Stunning Sicily – Our 9 Days Tour

9 Days 8 Night Jewish Heritage Tour of Sicily & Kosher Culinary Experience

September 5 to September 13 2016

Sicily has enchanted visitors for millennia and now you have the opportunity to discover this magical island with its breathtaking coastline and charming hilltop villages, the magnificent Valley of the Temples and spectacular Mount Etna.
Day 1
September 5 Monday – Palermo

Overnight: 5 ★Villa-Igiea Hotel, Palermo

Upon your arrival you will enjoy a cup of authentic Italian cappuccino before we head to the vibrant city of Palermo. Here we will meet our expert local guide and historian Jackie Alio, co-author of Women of Sicily, Saints and Queens and Rebels. Together we will explore the largest city in Sicily, a spectacular mixture of cultures and architectural styles, in which the baroque is among the most noteworthy. We will visit Palermo’s city-centre, with its historic landmarks and exclusive Jewish sites such as the Synagogue known as the “Masquita” and the Jewish Quarter. We will also visit the grand 12th century Zias Castle, built in a Norman Arab style, and observe the Hebrew inscriptions still preserved on its walls. Our last stop before heading to the hotel will be the Palatine Chapel.

Day 2
September 6 Tuesday – Monreale and Palmero

Overnight: 5 ★ Villa-Igiea Hotel, Palermo

Following our first Sicilian breakfast the morning will be devoted to the Duomo in Monreale. This cathedral was built in 1174 and contains representations of Old and New Testament scenes displayed in golden mosaics. We then return to Palermo to enjoy a spectacular walking tour, starting from the 1,000 year-old lively Ballarò Market. This souk dates back to when the Moors occupied Sicily, and it hasn’t changed much over the centuries. In amongst the fresh produce we will find typical Palermitano dishes such as Panelle, a chick-pea paste rolled into thin sheets and served in slices. After tasting this and other local dishes we head off to the Piazza Pretoria and its famous “four corners”, a quartet of baroque palaces dating back to 1560. We will continue through Via Maqueda and past the Massimo Theatre opera house as well as the Politeama Theatre.

Day 3
September 7 Wednesday – Erice and Trapini

Overnight: 5 ★ Villa-Igiea Hotel, Palermo

We begin our day with a visit to Erice, a small village with a medieval castle and defensive walls, on the top of a mountain. This beautiful village overlooks the Tyrrhenian coast, close to the port city of Trapani on the Sicilian west coast. Erice is famous for its almond biscuits and pastries, abundantly displayed in the windows of the city’s pasticcerie. Here, an expert pastry chef will share with us the secrets of these delicious pastries. We will then visit Trapani as well as the Ferdelliana library, where the oldest Kabbala in Western Europe was discovered. A walk through the Giudecca (Jewish Quarter) will take us to the Ciambra Palace. We will visit the Pepoli Museum, to see handmade Judeo-Arabic coral jewellery. Finally, we will walk through the Masala salt way and watch sunset in Mothia

Day 4
September 8 Thursday – – Agrigento, Agira and Siracusa

Overnight: 4 ★  Una Hotel Palace, Catania

We will start the day with a visit to Agrigento, home to Sicily’s most fascinating archaeological site, the Valley of The Temples, where we will see a selection of Greek ruins. A stroll through the archaeological complex with its amazing views and impressive Doric temples will round off our visit. Our next destination will be Agira, here we will visit the site where a Synagogue once stood. We will admire the magnificent stone portal of the Aron Hakodesh which bears an ancient Hebrew inscription. In the afternoon we will arrive at our following hotel in Catania, where we will spend the next five nights.

Day 5
– September 9 Friday – Siracusa

Overnight: 4 ★  Una Hotel Palace, Catania

We will spend the day in Siracusa, where the island of Ortigia joins the mainland through three bridges. Our visit to Ortigia will begin with a walk through the narrow streets of the Giudecca (the ancient Jewish Quarter), site of the Synagogue and Mikve, which date back to the 7th century. We will explore the magnificent city of Siracusa, once Athens’ main rival. We will pay a visit to the catacombs of San Giovanni and the crypt of San Marciano, who, was killed by the Jews of the city. Until their expulsion in 1492, Jews amounted to a third of the population in Siracusa; this community was second in size only to the thriving city of Palmero. We will then make our way back to Catania, where we will spend a relaxing, traditional Shabbat at our luxurious hotel.

Day 6
September 10 Shabbat – Catania

Overnight: 4 ★  Una Hotel Palace, Catania

After breakfast we will explore the city of Catania on foot. In Catania, which still exhibits traces of its important Jewish past, we will be taken on a guided tour of the famous Duomo, and Ursino Castle, where two “Menorahs” have been inserted into the castle’s tower. We will regress to our hotel where a traditional Shabbat lunch and service will be held. Guests will then have some free time to explore the city or simply have a Shabbat siesta. Seuda Shlishit will be served at the hotel, prior to the Havdallah service. We will end the day by enjoying a traditional Sicilian Puppet Show.

Day 7
September 11 Sunday – Noto, Modica and Ragusa

Overnight: 4 ★  Una Hotel Palace, Catania

After breakfast we will set out to visit the southern part of the island starting with the town of Noto, where we will have an entertaining and informative walking tour. Later we will visit the town of Modica a UNESCO heritage site. Modica is particularly famous for its chocolate, which we will of course sample. We will end our day in Ragusa, one of the most picturesque towns in Sicily.

Day 8
September 12 Monday – Taormina and Mount Etna

Overnight: 4 ★  Una Hotel Palace, Catania

Our last day will begin with the stunning volcanic Mount Etna. This famous volcano has been increasing in size for about 500,000 years, and is in the midst of a series of eruptions which began in 2001. We will ascend the volcano by jeep and cable car and visit multiple sites including Rifugio Sapienza at 1,900 meters and Torre Del Filosofo at 2,900 meters. From this point we will be equipped with protective helmets and caving lights, we will proceed on foot towards the crater formed and explore a typical lava cave. In the afternoon we will visit the mythical seaside town of Taormina, where we will enjoy stunning views of Mount Etna. We will visit the remains from Taormina’s golden days, including the Greek theatre, Roman “Naumachiae”, 10th century palazzo, 13th century cathedral and its ancient Abbey. We will finally walk through the Jewish quarter where guests will have time for last-minute shopping and enjoying the streets of Catania. We will terminate our tour with a traditional, gourmet Gala Dinner.

Day 9
September 13 Tuesday

Breakfast will be served at our hotel, followed by transport to Catania airport.

Useful Information:

This tour offers you the perfect opportunity to visit Rome. Yaya Tours can help you to arrange this. Excellent
flight routes are available from JFK, both Delta and Alitalia offer perfect flights.

The price includes:
  • All accommodation costs
  • Ten breakfasts, light lunches, and full evening meals with wine
  • All transport costs including group airport transfers on September 5th & 14th
  • Entrance to all monuments and shows as listed in the itinerary
  • Local professional English speaking guides
Other Costs:

Tips for local service providers: $180 per traveller and will be collected at the beginning of the trip.

Costs not included:

Flights, travel health insurance, personal expenses, or miscellaneous fees (departure fees, visas, security, etc.)
All clients should be aware that while all efforts are made to avoid any problems before, during or after your trip, Yaya Food and Travel carries no insurance for your health or luggage. While using the services only of registered suppliers, we recommend that you purchase fully comprehensive travel insurance, to include cancellation, as Yaya Food and Travel, cannot be held liable for any mishaps during your stay.

Price:

Based on 2 people sharing the tour is priced at $5,200.

Single supplements are available priced at $1,245.

Our tours are Kosher friendly and respect Shabbat.