Classical Sicily

    enquire now 8 Days From NZD $1,860 pp twinshare
    Small group
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    This all-encompassing trip takes in the highlights of Sicily as we travel to some of the most impressive and best preserved Greco-Roman sites in the Mediterranean. Along the way, we enjoy spectacular scenery, experience the relaxed island lifestyle and sample delicious Sicilian food and wine.


    Day 1: Syracusa

    Starting our trip in Syracusa, we will meet up with the rest of the group in our hotel this evening. During the Greek Classical Period, this east coast city was the largest in the ancient world – even bigger than Athens. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also notable as being the birthplace of antiquity’s greatest mathematician, Archimedes.


    Day 2:  See Syracusa’s historic Neapolis and Ortygia Island

    This morning we will visit the city’s Neapolis Archaeological Park, with its famous Greek theatre hewn out of the hillside and the fine Roman amphitheatre where gladiators once fought. We then continue to Ortygia Island – a small island in the centre of the city which is home to many more historical landmarks. Leaving Syracusa, we drive for a couple of hours inland to Piazza Amerina, a charming market town set amid rolling countryside, which will be our base for the night. (B)

    Day 3: Villa Romana and Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples

    We start our day by visiting the Villa Romana del Casale with a local guide. It’s the ruins of a magnificent country mansion containing some incredibly well-preserved and beautiful Roman mosaics. Continuing to the west coast, we reach Agrigento – once one of the most prosperous cities in Sicily. The ancient acropolis, now the modern city, overlooks a southern ridge, misleadingly named the ‘Valley of the Temples’. Visiting these temples, we walk around the ruins of the largest Doric temple ever constructed – the Temple of Zeus. We will also explore the perfectly-proportioned Doric columns of the Temple of Concord, as well as the oldest temple in the complex, honouring Hercules. Later this afternoon, we drive north along the spectacular coastline to tonight’s hotel in Marsala. (B)

    Day 4: Visit Erice and the Greek ruins of Segesta en route to Palermo

    This morning we drive to Erice, where we can enjoy the ambiance of this beautiful walled Medieval town. At 750 metres above sea level, we hope to have impressive views of the valley and sea below. It is also worth noting that Erice is home to Sicily’s most famous cake shop – Maria Grammatic. Early afternoon will see us travelling on to Segesta – one of the best-preserved ancient Greek sites in existence. On leaving magnificent Segesta, we drive an hour along the north coast to our hotel in Sicily’s capital, Palermo. (B)

    Day 5: Palatine Chapel and Monreale Cathedral; free time in Palermo

    Before departing Palermo this morning, we will visit the Palatine Chapel – the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily, packed with spectacular Byzantine mosaics. Driving into the hills just a short distance out of the capital, we go on to visit the majestic Norman Cathedral of Monreale. Founded in 1174 by William the Good, the cathedral is also famous for its extensive mosaics, as well as its beautiful cloisters showing both Romanesque and Islamic influences. Returning to Sicily’s capital, our afternoon is free to enjoy Palermo at our own pace. (B)

    Day 6: Cefalu and coastal scenery en route to Giardini Naxos

    Leaving Palermo, we drive along the spectacular northern coastline to the picturesque fishing village of Cefalu. Here we stop to visit the Norman Cathedral, with its stupendous mosaic of Christ Pantocrator. We take a scenic drive along the coast via Messina, stopping briefly for an optional visit to the Archaeological Museum. Our base for the next two nights is the small beach resort of Giardini Naxos, just outside Taormina on the north east coast.  (B)

    Day 7: Chance to travel to Mount Etna; afternoon in Taormina

    This morning, you have the opportunity to join a tour to explore the lunar landscape, craters and lava fields of Mount Etna – one of the most active volcanoes in Europe. Alternatively, you might prefer to enjoy a more sedate morning enjoying the coastal location of Giardini Naxos. This afternoon, we travel the short distance to Taormina, Sicily’s most famous resort. Once a favourite haven for the likes of D. H Lawrence and Oscar Wilde, Taormina is still today a tourist honeypot. After a walk around this chic and beautiful town, with its pretty medieval churches and charming streets, it’s easy to understand why. We’ll visit the Greek Theatre in Taormina. Here, snow-capped Mount Etna acts as a spectacular backdrop to the remarkably preserved columned stage. It’s easy to see why this is possibly the most famous view in Sicily, it makes for a superb photograph. (B)

    Day 8: Trip ends in Giardini Naxos

    Our trip ends at our hotel in Giardini Naxos. (B)

    For solo travellers a single room option is available from only $290

    Reference : ED – CS 2018

    Images courtesy of Explore