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  • The salts-pans area in Nubia, Trapani
    The salt pan area in Nubia, Trapani
  • Citrons and tangerins at the market in Catania
    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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Palermo classic 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.

PALERMO ‘A LA CARTE, full-day

 Located in the northwest of the island, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Palermo is renowned for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence.

It is over 2,700 years old, founded by the Phoenicians but named by the Greeks as Panormus meaning ‘always fit for landing in. Palermo became part of the Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire for over a thousand years. From 827 to 1071 it was under the Arab rule when it first became a capital. The Arabs introduced many agricultural items which remain a mainstay of Sicilian cuisine. In 1072  Palermo returned to Christianity. It was under Roger II of Sicily that Norman holdings in Sicily were promoted into the Kingdom of Sicily ruled from Palermo as its capital, with the king’s court held at Norman Palace. The Kingdom of Sicily became one of the wealthiest states in Europe and much construction was undertaken during this period, such as the Cathedral. In 1194, Sicily  fell under the control of the Holy Roman Empire and Palermo was the preferred city of the Emperor Frederick II, the Stupor Mundi.  Palermo was  then ruled by the Angevins, the Aragons, the Spaniards, the French and the Borbons, until the unification of Italy in 1861.
The city tour includes its most important treasures: the Palatine Chapel with the splendid mosaics of Byzantine tradition and the Christ Pantocrator, the Arab-Norman Cathedral, the Oratorio of Santa Cita with its rich stuccoes by the Gagini, a unique masterpiece of the Baroque-style sculpture, the Opera Theatre, one of the most beautiful Opera Houses in Europe.

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


MONREALE & PALERMO CITY TOUR WITH CAPUCHIN CATACOMBS, full-day

The Cathedral of Monreale is considered one of the finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily, built by King William II. Living in the shadow of his grandfather Roger II – who inspired the building of the Cathedral in Cefalù and the Palatine Chapel – William was determined his cathedral should be the best.

Its walls are entirely decorated by a splendid series of golden mosaics which constitutes the most complete cycle in the Byzantine tradition with its majestic figure of Christ Pantocrator.
The nearby cloister is worth a visit as it illustrate William’s love for Arab artistry. Its courtyard its pure Orientalism with elegant Romanesque arches supported by columns decorated by shimmering mosaic patterns. Each capital is different and for that they represent a unique sculptural record of medieval Sicily.
Palermo is renowned for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Our exploration starts from the fascinating Capuchin Catacombs. The Catacombs outgrew their original cemetery in the 16th century and monks began to excavate the crypts below it. The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar. Monks were preserved with their everyday clothing and sometimes with ropes they worn as a penance. The catacombs contain about 8000 mummies that line the walls. Halls are divided into categories: men, women, virgins, children, priests, monks and professionals.
An orientation tour of the city will follow including Piazza Pretoria and Via Maqueda whose “four corners” converge Palermo at a quartet of Baroque palaces left over from the heyday of the Spanish rule dating from 1560.

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


PALERMO CITY TOUR WITH PALAZZO ABATELLIS, full-day

 Palermo is renowned for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Its melting pot of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Renaissance and baroque architecture is a fest for the eyes. Its museums are varied and include Palazzo Mirto and Palazzo Abatellis.

Palazzo Mirto is located just off Piazza Marina and is one of the several noble palazzi offered by the city, but only a few are open to the public. Once home of one of the most important noble Palermitani families it has been converted into a museum in 1982 when the last heir of the Filangeri family decided to donate it to the Regional Government to be open to the public. It offers unique collections of furniture, paintings, ceramics, watches, weapons but most of all it offers the unique opportunity to see how really was the life of a noble and rich Palermitani family. Its walls are covered in acres of silk and velvet wall paper and vast embroidered wall hangings, while its floors are paved in coloured marbles and mosaics. The real extravagance, however, is the tiny Salottino Cinese (Chinese salon) full of black jacquer, silken wallpaper and a rather conceited ceiling painting of European aristos viewing the room from above.
Proceed to the amazing Palazzo Abatellis, the Regional Art Gallery. The Palace is one of the most significant Gothic-Catalan architectonic samples in Western Sicily. Its gallery features sculptures and paintings from the 12th to the 18th century. The Annunciata by Antonello da Messina is the highlight.
An orientation tour of the city is included.

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

 

MT PELLEGRINO, SANCTUARY OF ST ROSALIA AND MONDELLO, full-day

Located in the northwest of the island, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Palermo is renowned for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Among the many beautiful churches, religious travelers and catholic devotees may decide to visit the Sanctuary of St Rosalia, located on Mt Pellegrino and dedicated to the patron saint.

Born to nobility, Rosalia chose the life of a hermit and died in a cave in 1166 without anyone knowing. While Palermo was being ravished by the plague in 1624, St Rosalia appeared to a hunter, instructed him to retrieve her bones and parade them through Palermo. Upon doing so, the plague ended and St Rosalia has been celebrated as the patron saint of Palermo ever since.
A scenic drive through the Favorita Royal Park, established as a hunting reserve by King Ferdinand I will led you to Mondello one of the most attractive beaches on the islands. You may choose to indulge at a local restaurant for lunch.
An orientation tour of the capital of Sicily is included.

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


ALONG THE ELYMIAN ROUTE: SEGESTA & ERICE, full-day

Located in the northwestern part of Sicily, Segesta was the political center of the Elymian people, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicilty, and in eternal conflict with Selinus the modern Selinunte.
The ruins of the city are located on the top of Monte Barbaro at 305m above sea level. The hilltop offers a view over the valley towards the Gulf of Castellamare. Current archaeological work indicates that the site was later occupied by a Muslim community in the Norman period. Excavations have unearthed a Muslim necropolis and a mosque from the 12th century next to a Norman castle. Evidence suggests that the mosque was destroyed after the arrival of a new Christian overlord at the beginning of the 13th century. The city appears to have been finally abandoned by the second half of the 13th century.
On a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta lies an unusually well preserved Doric  temple built sometime in the late 5th century BC circa.
On the opposite hill, at about 440 mt above sea level,  is place the Theatre. Despite Segesta was not a Greek town, the theatre has a Greek style. Built to host 3000 people, it is still used of summer performance.
The Elymians settled also in Erice, an important religious site associated with goddesses of fertility, located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo San Vito to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands, providing all around spectacular views. It was destroyed in the First Punic War by the Carthaginians  and from then on declined in importance. Erice was ruled by Arabs over 3 centuries until Norman conquest in 1167.
Nowadays, Erice is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Sicily with much of its character intact. Wander through its ancient streets and visit some of the most famous homemade pastry shops, world-known for marzipan candies and other delicacies such as almond and pistachio pastries.

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


SEGESTA & SELINUNTE, full-day

 Located in the northwestern part of Sicily, Segesta was the political center of the Elymian people, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicilty, and in eternal conflict with Selinus the modern Selinunte.

The ruins of the city are located on the top of Monte Barbaro at 305m above sea level. The hilltop offers a view over the valley towards the Gulf of Castellamare. Current archaeological work indicates that the site was later occupied by a Muslim community in the Norman period. Excavations have unearthed a Muslim necropolis and a mosque from the 12th century next to a Norman castle. Evidence suggests that the mosque was destroyed after the arrival of a new Christian overlord at the beginning of the 13th century. The city appears to have been finally abandoned by the second half of the 13th century.
On a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta lies an unusually well preserved Doric  temple built sometime in the late 5th century BC circa.
On the opposite hill, at about 440 mt above sea level,  is place the Theatre. Despite Segesta was not a Greek town, the theatre has a Greek style. Built to host 3000 people, it is still used of summer performance.
Selinunte was the most westerly of the Greek colonies in Sicily, and for this reason was early brought into contact and collision with the Carthaginians and the native Sicilians in the west and northwest of the island. The former people, however, do not at first seem to have offered any obstacle to their progress; but as early as 580 BCE the Selinuntines engaged in hostilities with the people of Segesta, a non-Hellenic city, whose territory bordered on their own.
The archaeological park of Selinunte is one of the most impressive of the ancient Greek world. The city was forgotten until the middle of the 16th century when a Dominican monk identified its location. Excavation began in 1823 thanks to two English archaeologists. The site is divided into the acropolis, the ancient city, the eastern temples and the Sanctuary of Malophoros, spreading over a vast area over a hill, one of the largest in the world.

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


SCOPELLO, TRAPANI & ERICE, full day

 Built around a baglio (manon house), Scopello is a  tiny two-streets-and-a-square hamlet which enjoys a unique atmosphere of the past and a gorgeous view over the tonnara (tuna processing plant) and the sea and the Scopello stacks.

The tonnara is surrounded by rows of old anchors and by waters of an incredible blue and was one of the fascinating set of Ocean’s Twelve.
Thanks to the 2006 America’s cup, the beautiful Baroque historical centre of Trapani has been restored and the town now lives a sort of second childhood.
Erice is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Sicily with much of its character intact. Wander through its ancient streets and visit some of the most famous homemade pastry shops, world-known for marzipan candies and other delicacies such as almond and pistachio pastries.
Founded by the Elymians Erice was an important religious site associated with goddesses of fertility. It is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo San Vito to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands, providing all around spectacular views. It was destroyed in the First Punic War by the Carthaginians  and from then on declined in importance. Erice was ruled by Arabs over 3 centuries until the Norman conquest in 1167.

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


SOLUNTO & CEFALU, full day

One of the three chief Phoenician settlements in Sicily with Mothia and Palermo, Solunto is located on a promontory with a splendid view over Capo Zafferano. Excavations have brought to light considerable remains of the ancient town, belonging entirely to the Roman period, and a good deal still remains unexplored.
Cefalù is one of the major tourist attractions in the region, pretty and picturesque with its beautiful streets, squares and fantastic sandy beach. The town is famous for its Norman Cathedral, built in 1131 by Roger II, king of Sicily, in a style of Norman architecture which would be more accurately called Sicilian Romanesque. The exterior is well preserved, and is largely decorated with interlacing pointed arches and  windows. In the interiors, the only mosaics preserved are those of the apse and the last bay of the choir; they are remarkably fine specimens of the Byzantine art of the period (1148) and the figure of the Pantocrator gracing the apse is especially noteworthy.
Thanks to its charming atmosphere, Cefalù was filmed in Guseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso.
Despite the crowd during summertime and holiday periods, its gorgeous architecture and atmospheric streets make it a lovely spot to strolling around.

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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