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Take in all the beauty of Sicily, in it’s most classic sense.
Arrival in Palermo airport. Transfer to the reserved hotel. Rest of the day free. Overnight in Palermo.
In the morning we will visit Palermo the regional capital of Sicily and the fifth largest city in Italy by population. On the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is located between Monte Pellegrino and the bay of Conca d’Oro, in the western part of Sicily. City of a thousand faces, loud but elegant, eclectic and never dull, Palermo with its architectural beauty, its traditions and its people attracts and enchants thousands of visitors from all over the world. In Palermo you can find monuments of different styles. But Palermo is famous because of its Arab-Normand monuments, Unesco World Heritage, some of which we suggest to visit: the cathedral, the church St. John of the Hermits, the Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace. Proceed to Monreale, a village 8 km far from Palermo, where you have time at disposal before to visit the magnificent cathedral (Unesco World Heritage as well) famous for the beautiful shimmering mosaics, with gold background, cover most of the surface of the walls, portraying characters and episodes from the Bible. At the center, above the altar, the famous Christ Pancreator. The mosaics were made by Byzantine artists along with the Venetians and Arabs for what is today the most remarkable set of mosaics of Italy (the works cover about 6,340 square meters). Visit also the Cloister of the Cathedral that hides a charm in its measures and the very fine decorations that are rarely found in similar buildings. Built together with the Cathedral, is perfectly square in shape, with a long inner arcade, supported by as many as 228 columns. Dinner in a restaurant. Overnight in Palermo.
Full day excursion in the province of Trapani, to visit two important touristic destinations. In the morning they will admire the Greek archaeological area of Segesta; The temple of Segesta, solemnly placed on a hill at the foot of Mount Barbaro, is certainly among the most exciting examples of Greek architecture. Completely isolated from the urban world, the temple was done in the late fifth century BC, during the alliance with Athens. There are a total of 36 columns, not partly scalanated to avoid possible optical illusions (a technique also used in the Parthenon in Athens). The theatre is placed on the walls of Mount Barbaro, scenically place to the north, with a beautiful view of the sea, surrounded by green fields; the theater is still used for various comedies and tragedies. At the end of the visit of Segesta, drive to Erice and time at disposal before to visit the picturesque and charming town of Erice is one of the most attractive tourist resorts, not only in Sicily. It is located at the height of 750 meters, from which you can admire all its medieval glory: alleys and courtyards make you feel like time has stopped. From here, you can enjoy a breathtaking view from Trapani to the Aegadian Islands, including the whiteness of the saltpans. Admire the outside of two medieval castles: Pepoli and Venus and don’t miss to taste the typical local pastries. Proceed to Agrigento. Overnight in Agrigento.
Agrigento is history, myth, culture. The ancient Akragas conserves its Valley of the Temples, with the most numerous and known of Sicily’s archaeological remains from the Greek period. The vast Archaeological Park, a symbol of the glories of the city lived in the ancient period, is a heritage of Unesco, and represents one of the most picturesque routes that can be made in Sicily. The Way of the Temples showcases the most important sacred buildings: the Temples of Hercules, Concordia, and Juno Lacinia. The first of these comes with eight columns, half of them with the shrine that was put back on its feet in 1924, and is perhaps the oldest building in the entire valley: some ancient inscriptions, dating it back to the sixth century BC. We proceed to Piazza Armerina, where you have time at disposal before to visit the Villa Romana del Casale, Unesco World Heritage; the beauty of the colorful mosaics and harmony of the structure, and its surroundings, attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. It is a complex structure that extends for 4,000 square feet, built during the Roman Imperial period (III-IV century AD). For the size of the building and the beauty of the decorations, the building was supposed to belong to some illustrious personage of the time, probably Maximian, co-emperor Diocletian set in a secluded position with respect to the centers of the time, the mansion was the summer residence from which they organized many hunting trips. Continuation to Syracuse. Overnight in Syracuse.
On the south-eastern coast of Sicily rises Syracuse, a city among the most noble and elegant from all over the Mediterranean Sea. Full of charm, history and natural landscape, enviable and envied, the city is divided into two different groups: the urban part of the city and Ortigia, the beautiful island of the city. Syracuse and the nearby necropolis of Pantalica, have become part of the Unesco World Heritage. First place to be visited is the archaeological area, with: the Roman Amphitheatre from the imperial era (III – IV century AD. C.), the Altar of Heron II , used in ancient times for the sacrifices offered to the gods, the Greek Theatre dated around the second century BC. Literally dug into the rock, it was at the same time among the largest of the Greek era with its lower slope. The Ear of Dionysius is an artificial cave, resulting from an old aqueduct, more than 23 meters high. Then time at disposal in the island of Ortigia, famous because of its building in baroque style; there – in the picturesque Piazza Duomo – you can admire the cathedral built on the ruins of an ancient Greek temple that forms the backbone. The interior of the cathedral is also decorated with many works of Gaginis marble. Not far is the spring of Arethusa, located on the waterfront under the cathedral, it is presented in a semicircular basin, in which papyri has recently been planted. This is a pivot point in the evening for those who decide to take a stroll along the promenade to the south to the Castle Maniace. If you have time enough, don’t miss the show of the “Pupi”, the Sicilian puppets in a local theatre. Proceed to Taormina area. Overnight in Taormina area.
In the morning we do an excursion to the Etna, the highest volcano in Europe (3.300 meters). By car we reach 1.900 meters, where we can admire two craters no more actives, the Silverstri Craters, we can walk watching cold lava flows and do shopping in various handcraft shops. Possibility to ascent (by cableway and 4×4 vehicles) up to 3.000 meters and to walk in the main craters area. Proceed to Taormina. Being one of the most known tourist destinations in whole Sicily; time at disposal before exploring this charming tourist destination, that still represents one of the poshest places in the region. Located in an ideal cape, where people can admire both the gorgeous panoramas and the landscape from Calabria to the Mount Etna – the tallest active volcano in Europe. The streets, the medieval buildings, the archeological sites and the essential charm are a natural attraction for tourists from all over the world. The close beaches are as well a wonderful natural scenario. Taormina’s city centre has two ancient city gates: Porta Catania, on the West side, and Porta Messina, on the eastern. The city walls embrace the Greek-Roman part of the city. Nonetheless it is important to state that this is a no-go area. P.m. we will discover the “pearl of Sicily” by a guided tour. We will visit the most important monument The Greek Theater is the most known architectural in Taormina. It was built in the III century B.C. by the Greeks, but it was recast during the Roman era. Dig into the side of a hill, the theatre has a really particular position over the sea and with the Mount Etna and the Strait of Messina on the background. This theatre was used by the Greeks for tragedies and plays, but this function was distorted by the Romans who turned it into an amphitheatre for gladiators and wild animals battles. Its impressive dimensions – it is actually 109meters long! – and its still excellent acoustic make it one of the best locations for important cultural events. Other monuments to be visited are the cathedral and the Roman Odeon (just the outside). Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Taormina area.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Catania airport and departure.
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