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  • The salts-pans area in Nubia, Trapani
    The salt pan area in Nubia, Trapani
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    Citrons and tangerins at the market in Catania
  • A corner of the 18th century village of Marzamemi, Syracuse
    A corner of the 18th century village of Marzamemi, Syracuse
  • The stunning Scala dei Turchi near Realmonte, Agrigento
    The stunning Scala dei Turchi near Realmonte, Agrigento
  • A colorful wall again in Marzamemi, Syracuse
    A colorful wall again in Marzamemi, Syracuse
  • Local folklore in the Medieval town of Gangi, Madonie area
    Local folklore in the Medieval town of Gangi, Madonie area

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Messina unusual shore excursions & daily trips


Shore excursions:
You will meet your local guide directly at the port, holding a sign with your name.
Pick-up and drop-off at port.

Daily trips:
You will meet your local guide at your hotel.
Pick-up and drop-off at the hotel.

MT ETNA WINE ROAD, full-day

Mt Etna is definitely one of the most exciting wine destination worldwide.

The land around Mt Etna is a large area extending from the furthest slopes of the volcano to its peak. The cultivation grapevine has always played a fundamental role in the area. It dates back to several centuries ago and over the years has typical feature of this area, being a source of income to those inhabitants who have settled at the foothills of the volcano and symbolize the strong human determination to enhance a steep and wild soil which seems to be inapt to be exploited by man. The magnificent terracing realized with stone walls is only an example. These terraces are real works of art whose extraordinariness makes them rare in the world and admired both by Italian and foreign visitors.
The peculiar environment on Mt Etna that mixes the particular climate to the nature, altitude and exposure of the soil has as result the production of special wines.

Nerello Mascalese is the most prized grape in this area. It is late-ripening (harvested in mid-October) with large clusters, large berries, thin skins and is thought to have arrived from ancient Greece, brought to Italy along the same route followed by the mythical hero Odysseus.
Nerello Cappuccio is another important Etna variety and some experts believe it is genetically linked to Carignan.
White wines are made primarily from indigenous Carricante and Catarratto.
The d.o.c. wines of the area are: Etna Rosso e Rosato (Red and Rosé Etna) with no less than 80% of Nerello Mascalese and 20% of Nerello Cappuccio or Mantellato; Etna Bianco (White Etna) with a 60% minimum of Carricante and 40% of Cataratto;  Etna Bianco Superiore (Superior White Etna), produced in the territory of the municipality of Milo. The volcano hail further Sicilian and even foreign vines which seem to find in this rich soil a perfect setting for monovarietal or blend wines: Inzolia, Nero d’Avola, Grillo, Frappato, Grecanico and Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Mondeuse, Syrah, Petit Verdot.

No other wine region in Italy is as exciting as Mt. Etna right now. In just a few years, the number of winemakers on the volcano has doubled. All the important Sicilian producers today are incomplete without an Etna component.
You will visit two/three different quality boutique wineries in the area.

Book this excursion OR ask for a customized proposal info@isolabella.it


MESSINA WINE ROAD: DISCOVER MAMERTINO D.O.C. WINES, full-day

The Mamertino is one of the three oldest wines in the world which is still under production. Its history is old and fascinating and goes back to 289 b.C. when the Mamertini, the local inhabitants of the Tyrrhenian area of Sicily settled on the hills around Milazzo and cultivated fine vines from which it is possible to produce different varieties of Mamertino.
According to historians, Imperator Julius Ceasar chose it to toast to his third consulate in 46 b.C. as it as his preferred wine, later quoted on De Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War),his  firsthand account of the Gallic Wars. The Roman geographer Strabo declared the Mamertino one of the bet wines  of the time.
In 2004, the Mamertino received the DOC denomination.
Our daily journey will take us to the valley of the Mela river, to visit the best Mamertino winery in the area.
The family-run estate covers hectares of vineyards  along the surrounding hills. Ageing occurs in the cellar located in the ancient farmhouse dating back to the middle of the ‘700 century. High quality wines defined by authentic flavours are produced respecting environment and traditions to please the most demanding international clientele. All wines are organic.
The journey will follow to Milazzo to visit the historical district with the steps leading to the Arab-Swebian Castle, one of the largest in Europe in terms of size.

Book this excursion OR ask for a customized proposal info@isolabella.it


THE GODFATHER TRILOGY IN SICILY, full-day

This is a not to miss excursion for all movie lovers and fans of The Godfather trilogy!
The mafia issue is such a delicate problem for Sicily: one of those prejudice unfortunately diffused all around the world that sometimes seems to work against Sicily and the credibility of its population.
We believe that intelligence, culture and understanding together with a good deal of irony may help people from all over the world to appreciate Sicily and Sicilians and go beyond prejudice.
The Godfather is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in the world cinema and as one of the most influential, especially in the gangster genre. The Godfather I won three Oscars that year: for Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and in the category Best Adapted Screenplay for Puzo and Coppola. Its nominations in seven other categories included Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall for Best Supporting Actor and Coppola for Best Director.  The film also won five Golden Globes out of seven nominations.
The trilogy  was partially filmed in Sicily and many scenes took place around Taormina area.
Since the village of Corleone was too developed even in the early 70s to be used for filming, the Sicilian towns of Savoca and Forza d’Agro outside of Taormina were used instead.
The village of Savoca is the home of the famous bar Vitelli where Michael Corleone asked Apollonia’s hand in marriage and of the church of the wedding. The nearby village of Forza d’Agrò was the set of many scenes of The Godfather III (1990) the epilogue of the trilogy where the Corleone family takes a vacation to Sicily in preparation for Anthony’s operatic debut in Palermo.
The icing on the cake? An exclusive visit to the private manor-house located in the countryside of Fiumefreddo where Micheal Corleone/Al Pacino married Apollonia his first Sicilian wife who then got killed by the famous explosion of the car in its courtyard. The owner, a member of the Sicilian aristocracy, still lives here together with his wife. He will personally welcome our guests, show them around and enrich the visit with several first-hand anecdote and entertaining stories about the filming and the cast.

Book this excursion OR ask for a customized proposal info@isolabella.it


BEAUTIFUL BORGHI: FORZA D’AGRO’ & SAVOCA, full-day

The villages of Forza d’Agrò and Savoca are listed among the most beautiful small villages in Italy, all enjoy dazzlingly  beautiful views and a the charm of Medieval villages.

Located on the lower peak of a small mountain, Forza d’Agrò has featured as the backdrop in a number of films, such as The Godfather trilogy due to this lack of recent development.  Much of the town consists of traditional buildings and stone paved lanes that are impassable by car. Its historical centre still offers narrow and winding streets , small and old buildings which go back to the XIV and XIX century, piazzette (small squares) and suggestive scenic views.  It was under the reign of Count Ruggero the Norman and his successors that the Castle of Forza D’Agrò was built on the higher peak that overlooks the town where nowadays only the remains are to be found.
Savoca seems to derive from the name for the elder tree (in local dialect “savucu”) that once grew spontaneously in this area. A twig of the elder tree is depicted in the medieval emblem of the village. The village welcomes the visitor with streets paved in basalt blocks of lavic rock, the restored houses with their roofs in Sicilian tiles, portals and windows made frome local stone, the elegant façades that offer the colours of the ancient Savoca. Ruins, narrow streets and cisterns dug into the rock give the place its special charm.
One of the famous sets of the Godfather was the Bar Vitelli, housed in Palazzo Trimarchi, an eighteenth-century palace. Stop here to taste the traditional lemon granita.
It is worth visiting the catacombs, where up until 1876 corpses were mummified using ancient Egyptian methods.

Book this excursion OR ask for a customized proposal info@isolabella.it


How to book & pay

RESERVATION & PAYMENT

Step 1:
Contact us by email info@isolabella.it to verify availability for the required excursion.
Please, specify: date, number of participants, at least one name of participants, special needs if any.
In case of shore excursion it is important to inform us about the arrival port and  the arrival and departure time of the cruise. This to verify if the excursion does suit your availability in terms of timing. If not, we will submit you a modified version of the itinerary you selected OR a different excursion.

Step 2:
Once the availability is verified, we will send you the confirmation of services together with a pro-forma invoice and way  of payment.
A deposit of 30% per person is required at the time of reservation to secure all services.
Final payment of the tour is due 60 days prior to departure.
You can by either by bank transfer, credit card (VISA and Mastercard only) or PayPal. Please, inform us which one you prefer.

Step 3:
When the final payment is received we will send the voucher and a travel news with final itinerary & program, name and contact info of guide, emergency numbers, etc…

CANCELLATION POLICY

Days Prior to Departure                     Cancellation Fees (per person)
60 or more days                                   30% of the Tour cost
59 – 45 days                                         50% of the Tour cost
44 – 15 days                                         70% of the Tour cost
14 – 7 days                                           90% of the Tour cost
7 – 0 days                                             100% of the Tour cost


Remark: owing to the continuous rise in cost for fuel and local taxes, all rates must be reconfirmed.


10 important things to know before booking

1. Our shore excursions are private and customized using a professional driver and a professional local guide. They will escort you all around according to the program.

2. Our staff is professional, experienced, competent, helpful, nice and provided with all license required by the Italian laws.

3. Our guides are fully licensed and allowed to enter the monuments and archaeological sites, as required by Italian Rules. We believe a local guide is very important for the success of the excursion: he/she will introduce you correctly to the site, tells you the history as well as anecdotes, deliver you the right feeling and unforgettable images of the trip.

4. In case you do not require a local guide, we will be happy to reduce the cost accordingly.

5. Our vehicles are deluxe ones:
2 to 3 people: Mercedes E, Audi 6, Mercedes Viano, all Air Conditioned or similar vehicles
4 to 8 people: Minivan Mercedes Sprinter maximum 8 seats, Air Conditioned or similar vehicles.

6. In case of shore excursions, upon arrival the port, you will find the guide holding a sign with your name.

7. Length: a Half Day excursion means maximum 5 hours from h 8:00AM to h 1:00PM. A Full Day excursion means maximum 8 hours from h 8:00AM to h 4:00PM

8. Admission fees are usually not included in our rates. Usually, admission fees are around Euros 8,00 per person payable directly on the spot. If you would like to include it in the excursion, we will be happy to add the cost accordingly and buy for you.
If you are over 65 or under 18 years old and you have EU or Commonwealth Passport, the admission fees are free of charge for you showing your document (or copy of your document) on the spot.

9. Meals are usually not inclusive in the price but, on request, we can suggest and book a good restaurant or a local trattoria for you and your family or friends. When included, meals are mentioned in “rate includes”.

10. We would be very grateful if you might considerer tipping (out of appreciation) based on the efficiency and service you receive. Gratuities in restaurants are never included in the bill. Please, remember that cover charge is not a tip. If paying with credit cards, please pay your tip separately in cash to the waiter and this should be around 10% of the total bill.

Last but not least:
When comparing our rates with our competitors’ ones please, take into consideration not only the price but the quality of the service: for a fair comparison all services (staff & vehicles) must be similar. Be sure about what type of vehicle you are going to have. We reserve no surprise! Luxury services are guaranteed! What is the difference between a “Licensed Tourist Guide” and a “Driver Escort and Driver Guide”. It is import you know:

- Driver Escorts are licensed chauffeurs able to drive you in the main Sicilian highlights providing basic tourist information. They are knowledgeable, they can introduce you to gastronomy, wineries, traditions, Sicilian legends, teaching you some phrases of Sicilian dialect but they are not licensed guide and cannot escort you into monuments or archaeological sites (they can be heavily fined for this).

- Driver Guides are licensed chauffeurs who are also licensed guides according to the Italian and Sicilian Laws about Tourism and tourist services. Please, distrust all who introduce themselves saying that a driver escort is the same of a driver guide because it is not so. We suggest you to ask for their license as official guides. If they do not provide you so, they are out of law.

- Licensed Tourist Guides are the only professionals (provided with a Regional license) permitted to conduct visits and tours in all sites and museums within a city. To become a Licensed Tourist Guide in Sicily candidates must pass an examination given by the local tourist authorities to assess and test their knowledge of the cisty in terms of its history and geography, its art and architecture, its museums and art galleries, churches, its environs and cultural feature. As part of the requirements, candidates must also prove their knowledge of each of the foreign languages they applied for with oral and written tests.

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