Italy: Sicily

Island of Volcanoes


Marble acropolis and slowly crumbling temples confide the ancient history of Sicily, a narrow strip of land struggled over by Greece and Italy for centuries.

Sicily’s olive trees, laden with fruit, sway in Mediterranean breezes as we wander medieval streets and discover labyrinthine markets of Vuccirea and Il Capo. We visit Palermo’s famous Cathedral, Palazzo Reale and Piazza Pretoria and rest  in shady piazzas.  Our afternoon exploration takes us into the green heart of the island to Gangi, where we stay in a converted 14-century Benedictine abbey.

In the Madonna Mountains, we sample wine and cheese made using generations-old methods. We walk a ridgeline with panoramic views of Madonie National Park, speckled with wildflowers and ancient castles.  We descend to picnic and explore the tunnels and chambers of the Norman castle in Sperlinga.

A cooking demonstration sends us on our way to the Aeolian Islands, enchanted Mediterranean archipelago. We walk from seaport to volcano crater, ferrying between islands on a large wooden fishing boat.  Mythical castles with historic Roman baths and fertile caper plantations intersperse with quaint fishing villages, their white-washed homes flanking volcanoes and the black sand beaches beneath.

Taormina’s cascading flowers line narrow streets descending steeply to the sea. We discover the treasures of ancient castles in hidden byways off pristine piazzas.  From terraces overlooking the Ionian Sea, we sip the areas famous almond wine served icy-cold.

An early morning trip to Mt. Etna offers an adventurous walk among citrus groves to oak, beech and chestnut forests. We cross hardened lava flows on our way to a mountain hut. Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest Volcano, provides a backdrop for our final views of Sicily.

Days/Nights:   8D/7N

Meeting Location: Palermo, Sicily

Ending Location: Catania, Sicily

Comfort Notes: 2-3 star comfortable family-run hotels

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