Day 3 — Palermo City Tour/“The Bizarre, the Mythical, the sinister”
Morning departure to Monreale, famous for the splendid Cathedral plated with golden mosaics overlooking the fertile valley called "LaConca d'oro" (the Golden Shell), famed for its orange, olive and almond trees. Visit the Cathedral of Monreale that is one of the   greatest existing examples of Norman architecture in the world. It was begun in 1174 by William II, and in 1182 the church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Time at leisure for lunch. This afternoon we will also visit the Convento dei Cappuccini, a macabre museum featuring 8000 mummies organized by their life profession or Bagheria. As an end to the day’s tour, we will stop at a local cantina/enoteca for a glass of wine while our local guide tells us a bit about the factors that account for the origin, development and influence of Sicily’s peculiar criminal phenomenon known as the “mafia". This evening will be a culinary event at the famous “LoStrascino” trattoria. Entering “Lo Strascino” is equivalent to a dip in the past, reliving atmosphere in which the Sicilian cart and strascinate (typical transport carriage with 4 wheels) walking down the narrow streets of the neighborhoods of Palermo. The restaurant is a veritable Sicilian museum to relive the atmosphere of the narrow streets of the Cape (the famous market of Palermo), populated by carts and the typical figure of the peddlers. Overnight in Palermo. (B,D)

Sicily 2023 ~ A Cultural & Culinary Tour

September 1-12, 2023

click the link above the view the full brochure and tour sign-up sheet - link will open in a new window

Day 5 – Madonie Mountains/Cefalu
After breakfast today we will depart for the Madonie Mountains Natural Park and a visit to an old, working farm. We will witness the centuries old art of making “ricotta” Ricotta is one of the most renowned of Sicilian cheeses, and a basis for many recipes. Lunch (included) with wine will be at the farm, that is to say, lunch by your own hand! This working farm, with a restaurant attached, affords you the opportunity to get into the kitchen and get your hands dirty. Typical Sicilian dishes will be prepared by you with the guidance of the experts. Overnight in Cefalu(B,L)

Day 11— Free Day at leisure in Taormina / Farewell Dinner
Today will be a day to totally enjoy yourself, natural rising, no wake up call! Take time to do some last minute shopping and/or sightseeing. Your tour manager will have suggestions if you would like to take a day excursion.  Visit the amphitheatre of Taormina on your own; a short walk from city center.  Perhaps take the cable car down to the beach and spend some time exploring the gorgeous coast of this outstanding city.  Early in the evening we will gather for a lovely farewell dinner with  music and entertainment. Tonight enjoy your farewell dinner at "La Griglia” restaurant. (B,D) Overnight will be in Taormina.

Day 12—Italy – USA
Today, we bid not farewell, but Arrivederci (see you again) as we transfer to the airport.  Upon boarding your flight homebound, not only will we be carrying many kilos of Italy in our luggage, but many memories of fun days, wonderfully interesting meals shared with friends, a bit more culture to add to our already cultured consciousness, but above all the recollection of a stimulating and wonderful journey through Sicily. Dinner aloft and overnight at HOME!!!

Asta Member

Day 4 — Palermo/Marsala/Cefalu
Today we will set out to the area of Trapani, in the western part of Sicily. The hills of this region produce some of the best wines and olive oils. The first stop on today’s agenda will be the most ancient salt plants still in operation in Mothia bay followed by visit of Donnafugata, a top wine producer in this region. Today, wine tasting with “assagi” will be in one of the ancient wine cellars of Marsala. Enjoy included lunch. We will continue in the afternoon to the wonderful city of Cefalu` on the northern coast of the island. One of the Mediterranean's undiscovered jewels, Cefalu, “an epitome of picturesque grandeur” is a good description of this captivating seaside town beneath a steep mountain. Dinner this evening will be on your own and overnight in Cefalu. Overnight in Cefalu. (B,L)

Day 9 —Taormina -  Relax ! OR a Day Off the Beaten Path—Agira, Province of Enna
Today enjoy Taormina, one the Europe’s most impressive resorts for the jet-setters. It was here, in romantic Taormina, that a self-exiled D.H. Lawrence was inspired to write one of his best selling novels. Taormina has endlessly winding medieval streets and tiny passages, each with its own secrets - great restaurants, cafés and ice cream bars. Taormina is beautiful by day but in the evenings its atmosphere is simply enchanting, whether you stroll through its illuminated streets or indulge in the view of the coast over a delicious dinner.  This afternoon, you are free to meander the streets of this breathtaking city or relax by the pool at your hotel with a cocktail before dinner. 

OR  Agira, Enna Sicily– Village of the Nicastro Family

In Sicily's dramatic hinterland, not far from Enna, sits Agira, an age-old hill-top town, once a thriving Greek colony boasting a population of over 10,000 and important enough during Roman times for Cicero to mention it in his book In Verrem.   According to the legend the village of Agira was founded before the Trojan war (1194 BC) by Greeks. The village rose on the ancient Greek Sicel city of Agyrion and its name derives from the violent tyrant Agyris who was considered one of the most powerful ruler in the centre of Sicily. The archaeological findings also testimonies the presence of a ancient village founded 30.000 years ago by a group of Afro – Asian nomads. The most important monuments of the village are: The Argon, an archaeological site dedicated to the ancient Jewish community of the area; The Castle, built in the Sicani period, became a very important fortress under the Arab domination; The Church of Reale Abbazia, built in the 10th century, is dedicated to the Patron Saint of Agira and includes impressive red marble columns, many Gothic and Bizantine decorations and over 400 ancient parchments; The Church of SS Salvatore, built in the 12th century, has a wonderful facade characterized by Renascence sculptures with Norman and Aragonese decorations. Agira itself is certainly worth a visit with its numerous churches, including two fine Norman examples, the remains of an Arab-Byzantine fortress and a synagogue, testifying to the presence of a Jewish population several hundred years ago. On a rather more somber note, just outside town, in a delightful panoramic setting overlooking Lago di Pozzillo and Mount Etna rising in the distance, is the Canadian military cemetery, resting place of 490 Canadian soldiers who died on Sicilian soil during Operation Husky, the Allied invasion, in 1943.        

This day is your choice!  You can opt to stay in Taormina or join Father Tom on this day trip outside of Taormina to visit this quaint and ancient town of his family’s origins.  We will have a half day guided tour of the town and free time for lunch (on your own) and shopping.  We will return to Taormina in late afternoon.   

Today, after years of relative obscurity and isolation, Agira is well and truly back on the map thanks to the recent arrival of an enormous Sicilia Outlet Village, the largest fashion outlet in the south of Italy.  There are around 100 boutiques, each dedicated to some of the most important Italian and foreign fashion houses, including Prada, Armani, Dolce &Gabbana, Gucci, Fay, Lacoste, Versace, and Trussardi. Dinner (included) in  Taormina in one of the city’s many trattorias and overnight.

Day 1 — USA/Palermo, Sicily
We board our trans-Atlantic flight to Palermo, Italy.  Dinner and entertainment aloft.  For those not flying with the group, a time schedule and meeting points will be given prior to departure. Also, for those flying independently, overnights in hotels can be arranged through the agent/tour manager.

Day 2 — Palermo
Welcome to Palermo Sicily, upon arrival meet your Tour director and driver, transfer to the hotel in Palermo. This afternoon an orientation tour of the city will be offered today including Quattro Canti, The Cathedral & Teatro Massimo used for the God father movie while in Palermo. We will take a walk through a typical street market, heritage of the Arab civilization. Tonight enjoy a typical Sicilian dinner (included) at a local restaurant in Mondello Palermo’s seaside resort. Overnight in Palermo. (D)

Day 6—Cefalu/Agrigento/Taormina
Morning departure for Taormina, en route we visit Agrigento founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., Agrigento. This splendid archaeological park consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between 510 BC and 430 BC: the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestos and the Temple of Demeter are to be found on the banks of the Akragas river, all are situated in the same area on rocky crests south of modern day Agrigento. Upon arrival we begin with a sightseeing tour of the Valley, these Temples are among some of the best preserved Greek structures in existence today. Time for Lunch. In the afternoon we continue our journey to Taormina, check in at your Hotel. Dinner (included) and overnight in Taormina. (B,D)

Fratelli Group Travel


Day 7— Taormina/Mount Etna/Taormina
Today will be one of the most impressive natural sites and experiences of the entire trip. Sicily’s famously fiery volcano, the magnificent Mount Etna. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mount Etna is Europe’s tallest active volcano, and views from it over Parco dell Etna (the national park) are breathtaking. We will see the famous Monti Silvestri Craters near Rifugio Sapienza. Etna has an elliptical base (38 x 47 km) and a maximum elevation of about 3350 m. The volcano dominates the landscape of NE Sicily, Italy. The first eruptions at Etna occurred 500,000 years ago. Mt Etna has the longest period of documented eruptions in the world. Lunch (included) today will be along the slopes of Etna in the “Wine Farm Barone di Villagrande 1727”.The Barone di Villagrande estate sets on Etna’s slopes at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level. The vineyards, dominated by the estate, slope down towards the sea into a natural amphitheatre. For more than 10 years now, the company has taken up a project on the island of Salina - the production of the “passito” wine (made from sun-dried grapes) Malvasia. A small and elegant Wine Resort nestled among forests and historic vineyards, home to international wine tourists to discover the proverbial hospitality and cuisine of Sicily. Tonight, dinner is on your own and overnight in Taormina. (B,L)

Day 8 – Taormina –  Aeolian Islands (Weather permitting)
Today we depart early for the seaport city of Milazzo.  Small yet stunning, the island of Panarea is a picture-perfect delight boasting a tiny whitewashed village surrounded by pristine beaches. Enjoy some free time to explore, perhaps shopping in the village’s quaint stores or relaxing on the beaches. You can also use the time to enjoy lunch (on your own) at a local cafe; ask your host for tips!  Return to the port at the pre-arranged time and cruise across the water to Stromboli, an island named after its active volcano. Spend time at leisure in Stromboli village, admiring its black lava-sand beach and pretty houses decked with vibrant flowers. After watching the sun set over the steaming volcano, head back to port and enjoy a light dinner on board your boat.  Then, it’s time for your evening’s highlight: a boat ride around the island to see Stromboli’s volcanic activity. Cruise until you reach a clear spot for viewing Sciara del Fuoco, where the most dramatic lava eruptions take place.  Small eruptions and detonations occur frequently (usually around every half hour), so have your camera ready to capture bright explosions of liquid lava and rocks propelled into the air, against the backdrop of the night sky.   Overnight in Taormina. B,D


Day 10 –  Siracusa /“The Godfather” - “Il Padrino” / Savoca
After breakfast today you will depart for the 2000 year old city of Siracusa (Syracuse), once one of the most important cities of the ancient world. You will visit the Archaeological Park with its Greek and Roman Theaters and the Paradise Quarry. Afterwards you continue to Ortygia, this is the heart of the ancient city, with its Baroque Cathedral built around Temple of Athena.  In Ortygia there will be free time for lunch, shopping.  In the afternoon a scenic drive runs  inland to Savoca which is considered to be one of the most attractive places in the environs of Taormina. Bar Vitelli with a gorgeous terrace, has a collection of photographs taken when Francis Ford Coppola shot some scenes of "The Godfather II". The table where Micheal Corleone sat to ask the “padrone” for the hand of his delightful daughter Apollonia is still there. After, we can walk to the church “Chiesa Madre”  where Michael's wedding ceremony took place. Then enjoy a few minutes free time for a "granita" in the Bar Vitelli before we return to Taormina for Dinner. (B,D)