FROM OCTOBER 1st TO NOVEMBER 10th 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.
GENUINE SICILY – SANT’ANGELO MUXARO
After breakfast, arrangement in a private vehicle and departure for Sant’Angelo Muxaro, a small town with an ancient history, 30 km away from Agrigento, which stands on a solitary hill in the middle of the river Platani Valley.
Stroll along the quaint little town streets with stop-overs, sample-tastings and ENCOUNTERS. We’ll visit the dairy farm where we’ll taste typical cheeses produced daily by a local family, swing by the bakery and taste the “pani cunzatu” with local olive oil and pepper along with almond and honey biscuits, etc. and then stop by the local craftsman in his workshop to admire his work. It’s the story of a lesser Sicily as told through its people.
The stroll continues to the outside of the town to visit the Tomba del Principe (Tomb of the Prince): the largest tholos tomb in all of Sicily. Continuing, we’ll reach the foot of the hill and go down until we reach the cave of the Riserva Naturale Grotta Ciavuli: one of the most important specimens of Sicilian karst. Continuing through the olive, almond, pistachio and prickly pear trees, we’ll arrive at the southern ridge of the archaeological area where about 110 new graves were unearthed in 2007.
Using an old trail that farmers once travelled on with their mules and donkeys, we’ll return to the town, admiring scenic views of the Platani river valley and Monte Castello. Once in town, a buffet lunch prepared by the local families will be served to the guests in a courtyard.
Among the narrow streets of the small village of Sant’Angelo Muxaro, we’ll listen to the stories of the inhabitants themselves.
Return to Relais | Hotel.
Dinner and overnight stay.
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.
I FRUTTI DELLA TERRA – VALLE DEI TEMPLI, GIARDINO DELLA KOLYMBETHRA E SCALA DEI TURCHI
Dopo la colazione, sistemazione in automezzo privato. Mattinata dedicata alla raccolta delle olive presso un’azienda agricola della zona. I visitatori, insieme ad esperti agricoltori, potranno effettuare la raccolta manuale delle olive ed assistere alle operazioni di molitura. La giornata si concluderà con un pranzo dove i protagonisti saranno le olive e l’olio appena estratto con le sue caratteristiche di limpidezza e le note intense leggermente piccanti.
Trasferimento alla Valle dei Templi, che costituisce uno dei più affascinanti itinerari archeologici della Sicilia. Si trova in una cornice di straordinaria armonia fra natura e monumenti antichi, tra i grandiosi resti dell’antica colonia greca di Akragas. In questo sito, dichiarato Patrimonio dell’Umanità dall’Unesco, i templi dorici del V secolo a.C. in tufo arenario, splendono di un caldo color ambra, particolarmente acceso al tramonto, mentre in inverno e primavera, i contrasti tra il colore delle pietre ed il verde dei campi lascia il visitatore letteralmente senza fiato. Lungo la “Via Sacra” si possono ammirare il Tempio di Ercole, il Tempio della Concordia, e il Tempio di Giunone.
Tra il tempio di Castore e Polluce e quello di Vulcano, si estende una vasta area verde nota come il “Giardino della Kolymbethra”, che offre una notevole varietà arborea e paesaggistica. Nelle zone più scoscese sono presenti tipiche specie della macchia mediterranea, come il mirto, il lentisco, il terebinto, la fillirea, l’euforbia e la ginestra. Nel terreno pianeggiante del fondovalle, al di là del piccolo fiume bordato da canne lungo il quale crescono salici e pioppi bianchi, si estende l’agrumeto che con limoni, mandarini e aranci di antiche varietà, viene irrigato secondo le tecniche della tradizione araba. Dove l’acqua non arriva, nascono gelsi, carrubi, fichi d’india, mandorli e giganteschi olivi “saraceni”.
Consumazione di un “Cestino Rustico Campagnolo” all’ombra dei maestosi alberi del giardino.
Nel pomeriggio, visiteremo la Scala dei Turchi nei pressi di Realmonte, una spettacolare scogliera di roccia calcarea a forma di terrazze che sembrano imponenti gradinate in cui si aprono spiagge bianche, piccolissime e selvagge.
Rientro al Relais | Hotel.
Cena libera e pernottamento.
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 in onore di San Michele Arcangelo a Palazzolo Acreide october’s 1st sunday
- Festa della Madonna del Rosario a Raffadali october’s 1st sunday
- Le Vie dei Tesori a Palermo from october 1 to 30
- Festa della Nocciola a Novara di Sicilia from september 30 to october 1
- Sagra della Pesche a Leonforte from september 30 to october 1
- Festa della Vendemmia a Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto on october 1
- Olio Folk Fest a Caltabellotta on october 7 and 8
- Sagra della Salsiccia a Caccamo on october 8
- Sagra del Ficodindia a Roccapalumba from october 13 to 15
- Ottobrata Zafferanese from october 1 to 31
- Palio di San Martino a Castell’Umberto from november 11 to 13