Sicily, at the geographical and historical heart of the Mediterranean, has been coveted, fought over and colonised for millennia. As such, the island presents a unique culture, best exhibited in its architecture, language and cuisine, which bears the stamp of the Phoenicians, Athenians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Byzantines and Bourbons. This comprehensive exploration introduces you to Sicily’s best-known treasures, including its superbly well-preserved Greek temples, legendary Mount Etna and splendid Monreale Cathedral.
9 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Gatwick Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Catania. On arrival we drive to our hotel for the next three nights, the UNA Hotel Palace (4T) or Hotel Principe (4T), where dinner is included this evening.
Day 2 Syracuse - Ortigia
Today we travel south with our local guide to Syracuse, rich in Ancient Greek history. Later we visit Ortigia, a small island joined to Syracuse by a bridge since the 16th century, but its past goes further back and it is a pleasure to explore the narrow medieval lanes. Dinner is included at the hotel.
Day 3 Aci Castello - Catania
This morning we travel to Aci Castello, whose 11th century Norman castle is built out of lava, before moving on to Catania, Sicily’s second largest city, and its beautiful historic centre shaped by Mount Etna’s temper. You are then free for the rest of the day.
Day 4 Catania - Cefalù - Palermo
We spend some time in the attractive maritime town of Cefalù this morning on our way to the bustling city of Palermo. Our hotel, the Hotel Palazzo Sitano (4T), is centrally-located, close to the sea and the lively streets. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant, just a short walk away.
Day 5 Monreale - Palermo
Today we travel to Monreale for a guided visit of the magnificent cathedral, famed for its multi-coloured marble paintings and mosaics. We return to Palermo for a guided tour of the town.
Our first stop today is Segesta for a guided tour including a visit to the fascinating Greek temple ruins. We then continue to the fishing port of Trapani. Lastly, at Selinunte we will be joined by a local guide to view the Greek archaeological site. We arrive early evening at the Hotel Baia di Ulisse (4T), where dinner is included.
Day 7 Agrigento - Valley of the Temples - Piazza Armerina - Giardini Naxos
We start our day with one of the highlights - a guided visit, including entrance, of the nearby Valley of the Temples. After time for lunch, we head east to Piazza Armerina for a guided tour of the Roman Villa. We stay at our hotel for the next three nights, the Sant Alphio Garden Hotel & Spa (4T) or similar.
Day 8 Taormina
This morning we visit the town centre of Taormina and include a visit to the Greek theatre and the Alcantara Gorge.
Day 9 Mount Etna
This morning we take a drive to the slopes of Etna. After a short walk, there will be free time available to explore this fascinating area. Later we visit Catina Murgo winery for a tasting of wine and local produce. Return to our hotel for a farewell dinner.
Day 10 Giardini Naxos - Catania - London
After breakfast, we transfer to Catania Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Gatwick Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.
• This is a fast-paced itinerary with a considerable amount of walking.
• In many cities in Italy, a room tax of between €1-5 is applicable, per person per night, payable directly to the hotel on check-out.
Europe’s largest and most active volcano, Mount Etna, has a recorded history of eruptions dating back to 1500BC. Constant low level emissions mean that explosive eruptions endangering the 25% of the island’s population that live on its slopes are infrequent and, thanks to its fascination for travellers and its richly fertile volcanic soil, this 3km-high icon is Sicily’s single biggest source of income. An excursion to Etna reveals an enthralling geological story and stunning views.
The Valley of the Temples
Recognised with UNESCO World Heritage status in 1998, Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples is a globally signifi cant archaeological site. Here are collected the ruins of the great temples of ancient Akragas, one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Ancient Greece and lauded by the lyric poet Pindar as the “most beautiful of mortal cities” - amongst them the temples of Hera, Heracles (Hercules), Zeus, Castor and Pollux. The romantically ruined temples and their picturesque setting have inspired countless generations of artists and writers from Virgil to Goethe, Alexander Dumas to E M Forste.