Ancient Sicily 2019
Enjoy this magnificent taste of Italy on this incredible Italian island.
Experience exclusive excursions that simply would not be possible with a larger group, on an intimate tour that takes you around Sicily’s most beautiful sights. From private tours of beautiful gardens and palaces, to tastings of incredible Sicilian wine, enjoy this magnificent taste of Italy on this incredible Italian island.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Return flights from London to Palermo
- 7 nights’ hotel accommodation
- 12 meals including 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners
- Excursions to Cefalu
- Excursion to Mount Etna and a journey on the Circumetnea train
- Guided tours of Taormina, Syracuse, Ortiga, Ibla, Modica, Noto, Monreale and Palermo
- Guided visit of Villa Romana del Casale
- Biviere di Lentini gardens and Palazzo Conte Federico
Days 1 & 2 – Taormina and Mount Etna
Meet your Tour Manager at the airport today, ready to begin your fantastic adventure in Sicily. After arriving in Palermo, we transfer to Cefalu for some free time, then journey on to our hotel, the 4-Star Hotel Excelsior Palace in Taormina, where we enjoy our first dinner together of the holiday.
Mount Etna is one of the most iconic Sicilian sights, and we visit it on Day 2 on a wonderful full day excursion. You have plenty of time at leisure here, and you can choose to go all the way to the top by either cable car or 4x4 (payable locally), or you could spend your time enjoying lunch and looking up at the beautiful scenery of the volcano. We journey on the Circumetnea Railway after our visit, viewing this iconic volcano from a wonderful and different way. The unique soils of Mount Etna also mean the slopes are an excellent place to grow grapes for wine, and we visit the Frank Cornelissen Winery this afternoon. We take a tour of the winery, and taste 5 different wines, then transfer back to our hotel, where your evening is at leisure. (Day 1 – D, Day 2 – B)
Day 3 – Exploring Taormina
On Day 3, we explore Taormina with a half day guided tour. Taormina has many sites of historical significance, including the amazing Greek Theatre, whose origins are disputed. Thought to have been built in the 3rd century BC, the theatre also shows signs of Roman architecture. This afternoon, you are at leisure to enjoy the rest of your day. (B, D)
Day 4 – Biviere di Lentini Gardens and Syracuse
We begin today with a transfer to the Biviere di Lentini Gardens, for an undoubted highlight of our tour. These gardens have been meticulously cared for and maintained by the owner, the Princess Maria Carla Borghese. It is the Princess that shows us around today, and we enjoy an aperitif with her before we travel to Syracuse for a walking tour. This stunning UNESCO listed place has numerous fascinating features, including the natural Fountain of Arethusa, named after the nymph in Greek mythology. The tour also includes entrance to the ancient Cathedral of Syracuse, which was once a temple of Athena, as well as the archaeological park. This evening, after checking in to our hotel, the 4-Star Hotel Albergo Alfeo, we enjoy dinner in a local fish restaurant. (B, D)
Day 5 – Ragusa Ibla, Modica, and Noto
After breakfast this morning, we transfer by coach to Ragusa Ibla, where we enjoy a guided visit of this stunning hilltop town, home to an abundance of incredible Baroque architecture, including the Cathedral of San Giorgio. We then head over to Modica for a guided tour, and there is also some free time for lunch here, as well as a free tasting of famous Modica chocolate, which has been prepared for many years using the original and ancient Aztec recipe. Our final excursion of the day is to Noto, where our visit includes entrance to the magnificent Sala Degli Specchi. We dine in our hotel this evening. (B, D)
Day 6 – Villa Romana del Casale and Palazzo Conte Federico
Our first excursion today is to the ancient Piazza Armerina, including the ancient Villa Romana del Casale. This Villa is famed for having the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world, with some being discovered as recently as the 1960s. The mosaics have been remarkably well preserved, and are fascinating to behold. We enjoy lunch today in an agriturismo on our way to our next destination, the Palazzo Conte Federico in Palermo. One of the oldest buildings in Palermo, its roots date back to the 12th century, and the halls are filled with a variety of incredible architectural examples and artwork of past centuries. We are shown around by a family member, and after, we enjoy a glass of wine together. After our visit, we check into our hotel, the 4-Star Hotel Palazzo Sitano. You are at leisure this evening. (B, L)
Days 7 & 8 – Monreale, Palermo and home
We visit Monreale today, originally a small village that rose to prominence after the Norman kings of Sicily chose Palermo as a hunting resort. The magnificent Monreale Cathedral is one of the stops on our tour, an amazing example of Norman architecture that was built in the 12th century. Inside, it is filled with intricate mosaics and an incredible cloister that has been marvellously well preserved since its building around 800 years ago.
We return to Palermo, where we enjoy a wonderful guided tour. This is the perfect time to explore some of Palermo's most famous sites, including the cathedral and the Palatine Chapel. This evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. After breakfast on Day 8, we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London. (Day 7 – B, D, Day 8 – B)
Rail Your Way
Own your holiday, make it bespoke, especially designed for you. This could be as simple as a variation to one of our existing tours by choosing where and when you want to begin and end your journey. Or something totally unique with your chosen destinations and hotels for the time you want. Rail Your Way allows you to tailor make your holiday so you can have the experience you want.
Ask your rail specialist for details.
Add long-haul or domestic flights from your nearest airport and make your holiday air-inclusive. Look for the Air Available icon to identify those holidays where flights can be included.
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Extend Your Holiday
Extend your holiday with additional hotel nights, comprehensive sightseeing or new city stay packages, all of which can be added to the start or end of your rail holiday. Look for the Extend Your Holiday icon to identify those rail holidays with exciting pre- and post-holidays extensions.
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Train and Hotel Accommodations
Palazzo Sitano, Palermo
Located a stone's throw away from the harbour, and therefore looking out over the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea, as well as in the middle of wonderful and historic Palermo, the 4-Star Hotel Palazzo Sitano is where we stay whilst in Palermo. The hotel features some wonderful amenities, including a restaurant and the lounge bar. The elegant and modern rooms come well equipped with air-conditioning, a minibar, a television, and an in-room safe.
Hotel Albergo Alfeo, Syracuse
The 4-Star Hotel Albergo Alfeo is our delightful base whilst in Syracuse. Located just a short walk away from the stunning Island of Ortigia, as well as close to the centre of the historic city of Syracuse, this is the perfect base for our explorations. The rooms are decorated with light, neutral colours, and come with an en-suite bathroom, a television, air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an in-room safe. The hotel itself offers a reading room, a hotel bar, and a restaurant, and there is also a laundry service available for a fee.
Excelsior Palace Hotel, Taormina
The elegant and relaxing 4-Star Hotel Excelsior Palace is our hotel in Taormina. With an enviable location near the beautiful Duomo di Taormina, this is the perfect base to conduct our explorations of this wonderful part of Sicily. The lovely hotel swimming pool is surrounded by lush vegetation, and there is a restaurant both in the hotel and near the pool. The rooms here are as opulent as the hotel itself, and come with complementary Wi-Fi, a television, air-conditioning, and a minibar.
The Circumetnea Train
On our trips in Sicily, we have the chance to travel around the base of one of the world's tallest active volcanoes, Mount Etna. Here, we travel on the Circumetnea, a narrow gauge railway, opened in 1898, that travels from Catania to Riposto, and offers spectacular scenes of the volcano. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and on occasion it produces smoke rings, which are extremely rare. Mount Etna also features prominently in Greek mythology, as it was thought to be where Vulcan, the god of fire, kept his Smithy.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
: Departs 20th June 2019 (£1,795), 19th September 2019 (£1,745)
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Prices are correct at the time of publication, however are subject to change at time of booking. All accommodations in Kamloops are of moderate standard. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy.
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