22706
Italy
Mount Etna’s Legacy: Celebrate Food & Wine in Sicily
In the lush hills surrounding Mount Etna, immerse yourself in the colorful history and culture of Sicily as you sample its cuisine and savor its flavorful wines.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22706RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,899
Flights start at
800
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10 days
9 nights
19 meals
8 B 6 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Palermo, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Palermo
D
Hotel Mercure Palermo Centro

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After arriving at the hotel, check in and get your room, then take some time to unpack, freshen up, and relax. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. All transportation will be provided by motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Palermo, we’ll have a plated meal featuring regional cuisine and fresh seafood, plus a glass of wine, coffee, mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. We’ll continue getting to know each other, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
3
Monreale’s Duomo, Agrirelais Winery, People of Sicily
Palermo
B,L,D
Hotel Mercure Palermo Centro

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Drive up to 1.5 hours. Climb approximately 100 wide, low steps to reach the Monreale Cathedral; a taxi can be taken from the bus stop at the base of the stairs for 2 Euro per person each way. The Group Leader will accompany those who wish to take the taxi.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: Boarding the motorcoach, we will meet with our historian and our day begins with a field trip to the nearby town of Monreale, where we will have an expert-led visit to the Duomo and Chiostro dei Benedettini. Our historian will illustrate the history on Monreale, its cathedral, and the Benedictine cloister. Built in the 12th century, the cathedral of Monreale is a national monument of Italy and a pristine example of Norman architecture. Despite its sparsely decorated exterior, the cathedral’s true beauty lies within its two sets of Romanesque bronze doors. Decorated by Sicilian, Italian, and Byzantine craftsmen, the cathedral is a blend of eastern and western influences. Next door lies the impressive Chiostro dei Benedettini, a Benedictine cloister known for the impressive detail and design of the 216 columns lining its courtyard. After exploring Monreale, we’ll return to the motorcoach for our ride to Baglio di Pianetto. We will be led through the winery by their expert enologist.

Lunch: At the Agrirelais winery in Baglio di Pianetto, we will have a light lunch accompanied by a wine tasting.

Afternoon: Riding back to the hotel, we will be joined by an art historian for an introduction to the peoples of Sicily and their influence on local food. As an island in the Mediterranean, Sicilian gastronomy has been influenced by cultures from across Europe and Northern Africa.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Palermo, we’ll have a plated meal featuring regional cuisine and fresh seafood, plus a glass of wine, coffee, mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Piazza Armerina, Transfer to Taormina
Taormina
B,L,D
Hotel Continental

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Drive is approximately 3.5 hours throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we will ride to Taormina, with a stop at Piazza Armerina along the way.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Piazza Armerina, we’ll have a plated meal featuring regional cuisine, plus a glass of wine, coffee, mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will arrive in Taormina after lunch and check into the hotel. Founded in the 4th century BCE as a Greek colony, Taormina is a popular summer resort on the eastern shore of Sicily and at the base of Mount Etna.

Dinner: At a local pizzeria in Taormina, we will have pizza plus a glass of wine, coffee, mineral water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Walking Taormina, Free Time
Taormina
B,D
Hotel Continental

Activity note: Approximately 50 short, wide steps to the main square; walk about 1/2 mile on flat terrain; uneven terrain and steps to climb at the theater.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of options including local foods, cereals, cheeses, eggs, bacon, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Leaving the hotel, we will set out on a walking field trip exploring Taormina with a local expert and our Group Leader. Walking through the city, we will head from the first main square to the Piazza Duomo, down Taormina’s elegant Via Umberto, and ending with an on-site lecture at the ancient Greek theater. In order to properly experience the Greek theater, we will follow our expert halfway up the steps so our on-site lecture can be enjoyed in the heart of the theater taking advantage of its spectacular acoustics. At the end of our field trip, we will have time to explore the theater or Via Umberto on our own. As a Greek and Roman colony, Taormina was one of Sicily’s most important towns and remained so until being conquered by the Normans in 1078. One of the city’s highlights is the ancient theater, beautifully preserved with views of Mount Etna and blue water of the Mediterranean. Taormina has attracted people with its pleasant climate and remarkable setting for centuries.

Lunch: 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.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Taormina, we’ll enjoy a set, plated meal featuring regional cuisine and fresh seafood plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Syracuse
Taormina
B,L
Hotel Continental

Activity note: Getting on/off bus, motorcoach. Drive is approximately 1.5 hours. Walking approximately 3 miles throughout the day on flat terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Departing the hotel, we will board a bus that will take us to our motorcoach for the day for our field trip to Syracuse. Arriving in Siracusa, we will visit the archaeological park Neapolis with a local expert. A city with a long and storied history, Syracuse was a Greek colony settled in the 8th century BCE and the most important of the colonial region of Magna Graecia, the area of Greek settlements along the coasts of Sicily and southern Italy. The city of Syracuse was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 for its many buildings surviving from antiquity, including the Temple of Apollo, Fountain of Arethusa, Greek Theater, and Imperial Roman Amphitheater.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a set, plated meal featuring regional cuisine and fresh seafood, plus a glass of wine, mineral water, and coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will return to the hotel, for an afternoon on our own.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like in Taormina.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Catania, Local Market, Benanti Estate
Taormina
B,L
Hotel Continental

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Drive is approximately 30 minutes. Walking approximately 1.5 miles throughout the day on uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will ride to the Catania, Sicily’s prominent eastern port on the southern foot of Mount Etna. In Catania, we will visit the “Piscaria,” the famous open air fish market located in the center of the city. With our local expert, we’ll explore the city market that has been in the same exact place since the 900s. Then we’ll set out for a short walking exploration of the main square, with a visit to the Duomo and the municipal building of Catania. We’ll return to the slopes of Mount Etna for an expert-led exploration of the Benanti Estate’s winery and vineyard. Utilizing a property’s vineyards and winery, we’ll learn about the wines of Mount Etna as a point of reference for understanding wines found around the world.

Lunch: At Benanti, we will enjoy a wine pairing lunch with a focus on the estate’s wines.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel at the conclusion of our wine tasting, the remainder of the afternoon is on our own.

Dinner: On your own in Taormina.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Mt Etna, Barone di Villagrande, Zafferana
Taormina
B,L
Hotel Continental

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Drive is approximately 30 minutes. Walking approximately 1.5 miles throughout the day on uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will depart Catania and ride a short distance up the slopes of Mount Etna to the wine farm Barone di Villagrande. Since 1726 and for more than 10 generations, the villa has been producing wine that represents Sicily and the heritage of the estate. With a wine expert waiting for us, we will explore the winery and learn about their production, focusing on the estate’s blends based on Etna’s native grapes, carricante and nerello mascalese.

Lunch: At Barone di Villagrande, we will enjoy a wine pairing lunch with a focus on Etna Bianco Superiore as well as the estate’s other wines including Nerello Mascalese blends and traditional Sicilian varieties.

Afternoon: We will then transfer to Zafferana to visit an agriturismo, known for producing honey. We will return to the hotel in the late afternoon, where an expert in volcanology and geology will present a lecture on Mount Etna.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like and sample the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Mount Etna, Free Time
Taormina
B,L,D
Hotel Continental

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Boarding the motorcoach, we will learn more about Mount Etna, the highest peak rising out of the Mediterranean. We will explore the rugged northern face of the volcano, which was hit by lava flow in 2001 and where the majority of tourists do not visit. We will stop for a wine tasting and lunch at the Cottonera winery in Passopisciaro.

Lunch: At the Cottonera winery, we will enjoy a wine pairing with lunch.

Afternoon: On your own after returning to the hotel in the mid-afternoon.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Taormina with folk music, we’ll have a plated and served farewell meal with wine, coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase. We’ll share some of our favorite experiences from the program with fellow Road Scholars.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See the travel information section regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet, depending on departure time. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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 another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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