- Enjoy an exclusive out-of-hours tour of the spectacular mosaic filled rooms of the Piazza Armerina Roman villa.
- Visit the beautiful Greek city of Heraclea Minoa, which overlooks the sea at the mouth of the ancient Halykos River.
- Receive special access to the 5th century frescoes still surviving in the Grotto of the Sibyl of Lilybaeum.
The meeting point between Africa and Europe, East and West - there’s so much more to the Sicily you think you know. Go far beyond the ordinary; travel alongside Expert Guides who will help you uncover the other side of one of Europe’s most alluring destinations.
The classically beautiful heart of the Mediterranean has been praised by poets and became the prize of countless cultures – Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks and more. The sun-soaked island is home to wonderfully preserved Greek temples, Roman villas and Norman cathedrals - many filled with glorious mosaics. Its beautiful sea, volcano and mountain scenery was once the site of fierce ancient battles; but was also a creative centre of philosophy, art and learning.
- Historic Churches
- Ancient Greek
We arrive in Palermo and transfer to our hotel.
We explore Marsala. We see the ruins of the ancient town, including some very fine mosaics at the Archaeological Park on Cape Boeo. Enjoy an exclusive viewing of the 5th century frescoes found in the Grotto of the Sibyl of Lilybaeum - which lies under the Church of San Giovanni. We move on to Erice, ancient Eryx, where the famous Temple of Aphrodite lies beneath the castle.
We fly to the island of Pantelleria for the day. The legendary home of Calypso who lured Odysseus to delay his journey home. Excavations here have revealed a Bronze Age villa at Mursia, many tombs at Grand Sesi, and the Roman acropolis.
We visit the Museum of the Dancing Satyr, housed in the former church of Sant’Egidio at Mazara del Vallo. We continue along the south coast to Selinunte where we walk around the ancient city to the Sanctuary of Demeter Malophorus, where many figurines now housed in Palermo Museum came from. We travel inland to Partanna, to visit the ongoing excavations of an important Neolithic settlement and necropolis in Stretto Archaeological Park.
We visit Heraclea Minoa, an ancient Greek city in a beautiful location that overlooks the sea at the mouth of the ancient Halykos River. We move on to Agrigento. We concentrate on some lesser-visited Greek sanctuaries here, including San Biagio, and those encapsulated within the church of Santa Maria dei Greci. We continue to Enna, where Persephone was supposedly abducted by Pluto and taken to the underworld. A temple dedicated to her mother, the corn goddess Demeter, still stands here and offers exquisite views across the island.
Enjoy some free time in Enna this morning. You may wish to join a lecture on the Piazza Armerina at the hotel, prior to our visit there later in the evening. We visit the fine museum in Aidone this afternoon, which houses finds from ancient sites in the area. This evening, we have special out-of-hours access to Piazza Armerina Roman villa where spectacular mosaics still lie on the floors of more than 50 rooms.
We travel to the lovely seaside town of Cefalu, famous for its Norman Cathedral built by Roger II. We find a huge gold-in-glass mosaic figure of Christ Pantocrater in the apse. We move along the coast to Termini Imeresi, site of the victory temple built after the great battle of Himera between Greeks and Carthaginians in 480B.
We explore the city of Catania, at the base of Mount Etna. We visit the Roman Theatre and Odeon here, before we return home. NB. This itinerary is for our 2016 tours.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach; boat to Motya
- Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners) except dinner day 8
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - 3 nights in an elegant and friendly hotel in the heart of Palermo;1 night in a simple hotel 100m from the beach at Selinunte; 2 nights in a hotel overlooking the temples in Agrigento; 4 nights in a small, newly refurbished hotel on the seafront, in beautiful Ortygia, Syracuse
- 3 nights in the centre of Palermo: in an elegantly restored palazzo, close to the museum and Teatro Massimo (opera house).
- 1 night in a simple hotel 100m from the beach at Selinunte: amenities include a restaurant and a terrace bar.
- 2 nights in a hotel overlooking the temples in Agrigento.
- 4 nights in elegant minimalistic hotel Ortygia, Syracuse: a small, newly refurbished hotel set on the seafront at Ortygia and close to the Duomo.