A walking tour of Sicily. 13 days/12 nights
Level of walking: moderate
Dates for 2016: 19th Oct - 31st Oct 2016
Guaranteed Departure9th Apr - 21st Apr 2017
Tour operator: Caspin Journeys- UK
Picture the 2000 year old columns of a superbly preserved Greek temple standing at the foot of rugged mountains. Experience the remote Madonie mountains, encounter seas of wild flowers, visit a hidden cave with Paleolithic and Neolithic paintings, and enjoy picnic feasts among vines and olives. See forty rooms of pictorial mosaic floors in the finest Roman Villa ever to have been discovered. Enter one of the world’s finest Norman Cathedrals and walk along medieval cobbled streets where time seems to have stood still. Dip your toes in the breathtaking blue and emerald green of the Mediterranean Sea; ascend the ever active volcano Mt Etna, a thrill and an education in the evolution of life.
|Sure footed in Sicily: details, terms and conditions|
|Sure footed in Sicily tour itinerary|
Day 1 Palermo airport - St. Anastasia winery
We meet at 14.00 at the Palermo airport and drive along the coast and into the foothills of the Madonie to the restored monastery of St. Anastasia, now a fine hotel and winery. Relax and enjoy this dramatic setting, sipping an aperitif on the terrace which has spectacular views of the Aeolian islands.
A walk in the heart of the Madonie mountains, an area seldom visited and of ancient traditions. We stroll through the cobbled streets of Geraci Siculo where time seems to have stood still. Our hiking trail climbs through pine forests to Pizzo Corvo where we emerge and cross mountain pastures through awe-inspiring scenery with occasional views of Mt. Etna; the sleeping giant which looms at a distance of over 50 miles as we approach Petralia Soprana. Here a mountain feast awaits us. (4hrs/13km) (Elev. +/-300m)
Visit Cefalu’s charming old quarters, the Norman Cathedral and the old fishing town at your leisure. A short walk onto the Rocca promontory with walls and castle ruins offers magnificent views of the harbour, town and emerald blue sea. After a picnic lunch we drive along the coast to Monreale Cathedral to admire one of the finest examples of 12C gilded Byzantine mosaics. (2hrs/6.5km) (Elev. +/-200m)
We visit the Greco-Trojan city of Segesta at the top of Monte Barbaro to see the 4C BC theatre which has a stunning view overlooking the countryside and sea, walking down afterwards to the unfinished Doric temple – situated one a truly incredible setting – and then on to a forest track on the other side of the river gorge for a picnic lunch with a panoramic view of the temple. (3hrs/10km)
Walking from Scopello, we ascend into the the Zingaro Nature Reserve to enjoy the rugged, Sicilian coastline and learn how locals used to make a living form tuna fishing and basket weaving. If lucky, we may spot a peregrine falcon. High above the coast, admire the colours of the Mediterranean. High above the coast, admire the colours of the Mediterranean and then enjoy an afternoon gelato or cappucino in a local cafe. (4hrs/12km) (Elev. +/-500ft)
From Trapani we take a hydrofoil to Levanzo and walk across the hinterland to a hidden cave, the Grotta del Genovese. Through an enlarged rabbit warren we enter the cave to see a treasure of Palaeolithic and Neolithic drawings. We continue around the island with views of Favignana and Marettimo, the other two islands of this archipelago, set in crystal clear blue waters. We return mid afternoon to explore the charming town of Erice. (3.5hrs/11km) (Elev. +/-400ft)
Selinunte, Europe’s largest archaeological park, is a wonderful opportunity to explore an entire ancient Greek city. With two harbours, fortifications and many temples scattered across the excavations, it is set in an almost unequalled location. After a picnic lunch and time to the digest historic and gastronomic delights, a most rewarding day is ended with a scenic journey down the coast to Agrigento. (3hrs strolling in ruins) (Elev. sea level)
We visit the museum of Agrigento with a local guide. Inside is an excellent collection of artefacts, temple decorations, a giant statue from the temple of Zeus, votive offerings and a model of the largest temple in Magna Graecia. We then walk through the Valley of the Temples, discussing Greek civilisation and why Pindar described Akragas as ‘most beautiful of mortal cities’. (2hrs strolling in ruins) (Elev. almost sea level) UNESCO Heritage Site
Optional afternoon beach walk (2hrs/4miles)
We drive to Piazza Armerina, located in the heart of Sicily known as ‘the bread basket of Rome’. Here we visit the very fine Roman Imperial Villa Casale, with over forty pictorial mosaic floors life of the rich roman citizens. A pleasant walk takes us over a hill, past fresh water fountains and enters the medieval town of Piazza Armerina where we stop for a delicious gelato. We end the day in Siracusa on Ortigia island. (2.5hrs/8km) (Elev. +/-600ft) UNESCO Heritage Site
A leisurely morning to explore the historic quarters of Siracusa and experience the lively fish market. In the afternoon our local guide explains the historical scenery as we explore the Ear of Dionysius, the Greek theatre, the Roman amphitheatre and the Altar of Hieron. We learn about Siracusa, arch enemy of Athens, once capital of Magna Graecia and the most powerful city of the Greek world. The day ends on the island of Ortigia at the 2500 year-old building which today is the Cathedral of Siracusa. (3hrs strolling in ruins) UNESCO Heritage Site *lunch not included
We head out for a vigorous, stunning walk in the rocky gorge of Pantalica in the Iblei montains. The canyon is like a honeycomb with thousands of burial chambers of various shapes and sizes and over 4000 years old. It is a place of great natural beauty, a deep limestone ravine carved out over millennia by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers along which a variety of flora flourish. (3hrs/9.5km) (Elev. +/-500ft) UNESCO Heritage Site
Free day to explore the charming streets of Taormina, Sicily’s most famous resort town and also Castelmola. Visit the Greco-Roman amphitheatre, do a little shopping, sit in a street cafe and watch the world go by. Optional excursion to Mt Etna, active volcano, to see an ever changing landscape of lava fields, pioneer flowers and shrubs, ancient and new craters. Ascend Mt Etna using cable car & 4×4 vehicles (cost approx 50,00 euros) to explore the latest eruption sites on foot with a local guide (1hr hiking on lava fields) *lunch not included.
Scheduled departure from our hotel at 9.00 for Catania airport (1hr). It is also possible to book a taxi to the airport (approx 60 euros) if your flight is earlier/later than our schedule.