Type Land Only
Departure Date Friday, May 8th, 2020
Return Date Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
Final Payment Date
Monday, March 9th, 2020
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The itinerary is subject to possible changes or adjustments due to weather and traffic conditions or other unpredictable events
Departure from the US. Airfare is not included but Celestial Voyagers will be happy to help you to select the best airfare and schedule. We’ll be flying into Palermo departing Friday, May 8 and returning from Catania on Thursday, May 21.
Arrival in Palermo. Assistance and group transfer on arrival is included. If you will be arriving on a different flight, private transfer to your hotel in Palermo is available at an additional cost.
Check-in at HOTEL PORTA FELICE for 3 nights. After lunch, please take the remainder of the day to settle in and rest. Meet your travel companions at a welcome dinner in a local restaurant specializing in Palermitan cuisine within walking distance from your hotel.
In the morning, we will explore the lively Capo Market, a large open-air street market that captures the flavor of Palermo’s Saracen Arab past. Capo Market is a blend of general confusion in a jumble of vendor stalls, winding toward the old gate (Porta Carini) of what used to be the city wall. During the tour, you will learn about typical products sold there. Enjoy Palermitan Street Food. Meet local vendors and experience local flavors like local food as Arancini (crispy-fried stuffed rice ball), panelle (chickpea flour fritters), potatoes crocchette and Sicilian beers.
After lunch at a local spot, we will enjoy a guided walking tour of Palermo including The Catedral, Piazza della Vergogna, Quattro Canti, Politeama Theatre and the Massimo Theatre. Evening and dinner on your own. We can make recommendations and reservations.
Drive to Monreale, about 30 minutes, where Arab-Norman art and architecture reached the pinnacle of its glory. We will have a guided tour of its cathedral and the Cloister. Begun in 1174 by William II, its famed dome covered with golden mosaics depicts scenes from the Old and New Testaments, After a short walk to a venerable bread bakery, we will meet the owner. Here the famed Pane Nero di Monreale, a crusty brown bread finished with sesame seeds (a legacy of Arab influence) is produced using a careful slow process. Thanks to the tenacity of artisan bakers in Monreale, the bread is still made according to traditional methods and has been awarded the designation “traditional agri-food product of Italy” by the European Community. Return to Palermo and free time for lunch
In the afternoon, we will visit a local bakery and participate in a traditional Sicilian Pastry Class in Palermo at the Mama Corleone cooking class lab. We will taste various local specialties including Frutta Martorana, exquisite marzipan sweets, perfectly reproducing vegetables and fruits and artfully arranged in wicker baskets or wooden boxes; they appear in almost every Sicilian pastry-shops window, especially during the Festival of the Dead, on November 2 and Sicilian Cannoli, the most traditional of all Sicilian confectionery products originally prepared only during carnival season. We will learn in detail how to make the justly-famous Sicilian Cassata Cake made from fresh ricotta studded with candied citrus fruits, layered with cake soaked in citrus liqueurs, and chocolate or marzipan icing. Rest of the day on own to enjoy Palermo.
Dinner at the hotel or local restaurant.
After breakfast, check out and depart to Trapani: 68 miles drive, about 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy a private cooking demonstration of Sicilian-style couscous (another legacy of Arab inhabitants) accompanied by local Trapani wine (Baglio Soria or similar). This dish spread throughout the Mediterranean following the route of the Arabian spice and fabric merchants Thank to this cooking show you will retrace the ancient history: Continue to the Marsala salt pans, a charming place, where the “culture of salt” has shaped the territory in the wake of a tradition passed down through generations.
Before departing, take part in the rite of Italian Aperitivo served with olives and “bruschetta” facing the Salt Pans. Then proceed to the accommodation, Check-in for 2 nights at HOTEL CARMINE in Marsala city center.
Enjoy a tour including the fascinating baglio (Arab-style inner courtyard) and the modern underground barrique room with a professional tasting at the historic cellars in Marsala (Cantine Florio or similar ). This world-famous fortified wine will be served at lunch to accompany traditional Sicilian dishes. After lunch, visit Marsala, the charming city that gave birth to this famous wine. Here, civilizations following one another over the centuries and left important architectural remains, including the Thermal Baths dating from Roman times. The historic center of the city, whose main monument is the cathedral dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, was founded by the Normans.
Back to the hotel. Dinner at leisure.
Depart to Agrigento for a 21/2 hour drive where we will meet our guide to visit the Valley of the Temples (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Here, the fascination of ancient history is enhanced by the beauty of its location with the sea on one side, the old city-hill on the other, and the majestic Doric style temples rising in the center. The subtle tones of the tufo (soft volcanic stone) from which they are constructed create a picture-perfect setting.
The Temple of Concordia is the most well-preserved of the temples, having been transformed into a church. The Temple of Juno still boasts 25 of its original 34 support columns. The Temple of the Dioscuri is considered the most symbolic,, while the Temple of Hercules is the oldest of them all. Together with the Temple of Zeus, these five giants dominate the Valley.
Then continue to a local farm for a Ricotta cheese demonstration (Feudo Muxarello if available). Learn how it is produced and used in Sicily’s most iconic desserts such as cannoli, and cassata.
The experience continues with lunch at the farm made from typical seasonal produce such as eggplant, tomatoes, capers, fragrant herbs, etc.
After lunch relax during the 3 hour drive to Agriturismo Kallikoros Resort & Spa, located 30 minutes away from Syracuse and 15 minutes from Noto. Check-in for 3 nights. Dinner at leisure.
After breakfast early in the morning, depart to Scicli, 50 mile drive away.
This wonderful day begins with a walking tour of the historic center of Scicli, and a visit to a beautiful herb farm. An aromatic tour will inspire cooks and gardeners alike. The visit will conclude with a tasting of local products on a terrace overlooking the beautiful southern coast.
Proceed to Modica, about a 20-mile drive, and enjoy lunch on your own.
In the afternoon we will stroll through the streets of Modica and witness a demonstration of traditional Modicano chocolate making, (Vico dei Santi if available). We will have plenty of opportunity to taste this chocolate in its many delicious flavors along with other delectable temptations. In the afternoon return to Kallikoros, via Noto. Dinner and overnight at the resort.
After breakfast, we depart for Ortigia, about 30 minutes away. We will enjoy a private cooking class of traditional cuisine beginning at the market where the chef-instructor will explain, select and demonstrate fresh seasonal Sicilian products like vegetables, fruits and seafood. On the tour we will have a tasting of savory and sweet Sicilian specialties and we’ll decide what to cook for lunch according to what is the best at the market. Possibilities include fresh pasta like ravioli with pesto made from deep-green Bronte pistachios for “primo”. The “secondo” could be scabbard fish rolls with crab or eggplant meatballs with basil with a salad of oranges and fennel, and a dessert like cassata siracusana or ricotta ravioli fried with honey and cinnamon. The cookery class will take place at the warm and welcoming cooking school in the heart of charming Ortigia. After lunch, we will have free time to stroll through Ortigia with its artisan shops and walkable streets. Back to the resort. Dinner at leisure if you still have an appetite!
In the morning depart to Taormina. It is about 2 hours drive. We will meet our local guide for
a walking tour through the Corso Umberto and the narrow medieval lanes of Taormina. We will visit the Greek Theatre, which overlooks Mount Etna and the Bay of Giardini Naxos.
Next, we will have a cooking lesson at a renowned pizzeria in Taormina (Villa Zuccaro if available) After a welcome toast with Sicilian Prosecco, we will learn about yeasts and flours and how to make pizza dough. After topping and baking our own pizzas we will share them at lunch with some local appetizers. Our finale will be a tasting of Granita (sorbet or as we in Philly know it “water ice”). Flavors include Sicilian lemon and mandarin orange, jasmine, coffee, almond, mint, and even wild strawberries and black mulberries. The granita is accompanied by Brioche, a light-rich yeast pastry likely of Norman origin.
Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure in the charming little town which offers great shopping. Evening and overnight in the area of Taormina, at Donna Carmela Resort (or similar).
In the morning, we will depart for Etna (up to 1800mt, Rifugio Sapienza). We spend the morning walking around the craters on Mt. Etna accompanied by our expert guide with incredible views all around. Afterwards, we will visit a local winery and enjoy lunch under the trees accompanied by the award-winning wines that thrive on Etna’s slopes with the help of an expert Sommelier. After lunch, we will have a pleasant interlude at a beekeeping family-run business and its honey-extracting lab to taste a selection of honey, wines, extra-virgin olive oils, and other typical Etna produce. Back to your hotel and dinner at leisure
Depart to Catania (about 1-hour drive). Walking city tour including Catania Fish Market brimming with the daily catch of local fishermen. Enjoy a lunch of market food with fresh fish right on the market. (Scirocco Fish lab if available). Free time in Catania for last minute shopping before returning to your hotel for our group Farewell Gala Dinner.
Transfer to the airport. Departure for home.
Group transfer is included. Individual transfers would be additional.
Meal and food experience
Other included features
In case of different time of arrival and departure private transfers can be arranged between the airport and hotel, or vice versa.
Everyone needs a passport valid until November 18, 2020. If you are not an American citizen, a visa may be required. A Green Card or equivalent is compulsory.
We advise all travelers to purchase travel insurance in case of any unforeseen circumstances and if you are no longer able to travel. We offer the following insurance policies through Allianz Travel Insurance: Basic, Classic, Deluxe, and Classic with cancel anytime. Prices vary with age and amount insured.
Click on the link below for more details:
Package Price $6255 per person, sharing a double room
Early Bird special $5945 if the deposit is received before December 10, 2019
Package Price $6255 per person, sharing a double room
Early Bird special $5945 if the deposit is received before December 10, 2019
CelestialVoyagers Terms and Conditions relate to specific contracts with various suppliers.
The policies and regulations below must be strictly enforced.
Aliza Cultural & Culinary Tours and CelestialVoyagers Terms and Conditions relating to specific contracts with the service providers. The policies and regulations below must be strictly enforced. No extension to the early bird deadline can be considered as it depends entirely on the suppliers.
All changes and cancellations must be provided in writing.
The following penalties apply depending on cancellation date and the timing prior to departure.
The payment schedule and cancellation deadlines are as follows:
We highly recommend to protect yourself with a trip cancellation insurance
The proposed hotels are depending on availability at the time of final confirmation. A similar property may be considered due to the type of rooms and the size of the group.
Porta Felice 4* hotel
Situated in the heart of Palermo, in the historical city center, a few meters from Foro Italico gardens, Piazza Marina, via Alloro and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. It is elegant and welcoming. It was built on the foundations of a XVIII century building and has been completely reconstructed. There are 30 rooms and 3 suites all equipped with satellite tv, free wi-fi connection, telephone, safe and mini bar. Breakfast and bar services are located on the top floor on a panoramic terrace from where it is possible to admire the walls of Palazzo Steri and Piazza Marina. The Wellness club, on the ground floor, offers a wide range of relaxing services from a sauna, steam bath, small pool with hydromassage, emotional showers and also many personalized beauty treatments. For meetings, there is 1 room up to 25 persons and also, on request, there is a guarded parking area nearby.
Hotel Carmine 3*
Located in an elegant, historic building, Hotel Carmine offers a central position, a charming atmosphere, and beautifully decorated rooms. Wi-Fi is free.
Hotel Carmine puts you in the heart of the historic center: Walk to the Convento del Carmine and the central square of Marsala. Admire the antique furnishings. It was renovated in 2005 and it features original and historic Sicilian furniture.
Stay in cozy rooms with modern comforts such as a mini-bar and air conditioning. Rooms feature exposed wood-beamed or vaulted ceilings. Some offer original ceramic-tiled floors.
Some rooms overlook the internal courtyard while others offer a view of the street or the quiet garden. Relax in the hotel lounge, in front of the fireplace. Start your day with the hotel’s buffet breakfast. During the summer you can enjoy your breakfast in the garden.
Friendly staff is there to assist you.
Agriturismo Kallikoros 3*
Kallikoros was built in XIX century in the middle of Val di Noto. It was a country village on the slopes of Mount Renna. A green oasis surrounded by carob trees, secular olive trees, vineyards, almond trees and citrus groves, where you can enjoy all the perfumes and flavours of Sicily. A place that will take care of you and give you wellness. It is located 1 hour drive from Syracuse and 15 minutes from Noto.
Donna Carmela Boutique Resort (or similar)
In the heart of a nursery specialised in Mediterranean plants, Donnacarmela is ready to welcome you in a 19th century Sicilian house that has been refurbished in full respect of the original but given all the modern comforts. Elegantly refined, the building dominates the ten thousand square metre nursery garden. Here you may enjoy the hundreds of scents and varieties of Mediterranean plants. The courtyards in lavic paving, the ancient cistern and river pebbles, the well-stocked wine cellar and the swimming surrounded by secular olive trees, the comfortable spaces designed to relax and the quiet reading room, the wide halls and ample dining room: all this has been designed to make your stay exceptional. Ten hectares in the most prestigious wine area on mount Etna are where we produce the Doc wine for Donnacarmela. A little lower down the mountain side, between the Ionic coast and the first hills, it is possible to find the Mediterranean plants that have found the best environment to grow here. Thus, they develop into unique shapes and colours: Abutilon, Agave, Ficus, Cistus, Opuntiae, and ornamental Citrus plants are all to be found in the gardens of Donnacarmela. They are the essence of Mediterranean gardens.