Western Sicily, Palermo & the Aeolian Islands
Carthaginian Trapani contrasts with Greek Segesta, discover atmospheric Palermo then, completely off the tourist map and little changed from Roman times, the unique volcanic Aeolian Islands. Like so many other potential visitors, you could be forgiven for ignoring Sicily, yet here lies some of Italy’s and indeed Europe’s most fascinating historic towns, most beautiful and unspoilt scenery, most delightful people, plus some of its finest food and wine. Ruled by every Mediterranean power since records began, the Phoenicians were probably the first visitors. Next came the Carthaginians, followed by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Moors, Normans, the Spanish, Bourbons and eventually the Italians.
Lack of large scale modern development and a mild climate has maintained what can only be described as one of Europe’s most staggering cultural legacies but which remarkably is still largely off the tourist map. This astonishing blend, probably unmatched anywhere is truly fascinating, with every day of the tour revealing more wonders. In architectural style, the towns and villages are revelations. From the almost souk-like markets to church spires displaying distinct signs of classic Moorish arches and calligraphy, the variety of influences are written in the very fabric of the buildings, some featuring Norman gold leaf mosaics yet carrying unmistakeably Byzantine inscriptions. Amazingly preserved classical Greco-Roman architectural styles and lamboyant baroque churches are all to be discovered in this plethora of historic monuments. Equally sumptuous mixes of culinary traditions abound, from classic Mediterranean staples like grilled fish, to cous-cous etraying Sicily’s proximity to Europe’s southernmost edge.
- Guided tour of the hill-top village Erice, with its incredible churches and monasteries, plus a visit the Grotta Mangiapane cave dwelling in undiscovered Trapani
- Visit to Segesta Archaeological site, a perfectly preserved ancient Greek temple and theatre
- Visit Marsala renowned for its outstanding dessert wine, touring a winery with tastings
- Guided tour of Palermo, gorgeously medieval and baroque, plus its stunning Norman Palace
- Learn about the ancient craft of salt panning at a family-run museum
- Short orientation walk of charming Cefalù - one of Sicily’s most attractive coastal villages
- Spend a full day touring Lipari and the Aeolian Islands, accessed by boat
- Scenic drive through the mountainous Madonie National Park to the town of Castelbuono
- Services of our experienced tour manager
- Seven nights’ in conveniently located four-star accommodation, including all local taxes, with breakfast and four dinners
- Return travel from the UK and transfers to and from your hotel included
- Selected departures from April to October 2019
- The price of this holiday is based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes return flights, seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast and four dinners, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, entrances to the Norman Palace, Pellegrino wine Cantina and Salt Museum and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
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