Grade

Moderate

Duration

7 Days

Category

Multi Days

Tour Type

Private

Season

All Year

Availability

On Request

Route:
Land:  Palermo airport (PMO – Falcone Borsellino International Airport), West Side
Leave: Palermo airport (PMO – Falcone Borsellino International Airport), West Side

7 days/6 nights | Marsala (2 night) Agrigento (1 night) Palermo (3 night) 
Day 1 – LAND: Palermo airport (PMO: Falcone Borsellino International Airport)/Marsala
Day 2 – Marsala/Erice, lunch in an olive oil farmhouse, Salt Way Road and Winery/Marsala
Day 3 – Marsala/Selinunte (visit: ruins) and Turkish Steps/Agrigento
Day 4 – Agrigento (visit: Valley of the Temples) and Sikanian Experience/Palermo
Day 5 – Palermo, Street Food and Monreale (visit: Dome)
Day 6 – Palermo/Cefalù (visit: Cathedral) and Madonie Nature Park: Castelbuono/Palermo
Day 7 – Palermo/Palermo airport (PMO: Falcone Borsellino International Airport)

Recommended Licensed Local Guide:
Selinunte: to visit the ruins
Agrigento: to visit the Temples Valley
Monreale: to visit the Dome
Palermo: to visit the town

 

LEGEND AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION

TOUR DETAILS & BOOKING INFORMATION

TOUR CODE: AMAZ7

Day 1
Palermo airport (PMO)/Marsala
Approximately Travel Time and Unit: 1 hour 20 Minutes  -  70 Miles (105 Kilometers)
Private Vehicle and Italian Speaking Driver Disposal: transfer-in only
Welcome to the warm, beautiful and pleasant island of Sicily! Upon arrival at Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (PMO | Your Arrival by TBA) please proceed through Passport Control and collect your luggage inside the customs area. Then transfer in Marsala
Day 2
Marsala/Salt Way Road, Erice, Olive Oil and Winery/Marsala
Approximately Travel Time and Unit: Full Day  -  70 Miles (80 Kilometers)
Important: Marsala winery is closed on Sunday, Bank Holidays and Summer Week (middle of August)
Private Vehicle and English Speaking Driver Escort Disposal: full day from h 8.30AM
Today a few minutes driving takes us to the Saline (Saltpans) which is also a Nature Reserve, a place of extraordinary beauty, where alongside the exceptional natural landscapes we can appreciate the typical windmills of Marsala-Trapani coast, original examples of still fully functional industrial archeology. Saline della Laguna are located inside the Reserve. The landscape around is still strongly identified with its iconic saltpans, now far fewer in number than in the past but still retaining the distinction of being the oldest and last remaining in Sicily. Dating as far back as the Phoenicians around 2.700 years ago when salt was fundamental for preserving food, the salt pans were at their most prosperous under Aragonese rule and numbered around forty at the end of the 1800’s when over 100,000 tonnes of salt were produced each year. Today there are some ten saltpans with two main areas of production, at Nubia and at the ‘Stagnone’, the largest lagoon in Italy to the north of Marsala. The flavour of the salt is exceptional: completely natural and untreated, the salt has a higher concentration of potassium and magnesium but less sodium chloride than common salts and is available in many specialist food shops. Visit the salt pans for the dramatic landscape, punctuated by windmills, and the views across to the Egadi Islands. We then travel from Marsala to Trapani to enjoy an amazing route under the name of Via del Sale (Salt Way Road). This is the best way to travel to join Erice uptown, which was an important religious site associated with the goddess Venus. Wander through its ancient streets and visit some of the famous homemade pastry shops—world-famous for marzipan candies and other delicacies like almond and pistachio pastries. Towering over the west of Sicily at 751m above sea level and often covered in its own personal cloud, Erice is a wonderfully preserved Mediaeval town offering the most breathtaking views and a palpable sense of history. Originally an Elymian city (the Elymians were around before the Greeks ever set foot in Sicily) Erice, or Eryx as it was first called, was a town of no little importance and renown and is said to have attracted the likes Hercules and Aeneas. Like so many Sicilian towns, it passed from one invader to another as all the usual suspects came and went, leaving their architectural calling cards and their cultural footprints. The name changed from Eryx, to Erice to Gebel Hamed and Monte San Giuliano but its essential character remained, obstinately repelling any attempt to change its real identity. Amongst the most visited sites are the two castles, Pepoli Castle and Venus Castle. The former was built by the Arabs while the latter was a Norman construction with imposing towers that derived its name from the fact that it was built on the site of the ancient Temple of Venus, allegedly founded by Aeneas.

Lunch in an olive oil farmhouse to taste genuine dishes and enjoy the olive oil tastings

This afternoon we drive back to Marsala. Upon arrival we visit the Cantine Florio Winery (Cantine Florio Winery: subject to availability) to taste the Marsala wines. Marsala is a wine, dry or sweet. While the city's natives sometimes drink "vintage" Marsala, the wine produced for export is universally fortified similar to Port, Madeira and Sherry. Originally, this addition of alcohol was to ensure that it would last on long ocean voyages, but now it is made that way because of its popularity in foreign markets.   (L)
Day 3
Marsala/Selinunte and Turkish Steps/Agrigento
Approximately Travel Time and Unit: Full Day  -  110 Miles (180 Kilometers)
Private Vehicle and English Speaking Driver Escort Disposal: full day from h 8.30AM
Selinunte, English Speaking Local Guide NOT included
Today departure for Selinunte (Admission fee: not included) which is one of Sicily's great Greek archaeological sites. Situated by the sea in the south-western corner of Sicily, the isolated ruins here have stood abandoned for most of their history. The lack of later development allows modern visitors to imagine the ancient town of Selinus as it would have been two and a half thousand years ago. The archaeological park at Selinunte is huge, incorporating Greek temples, ancient town walls, the ruins of residential and commercial buildings, countryside paths and zones not yet excavated. If you are interested in Greek Sicily, this is a very important site to visit, and the temples' setting close to the sea is wonderfully picturesque.

This afternoon, on the way to join Agrigento, we drive across coastline, beaches  and cliffs, including the remarkable white chalk ones of the Scala dei Turchi. The name translates as Turkish Steps, and indeed there is a striking resemblance to Pamukkale, Turkey. However the explanation on the history of the name is that the Scala dei Turchi was the place Arab pirates, locally referred to as “turks”, anchored their boats out of the wind while they pillaged the surrounding area. The "Scala dei Turchi" is a splendid, blinding, white jewel that frames the clear blue sea. One cannot describe the view and communicate it all: you have to live immersed with all your five senses in the magic of this incredible cliff of white marl. It's a fascinating place, where centuries of rain and wind have carved a natural staircase and whose white color is made more dazzling by the sunlight. The Turkish steps is not only a natural feature, but is also a part of local legends: it is said that the Saracen pirates (for the Sicilians, the "Turks", which is a negative connotation that indicates all the people that were once devoted to piracy), docked ships in the calm, clean waters, protected by the “Scala”, and climbed these natural "steps" to reach the top of the cliff and raid local villages. Later onto Agrigento.
Day 4
Agrigento and Sikanian Experiece/Palermo
Approximately Travel Time and Unit: Full Day  -  100 Miles (130 Kilometers)
Private Vehicle and English Speaking Driver Escort Disposal: full day from h 8.30AM
Agrigento, English Speaking Local Guide NOT included
Today visit the finest of all ancient Greek sites—the complete Doric Temples (Admission fee: not included), one of Sicily’s most famous historical attractions. This is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy. The area was included in the UNESCO Heritage Site list in 1997. Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today's fields and orchards. This splendid archaeological park consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between about 510 BC and 430 BC: the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestos, the Temple of Demeter, and the Temple of Asclepius (the God of Medicine). Apart from this latter, which is to be found on the banks of the Akragas river, all are situated in the same area on rocky crests south of modern day Agrigento (not really in a Valley at all!).

Today we drive to the unique country town off the beaten track. First time visitors can’t help but be dazzled and awed when, from the provincial road that meanders from Agrigento inland along curves, twists and bends between mountains and hills, they are greeted by a uniquely spectacular view. On a lonely hill, in the center of the Platani river valley, surrounded by wild and harsh vegetation, a handful of houses lie on the sheer slope of the hill—this is the small town of Sant’Angelo. Upon arrival meet the bakery owner.  She will show us Pizza and Bread preparation. Simple, home-cooked snack in picnic style to taste Sicilian Pizza and Pane Cunsatu (a typical homemade bread with olive oil and pecorino cheese).

Lunch in picnic style to enjoy local life and real gastronomy for your unforgettable Sicilian Local Food experience.

This afternoon we then continue onto Palermo, the Capital of Sicily. (L)
Day 5
Palermo, Street Food and Monreale
Approximately Travel Time and Unit: Full Day  -  40 Miles (60 Kilometers)
English Speaking Driver Escort Disposal: full day from h 8.30AM  
Monreale, English Speaking Local Guide NOT included
Palermo, English Speaking Local Guide NOT included
Palermo Walking Tour Street Food Experience from h 10.30AM with English Speaking Staff
Our tour starts with a short drive to Monreale, to see where Arab-Norman art and architecture reached its pinnacle in the Duomo (Admission fee: not included), launched in 1174 by William II. It represents scenes from the Old and New Testaments all in golden mosaics. The splendid mosaics in the interior of Monreale Cathedral are its principal artistic attraction. Their subtle beauty creates an atmosphere of solemn tranquility and perhaps even awe. The mosaics cover practically all the surfaces of the cathedral's walls, except for the ground level, up to a height of two meters, where the walls are finished in white marble bordered with polychrome inlay decoration. All of the cathedral's mosaic figures (many are icons) are placed upon a background of gold mosaic "tesserae" (tiles). The interior of the church is about 100 meters long by 40 meters wide. There are a total of 130 individual mosaic scenes depicting biblical and other religious events. The Old Testament is depicted on the walls of the central nave, starting from the Creation and ending with Jacob's Fight with the Angel. We then return to Palermo to start Street Food Tour. It’s important to know that Palermo is in fifth place according to the “top ten cities for street food” ranking published by several Travel News Paper. The uniqueness of street food from Palermo lies not only in its variety and in his goodness, but also in the ability that every dish has to tell a historical chapter of the Sicilian capital. So, if you come to Palermo you can’t miss the chance to enjoy its extraordinary cuisine exploring 2,000 years of history: from the landing of Phoenicians to the one of Americans! With us you’ll have the chance to taste the best street food, where only locals go to fill their big bellies! We start our street food walking tour through the old squares and markets of the city center. The itinerary includes several stops at bakeries, street vendors and old inns to taste the delicious street food of Palermo and a selection of Sicilian sweet wines. Along the walking tour you will enter places hung out only by real Sicilians. Each tasting will be made official by your Tour Leader who will share with you meal information and legends. Our Streat Palermo Tour isn’t just food! It also includes stops at the main historical squares and several hidden spots of the city center to offer participants a comprehensive overview of the artistic and historical evolution of the city.

The Palermo Street Food ends in the early afternoon at the Palermo Cathedral (Tips: not included) erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (or Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and King William II's minister, on the area of an earlier Byzantine basilica. By all accounts this earlier church was founded by St. Gregory and was later turned into a mosque by the Saracens after their conquest of the city in the 9th century. Ophamil is buried in a sarcophagus in the church's crypt. The medieval edifice had a basilica plan with three apses, of which only some minor architectural elements survive today.

We then continue onto the Four Corners which is the junction in Palermo. Effectively, it is the centre point of the four areas of the old town centre. You will almost inevitably pass through it and it is worth stopping for five minutes to have a look at its sculptures which were commissioned by the Spanish Viceroy in 1611. The sculptures on each of the four corners depict a variety of themes, including the four seasons, four Spanish kings and the four patron saints of the old town areas. Going south-east down Via Maqueda you will come across Piazza Pretoria which is home not only to a splendid fountain but several other impressive buildings including, on the right, the City Hall. The fountain, known for generations as the “Fountain of Shame”, has an interesting history. It was originally built in 1555 by the Florentine sculpture Francesco Camiliani for a Tuscan villa owned by the Viceroy Pedro de Toledo. His son, on inheriting the villa in 1574, thought it a little too risqu? for his tastes and sold it to the City of Palermo who erected it where it now stands. The large central fountain is the focal point for sixteen nude statues of nymphs, humans, mermaids and satyrs. If you imagine this being erected during the Inquisition, it is quite easy to imagine why it received its epithet, the “Fountain of Shame”. (L)
Day 6
Palermo/Cefalù and Madonie Nature Park: Castelbuono/Palermo
Approximately Travel Time and Unit: Full Day  -  110 Miles (190 Kilometers)
English Speaking Driver Escort Disposal: full day from h 8.30AM  
Just one hour's drive east of Palermo, sitting serenely between its natural bay and the towering rocky granite mass of La Rocca, is Cefalù. For a small town, Cefalù offers a great deal, including sandy beaches, winding Mediaeval streets flanked with all manner of shops, excellent restaurants serving the freshest of fish and last but probably first, its unique Norman Cathedral. While Cefalù's origins go back to at least Greek times (the name derives from the ancient Greek word for "Cape"), the town we now know and love was built at the behest of the Norman King, Roger II. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1131 and is an exquisite example of what has been termed "Sicilian Romanesque". Thanks to the splendid mosaic of Christ Pantocrator above the altar, it is twinned with the Palatine Chapel in Palermo and the Duomo in Monreale. Seeing all three on a trip to Sicily is strongly recommended. Also of interest is the Mediaeval wash house - lavatoio - which is fed by a natural spring and the Osterio Magno which, according to tradition was King Roger's very own residence. It now houses art exhibitions.

This afternoon we then continue onto the Parco delle Madonie, situated south of Cefalù, was the second natural reserve to be established in Sicily. It incorporates 15 towns and villages including Polizzi Generosa, the twin Petralia towns, Soprana and Sottana, Gangi, Castellana Sicula, Castelbuono, and Isnello. Many of these towns have Mediaeval origins thanks to the noble land-owning families that owned huge estates and built castles in the area. Today several castles and many wonderful churches bear witness to this history. Our stopover is in the small village of Castelbuono. The main attraction of Castelbuono is undoubtedly the impressive Castle (Admission fee: not included). Commissioned by the powerful baronial Ventimiglia family in 1316, the castle is a classic example of how, even after more than 200 years since the end of Arab rule, their architectural style was still incorporated into many Norman-Swabian constructions. Indeed, the very shape of the castle - an imposing cube - recalls the great Mameluk buildings of Cairo and other north African towns. Meanwhile, the square towers, battlements and other architectural features are of evident Norman extraction, while the more rotund towers are pure Swabian. The interiors, spread over three floors, include a grand chapel (an addition of 1684 by the Serpotta brothers), numerous lofty-ceilinged halls and living quarters and the obligatory dungeon! The views from the upper floors confirm the strategic position that the castle occupies, overlooking the large central valley of the Madonie Mountains. Far away from the Castle and a few minutes walking distance we will stop in a local famous Bar to taste Local Liquors, pastries, preserves, pistachio and almond creams in combo with Sicilian Panettone.

Later return to Palermo.
Day 7
Palermo/airport
Approximately Travel Time and Unit: 39 Minutes  -  20 Miles (31 Kilometers)
Private Vehicle and Italian  Speaking Driver Disposal: transfer out only  
Today departure for Falcone-Borsellio International Airport (PMO | Your Departure by TBA)
Included
  • Airport transfers
  • All sightseeing, tasting and excursions as specified in the itinerary
  • Cooking demonstration
  • English speaking Driver
  • Italian speaking Driver
  • Olive oil and local product tasting
  • One visit to a winery
  • VAT
  • Vehicle with air conditioning
Not Included
  • Admission fees
  • Beverage and meal not specified
  • Beverages and meals
  • City taxes
  • Gratuities and tips
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Intercontinental/Local Flights
  • Licensed Tourist Guide if not specified
  • Personal expenses and extra drinks
  • Porterage at airport
  • Travel Insurance
Contact us for price information

Tour Map