Bare Bones Sicily
The multi-cultural nucleus of the ancient world; archaeologically, Sicily has it all - wonderfully-preserved Greek temples, Roman villas with mosaics and Norman cathedrals (also with glorious mosaics). This is a tremendously varied journey - from the flower-covered hills around ancient Segesta, to the Baroque splendour of chic Ortygia. March is a good time to avoid crowds, and explore as a party and independently
- Historic Churches
- Ancient Greek
Fly to Catania, from your airport of choice, private coach to our hotel in Ortygia, Syracuse. This was once an off-shore island, settled by the first Greek colonists, later joined to the mainland by a causeway which still exists.
A day in Syracuse: we visit the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum and the Archaeological Park with huge theatre and stone quarries, also used for imprisoning thousands of enemy soldiers. Free afternoon.
Free morning to explore Ortygia, chic and beautifully restored with Greek remains still visible in many areas. This afternoon we continue our exploration of the Greek temples and monuments of the city.
We visit the remarkable Greek outer defenses of Syracuse at Euryalus, outside the city on a high ridge, with a splendid view. Continue to the Roman Villa of Piazza Armerina, once a wealthy establishment, whose colorful and lively mosaics still lie in situ. On to Agrigento.
All day exploring the temples and museum at Agrigento. This powerful colony displayed its considerable wealth in the construction of huge temples along a ridge behind the walls – those approaching could only be impressed.
Drive to the impressive ruins at Selinunte, beautifully situated beside the sea, including city defenses and many temples. Continue north to Segesta, which has an unfinished temple – very informative for understanding the temple building process - and a well-preserved theatre high on the hill.
Morning in Palermo, including the archaeological museum (if re-opened), the Capella Palatina and other fine Norman churches in the city; free afternoon.
We end our tour at the Norman cathedral in Monreale adorned with walls of gleaming gold-in-glass mosaics. The cloisters here are also beautiful, and you may climb to the roof of the cathedral. Return flights to the US or onward journeys.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Choose when and where to eat - Breakfasts and 1 dinner included. Sicilian cuisine is Italian with a touch of Arab spice. Delicious fish and vegetable dishes, often flavored with the almonds that grow all over the island.
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - 3 nights in chic baroque Ortygia, Syracuse; 2 nights close to the temples in Agrigento; 2 nights in Palermo, close to the museum
- 3 nights in chic baroque Ortygia, Syracuse: the hotel has an attractive rooftop restaurant from which you can enjoy views of the island's harbour.
- 2 nights in Agrigento: The hotel is set in a large area of parkland within the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento. There is restaurant, a large, terraced garden with orange and lemon trees, hibiscus and bougainvillea, and a covered terrace bar with an impressive view of the temples.
- 2 nights in the centre of Palermo: in an elegantly restored palazzo, close to the museum and Teatro Massimo (opera house).