18212
Italy
Treasures of Sicily
Immerse yourself in the culture and cuisine of Sicily as you learn about important archeological sites, ancient towns, historic monuments and savor a meal on the slopes of Mt. Etna.
Rating (5)
Program No. 18212RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
3,790
Flights start at
950
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16 days
15 nights
36 meals
14 B 12 L 10 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrivals, Welcome Reception and Dinner
Taormina
L,D
Hellenia Yachting Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check in from 2:00 p.m.

Lunch: At the hotel. Choose from a select menu. Plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Settle in and relax before meeting in the lobby at 6:00 p.m. for an informal gathering and reception to welcome you to Sicily.

Dinner: At the hotel. Choose your courses from a select menu. Plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
3
Orientation, Taormina, Folklore and Traditions
Taormina
B,L
Hellenia Yachting Hotel

Activity note: The streets of Taormina are traffic free. The walk to the ancient theater is along 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.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel. Each day the buffet choices will include an egg dish, cold cut and cheese platter, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, muesli, pastries, cakes, breads, jams, juice, coffee, whole milk, tea, and water.

Morning: Meet the Group Leader in the lobby and set out on a short walk in town to point out bank (ATM), pharmacy and markets. Circle back to the hotel for an Orientation Session in which we will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. After a short break a local expert gives the first of a series of talks on Sicily’s history. Topics include the ancient Mediterranean colonizers--people from Greece, Phoenicia, Carthage and their impact on this area of Sicily.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant. Choose from a select menu. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Coach to Taormina. 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.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

DAY
4
Reggio Calabria and the Riace Warriors, Messina
Taormina
B,L,D
Hellenia Yachting Hotel

Activity 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 and discovered in the mud bed of the sea by a diver in 1972. 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: At a small family run restaurant in the ancient city of Scilla, named after the mythological marine monster from Homer's Odyssey. Enjoy some typical Sicilian dishes in the informal restaurant on the beachfront. Water and a glass of wine are included.

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: At the hotel or local restaurant. Set menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
5
Italy Today, Transfer to Syracuse , Ortygia
Syracuse/Island of Ortygia
B,L,D
Hotel Roma

Activity 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 at the hotel's meeting room 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: 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. Water and a glass of wine are included.

Afternoon: Another hour of coach ride to Syracuse. Check into the hotel on the island of Ortygia.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant. Plated table service. Choose from a select menu. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure to explore Syracuse on foot.

DAY
6
Ortygia, Archaeological Zone, Greek Theater
Syracuse/Island of Ortygia
B,D
Hotel Roma

Activity 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: On your own. There are a variety of snack bars, cafés, informal trattorias and more formal restaurants from which to choose. The group leader will have suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Coach to the outskirts of Syracuse. 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. Coach back to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel. Enjoy a Sicilian menu; plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
7
Buscemi: Frozen in Time, Agriturismo with Sicilian Menu
Syracuse/Island of Ortygia
B,L
Hotel Roma

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

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Coach to Buscemi, about 70 miles inland. 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: At an 'agriturismo,' or farm restaurant. The multiple course lunch features local produce and wine. The dessert cannoli are filled on the spot with locally produced ricotta cheese.

Afternoon: Coach to Syracuse mid afternoon. Learn about the tradition of puppets in Sicily at a marionette museum and enjoy a puppet show.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own. The group leader will offer suggestions and give directions.

DAY
8
Archaeological Museum, Origins of the Mafia
Syracuse/Island of Ortygia
B,L,D
Hotel Roma

Activity note: Extended standing while learning about archaeological items on display in the museum.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Coach to the Archaeological Museum in Syracuse for an expert-led visit. The collection includes artifacts of the Greeks, Romans and early Christians who settled in Sicily. Coach sets out for Noto.

Lunch: At a local restaurant. Set menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Some free time. Late afternoon classroom presentation on Origins of the Mafia.

Dinner: At a the hotel. A set menu, plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
9
Western Sicily , Roman Villa Casale in Piazza Armerina
Agrigento
B,L,D
Colleverde Park Hotel

Activity note: The walk around the Roman villa is not strenuous. Some steps to climb to reach the catwalks set up for viewing the mosaic pavements from above.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel. Coach departs for the western part of Sicily. On the way enjoy excellent views of the diverse terrain in the mountainous heart of the island of Sicily.

Lunch: At a restaurant in the town of Piazza Armerina, a fixed menu of various Sicilian dishes, including local cheese. Enjoy a glass of wine included with your lunch.

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 the coach again and continue to Agrigento. Check into the hotel and settle in.

Dinner: At the hotel. A set menu with plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
10
Agrigento and the Valley of Temples
Agrigento
B,L
Colleverde Park Hotel

Activity 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: At a local restaurant. Fixed regional menu; plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Guided visit in the Valley of Temples museum continues.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and budget of your choice. The group leader will offer suggestions and give directions.

DAY
11
Greek Settlement of Selinunte , Continue to Palermo
Palermo
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa

Activity 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: At a local restaurant. Fixed menu of typical Sicilian fare; plated table service. Enjoy a glass of wine included with the meal.

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: At the hotel. Fixed menu; plated table service. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
12
History of Sicily, Family Lunch, Palatine Norman Chapel
Palermo
B,L
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa

Activity 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 a buffet style 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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food and budget of your choice. The group leader will offer suggestions and give directions.

DAY
13
Erice & Trapani
Palermo
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa

Activity 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: At a local pizzeria. Sicilian antipasto is served family style. Choose your personal pizza and enjoy the glass of wine included with the meal.

DAY
14
Form & Function of Cathedrals, Baroque Churches of Palermo
Palermo
B,D
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa

Activity 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: Choose the place for lunch from the many offerings in the vicinity of the hotel. The group leader will have suggestions.

Afternoon: The morning lecturer accompanies the group and points out further examples of her talk. Explore the magnificent Baroque churches and the Abatellis Museum, where a masterpiece by Antonello da Messina is on display.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Fixed menu of Sicilian dishes, plated table service. Wine is included with this meal.

DAY
15
Monreale's Splendid Norman Cathedral
Palermo
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa

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

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: 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: At a restaurant in Monreale that features Sicilian cuisine. Water is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Some free time in Monreale. Return to Palermo in the afternoon.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants tonight at the farewell dinner at the hotel.

DAY
16
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Carry or roll your luggage from the coach to the check-in counter at the airport.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel. Continental style for participants with very early morning departures.

Morning: This concludes the program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!