7 days from £899 per person*
*based on sharing on a twin/double basis and a minimum of 30 paying passengers
The South East is definitely Sicily’s best kept secret and full of unspoilt and enchanting towns, breath-taking architecture, and one of the most important cities of ancient Greece, Siracusa and the peninsula of Ortigia. We will visit the delightful baroque towns of Noto, Scicli, Modica & Ragusa (made famous by Detective Montalbano) & enjoy the mosaics at Piazza Armerina.
We fly to Catania where we will be met by a coach and our tour manager to transfer to our hotel in Modica.
Today we visit two of the most stunning Baroque towns the area is famed for – Scicli & Noto, both destroyed in the fateful earthquake of 1693 and totally rebuilt in pure Sicilian Baroque style. Less well-known than its prestigious neighbours but just as fascinating and beautiful, Scicli sits in a gorge and is overlooked by a towering rocky mass on which the Church of San Matteo sits. There are a number of lovely churches and palazzi with characterful gargoyles, elegant swirls and decorative façades. Noto is, quite simply, the apotheosis of Baroque town planning and architecture. All the buildings have their own unique fascinating design as the architects seem to have been given free reign. Highlights include The Monastero del Santissimo Salvatore with its graceful tower, the Church of San Francesco and Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Noto is not to be missed.
After breakfast we head to Piazza Armerina, home to the majestic Roman Villa de Casale, for its captivating mosaics from the 3rdC and 4thC A.D, considered the most beautiful and best-preserved of their kind. We return south and stop for lunch and a visit to the aristocratic town of Caltagirone, which is brimming with splendid palaces and churches but is most known for many of its buildings being decorated with ceramic tiles. The highlight is undoubtedly the 142 steps of the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte that connect the lower town with the older upper town. The upright of each step is decorated with ceramic tiles, offering a colourful alternative to the grey lava stone of the horizontal parts.
Today we have the day in Modica to enjoy at our leisure. Modica is an attractive historic town, one of the area’s UNESCO-listed Baroque towns. Important in Medieval times, Modica was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 and now boasts fine late-Baroque architecture as well as a medieval old town. Corso Umberto, Modica’s elegant high street, is lined with buildings from the 18th & 19th centuries, and is the location for the town museum, its chocolate shops and a good proportion of its restaurants and cafes. Modica has a remarkable number of impressive churches, including two grand Baroque cathedrals.
Full day excursion to Siracusa & Ortygia. Once home to Archimedes, the city is divided into two parts: an archaeological site and the peninsula of Ortygia. The archaeological site contains a great number of Greek and Roman remains including a Greek theatre from the 5thC BC. Ortygia is home to over 2,500 years of history, from the Greeks and Romans to the Normans and Baroque. The historical highlights include the fountain of Arethusa; the remains of the Temple of Apollo which, being built in the 7thC BC, was supposedly the first great Doric temple of its kind in Sicily; Piazza Archimede and the delightful pedestrian square of Piazza del Duomo, home to the wonderful Cathedral. There will be a guided tour of the highlights of the towns and entrance to the archaeological area is included.
This morning we visit Ragusa & Ragusa Ibla (home to & setting for the fictional Detective Montalbano). Approaching the town, the sight of the jumbled buildings piled on top of each other, clinging to the walls of the gorge, is quite breath-taking. The town is part of the Val di Noto UNESCO World Heritage site and 18 of its buildings are protected by UNESCO patronage. Gems to look for include the Basilica di San Giorgio, Chiesa di Maria delle Scale and The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista. Later this afternoon we visit one of Sicily’s prettiest seaside villages, Marzamemi, with a fleet of colourful wooden boats and charming buildings. Put on the map and named by the Arabs in the 10thC, they also built the original tonnara (tuna processing plant) which became one of the most important on the island. Although the tonnara itself is no longer in operation, Marzamemi continues producing all manner of seafood delicacies.
We check out of our hotel and head back to Catania, via the Church of St Anthony at Buccheri. In Catania we will visit the Palazzo Biscari. Palazzo Biscari, the most magnificent private building in Catania, is unique in terms of structure, outlay and decoration and the ornate interior is decorated in the rococo style. The grand rooms house a collection of paintings, vases, coins and many other antique exhibits. Return to Catania airport for the return flight to the UK.
The exact order of the itinerary is subject to change.
Days 1 and 7 may alter depending on flight times.
Hotel Principe d’Aragona
The Hotel Principe d’Aragona boasts a fantastic location, in the historical centre of the beautiful town of Modica, within easy walking distance of the stunning architecture, restaurants and shops. All rooms are comfortable and simply furnished with en-suite facilities. It has an outdoor pool and a bar / lounge area that serves breakfast and lunch and snacks.
• Return flights from the UK
• Return airport transfers in Sicily
• 6 nights bed & breakfast accommodation
• Welcome drink
• Itinerary as detailed overleaf
• Coaching as required in Sicily
• Tour manager
• Local guides as required
What’s not included
• Single supplement
• Travel insurance
• Meals other than those specified
Any of our tours can be tailored to suit your particular groups requirements.
For further details please contact one of the team on 01225 764205 or firstname.lastname@example.org