EU3PFY IT 9D8N CTA-CTA-01

From S$2,080 per person
– Land package only.
– Airport transfers.

– 4* hotels with daily breakfast.
– Travel by air-conditioned coach with English-speaking guide.
– Meals as per itinerary.
– Excludes: Beverages, Entrance Fees, City Taxes (where applicable).

ITINERARY
Day 01 – Arrive Catania
Day 02 – Catania: Siracusa, Noto
Day 03 – Catania: Etna, Taormina
Day 04 – Catania – Cefalu – Palermo
Day 05 – Palermo – Monreale – Marsala
Day 06 – Marsala – Selinunte – Agrigento
Day 07 – Agrigento – Catania
Day 08 – Catania: Sicilia Outlet Village
Day 09 – Depart Catania
9D8N Europe Italy Sicily Discovery
 Day 01   ARRIVE CATANIA  [D]

Your driver will meet you at Catania Airport Arrival Hall and take you to your hotel in Catania, an ancient port city on Sicily’s east and its second largest city (after Palermo).  Overnight in Catania. 


Day 02   CATANIA: SIRACUSA / NOTO   [B/D]

After breakfast, we will head to the historic town of Siracusa, or Syracuse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sicily with a history dating back almost 3 millennia and notable for its rich Greek history and heritage.  Attractions there include:  the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Latomie of Paradise and the Ear of Dionysius.  Continue on to visit Ortigia, the historical centre of Siracusa which is a small island at the eastern end of Siracusa that is separated from mainland Sicily by a narrow channel with 2 bridges connecting the island to the mainland.  At the centre of Ortigia is the cafe-lined Piazza del Duomo, one of the most beautiful Baroque piazzas in Sicily.  At one end of the piazza is the imposing Duomo – the Cathedral of Syracuse – that was once a Greek (Doric) temple and now a church.  Not to be missed whilst there is the famous Fonte Aretusa (Fountain of Arethusa), a fresh-water spring steeped in Greek mythology.  After lunch (own expense), we will head to the town of Noto, a charming late-Baroque gem that was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1693 and accorded, together with its cathedral, UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2002.  Noto is famous for its Sicilian Baroque buildings, many of which are churches and palaces.  Overnight in Catania.


Day 03   CATANIA: ETNA / TAORMINA   [B/L/D]

Today, we will head to “Crateri Silvestri”, a location on the slopes of the massive Mt Etna (3,350m), Europe’s highest volcano and also ranking among the largest and most active volcanoes in the world.  (No worries, the Silvestri Craters are no longer active.)  The location offers spectacular views of the summit of Etna, its landscape and the regions beyond.  Today, Mt Etna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so recognised for its volcanic activity and its vast diversity of ecosystems and landscapes.  The volcanic mineral-rich soil and the mild Mediterranean climate provide the region around Mt Etna with a terroir that has shaped the agriculture and culture of the communities living there.  Well known among its agricultural produce are its citrus fruits, its grapes for wine production and pistachio nuts.  The region is also known for honey production.  We will visit a bee-keeping company (included) where, in addition to a visit of their honey extraction lab, we will get to taste home-made honey and the typical products of the region.  We will then proceed to Taormina, a charming town renowned, among others, for its ancient Greek Theatre and no less its great view of Mt Etna.  Lunch (included) will be in a restaurant where you will get to see how some typical Sicilian dishes are cooked.  After lunch, we will visit Taormina’s most significant historical monument – its Greek Theatre.  Although initially constructed by the Greeks sometime in the 3rd century BCE, it was subsequently renovated and expanded by the Romans.  In addition to being a monument with great historical and artistic value, the spectacular views from the theatre over the blue Ionian Sea and of Mt Etna make a visit to the theatre beyond compelling.  Free time thereafter for you to walk around and enjoy this picturesque medieval town.  Enroute back to Catania, we will pass through Riviera dei Ciclopi (Riviera of the [legendary] Cyclops!), a 12km stretch of the coast near to, and north of, Catania.  Overnight in Catania.


Day 04   CATANIA – CEFALU – PALERMO   [B/D]

This morning, we will go on a guided walking tour of the historical Baroque centre of Catania, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The 18th century reconstruction of the city after the devastating earthquake of 1693 has left the city a rich legacy of Baroque buildings which are now its major attractions.  Catania has some lovely squares and the most spacious and inviting of which is Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral square.  The walking tour includes a stop in a historic bar for tasting of the typical Sicilian “granita (frozen dessert) and brioche (pastry)” (included).  Before departing Catania, there will be time for lunch (own expense).  After lunch, we will head to Cefalu,  an attractive medieval town and seaside resort situated on the northern coast of Sicily and known for its stunning Norman cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Free time to enjoy the town.  Final destination for the day is Palermo, the capital of Sicily and also its largest city.  Overnight in Palermo.


Day 05   PALERMO – MONREALE – MARSALA   [B/D]

In the morning we will go on a guided walking tour of Palermo.  A city at the edge of Europe and a cultural melting pot since antiquity – Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and now Italian – Palermo offers a huge range of historical and cultural attractions.  Whilst Baroque architecture predominates, there is a diversity of architectural styles reflecting the city’s multi-cultural past.  The tour includes a stop at the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco for a food sampling (included).  After lunch (own expense), we will proceed to the nearby hillside town Monreale to visit its huge Norman cathedral (Duomo di Monreale), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and admire, among others, its beautiful Byzantine mosaics which cover the entire interior of the cathedral (2,200kg of pure gold were supposedly used to make the gold mosaics).  The history of the Bible is depicted by these mosaics, from Creation through the Fall of Man, Noah’s Ark, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, and Christ the Pantocrator.  Breathtaking as the mosaics are, the artistry in the adjacent Benedictine Cloister is just as spectacular.  From Monreale, we continue on to Marsala, a coastal town in western Sicily particular renowned for its wines and where we will visit a well-known wine cellar and do some wine tasting (included).  Overnight in Marsala.


Day 06   MARSALA – SELINUNTE – AGRIGENTO   [B/D]

This morning, we will travel along the “Salt Road” (Via del Sale), a route along the coastline between Marsala and Trapani that is characterized by salt pans and remarkable for the numerous Dutch-style windmills (for pumping sea water and grinding salt) and mountains of salt.  You may wish to know that the coast between Marsala and Trapani is a protect reserve, so designated to protect the last wetlands of western Sicily and also the salt pans.  (During spring and autumn, up to 200 species of migratory birds would stop at the reserve to feed and rest before crossing09 the Channel of Sicily into Africa.)  Next, we head to Selinunte, where the remains of an ancient Greek city that was destroyed have been frozen in time for almost 2,500 years.  Not surprising therefore that it is the largest archaeological site in Europe and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  After lunch (own expense), we continue on to the Valley of the Temples (“valley” is a misnomer as it is not a valley in any way), an archaeological site of ancient Greater Greece, just outside Agrigento.  At 1,300 hectares, this archaeological site is the largest archaeological site in the world and a national monument with UNESCO World Heritage Site accreditation.  Modern Agrigento is where the ancient city of Akragas was.  Overnight in Agrigento.


Day 07   AGRIGENTO – CATANIA   [B/D]

Enroute to Catania, we will visit Piazza Armerina to admire the splendid polychrome mosaics of the famous Villa Romana del Casale.  This complex, which has some of the most extensive and most beautiful Roman mosaics, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  After lunch (own expense), we continue on to the beautiful historical centre of Ragusa, called Ragusa Ibla, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Baroque architecture and churches (more than 50!) and also its maze of lanes and alleys.  Ragusa is renowned for its cheese and what better way to end the day’s tour than to join a session of cheese-tasting (included)?!  Proceed on to Catania.  Overnight in Catania.


Day 08   CATANIA: SICILIA OUTLET VILLAGE   [B]

Take a scheduled coach from the town centre to the Sicilia Outlet Village for shopping.  Return to Catania similarly via a scheduled coach (coach tickets included).  Overnight in Catania.


Day 09   DEPART CATANIA   [B]

Free time until your transfer to Catania Airport for your return flight.


 

Escorted tours are usually available every month. Whether you prefer the above itinerary “as-is” or would like to add activities prior to, and/or after the tour, if you will indicate the start/end dates of your intended travel and provide your contact details, we will get in touch with you to discuss the itinerary on a no-obligations basis on your part.

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