Sicily: Ancient History, Italian Style
The food, the history and those jaw-dropping views: Italy’s heart — and soul — is best discovered amid the ancient cobblestones of Sicily. Once you’ve decided to experience this vibrant region, make it the trip of a lifetime with our excursion to the historically rich town of Siracusa — a highlight of our Sicilian tour. Nestled in the southeast corner of Sicily, this seaside gem was once called the greatest city in Greece. Today, it’s home to a staggering amount of Greek and Roman architectural landmarks, the secrets of which our local guides love sharing.
The journey begins on the tiny island of Ortygia, the heart of Siracusa. Here, wander the archaeological park that contains both a 15,000-seat Greek theater and an ancient Roman amphitheater. Learn the stories of the original Greek settlers from 734 B.C. and the thrilling tales of gladiator battles that later filled the Roman amphitheater. After a traditional picnic lunch of Italian delights, wander more ruins, including old limestone quarries that are now filled with fragrant orange and lemon groves. Combining the crystal blue waters with the historical context of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Siracusa will stay with you long after your journey concludes.
Sicily offers even more archaeologically significant sites — these constructed by Mother Nature — at nearby Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano. Our guides will take you through scenic pathways of exquisite lava formations and lava rivers culminating with a picnic at 7,000 ft. Fortified with a basket lunch of bruschetta, sausages and homemade Italian pastas you’ll enjoy breathtaking views as a reward for the trek. Downhill the walk meanders through a lesser-known route of fruit orchards, olive groves and vineyards before concluding in the charming village of Linguaglosso, where you’ll spend the night.
Take further advantage of the unique Sicilian geography by getting a first-hand account of the impact of volcanic activity in the region. Our guides will arrange for an hour-long aliscafi (hydrofoil) ride to the Geophysical Observatory on the Aeolian island of Lipari. Local scientists share their research and provide a window into the mouth of an active volcano on Lipari’s nearby sister island. Afterward, consider the impact of those volcanoes as our guides lead you on a quiet, coastal walk through an olive plantation back to the scenic port.
This weeklong Sicilian adventure also takes you to hilltop vistas and private beaches. Starting in Palermo, the trip begins with a night in a villa hotel a quiet oasis, near the city center. But the exploration quickly follows with a trip to the historic town of Monreale, known for its ancient Romanesque cloister and its treasure trove of Sicily’s finest mosaics. Here, you’ll be treated like a visiting friend with the gourmet, seafood meal served in our friend, Antonio’s scenic restaurant.
In Vino Veritas.
What would a Sicilian escape be without wine? We’ll guide you through the Regaleali estate, known for its stellar selection of regional wines. Get a private, behind-the-scenes tour given by our local friends, who’ll treat us to lunch in their kitchen and an escorted tour on the grounds of their estate.
From Greek ruins to volcanic research, experience Sicily like a local. And enjoy the majesty of this cultural keystone as only we can guide you.