“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.”
Italy is famous world over for exporting its pasta, pizza, cars and fashion, but some of its most famous and influential exports have been its citizens. Many of the ideas held about Italy around the globe, but particularly in the US, are derived from Sicily and Naples, because it was Italians largely from these areas who left to build their American dream. Indeed, there is a Sicilian proverb ‘Cu nesci arrinesci’, meaning ‘he who leaves his comfort zone, succeeds’. Elena Ferrante, the Neapolitan author, has a book entitled ‘Those who Leave and Those who Stay’. Perhaps it is now time to go back and see whether nonna’s sauce is still going strong back in the motherland and practise some of those dialect words you grew up with.
“Vedi Napoli e poi muori.”
(“See Naples and die.”)
Day 1 Sorrento
It was considered that you could see the city of Naples and then die happy that you had seen the most beautiful place in the world. It is here where you will arrive and we will make our way to our hotel in the seaside resort town of Sorrento, with plenty of time to settle in and relax. Dinner is at a local restaurant. The night ends with our first limoncello because when life gave the Italians lemons, they quickly turned them into a fabulous beverage, as is their way. (D)
Day 2 Naples & Herculaneum
‘Happy Campania’, was what the Romans called this region, because it was here that they came to holiday. On our tour of her capital, we will stop at one of Naples’ most famous cafes for cappuccino and pastries. Lunch is at one of her famous pizzerias and we then make our way to Herculaneum to see how the Romans used to live. Return to Sorrento for an evening at leisure. (B, L)
Day 3 Private Sail to Capri & a Pizza-Making Lesson
Today we head out on private boats to enjoy a day trip around Capri, including a picnic lunch and alcohol to toast us on our way. Enjoy an opportunity to snorkel and swim in the green/blue waters for which the island is renowned. The pizza Margherita comes from Naples, named in honour of Queen Margherita for whom it was prepared in 1889. This evening we head to an agriturismo to learn about the art of mozzarella-making, visit the farm, enjoy aperitivi and then make our own pizzas. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Amalfi
A trip to Amalfi to visit her splendid cathedral. There is then some free time to explore the town and have lunch, before we return to Sorrento for a free afternoon there.Dinner in a local restaurant. (B, D)
“On the sixth day God accomplished His work and, pleased with all the beauty He had created, He took the Earth in His hands and kissed it. There, where He put His lips, that’s Sicily.”
(Renzino Barbera, Poet)
Day 5 Maratea & Taormina
Sicily has one of the richest and most diverse of histories thanks to a series of invasions by everyone from the Greeks to the Romans, Saracens to the Normans and the various reigning European monarchies. As one of her most famous authors, Tomasi de Lampedusa said, in possibly the most famous Sicilian novel, ‘The Leopard’ (‘Il Gattopardo’): “For over twenty-five centuries we’ve been bearing the weight of superb and heterogeneous civilizations, all from outside, none made by ourselves, none that we could call our own”. It is here that we head today, but we stop on the way for lunch and a wander in the picturesque town of Maratea. We then continue south, arriving into Taormina in the early evening. (B, D)
Day 6 Taormina & Siracusa
“Were a man to spend only one day in Sicily and ask “What must one see?” I would answer him without hesitation ‘Taormina’. It is only a landscape, but a landscape where you find everything on earth that seems made to seduce the mind and the imagination.” (Guy de Maupassant)
Morning is at leisure in Taormina. Perhaps an opportunity for you to visit the Greek theatre, or, alternatively browse the lovely shops. After lunch we head to Siracusa to visit the Temple of Apollo, followed by dinner at a local restaurant before returning to Taormina. (B, D)
Day 7 Etna & a Volcanic Winery
This morning we head in 4 x 4 on a trip to the top of Mount Etna. In order to cool down, there can be no better way than to sip on wines from the second biggest wine growing area outside of Tuscany. Lunch will help absorb some of the effects of the wine, but will do little to dampen the exhilaration of going up Etna. This evening is at leisure in Taormina. (B, L)
Day 8 Cefalù to Palermo
Today we make our way to Palermo, stopping on the way in Cefalù for free time to explore and have lunch. We continue on to Palermo where we check into our hotel and then head out for a typical Sicilian meal, Palermo style. (B, D)
Day 9 Palermo
“Sicilians build things like they will live forever and eat like they will die tomorrow.” (Plato)
To put this theory to the test, our guided tour includes tasting the goodies at the famous local street markets. This is followed by free time to further explore the old town. We then meet up to sample yet more Sicilian cuisine, in a nod to the Sicilian proverb that food is more important than clothes, or perhaps more appropriately, food is more important than fitting into our clothes. (B, D)
Day 10 Trapani & Swimming in the Aegadian Islands
Today we are off to Trapani where we check into our hotel. Once checked in, we head out on a private boat to the spectacular Aegadian (Egadi) Islands where there is an opportunity to swim, snorkel or hike, or perhaps pay a visit to the prehistoric cave drawings. This evening enjoy a typical meal including local specialities such as cous-cous. (B, D)
Day 11 Erice & Marsala
After enjoying a morning’s guided visit of Erice, a town founded by the Phoenicians, there is some free time for lunch before we head to the salt flats. We then continue onto Marsala where we have the chance to sample this sweet dessert wine before heading back to our hotel for the evening and for our final dinner. (B, D)
Day 12 Departure
As D.H. Lawrence said, “anyone who has once known this land can never be quite free from the nostalgia for it.” I, too, hope that you will keep this part of the world in your hearts forever, and look forward to seeing you on your next trip. (B)
Included in this trip:
Accommodation & Services:
- 4 nights in Sorrento, 3 nights in Taormina, 2 nights in Palermo and 2 nights in Trapani.
- Centrally located, upmarket hotel.
- The services of an extremely highly qualified and experienced Tour Manager who will accompany you throughout your trip (dependent upon group size; please contact us for more information).
- Transfers to and from the airport.
- Private transport, unless otherwise stated.
- All tips. For instance, tips to tour managers, local guides, restaurants and porterage (where available) are all included in the total price; one less thing to think about.
- We will be visiting: Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, Amalfi, Maratea, Taormina, Siracusa, Cefalu and Palermo.
Food & Beverages:
- Breakfast and either lunch or dinner (unless otherwise stated).
- When lunch and/or dinner are included, alcohol in the form of wine and/or beer is provided, unless otherwise stated.
- Aperitivi, coffee and snacks where stated.
Entrances & Tickets:
- Erice salt flats
Guided Tours with a difference:
- trip by private boat including alcohol
- private boat trip around Aegadian Islands
- pizza lesson with visit to agriturismo
- coffee and cake pitstops
- cookery lesson
- wine tasting
- aperitivi tasting
- trip up Etna in 4x4s
- a surprise (we are children at heart after all)
NOT INCLUDED IN THIS TRIP:
- Flights not included. I would suggest flying into Naples and out of Palermo.
- Travel insurance.
- Visas, where applicable. (Please note: US and Canadian nationals do not require Visas when traveling to Europe).
There are no ‘optionals’ for sale. Everything you have in the itinerary is included in the total cost.
Please note that in booking a trip with me, you are also contributing to charities which support young people in education. The charity I currently give to is the Malala Fund: www.malala.org , whose mission it is to help the 130 million girls worldwide, who are currently unable to access education.
Customised itinerary designed by Lucy Loves Travel Ltd.
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