Tour “Agrumi di Sicilia”
FROM NOVEMBER 10th TO DECEMBER 20th 2017
ARRIVALS – CATANIA/COMISO
Arrival of participants in Catania/Comiso.
At 7.00 p.m. welcome cocktail and reception.
Introduction of the schedule.
Dinner and accommodation at the Hotel.
IN THE HEART OF THE ISLAND – THE VILLA DEL CASALE AND CALTAGIRONE
Arrangement in a private vehicle and departure for a guided tour of Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina, part of the Unesco World Heritage since 1997. It is one of the most important archaeological areas of Sicily, for its splendid mosaics that were discovered only in the late twentieth century. The city lies on three hills in the area of Erei, surrounded by a forest of pine and eucalyptus trees, a green oasis in the arid heart of the island. Transfer to a renowned farm for a tour and sample-tasting of typical products.
Continuation to Caltagirone. Rebuilt after the earthquake that destroyed it in 1693, it was revived in a late Baroque style that is expressed in original and wonderfully scenic forms, in its churches, palaces and fine eighteenth-century villas. For the exceptional value of its architectural heritage, in 2002 its historic centre was awarded the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the other 7 Towns of Val di Noto. Caltagirone is known for the production of artistic ceramics. The most beautiful ones can be found on the steps of Santa Maria del Monte.
Transfer to Relais | Hotel for dinner.
BAROQUE AND HERITAGE GRAINS – BORGO SANTA RITA AND NARO
After breakfast, arrangement in a private vehicle and departure for Borgo Santa Rita, where only five families permanently live there. The town was relaunched thanks to the idea of Maurizio Spinello, the “best baker of Sicily”, who opened a bakery in this town which has become a true excellence.
At the “Forno Santa Rita” bread is made using only heritage Sicilian grains, following ancient Sicilian recipes, using starter and baked in a wood oven.
In 2016, thanks to the recovery and redevelopment of the Baronial Palace, the Micromuseo Immateriale del grano e del pane (Intangible Micro-museum of wheat and bread) was created. A museum where it’s possible to become familiar with and rediscover the places, traditions and culture of the Town, a place of learning and preservation of the know-how of wheat and breadmaking.
Sample-tasting of the famous bread accompanied by olives, oils, cheeses and pizza, typical wines and beers produced in the area.
The afternoon will be dedicated to a guided tour of Naro. The town was at its peak during the seventeenth century, in the full Baroque period. During this period the city was enriched with remarkable monuments, whereby notable creative artistic geniuses worked on their construction. We will visit the church of SS. Salvatore, the church of San Niccolò di Bari, the Mother Church and the former Jesuit college, the church of Sant’Agostino, the church and former convent of San Francesco and finally the church of San Calogero.
Transfer to Relais | Hotel.
Dinner and overnight stay.
I FRUTTI DELLA TERRA – LA RACCOLTA DELLE ARANCE
Dopo la colazione, sistemazione in automezzo privato e partenza per Ribera, famosa per aver dato i natali a Francesco Crispi ma soprattutto conosciuta come Città delle Arance.
Ribera ha avuto anche il riconoscimento come Città Slow ed è entrata a far parte della rete internazionale delle città in cui si vive bene. Una cittadina essenzialmente basata sull’agricoltura che ha fatto conoscere i suoi prodotti in Italia e non solo, ne ha fatto un vanto nel mondo intero, a partire dalle Arance.
Visita dell’Azienda Agricola Paolo Ganduscio un’azienda di famiglia con dieci ettari di agrumeti a Ribera attrezzato anche per la lavorazione.
Sarà il proprietario, il Signor Paolo, ad accompagnarci nell’agrumeto per la raccolta e nello stabilimento ha costruito nel cuore della propria tenuta, idoneo alla lavorazione delle arance ed alla loro conservazione
Degustazione guidata di arance, confettura di arance, pane condito con olio di propria produzione, tavola calda mignon e dolci tipici, accompagnati da un bicchiere di buon vino.
Nel pomeriggio visita al Castello di Siculiana, un monumento dalla ricca architettura castellana. Costruito sull’estremità della cresta rocciosa di un promontorio, domina con le sue torri, un tempo merlate, il paese che porta il medesimo nome e la vallata dolcemente adagiata sul mare Mediterraneo.
Rientro al Relais|Hotel.
THE LEOPARD AND CONTEMPORARY ART – PALMA DI MONTECHIARO AND FAVARA
After breakfast, we load into a private vehicle and start off on the Leopard tracks to discover the magnificent monuments related to the Tomasi di Lampedusa family. Once in Palma di Montechiaro, our local guide will take us to visit the Chiaramonte Castle, the Ducal Palace, the Palace of the Piarists and the Benedictine Monastery, where you can taste the famous almond cookies prepared by the cloistered nuns with an ancient and secret recipe.
Transfer to Favara, along which a fundamental stop is the visit to the FARM CULTURAL PARK, an independent cultural centre, located in the heart of its historic centre, in a neighbourhood called “The seven courtyards” for its urban structure characterized precisely by seven small courts. Once almost abandoned, the houses have been transformed into contemporary art exhibition spaces, meeting spaces, open kitchens for workshops and lunches, a cocktail bar, vintage shops, and more. Favara has thus become the second tourist destination in the province of Agrigento, after the Valley of the Temples.
Among the Arab flavours and Sicilian dishes cooked on the premises of the FARM restaurant, you can enjoy a cocktail and buffet with local produce.
Continuation of the visit of the Castle Chiaramonte, and then a stop at the Ancient Foundation of the Antonio Mendola Library Museum, among the baroque treasures of the Church of the Most Holy Rosary, including the recovered lanes in some parts of the city centre.
Return to Relais | Hotel.
Dinner and overnight stay.
AGRICULTURAL EXCELLENCE – CAMPOBELLO DI LICATA
After breakfast, accommodation in a private vehicle and departure to Campobello di Licata, a small agricultural town inland from Agrigento, which represents the values of rural culture at a high level and in a transversal way. They are expressed artistically by Silvio Benedetto in the murals of the City Palace and sculptures in Piazza XX Settembre and Tien An Men Square, and have been actively carried on by several farms that boast prestigious awards.
After a tour to discover the works of Silvio Benedetto, our local guide will introduce you to:
the Cantina Baglio del Cristo of Campobello, born from the vision of a new wine route and the pursuit of absolute quality. The vineyards of Bonetta are immaculate. They are found all around the beautiful farm and the low hills of limestone/gypsum matrix of an agricultural portion of Campobello di Licata, where the refreshing breeze of the Mediterranean comes in the evening from the slope facing Licata;
the Montalbo Farm, Where they breed the Girgentana goats, a native Agrigentino breed that risked extinction despite the excellent quality of their milk. From this good milk curdled with vegetable rennet (fig, artichoke, and cardoon) made in-house, the company serves various types of cheese: from Girgenti to the classic cheeses, both fresh and medium-aged, a bloomy rind, a veined cheese, under ash (the almond wood), with salty ricotta and baked. But also robiole and Tuma ammucinata, taken from an ancient Sicilian recipe, where the goat cheese is immersed in the liquid plaster and cured at room temperature.
During the visit we will taste the wines and cheeses of the two companies in a breakfast that will be animated by the performance of a Storyteller, who will entertain us with traditional folk songs from the rural tradition.
Transfer to the premises of Ristorante La Madonnina for a “COCI E TASTA” (cooking class in Sicilian) with Chef Giovanni Gruttad’Auria, with whom you will prepare a dinner with local products purchased directly from the grower, and recipes typical of our area.
Return to Relais | Hotel for overnight stay.
CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT, AND TRADITIONS – VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES, KOLYMBETHRA GARDEN AND STAIR OF THE TURKS
After breakfast, we load into a private vehicle and depart for the Valley of the Temples, which is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Sicily. It is located in an extraordinary context of harmony between nature and ancient landmarks, including the remnants of the ancient Greek colony of Akragas. At this site, declared a World Heritage Site, the Doric temples of the fifth century BC in tuff sandstone shine with a warm amber, especially lit at dusk, while in winter and spring the contrasts between the colour of the stones and the green fields leaves visitors literally breathless. Along the “Via Sacra” you can admire the Temple of Hercules, the Temple of Concord, and the Temple of Juno.
Between the temple of Castor and Pollux and that of Vulcan, there is a vast green area known as the “Garden of Kolymbethra”, which offers a wide variety of trees and landscapes. In the most rugged areas are species typical of the Mediterranean, such as myrtle, the mastic tree, the oak, the mock privet, the spurge, and the broom. In the plain of the valley bottom, beyond the small river lined with reeds along which grow willows and white poplars, stretches the citrus grove of ancient varieties of lemons, mandarins, and oranges and irrigated using the techniques of Arab tradition. In the areas the water doesn’t reach, mulberry trees, carob trees, prickly pear, almond and gigantic “Saracen” olive trees spring up.
Eating a “Rustic Country Basket” in the shadow of the majestic trees of the garden.
In the afternoon, visit the Stair of the Turks near Realmonte, a spectacular cliff of limestone shaped terraces that look like imposing stairs upon which small, wild, white beaches are found.
Return to Relais | Hotel.
Dinner and overnight stay.
BAROQUE AND CHOCOLATE – MODICA AND RAGUSA IBLA
After breakfast, load into a private vehicle and transfer to train stations in Canicattì or Campobello di Licata (depending on accommodation) and depart for eastern Sicily, to discover the Late Sicilian Baroque, whose heritage, both for its importance and beauty, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Guided tour of Modica, which stretches from the rocky outcrop up to the valley floor. The most striking element of the cityscape is the Cathedral of St. George, located near the top of Modica. Besides staircases, narrow alleys, and picturesque streets with old shops, Corso San Giorgio connects the high side to the low side, running along one of the highest bridges in Europe whose pillars reach 120 m in height.
We will visit the oldest Sicilian pastry shop, where you can taste the famous chocolate of Modica, the recipe for which comes from the ancient Aztecs. Modica chocolate is special and very unique thanks to the lack of cocoa butter; in fact the only ingredients are cocoa and sugar.
Lunch at an exclusive restaurant.
Transfer to Ragusa Ibla, whose destiny, like that of other centres of southeastern Sicily, is linked to the 1693 earthquake. It was following this catastrophic event that the reconstruction of the city began, transforming it in the late baroque jewel that still is today. Although its appearance is decidedly baroque, churches and palaces are arranged along the old medieval system.
Transfer to Hotel in Catania/Comiso.
Dinner (not included).
Interested in this tour?
Need more details? Do you want to customize the tour? Contact us.
Festival and celebrations
Festivals and celebrations that you can take part in during the tour:
- Festa di Santa Lucia a Siracusa, from december 13 to 20
- During Christmas time, Sicily offers a lot of events centered on “Presepe” (Christmas nativity scene), like those in: Caltagirone | Burgio | Castelbuono | Custonaci | Ragusa
- Trapani Medievale | Rievocazione Storica Manfredi di Trinacria, from november 11 to 13
- Palio di San Martino a Castell’Umberto, from november 11 to 13
- Cerasuolo 2 day Vittoria, on november 12 and 13
- Cantine aperte a San Martino, on november 13
- Sagra della Cassatella e le Vie dei Sapori ad Agira, from november 18 to 20
- Mostra del dolce e del gelato siciliano a Palazzolo Acreide, on november 26 and 27
- Sagra dell’Ulivo e dell’Olio a Nicosia, on november 26 and 27
- Expo Food e Wine a Catania, from november 26 to 28
- Sagra della Truscitedda a Castronovo di Sicilia, from november 13 to 15
- Ballarò Espò a Palermo, from december 2 to 6 dicembre
- ChocoBarocco a Modica, from december 8 to 11
- Palermo Street Food Fest, from december 15 to 18