This tour of Sicily last almost two weeks and hits all the high spots. From Palermo, Sicily's largest city, to the fishing village of Cefalu’ … from the archeological treasures of Segesta to the beautiful city of Trapani … from salt pans to olive oil … and that’s just the first few days! There's also the Valley of Temples, a 150-year-old chocolate factory, the world’s largest Greek theater, Europe's most active volcano, and - not forgetting that this is, after all, an island - a boat tour of the coast. Could you want more? Do you want to do it all again? Come back any time! You have friends in Italy. La Dolce Vita Touring.
* Private driver transfers to and from airports
* Accommodations: selected 4 & 5 star boutique hotels in historic centers of Palermo - 3 nights, Trapani – 2 nights, Agrigento – 2 nights, Syracuse – 2 nights and Taormina – 3 nights
* English-speaking tour local guides throughout your vacation
* All skip-the-line tickets
* Private Introductory Walking Tour of Palermo
* Private Tour of the Cathedral of Monreale with visit to fishing village of Cefalu’ * Private tour of the Archeological site of Segesta
* Private Day excursion to the hill town of Erice with visit to local salt-pans
* Private Tour of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
* Private Tour of the Villa Romana al Casale in Piazza Armerina *
* Private Tour of the Syracuse Archeological Park and Paolo Orsi Museum
* Private Day Excursion to visit the towns of Ragusa and Modica
* Private Introductory Walking Tour of Taormina
* Private Day Excursion with guide to Mt. Etna * Private Boat Tour of the Taormina coastline
Day 1: Welcome to Sicily! Introductory Walking Tour of Palermo Your driver will be waiting for you at the airport and will escort you to your hotel in Palermo. In the afternoon, your guide will meet you at your hotel for an introductory walking tour of the capital of Sicily. The largest city on the island, Palermo is more than 2,700 years old and is noted for its history, culture, and architecture. Its 12th century Cathedral houses royal tombs and its neoclassical opera house, the Teatro Massimo, is among Italy's largest and best known. You’ll visit the the Piazza Bellini, surrounded by Arab-Norman churches, the lovely Teatro Bellini, the Baroque church of Santa Caterina di Alessandria; the Quattro Canti, or Four Corners, a Baroque gem and the Piazza Pretoria. Last, but not least, you’ll stop at a street vendor at the Mercato il Capo for some of Sicily’s renowned lemon ice.
Day 2: Tour of the Unique Sites of Palermo Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a tour of Palermo’s most unique sites. Your tour will begin at the Palazzo dei Normanni, a royal palace begun in the ninth century that today is the seat of the Sicilian government. You’ll visit the Cappella Palatina with its stunning Byzantine mosaics, unparalleled in Italy and the world. The tour will continue on to the crypts of the Capuchin monastery - not for the faint of heart, composing a kind of museum of death.
Day 3: Tour of the Cathedral at Monreale and Visit to the Fishing Village of Cefalu’ Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you and your guide to Monreale's cathedral, probably the first major piece of Norman architecture in Sicily, without a doubt the most impressive sacred space on the island, and a must-see for visitors to Italy. Among its architectural treasures are some of the oldest bronze church doors in Europe, a cloister with a winsome combination of Romanesque and Arabic design elements, and a glorious series of apse mosaics. From here you will head to the fishing village of Cefalu’ to enjoy lunch at a trattoria overlooking the sea and explore the picturesque town. If weather permits, you’ll have time to relax on the beach with rented umbrellas and lounge chairs, in the Italian manner.
Day 4: Tour of Archeological site in Segesta and Arrival in Trapani Your driver will pick you up at your hotel: destination Trapani. The archeological site of Segesta, on the way to Trapani, consists of the best-preserved Greek temple in the world, in an awe-inspiring situation atop a hill in open countryside. After arriving at your hotel in Trapani, you will have a free afternoon to visit this gem of a town. At its western tip, offering views as far as the Aegadian Islands, is the 17th-century Torre di Ligny watchtower, which currently houses the Museo di Preistoria e del Mare, with archeological artifacts. North of the harbor, the Chiesa del Purgatorio houses the wooden sculptures that are paraded through town during Easter’s Processione dei Misteri.
Day 5: Visit the Salt Pans, the Mountaintop Town of Erice and a Sicilian Olive Oil Farm Your day excursion begins with a visit to the “salt pans” between Trapani and Marsala, which form a coastal wetland and nature reserve where sea salt has been harvested for nearly 3,000 years. An expert guide will describe the history and process of salt harvesting. From salty to sweet: The medieval city of Erice offers not only turreted castles, local crafts, and magnificent views of the Mediterranean, but the pasticceria of Maria Grammatico, one of Sicily’s most famous pastry chefs. You can savor traditional almond pastries, jams, cannoli, and Sicilain cassate or just enjoy their scent. There will be lunch and an olive oil tasting at Fontanasalsa, a village on the Western coast of the region. Your olive oil tasting includes four different oils from the on-site olive oil factory, served with freshly-baked bread and coarse sea salt, while lunch includes Sicilian delicacies like traditional lasagne, tomato and basil pasta, local cheeses, rice salad, roasted vegetables, olive tapenade, and caponata.
Day 6: Lunch and Wine Tasting at the Planeta Winery, Arrival in Agrigento and Tour of the Valley of the Temples Your driver will pick you up at your hotel for the 2.5 hour drive to Agrigento. On the way, you’ll stop at the Planeta Estate in Ulma Sambuca for lunch and wine-tasting. After settling in to your hotel in Agrigento, your guide will take you on a tour of the Valley of the Temples, one of the largest archeological sites in the world and one of Sicily’s most visited tourist attractions; your private evening tour spares you the noise and press of crowds, not to mention, in the summer, the heat of a Sicilian afternoon. The ancient Greek temples and roads are lit evocatively in the evening, providing a wonderful opportunity to digest centuries of history or simply experience the beauty of a warm evening among the ruins.
Day 7: Tour of Ragusa and Visit to Modica and a Chocolate Factory Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the baroque gem of Ragusa. Your local guide will take you on a walking tour beginning with a visit to the church of San Giorgio, remarkable in Sicily for having withstood earthquakes over the centuries. The Giardino Iblis is a beautiful park with three churches and a magnificent view of the two valleys surrounding Ragusa. The most beautiful palaces of the city are found en route to the Piazza Duomo where, at the end of a monumental staircase enclosed by a wrought iron gate, is the late baroque Church of San Giorgio, a work by Gagliardi with a facade that is considered a prime example of its style. Lastly, you will visit the Larocca Palace, famous for its baroque masks. After lunch, you’ll visit nearby Modica, a UNESCO-listed baroque town and shop for chocolate at the Dolceria Bonajuto Chocolate Factory, which, at 150 years, is the oldest working chocolate factory in Sicily.
Day 8: Tour of the Villa Romana al Casale and Arrival in Syracuse Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to Syracuse. On the way, you will stop at Piazza Armerina for a private tour of the incredible mosaics of the Villa Romana al Casale. The villa contains dozens of rooms and intact floor mosaics, unrivalled in the world and preserved down to the finest detail, ranging from simple geometrics to huge, complex scenes of the natural and human world.
Day 9: Tour of the Archeological Park, the Paolo Orsi Museum and a Golf Cart Ride through Ortygia Your guide will meet you at the entrance to the museum for an in-depth tour of the Paolo Orsi Regional Archeological Museum. Much of Syracuse was destroyed during WWII, but its archeological treasures – one of the most important collections in Europe - have been preserved. The nearby Archeological Park, which you will visit next, boasts the world’s largest Greek theater and a Roman amphitheater. After lunch, you will tour the narrow street of Ortygia, the city's historic center, in a golf cart. This small island is a popular destination for shopping and entertainment as well as the location of your hotel! Its landmarks include the Cathedral, the Piazza del Duomo, the Piazza Archimede, the Fountain of Arethusa, and wonderful views of the sea.
Day 10: Ascend Mt. Etna and Visit to Catania Any visit to Sicily culminates with Mt. Etna. It has been erupting for half a million years or more and is still erupting today. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to the foot of the volcano where you will meet your guide. The tour will include a cable car ride to the 2,500-meter mark, where the spectacular views will leave your speechless. Weather and seismic activity permitting, you can opt to ride to the top in a jeep, a trip not for weak of heart or wearers of pacemakers! Afterwards, your driver will take you for a visit to Catania, Sicily’s second largest city. Much of Catania was rebuilt in the eighteenth century, following a volcanic eruption and then an earthquake. The city’s wide central square, Piazza del Duomo, features the whimsical Fontana dell’Elefante statue and richly decorated Catania Cathedral. In the southwest corner of the square, you’ll visit La Pescheria, a lively fish market behind the Duomo that provides a daily rowdy spectacle surrounded by seafood restaurants.
Day 11: Arrival in Taormina and Introductory Tour Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Taormina. After checking into your hotel, your guide will introduce you to this Sicilian gem, a hilltop town on Sicily's east coast that sits below Mount Etna and is known for the Teatro Antico, an ancient Greco-Roman theater still used today. Near the theater, cliffs drop to the sea, forming coves with sandy beaches. A narrow stretch of sand connects to Isola Bella, a tiny island and nature reserve.
Day 12: Private Boat Tour along the Taormina Coastline and the Blue Grotto Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and accompany you to your private boat in Taormina’s port. You will view Taormina from the best vantage point, the sea, then relax as you cruise along the Sicilian coastline, with stops at the Isola Bella ("Beautiful Island") and Bay of the Mermaids, where you will be able to swim in the cool, clear waters. Your ultimate stop, after a sumptuous lunch, is the incomparable Blue Grotto.
Day 13: Departure - Arrivederci ! Your driver will pick you up at your hotel with plenty of time to make your flight from Catania’s international Airport. We salute you with a warm and heartfelt “arrivederci!" See you again! Now that you’ve traveled with us, know that you have friends here in La Dolce Vita Touring.
* There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered, shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is recommended that you not take large bags on tours that include churches as storage is not always available
* Please wear comfortable footwear as the tours on your vacation involve a lot of walking
* The team at La Dolce Vita Touring is absolutely flexible and will customize your vacation to suit your personal needs. Are you traveling with children? We will provide the necessary assistance to adjust our packages to ensure that your vacation is truly memorable!
* Contact La Dolce Vira Touring for customization options on your vacation
When should we start planning our trip?
Ideally, we ask for at least 3 months' advance notice, especially in the high season (May through September). Arrangements can be made on shorter notice, but you run the risk of missing out on the availability of our favorite hotels and guides. We want the best for our clients, and the more time we have, the more we can guarantee just that.
What are La Dolce Vita Touring's payment terms?
We require a 20% deposit upon approval of your vacation package. The balance is due 45 days prior to your date of travel.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
We strongly encourage you to buy travel insurance at the time of booking, in the event you must cancel and forfeit funds or in the unfortunate case of injury or loss. We offer travel insurance through out partner, Allianz.
What kind of information will we receive before our trip?
Approximately one month prior to your departure date, you will receive a La Dolce Vita Touring Travel Packet consisting of a detailed day-to-day itinerary, our list of recommended restaurants, a “Helpful Hints Guide” for Italy, and your specific destinations, plus detailed information and contacts for your accommodations, tours and transportation.
Can you give me a cost breakdown of my customized vacation and what is included?
The vacations we create are bundled packages and therefore we do not provide a cost breakdown. Our local suppliers give us bundled prices for the services provided and we do the same for our clients. We simply arrange for all your accommodations, transportation, local tour guides, restaurant reservations, and any other fun activities and experiences from the moment you arrive until the day of your departure. We also follow through your itinerary with you upon arrival to departure with 24/7 concierge service from Rome, Italy.
La Dolce Vita Touring Cancellation Policy With respect to any Shore Excursion or Walking Tour booked with La Dolce Vita Touring, at least 24 hours notice must be provided to obtain a full refund. If less than 24 hours' notice is provided, no portion of your payment will be refundable. The following cancellation policy will apply with respect to any of the Vacation Packages on the website or a Customized Vacation Package booked with La Dolce Vita Touring.
1. Notice. Your notice of cancellation must be in writing (email will suffice), received during La Dolce Vita Touring's normal business hours, addressed to the electronic contact information provided on the Site.
2. Cancellation Fee. Except as otherwise provided in the voucher and in each case subject to the exceptions in Section 3 below, the following cancellation fees will apply: * A non-refundable deposit of 20% is due at the time of confirmation
* For a cancellation between 30 to 21 calendar days before the tour begins: You will be charged a 40% cancellation fee.
* For a cancellation between 20 to 8 calendar days before the tour begins: You will be charged a 60% cancellation fee.
* For a cancellation between 7 days to the day the tour begins: No refund will be given.
* Refunds. Refunds will not be made until your payment has cleared, and any objection or chargeback period has expired. Exceptions are made under documented extenuating circumstances.
3. Tickets. Under no circumstances may you change or cancel an event that includes the sale of a ticket to a museum, a theater, musical or sport event. Ticket sales are final and cannot be changed once the purchase has been confirmed. If, before the execution of the purchased service, your payment via credit card or other payment mechanism is revoked or is not honored, this will be considered as a cancellation and the above cancellation fees will apply. The cost of museum tickets is always refunded when the museums are unexpectedly closed.
Tour Hotels In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, please let us know if you need help.
Our price tours don’t include airfare, so your flight arrangements and transfers are completely up to you. Most tour members arrange to fly into and out of Falcone Borsellino Airport or simply Palermo Airport (PMO) choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Italy. We suggest arriving a day before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, contact your La Dolce Vita Touring advisor.