Sicilian Secrets Tour – Sicily, Matera & Apulia
Memorable journey to discover the hidden treasures of Sicily and Apulia with their fascinating history, art, traditions, scents and flavours...
- 4* Hotels in the city centre of Palermo, Catania, Bari and Lecce
- Multilingual tour leader and professional travel guide from the evening of the 1st day to the evening of the 4th day
- Private guided visit in Matera, Bari, Alberobello, Lecce.
- Local street-food tasting in Palermo at the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco; in Catania tasting of Sicilian "granita and brioche" ; honey-tasting near the Etna mountain. Typical wine aperitif in Lecce.
- Nice illustrated book about Sicilian culinary tradition with recipies in English as gift and souvenir of your journey.
Tour Sicily, Matera & Apulia – Regular departures every Tuesday from Palermo 9 days / 8 nights in half board
Day 1 - Tuesday: PALERMO (hotel in Palermo)
Arrive independently to the hotel in the charming city of Palermo (optional private transfer on request). In the evening you will meet our tour-leader and your travel companions and enjoy a welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2 - Wednesday: MONREALE - PALERMO (hotel in Palermo)
After breakfast in hotel, the morning will be spent visiting Monreale, its huge Norman Cathedral, proclaimed the Eighth Wonder of the World, and its splendid Cloister in Arab-Norman style: admirable masterpiece of art, sculpture, and semi-precious stones marquetry! Later you will discover the stunning Palermo, one of the richest towns in the island for its history and art. Palermo stands on a bay dominated by Mount Pellegrino, a headland described by Goethe as the loveliest he had ever seen. While the Baroque predominates, there is a profusion of different architectural styles reflecting the city’s multicultural past: Punic walls, Art Nouveau villas, noble residences, 17th century squares, including an elegant opera house. Visit of the wonderful eclectic Cathedral, the astonishing Martorana Church and the amazing Cappella Palatina, admirable example from an historical and an artistic point of view, and a prove of how different cultures, religions and way of thinking apparently incompatible can coexist. Ruggero II employed Bizantyne, Muslim and Latin workers. During the day, you will have a stop for a surprise to taste the local street food in the famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco. Free time for lunch. Along the path you will admire the famous Teatro Massimo and the debated fountain in Pretoria Square, situated in the ancient Kalsa area and adorned with 16th century sculptures. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 3 – Thursday: CEFALU’- CATANIA (hotel in Catania)
After breakfast transfer to Cefalù, charming Medieval town situated at the northern coast of Sicily. Visit of its stunning Norman Dome and free time to stroll through the town or to visit the famous and well-known Mandralisca Museum. Arrival in Catania and free time for lunch. Later on the tour will continue visiting Catania’s historical centre stated Unesco World Heritage Site, with its original Baroque style and its unique streets built with black lava stone. The colour scheme of the city-centre buildings is black and dark grey, relieved with white limestone details around doors and windows. The effect is extremely elegant! The walking tour will start from the scenic Duomo square with its magnificent Cathedral and the famous “Liotru” statue, antique lava-stone elephant, symbol of the city. Not far from here we will reach University Square and we will have a walk along the splendid baroque Via dei Crociferi, the most representative 18th century street in Catania, where we will admire the famous S. Benedict Monastery, Unesco World Heritage Site. Continuing the visit enjoy a break in a historical bar of the city centre to taste the typical “granita & brioche”. Dinner at the hotel or in a restaurant nearby and overnight.
Day 4 - Friday: ETNA – TAORMINA (hotel in Catania)
This morning after a short visit of the famous “pescheria” (the ancient fish market) in Catania, the tour will continue with an excursion to the Mount Etna, the highest (c. 3350m) volcano in Europe and one of the largest and most active in the world, nowadays Unesco World Heritage Site. Its regional park protects 59.000 hectares of unique geology, flora and fauna, villages and farms, and traditional methods of forestry, bee-keeping, wine manufacture, stonework and carpentry. Views of stunning landscapes will amaze you heading to Rifugio Sapienza. You will reach the “Crateri Silvestri”, small volcanic cones now inactive, surrounded by ancient lava flows. The view beyond the mountain’s hundreds of subsidiary cones and craters, can extend across the whole of Sicily, the Aeolian islands and Calabria. The spectacle is unique! You will have a stop to enjoy the local homemade honey and some typical products of the area. The tour continues towards Taormina, charming town renowned for its magnificent position above the sea commanding a celebrated view of Etna. Free time for lunch and in the afternoon visit of Taormina’s fascinating Greek theatre which will leave you breathless for its commanding view on Giardini Naxos bay and the Etna mountain! Free time for a nice walk among the picturesque Medieval typical narrow streets, to go shopping and looking around the local handicrafts (coral jewels, precious laces, ceramics, pastries and much more). The day will end with an overview of the beautiful Riviera dei Ciclopi. Back to the hotel in Catania for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 - Saturday: CATANIA –BARI (hotel in Bari)
Breakfast in hotel, transfer to the airport and direct flight - or with a layover - to Bari. Transfer, dinner and overnight in hotel. According to flights’ schedule, free time to discover Catania and its city centre, declared Unesco World Heritage, or to enjoy the stunning Bari.
Day 6 - Sunday: MATERA - BARI (hotel in Bari)
After breakfast, meeting with the guide. Travelers will discover the stunning Matera, popular for its "Sassi", the ancient part of the city, where buildings alternate with rock caves and labyrinths. The old town reveals a fascinating and complex history with a charming fusion between landscapes and cultures; Matera is also famous for being the movie set of great masterpieces, including Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ". After free time for lunch, departure towards Bari, Apulia’s capital, which has always been considered an important connection with the East. Several studies have shown that the actual district of Bari Vecchia was inhabited since Prehistorical ages, thanks to the geographical location and its favorable conditions to find food and water. In the popular and lively Bari city center, travelers will admire: the wonderful Basilica of St. Nicola - with its XVIIIth century crypt - the impressive San Sabino Cathedral with remarkable rose windows, the Norman Castle, a stunning Medieval fortress dating back to 1131 and rebuilt by Federico II. Then the Murat quarter a typical XIXth century district featuring wide avenues and elegant balconies with wrought-iron decorations. Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 7 - Monday: POLIGNANO A MARE – ALBEROBELLO - OSTUNI (hotel in Lecce)
After breakfast, the tour proceeds towards Polignano a Mare, the city of “gelato” (ice-cream) and Domenico Modugno birthplace, Italian celebrated singer, to whom a statue was dedicated. Time for a walk in the city center among streets and shops. Transfer to Alberobello, a symbol of central Apulia. Guided tour in the city centre, all made up of “trulli”. These ancient circular limestone buildings, featuring pyramidal roofs, are part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. We also discover the Trullo Sovrano, National monument since 1923. Located in the northern area of Alberobello, it is the one and only Trullo with an upper floor, reachable with a masonry stair. Then the tour proceeds to Ostuni, where you can spend free time discovering the old town known as "white city", with its exceptional landscape and architectural heritage. Transfer to Lecce with dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 8- Tuesday: LECCE - GALLIPOLI (hotel in Lecce)
This morning the tour will continue to Lecce, the most important Baroque city of Apulia. It reveals stunning architectural heritage and a fabulous mix of styles and ages: the Santa Croce church, the wonderful Sant'Oronzo square, the Roman amphitheater - the heart of the city- the impressive Duomo with its particular bell tower. Along the way, you will visit a papier-mâché lab, a real pride of local craftsmanship, and enjoy a wine aperitif in the main square. After lunch, the afternoon will be dedicated to the charming Gallipoli. The ancient Kalèpolis, also called "beautiful city", rises on an island connected to the mainland by a XVIth-century bridge. The group will visit the city center, the majestic Sant'Agata Cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria della Purità and an ancient 1600 hypogeum oil-mill located under Palazzo Granafei. Return to Lecce, dinner and overnight.
Day 9 - Wednesday: LECCE
After breakfast, end of our services.
Accommodation in charming 4 stars hotels located in the city center, carefully selected for their location and design to combine tradition with comfort:
- Palermo: Mercure Palermo Centro 4* / Ibis Styles Palermo Cristal 4* or similar
- Catania: Il Principe Hotel 4* / Romano House Hotel 4* or similar
- Bari: Hotel Excelsior 4* or similar
- Lecce: Hotel President 4* or similar
- Multilingual tour leader and professional travel guide* (English, Italian, Spanish) from the evening of the 1st day to the evening of the 4th day, local guides or audio-guides where necessary.
- Deluxe bus form day 2 to day 4.
- Whispers kit
- Accommodation in charming 4 stars hotels located in the city centre, international breakfast included. 4 dinners in hotels or local restaurants (dinner – 3 main courses fixed menu , beverages not included) to have a taste of Sicilian and Italian cuisine.
- Visit of the main suggestive UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Monreale, Palermo, Cefalù, Catania city centre, Etna.
- Tasting of Sicilian typical products: Palermo (day 2) tasting of local street food; Catania (day 3) tasting of Sicilian “granita & brioche”; Etna (day 4) visit of a beekeeping honey company and honey tasting.
- Private transfers from hotel in Catania to Catania airport
Private tour extension to Matera & Apulia
- One-way flight (direct or with layover) Catania-Bari with hold luggage up to 20 kg
- Private transfer Bari airport-Hotel in Bari
- Accommodation in charming 4* hotels located in the city centre, international breakfast included.
- 4 dinners in hotels or local restaurants (dinner – 3/4 main courses fixed menu, beverages not included) to have a taste of Apulian and Italian cuisine.
- English speaki
- Transfers in/out
- All lunches
- Beverages at meals
- Entrance fees at monuments / museums
- City taxes (where compulsory), tips and extras in general
- Anything not specified under “The rate includes”
EXTRA FEES ENTRANCES*
- Monreale Cathedral € 4,00 p.p.
- Monreale Cloister € 6,00 p.p.
- Palermo Cappella Palatina € 12,00 p.p.
- Palermo Martorana Church € 2,00 p.p.
- Taormina Greek theatre € 10,00 p.p.
* to be confirmed
You will receive your travel documents by email 10 days before the departure. You will be given the names of the confirmed hotels, place and time of meeting with our guide for the day of your arrival and all the details you need for your unforgettable holidays in our amazing Island!