Highlights of Sicily
SMALL GROUP TOUR
Together we will explore Sicily's rich history, beauty, arts and culture. We will walk among some of the best preserved Greek ruins in the world; tell the ancient myths on the sites where they happened, marvel at vivid Roman and Norman mosaics; explore hilltop villages; enjoy Sicilian cuisine, rustic and sophisticated; visit sites of Mafia and anti-Mafia activities; take a Sicilian cooking class; enjoy a remote cheese farm visit and lunch; and taste the wines of two wineries.
All along, Stephen, Douglas, or Lucia will share unforgettable stories and insights that we have gained in nearly 40 years of experience showing Sicily to visitors. Join us!
Highlights of Sicily Itineraries: Itineraries and details vary by season. Please click here for the itineraries
Sites visited (differs slightly by season): Siracusa, Noto, Modica, Ragusa, Piazza Armerina (Roman Villa), Agrigento, Selinute, Marsala, Erice, Segesta, Palermo, Monreale, Cefalù, Madonie Mountains, and Taormina.
Transportation: our driver and van/minibus.
Lodging and meals: all accommodation and about half the meals are included. For details, see the itinerary.
Size: minimum 6 persons, maximum 16~18. Group size in the off-season moths (our March, June, July, and November tours) usually remains in single digits, while high-season April-May & September-October tours typically fill.
Length: 10 nights, 11 days (counting arrival and departure day)
Cost: € 2890 (that's euros)
Tour Dates remaining in 2019:
September Tour (1): 6 - 16 September (2 spots left)
September Tour (2): 20-30 September (full)
October Tour: 11-21 October (full)
November Tour: 8-18 November (still pleasantly small number in a quieter time of year)
December Tour: possible; if you are a group of 6 or more; email us)
tour dates in 2020
Easter Festivals Tour: 4-14 April
Early Spring Tour: 18–28 April
Mid Spring Tour: 29 April–9 May
May Tour: 16-26 May (with option to see an ancient tragedy performed in the Syracuse ancient Greek theatre)
June Tour: 3-13 June (with option to see an ancient tragedy performed in the Syracuse ancient Greek theatre)
July & August Tours: possible and can be organized around important Sicilian festivals (e.g. Santa Rosalia in Palermo, 2nd week of July). If you are a group of 6 or more; email us)
September Tour: 4– 14 September (a second September tour could open in the second half of this month. Contact us if later September works better for you)
October Tour: 2–12 October (a second October tour could open in the second half of this month. Contact us if later October works better for you)
November Tour: 6–16 November
walking requirements. Sicily does not make many concessions to people with walking difficulties. The sites are extensive, often strongly uphill, and usually rocky. You must be able to walk at a the pace of an average stroll, across uneven, rocky or cobblestone surfaces, for at least a mile and a half without resting. And be able to climb at least three flights of stairs without resting. Intrepid but slow walkers should be aware of how unfair it is for the other members to wait for them (and stressful for the guide, whose job it is to keep the group together). Slow or limited walkers can have magnificent visits to Sicily, but they would be kinder to schedule their own private tour, which we would be happy to do.
History: We begin our visit in Tunis, the site of ancient Carthage and the remote and sparsely visited Roman cities across the vast Sahel region that the Romans called “Africa”. We will travel to the startling amphitheatre marooned from traveled ways, visit a 2000-year old Jewish community, and tell again stories of Odysseus and the Lotus Eaters
Culture: We are in an area that knew the glories of the peak of Islamic culture, great centers of learning like Kairouan and lovely mosques dating from the beginnings of Islam. We will descend into underground Berber dwellings used in Star Wars filming, and wander several souks. All along we will encounter Arab and Berber cultures, consider Islam, its amazing achievements and current troubles, as we travel through the country that began the "Arab Spring", and the one place where still it is succeeding.
The Land: And then there is the Sahara desert, for Tunisia actually has some real dune landscape, not common elsewhere in the Sahara. The middle days of the tour will be spent in desert oases.
Dates: November 10-23, 2020 (at this point, dates are 90% certain, could shift a day or two later)
Price & Itinerary: $3220 (click on link to the left to download the draft itinerary)
Jerusalem & Israel
Here is the epicenter of world passion, of the riveting, furious engagement of the human heart with the divine. We will spend eleven days in the cauldron of Western faith, exploring what happened here and why it matters to so many people. We will be non-denominational, non-political, only advocates for and explorers of the phenomenon that is mankind,, that is us. How we act is history, and nowhere is history so fraught as in Jerusalem.
Our visit will focus on what really is the eternal city, walking its streets, telling its stories. Then, for our final four days, we will explore further afield, circling the Palestinian areas and Israel proper. Click here to look at an itinerary.
Group Size: 8~16
Price: $ 3390
THE GLORIES OF GREECE
The Mother of All of Us: This tour will focus on the civilizations of the Aegean from the decline of the Mycenaeans through the troubled triumph of Classical Greece, with an emphasis on developments in civic life & the narratives of history & myth. Here Western Civilization was born, a continuing, evolving miracle, that in our own time is becoming the World Civilization.
Archaic & Classical Athens: We begin climbing the Acropolis, wandering Agorà, & perusing the unimaginably wonderful Archaeological Museum. Then there will be a free day for you to explore as you like, with our recommendations in hand.
Peloponnesus & beyond: Then we're off to Eleusis to re-imagine the mysteries, kept secret for fifteen hundred years & still unknown. We will continue into the Peloponnesus, where Mycenaeans carried forth Minoan high culture until falling into dark centuries, out of which arose the “Golden Age of Western Civilization”.
We will envision ancient potters under the Corinthian acropolis; the Oresteia at Mycenae, Heracles at Tiryns; the military state at Sparta; the clarity of drama & healing at Epidaurus. The wild beauties of the Temple of Apollo at Bassae continue to amaze, & Olympia illustrates how sports is worship. Then, beyond the Peloponnesus, we pilgrimage up to the glorious spiritual heights of Delphi & Metéora & imagine the desperation of Thermopylae, before finishing again in Athens
Cultural life & landscape: Greece also offers fascinating modern culture & landscape, & our visit will include two nights in the charming 18C town of Nauplio, sleeping under the wild coastal beauty of Monemvasia, & crossing the ‘impassible’ Taiyetos Mountains.
In all, we’ll visit 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, with an option on another. That is, optional excursions to Crete, Rhodes, & elsewhere can be arranged.
Email Douglas Kenning (dkenning@sicily-tour) or through the "Contact Us" page for the itinerary and other questions.
group size: 8~16
price: TBA (in 2018 it was € 3217)
ROME AND NAPLES - THE GRANDEUR OF ANCIENT ROME
The archaeological riches of Rome and Naples together form a complete picture of urban life in the Roman Republic and Empire. Rome was the epicenter of Western Civilization for six centuries, completely shaping all subsequent Western Civilzation in its own image. Naples is home to the two best-preserved Roman sites in the world (Pompeii and Herculaneum), but also so much more, including the seat of Italy's richest post-Renaissance kingdom.
Itinerary: Please click here for the detailed itinerary. One can join this tour at any point, doing only one of the two cities if preferred.
Cost: € 2950 ($ 3290) (Naples-only tour costs € 1890).
easter festivals of Sicily
No one does Easter week (Pasqua) with as much deep feeling and colorful spectacle as the Sicilians. This is the beauty of high Catholicism with a strong dose of ancient pagan iconography. We will follow Easter Week festivals across Sicily, eat regional Easter delicacies, hear festive music, and visit the major tourist sites along the way.
Itinerary: Please click here for detailed itinerary.
Length: 10 Days (day before Palm Sunday to day after Easter Monday)
Cost: € 2790
Tour Dates: 13-23 April, 2019