Day 1 Depart USA
- A private wine tasting with an expert on Marsala Wines
- Staying at a converted farmhouse set amid orange and lemon trees
- A private cooking lesson with a noted chef in Taormina
- Private guided tours in Palermo, Agrigento and Syracusa
You board your flight for the overnight journey to the Palermo, founded by Phoenicians, located at the foot of Monte Pellegrino and gateway to your program of culinary exploration.
Day 2 Welcome to Palermo
Upon arrival you are met by your driver and guide and taken to your hotel which is centrally located close to all the main streets and shopping areas. You have the choice of relaxing and catching up on jet lag or exploring the hotel's neighborhood.This evening a table is reserved in the hotel's dining room.
Day 3 Introduction to Marsala and the Cooking of Trapani
After a good night's rest you will be ready to begin your culinary adventure. Your guide will be waiting in the lobby to begin your first full day in Sicily. First you will be taken to the town of Marsala for which the famous wine is named. Here you will meet up with a wine expert who will take you through a tasting process of several types of Marsala and increase your understanding of this famous wine. After the tasting you will be driven to a Baglio which is a villa that has been converted into an exclusive little hotel surrounded by palm trees, olive trees and vineyards. Working with the chef you will learn how to prepare some of the most representative dishes of this, the Trapani province. After creating the meal you get to enjoy it along with local wine. After lunch you continue on to the delightful town of Erice which was originally built to honor Aphrodite and later expanded in medieval times. Located over 2,000 feet above sea level it has commanding views over the western part of Sicily, the EgadiIslands and the Mediterranean Sea. It is not just the views, however that brings people here since the quaint cobblestone streets have their own unique appeal. A stop at a pastry shop for some almond cakes filled with candied lemon will fortify your walk around the town. You then return to your hotel. This evening a delightful dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 4 A Greek Temple, Roman Villa and Sicilian Farmhouse
This morning your guide will load the luggage into the car and start off your day of exploration where you will have the chance to compare and contrast the Greek and Roman contributions to Sicilian history. Your visit this morning will be to the Valley of the Temples so-called because the Greeks, in the 5th Century B.C., built a number of them in honor of their gods and as a testament to their wealth. As in Greece, all the temples faced east to catch the life giving sun in the morning. The ruined temples include those dedicated to Juno, Jupiter, Castor and Pollux, Hercules Vulcan and Esculapio. The only one in a good state of preservation is the Concordia temple which was converted into a Christian church in the 6th Century A.D. Your guide will give you a private tour of the area before allowing you some time to grab some lunch and explore on your own. Your guide will then take you to the small town of Piazza Armerina where you visit Villa Romana del Casale a well preserved 3rd Century Roman villa with excellent mosaics and giving an interesting insight into Roman life at the time. After a tour of the villa you are driven to a charming farmhouse which will by your base for the night although located on a working orange and lemon farm, the facility offers all amenities including down home cooking, Sicilian style be prepared to dine well.
Day 5 Syracusa and Taormina
After breakfast you will be taken to Syracusa where you will get a private tour of this the most classic towns of Syracusa's Hellenic age bridging the span between Greek and Roman influence (Archimedes was born here). You will visit the Greek Theatre where Aeschylus put on his plays and the Roman Amphitheatre. Ortigia Island is home to the temple of Apollo and the mythical spring of Arethusa. You will have time to do some shopping and have some lunch before your guide picks you up to take you to Taormina. You will check into your hotel and then walk through the historical center of town famous for its Greco-Roman Amphitheatre and its enchanting views of the Ionic Sea and Mount Etna. Taormina has been a fashionable destination since the beginning of the 19th century when noble and rich families from northern Europe spent their winters due to its mild climate. Nowadays, Taormina is famous for its "dolce vita" lifestyle, its beautiful beach and its shopping. You have some free time before your guide picks you up to take you to a restaurant in town.
Day 6 Cooking Class and Winery Tour
After a leisurely breakfast your driver will pick you up and take you to meet with a famous, professional chef/instructor who will work with you to develop a variety of dishes native to the area. After completion of the meal you have the opportunity to enjoy it along with some wine. After lunch your driver will take you to the foothills of Mount Etna and Tenuta San Michele, an ancient estate located on the slopes. The estate, which belongs to the noble family of the Baron Scammacca del Murgo, is surrounded by extensive vineyards and has panoramic views of both Mount Etna and the sea. The climate and the volcanic soil give the wines a unique mineral taste. In Tenuta San Michele they produce some of the best wines in the region including Etna Rosso, Etna Bianco and the sparkling wine, Murgo Brut. You will have a chance to visit the wine cellars with a member of the del Murgo family and taste their fine wine. This evening has been left open to allow you the opportunity to enjoy Taormina's well- known nightlife.
Day 7 The Cuisine of the Country
Today you will go from the sophistication of Taormina to the rustic charms of central Sicily. Your first stop will be Polizzi a small village surrounded by countryside and green pastures. Polizzi lies in the Madonie Mountains' National Park. This internal region between the Northern Coast and Central Sicily has a wealth of ancient, small villages where many people still live according to the Sicilia traditions. In Polizzi you will have a private cooking lesson at a local farm given by the owner and, as usual, you have the opportunity to try the meal created. After lunch you will be taken to the ancient village of Polizzi Generosa where you will have the opportunity to walk off lunch through the town's medieval streets. This evening you will spend the night at a converted farmhouse near Polizzi where an authentic regional meal will be prepared for you.
Day 8 Palermo by Day and by Night
After a restful night in the country, you will return to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Palermo. Your driver will pack your luggage in the car and you will be off to explore Palermo. Serving as a bridge between Europe and Africa both geographically and culturally, the city served as the capital of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily in the 12th Century. You will have a personally guided tour of the Palatine Chapel built in the 12th Century and an excellent example of Arabic-Norman architecture. We will also visit the church of St. John the Hermit which was originally a mosque then converted into a church. Our next stop is il mercato della Vucciria one of the oldest and most frequented markets in the city. Your guide will walk you through the market explaining the various stalls and their impact on everyday life in Palermo. You then have some free time for lunch. After lunch, your guide will be waiting to take you on a short drive to Monreale located on the foothills of Mount Caputo overlooking the Conca d'Oro Valley. You are here to visit the spectacular 12th Century Cathedral which rivals Saint Sophia in Istanbul and Saint Mark's in Venice in its use of decorative mosaics. While it is Romanesque in overall style, the cathedral combines aspects of Arab, Byzantine and Norman architecture. After the visit you will be taken to your hotel to check-in, relax and freshen up. At an agreed time your driver will be at the ready to a restaurant in Palermo where you can enjoy your farewell dinner. After your meal your driver will take you on a guided driving tour of Palermo by night giving you the chance to see many of the buildings and edifices all lit up. It will be a fitting farewell to Sicily.
Day 9 Return to USA
In the morning your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport for the return flight to the US where you arrive back later that same afternoon.
Available Year Round
Culinary and Wine Tasting Tour - Secrets of Sicilian Kitchen ULIT14 Location and other villas and tours nearby
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Tour Location / Places Visiteds
Palermo, Piazza Armerina, Taormina, Polizzi Generosa
Additional Pricing Information
- 1st Class rail travel as indicated on the itinerary
- Superior Rooms at the properties indicated in the accommodations area (We reserve the right to substitute a property of equal quality in advance of departure should the designated hotel be unavailable)
- Private Transfers to and from the airport or rail station at destination
- All meals as indicated on the itinerary by B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
- Private guides for city explorations and private driver/guide while traveling.
- Entrance fees to all museums, attractions and other venues as indicated on the daily itinerary
- Baggage handling at all hotels
- All applicable taxes and service fees
Services Not Included
- International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
- Beverages with included meals (unless otherwise indicated on itinerary page)
- Any meals not indicated on the Itinerary page
- Items of a personal nature e.g. minibar, film, postcards etc.
- Gratuities to Guides and Driver/Guides (we provide suggested guidelines for your selected destination in your pre-departure material)
- Any passport or visa fees or government departure taxes (It is the traveler’s responsibility to secure the latest information regarding passports and visa requirements)
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