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Sicily Food Adventure

from $2,049.00

Enjoy world famous Sicilian food while visiting the best heritage sites

  • Reviews 10 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely
    1/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 18
All about the Sicily Food Adventure.

From cannoli to arancini, Sicilian food is world famous, but on this tour prepare to be overwhelmed at how varied and diverse Sicily’s cuisine really is! The various civilisations that have occupied the island over millennia have not only left an unparalleled cultural heritage, but a culinary history that sets Sicily aside from mainland Italy. Sample Palermo’s fragrant street food in its vibrant markets, practice hands-on cooking with local chefs in Trapani, sip the finest wines in Marsala and Etna and indulge in mouth-watering gelatos whilst relaxing in sun-kissed Baroque piazzas. Let food lead the way in this captivating journey through culinary and cultural highlights!

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All accommodation
* All breakfasts, 2 wine tastings, 1 cooking class and 5 food
tastings/lunches included.
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Transport by private air-conditioned minibus throughout the trip
* Special guided tours in main UNESCO sights and cities

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • City taxes (approx. €10-15)

Highlights

  • Wander through colorful markets and try Palermo’s unique street food
  • Enjoy a hands-on cookery class with a local chef in Trapani
  • Sample a variety of local specialties during the included produce and wine tastings
  • Visit unique heritage sights and Baroque cities, including Agrigento and Syracuse
  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels with en suite facilities
  • Group normally 6‐18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private minibus
  1. Day 1 Start Palermo.

    This tour starts in Sicily’s regional capital, Palermo. This busy port city situated on the north-western coast of the island encloses some very interesting and often overlooked attractions. There is some fine architecture to be admired, as well as good museums, palazzi and churches. It is the city’s food scene, colourful local markets and long established food shops, however, that give the city a very original and eccentric character worth discovering.**

  2. Day 2 Explore Palermo, the famous markets and indulge in the city's fabulous street food; afternoon visit Monreale and its Duomo.

    We start our week with a special guided foodie tour through the historic centre of Palermo, ranked amongst the best cities in the world for street food. During our walk we wander through carts and kiosks of street vendors, colourful markets and local bakeries whilst trying some of the best local specialities. These may vary depending on the season and usually include arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with meat sauce and cheese), panelle (fried chick peas pancake), and sfincione (Palermo’s traditional pizza) – all absolutely delicious. As we walk, the local guide will reveal some of the secrets of Sicilian street cuisine and explain the history of the city, while pointing out notable monuments and historic streets such as Piazza San Domenico, Vucciria, Quattro Canti. In the afternoon we visit Monreale, where we enjoy a visit to its extraordinary Duomo, considered the greatest example of Norman architecture in the world. Overnight in Palermo.

  3. Day 3 Transfer to Trapani; hands on cookery class with a local chef; continue to Marsala and sample the town's world famous wines.

    In the morning we transfer to our next destination, the coastal town of Trapani. The local gastronomy in this part of Sicily is strongly influenced by the Arabs, who occupied the area for many centuries until the Normans took over. A hands-on cookery course with a local chef will give us the opportunity to learn more about the interesting culinary fusions, while practising (and tasting!) traditional regional recipes. In the afternoon we head to the southern town of Marsala, internationally famous for its finest fortified wines. A wine tasting will be offered after a tour of one of the best local wineries. Overnight in Marsala.**

  4. Day 4 Morning visit to olive farm for olive oil and produce tasting; transfer to Agrigento for a guided tour of the Valley of the Temples.

    In the morning we leave Marsala and transfer to a traditional organic olive farm, run by the Centonze family, owner of the estate since 1953. We will learn of the cultivation and production methods and sample some of the world’s finest olive oil accompanied by local produce. In the afternoon we transfer to the iconic sight of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. A guided tour will allow us to discover and learn of the history of this splendid archaeological park, which consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between about 510 BC and 430 BC. Overnight in Agrigento.

  5. Day 5 To Piazza Armerina; guided tour of the famous Villa Romana del Casale followed by a delicious produce tasting; afternoon visit the charming town of Ragusa Ibla.

    Today’s destination is Piazza Armerina, home of world famous Villa Romana del Casale. Built in the 4th Century AD as a hunting lodge by a Roman patrician, the villa is home to some of the best preserved Roman mosaics spread over around 3500 square meters. After a guided tour of this extraordinary UNESCO sight, we enjoy a delicious produce tasting of local sicilian delicacies. In the afternoon we transfer to the Baroque gem of Ragusa, without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily and Italy. The town is part of the Val di Noto UNESCO Heritage site and 18 of its buildings are protected by UNESCO patronage. After a short orentiation walk we will have time to enjoy a relaxing and well deserved aperitivo (word for the traditional Italian pre-dinner drinks and snacks) in one of the town’s elegant piazzas. Overnight in Ragusa.

  6. Day 6 Transfer to rural farm for cheese tasting; stop in the UNESCO Baroque town of Noto before reaching Syracuse; free time.

    We start our day with a transfer to a family-run farm in the countryside near Ragusa, a province where cheese making traditions are stonger than anywhere else in Sicily. After a cheese making demonstration and a tour around the farm we will sample some delicous cheese, including the famous ricotta, hand-made by the proud owners. Later, we transfer to the other Baroque gem of the Noto Valley, the town of Noto itself. After a relaxing stroll through what is considered one of Sicily’s most beautiful historic centres, we have the opportunity to enjoy another staple of Sicilian cuisine: the famous ’granita’ (thin flakes of ice flavored with fresh fruit or nuts and sugared) accompanied by the traditional ’brioche’ (a soft and fragrant sweet delicacy). We end our day in Syracuse, the most powerful city-state in the Greek world and briefly capital of the Byzantine Empire. The late afternoon can be spent free wandering around the narrow streets of Ortigia, the island where the city was founded, or simply relaxing and soaking up the cosy atmosphere in the historic centre while enjoying a glass of superb local wine!

  7. Day 7 Drive to the Etna region for an excellent wine and produce tasting; free afternoon in Taormina.

    After breakfast we have the opportunity to stroll through the historic food market of Ortigia. Held every morning except Sunday, this market is everything one expects an Italian market to be: there is always a lot of shouting and wonderful smells and colours. It sells authentic regional produce ranging from fish, cheese, spices, vegetables and sweets – this is without doubt the perfect opportunity to buy your favourite products to take back home! We then transfer to the northern region of Etna for a short walk around the highest most active volcano in Europe (1 to 2 hours walking depending on time, 5 km maximum). At lunch time we enjoy a delicious wine and produce tasting in one of the famous wine cellars of the area. We conclude our trip in the beautiful Taormina, a chic resort town spectacularly perched on the side of a mountain. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town’s picture-perfect alleys, and perhaps take an optional visit to its amazing ancient Greek theatre. In the evening our leader will recommend an excellent local restaurant where to enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner.

  8. Day 8 End Taormina.

    This tour ends in Taormina in the morning of day 8.**

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Where you stay

3 and 4-star hotels

On this trip we use 6 different comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels. Some of them have been chosen for their warm hospitality and typically Sicilian character and others for their convenient location. They are often located in proximity of the historic centres we visit so that we can easily explore the towns in the evenings or during our free time. All rooms have en suite facilities and some hotels have a pool and WiFi.

List of hotels normally used:

Hotel Mediterraneo or Hotel Posta, Palermo

Hotel Villa Favorita, Marsala

Hotel Dioscuri, Agrigento

Hotel dell’Orologio, Ragusa Ibla

Piccolo Hotel Casa Mia or Hotel Aretusa, Siracusa

Hotel Isabella or Villa Esperia, Taormina

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 wine tastings, 1 cookery class and 5 food tastings/lunches included.

Sicilian cuisine is a melting pot of all the different cultures that have occupied the island, from the Arabs to the Normans. The island itself is incredibly fertile, enjoying a perfect climate which is ideal for the cultivation of fresh produce such as olives, oranges, lemons, eggplants, tomatoes, pistachios, almonds, grapes, and more—not to mention all of the seafood, tuna and swordfish fished right off the coast. The result? A cuisine that’s fresh, varied, and absolutely delicious! Sicilian wines are also superb and known to be strong and syrupy, like Marsala and Moscato. These are some of the regional specialities we recommend to try during this trip:

Caponata: a tasty salad made with eggplant (aubergines), olives, capers and celery, makes a great appetizer.
Sfincione: a local form of pizza made with tomatoes, onions and (sometimes) anchovies. Prepared on a thick bread and more likely found in a bakery than in a pizzeria.
Pane e pannelle: A favorite street food of Palermo, panelle—or chickpea fritters—are served between bread, like a sandwich.
Arancine: fried rice balls stuffed with meat or cheese.
Pani ca meusa: The name of this street food means, literally bread with spleen! But don’t let that scare you. It is delicious speciality of Palermo!
Cannoli: tubular crusts with creamy ricotta (made from sheep’s milk) and sugar filling. A must!
Cassata: a rich, sugary cake filled with the same delicious filling.
Pasta alla Norma: it’s made with fried eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and salted ricotta.
Pasta with pistacchios pesto.
Pasta con le sarde: Sardines are popular in Sicily, so it’s common to see them as a topping for pasta. One common variety is bucatini with sardines, fennel, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins.
Frutta martorana: Other places call this ‘marzipan’ but here in Sicily, the almond paste is molded into little (incredibly realistic) fruits—hence fruits of Martora, or frutta martorana.
Cassata siciliana: A sponge cake is soaked in liqueur, its slices layered with sweetened ricotta, and the whole thing covered in almond paste, then icing. It is also studded with candied fruits and other goodies.
Granita: The perfect summer refreshment, granita, originally from Sicily, can now be found all over Italy. It’s just ground ice with sugar and fresh fruit, simple but truly delicious.
Involtini di Pesce Spada: Little rolls of thinly sliced swordfish are stuffed with pine nuts, raisins, bread crumbs, anchovy filets, orange juice and lemon juice, eggs and grated pecorino.
Tonno e Spada Affumicata: Smoked tuna and swordfish shaved paper thin, and layered on a plate. These can be accented with shaved fennel and oranges, or olives and sun-dried tomatoes, or can be served with just a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some good crusty bread.

Grade: 1 (Leisurely) This is a very relaxing week where you can enjoy excellent regional gastronomy while visiting the most beautiful and important heritage sights and towns of Sicily. All the transfers will be by private air conditioned vehicle. Due to the distance covered during the week some of the drives are quite long but should never exceed 4 hrs (including stops).  Please note that due to traffic restrictions in place in a lot of the historic centres visited you may have to carry your suitcase over cobbled pavements, although the bus will be leaving you as close as possible to your hotel. When this is not possible, portarage service will be provided and it has been included in the cost of the trip. Please also be aware that sometimes hotels don’t have a lift. Sicily can also be very hot, possibly high 30s in the summer months from June to September. The excursion on Mt Etna is on foot and we walk for up to 1 hour on hilly terrain of old dried lava, rocky ash and sand. The walking isn’t too strenuous and will be done at a leisurely pace. The overall Activity Level for this trip is 1 (Leisurely) meaning that it is suitable for all people who are in good health and fitness.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

Well done Rosario & Guiseppe!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention- The excellent Archaeologist/guide at the Valley of the Temples, smoky Mt Etna, sunsets over the Mediterranean, the clubby atmosphere around the street bars of Palermo, the Roman mosaics, paddling across the Causeway to Isola Bella, the amphitheatre at Taormina.....
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario was an excellent leader, fully involved with our varied group, caring, fun, sympathetic, well-organised. His English pretty much perfect, and his knowledge of Sicily beyond compare. Crucially he always managed to find us a clean toilet stop without anyone having to ask!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A hat & comfortable shoes, suitable for walking city streets AND climbing Mt Etna, are essential. Don't over pack, you are unlikely to UN-pack. Drink plenty of water. There is a fair amount of time spent on the coach, but it's well divided up. Beware Catania Airport, which is much too small to handle all those passengers.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just to thank Rosario and Guiseppe for their kind professionalism.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Sicily

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The great mixture of activities.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Very well organised, thoughtful and friendly.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Excellent trip!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was blown away by the mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale and the tastings of various marsala wines was fun!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario was one of the best group leaders we have met and we have met many over the years. He was a mine of information, his English was perfect and he made sure that we all had a wonderful holiday.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The distances in Sicily were far greater than I appreciated so it takes longer than expected to get from place to place and the weather can be chilly, particularly on Mount Etna.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you for arranging such a successful trip.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

A brilliant mix of foodie and cultural delights

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the cable car/4WD/guided crater tour at Mount Etna. The combination of snow with lava showing through just made the scenario so beautiful, and we were lucky that the clouds parted and it was a beautiful sunny day. Awe-inspiring.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario was so lovely - he guided us with a gentle touch so that we felt like adults and not a school group, yet somehow we were always ready to go when needed! His passion for Sicily and delight in showing us everything just shone through and his attention to detail in organising our activities was amazing. He had time for all of us as individuals and regularly checked that we were happy. Superb!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you go in April (and, I'm guessing, October) make sure you have plenty of layers, including a waterproof one, so that you can add/take away as needed. Our temperatures, in early April, ranged from really quite warm (I got slightly sunburnt one day) to -2 at the top of Etna! You probably won't have time for a swim at any of the hotels, as generally you do get to them quite late (and I think only one or two of them had pools anyway). Don't bother taking much reading matter - apart from airports you won't have time to read! There is a fair bit of walking around to be done, so make sure you have good shoes. Make sure you can cope with your suitcase as you do have to move it around a bit, although there's usually someone around to help. And make sure you have plenty of space in your case - you will bring back plenty of foodie souvenirs, if our group is anything to go by!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels we stayed in were a real mixture in terms of standard; for me, there were two I would happily book to stay in again (Hotel Carmine in Marsala - which we all agreed was the best one - and Villa Esperia in Mazzaro, for Taormina). The others were much more variable in quality, a lot of which often depended on which room you had ( my worst two were fine for others in the group). But you are never more than 2 nights in any one place anyway, and mostly only one, so it really doesn't matter that much. One negative point was having to change flights - Rome on the way out and Milan on the way back (where it was quite a scramble to get to the second flight). Our guide was amazed we weren't on direct ones as he said he hasn't flown indirectly for about 15 years! My only other comment was that a week wasn't quite long enough! It would have been great to have a bit more time at some of the places we visited (an extra half an hour or hour would have made all the difference at times) and in 10 days we could have gone all the way round the island.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Lovely experience

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The church in Monreale with the breathtaking mosaics. Also the Greek temples in Agrigento.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    our guide Tiziano was energetic and good natured, and attentive to everyone's needs. He was very organized and everything went off as planned. He was also personally helpful to me on 2 occasions, with forgotten eyeglasses and arranging individual transport to the airport.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go a day earlier- but not on a Sunday like I did- and try to see the mosaics in the Palatine chapel in Palermo. Also taxis are very expensive in Sicily to/ from the airports, so if you do your own transport, be aware of this. You need to be pretty fit to do the Mt Etna excursion to the top, as air is thin and walking is precarious on the lava. Our guide did an easy walk at the bottom for those who did not want to go up.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is an excellent value, and well planned for 8 days. Includes all the highlights of Sicily and very nice food experiences. Also enough free time to walk around and eat extra food! Have been all over Italy and the food here is some of the best.

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