Sicilyis unbelievably rich in beauty, in history, in arts, in culture. Walkamong the greatest Greek ruins anywhere, see incomparable Roman andNorman mosaics; explore remote hilltop villages and spectacularlandscapes; visit sites of Mafia and anti-Mafia activities; climbsmoking, fuming Etna (if she lets us). Siracusa, Agrigento, Taormina,Palermo, Monreale, Piazza Armerina, Marsala, Erice, Segesta, we touch everycorner of the island. Enjoy a Sicilian cooking class, traditionalcheese and pastry-making demonstrations, winery visits, wine tastings,and some of the best restaurants in Sicily.
April 26~May 6 (FULL)
June 15~25 (incl. optional Greek Theatre
July 5~15 (incl. Palermo Santa Rosalia
August (possible, if you're a group of 6
or more, email us),
September 28~October 8 (our ***Full-Monty
Special***: more of Sicily,
more of us, & more of you, all at a 10 % discount. See below.*)
if you are a group of 6 or more; email us) 2016: March 19~29(our popular Easter Festivals tour), April 15~25 May 20~30 (incl. optional Greek Theatre
Performance), June 10~20 (incl. optional Greek Theatre
Performance), July 8~18 (incl. Palermo Santa Rosalia
festival), August (possible if you're a group of 6
or more, email us), September 9~19 October 7~17 November 4~14 December (possible
if you are a group of 6 or more; email us)
Tours will run if at least 6 people sign up. Tours fill at 15~16, so additional tours may run in any month when there is enough demand. Check with us.
* Full Monty Tour: Normally, only one of us lead a Sicily Highlights Tour (of up to 15 people). But each of us has different qualities, different emphases, and it occurred to us why not join forces and offer one tour with all three of us--Lucia, Stephen, and Douglas? Hence a "Full Monty". The number of you will now go up to 30 maximum (thus 1 of us / 10 of you, still a cozy ratio). All at a 10% discount. However, if the number of people who sign up does not exceed 15, then the Full Monty tour reverts to a normal Sicily Highlights Tour.
10 Days (day before Palm Sunday to day after Easter Monday)
one does Easter week with the same spectacle and deep feeling of
Sicilians. This is Catholicism with all the splendor of the
Resurrection with more than a splash of pagan devilment. We will cross Sicily, from festival to festival, discovering regional festival
foods, and seeing the major tourist sites along the way.
Sicilian Cooking classes, wineries, cheese farms, & history
Our cooking class creations, at home with Alessia
Sicilian cuisine melds the flavors of at least ten
passing civilisations. Most of them never visited Tuscany, and those who
know Tuscany cooking and think they know Italian food are seriously
mistaken. Here in Sicily, there is an echo of Greek, a taste of the Arab, and a
strong dash of Spanish. Flavors are strong and rich. Come for the best of fresh fish and an amazing
variety of maritime edibles. The fresh ricotta and cherry tomatoes of
Sicily cannot be matched. These, plus eggplant, capers, oranges and
lemons, almonds, pistachios, etc. appear in even in sauces for pasta.
Then there are desserts, gift of the Arabs, such as "cannoli" and cassata cake (in the
On this tour, we enjoy cooking classes from beloved local cooking masters, like Alessia. We know the best restaurant chefs and will have hands-on Sicilian cooking
workshops in restaurant kitchens and in their homes. We will visit
the farms where they make cheese and olive oil, kitchens of
pastry-makers, wineries, and an outdoor museum of traditional farming
tools and techniques.
and this is Alessia herself in her kitchen with the cannoli we made For more about her, see her own website
Sometimes we will let the master chef do the work for us. We will dine at Michelin-starred restaurants in Palermo and Ragusa. And where possible, we will seek out places that are part of the Slow Food movement, for Sicily is also going local and organic, with
many farmhouse B & Bs (agriturismo) offering traditional cooking in
the freshest and most natural way.
8 days COST: please enquire through the "Contact Us" page.
These two cities display the urban life of the
ancient Roman world in the two greatest open-air archaeological museums in the
world: Rome, the metropolis, the father of our sense of what it means to be
civilized and urban. Rome, the center of Western Civilization in the ancient
world and in the medieval Christian world. Rome, the incomparable, the Eternal.
And Naples, where ancient city life is displayed more clearly than anywhere else
(Pompeii and Herculaneum), with stunning Bourbon palaces, and the most amazing
vibrant street life in Italy.
This tour is being organized by the Fromm Institute of the University of San Francisco, USA, based on our two adult lecture series this spring on the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. It, of course, is open to anyone interested in an intellectually challenging tour of Ancient Rome and Naples.
of Us All: Here our Western Civilization was born. a legacy that in
our time is becoming the world civilization. We will take a clear and focused visit to Athens and the
Peloponnesus, where the Golden Age of Western man played out in the Classical
Age of ancient Greece
Even if you have been here, we
take a fresh look at architectural beauty and how the Greeks invented
ideas of citizenship and democracy, walking the Acropolis, the Agorà, the
Theatre of Dionysus, and the best exhibits in the great museums of the city,
including the new Acropolis Museum. Then off to Eleusis to re-imagine the
mysteries, kept secret for a thousand years and still unknown.
:We will envision the ancient Mycenaeans at Mycenae, ancient potters under the
acropolis of Corinth, the military state at Sparta, the wild clarity of drama
at Epidaurus, the spiritualism of sports at Olympia. Then, beyond the Peloponnesus,
we go to the glorious heights of Delphi and imagine the desperation of the
Spartan 300 at Thermopylae.
life: Greece also offers a fascinating modern culture, and
landscape, and our visit will include a winery visit and lunch in Nemea, the charming
18C town of Nauplia, the wild beauty of Monemvasia, the remote Byzantine
monastery of Mystras, find the best restaurants we can and even try a hot
Length: 13 days Dates: 30 September ~12 October, 2016 Cost: TBA, please enquire through the "Contact Us" page.
TUNISIA -- Arabs and Romans, the Sahel, and the Desert.
Tunisia is where the Arab world is most Western, most in touch with Europe and has been so since Roman times. The coast is ringed with resorts and magnificent beaches, but the souk in Tunis, is as mysterious and fascinating as any in the Arab world. We will pass by the coastal resorts, instead plunging into the wonder, the unusual: the souk in Tunis, Roman ruins rising from dusty plains, the ancient holy city of Kairouan, home of fabulous weaving, the mysterious underground dwellings of Matamata, and the Sahara itself, at the edge of oceans of sand.
And now, Tunisia is beginning and still-bright star of the "Arab Spring". Here we can see how a population--better educated, more liberal, less riven with internal division--will bring about a more just society peacefully, as an example to the other Arab nations.
We will be traveling and living modestly, seeking Tunisian food and quality, but not fancy, 3~4 star accommodations.
COST: please enquire through the "Contact Us" page.
This is the heart of it all, the great cradle of Western faith and a great fault line between West and East. Jerusalem. Etched in pain and struggle, where the stones speak with more passion over more centuries than any place in the world. Jerusalem. You need say little else.
The Old City:. We will spend our initial days in the Old City, walking the streets, visiting the greatest of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sites, becoming at home there, in the narrow lanes, getting to know the shop keepers. One day for orientation and rest, one day each for the Jewish, Christian, and Arab quarters. Then we will take to the roads for a day trip to Bethlehem and Hebron. A further day will take us to the Jewish Museum and Vad Yashem, the Holocaust Museum. Then we will return to the Old City, for you to explore on your own for a day day,
Stories of Jerusalem:
We will travel across 3000 years of the most intense place on earth, a great
cauldron of stories at the heart of the faith of half of humanity, a city that
lives its history on its sleeve. We will visit sites & hear stories of
David & Solomon, of the millennium of Hebrew rule, of the city known to
Jesus, the Romans, the Arabs, the Ottomans, & of modern Israel.
We will come also to experience something of the living presence of three great
faiths, their foods, costumes, markets, music, holy sites, & processions,
while settling in & becoming at home in Jerusalem (8 nights).
While we are based in Jerusalem, we’ll take day trips to Bethlehem, Hebron,
& the Dead Sea, before hitting the road to Masada (1 night), the Negev,
Jaffa (1 night), the Roman capital of Caesarea Marittima, Haifa, Tiberias on
the Sea of Galilee (2 nights in a kibbutz), & the Golan Heights.
experience of Jerusalem is unique and benefits from true immersion. We
will stay in simple accommodation in the Old City. It will be clean,
quiet, friendly, and about a three-star standard.
This tour runs in conjunction with Sonoma State University OLLI adult lecture series.
11 days Dates: TBA Cost: please enquire through the "Contact Us" page.
All Italians know that Napoli preserves Christmas at its most traditional. In the narrow bustling streets of Spaccanapoli can be found the finest hand-crafted ornaments, creches, nativity scenes, as well a special holiday foods that make the whole experience a riot of sensation.
We will spend the week between Christmas and the New
Year visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, the Greek
temples of Paestum, Naples' remarkable catacombs, and the priceless
National Archaeological Museum.
And every Italian also knows that Napoli is where to be on New Year's. The
celebration in Piazza Plebiscito in Napoli is the most splendid and
raucous in Italy. All Italy will be watching on TV, and we will be there.
11 days Dates: Wed, 23 Dec 2015 ~ Sat, 02 Jan 2016