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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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Beautiful gardens and landscapes of western Sicily


7 days – 6 nights

Abundant with colour and luminosity, this is a unique journey along Persephone’s island by to discover secrets gardens and spectacular landscapes hidden among the green of the Mediterranean pine trees and the blue cobalt of the sea and surrounded by the scent of the zagara.
An exciting themed tour for all garden lovers, for those interested in landscape design, floral design and environmental sustainability. And for those who love culture.
We will visit the fascinating private gardens and houses of the Gattopardo’s heirs and appreciate their exquisite hospitality. We will discover stunning landscapes from Greek Theatres and Temples, visit the capital of Sicily and its incredible Medieval Cathedrals and Baroque palazzos,
taste Sicilian flavours and dishes washed the wines from the vineyards of western Sicily,
the biggest vineyard in Europe.

Highlights:
Palermo:
Monreale Cathedral, Villa Valguarnera, Castello San Marco, Orto Botanico, Villa Giulia, English Garden, Villa Tasca, Villa Bordonaro
Agrigento: Valle dei Templi, Kolymbethra Garden, Giardino Incantato
Trapani: Selinunte
Caltanissetta: Castello di Falconara, Feudo Butera winery

ITINERARY & PROGRAM

Day 1: Palermo, Monreale, Palazzo Gangi
Arrival at Palermo airport. Meet & greet your tour guide. Check-in and accommodation at the hotel.
Depart for an orientation tour thorough Palermo highlights and visit of Monreale. Dominating the citrus groves of Conca d’Oro, is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the Norman Cathedral named also the golden Bible, and the Cloister of the Benedict Monastery. The church is the outcome of the mixture of different workforces and styles employed for its realization: from the Nordic taste, to classic elements of Arab and byzantine traditions. Back to Palermo, we will visit Palazzo Gangi, the most exclusive noble palazzo in Palermo.Ddesigned in the Baroque style, although its ornamentation is of a more severe form than that which is generally accepted as Sicilian Baroque, in 1963 the palazzo, and most memorably its ballroom, were the setting for Luchino Visconti’s film’ Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) starrting Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale. As the palazzo still remains a private residence, we will have the pleasure to be host by the Princess for a welcome aperitif. A welcome dinner at a Sicilian style gourmet restaurant will follow. (D)

Day 2: Bagheria area: Villa Valguarnera and Castello san Marco
Breakfast at the hotel. Villa Valguarnera is the seventy-century dwelling of the House of Alliata, a noble family of Tuscany and Sicily. Defined as the most majestic and luxurious among the villas in Bagheria, it rises on a wide and fertile territory between two rivers, high mountains and jagged coasts, occupied by towers, fortified manor farms and water mills. In the extensive park surrounding the villa, an inspiring perfume of orange blossom and jasmine spreads out, opening the view over the two coffeehouses decorated with frescos and covered by vines, an imposing Nettuno fountain and some sculptures dedicated to rural divinities.
Thanks to the delightful landscape admirable from the terrace, the French writer Stendhal described this site as a place that “takes sounds from your soul, like an arch from a violin”.
As the summer residence of Mirto Prince, Castello San Marco is still surrounded by an extraordinary representative Sicilian garden, where Mediterranean essences mix with exotic, succulent and cactaceae plants. Discover the two sections through two peculiar late mannerism portals: The “Floretta” is an informal garden where, among ancient pools and stone seat, special Mediterranean species intertwine. The “Fruttiera” reserves only fruit trees: figs, almond trees and citrus coexisting with centuries-old olive trees, black pepper tree, silk floss tree and colorful bougainvillea.  (B, L)

Day 3: Palermo gardens: Villa Giulia, Orto Botanico, Giardino Inglese
Breakfast at the hotel. Dedicate your day to discover three of the most representative communal gardens in the city, which boast rarities and unique species of plants telling testimonies about centuries of Sicilian History.
Villa Giulia was built in the second half of XVIII century, outside the city walls almost touching the sea.
Conceived with a strict and classic geometrical design, was declared the pioneer public garden in Palermo area. Its monumental entrance, statues, and fountains in neoclassical style make it a real hidden gem of the city.
The Orto Botanico dates back to the same period as Villa Giulia, epoch in which the Naples and Sicily reign started to rule. It is considered the historic core of the Botany Academy, whose evolution started from 1795. It hosts about 100 thousands m2 split in different sectors, each one brimming with limited collections, arranged following aesthetic and scientific criterions.  
The English Garden is a green lung in the beating heart of Palermo. Giovan Battista Filippo Basile, one of the main architect of Sicily repertoire, projected it in ‘800s, combining natural elements like brooks, caves, trees and bushes with artificial ones like arbors, temples and little bridges. It extends over an area counting with 60.000 m2., full of rare plants, old trees and exotic plants coming from Africa and Asia. The garden is divided in two sections: “Parterre Garibaldi”, less wild part of the and the “Bosco”, inspired by Arab epoch gardens. (B, D)

Day 4: Palermo: Villa Tasca, Villa Bordonaro
Breakfast at the hotel. Two more exclusive, private historical domains are to be visited today.
Villa Tasca shows 8 hectares of citrus grapes and centuries-old trees on the way to Monreale. The distinctive trait of this estate is the juxtaposition between the villa with a fifty-century structure and the surrounding oasis which is one of the most emblematic gardens of Sicilian Romanticism of eighty-century. Although it is labeled as an English garden, the flora does evidently not own to this specific typology. Indeed the warm climate allows exotic subtropical and tropical plants to grow and bloom.
The Romantic garden is divided in three sections: the “Swan Lake”, with lush green and black bambù; the “Artificial Hill” and the “Acclimatization Garden”.
The edification of Villa Bordonaro was owed to King Ferdinando and Queen Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, in XVIII century. Built as the dwelling for their exile in the island, it is the current Charamonte Bordonaro Barons’ domain. Immersed in a green haven, the park around the villa is designated to cultivations and a unique garden crossed by boulevards and scattered by pools and statues, in a particular and evocative setting with the fascination and atmosphere of bygone days. (B, L)

Day 5: Agrigento: Valley of the Temples and the Garden of the Kolymbetra
Breakfast at the hotel. A travel to the past is right on the corner visiting the Valle dei Templi. Agrigento. It is a great thousand-year-old city, where you will find extraordinary archeological and architectonical treasures portrayed in a Greek sea and an enchanting nature. A charming destination where Arts, Culture and Nature coexist in a magical atmosphere stuck in a mythological time. The ancient “Akragas”, defined as “the greatest among mortal cities” was founded in the VII century and became in very few time one of the most flourishing cities of the Magna Grecia. Belonging to Unesco patrimony, is undoubtedly the most suggestive testimony of Greek civility in Sicily. Temples here rise surrounded by countryside, almond trees and flowers, pictured in an immortal scenario in this dreamlike corner of Mediterranean.
Right in the beating heart of the Valley of Temples, a wide green area extends as the “Kolymethra Garden”. Back to the original splendor after years of abandon, this authentic and agricultural jewel dates back to the Greek colonization in Sicily. It name meaning “pool” refers to the hydro-system of the ancient Akragas, ending at the feet of the city in a great basin called Kolymbethra. After being aggraded, nowadays this garden offers a wealthy cultivable land, with its 5 hectares showing a remarkable arboreal and panoramic variety. From typical Mediterranean species like myrtle, broom, mastic and terebinth, to autochthonous citrus groves, irrigated following traditional Arab technique. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Castello di Falconara, Feudo Butera winery
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to Castello di Falconara, whose name reminds of its past falcons breeding function. Inserted in a bewitching context 18 meters a.s.l., it is flanked by an exotic palmetto rising on a rocky promontory sinking on the sea. The lush and luxurious garden all around the castle is rich in palms, historical essences and exclusive species reachable only in the Orto Botanico in Palermo.  Proceed to a wine tasting in Feudo Principi di Butera. The 320 hectare estate includes over 180 hectares of vineyards offering a pretty unique terroir thanks to the warm and dry climate which optimizes the development and perfect ripening of the grapes: a sea breeze carring all its benefits to the vines and the warm, strong sunlight which is so typical of the southern areas of the island. The main vine is the autochthonous Nero d’Avola, recognized worldwide as a symbol of the renewed Sicilian oenological tradition. Modernism and efficiency are the keywords: a careful use of primary materials integrated in the architectural and natural surroundings and conceived exclusively with the wine making process to transform grapes into wine of the highest quality. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Giardino Incantato in Sciacca OR Selinunte – Arrivederci!
Breakfast at the hotel. Before heading to Palermo airport for departure, you could opt to visit a very curious garden near Sciacca or the archeological site of Selinunte, but please note that due distances, these proposals are feasible only if your flight is scheduled no earlier than late afternoon. 
At Kronio Mount slopes, the “Giardino Incantato” rises: a suggestive open-air museum, full of mystery and fascination. One unique spectacle produced by the creativity of man and nature. Here, besides olive and almond trees, the artist from Sciacca Filippo Bentivegna sculpted thousands of heads on the rock, branches and trunks. The story of his unusual and bizarre life is essential to deeply understand his artistic work, related to the imaginary and enchanted world.
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.
Arrival at Palermo Airport, check-in and departure. See you next time in Sicily!

Meal legend: B (breakfast)   L (lunch)   D (dinner)

FEATURES

General info: “Beautiful landscapes and gardens on Western Sicily” is an escorted trip for a group of travel companions, designed to create a good comfort and let participants enjoy the experience at best. Accommodation provided is first-class, strategically located. The food is always typically local, with a blend of regional delicacies and top wines. Transportation is top quality. Your tour escort is qualified, pleasant and with a long experience in the field.

Departures & Prices: all year-round, upon request

Flights: we generally recommend that our travellers to arrive one day before the trip starts in order to get their bearings and ease in to the new surroundings.

Travel Services: we would be happy to assist travellers in case of any further services: i.e. pre-post nights in Sicily, Amalfi Coast or Malta. Do not hesitate to ask for info.

Reservation & Payment: a deposit of 30% per person is required at the time of reservation. Final payment of the tour is due 60 days prior to departure.

Book this tour OR ask for a customised proposal info@isolabella.it
Please, feel free to browse all our luxury tours.

 

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