Crossroads of the Mediterranean … “God’s Kitchen” … Sicily is all this, and much more, as this stellar 12-day small group journey reveals. Begin with Palermo’s impressive architecture and world-class street food. Discover medieval Erice, Trapani’s salt pans, and stunning Monreale Cathedral. Sample a winery’s offerings. Marvel at Agrigento’s remarkable Valley of the Temples and Villa Romana del Casale’s magnificent mosaics. In Syracuse, explore Neapolis’ Archaeological Park and take a Sicilian cooking class. After a Mount Etna excursion, enjoy lunch at a private farm. The final destination is delightful Taormina.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Apr 24, 2022 - May 5, 2022
Day 1 – Depart U.S. for Palermo
Day 2-4 – Artemisia Palace Hotel, Palermo
Day 5-6 – Hotel Baia di Ulisse, Agrigento
Day 7-9 – Hotel Borgo Pantano, Syracuse
Day 10-11 – Hotel NH Collection, Taormina
Her professional work includes residential design and visualization. A professor at Catholic University of America’s architecture program in Rome, senior lecturer at the University of Southern California study abroad program in Barcelona, and former Director of Yale College’s architecture program, she draws design inspiration
from her travels and the built environment. She excels in visualizing architecture and interior spaces and understands the impact of a space as a layering of functions and objects. Sophia earned a Master’s of Architecture degree with distinction from Harvard University and has extensive experience as a professional architect at I.M. Pei and Partners in New York. She is a member of the AIA Europe chapter, and served as the
chair of the Barcelona conference in April of 2016.
Please read this information carefully, as payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.
Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication
charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and shipboard personnel, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); optional sightseeing or shore excursions; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may
apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure.
Cancellations, Refunds, and Changes: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon Odysseys Unlimited, Inc.’s receipt of your notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: cancel 95 days or more before departure: full refund; cancel 94-65 days before departure: 50% of tour price; cancel 64-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; cancel 29-0 days before departure: no refund. If you make any changes to your reservation from 94 to 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation, you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
Travel Insurance: National Trust Tours strongly recommends that all tour participants purchase Trip Cancellation, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Accident/Sickness/Medical, and Baggage insurance for their tour. Upon receipt of an initial tour deposit by National Trust Tours, a comprehensive travel insurance plan will be made available to all National Trust Tours tour participants for their consideration.
Responsibility: The liability of National Trust Tours, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, and restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under
our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, or of their employees, agents, servants, or representatives.
National Trust Tours and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including, without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise lines, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.
Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in good health to participate in this tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and boats on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that many of our tour itineraries, for reasons beyond our control, do not accommodate wheelchairs. Please call or e-mail us to inquire and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, National Trust Tours and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.
Air Transportation – Important Information: Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown, and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary
for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignment on your
international flight is usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.
COVID-19 and Planning Future Travel: We understand that travelers may have some concerns about booking future tours based on the current COVID-19 pandemic. As we look forward, we are hopeful that conditions will be favorable for international travel. However, the safety and security of our guests are always our top priorities and, should U.S. authorities – Department of State and the CDC – deem it unsafe to travel to any of the destinations in the brochure, we would cancel the trip no later than 45 days before departure. In the event of cancellation on our end due to COVID-19 concerns, we will refund all participants in full.
day Day 1
Depart U.S. for Palermo, Italy
day Day 2
We arrive today in Palermo, capital of Italy’s autonomous region of Sicily. This evening we gather at our hotel for a briefing on the journey ahead, followed by a welcome dinner.
day Day 3
On this morning’s walking tour, we discover 2,700-year-old Palermo’s twin claims to fame: impressive architecture and world-class street food. Highlights include Palermo Cathedral and Palatine Chapel, both part of Arab-Norman Palermo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising nine civil and religious structures dating to Norman rule in Sicily (c. 12th century). We then discover the Baroque city center and pass by Massimo Vittorio Emanuele Theater, one of Europe’s largest opera houses. Along the way we pass through vibrant markets selling arancini, cannoli, and other Sicilian specialties – which, of course, we stop to sample. Following our tour, we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then return to our hotel in the city center. This afternoon, take a walking tour of some of Palermo’s architectural highlights. With dinner on our own tonight, perhaps a culinary adventure is in order – and thanks to Sicily’s strategic Mediterranean location that lured many invaders, Sicilian food incorporates Italian, Arabic, and African influences into a singular, and delicious, cuisine.
day Day 4
A full day of touring takes us first to the medieval walled town of Erice. Perched atop a mountain nearly 2,500 feet above sea level, Erice offers panoramic views of the valley below, the port town of Trapani, and the Tyrrhenian Sea beyond. We continue to Trapani, where we visit the region’s famed salt pans. Though the area is a designated Nature Reserve, Sicilians still harvest salt here using centuries-old methods; indeed, the oldest of the area’s 60 working windmills dates to the island’s Arabic regime. We tour the museum here then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Palermo.
day Day 5
En route to Agrigento today, we stop in nearby Monreale. Sitting on the slopes of Monte Caputo, Monreale looks over La Conca d’Oro, or “the Golden Shell,” a richly fertile valley studded with groves of orange, olive, and almond trees. Here we visit the city’s celebrated cathedral, another gem of Arab-Norman Palermo and one of the finest examples of Norman architecture still in existence. The imposing main façade and ornate outer cloister serve to prepare us for the cathedral’s breathtaking main sanctuary, where every inch of wall and ceiling space is covered with painstakingly detailed mosaics. Crafted by artisans from Constantinople (now Istanbul), the dazzling mosaics contain some 4,850 pounds of pure gold. Next we visit a nearby
family-owned winery, where we enjoy a wine tasting and lunch. Our journey then continues; late this afternoon we reach Agrigento and our hotel, where we dine together tonight.
day Day 6
This morning we visit the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and archaeological zone whose ruins of fallen Doric temples and sanctuaries date to Greek rule in the 5th-century bce. Known in its heyday as “the most beautiful city of mortals,” Agrigento was one of the leading cities during the Golden Age of ancient Greece. Our tour features both the eastern zone, where we see the beautifully preserved Temple of Concordia (c. 430 bce), and the western zone, with the massive temple of Olympian Zeus, believed to be the largest Doric temple ever built. From the outdoor sites, we then move on to Agrigento’s archaeological museum, with exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of this outpost of classical Greece. Then we return to our hotel for a cooking lesson and dinner.
day Day 7
We travel across Sicily’s southern reaches today to Syracuse (Siracusa), stopping along the way in Piazza Armerina to visit Villa Romana del Casale, an elaborate 4th century ce villa and UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting one of the richest, and largest, collections of mosaics in the Roman world. Thanks to having been buried by landslides, the villa, its vivid frescoes, and the more than 3,200 square feet of mosaics survived the millennia in remarkably good shape. Following our tour here, we continue on to Syracuse, arriving late this afternoon. Once the largest city in the ancient world, Syracuse today is an alluring spot known for its superb archaeological sites and the relaxed seaside ambience of its Baroque old town.
day Day 8
Today we discover what this city is best known for: the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that comprises a range of ancient monuments. We begin our explorations at the 5th-century bce Greek theatre, the 16,000-seat amphitheatre where the tragedies of Aeschylus were staged – in his presence – and still in use today. Next: Latomia del Paradiso (Paradise Quarry), the now overgrown shaft from which the white limestone used to build Syracuse was cut. Because it has excellent acoustics, the quarry also is known as the Ear of Dionysius. We continue on to the Roman amphitheatre, the 1st-century bce arena that once held gladiator spectacles; today it hosts musicals on its ancient stones. After lunch on our own, we take a walking tour of Ortigia, the “white pearl” of Sicily, the historical center of Syracuse, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon we will also visit Baron di Benevento del Bosco’s Palazzo to view his architectural drawing collection of Siracusa’s architecture.
day Day 9
This morning we embark on a cruise along Sicily’s Ionian coast dotted with tiny islands and caves. We see historic Ortigia Island, the Spanish Wall, and 13th-century Castello Maniace that served as a bulwark against invaders in the Middle Ages. We have some time to explore Ortigia before returning to our hotel, where we dine tonight.
day Day 10
We depart Syracuse this morning and make our way up the coast to Taormina. Along the way, we stop at a private farm set amidst acres of lemon and kiwi groves, where we enjoy a small group highlight: a homemade lunch prepared by the family who lives here. After lunch we visit Mt. Etna, one of Europe’s largest active volcanoes. After we descend from the volcano, we resume our journey to Taormina, arriving late this afternoon. This evening is at leisure, with dinner tonight on our own.
day Day 11
This morning we embark on a walking tour of this delightful medieval town set on a rocky terrace overlooking the Ionian Sea. Highlights include the 3rd-century bce Greek theatre, where gladiators once battled; the 13th-century fortress-like Duomo; and grand Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, site of the ancient agora and today an inviting plaza. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy Taormina as we wish; tonight we celebrate our Sicily adventure over a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
day Day 12
Depart for U.S.
We transfer today to the Catania airport for our return flight to the U.S.
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