Sicily Grand Tour – UNESCO World Heritage Sicily
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Our Sicily grand tour starts in the south-east visiting Syracuse, to experience the Greek heritage of the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, and the nice Ortigia, a unique and special place where Greek temples are preserved and in some case have also been combined with a modern building. Discover Noto, known as “the stone garden” with its Cathedral and Palace Ducezio, the seat of the town hall. Let yourself be inspired by Caltagirone, Ragusa, and Modica, localities holding precious wonders and treasures, capitals of baroque in Sicily. This is a unique experience of walking the Roman footsteps and visiting Villa Romana del Casale (Piazza Armerina), with its famous and beautiful mosaics. Continue our trip by exploring Cefalù and the Cathedral of Monreale.
🏁 Tour Itinerary: Sicily Grand Tour – UNESCO World Heritage Sicily
Day 1: Ortigia-Siracusa
Pick-up and hotel check-in. You will be welcomed by your tour guide at the airport of Catania or Palermo, or in the city center of Messina. The first day on Sicily Gran tour starts with the nice mariner town of Ortigia, where the visitors can discover the baroque Cathedral of Saint Lucy, built over the ruins of a Greek temple, whose columns are still visible inside the church. Ortigia is a little island preserving the historical city center of ancient Syracuse, including the Castle Maniace at the very end of the harbor. Among the things to visit, the Fountain of Diana (also known as Goddess Artemide) and Palace Bellomo, the seat of the Regional Museum of Syracuse with a rich collection of works of art. Dinner and overnight in a hotel in Syracuse.
Day 2: Siracusa
Breakfast in the hotel. Our Sicily gran tour continues in Syracuse, visiting the acropolis where it’s possible to enjoy the heritage of the ancient Greek colony, included in the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, especially the largest Greek theatre of the island and the Orecchio di Dionisio (Ear of Dionysius). We will discover the Latomie dei Cappuccini, rocky caves where it is supposed to stand the Tomb of Archimedes, died in Syracuse in the III century b.C. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 3: Noto
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will have a tour in Noto, known as “the stone garden2”, seduced by its baroque churches and buildings located along the main street Corso Vittorio Emanuele: Porta Reale, standing at the entrance of the city center, the Church of San Francesco all Immaculata, the Monastery of Santa Chiara, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Palace Ducezio with its elegant rooms like the Mirror Room, and the noble palaces. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 4: Ragusa Ibla and Modica
Breakfast in the hotel. During the morning the Sicily grand tour will take you to visit the attractions of Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla: the two cities are connected each other by a long staircase of 300 steps. We will visit the baroque cathedrals, Giardini Iblei, the Portal of the Church of Saint George, the Town Hall, the main churches and noble palaces, the Palace of the Chancery. In the afternoon we will move to Modica, where to visit the Cathedral Churches of Saint Peter and Saint George, and the Church of Carmine with a fine portal in gothic style. Also, we will visit a local chocolatier to taste the delicious Chocolate of Modica, whose Aztec recipe was introduced in Sicily during the Spanish domination. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 5: Piazza Armerina and Caltagirone
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will visit Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina, a beautiful example in Sicily of Roman domus, elegant residence enriched by well-preserved mosaics of the late imperial age, declared UNESCO World Heritage.
The tour continues with the visit of Caltagirone, where we discover the Public Gardens, the Staircase Santa Maria del Monte, the Church Santa Maria Della Scala, the Cathedral of Saint Julian, baroque noble palaces along the way and we will experience the production of Sicilian ceramics visiting a workshop. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 6: Agrigento Full-Day
Breakfast in the hotel. To live a really astonishing Sicily grand tour, we will go to discover the archaeological Park of the Valley of Temples of Agrigento, where we can admire the majesty of Greek temples of the VI-V centuries b.C., first of all, the Temple of Concordia. The temples, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, well represent the presence of the Greeks in Sicily at the time of the colonization, and they are an input to retrace myths linked to the Olympian Gods. In the city center of Agrigento, we will visit the Cathedral of Saint Gerlando, patron Saint of the town, and the Church of Santa Maria Dei Greci, built by the Byzantines as a Cathedral following the greek-orthodox rite over the ruins of a temple standing outside the city walls, probably dedicated to Athena or Zeus. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 7: Cefalù
Breakfast in the hotel. Cefalù is a famous Arab-Norman capital, included in the Arab-Norman UNESCO site during a Sicily tour, but it is also an interesting destination for its archaeological area of the Temple of Diana, dating back to Greek-roman times, then turned into a Byzantine fortress. During a guided walk in Corso Ruggero, in the city center of Cefalù, we will visit the monumental medieval Cathedral with the Cloister, the Bishop Palace, and the Treasure of the Cathedral, with reliquaries, silver objects about sacred art. Moreover, we will discover the works of art of the Mandralisca Museum, especially portraits and furniture of the XVIII century, and the arch Porta Pescara, facing the coastline, and the Medieval Wash where the river Cefalino flows. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 8: Monreale and Palermo
Breakfast in the hotel. In a short distance from Cefalù, we will have the opportunity to visit another town rich in history: Monreale. Here we will visit the Cathedral of Monreale, built in the XII century, the Archbishop Palace, and the Benedictine Convent, including a beautiful monumental Cloister, one of the most precious works of art produced in Sicily by Arab architects, made up of 228 twin columns. Palermo, the capital of the island, will let you retrace the history of Sicily and in particular discover the Arab-Norman buildings, in an interesting itinerary that has been recently included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sicily sites. We start with the historical city center of Palermo, visiting the majestic Cathedral. We will visit the Church of Saint Joseph, “I Quattro Canti” (Four Corners), and finally, in Piazza Pretoria, we will enjoy the XVI century Fountain of Shame. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 9: Palermo
Breakfast in hotel, check-out. Our last day on Sicily grand tour includes the visit of Palazzo Dei Normanni (Norman Royal Palace), built-in Palermo between 1072 and 1130. It is the oldest royal residence in Europe, today it is the seat of the Sicilian Parliament. Inside, we will visit the spectacular Palatine Chapel, with Byzantine mosaics decorations, and several rooms. Our tour guide will recommend you the typical street food to eat in Palermo, such as arancini and pane e panelle. Transfer to the airport (or city center of Messina).
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