Far from the crowds and the usual archaeological sights and main cities, Sicily still reserves numerous hidden treasures.
The Madonie Park is a part of the Island with an unusual history, hidden gems and amazing natural sights.
Eight days to get to know the deeper roots of the Arab‐Norman Sicily history (Palermo, Monreale and Cefalù, today a UNESCO site) passing through the majestic Madonie mountain chain where corals fossilized over 200 million years ago, you will admire breathtaking landscapes.
The Sicilian spring begins in January, and as soon as the plants bloom Sicily becomes the garden of a sorceress: mint sprouts on the banks of streams, dead trees are wreathing of wild roses, even the brutal cactus bares tender flowers.
Photo: Maria Rosaria Giaimo
«The Sicilian spring begins in January, and as soon as the plants bloom Sicily becomes the garden of a sorceress: mint sprouts on the banks of streams, dead trees are wreathing of wild roses, even the brutal cactus bares tender flowers. So I’m not afraid of the arrival of winter… what better prospect than to sit by the fire to wait for spring?» ‐ Truman Capote
A private exclusive tour of Sicily. Price on request. Itinerary can be customized to suit your needs
Sicily by experts
Day 1- Arrival Palermo ‐ Meeting the Opera
Arrival at Palermo airport. A warm welcome by our English speaking driver and transfer to the 4 star Boutique Hotel. Welcome drink and meeting with our guide for an introduction to the philosophy of Relational Tours by “in the Soul of Sicily”. Check into hotel. Welcome dinner in a nice restaurant followed by a walk to a place of the past where a surprise awaits us: a special Opera performance based on the interaction between the singers, the musicians and the audience, in a very uncommon place . Back to the hotel and Overnight (welcome dinner).
Day 2-Between art and artisans: a unique trail in Palermo and Monreale
Breakfast at the hotel. The cathedral of Monreale, one of the wonders of the world. A special guide will explain to us the splendid 12th century mosaics and the cloister. Enjoy a stroll through the historical centre which has been home to artisans for hundreds of years. Stop at the “school of Art and crafts“ for a workshop. Have lunch at one of Palermo’s finest restaurants, offering Sicilian cuisine in an elegant setting. We are ready for a “unique” visit of Palermo… discovering monuments and artisan small workshops on tiny side streets. Back to the hotel.
Photo: Vittorio Catania
Day 3- A gourmet experience in Polizzi Generosa
Transfer to “Parco delle Madonie”, passing through central Sicily. Arrival in Polizzi Generosa, a small, medieval village, where many people still live according to Sicilian traditions. Have a half-day cooking lesson at the home of an authentic Sicilian family. Lunch with our new friends. Enjoy a walk around the historical center, extraordinarily rich in artwork from the Norman period. Now it’s time for dessert with the “Sfoglio” of Polizzi. A special excursion will take us to the Valley of Watermills. Transfer to a manor house to check in.The Manor is a charming, ancient ochre-walled building. Dinner on your own and overnight (breakfast and lunch included).
Day 4- The natural beauty of the Madonie Park: Piano Battaglia and Petralia
Breakfast at the Manor. Transfer to Piano Battaglia, a popular winter resort. Walk through one of the “geological paths” where together with our geologist you can see fossilized sponges, algae and corals at 1400 meters above sea level between hydrogeology and karst systems. Next, visit a local dairy farm to see the traditional way of making Sicilian cheese. Enjoy a lunch of traditional Sicilian specialties with local wine. Visit of Petralia Soprana, a small medieval town on the slopes of the Madonie mountains. The town is divided into two distinct parts (Petralia Soprana and Petralia Sottana).The two ‘Petralie’ are very rich in other artistic works such as the doorways of the ancient noble houses, the cobbled narrow streets, squares, stairways, palaces, villas and mansions scattered nearby. It’s time to get back to our Manor to relax in the garden. Dinner on your own and overnight (breakfast and lunch included).
Photo: Comune di Petraia Sottana
Day 5- Castelbuono: an enigmatic place where a geological, cultural and historical heritage converges
Breakfast at the manor. Check out. Departure for Castelbuono. Our first stop: Piano Pomo with its “monumental trees”. And now a Highlight: learn about beekeeping in the Madonie Park. Lunch/tasting: The Madonie cusine with typical dishes, some of which made with honey. A walk around the medieval streets of Castelbuono to recount the architecture and to portray glimpses and ancient crafts with a “special guide”. Our visit would not be complete without tasting the famous Fiasconaro’s panettone (typical Italian sweet bread). Check in at our nice hotel in the historical center of the village. Dinner among musical storytelling and its imagery in the company of a band that uses the dialect between sound, music and memory. Overnight (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Day 6- Cefalù suspended by land and sea
Breakfast at the Hotel. Check out. Departure for Cefalù famous for its rich historical centre (the Norman Cathedral and the medieval quarter) as well as for its beautiful beach and blue sea. Check in at our 4 star hotel . Our excursion will start along the slopes of the “Rocca” with an exceptional guide. We go down to the old town to have lunch including mediterranean fish and street food. Visit: The Norman Duomo that contains precious mosaics which adorn the apse and a representation of Christ Pantocrator; The Giudecca and the jewish ghetto; the striking medieval wash-house and the Mandralisca Museum, the latter preserving the famous portrait of an unknown man by Antonello da Messina.
Dinner on your own and overnight ( breakfast and lunch included).
Photo by Giuseppe Terrasi
Day 7- The path between the flavors: S. Ambrogio and Cefalù
Breakfast at the Hotel. Excursion in the lush evergreen Mediterranean Bosco Guarnera. Secrets and mystery of a forest where the natural and the emotional value blend so always surprising…The nature trail (about 8 Km) has been divided into five stages. In each one, through a series of tasting of the local products you will discover the soul of the Madonie gastronomy. Buffet lunch in a country resort among Sicilian musical storytelling and its imagery. Back to Cefalù to enjoy a romantic afternoon aboard our Fisherman boat for a tour coast to coast. Enjoy a delicious fish dinner facing the sea in a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
Day 8- Departure
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out. A private minivan will transport you to Palermo airport. The curtain falls. Goodbye Sicily and see you at the next “Relational experience” in another corner of Sicily! What an amazing 8 days tour, this has been! And when, we will look back at the memories of the trip ”in the Soul of Sicily”, we will remember it as one of the most rewarding, wonderful experiences of our life.
Photo by Simone Lazzara