The Grand Tour was the traditional travel undertaken by mainly upper-class young men of means of the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of the European continent and served as their educational rite of passage. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary which included Sicily.

The Grand Tour of Sicily is our modern version of the original one.
An exclusive art & culture tour of Sicily, for small groups of travel enthusiasts, enjoying luxury hotels,a relaxing and friendly atmosphere,
gorgeous landscapes and typical flavours.
A unique lifestyle experience!

ITINERARY & PROGRAM, overview
9 days – 8 nights

Day 1 – Catania – Taormina

  • Arrival at Catania International Airport, meet and greet your driver and private transfer to Taormina.
  • Overnight stay at the luxury Belmond Timeo, 5 stars.

Day 2 – Taormina

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Superb beginning of the tour exploring Taormina, the pearl of Sicily. Be amazed by the Greek-Roman Theatre pearched on top of a hill and impressed by the perfect postcard-like landscape, joining together a view of Mt Etna and the bay of Giardini Naxos. Walking along the main street named Corso Umberto we will visit Palazzo Corvaja, the Church of Santa Caterina and that of San Pancrazio, the Naumachie, the cloisters of the monastry of San Domenico (now a beautiful historical hotel), the Palazzo dei Duchi di Santo Stefano.
  • Overnight stay at the luxury Belmond Timeo, 5 stars.

Day 3 – Exploring Mt Etna and volcanic wines

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Today’s experience is on Mount Etna, the biggest active volcano in Europe and  one of the most exciting wine destinations in Europe! For those willing to reach the highest altitude, get the cable-car up to 2.500 mt and then the off-road buses up to 3.000 mt, very close to the central crater! (optional, to be paid directly on the spot).
  • Informal lunch and wine pairing at one of the top boutique wineries at the bottom of Mt. Etna.
  • Return to Taormina and time at leisure.
  • Overnight stay at the luxury Belmond Timeo, 5 stars.

Day 4 –  Syracuse

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check-out.
  • Departure  to Syracuse, once described  by Cicero “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of all of them”. Guided visit of the archaeological park of the ancient Neapolis, with the most interesting remains of the Graeco-Roman heritage, and walking tour of the Baroque-style historical centre located in the island of Ortigia to visit the Cathedral, former a great temple devoted to Athena, the Fountain of Arethusa planted with papyrus, the Jewish Quarter.
  • Accommodation at your luxury hotel in Syracuse, the Ortea Palace, 5 stars.

Day 5 – The south-west of Sicily: Ragusa, Modica & an intriguing Mediterranean nursery garden in Scicli

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • The pictureque Ragusa Ibla, the romantic Modica , the Xocòatl azteca, a special type of chocolate from ancient Aztec recipes in Modica and finally a smelling Mediterranean nursery garden in the countryside of Scicli, will be all part of our adventure today along the Unesco World Heritage sites of this charming Baroque Valley.
  • Overnight stay in Syracuse at the Ortea Palace, 5 stars.

Day 6 – From Piazza Armerina to Agrigento

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Morning departure to Piazza Armerina and to visit the famous Roman Villa del Casale home to some of the best preserved and extensive examples of mosaics of the Roman Imperial age.
  • Proceed to Agrigento for a walking visit of the large Valley of the Temples consisting of eight temples and various other remains built between 510 BC and 430 BC, surrounded by wild Mediterranean flora and gardens.
  • Accommodation at the luxury Villa Athena, 5 stars, in Agrigento.

Day 7 – Selinunte – Planeta winery

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Guided visit of the archaeological park of Selinunte 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 site is divided into the agropolis, the ancient city, the eastern temples and the Sanctuay of Malophoros, spreading over a vast area over a hill, one of the largest in the world.
  • Proceed to Sambuca di Sicilia to visit Planeta winery at Ulmo estate, one of the most outstanding wineries in Sicily. Inaugurated in 1995 and surrounded by 93 hectares of vineyards where several grape varieties are grown, it stands in a landscape of matchless beauty, with a wine cellar built just a few meters away from the 16th-century farmhouse – The Baglio – which has always been owned by the family and which now is devoted to hospitality and wine tasting.
  • Accommodation at Foresteria Planeta in Menfi area.

Day 8 – Western Sicily: from Segesta to Erice and Marsala

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Departure to Segesta, one of the major cities of the Elymian people to visit the Greek Theatre and the Doric Temple.
  • Proceed to Erice. The Elymians settled this medieval town and it was an important religious site associated with goddesses of fertility. Wander through its’ ancient streets and visit some of the famous homemade pastry shops, world-renown for marzipan candies and other delicacies like almond and pistachio pastries. Lunch on your own in Erice.
  • Afternoon departure for our last visit of the day, Marsala, the most important Sicilian town for wine production, famous all over the world for its homonymous dessert wine. Visit historical Florio winery for a comprehensive Marsala wine tasting.
  • Proceed to Palermo and check in at your luxury accommodation.

Day 8 –  The impressive beauty of Palermo

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Today, we’ll visit some of the most important treasures of Sicily of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. 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. Chaotic yet impressive, Palermo offers some of the most beautiful monuments in Sicily such as the Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel, the Arab-Norman Cathedral, the Oratorio of Santa Cita and the Opera Theatre.

Day 9  – Monreale and Cefalù

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Departure to Monreale and visit the Norman Cathedral, considered one of the finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily, 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 too. Its courtyard is 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.
  • Proceed to Cefalù and explore the historic centre, 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.
  • Return to your luxury accommodation in Palermo.

Day 9 – Arrivederci!

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Individual transfer to Palermo International Airport for departure or to Milazzo to add a few days at the Aeolian Islands and complete the grand tour of Sicily.

Please, note the detailed program is available upon request by email to info@isolabella.it

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FEATURES

General info
The Grand Tour of Sicily is a private escorted trip designed to provide customised luxury services and let participants enjoy their Sicilian experience at best. Accommodation provided is luxury, strategically located. When provided, the food is always typically local, with a blend of regional delicacies and top quality wines. Transportation is top quality. Your driver/guide or your driver/escort and your local guides are qualified, knowledgeble but pleasant and happy to meet any specific need and interest.

Departures
This tour is available all year round upon request.

Prices
Quote per person is given upon request with details of inclusions/exclusions.

Flights
We prefer you to take care of your flights according to your needs.

Adds-on
We would be happy to assist you in case of any pre and post nights in Sicily, Amalfi Coast, Rome or any other Italian city and 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 the beginning of the tour.

Please, feel free to: