So Sicily!

12-Day Sicily Holiday Itinerary - Italy

Prices from £765 pp

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Duration12 days / 11 nights (flexible)

DepartureDaily

ItineraryCatania - Etna - Piazza Amerina - Ragusa - Avola - Catania

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Overview

Pure holiday in Sicily! A wine tasting at the foot of Etna , a cooking workshop in rural Sicily and baroque mountain villages: with this short Sicily trip, you will taste what the island has to offer. You’ll spend the night in unique places, such as an agriturismo with a view of Mount Etna and a B&B in the centre of Ragusa. Finish your trip with a picnic in a hidden bay on the east coast. Ideal as an in-between trip in the spring or autumn with pleasant temperatures.

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Excursions as described below
  • Car hire and insurance – prices may vary depending on departure dates

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Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

The Smoking Giant

Arrive on the fertile north side of Etna to find an ancient agriturismo among grape vines and orlij trees, overlooking the Alcantara valley. From Catania airport, it is about an hour’s drive to this estate, which mainly grows grapes for wine production. In the shade of the olive trees, take in your surroundings: a rolling landscape of vineyards and oaks, with a view all the way down to the coast.  

green fields beneath a dark mountain range

After seeing Etna volcano from afar, today it is time to take a closer look. You’ll head to the north side, where it is quieter and a more varied landscape. If the weather is good and the volcano is calm, you can take a 4×4 bus to the northeast crater at 2800 meters. You’ll travel past petrified lava and steaming cracks in the ground to the Etna crater. Rinse off the gray dust of Etna and get back in the car for a drive to the Gambino winery, about twenty minutes from your agriturismo. The sommelier welcomes you in the wine cellar, where he will explain the different wines of the house and of course pour them for you. Italians will not drink without eating, so small snacks also appear on the table, completing the tasting perfectly. The rest of your time is yours to enjoy the relaxed pace of the countryside. 

 

two woman crouching in front of a volcano

Sicilian Cuisine in Piazza Armerina

It’s now time to head to the interior of Sicily, which you may expect to be dry and barren, but the fertile area around Piazza Armerina is surprisingly verdant and fertile. You’ll stay in a small-scale country house, aka an agriturismo, in the South of Piazza Armerina with a swimming pool and a good restaurant. It’s a working farm and a busy one too, producing wine, olive oil and harvesting fruits and nuts. Upon arrival, take a stroll through the serene, rolling countryside or relax with a book by the pool. 

a red pepper, an artichoke and green salad leaves

Today you learn how this fertile area makes the region of Piazza Armerina the vegetable garden of Sicily. In the afternoon, you will go out onto the land with a local chef to collect some fresh, seasonal ingredients and prepare a custom dish. Afterwards you all sit down at a long table and a truly homemade fresh meal is served. Before you leave the next day, there is one more treat in store for you, the Villa Romana del Casale. This impressive Roman villa, covered with mosaic floors from the 3rd century, is the main attraction of Central Sicily. The mosaics in the former summer residence of a Roman emperor were only rediscovered in 1929 and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

 

two ladies preparing food with vegetables on a table

Chocolate city

It’s time to enter the Baroque Triangle, an area made up of eight towns that were destroyed by an earthquake at the end of the 17th century, then rebuilt piece by piece back to their original picturesque beauty. You’ll stay in a classic B&B in Ragusa, the most atmospheric of the eight, right in the middle of Regusa Ibla, the old centre.  

green and pink flowers growing up the side of a building

The next day you’ll visit one of the other cities of the baroque triangle, Modica. It is known for its chocolate that is thanks to the Spanish, who ruled the island for a long time and brought these originally Aztecs methods to Sicily. It’s a half an hour drive to the chocolate house, where you get a demonstration and then a taste of 90% cocoa mixed with vanilla, cinnamon or ginger. The rest of your time you are free to do as you please, strolling past atmospherically lit facades of the churches and stately mansions, taking a look inside where you can. 

a lady standing in front of a table with chocolate on it

Hidden Coves of Avola

Arrive at your characteristic massaria, a country house, by the sea and discover the wonders of the quiet south-eastern coast of Sicily. A perfect alternative to Taormina and other busier seaside resorts near Catania. From your mansion home you look over the grain and potato fields with the sea in the distance. The attractive rooms are located in the former horse stable and it’s only a five-minute walk to a hidden golden sandy beach. 

a straw hat and a woman in white trousers on a sandy beach

Get up early the next morning and take a dip before breakfast. The beach near your masseria is located on a river estuary and is not signposted from the main road, so there are few tourists here. Explore the adjacent Vendicari Nature Reserve, one of the few places in Europe where flamingos breed. Also in the vicinity you will find Noto, with its many hidden beaches and coves along the coast. Another great place to visit is the port city of Syracuse, which has a very rich history that you can take in whilst strolling through the narrow streets, spotting remains of Greek temples along the way.  

a beach cove with sand and blue water
David smiling

Speak to our Italy specialist, David

"Italy is a food fest! I absolutely loved the Italian cuisine before I visited Italy and even more so when I left! Having lived in Rome, I can give you insider tips to make your holiday a truly memorable one."


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