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Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.

Tara Malmberg
Quitman, TX

6-time honoree Travel + Leisure's World's Best Tour Operators awards

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Palermo’s Arab-Norman UNESCO sites
  • Street food experience in Palermo
  • Stunning Monreale Cathedral (UNESCO site)
  • Medieval walled town of Erice
  • Trapani Nature Reserve and salt pans
  • Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples (UNESCO site)
  • Outstanding mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale (UNESCO site)
  • Archaeological Park of Neapolis in Syracuse (UNESCO site)
  • Wine tasting
  • Sicilian cooking class
  • Taormina touring
  • Mount Etna excursion
  • Farmhouse lunch
  • Distinctive, well-located small group hotels
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Palermo, Italy

Day 2: Arrive Palermo 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. D

Day 3: Palermo 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 Palazzo Reale, both part of Arab-Norman Palermo, a UNESCO site comprising nine civil and religious structures dating to Norman rule in Sicily (c. 12th century). We also see Massimo Vittorio Emanuele Theater, one of Europe’s largest opera houses; and the Church of San Cataldo, another of Palermo’s Arab-Norman treasures. Along the way we pass through vibrant markets selling arancini, cannoli, and other Sicilian specialties. Following our tour, we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then return to our hotel in the city center. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. 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. B,L

Day 4: Palermo/Erice/Trapani 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. B,L

Day 5: Palermo/Monreale/Agrigento 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. Then we continue our journey south to Agrigento, arriving in time to watch the sun set over the ancient temple ruins. We dine together tonight. B,D

Day 6: Agrigento This morning we visit the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO 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, where the afternoon is at leisure before we dine there together tonight. B,D

Day 7: Agrigento/Piazza Armerina/Syracuse 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 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 stop for a wine tasting and lunch then 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. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 8: Syracuse Today we discover what this city is best known for: the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, a UNESCO site that comprises a range of ancient monuments. We begin our explorations at the 5th-century BCE Greek theater, the 16,000-seat amphitheater 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 amphitheater, the 1st-century BCE arena that once held gladiator spectacles; today it hosts musicals on its ancient stones. Tonight, we enjoy a small group highlight as we attend a Sicilian cooking class, followed by dinner. B,D

Day 9: Syracuse/Taormina We depart Syracuse this morning and make our way up the coast to Taormina. Upon arrival, we enjoy a walking tour of this delightful medieval town set on a rocky terrace overlooking the Ionian Sea. Highlights include the semi-circular 3rd-century BCE Greek theater where gladiators once battled – with a view of Mount Etna; the 13th-century fortress-like Duomo; and grand Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, site of the ancient forum and today an inviting plaza. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy Taormina as we wish; this evening we dine together at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 10: Taormina/Mount Etna On today’s tour, we venture to Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. The ancients believed the conical snow-topped volcano to be the forge of Vulcan, god of fire; today, modern-day Sicilians have a very personal relationship with Etna, which frequently erupts but is seldom destructive. After we descend from the volcano, we enjoy another small group highlight as we visit a private farm set amid acres of lemon and kiwi groves where the soil has been enriched by centuries of lava flows. We enjoy a hearty lunch prepared by the family who lives here, and also sample some excellent Sicilian wines. Then we return to Taormina, where the remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure and dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 11: Taormina Today is free for independent exploration; our tour director will be pleased to offer suggestions. Tonight, we gather for a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 12: Depart for U.S. We transfer today to the Catania airport for our return flight to the U.S. B

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking uphill and on uneven or cobblestone streets, and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 10 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels
  • 20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after three tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2018 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Nov 1Oct 25Oct 4
Oct 11
Oct 18
May 3, 10
Aug 30
Sep 6, 13
Sep 20
New York$3,474$3,674$3,874$3,974
Boston, Phil$3,674$3,874$4,074$4,174
Atlanta, Char,
Chi, Cinc, Cleve,
Detroit, Mia, Orl,
Tampa, Wash, DC
Dallas, Den, Hou,
Los Ang, Minn,
Phoe, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $479, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $895 Oct, Nov; $1,095 all other dates. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to
95 days before departure. All 2018 tour prices above (excluding airlines taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: Business Class – $3,895 per person; Premium Economy – $995 per person

A visa is not required for this tour.

    Artemisia Palace Hotel, Palermo / Days 2-4 / Superior First Class 

    Additional information to come.

    Hotel Costazzura Museum & Spa, Agrigento / Days 5-6 / First Class 

    Additional information to come.

    Hotel Borgo Pantano, Syracuse / Days 7-8 / First Class 

    Additional information to come.

    Hotel NH Collection Taormina, Taormina / Days 9-11 / Deluxe 

    Additional information to come.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Tour Directors for this Journey
Gaetano Salemi

“Absolutely outstanding! Very knowledgeable about Sicily and Italy, and the Italian way of life. Kept us entertained with stories and piano playing.”
Dennis & Sharon Marks
Vero Beach, FL

Dania Mastacchini

“We enjoyed spending time with Dania. She was thoughtful, knowledgeable, and always positive. She has the perfect temperament for a tour leader.”
Rekha & Craig Arness
McLean, VA

Daniela Mendola

“Daniela was exceptional. Her caring attitude and knowledge of Italy were exceptional. She truly made the tour come alive.”
Gregory E. Peterson
Tyngsboro, MA

Destination Insight


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