Day 1 Palermo, Piazza Armerina, Catania
After breakfast your personal guide will greet you. You go with them on your journey around one of the most beautiful parts of Sicily.
Your first stop is the beautiful medieval town of Piazza Armerina. This is located south on a hill not far from the town of Enna in the heart of Sicily.
Piazza Armerina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site was conquered by the Arabs in 861. Uniquely, it boasts dark cobbled streets and Baroque monuments. These are displayed amidst grand Norman and Gothic architecture and 17th century palazzos. It was made world famous as a destination following the discovery of the Villa Romana del Casale. The Villa Romana del Casale is one of the finest examples of Roman mosaics, made by African craftsmen. It is one of the most luxurious villas of its kind. It is especially noteworthy for the richness and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room. They are the finest mosaics anywhere in the Roman world.
Later, lunch is your own selection. Your guide can offer suggestions on the most delectable Eastern Sicilian cuisine. Meanwhile, the afternoon is spent driving to Catania.
You will check into your beautiful hotel, an elegant palace recently restored. The palace is located on the steps by Alessi, set like a jewel, between Via Etnea and Via Crociferi. It is in the Baroque heart of the historical centre of Catania.
After settling into your rooms, you have time to relax. Or rather, wander around the hotel. You may like to admire the terrace with sweeping views across the historic centre of Catania. This overlooks the roof tops of the late Sicilian Baroque style.
In the evening you will have a briefing about the tour’s events. Finally, accompany your guide to a wonderful welcoming meal at one of the local restaurants. Overnight stay in Catania.
Day 2 Catania
After a relaxed breakfast in the hotel you head into the historic centre of Catania for a tour on foot.
Visit La Pescheria markets. The markets have an atmosphere that has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. These markets are most noteworthy for the fresh seafood. Witness the colourful behaviour of local fishermen selling the mornings catch. As well, find all sorts of wonderful fruits, vegetables, meats and deli items as locals pick up their daily shop.
Continuing your tour to Catania’s stunning cathedral. Here the cities patron Saint Sant’ Agata lies, and precious treasures are kept. You can wander through the Piazza Duomo where the heart of Catania beats. Especially relevant is the city’s symbol monument: the Elephant. This is a lava-stone statue that dates back to the Roman era. It was mounted on a more modern structure by Vaccarini from the 18th century. Legend has it that this animal became the city symbol because in ancient times pigmy elephants lived in this place. They were said to have protected the city’s inhabitants by chasing away fierce animals.
From here, you have time to wander, or perhaps find a quaint spot for lunch. You may like to give yourself the rest of the afternoon to wander this beautiful city, do a spot of shopping or rather, rest in the hotel.
Finally you will meet your guide in the evening for dinner. Here you will taste gorgeous Sicilian cuisine at one of the local restaurants. Overnight in Catania.
Day 3 Siracusa and Ortigia
After breakfast and check-out, you drive to Siracusa. This is a city that has been considered the cradle of Greek civilisation. It is one of the most important cities in the Western world.
First of all, visit the Neapolis Archaeological Park. This encompasses outstanding examples of Roman and Greek theatres. Including one of the most celebrated theatres in Syracuse.
From the Neapolis, travel to the living museum that is Ortigia. Here you will encounter the elegant and most beautiful Baroque piazzas and make a visit to the Piazza del Duomo.
Afterwards you can lose yourselves (metaphorically) in Ortigia’s tangled maze of cobbled streets. Along the way, admiring the Palaces, churches and monuments which date back to the 17th century.
Lunch is in the city Piazza Duomo. Then finish the day returning to the B&B.
From here, you will have time to rest or take a stroll and investigate this impressive and rewarding city. Ortiga offers an intoxicating mix of Byzantine and Spanish influences. The city is a delight to discover.
Finally you will meet for dinner at one of Dominique’s favourite restaurants. It offers fresh East Sicilian cuisine. Here the chef brings out a wonderful selection of that day’s house specialties. Most of all, the specialities are certain to include amazing seafood and produce. Most often purchased from the local markets that morning.
Overnight in Siracusa.
Day 4 Ragusa and Modica
The cities of Ragusa and Modica are the pearls of rare beauty. This is because they were built over the centuries with absolute harmony. Here extraordinary Baroque churches were born from stone. They show living evidence of periods of ancient splendour.
Our lunch takes place in Ragusa Ibla. This is most noteworthy due to the TV series “Il commissario Montalbano.” (Chief Inspector Montalbano).
Afterwards, marvel at the historic blue majolica tiles that adorn the dome of the church Santa Maria dell’Idria. Continue with the extraordinary history of culture and food. For lovers of chocolate and sweet treats, tempt your taste buds by heading to Modica.
Modica was made famous in the 16th century by the Cabrera family, who introduced the cocoa bean from Mexico. They began the production of what is now the chocolate of Modica. You will stop at the famous Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, founded in 1800. Visit their laboratory. Witness the timeless method of making this now-famous chocolate. Its rich cocoa flavour and traditional grainy consistency is to die for.
You will also sample some of the many traditional sweets in traditional Eastern Sicilian cuisine. This includes mpanatigghi, a light pastry filled with mince-meat, chocolate and spices. In addition to cedrata, honey and citrus rind. It is cooked to a sticky consistency and then dried. This is to be eaten as a digestive after a meal.
After you satiate yourselves with these delicious cocoa-rich morsels, in the late afternoon you return to Syracuse. Here you have dinner and an overnight stay.
To discover more of this Pure Food journey contact me for your full itinerary.