Round the island tour (Five days Tour)
You will be collected from your desired pick up location and our journey begins. We drive the scenic coastal road towards Messina the third largest City in Sicily. We stop at the fantastic Sanctuary of the Montalto Madonna, offering probably the best views in Messina; take in the Cathedral and of course the Astronomical clock. Perched precariously above the northern coastal road Tindari was one Sicily’s last Greek Colonies and is home to the legend of the black Madonna. The sculpture of the Virgin and Child in citron wood is said to have reached Tindari in the 8th Century and still worshipped today.
After visiting the sanctuary you will have the opportunity to wander around the Greek ruins and admire the majestic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, The Eolian Islands and the Oliveri-Tindari lagoon, a small strait of water of exceptional beauty that today is a nature reserve with an ancient myth of its
own. Time will be allocated for lunch, your driver will advise you according to your requirements. Back along the very scenic coastal route our next stop is Santo Stefano di Camastra, this colourful town is home to the traditional art of ceramics. Wander the streets and admire the many crafts shops
showing off their raw talents. We head to Cefalu, chosen destination for our overnight stay. This pretty coastal town is full of winding Medieval streets
and home to a unique Norman cathedral, we will visit the cathedral where you will have the opportunity to walk up to The Rocca with an altitude of 270m
these spectacular remains of the Cefalu Castle are worth the climb. Accommodation and evening meal will be arranged for you. At your leisure we leave Cefalu and
At your leisure we leave Cefalu and head for Monreale hosting one of Europe’s supreme cathedrals. Our journey takes us into the centre of Palermo; this colourful bustling city holds some of the most important baroque architecture. In Italy: The Norman Palace, The Palatina Chapel, The Church of Santa Chiara and the renowned Piazza Quattro Canti. We will spend the rest of our day visiting the City .
We make the journey to San Vito Lo Capo. Known for its outstanding beaches San Vito has won many awards, home to the renowned Zingaro Nature Reserve and famous for its cous cous dishes, making San Vito a great overnight stay. After breakfast and at your leisure we leave San Vito and head for Trapani, famous for its sea salt mining and fantastic Arabic influenced food it is also the gateway via a cable car to Erice. Erice is Sicily’s most atmospheric village, a magnificent mountaintop settlement that seems more Tuscan than Sicilian, offering spectacular views as far afield as Tunisia and Mount Etna. We visit the Castle of Venus, the salt mine museum and the Annunziata Sanctuary a 14th century convent whose cloisters enclosed the major museum of Trapani and of course Erice. After Lunch we make our way south of the Island towards Marsala. The Westernmost tip of Sicily and famously known for its sweet wine. Marsala has much history including: The landing of Garibaldi and his brigade in 1860 to overturn the Bourbon reign. Admiral Nelson also spent much time around this area after defeating Napoleon introducing sweet wine to the British Navy as an alternative to Port. We will visit the Florio Estate. Vincenzo Florio and John Woodhouse landed in Marsala in 1773 and discovered the local fortified wine. They became pioneers in commercialising Marsala all over the world. Our Final destination for the day is Mazara Del Vallo, one of the Arabs most important Sicilian posts. A labyrinth of tiny streets and alleyways known as La Casbah lead to Count Rogers Norman castle and the 11th Century Cathedral of San Salvatore. Mazara still has a strong Arabic connection due to its multicultural residents. Day four and we move further south, with a visit to the impressive Greek ruins of Selinunte, the site is one of the most captivating in Sicily and definitely worth a stop. We precede to Agrigento the home of the temples. Agrigento has one of the most important archaeological sites in the world “Valle dei Templi” or Valley of the Temples. Part of the ancient city of Agracas, the Greek writer and poet Pindar described it as “one of the most beautiful cities of those inhabited by mortals”. Today its former grandeur is still apparent in the valley’s seven temples of these; The Tempio della Concordia (Temple of Concord) is one of the best preserved Greek temples in the world helping the site to gain the classic UNESCO world heritage award. We leave Agrigento and continue our journey. Caltagirone an attractive hilltop town home to the art of producing hand crafted colourful ceramics. We visit the museum of ceramics, stroll around and view some of the 120 ceramic shops selling original pieces by renowned local artists. Wander around the perfectly manicured public gardens and take a leisurely walk up the emphatic Scalinata di Santa Maria Del Monte (the town’s celebrated ceramic inlaid staircase). This will be our final overnight stay. Final day of this fantastic tour, after breakfast we head south towards Modica as we pass over the 300m-high Guerrieri Bridge we catch the first glimpse of Modica, deep down below, nestling at the bottom of the gorge. Modica was badly damaged in the 1693 earthquake and largely rebuilt in Sicilian Baroque style. It is divided into two parts, “higher” Modica and “lower” Modica. Palazzos and houses rise from the bottom of the gorge seemingly stacked one on top of the other. Modica is custodian of a 400 year tradition of Sicilian chocolate making. We will visit one of the oldest chocolate shops in Modica to experience this Aztec chocolate recipe. Prior to leaving we will also visit the fantastic baroque church of San Giorgio. We visit a world class winery for some lunch and wine tasting, our journey proceeds towards one of the best preserved old towns in Sicily, Ragusa Ibla, separated from Ragusa by a deep ravine this fairy-tale town is home to the UNESCO listed “Giardino Ibleo” a wonderful botanical garden with splendid views and three churches. Our next stop is Noto a fabulous baroque styled town that boasts one of Sicily’s most beautiful historic centres. A visit to the St Nicholas Cathedral is not to be missed, here you will have the option of climbing to the top of the bell tower and admire the breath-taking views. Our final piece of this magical jigsaw is Siracusa; we stop in Ortigia, the old city of Siracusa separated by a narrow channel. The opportunity to visit The Duomo, the Temple of Athena and a wander around the shaded, sandy coloured streets taking in the large baroque palazzos is a must. Our journey back to your chosen destination will leave you reminiscing on the eclectic mix of architectural cultures and settings.