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Quintessential Sicily, 10 Days Catania to Taormina with A&K


Highlights
  • Explore the ancient Greek city Ortygia.
  • See temples dedicated to gods in Agrigento.
  • Visit the honey-gold, model Baroque towns Noto and Ragusa.
  • Admire gold-leaf mosaics at Monreale Cathedral.
  • Rest your head in picturesque Taormina.

This itinerary is perfect for those fascinated by Sicily’s historic wonders and classic Italian beauty. See baroque churches, seaside towns, and ancient temples from Syracuse to Taormina, guided by savvy local experts.


Day 1

Arrive Catania, Sicily

Arrive at Catania’s airport and you will be transfered to your hotel in sun-drenched Syracuse. Nearly 3,000 years old, the city played its part as a powerful stronghold in the Mediterranean during ancient times. It was the birthplace of Archimedes and frequented by Plato. Cicero called it “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of all”. Spend the rest of the afternoon strolling around its golden piazzas and baroque buildings. Then head for dinner at a local restaurant for your first taste of no-nonsense Sicilian cooking.
Meals Included: Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Ortea Palace

 

Day 2

Ortygia

The white island of Ortygia is Syracuse’s historical centre, lapped by the sparkling Ionian Sea. Images of ancient Greece and its deities (Artemis was supposedly born here) are conjured as you navigate medieval lanes, temples, and striking duomos. Stop at Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia to see Sicily’s famed Caravaggio masterpiece, The Burial of Saint Lucy. Then visit a Greek theatre and an impressive Roman amphitheatre. If you wish, there is also time to enjoy the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum with its displays of Neolithic pottery and Greek statues.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Ortea Palace

 

Day 3

Noto & Ragusa

Surviving an earthquake in the last gasp of the 17th century, the historic towns of Sicily’s south-eastern corner made a glorious recovery. Take the day to explore honey coloured buildings and graceful churches flanked by picture-perfect Italian seaside. Noto’s Baroque cathedral is especially splendid, while Ragusa’s treasures are to be found on a rocky hilltop. The views you get from its tangled alleyways are worth the steep climb. The region is known for great food: homemade gnocchi; fresh swordfish from Michelin-starred restaurants; and family-run trattorias. The area is also celebrated for artisanal chocolate.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Ortea Palace

 

Day 4

Catania – Agrigento

Set off to Agrigento to explore the Valley of the Temples, built by ancient Greeks and now Sicily’s most prized archaeological site. Wander around Doric temples dating back to the 5th century and dedicated to deities including Hercules and Juno. You’ll meander among 1,000-year-old olive trees and ponder Greek kingdoms before heading to your hotel, a stone’s throw from the park.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Athena

 

Day 5

Agrigento – Palermo

Head to seaside city Palermo, a couple of hours’ drive away. Stop en route at Monreale Cathedral, a place of intoxicating beauty. It’s a stupendous example of Norman architecture where you can investigate 12th-century gold leaf mosaics, palm dotted grounds, and colonnaded cloisters. Continue to your hotel in Palermo and check-in. Feeling peckish? Grab some arancini at the food market and settle down to enjoy it in one of Palermo’s beautiful squares.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

 

Day 6

Palermo

Take the morning to enjoy a sweep of the city’s finest churches. As captivating as it is romantic, much of Palermo’s history can be seen on foot. First stop the cathedral, to admire its white marble shell and panoramic rooftop views. Walk to old Palermo’s Quattro Canti where you can visit the pared-back church of San Cataldo with its three red domes. Then pop into the Palatine Chapel, small but dazzling – yet another Norman triumph. You can sooth any aching muscles with a massage back at your hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

 

Day 7

Palermo

Today, Design your Day – giving you the freedom to choose the experience that is best suited to you. Select from the following options:

Option 1: A day at the opera Step inside Palermo’s romantic Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy. It featured in the film The Godfather III, a testament to its dramatic appearance.

Option 2: Sample some street eats. Hit the food market to try local delicacies such as panelle (chickpea fritters) and gelato con brioche, the ultimate sweet treat. Those feeling adventurous should nibble on pani ca meusa (spleen sandwiches).
Meals Included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

 

Day 8

Palermo – Taormina

It’s an early start to get to Taormina. Along the way, you’ll stop at the rural town of Piazza Armerina to take a look at Villa Romana del Casale, once a luxurious Roman abode. Observe its exquisite mosaics depicting mythological scenes before continuing to the hilltop town of Taormina. Arrive at your final hotel and drink in the sea views.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel NH Collection Taormina

 

Day 9

Taormina

Soak up la dolce vita at this outpost at the foot of Mount Etna. Over the years, Taormina has hosted famous faces from DH Lawrence, who lived here in the 1920s, to various rock stars. Who would blame them? It’s achingly beautiful with narrow streets, uninterrupted sea views, and an inspiring Greek theatre. Spend the day exploring at your own pace before a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel NH Collection Taormina

 

Day 10

Taormina – Depart Catania

Today your driver will take you to the airport for your departure from Sicily.
Meals Included: Breakfast


Departure Date Price Per Person Twin Share
06Mar20 Sold Out
20Mar20 Sold Out

 

Ask one of our Travel Specialists about Packaging Flights with your Tour and Save

Additional dates and rates may be available, please speak to one of our Travel Specialists for more information. 

Single Supplement rates are available on request.

 

*Rates are subject to availability and changes without notice. Rate are based on the lowest available and may differ at time of booking. Other travel dates may be available at an additional cost. For more information and other conditions please confirm with our Travel Specialists at time of booking.

*Rates are subject to availability and changes without notice. Rate are based on the lowest available and may differ at time of booking. Other travel dates may be available at an additional cost.
For more information and other conditions please confirm with our Travel Specialists at time of booking.


Hotel Ortea Palace

Built in the 1920s, Ortea Palace feels worlds away from its former life as a post office. Sitting on the white island of Ortigia in Syracuse, the hotel oozes both Italian splendour and old world elegance. Stay in spoiling rooms dressed in marble, velvet and polished wood complete with chandeliers and freestanding bathtubs.

Why not request a bicycle and pedal through Syracuse’s medieval lanes. The concierge is all too happy to arrange jaunts around the city and recommend the best restaurants and shops, all close by. After sightseeing you can swim laps in the long patterned indoor pool or soak in the spa’s Turkish bath.

The restaurant with a glass-walled balcony, offers panoramic vistas of Ortigia’s gulf. Look out to views over the harbour and dine on Mediterranean fare. For something more casual, sample Sicilian cuisine in the Brasserie Hall which also serves hearty breakfasts. Or pop into the wine bar for a pre-dinner tipple or to snack on local cheese.

 

Villa Athena

Modern day Agrigento is home to one of Sicily’s most famous historical attractions – UNESCO World Heritage Site The Valley of the Temples. This archaeological park is home to a collection of eight temples which together comprised the ancient Greek city of Akragas. As one of the finest hotels in the region – and the only five star hotel in the valley – Villa Athena’s exclusive location in this private park is second to none. With rustic Saracen olive trees and centuries-old palms watching over the ancient and tranquil landscape, it’s as if time has stood still for thousands of years in this oasis of history, tradition and culture.

Villa Athena’s interiors are bright and fresh with white walls and refined and elegant furnishings paying homage to the location’s past. All rooms feature complimentary internet access, LCD TV, and a mini-bar, while some even have a private spa. We recommend requesting a room overlooking the magnificent Temple of Concordia – dating back to the 5th century BC it is one of the most notable examples of Ancient Greek architecture due to its state of preservation.

Outside, terracotta pathways meander through the distinctly Mediterranean garden towards a large outdoor swimming pool lined by sun loungers. Ruins of an early Christian basilica dating back to between the 5th and 6th Century AD can be seen here, as well as a refined marble Pluteus – a clear testimony to the presence of Christianity in the eternal valley. The hotel restaurant, Il Granaio di Ibla, serves authentic Sicilian cuisine complemented by an extensive wine list, while glorious temple views can be enjoyed from The Belvedere Terrace when dining by candlelight.

 

Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

A grand dame retreat overlooking the Gulf of Palermo, Grand Hotel Villa Igiea retains much of its 19th-century splendour. It was designed by Palermo’s lauded architect, Ernesto Basile, one of Italy’s Art Nouveau pioneers. Inside you will find original frescoes and furniture. Wander through jasmine-scented gardens and you’ll see a Greek temple at the water’s edge.

Rooms boast high ceilings, draped curtains, flock wallpaper and marble bathrooms. Panoramic windows offer views of the sea, courtyards and Pellegrino Mountain.

Lie by the sea-facing outdoor pool. The sun swathed terraces are the perfect place for a tipple. Or unwind at the spa, which offers facials for different skin types and invigorating massages. Itchy feet? The hotel offers cruises along the coastline and also scuba diving.

Draw the gourmet ticket at Cuvee du Jour for slow-cooked pigeon and monkfish ossobucco under chandeliers. Or head to Donna Franca Florio, serving Sicilian specialities with panoramic sea views.

 

Hotel NH Collection Taormina

Perched on a privileged hilltop position, NH Collection Taormina is as illustrious as the town’s clientele. Follow in the footsteps of DH Lawrence and Truman Capote who holed up on Taormina’s chic shores.

Housed within 20th-century architecture, expect contemporary glamour. Rooms are never short of a view, most with terraces and private balconies. All enjoy lashings of colour, draped curtains and fresh flowers.

It’s a matter of minutes to the town’s pivotal Greek theatre in the mountains. Corso Umberto’s trendy boutiques and eateries are all within walking distance. Drink in the coast from wide-open terraces and the 7th-floor infinity pool enjoys some of the best views of Taormina. If you feel like diving into crystalline sea, the hotel offers transfers to some of the prettiest beaches. Or enjoy a spa session in the sauna and steam bath.

Head to Lu Souli bar for an aperitivo at sunset. The restaurant focuses on regional Sicilian specialities. On warm summer nights, you can dine by candlelight looking out to the sea and Mount Etna.


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