1. The drive from the airport to Palermo may be nothing to write home about, but the city itself certainly is! We will drop off our luggage at Villa Igiea so you can take a preview peek at this beauty of a hotel. It will be our residence for the next two days. Quiet, stylish, with sensational views.
We take the plunge into the bubbling life of Palermo, our senses heightened by the sights, the sounds, and scents, as we acclimatize to this unique and exotic city.
When we return we will relax in our beautiful rooms, the gardens or next to the pool. Later at dinner, we will sample one of the many ways they have of preparing fish particular to this region. From raw to grilled and everything in between.
2. We increase our immersion today, when Donna Patricia walks with us to the market and shows us how to choose and haggle, while all around us the theatre of southern Italian life is played out in the fullest of tones. We need to try a few samples, of course, before carrying our purchases to Patricia’s palazzo where we prepare our meal, under her spirited guidance, a glass of cold white always in reach. Finally, we all sit around the table just like a scene from a Fellini film, and enjoy the fruits of our labour. The lure of Villa Igiea is strong now, but the intrepid will continue to discover Palermo’s attractions by night.
3. On the third day we head west and visit our first Greek temple, the well preserved Segesta. Then it is on to the town of Trapani which we will conquer on foot, stopping to rest and recharge with a light lunch. Around mid afternoon, but with ease, as we’ve learned to move at the proper rhythm, we take the ferry that in 40 minutes will take us to Favignana, the larger of the Egadi Islands. We need to be strong now, as from this point we will be cycling, albeit with help from the electrical assistant. This is the best way to take in the sights, while we cover the short 20 minutes to our hotel. The setting of Tana del Pellegrino is spectacular, right by the aqua colored sea, just far enough from the bustle of town to offer quiet tranquility. Later we take a bit of a detour, to pass one of the most beautiful bays in the world, before arriving just in time for an aperitif on the piazza, among the locals. Dinner at the 2 Colonne will impress everyone with its fresh fish, wine, and the niceness of its people. Ah, life is good! A little ride might be desirable now to enjoy the breeze, and then on to relax in the quiet of our rooms.
4. Day four is aimed at the ocean. After a leisurely breakfast we have a private boat take us to the next island, Levanzo, which is even slightly more rural. An easy hike takes us up into the interior, through fields and gardens to an ancient farmhouse with courtyard, called baglio, once belonging to the prominent Sicilian family, the Florios, and recently bought by Miuccia Prada. Back on the boat we are served lunch, while discovering bays and grottos. With the possibility to swim, of course. Even fish, if the captain sees fit. A catch would be nice, as in the evening we’ll be invited to a private home for a dinner where we’ll grill fish and other sea food, together with the family.
5. The ferry takes us back to “big island” and we drive a short way to Marsala. We discover the city, it’s cathedral, canals and salt production. On to the archeological site of Selinunte, which boasts the most important Greek temple in Sicily but also remnants of the Cartaghian colonization.
When we’ve had enough history we will drive to our next residence, a traditional Sicilian “baglio” similar to the one we saw on Levanzo.
6. We turn inland to pass such famous towns as Sambuca, Prizzi (of 'Prizzi's Honour') and Corleone (of 'The Godfather'). After a 2.5 hour drive we get to the splendid “Royal Hunting Lodge”, near which we go on an easy hike in a nature reserve, along old railroad tracks. Later on to the Piana degli Albanesi, where we stay at an “Agriturismo” Resort and enjoy an authentic Sicilian rustic supper.
7. Via Monreale, we arrive back to Palermo, where we spend the night the Massimo Plaza hotel. As the name says, it lays directly across from the Teatro Massimo, the third largest opera house of Europe. With a little luck we will see a performance, or alternatively get a backstage tour. The rest of the day is at your disposal to get to know the city some more, do some shopping, or see a museum that interests you. The more adventurous will come paragliding.
8. Depending on take-off, we may either just have enough time for a last Sicilian espresso at the hotel, or visit Palermo’s own beaches of Mondello, on the way to the airport and have a last bit of sun, scent of the sea and espresso too! And maybe just one little Sicilian pastry, for the road!
The cost of this 8-day journey depends on the number of travelers:
2 to 4 guests: 3,950 USD per person
5 to 6 guests: 3,350 USD per person
7 to 8 guests: 2,850 USD per person
Our tour includes the following:
All airport transfers and in-country transportation by luxury van.
7 nights in exquisite hotels and typical inns.
All meals except one light lunch and two à-la-carte dinners.
Entrance fees to museums, boat tour and cooking class.
Not included are the flights to Palermo, one lunch and two dinners, your opera ticket, beverages, tips and gratuities.