A Divine Week in Sicily
Oh Sicily, a divine Mediterranean island bursting with culture and history. Discover how many millennia of civilisations have evolved under the shadow of Mt Etna, from the ancient Greeks to Romans, Byzantines and the lively culture of today.
Explore the best of the island, from its wild beaches and coastlines to the cute towns and cities where history holds true. Experience the real Sicily, with a local expert, who will show you the island’s authenticity and charm.
Day 1 - Arrival in Sicily
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo
From every window, you see majestic Etna. Hard by, you walk through lemon groves and inhale their fresh citric perfume. The music performed in the neighbouring Greek Theatre wafts gently to your ears. You will sleep soundly in rooms with classic décor, appreciate the traditional ceramics created for the hotel, and savour local dishes that in appearance and taste are works of culinary art.Taormina will be forever in your memory.
Day 2 - Palermo
Cloister and Noble Palace Palermo Tour
If you love the Baroque, the Praetorian Fountain and the Cathedral of Palermo are waiting for you. If it’s the Byzantine style you favour, you will find exquisite joy in the Capella Palatina and the Martorana Church.Afterwards, your guide will take you on two exclusive discoveries. First, that of a religious site where you will admire a remarkably beautiful majolica cloister and climb to the rooftop for a sweeping 360° view of Palermo. Next, that of an 18th-century palace facing one of Palermo’s main squares.These are well-kept secrets in a town of wonders, revealed by your private guide.
Medieval Tower and Oratory Tour in Palermo
If you love the Baroque, the Praetorian Fountain and the Cathedral of Palermo are waiting for you. If it’s the Byzantine style you favour, you will find exquisite joy in the Capella Palatina and the Martorana Church.You will follow your guide through the picturesque local fresh markets, before going on to two exclusive discoveries.First, that of an oratory dating back to the 17th century and featuring impressive stuccowork. Then, that of a medieval tower. You will climb its four levels, and come out on a terrace. Look all around, and you will see the whole of Palermo at your feet.
Day 3 - Mt Etna
Mount Etna 4WD Drive With Wine Tasting
This is the perfect combination of exploring Mount Etna in a four-wheel drive with discovering Sicilian pleasures.After marveling at the mountain you will stop at a winery, for a lunch of traditional Sicilian dishes and local wines.As you eat and drink, think back on the strange black fields of molten and frozen stone. Consider the wonders of this ever-changing mountain, which the Greeks believed to house the furnace of Hephaestus.You will learn much about it from your geologist guide — but no one can ever know all its secrets. After all, a god always keeps his mystery. You can be grateful Hephaestus let you visit.
Day 4 - Taormina
Helicopter Flight Over Taormina and Mount Etna
The thrill of facing the powerful and the unknown. How small you will feel as you hover over the slopes of vast Mount Etna. For some time, you see grass below. Then, no more green, only the severe dark of lava. And that cloud rising from the crater — seemingly innocent, but at closer look strangely menacing. How different is the view over Taormina! The city nestling above the cliffs, the imposing Greek theatre, the white sea-bathed coves. Then the blue waves, and Isola Bella just across. From above, you will experience two kinds of landscape and two kinds of beauty.
Tour of Taormina, Sicily
The Cathedral of Taormina may be small but it has a definite medieval style. Castellated walls and a tower make it unique: it is called the fortress cathedral. After a private visit, spend a few minutes enjoying the stunning view from the piazza. Then go down Corso Umberto. You will come to the Teatro Antico, on the edge of the cliffs. It’s a Greek theatre with wonderful acoustics, that has been there for a mere 2300 years — and is still in use. A local guide will help you explore its architectural perfection, so you can grasp how it has stood for so long.
Cooking Class With a Michelin-Starred Chef in Taormina
Your Michelin-starred chef guide will lead you to a historical market. Here, you will select all the fresh ingredients.Once in his kitchen, he will introduce you to the best of Sicily’s traditional cuisine. It is distinct and highly unique. Its origins are rooted in the territory, and intertwined with many cultures, from the ancient Magna Graecia to the Arabs.Share moments of the passion, dedication and impeccable technique that go into the creation of an edible masterpiece. This is cooking with a Michelin star, so expect opulent flavours when you finish.
Day 5 - Monreale
After Hours Visit to Monreale Cathedral
If you want to immerse yourself in the golden holiness of this extraordinary place, this is your opportunity to do it.You will enter the Cathedral of Monreale in the after-hours, when no footfalls or voices disturb the temple’s stillness. You will contemplate walls entirely covered by perfect Byzantine mosaics, and admire the happy combination with Arabic elements such as the saracen arches.You will walk around the hushed cloister drinking in the serenity of this sanctuary. And if you like, spend a moment in recollection before the glorious Christ Pantochrator.
Private Concert in the Dome of Monreale
Enter the Cathedral of Monreale in the after-hours, when nothing disturbs the temple’s stillness. With only your guide around, you will walk the hushed cloister drinking in the serenity of this sanctuary.Then, the organ will sound. The notes are solemn, but joyous, with that kind of joy that makes you silent and serene. Amid golden images that speak of higher worlds, you will hear a concert that is the perfect closure to your discovery of this extraordinary place.
Day 6 - Catania
Tour of Catania
Catania was born 28 centuries ago. It is no wonder there is so much history to see here.You will stand before Ursino Castle and feel the might of those tall stone walls. They have outlived seven centuries — and look as though another seven won’t bother them. Older still, much older, are the Roman amphitheatre, the Greek-Roman theatre, and the ruins of the Roman forum. Younger and charming are the dozens of Baroque churches dotted everywhere about the city.Whatever historical period you love best, you are sure to find it in Catania.
Catania Cooking Class in a Noble Palace
Discover Sicilian culture from a different perspective by taking a unique class. In the penthouse of a noble palace, in the heart of Catania, you will be intimately acquainted with local cuisine.Hearty and multi-colored, Sicilian cuisine reflects the true spirit of the island: open, multicultural and warm. It is based both on seafood and mountain recipes, mixing different ingredients and flavor. It’s the heritage of several cultures that came to the island over the centuries.By learning how to prepare the best-loved Sicilian dishes, you will also discover fascinating aspects of the island’s history and culture.
Day 7 - Rural Sicily
Mozia & Selinunte Salt Production and Greek Ruins Tour
Your guide will tell you how the Phoenicians living in the tiny island of Mozia had a prosperous city, defended by imposing walls. Wandering together among the ruins, you will locate the temple areas with the sacred pool, necropolis, harbor and ancient industrial district.At Marsala you will discover a typical salina, an area covered with little white mounts. Here Sicilians produce one of the most precious salts in the world. And at Selinunte, you will tread among some of the best-preserved Greek ruins in the world, and see in your mind’s eye the glory of bygone days.
Archaelogical Tour of Selinunte, Sicily
This was Selinunte. It is silent now. The wind blows from the sea over vast, imposing ruins of temples and streets and houses. These are some of the best-preserved Greek ruins to be found.But in the 4th century BC, this was a thriving metropolis. 30.000 people dwelled in and around its walls, and the city was prosperous and respected. What happened, then? Ask your private guide. You will hear of a long feud with the Carthaginese, of betrayals by Syracuse, of a premeditated destruction that left nothing but ruins.The glories of the world pass. But here the stones remain, and tell you their story.