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Springtime in the Mediterranean: Sicily, Malta & the Aeolian Islands

Program Number: 21187RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/28/2013 - 5/7/2013;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Italy/Malta
Price starting at: $6,990.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 23; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience Sicily, Malta and Italy’s Aeolian Islands at a time of year when the sun is warm, the air is fragrant with citrus and the tourist crowds have not yet materialized. Find archaeological treasures left behind by great civilizations, delve into the culinary heritage of Sicily and savor two classical music performances, one aboard the ship and another at a historic, private venue on land.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven and hilly terrain. Small boats are sometimes used for disembarkation and re-embarkation.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Palermo (Italy), 1 night; aboard Corinthian, 7 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-3: Arrival Palermo (Italy) / embark Corinthian:

An expert-led city excursion includes the Royal Palace with its famed Cappella Palatina, the chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily. Lodging: Four-star hotel in historic city center.

Day 4: Marsala:

Journey to the ancient Greek archaeological site of Selinunte, once a bustling seaside colony. Discover the carefully re-erected Temple of Hera.

Day 5: Porto Empedocle:

Explore the ruins of Agrigento, an important city during the golden age of Ancient Greece. Continue to the Villa Romana del Casale, a 4th-century Roman villa featuring spectacular mosaics.

Day 6: Valletta (Malta):

Step back into the time of knights at the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta. Venture to the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim, among the most ancient religious sites on Earth.

Day 7: Syracuse (Italy):

Experience Syracuse, one of the most powerful and prestigious cities of the ancient world, including the spectacular 15,000-seat Greek theater and the elliptical Roman amphitheater.

Day 8: Messina:

Enjoy a field trip to Taormina, a charming village on the site of an ancient Greek colony. Its ancient theater, perched on a hillside overlooking the sea, is truly magnificent.

Day 9: Lipari & Stromboli:

Sail to the volcanic Aeolian Islands, going ashore to discover two of them, Lipari and Stromboli. After dark, witness the eruptions of the active Mount Stromboli volcano.

Day 10: Palermo / disembark / departure


Launched in early 2009 after extensive refurbishment, redecoration, and other improvements, the private yacht-like Corinthian accommodates a maximum of 100 passengers in 50 suites, all offering ocean views. Public facilities include a single-seating restaurant, two lounges, expansive library, gym, spa, Jacuzzi and spacious sundeck.

Meals and Lodgings
   Grand Hotel et Des Palmes
  Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Italy 1 night
  Aboard the Corinthian, At Sea 7 nights
 Grand Hotel et Des Palmes
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the very heart of Palermo’s historical centre, “Des Palmes” as it is fondly known locally, is the most legendary hotel on the island of Sicily, having welcomed illustrious visitors since the 19th century including Richard Wagner, who finished Parsifal within one of its luxuriously-decorated suites. Steeped in history, evoking old-world glamour, elegance and charm with that of modern comfort
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Via Roma, 398
Palermo,  90141 Italy
phone: +091 6028111
  Room amenities: All rooms are sound-proofed and fully air-conditioned as standard, have private bathrooms, and all are equipped with amenities such as a safe, hairdryer, minibar, satellite TV, dial direct telephone and Internet connection (WI FI in public areas).
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: n/a 

Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: This private yacht-like cruise ship accommodates only 100 guests in 50 suites.
  Ship Information: Gross Tonnage: 4,077 Overall Length: 290 feet Beam: 50 feet Draft: 12 feet Flag Malta
  Contact info: 132 East 70th Street,
New York ,, NY 10021 USA
phone: 800-257-5767
  Room amenities: All accommodations aboard the Corinthian are suites. And include a bedroom with two twin-sized beds or one queen sized bed, sitting area, mini bar, VCR/DVD/CD player, color TV, Marble appointed bathroom with spacious shower and other amenities.
  Facility amenities: Public facilities include a restaurant tha accomodates guests at a single, unassigned seating, two lounges, expansive library with Internet access, state-of-the-art gym/spa, beauty salon, boutique,Jacuzzi, hospital and ample deck areas for sunbathing and relaxing.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins late in the afternoon of Day 2 at the program hotel You will be staying at Grand Hotel et Des Palmes that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on board the ship in Palermo. You will be staying at Corinthian the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Palermo, Sicily, Italy
  Nearest airport:  Palermo International Airport (PMO)
  Transportation to site: The Grand Hotel et Des Palmes is located in the heart of Palermo, Sicily -approximately 7km from the Palermo International Airport (PMO). The transfer will take approximately 15 minutes. All participants who are arriving on April 29 will be met at the airport and transfered to the hotel. Participants arranging their own air should arrive no later than 3:00pm. Taxis are readily available at the airport for independent travelers.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aboard the Corinthian
  Transportation from site: All participants who are departing on May 7th will be transfered from the port in Palermo to the airport. Participants arranging their own air should not book flights that depart earlier than 1:00 pm.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight Flight from the US
(Sunday, April 28)
 Depart From: Depart the US for international flights to Palermo, Italy

Day 2: Arrivals
(Monday, April 29)
 Arrive To: Arrive in Palermo, Italy and transfer to the hotel.
 Dinner: In the evening, join your group leader for a welcome dinner and program orientation at the hotel.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel et Des Palmes
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Palermo / Embark Corinthian
(Tuesday, April 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Your morning is at leisure to explore Palermo on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Meet back at the hotel and depart for a panoramic overview of Palermo. See sights such as the Royal Palace and Cappella Palatina. Transfer to the port to embark the Corinthian.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Corinthian
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Marsala / Selinute / Motya or Erice / Marsala
(Wednesday, May 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: From Marsala, enjoy a morning field trip to Selinunte, the most westerly ancient Greek colony in Sicily. A highland overlooking the sea provides a tranquil setting for the expansive ruins of what was once among the island's least progressive cities.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: This afternoon you will have two options: Option 1: Explore Motya, founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th Century B.C. as a commerical base. Its museum exhibits superb sculptures. Option 2: Drive to Erice, a medieval, mountainside town.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Corinthian
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Porto Empedocle / Agrigento / Piazza Armerina / Porto Empedocle
(Thursday, May 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: This morning, enjoy a choice of excursions: 1) Visit Agrigento's Valley of the Temples, a series of superb Doric temples. Admire the extraordinary collection at the Archaeological Museum. 2) Explore Sicily's finest Roman site, the Imperial Roman Villa del Casale. Located outside Piazza Armerina, a town situated amid wooded hills, the villa was built in palatial proportions in the 3rd century and features superb floor mosaics.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the port of Empedocle before the ship sets sail this evening.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Corinthian
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Valletta, Malta
(Friday, May 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: Enjoy a choice of excursions this morning: 1) Explore the Palace of the Grand Masters and the National Museum of Archaeology. Then it's a short drive to the remarkable Tarxien Temples, which date back to 2800 B.C. 2) Visit Hagar Qim, even older than the Tarxian Temples, that stands atop a hill on the southern edge of the island overlooking the sea.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: In the late afternoon, transfer to Palazzo Parisio to attend a musical performance.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Corinthian
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
(Saturday, May 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: Syracuse sits at the head of a beautiful bay on Sicily's southeast coast. Colonized by the Greeks in the 8th century B.C., Syracuse became one of the most powerful and prestigious cities of the ancient world, rousing the hostility of Athens. Discover the spectacular 15,000-seat Greek theater, among the most impressive to survive antiquity, and the elliptical Roman amphitheater, one of the largest of its kind.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Walk the winding lanes of Syracuse's Old Town, situated on the island of Ortygia, and explore the remains of the Temple of Apollo, the Fountain of Aretusa, and the Cathedral, which incorporates the remains of the famed Temple of Athena.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
Accommodations: Corinthian
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Messina / Taormina / Messina
(Sunday, May 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Enjoy an excursion to Taormina. Clinging to the edge of Mount Tauro, Taormina looks out to sea and the dramatic cone of Mount Etna. A Greek colony was founded here in 403 B.C. and prospered throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Wonder at the magnificent Greek theater.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: The afternoon is at leisure to explore Messina on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Corinthian
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Lipari / Stromboli
(Monday, May 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Arrive at the white pumice slopes of Lipari, one of the seven islands of the Aeolian Archipelago claimed by Greek mythology as the home of Aeolus, the god of the winds. Dominating the unspoiled, twin-harbor town of Lipari is a Norman castle-turned archaeological museum on the site of an ancient acropolis.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Your afternoon is free to explore Lipari on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
 Evening: At night, after dark, we will sail close to Stromboli to observe the eruptions from one of Europe's few active volcanoes.
Accommodations: Corinthian
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Palermo / Disembark
(Tuesday, May 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: Disembark in Palermo and transfer to the airport for return flights to the U.S.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Ancient Sicily, Monuments Past & Present

Author: G. Messineo, E. Borgia

Description: In this illuminating overview, ingenious overlays depict 17 important sites as they appear today and how they may have appeared in the past.

Archaeology of Ancient Sicily

Author: R. Ross Holloway

Description: A concise, marvelously lucid history of the civilizations and archaeology of Sicily from the Paleolithic to the Romans. With illustrations, site diagrams and maps.

Eyewitness Guide Sicily

Author: DK Publishing, Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb guide to Sicily features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a synopsis of the island's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.

Hazan Family Favorites, Beloved Italian Recipes

Author: Giuliano Hazan

Description: Son of the pioneering Italian cookbook writer Marcella, Giuliano Hazen delves into family culinary history for these 85 recipes, which cover every course in the Italian meal.

Ironfire, A Novel of the Knights of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades

Author: David Ball

Description: In this rousing historical novel the fates of a young boy, his sister, one of the Knights of Malta and an inquisitor play out against the backdrop of the 16th-century Ottoman assault on Malta, the formidable citadel of the Knights of St. John.

Lonely Planet Malta & Gozo

Author: Neil Wilson

Description: A compact, comprehensive guide to Malta, featuring maps, a good overview of culture, history and nature and plenty of practical information on excursions, accommodations and sightseeing.

Malta & Gozo Map

Author: Freytag & Berndt

Description: This topographic map of the islands (1:30,000) includes a Valletta city plan.

Mediterranean Cruises Map

Author: Freytag & Berndt

Description: A double-sided, full-color map of the Mediterranean, including the Iberian Peninsula and Black Sea, North Africa and the Levant, at a scale of 1:2,000,000.

Midnight in Sicily, On Art, Food, History, Travel and La Cosa Nostra

Author: Peter Robb

Description: Combining interviews, research and essays on Sicilian history and culture, this vivid report by journalist Peter Robb is a superb introduction to Italy's glorious, corrupt and troubled south.

On Persephone's Island

Author: Mary Taylor Simeti

Description: Strong on the delights of rural life, Simeti's portrait of Sicily takes the form of a yearlong journal, capturing the spirit of the people, daily life, traditions and the land.

Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome

Author: Christopher Scarre

Description: A vivid overview of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and its expansion throughout North Africa and the Mediterranean, illustrated with ingenious color maps on many topics (political borders, trade, defense, religion) and 80 color photographs.

Pillars of Hercules

Author: Paul Theroux

Description: Theroux seems to have had an exceptionally good time on his tour of the Mediterranean, circling the celebrated sea on foot, horseback, train and boat from Gibraltar to North Africa.

Sicily, Three Thousand Years of Human History

Author: Sandra Benjamin

Description: With clarity and authority, Benjamin traces the rich legacy of the Greeks and Romans, Vandals and Goths, Arab traders, Normans, Bourbons and others who have contributed to the multi-faceted history of the kingdom of Sicily.

The Ancient Mediterranean

Author: Michael Grant

Description: Grant explores the realms of archaeology, geography, art and economics to sketch this classic portrait of the ancient world, from prehistory through the Roman Imperium, and the influence on western civilization.

The Leopard

Author: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

Description: Evoking a lost world of privilege and tradition, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's memorable tale, set on a rural Sicilian estate during the days of independence, follows the world-weary Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina. A classic, now in a 50th anniversary edition.

The Mediterranean in History

Author: David Abulafia (Editor)

Description: A professor at Cambridge, David Abulafia leads a team of eight historians in this engaging, richly illustrated overview of the civilizations, societies and grand themes in the history of this great sea at the heart of Europe. Published in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the book features 150 well-integrated color and 150 black-and-white illustrations.

The Middle Sea

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: A marvelous writer who has already tackled Byzantium, the Normans in Sicily and Venice, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean.

The Wine-Dark Sea

Author: Leonardo Sciascia, Avril Bardoni (Translator), Alberto Mobilio (Introduction)

Description: A collection of 13 stories, all set in the celebrated writer's native Sicily and featuring mafiosi, carabinieri and villagers.

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