Sicily, Italy - Sample Itinerary
(May 25 - June 4) with hotel stays and daily excursions to ancient & modern cultural sites.
Flight Boston to Palermo. Nature walk, swimming, and cove exploration at the Riserva Naturale del Zingaro via the Coastal Trail (2 hrs, 3.7 miles out-and-back). On site mini-lecture: a brief history of and orientation to ancient Sicily.
AM: Charter bus to Parco Archaeologico di Segesta (preserved Doric temple and ancient Theater of Segesta) with on-site lecture on archaeological remains.
PM: Bus ride (1.5 hr) to the top of Mount Erice to visit the citadel of Erice (named after the Greek hero Eryx) featuring a Book V Aeneid bus read-aloud. Walking tour of Erice (Punic walls; Castello di Venere/Castle of Venus; Porto Trapani); traditional Sicilian pastry-making and cooking class with the world-renowned Maria Grammatico followed by a home cooked dinner at La Scuola di Arte Culinaria Maria Grammatico.
AM: Bus ride to Marsala and ferry to island of Mozzia (ancient Punic Motya); mini-lecture on Punic/North African presence in ancient Motya; visit to Motya Archaeological park & museum ft. the famous Charioteer of Motya; traditional Punic/North African barbeque lunch in Motya.
PM: Bus ride to Cave di Cusa followed by a visit to Italy’s largest archaeological park, Parco Archaeologico di Selinunte, and exploration of Selinunte’s eight ancient temples, acropolis, and city walls. Visit to Enoteca Siciliana for a mini-lecture on Sicilian gastronomy and opportunity to taste & purchase local products (olio d’oliva, crema pistacchio/mandorla, pesto di pistacchio, pate di pomodoro e capperi, cioccolato, torrone al pistacchio, etc.
AM: Bus ride (1 hr) to Valle dei Templi (Agrigento Archaeological Park); mini-lecture on the history of ancient Akragas and Doric temple architecture; self-guided stroll down the Sacred Way; visit to Agrigento’s Archaeological Museum and Roman Forum.
PM: Leave by bus for Scala dei Turchi; free time at Scala dei Turchi’s beach/hotel pool (4:30-8pm).
AM: Bus ride (1.5 hrs) to Villa Romana del Casale, one of the largest & richest collections of ancient Roman mosaics in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site; mini-lecture on villa’s history & ownership followed by self-guided tour of the mosaics.
AM: Walking tour of Noto; visit to Duomo di San Niccolo (Cathedral of Noto); free time for shopping and exploration in Noto.
PM: Charter bus to Syracuse (1 hr); Visit to the island of Ortygia; Arethusa Spring; Duomo di Siracusa/former Temple of Athena; and Temple of Apollo. Lunch and free time (1 hour) in Ortygia and Il Mercato di Ortigia to taste Sicilian cheeses, meats, and other local food products. Visit to the Archaeological Park at Siracusa, Ear of Dionysus, and the quarries. Leave for Catania & Catania street food walking tour to try arancini, pizzete, sfincione, sardi, pannele, cippoline, gelato, granita, and cannoli.
AM: Walk to Teatro Massimo Bellini for guided tour of the modern theater, followed by a visit to the ancient Greco-Roman theater of Catania for comparison. Visit to Duomo di Sant’Agata.
PM: Catania Harbor for “Cyclops Riviera” (4 hour) sailboating excursion to admire the mythical caves of Odysseus, the Medieval castle in Aci Castello, and the mythological Cyclops’ islands.
AM: Charter bus to Gole dell’Alcantara (Alcantara Gorge), a hidden gem and natural wonder carved out by the Alcantara River. River trekking tour (2.5 miles, 2.5 hours) led by local guide to explore the waterfalls and reels dominated by enchanting landscapes.
PM: Leave by charter bus to the ancient theater and Roman forum of Taormina, followed by free time for shopping and trips to local pasticcerie/gelaterie of Taormina.
AM: Charter bus up to Mount Etna with mini-lecture en route on the history and mythology associated with volcano. Cable car ride to summit and small group exploration.
PM: Afternoon charter bus ride (3.5 hours) to Cefalu. Walking tour of Cefalù and visit to the Duomo di Cefalù.
AM: Charter bus to the stunning coastal archaeological site of Solunto, an ancient town founded in the 4th century BCE by the Carthaginians. Farewell to Sicily as we board the bus for Palermo Airport.
PM: 2:40pm flight to Zurich with one hour layover, followed by flight to Boston (8pm arrival - Terminal E).