Etna, from the Greco-Roman theater in Taormina
The Magic of Springtime in
12 - 24, 2016
is at its most enthralling in mid-late April, when wildflowers
carpet wondrous landscapes steeped in history.
exotic combination of light and color, Europe's most imposing
active volcano, compelling architecture, an enduring, delicious
regional cuisine, and a recent explosion of excellent wines
it ALL, in the luxury of a small group!
ancient Greeks believed that Persephone emerged each year
in spring - in Sicily - from her captivity in the
underworld. To this day, Sicily bursts into to bloom
in April after months of dormancy during summer, fall
us on this once-in-a-lifetime exploration of "Persephone's
island" at its most beautiful with long sunny days,
comfortable daytime temperatures, cool eveningsand
a profusion of wildflowers in the countryside. Our singular
itinerary includes both the "must sees"
of this legendary "Crossroads of the Mediterranean"
and off-the-beaten path experiences: at archeological
sites, in the countryside, and in Sicily's
vibrant art cities.
A hidden cove
in western Sicily
April is the
season for fresh artichokes in Sicily!
discover Sicily's many treasures, we'll begin in Palermo,
the capital of this semi-autonomous regionand, during
the Belle Époque, one of Europe's most stylish cities.
with a spectacular natural harbor, a rich
architectural heritage, good ristoranti, and colorful
daily food markets, Palermo's unusual history and lively
atmosphere never cease to fascinate. Unfortunately, most
visitors to Palermo barely see the main sights. You
will experience much more!
four-night stay will allow us to go off the beaten
path with our top-notch local guide to explore the many
threads of the intricate tapestry that is Palermo.
is here, and in nearby Monreale, that we will find
the wonderful religious and civic structures that are a
unique fusion of Romanesque, Byzantine and Islamic styles,
built when Sicily was the center of the glittering 12th
century Norman kingdom that stretched from Apulia on the Adriatic to the coast
dazzling mosaics created to decorate them are among Europe's
most sublime artistic achievements. The "crown jewel"
is the exquisite Palatine Chapel of the Norman
Kings. Years of careful restoration have returned it
to its original splendor.
one evening, we'll be guests at a gala dinner in a private
home, an aristocratic 15th century palazzo located
in the oldest part of the city, not far from the Norman
Kings' palace. Not only will we be privy to the family's
collection of paintings, fine porcelain, antique furniture
and Venetian chandeliers from Murano, but, through conversation
with our charming hostess and her friends, we will gain
additional insight to what makes Palermo special.
Palermo - Palatine Chapel
High above the temple and sharing its evocative
is one of the best examples in Italy of a 3rd century BC
Greek theater, with views of the Tyrrhenian
is the medieval hill town of Erice, crowned by
its Norman castle. After a walk up into the town past
tidy stone houses, we will be rewarded with a delicious
repast of local specialties.
are but a few of the delightful surprises we have
in store for you during our stay in northwestern Sicily.
having to change hotels, we'll revel in the gorgeous
countryside west of Palermo, including an unrushed visit
to the ancient Elymian site of Segesta, with its
enchanting Doric temple in the midst of field flowers
Segesta excursion will begin a succession of days
in which to savor artistic achievements associated with
Magna Grecia, literally "Greater Greece"the
vast expanse of Greek city-states west of the Aegean of
which Sicily was arguably the most important part.
- as we go off the beaten path again for enjoyable experiences
difficult to have on one's own, not included
in conventional tours, and impossible on a cruise -
to understand the importance of Sicily as a
vital crossroads to ancient Greek colonies in the western
Mediterranean, as well as an agricultural and trade center
of considerable wealth and power.
As we travel in a southeasterly direction, our unrushed
itinerary will include:
where soaring Doric columns rise from vast fields of wild
wheat interspersed with flowers overlooking an azure blue
where we will spend two nights, to assure an unrushed
visit to the legendary "Valley of the Temples",
amidst ancient olive trees, and an outstanding archeological
extraordinary ruins of an aristocratic Roman villa inland,
near Piazza Armerina
Monti Iblei, with forested peaks, canyons,
remote villages, and sweeping vistas, and
Siracusa - Syracuse - Athens' great
rival and the "New York" of the ancient Greek
Greek quarry near Selinunte
Siracusa, thanks to the location of our stylish,
historic 5-star hotel for three nights, you will
be able to explore serendipitously the island of Ortigia
- the heart of the old medieval city and the site of
the original Greek settlement -
an almost entirely pedestrian-only district with many elegant
palazzi, small shops, a vibrant morning food market,
a great variety of restaurants and trattorie, and
piazzas made to order for relaxing over a cappuccino
or early evening aperitivo.
much restoration in recent years, Ortigia is arguably Sicily's
most elegant historic city center.
our way up the east coast, we'll take in the fantastic landscape
of Mt. Etna before checking in to our superbly located,
historic 5-star hotel in Taorminaits private
garden is a veritable oasis from the hustle and bustle of
what is unquestionably one of southern Europe's most popular
and colorful destinations. Three luxurious nights here
will enable us to take in Taormina's many treasures in a leisurely
fashion, including the dramatically situated Teatro antico,
as well as to explore serendipitously this engaging hill town
and to relax in the hotel's lush garden above the coast where
the Greeks first landed in Sicily in 735 BC.
Excursion on Etna
one" with our local guide in Taormina
singular journey in the Mediterranean land of myth and legend
will be enhanced by top local guides, each of whom
possesses an impressive command of Sicily's complex history
and rich heritage.
our visits - in towns and in the countryside - will
be several that would be difficult, if not entirely impossible,
for you to experience on your own.
three, or four nights at each of our superbly located
4-star and 5-star hotels - in Palermo, Agrigento, Siracusa,
and Taormina - will ensure an unrushed pace.
of our four hotels are historical properties, two have
their own gardens and outdoor pools, and two overlook the
water. A bountiful buffet breakfast is included each
in each of our hotels.
also enjoy wonderful meals, some at mid-day, others
in the evening, in both elegant restaurants and charming,
family-run trattorie, prepared from fresh, local
ingredients and based on centuries of tradition to which
foreign rulers - Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Berbers, Normans,
French and Spanish - all contributed to create one of Italy's
most sophisticated and
complex regional cuisines.
terrace of our hotel in Taormina
Siracusa harbor at sunset, from the
terrace of our hotel
The Magic of Springtime in SICILY tour
will begin in Palermo
and will end in Taormina.
The airport serving Taormina is Catania. There are
no non-stop flights from the USA to Sicily; travelers to
Sicily usually connect in Rome, Milano, or another European
a long, gray winter, Sicily in spring is the perfect tonic!
Travel Designs has been taking discerning travelers to Sicily
since 1993. Thanks to the enthusiasm of our past travelers,
our tour of Sicily is our most popular trip, in large part
because of our commitment to an in-depth itinerary and to
small group size, which enables our travelers to truly experience
this legendary island.
is limited to ensure a travel experience of the highest
detailed tour information, please contact us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. 607-587-8324.
A few comments from some of
our past travelers in Sicily:
can we thank you for a memorable vacation that will be remembered
as one of the best? You showed us Sicily as we never could
have done on our own. We loved every minute of every day
and are hungering for more."
Couple from Elmira, NY
a wonderful time we had with you in Sicily! I admire you
for everything you did: the right order of towns, the right
hotels, the right arrival times at destinations
great sense of timing. Our down time was exactly when we
needed it to rest and recoup.
Couple from Winston-Salem, NC
trip to Sicily was fabulous. I loved every temple and every
theater. Thank you for arranging so many pleasures
The meticulous planning by TD and the rare congeniality
of the whole group contributed to the overall success
Solo traveler from Austin, TX
have been regaling our friends with our tales of traveling
through Sicily. You couldn't have planned a more comprehensive
trip, while [staying] in only four hotels. We did so much,
but never felt rushed. For the care you took of us all,
we cannot thank you enough."
Couple from Brooklyn, NY
had a fabulous time
Sicily is fascinating. Our tour
with you was full, rich, well paced and challenging. We
felt secure, cared for, stimulated, well informed and guided.
Thank you for your efforts and hospitality!"
Couple from Palo Alto, CA
you for all you did to make this trip one of the nicest
experiences of my life. I can only imagine the amount of
research, preparation and just plain hard work that go into
such a projectit certainly paid off. Everything was
Solo traveler from Charlotte, NC