserved temples here than in Greece

    itself!

    Sicily has some of Italy’s best beaches and on this tour we make sure that you’ll have time to enjoy them. The cuisine of Sicily varies from

    one province to the next as do the wines. Sicily is a world apart, an island separated from the rest of Italy not only by the sea but also by

    centuries of history and cultural experience.

    The land of the “Mezzogiorno” is a land of surprises and we are excited to discover this gem of an island with you all.

    We have a real passion for Sicily and look forward to sharing it with you!

    Thanks for travelling Secret Italia Tours

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    A LAND OF CONTRASTS TRAVEL ITINERARY

    TOUR LIMITED TO 12/15 PARTICIPANTS: FROM PALERMO TO CATANIA DAY 1: WELCOME TO SPICY PALERMO

    Arrive in Palermo International Airport and travel to the city centre for a three nights stay in our central boutique hotel CENTRALE PALACE

    (or similar), close to the city’s architecturally treasures. At 6.15 pm meet your tour manager for a welcome drink followed by a Sicilian feast

    at a lively restaurant. Overnight in Palermo

    DAY 2: HIGHLIGHTS OF PALERMO & MONREALE

    Breakfast in hotel. Start your discovery of Sicily with a guided walking tour of PALERMO, the Sicilian capital. A crossroads of history,

    Palermo holds the distinction of being the world’s most conquered city and a melting pot of civilizations ranging from the Phoenicians,

    Romans and Byzantines to the Arabs and Normans. We have included today a visit to the Byzantine MARTORANA CHURCH, famous for

    its impressive Norman mosaics; the bustling open market of BALLARO‘ located in the ancient Arabic quarter of the city; the striking and

    evocative PALATINE CHAPEL, dating back to the 12th century featuring amazing mosaics and some of the rooms of the ROYAL PALACE.

    After a wonderful visit to the famous Ballaro’ market, we’ll attend a guided tour of the “OPERA HOUSE MASSIMO” the biggest one in Italy

    and one of the largest of Europe. Following lunch with typical Sicilian antipasti in a local tavern, we’ll drive in the hills south of Palermo to the

    town of MONREALE, known for one of Sicily’s great sites – the stunning 12th century Norman cathedral literally wall-papered with golden

    mosaics that tell the stories of the bible. Evening is on your own. Overnight in Palermo. Walking: Moderate

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    DAY 3: SEGESTA, ERICE & TRAPANI SALT PANS EXPERIENCE

    Breakfast in hotel. Western Sicily has always been more African than European and the first known settlers were the Elymians, probably

    Trojan refugees, about whom little is known. This morning we take a short 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 hill-top town of ERICE by a 10 mins panoramic cableway ride from TRAPANI a town which lies below the headland

    of MOUNT ERICE and covers a land of gear natural beauty, including a coastline that has many long beaches of white sand.

    Step back in time in the fairy-tale town of ERICE with its breathtaking setting high above the Tyrrhenian Sea, a perfectly preserved medieval

    treasure. The views are just magnificent! Erice’s roots dates as far back as the Carthaginian Empire. It also boasts an impressive

    CASTLE with views over the EGADI ISLANDS. After time on your own for lunch in ERICE and some Marsala wine, we continue our Sicilian

    adventure 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. Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own. Overnight stay in Palermo. Walking: Moderate

    DAY 4: MAFIA LECTURE IN CORLEONE & VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES IN AGRIGENTO

    After breakfast, this morning’s drive takes you south from Palermo to the ancient city of Agrigento, a UNESCO World heritage site. The first

    highlight of the day will be a visit to the small town of Corleone, located in the province of Palermo, well-known as the birthplace of several

    Mafia bosses. Here you’ll learn about the Mafia, during an informative discussion with the son of a Corleone couple. After some time on your

    own for lunch, we’ll visit the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, an incredible concentration of Greek temples in varying states of ruin and

    reconstruction. We’ll explore the major temples with a local expert who will shed light on these monuments to the Golden age of Tyranny.

    This historic site was the heart of one of the most important cities in the ancient world and is the prime example of the magnificence of

    Magna Grecia. Tonight you’ll be staying at the lovely hotel “BAGLIO DELLA LUNA” (or similar) located a short drive from the Temples where

    to enjoy a candlelight dinner .Overnight stay in AGRIGENTO

    DAY 5: ROMAN VILLA MOSAICS & SIRACUSA’S ELEGANCE

    Your transfer to Siracusa features a stop at the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina built in the first quarter of the 4th century. It

    contains the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world. It is one of the 44 UNESCO World Heritage sites in

    Italy. The villa was a luxurious hunting lodge used (some believe) by the Roman emperor Maximian. After being abandoned in the 1200s,

    the villa was covered by a mudslide that protected the mosaics until systematic excavation in 1880s. Following an included lunch in a

    country Osteria, your journey continues to the city of Siracusa. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to make your own discoveries, maybe viewing

    the Greek Temple of Apollo, the legendary Fountain of Arethusa or simply wandering the colourful winding streets and alleys of

    elegant Ortigia. You’ll be spending the next three nights at the 19th century “ROYAL MANIACE HOTEL“ (or similar) in the heart of the island

    of Ortigia. Overnight stay in SIRACUSA

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    DAY 6: DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF SYRACUSE

    In the morning, you’ll explore Siracusa, a major outpost of the Greek empire with a local expert. The city boasts an incredible historical

    heritage, starting from the Archaeological Park, featuring the ancient Greek Theater now used for classical performances, the Latomie del

    Paradiso, the largest quarry in the ancient urban settlement and the Ear Of Dionysius, a subterranean artificial cave quarry used as a

    prison. You’ll see numerous elegant Baroque town houses, rebuilt after the earthquake that severely damaged the city in 1693, the

    elegant Piazza Duomo, dominated by the cathedral’s baroque facade that is subdivided by columns and the Temple of Athena from the 5th

    century BC lying behind it. After an included street food experience at the lively market with local cheese, you’ll be sailing around the

    fascinating island of Ortigia and its prehistoric caves (weather permitting).Dinner is included in a local tavern. Overnight in SIRACUSA

    DAY 7: BAROQUE RAGUSA & MODICA- PALAZZO AND OLIVE OIL

    A full day’s journey today takes you south-east to witness splendors of the Sicilian Baroque architecture, part of a UNESCO World Heritage

    Site. In 1693, in the wake of a mighty eruption of Etna, this corner of Sicily was devastated by an earthquake. Towns were rapidly rebuilt out

    of the glowing local limestone. We’ll visit first the splendid “one hundred churches town” where you’ll attend a demonstration of how the well-

    known Cioccolato Modicano is made. The day continues with a short drive to ancient Ragusa Ibla, one of

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