Sicily, Italy - Nature and Archaeology in Ancient Trinacria

Since the very dawn of time, Sicily has possessed an irresistible allure to mankind. With a human history stemming from at least 12,000 BC, this Mediterranean island has drawn thinkers, artists, conquerors, and gods to the turquoise expanse of dramatic coastlines, the plunging valleys and soaring mountain peaks of the highlands, and the rich soils and rustling breezes of the forests. Today, ruins of monuments and homesteads from the greatest civilizations of humanity sit alongside one another opposite stunning landscapes and modern villages, only adding to the breathtaking magic of this timeless place.

Day 1

NEW YORK/PALERMO

Your journey begins as you board your overnight flight to Palermo.
(Meals Aloft)

 

Days 2/3/4

PALERMO/TRAPANI/ERICE/MOTHIA/MARSALA

Arrival at Palermo Airport, where your guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel among the Sea Saltpans of Trapani, where the ancient tradition of harvesting salt from the sea is still practiced. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a restaurant near the hotel. The next morning, drive to Segesta, one of the major cities of the Elymian people, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicily, where you will visit an unusually well-preserved Greek "Doric temple,” thought to have been built around 420 B.C. Travel to Erice for lunch and take a guided tour of the medieval city center, where you’ll wander through its ancient streets, once dedicated to the goddess Venus, and visit its delectable pastry shops.

 

Catch a private boat the next morning at the ruins of the 4th century town of Mothia. Set sail along the lagoon amid the salt flats and windmills to take in the remarkably expansive remains of this once-proud colony of Carthage, bursting with hints of ancient Phoenician culture. This is an active archeological site and home to many discoveries, particularly shipwrecks. Dock on one of the islands for a buffet lunch before returning to the modern world as you sail to the nearby city of Marsala for a guided tour of this city’s many charms, including the Piazza della Repubblica, the infamous and oft-rebuilt Duomo, and the lion’s head gateway. Look out for the word ‘baglio’ on local signage if you’ve got a taste for the namesake Marsala wine produced here, which is one of the region’s most popular souvenirs. HOTEL TRAPANI IN. (B,L,D)

 

Day 5

TRAPANI/SELINUNTE/AGRIGENTO

Spend this morning wandering the ancient pathways of Slinunte’s archeological park, where the gods of ancient Greece still rule within their surviving temples and acropolis. Take in the famous stone-carved panels, or metopes, in the temples, each depicting a scene from mythology. After an authentic lunch in Agrigento, head to the Valley of Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the remains of a Hellenic city and imposing Doric temples remain almost completely intact. Visit the agora, pagan, and Christian necropolises among the crawling network of subterranean aqueducts within as you explore this enduring glimpse into the ancient world. COLLEVERDE PARK HOTEL. (B,L,D)

 

Days 6/7/8

ENNA/AGRIGENTO /SIRACUSA/RAGUSA

Discover Enna, a true Sicilian vista, surrounded by enchanting woods, sparkling waters, and fragrant fruit orchards; rich with ruins countless chapters of human history. After lunch, proceed to Agrigento, a splendid art city woven into the heart of Sicily, boasting a slew of monuments that tell of its glorious past. Visit the Villa Romana del Casale – a 4th imperial villa and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its captivating Roman mosaics, considered the most beautiful and best-preserved of their kind. The next day is devoted to Siracusa, a place that has been popular among merchants, tourists, and settlers for almost 3,000 years. This city presents testimonies of its past in every corner. Greek, Roman, and baroque styles merge into one irresistible tableau recounting millennia of history. Like many other landmarks in the region, the cathedral here stands atop a pagan temple, in this case dedicated to Athena. Wonders increase as you wander into the district of Neapolis, where you’ll have access to some truly remarkable ruins, including the great altar of Hieron (the largest altar from the Greek age to reach us), the Grotta dei Cordari (the rope makers’ cave), and the famous Latomia (stone prison).

 

The next day, discover Ragusa, a province made up of picturesque villages, set within the magnificent natural beauty of the Iblei highlands, valleys, and canyons, ending in cliffs and sugar sand beaches along the ocean shore. Start in Modica, a World Heritage Site known for its ancient tradition of crafting chocolate. Despite its popularity, the chocolate here has never become an industrialized product. It still tastes the way it did centuries ago, created from pure ingredients with the old techniques and sold locally. Stroll through the baroque historical center on your way to an unforgettable chocolate-tasting experience before lunch. In the afternoon, explore the art community of Noto, a baroque gem splendidly set within a rocky plateau overlookingthe Asinaro Valley. Return to Siracusa in the late afternoon and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. GRAND HOTEL VILLA POLITI. (B,L,D)

 

Days 9/10

SIRACUSA/CATANIA/ETNA/TAORMINA

Spend the morning in Catania, located between the foot of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, and the glittering Ionian Sea. The Roman ruins here include the Odeon, an amphitheater, and several buildings made from lava stone. Stop by several of the key attractions of this area, including the Ursino Castle, Etnea, and the Fontana dell’Elefante. For lunch, you’ll be treated to arancini, the specialty dish of this region. After lunch, scale Mt Etna along the well-trodden trails that lead to its summit. Visit a local winery for a tasting and reminisce about the incredible experiences of the day with your fellow travelers.

 

The next morning, head to Taormina, a city defined by medieval architecture and an ancient Greek soul. This is a place of remarkable beauty where modern marvels stand on the foundations of ancient wonders. Cypress trees and prickly pears surround the Hellenistic theater cum Roman amphitheater that faces the sea and the 16th Century Church of St. Pancras stands atop the remains of a Greek temple to an ancient god. Artisan shops line the main avenues, filled with treasures unique to this place while quiet lanes weave through courtyards and tiny piazzas hidden in the oldest part of Taormina. Your afternoon is at leisure to explore this place as your heart desires. ATAHOTEL NAXOS BEACH.  (B,L,D)

 

Day 11

GIARDINI NAXOS/NEW YORK

Transfer to the airport and board your flight home. (B, Meals Aloft)

 

POST EXTENSION TO PALERMO

Continue your exploration of Sicily with visits to Cefalu, Palermo, and Monreale. Situated on the seaside with rocky islets jutting from the crystalline waters, the sleepy town of Cefalu is home to a stunning collection of historical sites, ranging from megalithic human constructions to 18th century houses of worship. In Palermo, visit an ancient puppet theater and explore the remnants of Arab and Norman conquerors who settled this place. Visit Monreale, the best place to view the Conca D’Oro and home to a legendary artistic legacy.  

Prices starting at $4,995. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

 

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.