Its history may be epic, but it’s the people that make Sicily the “soul of Italy.”

One minute, you’re walking on Zingaro’s deserted coastline, the next you’re making dessert with a Sicilian chef. Delizioso! A Slow Food maven, Daniela shares the finer points of zesting lemons, whisking ricotta, and chopping almonds as she teaches you to make a perfect cassata. Day after day, Sicily’s mix of history, scenery, and outstanding cuisine keeps catching you off guard. A day after watching flamingos from a trailside bird blind, you’re spying Bronze Age cliff tombs in Pantalica’s limestone gorges, or discussing Aeschylus with your historian guide at Syracuse’s ancient theatre. From Byzantine mosaics to Greek temples, Etna’s snowy summit to Planeta’s sunny vineyards, this walking tour in Sicily never ceases to amaze.

Highlights

  • Stroll amid the ancient walls and columns of the Syracuse Archaeological Park with an expert historian, visiting the park’s famed Roman amphitheater along the way.
  • Adventure across the slopes of Mt. Etna—Europe’s largest active volcano—hiking trails through wildflowers, forests, and overtop a hardened lava flow.
  • Stay vineyard-side at the Planeta Estate, savoring fine cuisine made from family recipes and sampling celebrated vintages of the estate’s own wine.
  • Discover one of Sicily’s greatest cultural treasures, the Cathedral of Monreale, perched on the slope of Monte Caputo.
  • Savor a lunch of typical Sicilian specialties at our friend Daniela’s farm estate, then step into the kitchen for a hands-on lesson in preparing Sicilian desserts.
On all Guided-Full Adventures you can count on...
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Expert local guides to introduce you to the best of your destination.
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Off-the-beaten-path places you’d never find on your own.
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Delicious, authentic multi-course meals — virtually all are included.
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A maximum of 18 fun-loving fellow travelers to share the journey.
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Gracious accommodations that are a clean, comfortable home away from home.
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Experts to handle all the details.
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Flight + Tour Combos include plane tickets, airport shuttles, and pre- and post-tour accommodations.

Itinerary

Fri, Apr 9 to Wed, Apr 21 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend your first night aloft.

Upon your arrival at Catania’s Fontanarossa Airport, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you (after you exit the baggageclaim area) at Bar Sicilia in the arrivals hall. A complimentary small-group transfer is provided to your hotel in Catania, approximately 30 minutes away. The remainder of the day is at your leisure (no meals included).

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please contact Allianz Global Assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service on your behalf. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer.

Please note: If you arrive early, and your hotel room is not available prior to the designated check-in time, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Country Walkers provides City Information including recommendations for what to see and do in Catania during your stay.

Accommodation: UNA Hotel Palace, Catania

2-4 miles, moderate to challenging, 800-ft. (maximum) elevation gain and loss

Breakfast is included at your hotel. Your guide(s) meet you at your Catania hotel at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

You depart Catania for Mt. Etna, whose majestic cone is the highest mountain in Sicily and one of the largest active volcanoes in Europe. Over 11,000 feet high and occupying an area larger than metropolitan New York, the mountain presents a fascinating alpine environment with a combination of nature and the uncontrollable essence of fire. Your first destination is the Rifugio Sapienza (at 6,348 feet) on Etna’s southern slope. A range of walking routes (with a maximum elevation gain/loss of 800 feet) are weather- and volcano-dependent and may include a funivia (gondola) ride to the alpine station (at 9,514 feet). From the alpine station, you have panoramic views over the southern promontory of Etna and the basin of Catania, as well as the main summit of the mother volcano of Etna. You can also see Monti Silvestri, Monti Calcarazzi, and Montagnola—three side craters that are a testament to the volcano’s activity. Alternatively, you may embark on an adventurous climb through pine forest, crossing a corridor of hardened lava flow. A simple lunch of Sicilian specialties is provided at the nearby rifugio (alpine refuge).

This afternoon you transfer to your nearby home-away-from-home for the next two nights: a family-owned country boutique hotel set amid grapevines and citrus groves. Settle in, then gather for a welcome aperitivo poolside, followed by a delicious dinner featuring the best of Sicilian cuisine.

Accommodation: Zash Country Boutique Hotel & Spa, Archi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4-6 miles, moderate to challenging, 500-1,000-ft. (maximum) elevation gain and loss

Following a delicious breakfast, begin your day with a drive to Mt. Etna’s quiet, picturesque northern slopes. Walk options today are again weather- and volcano-dependent and may include adventurous climbs to the recently formed craters of Monte Nero and the Bottoniera, or through Linguaglossa pine forest, crossing a corridor of lava flow. (Maximum altitude for the walk options is approximately 7,000 feet.) Weather permitting, you are treated to a Sicilian-style picnic lunch of crusty bread, sun-dried tomatoes, fruit, cured meats, and local cheeses.

Almost constant activity from this volcano has gifted its slopes with fertile soils for agriculture, orchards, and vineyards. Midafternoon finds you at one of the many emerging wineries on Etna’s slopes, where you’re treated to a tour and tasting at one of the most successful cellars in the Etna region. The location affords excellent views of the vineyards on one side and the volcano on the other.

You return to your country house hotel to refresh before reconvening for a simple evening meal at one of our favorite local trattorias, with the opportunity to savor a flavorful pasta or pizza, topped off with a gelato of your choice.

Accommodation: Zash Country Boutique Hotel & Spa, Archi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4-7 miles, easy to moderate. Syracuse Archaeological Park; 1-2 hours, easy

Your day begins with a (2 1/2 hour) drive to one of the most beautiful spots in southeastern Sicily—the Oasi Nature Reserve at Vendicari, a complex of coastal marshes with a serene sandy beach. Depending on the season and time of day, the beach provides a protected home for large populations of migratory birds such as ducks, white egrets, black storks, and even European flamingos. Footpaths lead through the salt fields of the Pantano Grande to an abandoned tonnara (tuna factory) and the ruins of a Norman tower known as the Torre di Vendicari. From here, the view embraces the entire reserve, from the splendid isle of Vendicari to Capo Passero in the distance. Depending on the weather, you may be enticed to take a swim! Arriving on foot at a family-owned agriturismo (agricultural farm estate), you enjoy a meal of regional specialties, including grilled vegetables, local Sicilian provola, pecorino and tuma cheeses, and freshly made pasta.

Following lunch, you continue to Syracuse. At one time this city rivaled Athens as the most powerful city of Greater Greece, known as Magna Graecia. Modern-day Syracuse is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the cultural and administrative capital of southeastern Sicily—an area known for its extravagant baroque architecture, historical ruins, gastronomic delights, beautiful landscapes, and beaches. Your first stop is the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, where you enjoy a guided tour with a local expert. Syracuse’s Archaeological Park is a treasure trove of important Greek and Roman monuments, including the spectacular 5th-century BC Greek Theater One of the finest of its kind, it still hosts Greek plays in the summer months. Nearby, is the 2nd-century Anfiteatro Romano, the largest Roman amphitheater in Sicily and third-largest in Italy. Unlike the Greek Theater, the Roman Amphitheater bore witness to gruesome events, such as gladiator fights and slave punishments.

Late afternoon, you reach Ortigia, the historical heart of Syracuse and your home for the night. Upon settling into your room, you set out for an evening of independent strolling and dining. You may wish to wander through the Piazza del Duomo, acclaimed as one of Italy’s most beautiful squares. Ringed by exquisite baroque buildings constructed after the 1693 earthquake, the plaza’s centerpiece is the Duomo (cathedral), the city’s best example of the successions of evolving architectural styles that have shaped it over the centuries. The cathedral’s baroque facade disguises the 5th-century BC temple of Athena; however, 26 of the temple’s Doric columns remain intact and are visible both inside and outside.

Accommodation: Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel, Syracuse
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

4-7 miles, moderate, 1,000-ft. elevation loss

Start today with an elaborate breakfast of fruit, yogurt, fresh-pressed juices, omelets, cured meats and cheeses, and Sicilian pastries with pistachio cream. Then, you depart for one of Sicily’s most fascinating nature reserves and archaeological sites, the Necropolis of Pantalica. A plateau rising between the canyons of the Anapo and Calcinara rivers, the necropolis was inhabited from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. The burial grounds carved in its steep rock walls comprise the largest complex of its kind in Sicily, with more than 5,000 tombs dating as far back as the second millennium BC. You walk through a dramatic river-carved landscape of limestone formations, luxuriant in colorful, fragrant Mediterranean vegetation.

Near midday, a short transfer delivers you to another traditional Sicilian lunch at a nearby family-owned restaurant and agriturismo. Dishes are derived from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and reflect the ancient traditions of the Anapo Valley. By midafternoon, you continue on a two-hour drive to the outskirts of Caltagirone, where you find your home away from home—a simple yet beautifully renovated Sicilian stone farmhouse located in the open countryside amid towering palms, olive trees, and neighboring forest. Following time to settle into your room or relax by the outdoor pool, a feast of traditional specialties, perfectly paired with local Nero d’Avola red wine, is served in the warm, wood-beamed dining room.

Accommodation: Agriturismo Vecchia Masseria, Caltagirone
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4- or 7-mile options, easy; 1-3 miles, easy

After awakening in the peaceful countryside and eating breakfast, you have the option of enjoying your inn’s facilities (including the Jacuzzi) or setting off on foot to neighboring Mount Ganzaria on one of two walks of varying distances. The mountain derives its name from the Arabic word for wild boar, yhanzaria, because of boars’ abundance on the mountain in ancient times. This area has been settled from the prehistoric age until the present. Your route passes a Byzantine necropolis and takes you through vegetation of cork oaks, eucalyptus, walnut groves, dwarf fan palms, and orchids. Along the way, you may see foxes, porcupines, and weasels. Broad views on one side look over the Catania plain and, on the other, southern Sicily.

Returning on foot to the masseria (farmhouse) for a light lunch, you then take your leave and transfer a few miles to the magnificent Villa Romana del Casale, considered the most important Roman archaeological site in Sicily. This Roman villa, or hunting lodge, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built around the 3rd and 4th centuries (AD). It is known for its extraordinary collection of mosaics in various stages of restoration. Walkways take you through some of its 40 rooms carpeted with 4,200 square yards of magnificent mosaics depicting vivid scenes from mythology, hunting and fishing, and scenes of everyday Roman life. Concluding your visit, you return to the estate for a relaxing evening and another delicious dinner.

Accommodation: Agriturismo Vecchia Masseria, Caltagirone
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

5 miles, easy to moderate

This morning, transfer westward (2 ½ hours) to the Bosco della Ficuzza, a vast nature reserve home to a royal palace commissioned by King Ferdinand I of Naples during his exile. Enjoy a scenic walk and picnic lunch as you traverse woodlands, home to hare, wild boar, and birds of prey. Continue with a two-hour drive to the seaside town of Trapani. Named Drépanon, or “sickle,” by the Elymians for the curve of its harbor, Trapani claims a strategic position on Sicily’s west coast, which has made the town a major trading port as well as a frequent site of conquest. Beyond the city, salt plains studded with windmills show lingering traces of its ancient salt trade, and Trapani also has a heritage of coral and tuna fishing. Today, Trapani province is a significant source of wine, producing even more than Tuscany! Settle into your hotel in the town’s historical center, then step out for dinner, perhaps savoring cuscus (couscous) and fresh-caught fish (a meal that reflects the city’s North African influences) in a nearby favorite restaurant.

Accommodation: Badia Nuova Residence (or La Gancia Residence for September 19-28, and October 3-12 tours), Trapani
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

5 miles, moderate

Departing Trapani, a 55-minute transfer delivers you to today’s walk in the Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, Sicily’s first nature reserve, established in 1981 after a successful protest halted a road construction project. The reserve features well-maintained paths, panoramic sea views, and a large variety of rare and endemic plants along with fauna including eagles, peregrine falcons, and lizards. The area is also home to the spectacular Uzzo Grotto, one of the first prehistoric settlements in Sicily. Your walk is along an out-and-back coastal trail with minimal elevation gain and loss but with some rocky sections (mileage can be adjusted accordingly).

Finishing up the walk, a 15-minute drive brings you to a nearby farm estate managed by our friend, Daniela, a graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences by Slow Food in Piedmont. She returned home to dedicate herself to the family business of olive oil production. Begin this memorable experience with an aperitivo on the terrace, followed by a lunch featuring ingredients from the organic garden and local producers. After the meal, enjoy an espresso (or macchiato) while you learn how to prepare typical almond pastries or cassata, another Sicilian specialty.

You return to Trapani for an evening of independent exploration and dining, with restaurant suggestions from your guides.

Accommodation: Badia Nuova Residence (or La Gancia Residence for, September 19-28, and October 3-12 tours), Trapani
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

1 mile, easy and 1-3 miles, easy to moderate

This morning, you visit one of Italy’s most spectacular hill towns: Erice, set atop the legendary Mt. Eryx at 2,460 feet. On a clear day, there are panoramic views across the plains of Trapani, down the west coast of Sicily, and even to Cape Bon in Tunisia. Initially settled by the ancient Elymians, the town boasts a fascinating history and is an important site associated with fertility goddesses—the Carthaginians’ Astarte, Greeks’ Aphrodite, and Romans’ Venus. Make your way through a maze of medieval streets with tiny piazzas, churches, and baroque balconies to arrive at Erice’s enchanting historical core. From here, you set off on a walking tour of the medieval town and some of its important sites including the hilltop Norman Castello di Venere (Castle of Venus) and the 14th-century church of Chiesa Madre and bell tower, constructed of stones from the ancient Temple of Venus on the same site. The majestic Norman castle was a massive fortification and the power seat of these 11th-century conquerors in western Sicily. Afterward, enjoy lunch at an agriturismo before reaching Segesta, which features a marvelous Doric temple. Dating to 430 BC and situated alone in a field, it is one of Italy’s best-preserved ancient temples. Founded by the Elymians, a mysterious ancient people, the city of Segesta was fought over for centuries before eventually being conquered by the Romans.

Another hour’s transfer brings you south to the countryside of Menfi and your home for the next two nights at a vineyard-side resort. The individually decorated guest rooms open onto private terraces with views over herb and flower gardens and vineyards. Following a welcome aperitivo, you proceed to a dinner of excellent cuisine served in the hotel’s dining room—accompanied, of course, by the estate’s renowned vintages.

Accommodation: Planeta Estate – La Foresteria, Menfi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

3-5 miles, easy

After breakfast in your tranquil resort, you drive about 30 minutes to Selinunte, an ancient city that is now one of Sicily’s most dramatically sited Greek ruin complexes. This city, whose name is derived from the Greek word for celery, selinus, was one of ancient Greece’s most prosperous colonies as early as the 7th century BC, and hence the object of centuries of battles.

Following lunch, a leisurely afternoon at the hotel offers time to pack, relax, and perhaps swim in the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. This evening, you gather for a special dinner paired with wines from the Planeta estate—perfect for toasting your discoveries of enchanting Sicily.

After enjoying breakfast, you transfer (90 minutes) to Monreale, situated on the slopes of Monte Caputo, amid picturesque groves of almond, orange, and olive trees. The town’s crowning glory is its cathedral, considered one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world. Built between 1170 and 1189 by William II (in competition with a royal church then being built in Palermo), today, the cathedral is one of nine Norman structures in Sicily inscribed together on the UNESCO World Heritage list and a National Monument in its own right. Craftsmen from Constantinople were enlisted to assist in creating the more than 64,500 square feet of magnificent, solid-gold, Byzantine mosaics for which the cathedral is renowned. As you explore this architectural masterpiece, consider how the mosaics, carvings, inlays, and pointed arches demonstrate a harmonious blend of Norman-French, Byzantine, and Arab cultures. Afterward, you transfer to nearby Palermo (arriving by 1:30 p.m.) for your post-tour night. (Lunch and dinner are on your own.)

Country Walkers provides City Information including recommendations for what to see and do in Palermo during your stay.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa, Palermo
Included Meals: Breakfast

Ciao! This morning, a complimentary small-group transfer is provided to Palermo’s Falcone Borsellino Airport based on your departure time. (Your departure transfer time will be communicated to you by your guides while on tour.)

Included Meals: Breakfast

Sun, Apr 11 to Tue, Apr 20 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

2-4 miles, moderate to challenging, 800-ft. (maximum) elevation gain and loss

Your guide(s) meet you at the UNA Hotel Palace at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

You depart Catania for Mt. Etna, whose majestic cone is the highest mountain in Sicily and one of the largest active volcanoes in Europe. Over 11,000 feet high and occupying an area larger than metropolitan New York, the mountain presents a fascinating alpine environment with a combination of nature and the uncontrollable essence of fire. Your first destination is the Rifugio Sapienza (at 6,348 feet) on Etna’s southern slope. A range of walking routes (with a maximum elevation gain/loss of 800 feet) are weather- and volcano-dependent and may include a funivia (gondola) ride to the alpine station (at 9,514 feet). From the alpine station, you have panoramic views over the southern promontory of Etna and the basin of Catania, as well as the main summit of the mother volcano of Etna. You can also see Monti Silvestri, Monti Calcarazzi, and Montagnola—three side craters that are a testament to the volcano’s activity. Alternatively, you may embark on an adventurous climb through pine forest, crossing a corridor of hardened lava flow. A simple lunch of Sicilian specialties is provided at the nearby rifugio (alpine refuge).

This afternoon you transfer to your nearby home-away-from-home for the next two nights: a family-owned country boutique hotel set amid grapevines and citrus groves. Settle in, then gather for a welcome aperitivo poolside, followed by a delicious dinner featuring the best of Sicilian cuisine.

Accommodation: Zash Country Boutique Hotel & Spa, Archi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4-6 miles, moderate to challenging, 500-1,000-ft. (maximum) elevation gain and loss

Following a delicious breakfast, begin your day with a drive to Mt. Etna’s quiet, picturesque northern slopes. Walk options today are again weather- and volcano-dependent and may include adventurous climbs to the recently formed craters of Monte Nero and the Bottoniera, or through Linguaglossa pine forest, crossing a corridor of lava flow. (Maximum altitude for the walk options is approximately 7,000 feet.) Weather permitting, you are treated to a Sicilian-style picnic lunch of crusty bread, sun-dried tomatoes, fruit, cured meats, and local cheeses.

Almost constant activity from this volcano has gifted its slopes with fertile soils for agriculture, orchards, and vineyards. Midafternoon finds you at one of the many emerging wineries on Etna’s slopes, where you’re treated to a tour and tasting at one of the most successful cellars in the Etna region. The location affords excellent views of the vineyards on one side and the volcano on the other.

You return to your country house hotel to refresh before reconvening for a simple evening meal at one of our favorite local trattorias, with the opportunity to savor a flavorful pasta or pizza, topped off with a gelato of your choice.

Accommodation: Zash Country Boutique Hotel & Spa, Archi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4-7 miles, easy to moderate. Syracuse Archaeological Park; 1-2 hours, easy

Your day begins with a (2 1/2 hour) drive to one of the most beautiful spots in southeastern Sicily—the Oasi Nature Reserve at Vendicari, a complex of coastal marshes with a serene sandy beach. Depending on the season and time of day, the beach provides a protected home for large populations of migratory birds such as ducks, white egrets, black storks, and even European flamingos. Footpaths lead through the salt fields of the Pantano Grande to an abandoned tonnara (tuna factory) and the ruins of a Norman tower known as the Torre di Vendicari. From here, the view embraces the entire reserve, from the splendid isle of Vendicari to Capo Passero in the distance. Depending on the weather, you may be enticed to take a swim! Arriving on foot at a family-owned agriturismo (agricultural farm estate), you enjoy a meal of regional specialties, including grilled vegetables, local Sicilian provola, pecorino and tuma cheeses, and freshly made pasta.

Following lunch, you continue to Syracuse. At one time this city rivaled Athens as the most powerful city of Greater Greece, known as Magna Graecia. Modern-day Syracuse is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the cultural and administrative capital of southeastern Sicily—an area known for its extravagant baroque architecture, historical ruins, gastronomic delights, beautiful landscapes, and beaches. Your first stop is the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, where you enjoy a guided tour with a local expert. Syracuse’s Archaeological Park is a treasure trove of important Greek and Roman monuments, including the spectacular 5th-century BC Greek Theater One of the finest of its kind, it still hosts Greek plays in the summer months. Nearby, is the 2nd-century Anfiteatro Romano, the largest Roman amphitheater in Sicily and third-largest in Italy. Unlike the Greek Theater, the Roman Amphitheater bore witness to gruesome events, such as gladiator fights and slave punishments.

Late afternoon, you reach Ortigia, the historical heart of Syracuse and your home for the night. Upon settling into your room, you set out for an evening of independent strolling and dining. You may wish to wander through the Piazza del Duomo, acclaimed as one of Italy’s most beautiful squares. Ringed by exquisite baroque buildings constructed after the 1693 earthquake, the plaza’s centerpiece is the Duomo (cathedral), the city’s best example of the successions of evolving architectural styles that have shaped it over the centuries. The cathedral’s baroque facade disguises the 5th-century BC temple of Athena; however, 26 of the temple’s Doric columns remain intact and are visible both inside and outside.

Accommodation: Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel, Syracuse
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

4-7 miles, moderate, 1,000-ft. elevation loss

Start today with an elaborate breakfast of fruit, yogurt, fresh-pressed juices, omelets, cured meats and cheeses, and Sicilian pastries with pistachio cream. Then, you depart for one of Sicily’s most fascinating nature reserves and archaeological sites, the Necropolis of Pantalica. A plateau rising between the canyons of the Anapo and Calcinara rivers, the necropolis was inhabited from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. The burial grounds carved in its steep rock walls comprise the largest complex of its kind in Sicily, with more than 5,000 tombs dating as far back as the second millennium BC. You walk through a dramatic river-carved landscape of limestone formations, luxuriant in colorful, fragrant Mediterranean vegetation.

Near midday, a short transfer delivers you to another traditional Sicilian lunch at a nearby family-owned restaurant and agriturismo. Dishes are derived from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and reflect the ancient traditions of the Anapo Valley. By midafternoon, you continue on a two-hour drive to the outskirts of Caltagirone, where you find your home away from home—a simple yet beautifully renovated Sicilian stone farmhouse located in the open countryside amid towering palms, olive trees, and neighboring forest. Following time to settle into your room or relax by the outdoor pool, a feast of traditional specialties, perfectly paired with local Nero d’Avola red wine, is served in the warm, wood-beamed dining room.

Accommodation: Agriturismo Vecchia Masseria, Caltagirone
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

4- or 7-mile options, easy; 1-3 miles, easy

After awakening in the peaceful countryside and eating breakfast, you have the option of enjoying your inn’s facilities (including the Jacuzzi) or setting off on foot to neighboring Mount Ganzaria on one of two walks of varying distances. The mountain derives its name from the Arabic word for wild boar, yhanzaria, because of boars’ abundance on the mountain in ancient times. This area has been settled from the prehistoric age until the present. Your route passes a Byzantine necropolis and takes you through vegetation of cork oaks, eucalyptus, walnut groves, dwarf fan palms, and orchids. Along the way, you may see foxes, porcupines, and weasels. Broad views on one side look over the Catania plain and, on the other, southern Sicily.

Returning on foot to the masseria (farmhouse) for a light lunch, you then take your leave and transfer a few miles to the magnificent Villa Romana del Casale, considered the most important Roman archaeological site in Sicily. This Roman villa, or hunting lodge, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built around the 3rd and 4th centuries (AD). It is known for its extraordinary collection of mosaics in various stages of restoration. Walkways take you through some of its 40 rooms carpeted with 4,200 square yards of magnificent mosaics depicting vivid scenes from mythology, hunting and fishing, and scenes of everyday Roman life. Concluding your visit, you return to the estate for a relaxing evening and another delicious dinner.

Accommodation: Agriturismo Vecchia Masseria, Caltagirone
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

5 miles, easy to moderate

This morning, transfer westward (2 ½ hours) to the Bosco della Ficuzza, a vast nature reserve home to a royal palace commissioned by King Ferdinand I of Naples during his exile. Enjoy a scenic walk and picnic lunch as you traverse woodlands, home to hare, wild boar, and birds of prey. Continue with a two-hour drive to the seaside town of Trapani. Named Drépanon, or “sickle,” by the Elymians for the curve of its harbor, Trapani claims a strategic position on Sicily’s west coast, which has made the town a major trading port as well as a frequent site of conquest. Beyond the city, salt plains studded with windmills show lingering traces of its ancient salt trade, and Trapani also has a heritage of coral and tuna fishing. Today, Trapani province is a significant source of wine, producing even more than Tuscany! Settle into your hotel in the town’s historical center, then step out for dinner, perhaps savoring cuscus (couscous) and fresh-caught fish (a meal that reflects the city’s North African influences) in a nearby favorite restaurant.

Accommodation: Badia Nuova Residence (or La Gancia Residence for September 19-28, and October 3-12 tours), Trapani
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

5 miles, moderate

Departing Trapani, a 55-minute transfer delivers you to today’s walk in the Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, Sicily’s first nature reserve, established in 1981 after a successful protest halted a road construction project. The reserve features well-maintained paths, panoramic sea views, and a large variety of rare and endemic plants along with fauna including eagles, peregrine falcons, and lizards. The area is also home to the spectacular Uzzo Grotto, one of the first prehistoric settlements in Sicily. Your walk is along an out-and-back coastal trail with minimal elevation gain and loss but with some rocky sections (mileage can be adjusted accordingly).

Finishing up the walk, a 15-minute drive brings you to a nearby farm estate managed by our friend, Daniela, a graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences by Slow Food in Piedmont. She returned home to dedicate herself to the family business of olive oil production. Begin this memorable experience with an aperitivo on the terrace, followed by a lunch featuring ingredients from the organic garden and local producers. After the meal, enjoy an espresso (or macchiato) while you learn how to prepare typical almond pastries or cassata, another Sicilian specialty.

You return to Trapani for an evening of independent exploration and dining, with restaurant suggestions from your guides.

Accommodation: Badia Nuova Residence (or La Gancia Residence for, September 19-28, and October 3-12 tours), Trapani
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

1 mile, easy and 1-3 miles, easy to moderate

This morning, you visit one of Italy’s most spectacular hill towns: Erice, set atop the legendary Mt. Eryx at 2,460 feet. On a clear day, there are panoramic views across the plains of Trapani, down the west coast of Sicily, and even to Cape Bon in Tunisia. Initially settled by the ancient Elymians, the town boasts a fascinating history and is an important site associated with fertility goddesses—the Carthaginians’ Astarte, Greeks’ Aphrodite, and Romans’ Venus. Make your way through a maze of medieval streets with tiny piazzas, churches, and baroque balconies to arrive at Erice’s enchanting historical core. From here, you set off on a walking tour of the medieval town and some of its important sites including the hilltop Norman Castello di Venere (Castle of Venus) and the 14th-century church of Chiesa Madre and bell tower, constructed of stones from the ancient Temple of Venus on the same site. The majestic Norman castle was a massive fortification and the power seat of these 11th-century conquerors in western Sicily. Afterward, enjoy lunch at an agriturismo before reaching Segesta, which features a marvelous Doric temple. Dating to 430 BC and situated alone in a field, it is one of Italy’s best-preserved ancient temples. Founded by the Elymians, a mysterious ancient people, the city of Segesta was fought over for centuries before eventually being conquered by the Romans.

Another hour’s transfer brings you south to the countryside of Menfi and your home for the next two nights at a vineyard-side resort. The individually decorated guest rooms open onto private terraces with views over herb and flower gardens and vineyards. Following a welcome aperitivo, you proceed to a dinner of excellent cuisine served in the hotel’s dining room—accompanied, of course, by the estate’s renowned vintages.

Accommodation: Planeta Estate – La Foresteria, Menfi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

3-5 miles, easy

After breakfast in your tranquil resort, you drive about 30 minutes to Selinunte, an ancient city that is now one of Sicily’s most dramatically sited Greek ruin complexes. This city, whose name is derived from the Greek word for celery, selinus, was one of ancient Greece’s most prosperous colonies as early as the 7th century BC, and hence the object of centuries of battles.

Following lunch, a leisurely afternoon at the hotel offers time to pack, relax, and perhaps swim in the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. This evening, you gather for a special dinner paired with wines from the Planeta estate—perfect for toasting your discoveries of enchanting Sicily.

After enjoying breakfast, you transfer (90 minutes) to Monreale, situated on the slopes of Monte Caputo, amid picturesque groves of almond, orange, and olive trees. The town’s crowning glory is its cathedral, considered one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world. Built between 1170 and 1189 by William II (in competition with a royal church then being built in Palermo), today, the cathedral is one of nine Norman structures in Sicily inscribed together on the UNESCO World Heritage list and a National Monument in its own right. Craftsmen from Constantinople were enlisted to assist in creatingthe more than 64,500 square feet of magnificent, solid-gold, Byzantine mosaics for which the cathedral is renowned. As you explore this architectural masterpiece, consider how the mosaics, carvings, inlays, and pointed arches demonstrate a harmonious blend of Norman-French, Byzantine, and Arab cultures. You continue to nearby Palermo (arriving by 1:30 p.m.), where you can conveniently explore this historic city on your own or make flight or rail connections for onward travels.

Accommodations

Linger Longer with a Tour Extension

Italy: Sicily
Pre-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021

2021 Pre-Tour Extension - Taormina

  • Two nights at the Hotel Villa Schuler
  • Small-group airport and hotel transfers
  • Two breakfasts

2 Nights From $498
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $398

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend your first night aloft.

Upon your arrival at Catania’s Fontanarossa Airport, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you (after you exit the baggage-claim area) at Bar Sicilia in the arrivals hall.. A complimentary small-group transfer will be provided to your Taormina hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure (no meals included).

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please contact Allianz Global Assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service on your behalf. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer.

Please note: If you arrive early, and your hotel room is not available prior to the designated check-in time, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Country Walkers provides City Information including recommendations for what to see and do in Taormina during your stay.

Accommodation: Hotel Villa Schuler, Taormina
Included Meals: None

Today is yours to explore this chic resort town perched idyllically above the Mediterranean, with a history dating back millennia. Discover dreamy streets, medieval churches, and a beautifully preserved Greek theater. Later, you might relax at one of the spectacular beaches you can see from the city’s lofty position high above the Ionian Sea. The beaches below are easily accessible by cable car. Your family-run hotel in the heart of the historical center, surrounded by exotic gardens, gives you access to all the best of this beguiling city. (Lunch and dinner are on your own.)

Accommodation: Hotel Villa Schuler, Taormina
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a relaxing breakfast at your hotel, a complimentary transfer from Taormina to your Catania hotel is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. A Country Walkers representative will meet you in the lobby of your Taormina hotel and assist you with your transfer.

Italy: Sicily 2
Post-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021

2021 Post-Tour Extension - Palermo

  • One night at the Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa†
  • Small-group airport and hotel transfers
  • One breakfast

1 Night From $198
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $148

Today is yours to explore more of this historic coastal town. Not to be missed is the spacious botanical gardens, praised by Goethe as “the most beautiful place on earth” nor the Massimo Theater, Italy’s largest indoor theater where the final scenes of The Godfather trilogy were filmed. After a full day of exploring, relax at your centrally located hotel with a massage or aperitivo before savoring your last Sicilian dinner. (Lunch and dinner are on your own.)

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa, Palermo
Included Meals: Breakfast

Ciao! This morning, a complimentary small-group transfer is provided to Palermo’s Falcone Borsellino Airport based on your departure time. (Your departure transfer time will be communicated to you by your guides while on tour.)

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa, Palermo
Included Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

Flight + Tour Combo
Tour Only
Exceptional boutique accommodations Check Check
All on-tour meals except 2 dinners Check Check
Local guides with you throughout tour Check Check
Local wine and/or beer with dinner Check Check
Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary Check Check
Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz Check Check
Roundtrip airfare Check
One extra night in Catania and one extra night in Palermo Check
Airport car service for arrival & departure Check
Pre- and post-tour breakfasts Check
Business-class upgrades available Check
Morocco: Marrakesh, Foothills of the High Atlas & Essaouira

Dates & Prices

Flight + Tour Combo

13 days. Includes round-trip international airfare, airport car service, additional hotel nights with included breakfast, and your tour.

Single Supplement: From $1,098

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

10 days. Includes your tour only.

Single Supplement: From $798

Fri, Apr 9 - Wed, Apr 21, 2021

$7,198

Reserve Online

Sun, Apr 11 - Tue, Apr 20, 2021

$6,348

Reserve Online

Fri, Apr 23 - Wed, May 5, 2021

$7,498

Reserve Online

Sun, Apr 25 - Tue, May 4, 2021

$6,448

Reserve Online

Fri, May 7 - Wed, May 19, 2021

$7,498

Reserve Online

Sun, May 9 - Tue, May 18, 2021

$6,448

Reserve Online

Fri, May 21 - Wed, Jun 2, 2021

$7,498

Reserve Online

Sun, May 23 - Tue, Jun 1, 2021

$6,448

Reserve Online

Fri, Sep 17 - Wed, Sep 29, 2021

$7,498

Reserve Online

Sun, Sep 19 - Tue, Sep 28, 2021

$6,448

Reserve Online

Fri, Oct 1 - Wed, Oct 13, 2021

$7,398

Reserve Online

Sun, Oct 3 - Tue, Oct 12, 2021

$6,348

Reserve Online

Fri, Oct 8 - Wed, Oct 20, 2021

$7,398

Reserve Online

Sun, Oct 10 - Tue, Oct 19, 2021

$6,348

Reserve Online

Fri, Oct 22 - Wed, Nov 3, 2021

$7,398

Reserve Online

Sun, Oct 24 - Tue, Nov 2, 2021

$6,348

Reserve Online
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