Road Scholar : Home
Treasures of Sicily

Program Number: 18212RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/14/2015 - 3/30/2015; 4/2/2016 - 4/18/2016; 4/9/2016 - 4/25/2016; 4/23/2016 - 5/9/2016; 4/30/2016 - 5/16/2016; 5/14/2016 - 5/30/2016; 9/10/2016 - 9/26/2016; 9/17/2016 - 10/3/2016; 10/1/2016 - 10/17/2016; 10/8/2016 - 10/24/2016; 10/22/2016 - 11/7/2016;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $4,195.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 39; 15 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience the dizzyingly diverse cultural influences that combined to create something totally unique in Sicily. Examine the ruins left behind as evidence of Magna Graecia, “Greater Greece,” including some of the most beautiful structures ever built by the Ancient Greeks; learn about the surprising, sometimes spectacular results of the clash between Norman and Arab civilizations; meet the proud, friendly Sicilians who are eager to share their villages, their cuisine and the beauty of their land.


• Visit the Norman Cathedral in Monreale; the Byzantine-style mosaics rival those of St. Mark's in Venice.
• Ferry across the Strait of Messina to Reggio to admire the bronze Riace Warrior statues.
• Discover the orchards and farms of the rich-soiled Mount Etna plains and share a lunch of freshly prepared Sicilian dishes at an agriturismo.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day; uneven and hilly terrain at historic sites. Extended periods of standing.

Date Specific Information

3-14-2015, 4-2-2016, 4-9-2016, 4-23-2016, 4-30-2016, 5-14-2016, 9-10-2016, 9-17-2016, 10-1-2016, 10-8-2016, 10-22-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Giardini Naxos, 4 nights; coach to Syracuse, 4 nights; coach to Agrigento, 2 nights, coach to Palermo, 5 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Giardini Naxos
4 nights

Learn about Sicily through expert history lectures on the island’s many colonizers. Journey to the charming mountainside comune of Taormina and investigate its stunning Greek theater ruins high above the sea. Examine the architecture of Messina, a city entirely rebuilt after its destruction by a 1908 earthquake.

Coach to Syracuse
4 nights

Feast on home-made dishes at an agriturismo prior to reaching Syracuse. Experience the rich history of Ortigia, the original site of the Greek colonizers, a city more than 2,700 years old. Visit the baroque Cathedral of Syracuse and the Paradise Quarry, where 7,000 Athenian soldiers were imprisoned. Venture to Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning churches.

Coach to Agrigento
2 nights

Journey across Sicily with a stop near Piazza Armerina to the Villa del Casale, a third c. villa complex, whose floors retain much of the mosaic decorations. Continue to Agrigento; explore with an expert the finest extant ancient Greek temple comple anywhere, including Greece.

Coach to Palermo
5 nights

Coach to Palermo 5 nights. Stop in Selinunte another Greek settlement, discover how columns are carved. Continue to Palermo, the capital of the region of Sicily. Join a local family for a traditional Sicilian lunch in their home. Discover Palermo, strolling past the colorful fruit and fish carts of the morning market. In Monreale, view magnificent mosaics inside the Norman cathedral, manifesting Byzantine, Romanesque and Arab influences. In town, sample what locals claim are the best cannolis in Italy.


“Dolce far niente,” the “sweetness of doing nothing.” This ode to leisure is a distinctly Italian phrase, and yet the expression does not do justice to the hard-work ethos of the nation’s inhabitants. The monuments, art and civilization bequeathed to the people of modern Italy are a testament to the industry of their forebearers, and the legacy lives on in today’s Italians, who work hard to better enjoy the sweetness of repose.

Giardini Naxos: Four-star hotel with private beach. Syracuse: Four-star hotel in the center of town; Agrigento Four-star hotel with ocean views. Palermo: Historic, four-star hotel located in former Mercederian monastery.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Angelo Fanara

Angelo Fanara is a retired high school English teacher who continues to practice his love of teaching by leading Road Scholar groups in his native Sicily. Enthusiastic, engaging and charming, Angelo loves sharing his extensive knowledge of Sicily’s most important archaeological sites and museums with participants.
Catherine Paige

Catherine Paige was born in England and received her master's degree in social work from the University of Sussex. After working as a social worker in Brighton, she transferred to Sicily where she is an English Language Assistant at the University of Palermo. Since moving to Sicily, Catherine has developed an interest in local literature that she will convey in her talk on Sicilian writers.
Laura Lanza

Laura Lanza received her degree in literature and philosophy from the University of Palermo. She taught Italian, Latin and Greek in local high schools and enjoys her present role as an excursion leader in the province of Palermo. Laura enjoys traveling to European destinations as well as other continents with her family, and resides in the city of Palermo.
Michele Gallo

Michele Gallo, a licensed excursion leader in Sicily, shares his knowledge of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. He has contributed to BBC and TBS documentaries featuring UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hellenia Yachting Hotel
  Giardini Naxos, Italy 4 nights
   Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
  Syracuse/Island of Ortygia, Italy 4 nights
   Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel
  Agrigento, Italy 2 nights
   Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
  Palermo, Italy 5 nights
 Hellenia Yachting Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hellenia Yachting Hotel is not in Taormina proper, but seaside just a few miles to the south in the quiet beach community of Giardini-Naxos
  Contact info: Via Jannuzzo, 41
Giardini-Naxos, NA 98035 Italy
phone: +39 0942 51737
  Room amenities: Each room is equipped with private bath, a television set, mini bar, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries, and safe box for valuables.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has elegant and modern decor. Situated on the shore, a small private beach for hotel guests and swimming pool, open May to September. Large dining room, elevators to all floors, laundry service. Free Wi-Fi connectivity in the lobby, rooms and on the terrace. For checking emails, an internet point is located in the lobby. Laundry service available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies by season You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to use online consolidator services such as or Expedia.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Remodeled noble residence, now a 4 star superior sea front hotel. Marble clad lobby. Rooms are outfitted with restored antique furniture original to the residence give this hotel a unique blend of modern conveniences with Sicilian Baroque touches.
  Contact info: Via Vittorio Veneto, 93
Siracusa,  96100 Italy
phone: +39 093 146 5186
  Room amenities: Satellite TV, direct dial telephone, safe, call front desk to adjust climate, antique wardrobes and hand woven rugs private bath with hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Free Wi-Fi connections throughout the structure; inviting ambiance with wood beams in the reading room and marble arches. Elevator, restaurant. Heating and air conditioning throughout the hotel is controlled from desk and can be regulated for each individual room. Bathrooms are decorated with colorful Sicilian tiles.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The hotel is on the San Leone beach of Agrigento and convenient to the Valley of the Temples.
  Contact info: Viale Falcone e Borsellino, 1
San Leone Agrigento,  92100 Italy
phone: +39 0922 406111
  Room amenities: Free wifi, flat screen TV with satellite reception, mini bar, room safe, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries. Room service available.
  Facility amenities: Relax in the spacious gardens and patio. Restaurant, coffee bar and lounge, swimming pool open late spring to late fall. Laundry facilities. Complimentary wifi. 24 hour reception.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Formerly a Mercederian monastery (who facilitated prisoner exchanges during the 16th c.) it was combined with 2 adjacent buildings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to form a bank and stock exchange. Newly restructured and updated in 2005 it is a modern business class hotel with full amenities. The old courtyard, supported by ancient columns, is a covered atrium. Centrally located in the heart of Palermo, near museums and opera theaters, this is an ideal location to explore the city. Enjoy the Liberty epoch decor in the common area and restaurants and modern rooms.
  Contact info: Via dei Cartari 18
Palermo, NA 90133 Italy
phone: +39 091-320-075
  Room amenities: Direct dial telephones from room; hair dryer, complimentary toiletries; mini bar; room safe for valuables; individual thermostat; Internet connection, satellite television.
  Facility amenities: Internet point in the lobby. Free Wi-Fi access. Laundry service. Conference center. Spa, massage, and aesthetic center (reservations required), Turkish bath, whirlpool, fitness center with resistance machines (free for guests). Bars, restaurants, boutiques.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: varies by season You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to use online hotel consolidators such as or Expedia.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Lunch provided for morning arrivals. Hotel check in 2:00 pm. Meet in lobby at 4:00 for neighborhood walk You will be staying at Hellenia Yachting Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast, transfers to airport. Hotel check out by 11:00 am You will be staying at Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Bus service from Catania airport to Giardini-Naxos provided by Etna Trasporti; the website is
To Start of Program
  Location:  Giardini Naxos
  Nearest city or town:  Taormina
  Nearest highway: Autostrada
  Nearest airport:  Fontana Rossa, Catania
  Transportation to site: To reach the program site on your own, there are two options - taxi or public bus. Taxi fare direct from the airport to the hotel, a distance of about 40 miles, is approx. EUR 100. A more economical option is the public bus operated by ETNA TRASPORTI Service runs hourly from Catania airport to Giardini Naxos. The stop is to the right of the terminal exit. Purchase a one-way ticket to Giardini Naxos from the kiosk or directly from the driver. The stop closest to the hotel is Recanati. The ride takes about an hour and 15 minutes. Buses leave every hour from 7:00 am to 7:45 pm, reduced service on Sundays and holidays. Fare is approx. EUR 10 per person including luggage. When you get off at Recanati and gather your luggage from the storage compartment in the belly of the bus, walk in the direction the bus was going, turn right at the corner and the hotel is about 100 yards on the left side of the street.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Palermo
  Nearest airport:  Punta Raisi
  Transportation from site: To reach the airport on your own, a taxi is the most convenient public transportation. Fare to Palermo airport (about 23 miles from the hotel) is about 50 euros. Max. 4 passengers per taxi.
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: Departure from points in North America.
(Saturday, March 14)
 In Transit: Overnight flight crosses the Atlantic Ocean. Arrive in Catania, Sicily the following day.

Day 2: Arrival \ Welcome Reception
(Sunday, March 15)

Note: Minimal exertion.

 Arrive To: Transfer from Catania airport to hotel in Giardini Naxos.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Settle in and relax before meeting for an informal gathering and reception to welcome you to Sicily. At the sea side resort you can walk along the rocky beach or wander around the main street of the seaside resort community.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hellenia Yachting Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Orientation \ Neighborhood Walk \ History of Sicily
(Monday, March 16)

Note: Minimal exertion.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Staff distributes the updated and detailed day-to-day schedule and goes over logistics and pointers to ensure a safe and enjoyable program. A short walk follows in the vicinity of the hotel pointing out bank (ATM), pharmacy and markets. First of a series of lectures on Sicily’s history. Topics include the ancient Mediterranean colonizers--people from Greece, Phoenicia, Carthage and their impact on this area of Sicily.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: The group leader leads a walk past the ruins of the original Greek settlement to the center of the town of Naxos.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Hellenia Yachting Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Taormina \ Free Time in the Afternoon \ Folklore and Traditions
(Tuesday, March 17)

Note: The streets of Taormina are traffic free. The 20 min. coach ride to the parking lot of Mt. Tauro still leaves a 400 yard walk up an inclined road. Once on top, the road is fairly level. At the archaeological site there are few handrails to assist walking up the steep and uneven stone steps. If you are unsure of the climb, you can take in the theater and majestic view of Mt. Etna from the proscenium. The roads in town down to and up from the public garden requires some effort.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: The guided visit of Taormina, charming town on the crest of Mount Tauro, begins at the open air Greek theater. The location is optimal to view the expansive slopes of Mount Etna as its backdrop. The traffic-free streets of the town are lined with shops, boutiques and cafés. It has long been a resort destination for nobility, artists and actors.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in any of the local restaurants.
 Afternoon: Free time to stroll, shop, or relax in the welcoming piazzas of Taormina. The public garden offers a splendid view of the coastlines below. The manicured garden has numerous flowering plants, bushes and trees. It is a good place for a picnic if you prefer. Coach back to Giardini Naxos late afternoon for a lecture on Sicilian Folklore and Traditions.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hellenia Yachting Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Reggio Calabria and the Riace Warriors \ Messina
(Wednesday, March 18)

Note: Coach to Messina and a 20 minute ferry ride across the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria. Some walking in Reggio. Walk around the center of Messina over paved, level sidewalks.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Messina and ferry across the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria to see the Riace Warriors, full-size bronze statues cast around 450 BCE. Our expert will talk about their discovery, restoration and preservation. The archaeological museum that houses the statues is undergoing restoration and the expert will maximize our time there.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local seaside restaurant in the ancient city of Scilla, named after the mythological marine monster. Read the description of Scylla in Homer's Odyssey Book XII.
 Afternoon: Ferry back to Messina. Notice the uniform early 20th century architecture resulting from the rebuilding following the disastrous 1908 earthquake that leveled the city. A brief stop at the main square in Messina where you can enjoy a Sicilian gelato or cannoli. Coach continues to Giardini Naxos.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hellenia Yachting Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Italy Today \ Transfer to Syracuse \ Ortygia
(Thursday, March 19)

Note: The Island of Ortygia is closed to coach traffic; the coach drop off point is on the mainland. Short walk to the hotel over a pedestrian bridge. Porterage service will transfer luggage from the coach to the hotel.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: A morning session on the institutions that characterize Italy today. Check out of the hotel. Coach drives along the coast past the city of Catania to an agriturismo near Mt. Etna. Observe the change in perspective of the looming mountain, the highest active volcano in Europe.
 Lunch: Lunch at an agriturismo, a working farm on the slopes of Mt. Etna. Visit the estate and the garden and orchards that thrive on the fertile volcanic soil and enjoy freshly prepared Sicilian dishes.
 Afternoon: Another hour of coach ride to Syracuse. Check into the hotel on the island of Ortygia.
 Dinner: At hotel restaurant and free time to walk around the pedestrian friendly zone.
Accommodations: Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Expert-led visit to Ortygia \ Archaeological Zone \ Greek Theater
(Friday, March 20)

Note: The quarries served as a source of stone, and the descent is slight, with uneven pavement and few handrails. Greek theaters are built using the slope of a hill. Ascent is a little steep, not unlike a modern stadium. You may rest on the stone 'bleachers.'

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Orientation walk explores the oldest part of the city of Syracuse. The cathedral is a living example of the different cultures that colonized Sicily, each lending its own architectural style. Twenty six Doric columns from the 5th c. BCE temple to Athena are incorporated in the cathedral. Visit the cathedral's interior which was rebuilt in the 18th century with a distinctive Sicilian Baroque style when the ancient facade collapsed in an earthquake. Local artisan workshops, cafés and boutiques abound in Ortygia's pedestrian center of narrow streets and lively squares.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Guided visit to the Archaeological zone in Syracuse, including the Greek theater and the Paradise Quarry, where 7,000 Athenian soldiers were imprisoned centuries ago. The Greek theater, carved out of the rocky hillside in the 5th century BCE, was one of the most important theaters in the ancient world.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Buscemi: Frozen in Time \ Agriturismo with Sicilian Menu
(Saturday, March 21)

Note: The main road in Buscemi traverses a low hill, but streets leading up or down require a little effort.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Buscemi. Step back in time to visit a typical Sicilian town of a century ago, depopulated by emigration. A local escort lead us through the streets, where we visit houses, shops and grape and olive presses of the previous centuries, complete with furnishings of the period. Contrast the foreman's house from that of the day laborer.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at an 'agriturismo,' or restaurant located on a farm.
 Afternoon: Coach returns to Syracuse mid afternoon. Enjoy some time to explore Ortygia at your own pace.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: Archaeological Museum \ Baroque Noto
(Sunday, March 22)

Note: Standing while learning about archaeological items on display in the museum. In Noto a short, easy walk brings you to the center of town.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Expert-led visit to the Archaeological Museum in Syracuse. The collection includes artifacts of the Greeks, Romans and early Christians who settled in Sicily.
 Lunch: Lunch at a characteristic restaurant.
 Afternoon: Coach continues to Noto. Rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1693, the town finely represents the rich architectural and artistic achievement of the late Sicilian Baroque style. The town center is closed to automobile traffic. Coach to Syracuse late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Transfer to Western Sicily \ Roman Villa Casale in the town of Piazza Armerina
(Monday, March 23)

Note: The walk around the Roman villa is not strenuous. Some steps to climb to better view the mosaic pavements.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Excellent views of the diverse terrain in the mountainous heart of the island of Sicily.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in the town of Piazza Armerina.
 Afternoon: Piazza Armerina is a small, nondescript town outside of which were discovered, by pure chance, the ruins of a private Roman villa comprised of 63 rooms containing a most extensive and impressive series of floor mosaics (c. 377,000 sq.ft.) The expert leads the way along a path of catwalks describing the mosaics and their significance, providing the most interesting theories of the unidentified owner who commissioned the construction of the villa. Recently restored, the mosaics are protected by a Plexiglas canopy. Board coach and continue to Agrigento and check into your room.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Agrigento and the Valley of Temples
(Tuesday, March 24)

Note: Uneven dirt path connects the temples and museum, distance about one half mile down a slight incline. Few handrails at archaeological sites.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Expert-led visit of the Valley of the Temples. The area boasts the finest extant Greek temple complex anywhere (including Greece) lined along a plateau above the water, as well as a fascinating archaeological museum with artistic and votive finds from the area.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Guided visit in the Valley of Temples museum continues.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Greek Settlement of Selinunte \ Continue to Palermo
(Wednesday, March 25)

Note: Selinunte Archaeological area has uneven paths with few or no handrails. Leisurely walk around Palermo.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: On the way to Palermo, visit the ancient Greek settlement of Selinunte with an expert. Set on a promontory with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean sea, it was an ideal site. See how columns were chiseled our of solid stone and used in the building of temples.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Board coach and proceed to Palermo. Check into room. At the set time meet in the lobby for a short orientation walk in the neighborhood of the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: History of Sicily continued \ Family Lunch \ Palatine Norman Chapel
(Thursday, March 26)

Note: Short walk in Palermo. Extended standing during site visits.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Meet in lecture hall to learn about modern Sicilian history.
 Lunch: Sample Sicilian dishes at lunch at the home of a family just outside Palermo center.
 Afternoon: Board coach for short ride to Palermo center. Meet expert who leads us on an exploration of important churches, chapels and museums in town, e.g. La Martorana, originally commissioned by a Greek Orthodox admiral in 1140. A brief visit to the Palatine Chapel covered with mosaics from the floor to the ceiling.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Form and Function of Cathedrals \ Baroque Churches of Palermo
(Friday, March 27)

Note: Walks in Palermo along uneven sidewalks and pavement.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Meet in the lecture hall to learn about the architecture of religious spaces: what is the difference between a Basilica and a Cathedral?
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: The lecturer accompanies the group and points out further examples of her talk. Explore the magnificent Baroque churches and the Abatellis Museum, where the masterpiece by Antonello da Messina's Madonna is on display.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15: Erice and Trapani
(Saturday, March 28)

Note: The walk up to traffic-free Erice through the ancient gate is somewhat steep, similar to Taormina.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Erice. Guided visit of the ancient mountain-top city reputedly established by Elymian refugees from the fall of Troy. Eryx, the founding king, introduced the worship of Aphrodite to Sicily and we see ruins of the temple. Also noteworthy are the church and Norman walls. Coach to Trapani for a visit and lunch at the Salt Works. Used since antiquity, the sun and wind provide the ideal location to evaporate sea water through a series of large water basins. Visit the old sea mill and enjoy the type of lunch served to the salt harvesters.
 Lunch: Lunch at a trattoria located in an old salt harvesting warehouse and wind mill. Taste simple but delicious food seasoned with the famous Trapani Sea Salt.
 Afternoon: Return to hotel mid-afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Origins of the Mafia \ Monreale's Splendid Norman Cathedral
(Sunday, March 29)

Note: Minimal walking in Monreale, hill town with unevenly paved streets.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Morning session on the origins of the Mafia. Board coach for short ride to Monreale, in the hills above Palermo. The interior of the massive Norman cathedral is adorned and decorated in Byzantine medieval mosaic style of the highest workmanship. Some say they rival the mosaics of S. Mark's in Venice. The town is also known for its cannoli, reputedly the best in Italy.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Monreale.
 Afternoon: Some free time in Monreale. Return to Palermo in the afternoon.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Transfer to Palermo Airport
(Monday, March 30)

Note: Carry or roll your luggage from the coach to the check-in counter.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel. Continental style for participants with very early morning departures.
 Morning: Coach to and Depart from Palermo airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Palermo Explore Palermo
Palermo is a city rich with history, art and culture. Many of the highlights are located within a short walk of the hotel. You may wish to take a tour of the famed Teatro Massimo, visit the Archeological Museum or stop into one of the beautiful Baroque churches in the neighborhood. Or, stroll down the Via della Libertŕ and take in Palermo’s Liberty-style architecture. For additional information, visit
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.

Blue Guide Sicily

Author: Ellen Grady

Description: This in-depth guide to Sicily's ancient history and archaeology features detailed maps and site plans.


Author: Roberto Saviano, Virginia Jewiss (Translator)

Description: Savaiano's expose of the Naples mob documents in graphic detail the depredations and violence of the killers, criminals and thugs of the Camorra.

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.

Palmento, A Sicilian Wine Odyssey

Author: Robert V. Camuto

Description: An American journalist living in France, Robert Camuto roams the vineyards and visits with vintners from Palermo to Marsala and the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in this year-long celebration of the culture and spirit of Sicily, Italy's largest and oldest wine region.

Seeking Sicily, A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean

Author: John Keahey

Description: Taken with Sicily, its culture and its literature, Kehey explores the food, history and pure pleasure of the place, using his heroes Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Leonardo Sciascia and other of Sicily's literary greats as a his guide

Sicily Map

Author: Touring Club Italiano

Description: A detailed map of Sicily (1:200,000), printed on water and tear-resistant paper.

Sicily, An Illustrated History

Author: Joseph Privitera

Description: Privitera covers the scope of Sicily and its diverse civilizations in lively prose and well-chosen illustrations in this succinct history.

Sicily, Through Writers' Eyes

Author: Claire Horatio (Editor)

Description: Homer, Herodotus, D.H. Lawrence, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and Elio Vittorini Peter Robb are also represented in this magnificent tour of Sicily, its history, culture and allure.

The Greek Cities of Magna Graecia and Sicily

Author: Fausto Longo, Lorena Jannelli, Luca Cerchiai

Description: An engaging history of the Western Greek colonies in Sicily and southern Italy in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., featuring 240 magnificent color illustrations, maps and a site-by-site review of major archaeological sites.

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 Shape of Water

Author: Andrea Camilleri

Description: The first of Camilleri's wildly popular Inspector Montalbano mysteries, nicely translated and shot through (pun intended) with not just memorable characters but also with Sicilian lore and politics. If you like the series, it continues in 12 more installments -- and counting.

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