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Compared to Eastern Sicily, the western part of the island has been off the travelers’ radar for decades, albeit it has found itself back on the visitors’ map in the last few years, and this, for very good reasons.

With its pristine beaches, outstanding coastal nature reserves, superb inland mountain towns and villages, its thriving cheese, wine and olive oil industry, its somewhat chaotic but unmissable capital Palermo, and its most impressive Greek archaeological sites including Selinunte, Segesta and the Valley of the Temples, west Sicily is an ideal destination for visitors of varied interests.

Program outline:

Day 1 – Arrival and transfer to your hotel in Palermo from Palermo Punta Raisi airport.
Orientation walk and welcome Sicilian aperitivo

Day 2 – Guided tour of Palermo and Monreale’s Norman sites

Day 3 – Guided visit of Cefalù and Castelbuono

Day 4 – Morning guided walk in Palermo with a focus on the city’s historic markets and its most important Baroque churches

Day 5 – Guided visit of Segesta’s archaeological site and the medieval town of Erice

Day 6 – Sicilian cooking class in Palermo and visit of Palazzo Abatellis, the Regional gallery of Medieval and Modern art

Day 7 – Guided visit of the Valley of Temples in Agrigento

Day 8 – Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1:
Arrival at the airport of Palermo. Private transfer to your accommodation in Palermo.
Short evening orientation walk in the historical centre, followed by a presentation of the week’s programme over a typical Sicilian aperitivo.

Day 2:
9:00 – 17:30 Palermo and Monreale: the unification of cultures 
This morning, explore some of Palermo’s most splendid edifices which integrate the best of Arab, Jewish, Greek and Roman artistic traditions. We will make stops at key Norman buildings, notably the Norman churches of San Cataldo and la Martorana, the Royal Palace with la Capella Palatina as a highlight. After lunch, we head off to Monreale to see one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Italy. The cathedral and its superb cloister have recently been included on the World Heritage List.

Day 3:
9:00-17:00 Castelbuono and Cefalù: the gates to the Madonie mountains
This morning, head off to Castelbuono, the capital of the Madonie. On the way there, you will pass woods of olives, corks, chestnusts, almonds and manna ash. The town’s medieval structure is still intact and certainly deserves a visit, notably the 14th century castle built by the powerful Ventimiglia family. After lunch, stroll the street of Cefalù a picturesque medieval town by the sea, whose highlight is a splendid Norman cathedral.

Day 4:
9:00- 13:00 Morning guided walk: Palermo’s historical markets and baroque churches
This itinerary is a veritable hymn to Sicilian Baroque. In the 18th century, influenced by the counter reformation, Baroque architecture spread in all of Sicily, including Palermo, its capital. This itinerary brings out the extreme fantasy with which artists of the time decorated the most important churches and oratories of the city, with Giacomo Serpotta’s stuccos being the highlight. We will also take you on a walk through the colourful and winding alleys of Palermo’s historic food markets, where you will have the opportunity to indulge in Palermo’s famous – and less famous-“street food”.
Afternoon at leisure

Day 5:
9:00- 18:00 Segesta and Erice
Today, meet your expert at your hotel and travel to Segesta and Erice. With its marvelously positioned temple and theatre, Segesta is perhaps the most evocative of all surviving Greek archaeological sites. Founded by the Elymians, possible descendent of refugees from Troy, Segesta was a prosperous city, involved in trading with the Carthaginians. Its success continued up to its submission to Dionysius, the tyrant of Siracusa, at the end of the 4th century B.C.
After lunch, we set out to explore Erice, a medieval town perched at 750 meters above sea level, Strolling through the town’s medieval cobbled streets, we will make various stops to take in some of the town’s treasure troves, which include elegant baroque palazzi, delightful Gothic and neo-Gothic churches, middle-age castles, and numerous Carthaginians vestiges.

Day 6:
10:00- 17:00 Sicilian cooking lesson and Palazzo Abatellis (Galleria Nazionale della Sicilia)
This morning, meet your chef at one of Palermo’s oldest markets, shopping around for any items needed for the lesson. Stroll to the school kitchen where you will prepare a 4 course meal, learning the tricks needed to recreate it when you return home. Your chef will expertly guide you through all aspects of each dish, from shopping to preparation as well as its history. During this culinary class, you won’t just learn recipes, you will become a better cook! After the lesson, you can sit together to enjoy the fruit of your labour along with a selection of Sicilian wines, rounded off with some homemade liqueurs and coffee.
In the afternoon, take a short walk to visit the late 15th century Palazzo Abatellis, one of the best preserved Gothic-Catalan edifice in Western Sicily, which now houses the Regional Gallery of Medieval and Modern Art. The museum features important works of Antonello da Messina and Pietro Novelli, as well as a splendid collection of sculptures, among which works of Domenico Gagini and Francesco Laurana, which illustrate the renewal of Sicilian art.

Day 7
9:00-18:00 Full-day excursion to the ‘Valley of the Temples’ in Agrigento
This morning, your driver will take you to the Valley of Temples in Agrigento, where you will meet your local expert. The Valley of the Temples is one of the finest ancient Greek sites in the world. Founded in 580 B.C., it rose rapidly to riches and was endowed with an impressive series of temples, the Temple ‘of Concord’ being the best preserved. A stop at the archeological museum “Pietro Griffo” in Agrigento serves as an excellent primer before a visit to the Valley of the Temples.

Day 8
Departure. Transfer to Palermo’s Punta Raisi airport

End of the itinerary.

Price of the program per person for groups of up to 6 people:

2 people – €1868 per person
3 people –  €1298 per person
4 people – € 1013 per person
5 people – € 842 per person
6 people – € 728 per person

The above rates include:
– All transfers via minibus (Mercedes V or similar) as per the program
– Guided visits led by a local expert (MA or PhD in a relevant field) on day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 as per the program.
– A Sicilian aperitivo in the evening of day 1 as per the program
– A cooking class followed by lunch at the Vucciria on day 6 as per the program

The above rates excludes:
– flights
– Accommodation – please contact us, we will be happy to help you book the accommodation that is most adapted to your group. We have a wide range of 4 stars hotels and boutique hotels, centrally located and comfortable accommodations to choose from.
– Admission fees to the sites of interest
– All meals, except street food lunch at the market on day 4, and lunch at the cookery school on day 6

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Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival, transfer to hotel, Sicilian aperitivo

Day 2

Arab-Norman Palermo and Monreale

Day 3

Cefalù and Castelbuono

Day 4

Segesta and Erice

Day 5

Palermo: historic markets and Baroque churches

Day 6

Sicilian cooking class and Palazzo Abatellis

Day 7

Agrigento: Valley of Temples

Day 8

Departure

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Trip Includes: Guided tours, cooking class, transfers

Trip Excludes: flights, accommodation, admission fees, meals

For additional information on pricing, see the table in the description. Rates start from
price: € 728 /Person

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