SICILIAN GRAND AVENTURE TOUR
FRIDAY, MAY 13TH, DAY ONE
At Palermo Airport all parties hopefully arrive at the
I will have a 9 passenger M Fiat Ducato Van or similar
vehicle arranged. Travel to Palermo and hotel.
My suggestion for group or you are on your own.
Familiarization tour with Palermo and some of the sights
with Bill as guide. The city is noted for its rich history, culture, architecture and gastronomy. playing an important role throughout much
of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. That’s about ten times older than Toronto.
Dine as a group or you are on your own. I usually visit
Alti Tempi, which serves real rural Sicilian Food.
Continued touring of Palermo with group or on your own.
Hotel Porta Felice.
SATURDAY, MAY 14TH, DAY TWO
Visit Palermo the capital of Sicily, one of the richest
towns in Sicily for history, tradition and art. We will start the visit to “Mercato del Capo-Capo Market”, a large
street market that captures some of the spirit of the city’s Saracens past. The most colourful part of this market converges
around Piazza Beati Paoli and the stalls wind toward the old gate, Porta Carini that used to be part of the city wall surrounding
Eat at the market in one of the many authentic restaurants.
Visit Monreale thirty minutes from Palermo with its focal point of the
town is its cathedral, an amalgamation of Arab, Byzantine and Norman artistic styles framed by traditional Romanesque architecture,
representing the best of twelfth-century culture. The mosaics covering the cathedral walls are one of the world's largest
displays of this art, surpassed only by Istanbul's Basilica of Saint Sofia, once an Orthodox church. Monreale's mosaics cover
over six thousand square meters of the church's interior, an area larger than those of the splendid church of Saint Mark in
Depending on the time either in Monreale or a Country
Inn near Vita.
Drive to Vita and stay in B&B there. Vita is my ancestral
home and you may care to join me as I place flowers once again in my ancestor’s graves.
Visit Segesta, It looks as if it were built yesterday. Segesta's
ancient Greek temple can make a valid claim to being the best preserved in the world, and its amphitheatre boasts a hilltop
position on Mount Barbaro second to none.
Dine in Segesta.
Drive through Salemi, to Nuova Gibellina.
Gibellina was destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. A new town was rebuilt as a kind of permanent museum with over 50 huge open
air sculptures scattered through the streets and amongst the buildings.
Tour Trapani the oldest parts of the city have been modernized in most
respects, Trapani reflects much of its medieval past, if not its ancient heritage. During the Norman era, the city had a polyglot
population not unlike that of Bal'harm (Palermo), with large Jewish and Muslim quarters. Like Marsala, it was an important
port for trade with Africa.
Either in Hotel or other restaurants in Erice.
In Erice Hotel Elimo
MONDAY, MAY 16TH , DAY 4
Morning in the Medieval Town of Erice. Standing atop a mountain (around 750
meters above sea level) overlooking nearby Trapani is something of a western Sicilian Taormina. You’ll feel like you
have gone back 500 years plus. The views are spectacular.
Visit Salt Flats of Trapani. Seawater is pumped into plotted
“fields” and trapped until all of its water evaporates leaving sea salt behind. Ancient windmills move the water
from one pond to another. They have been doing this since the time of Phoenicians.
Moving south to the Marsala and its great wineries we
will visit the most famous one. The region was always known for its fine grapes, but it was the Englishman, John Woodhouse, who introduced
the fortified wine business here in 1796, having already developed a similar product (Port wine) in Portugal.
Travel further down the coast to Mazara del Vallo
founded by the Phoenicians. The city centre is known as the Kasbah reminiscent of the Arab period.
Either supper at B&B cooked by our hosts or a restaurant
chosen by group.
Evening to Selunite B&B
TUESDAY, MAY 17TH, DAY 5
the 40 acres that make Selunite Archeological site. The site of this important Siceliot (Sicilian-Greek) city of antiquity
bears the ruins of an acropolis and numerous temples, though much of what is
standing today was reconstructed from pieces found in the vicinity. The city was founded in the seventh century BC (BCE),
and effectively destroyed in 409 BC. The glory of ancient Selinus lasted for about two centuries, when it was one of the most
progressive Greek cities in Sicily, famous throughout Magna Graecia.
Drive over to Agrigento and
visit the Valley of Temples. Agrigento was destroyed several times during the Punic Wars, suffering particularly extensive damage during
a siege by Roman forces in 261 BC, but always rebuilt. The Greek poet Pindar (518-438 BC) described Akragas as "the most beautiful
city of the mortals." Akragas' most famous citizen was the philosopher and scientist Empedocles (490-430 BC). In the Valley
of the Temples are the ruins of numerous temples but also necropolis, houses, streets and everything else one would expect
to find in an ancient city.
Travel over to Enna a hilltop city some distance northward, past eucalyptus woods, founded by the
ancient Sicels, later populated by the Greeks, then conquered by the Arabs (as Kasr' Yanni) and subsequently ruled by the
Normans. It is called the navel of Sicily. It is built on a flat topped mountain and from its heights you can see 100 km in
any direction. The most spectacular is seeing Mt Etna as the sun rises.
To be suggested in Enna.
Stay an Enna
WEDNESDAY, MAY 18th, DAY 6
As we travel over to Piazza Armeneria we will make a short
stop at Lake Perugia. This is where in Greek mythology Personpine was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld. It results
in the legendary myth of why we have seasons. You’ll like the story.
We arrive at Piazza Armeneria. This is a Roman Villa with
3500 square meters of mosaics on the
villa's floors, and some surviving wall paintings. Many of the structure's walls are still standing. The style of the mosaics
is said to be influenced by the North African motifs of the Romans. If you read National Geography or the history channel
chances are you will have seen many of these magnificent mosaics.
Lunch Piazza Armeneria.
Drive to Taormina
A wide selection of restaurants to choose from.
Taormina stay in hotel.
THURSDAY, MAY 19TH, DAY 7TH
Wander Taormina on your own. If you're looking for a long glimpse of
Sicily's beauty and history from many angles in a single place, Taormina is a good choice. The city is located on a plateau
below Mount Tauro, for which it is named, where there are the ruins of two medieval fortresses. Taormina's ancient Greek splendor,
medieval charm and unique views of Mount Etna and the Ionian coast afford the visitor a lasting impression of Sicily.
My suggestion for group or you are on your own.
Wander Taormina on your own.
Tour with Bill as a group or you are on your own.
Continued touring of Taormina with group or on your own.
Stay in Taormina.
FRIDAY, MAY 20TH, DAY 8
Drive to Syracuse. We are staying on the island of Ortigia
and it has always been the
heart of the city, witness the fact that since the Bronze Age old was inhabited, and also testify remains of circular huts of the 14th century B.C. related to the culture of Thapsos. The subsequent arrival of the Greeks did not have to be violent, because as he speaks Thucydides , the island seems to have been abandoned by residents who retreated to the hinterland. At the heart of Ortigia is the Duomo church, with its fašade baroque,
built incorporating the Temple of Athena from the Greek period. Adding to the city's religious heritage are the recently-discovered Jewish
baths in Ortigia, which are at least 1,500 years old. The winding streets and panoramic views of the harbor that can be taken in dining at a restaurant
at sunset are very romantic.
Wander island of Ortigia
SATURDAY, MAY 21 DAY 9
Morning market. Special breakfast as my guest when I have
shopped the market and cook the food in my suite.
Familiarization tour with rest of Syracuse and some of
the sights with Bill as guide. Syracuse was the city of Archimedes, Pindar and Aeschylus. It was the most important city in Magna Graecia,
with a population of around 300,000, and for a time rivaled Athens, Rome and Carthage as the most important city of the Greek
In the Neapolis Archeological Park on the Terminite Hill a clear distinction
can be made between the Greek and Roman structures. Syracuse has a Greek amphitheatre (literally carved out of the rock) and also a Roman
one, both well preserved. In conformity to tradition, the Greek Theatre is semicircular and open, the Roman one oval and enclosed.
This archeological park has some charming surprises, such as the Altar of Geron II and the Ear of Dionysius, formerly a limestone
quarry. There is also the Saint Venera Quarry and various necropoli and other caverns.
My suggestion for group or you are on your own.
Continue visiting Syracuse and then leave late afternoon
Cefalu Hotel on the beach.
SUNDAY, MAY 22ND, DAY10
Cefalu the epitome of picturesque grandeur. Cefalu has
a long beach, winding narrow medieval streets, and delightful restaurants overlooking the rocky coast. All under the ever
present gaze of the Norman Arab Byzantine Cathedral, one of the great churches of southern Europe.
Dine with group or on your own.
Cefalu early afternoon.
Drive late to Palermo
Hotel in Palermo
MONDAY, MAY 23RD, DAY ELEVEN
Leave for airport for early departure.
*This is the planned trip but some minor changes may occur
due to circumstance.