3,000 years ago, the Greeks set foot on Sicily. The enormous prosperity they built there allowed them to build more impressive cities, temples, theatres and thermal baths than in their homeland. This wealth also attracted Romans, Normans and Saracens.
In Palermo, you will still find Moorish domes and Norman palaces, opulent Baroque and beautiful Renaissance buildings alongside medieval marketplaces and nostalgic monasteries. This trip also takes you to Greek temples and Roman amphitheatres, set in beautiful landscapes.
Due to economic decline, Sicilians emigrated en masse to 'the promised land' America in the 19th century, taking their pizzas, exuberant fashion designers and godfathers with them.
Day 1 and 2 : Departure to Palermo
From Palermo airport, take a taxi or public transport to a hotel in the city centre or just outside the city. Palermo is a lively city with a special southern flair. In its narrow streets with Moorish domes and Norman palaces, you will find lush Baroque and beautiful Renaissance buildings alongside medieval marketplaces and nostalgic monasteries. On top of the numerous buildings and rich history, the Palermitans themselves create a unique atmosphere in this colourful city. Just outside Palermo, above the 'Conca d'Oro', Monreale with its impressive cathedral and magnificent mosaics is definitely worth a visit.
Day 3 and 4 : Palermo - Segesta - Marsala or Menfi
Pick up your rental car in the centre of Palermo or at the airport. Drive via Segesta, with its stately Doric temple surrounded by colourful fields, to your next hotel. Explore the 'Via del Sale', salt mounds with canals and windmills, and the picturesque medieval town of Erice. Staying near Menfi, make sure to visit the coastal town of Mazara del Vallo and Sicily's mysterious interior, with beautifully situated typical villages such as Caltabellotta and Prizzi.
Day 5 and 6 : Selinunte - Sciacca - Agrigento
Today you will visit Selinunte, with its ornate Greek temples, and Sciacca, a colourful southern fishing port, also famous for its carnival. Agrigento is known for its unrivalled temple valley: the most fascinating collection of Greek temples outside Greece, surrounded by fragrant almond trees. The elegant 'Tempio della Concordia', one of the best-preserved temples, testifies to the immense architectural thoughtfulness of the master builders of antiquity. If you wish, you can also visit the impressive white limestone rock 'Scala dei Turchi' or take a trip to Piazza Armerina for the imposing Roman 'Villa del Casale' with magnificent mosaics.
Day 7: Agrigento - Ragusa - Noto or Syracuse
You will traverse the rugged Sicilian countryside towards the baroque southeast of Sicily. En route, you will visit the historic centre of Ragusa Ibla. You will be staying in small charming hotels near Noto, Syracusa or Ragusa.
Day 8 and 9 : Modica - Noto - Syracuse
Two days dedicated to baroque. You will visit the beautiful city of Modica and the picturesque baroque town of Noto, with its magnificent cathedral, its primitive squares and its lavishly decorated balconies. Continue to Syracuse, once one of the most beautiful and wealthy cities of the Greek empire, set in a wonderful bay. You will dive into its fascinating history while visiting the impressive archaeological site with the great Greek theatre, the Roman amphitheatre and the mysterious 'Ear of Dionysos' in the impressive 'latomy'. On the beautiful peninsula of Ortigia, charming little alleys with flowery balconies and packed with atmosphere pervade the ancient heart of the city. Elegant structures in the typical white tuff embrace the magnificent 'Piazza Duomo' and sparkle solemnly in the bright afternoon sun.
Day 10, 11 and 12 : Noto or Syracuse - Taormina
On to Taormina, where you can rest or enjoy the tourist town. It's lovely to stroll along the pretty boutiques and quaint bars on Corso Umberto, while the maze of little streets on either side of this main street invite you to get lost. From the famous Greek theatre, you'll enjoy a breathtaking view of the coastline as well as Europe's largest active volcano: majestic Mount Etna with its beautiful white snow-collar and often graceful white plume of smoke. This legendary black mountain and pride to many Sicilians is without doubt Sicily's most spectacular attraction. The panoramas from the summit are dizzying, the natural spectacle overwhelming. Century-old almond and citrus trees, graceful vines and tasty pistachios at the foot of the volcano indicate that life is particularly enjoyable under the waking stature of this mountain.
Day 13 : Going home
You'll drive back to the airport where you'll catch your plane back home and reminisce on all the great travel memories.
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