Since the very dawn of time, Sicily has possessed an irresistible allure to mankind. With a human history stemming from at least 12,000 B.C., this Mediterranean island has drawn thinkers, artists, conquerors, and gods to the turquoise expanse of dramatic coastlines, the plunging valleys and soaring mountain peaks of the highlands, and the rich soils and rustling breezes of the forests. Today, ruins of monuments and homesteads from the greatest civilizations of humanity sit alongside one another opposite stunning landscapes and modern villages, only adding to the breathtaking magic of this timeless place.
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Catch a private boat the next morning at the ruins of the 4th century town of Mothia. Set sail along the lagoon amid the salt flats and windmills to take in the remarkably expansive remains of this once-proud colony of Carthage, bursting with hints of ancient Phoenician culture. This is an active archeological site and home to many discoveries, particularly shipwrecks. Dock on one of the islands for a buffet lunch before returning to the modern world as you sail to the nearby city of Marsala for a guided tour of this city’s many charms, including the Piazza della Repubblica, the infamous and oft-rebuilt Duomo, and the lion’s head gateway. Look out for the word ‘baglio’ on local signage if you’ve got a taste for the namesake Marsala wine produced here, which is one of the region’s most popular souvenirs. HOTEL TRAPANI IN.
The next day, discover Ragusa, a province made up of picturesque villages, set within the magnificent natural beauty of the Iblei highlands, valleys, and canyons, ending in cliffs and sugar sand beaches along the ocean shore. Start in Modica, a World Heritage Site known for its ancient tradition of crafting chocolate. Despite its popularity, the chocolate here has never become an industrialized product. It still tastes the way it did centuries ago, created from pure ingredients with the old techniques and sold locally. Stroll through the baroque historical center on your way to an unforgettable chocolate-tasting experience before lunch. In the afternoon, explore the art community of Noto, a baroque gem splendidly set within a rocky plateau overlooking the Asinaro Valley. Return to Siracusa in the late afternoon and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. GRAND HOTEL VILLA POLITI.
The next morning, head to Taormina, a city defined by medieval architecture and an ancient Greek soul. This is a place of remarkable beauty where modern marvels stand on the foundations of ancient wonders. Cypress trees and prickly pears surround the Hellenistic theater cum Roman amphitheater that faces the sea and the 16th Century Church of St. Pancras stands atop the remains of a Greek temple to an ancient god. Artisan shops line the main avenues, filled with treasures unique to this place while quiet lanes weave through courtyards and tiny piazzas hidden in the oldest part of Taormina. Your afternoon is at leisure to explore this place as your heart desires. ATAHOTEL NAXOS BEACH.
PRICING: Per person, based on double occupancy
Maximum group size: No restrictions, although we recommend a maximum of 35 travelers.
YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:
- All ground transfers and excursions in private deluxe air-conditioned motor coach.
- Continental breakfast daily, a welcome dinner and a farewell dinner and other meals as per itinerary. (B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner)
- Superior accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
- All museum and attraction entry fees indicated on itinerary.
- Porterage for baggage handling.
- Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet.
- Complimentary emergency evacuation insurance.
With so many Italian offerings, you must wonder when is a good time to travel. Here’s a synopsis.
- On our National Parks program, the parks are only accessible because of weather conditions during the summer months with best time being mid-July through September, which is also quite sunny, hot and gorgeous for water activities. Our program does include opportunities to experience the great outdoors and beautiful grottoes, from the mountains of central Italy to Rome and
- The Umbria Jazz Festival takes place every year in July and also in December. The program can be offered year-round as it covers a picturesque part of Italy, but if music is your passion, then it needs to be in July or December.
- The Verdi festival is in October and Puccini in September. Here, too, you can offer the programs year-round, but Italy, in general, is best visited in April-June and September/October, in order to avoid heat and also crowds.
- Similarly, the Venice & Verona program features Opera; the Verona Music Festival takes place from end of June through the end of August and some performances will also take place at the renowned Fenice Theatre in Venice. The program can be offered year-round if music is not the main feature.
- The South of Italy and the archaeological sites can be visited at any time, although best months would be April-June and September-October to avoid the heat of the summer. The temperatures during this time would be in the 70’s ideal weather for viewing the temples, or visiting the beach, or hiking. The summer months could see temperatures in triple digit, and the winter months would be in the 50’s.
- The rest of our programs are best in April-June and September/October for the reasons stated above, particularly avoiding the heat, especially if the program includes hiking.
France – From Palatable Provence to the Redolent Riviera
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