TOUR NAME: SDG-Sicily Driver Guide's Showcase nbr 29
HOW CAN I ARRIVE IN POZZALLO: Rail Station or Catania airport/port or by ferry from Malta Island
TOUR DURATION: 5 nights/6 days (Ragusa 1 night + Taormina 3 nights + Syracuse 1 night).
ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE INFORMATION: We also strictly recommend you to purchase your ferry tickets with arrival and departure to/from Pozzallo port.
MEALS INCLUDED: 5 breakfast; 1 dinner in a local trattoria with set menů; 1 snack in Etna shop;
MEALS LEGEND: BB (Breakfast) L (Lunch) S (Snack) D (Dinner).
TOUR PROVIDED WITH: Driver Guide. Who is a Driver Guide?.
TOUR CUSTOMIZED FOR A MAXIMUM: 6 Persons.
PRICE AND CONDITIONS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST:
Please be so kind as to specify the style of accommodation you need, this is important for us to customize an appropriate offer.
ITINERARY recommended by SDG-Sicily Driver Guide
Day 1: Pozzallo port/Ragusa
Upon arrival to Pozzallo port (AM) we will met our driver-guide. Than we will travel to the baroque town of Ragusa. Ragusa is two towns in one: an upper town, Ragusa Superiore, mapped out after a devastating earthquake in 1693, and Ragusa Ibla, constructed on an isolated spur. Ibla, in glaring contrast to the modern city, is one of the best-preserved old towns in Sicily, and well worth a day of your valuable time. The two parts of town are linked by a steep winding road or else by steps. Even if Ragusa Ibla weren't fascinating, the site would make an interesting trip because of the craggy valley that separates the two towns. It is a vista of winding pathways and plant-filled cliffs. The landscapes around Ragusa are among the most memorable (and eerie) in Sicily. Many are crisscrossed with low-lying stone walls, pieced laboriously together without mortar, and lying in impoverished solitude beneath the punishing sun. These are the landscapes most often evoked in Sicilian literature and cinema, an oft-filmed terrain that has positioned Ragusa and its outlying districts in the forefront of Italian filmmaking. Tonight we will enjoy a dinner in a local trattoria to taste the famous Ravioli with Ricotta cheese. (D)
Day 2: Caltagirone & Piazza Armerina
After breakfast we will drive to Caltagirone, one of the most lively Baroque towns in central Sicily. It’s known in Italy as “The city of Sicilian ceramics” due to its thousand-year-old tradition. The name itself – Caltagirone – derives from an Arabic word meaning the Castle or Fortress of the vases. Caltagirone ceramics have been used for centuries to decorate parks and churches, streets and squares. The typical colours of local pottery, sage green and yellow, are the colours of Sicily itself, of its sun and breathtaking beauty. We will visit some local ceramic shops and we will admire the Santa Maria steps all with ceramic decorations. This afternoon we will continue our trip to Piazza Armerina to see the ruins of an extraordinary Roman villa at Casale. Once known only as "Piazza," the town gets its name from Colle Armerino, one of a trio of hills on which it was constructed. The town is actually two-in-one: the original "Piazza," a village that dates from the heyday of the Saracens in the 10th century; and a 15th-century "overflow" town that extended to the southeast as early as the 15th century. Later we will travel for Taormina, the resort town of Sicily (BB)
Day 3: Mount Etna Volcano in jeeps and Winery
Following breakfast we will meet our jeep-driver and departure to Etna Volcano: we will experience what the Greeks called "the realm of Vulcan (god of fire)" by Jeep, viewing along the way: Mount Fontana (view of Bove Valley), the Thieves Cave (grotta dei ladroni), extinct craters of Sartorius Mounts, and the lava flow from the 2002 eruption. Indulge in a snack at local Winery followed by wine tasting and typical Sicilian dishes. During the afternoon, off-road drive along the Linguaglossa-Castiglione and Alcantara Gorges. Short visit to the Canyon entrance. Later back to the hotel (BB S)
Day 4: Taormina
Today is at our total disposal for an independent visit to the Greek-Roman Theatre, offering a view of rare beauty of the seacoast and Mount Etna. Then time at leisure for a walk to Corso Umberto street, draws a semicircle in the old city and links Porta Catania in the south with Porta Messina in the north. The street is narrow and has a medieval appearance; it is lined with buildings, many of which are quite ancient. (BB)
Day 5: Catania & Syracuse
Following breakfast our driver-guide drives us to the capital of the eastern part of Sicily and its second-largest city after Palermo, Catania has had a tormented history of conquest and devastation by nature. It's also one of the richest repositories of baroque architecture in Europe, with treasures well worth seeking out. The city has suffered natural disasters throughout the centuries. Much of the history of Catania is linked to its volcanic neighbor, Mount Etna. The characteristic of this town is for the fact that the people of Catania bounced back, creating an even better city and rebuilding in the harmonious baroque style. Many of the buildings were fashioned from the black lava (and this is the reason why the city looks dark) that had rained down upon it. An aura of the 18th century still lingers over much of the heart of Catania as a direct result of the city's rebuilding program. We will visit the city centre and the famous fish market. The market is famous for the variety and freshness of its produce, the picturesque and noisy Catania Fish Market is as old as the city itself. We can watch the fishermen using their unorthodox sales skills to persuade people into buying their catch of the day. Along with squid, swordfish and a myriad of other seafood, Catania Fish Market also has wine, extra virgin olive oil and other key ingredients used in the local cuisine. This afternoon we will continue to Syracuse, on the south-eastern side of Sicily, emerged as a Greek city around 734 BC. On arrival the first site we must see is on the island of Ortygia, which is filled with not only ancient ruins but also crafts shops and boutiques. From the mainland, Corso Umberto goes to the Ponte Nuova, which leads to the island. We will explore the city centre and we will shop along the narrow streets. Than we'll also sit on Piazza del Duomo, off Via Cavour -- one of the most elegant squares in Sicily. (BB)
Day 6: Syracuse & Noto
Following breakfast our driver-guide will transfer us to visit the Archaeological Park (admission fee: charge) showing also the great Greek Theatre, the Roman Anphitheatre and the Paradise Quarry. Later we drive to the little town of Noto, which is set amid olive groves and almond trees on a plateau overlooking the Asinaro Valley. Noto dates from the 9th century and knew Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Aragonese, and even Spanish culture before 1692, when an earthquake destroyed it. The town was constructed somewhat like a stage set, with curvilinear accents and wrought-iron balconies. Many Sicilian artists and artisans have worked hard to rebuild Noto into a baroque gem, with uniform buildings of soft limestone. Our best approach is through the monumental Porta Reale (Royal Gate), crowned by three symbols -- a dog, a swan, and a tower, representing the town's former allegiance to the Bourbon monarchy. From here, take Corso Vittorio Emanuele, going through the old patricians' quarter. The rich-looking, honey-colored buildings along this street are some of the most captivating on the island. This street takes you to the three most important piazzas. This afternoon we continue to Pozzallo port. Bye Bye to the driver-guide. END. (BB)
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