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: 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 (average about 8-12)
Length: 10 nights, 11 days
Cost: € 2790 (that's euros)
Tour Dates in 2018:
Mid Spring Tour (2): 02 - 12 May (eight places left)
Late Spring Tour (1): 19 - 29 May (incl. optional Siracusa Greek Theatre perf.) (only 4 spaces left)
Late Spring Tour (2): 30 May - 09 June (incl. optional Siracusa Greek Theatre performance)
Early Summer Tour: 22 June - 2 July
Mid Summer Tour: 08 - 18 July (incl. grand Santa Rosalia Fest. of Palermo) (closed)
Late Summer Tour: 08 ~ 18 August (incl. explosive St. Sebastian Festival of Palazzolo Acreide) (closed)
Early Autumn Tour: 07 ~ 17 September
Mid Autumn Tour: 05 ~ 15 October (full)
Late Autumn Tour: 31 October ~ 10 November
Early Winter Tour: December (possible if you are a group of 6 or more; email us)
Tour Dates in 2019:
Early Spring Tour: 30 March to 9 April
Easter Festivals Tour: 13 to 23 April
Early May Tour: 1 - 11 May
Mid May Tour (optional Greek Theatre production): 18 - 28 May
May/June Tour (optional Greek Theatre production): 29 May - 8 June
June Tour (optional Greek Theatre production): 7 - 17 June
July Tour (incl. Santa Rosalia Festival): 8-18
September Tour: 6 - 16 September
October Tour: 11 - 21 October
November Tour: 8 - 18 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.
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 Classical & Mycenaean GREECE
Humanities West Greece Tour (Sept. 21-Oct. 3, 2018). This tour is operated under the auspices of Humanities West of San Francisco (http://humanitieswest.net), in association with two upcoming Humanities West programs: Ancient Greeks: The Age of Expansion (February 23-24, 2018) and Bronze Age Greece: Mycenaeans and the Origins of Western Civilization (May 3-4, 2019). The tour, however, is open to all, not only Humanities West members.
The Mother of All of Us: This tour will focus on the civilizations of the Aegean from the decline of the Minoans through the rise of Archaic Greece, with an emphasis on early developments in civic life & the narratives of history & myth Here Western Civilization was born, a process, a growing & evolving miracle, that in our own time is becoming the World Civilization.
Peloponnesus & beyond: After visiting Archaic Athens, we're off to Eleusis to re-imagine the mysteries, kept secret for a thousand years & still unknown. We will make a focused visit to the Peloponnesus, where Mycenaeans carried forth the Minoan torch of high culture until falling into dark centuries & where we struggled out of Dark Ages into the “Golden Age of Western Civilization.
We will envision ancient potters under the Corinthian acropolis; Mycenaeans at Mycenae, Tiryns, & Argos; the military state at Sparta; the wild clarity of drama & healing at Epidaurus. Homeric Pylos continues to reveal wonders, the wild beauty of Bassae to amaze, & Olympia to illustrate how sports deepens into worship. Then, beyond the Peloponnesus, we pilgrimage to the glorious heights of Delphi & imagine the desperation of Thermopylae.
Athens: We finish in Classical Athens. Even if you have been here, we take a fresh look at the inventions of citizenship & democracy, architectural & artistic beauty, in the Acropolis, Agorà, Theatre of Dionysus, & the unimaginably wonderful Archaeological Museum. There will be a free day in Athens for you to explore as you like.
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 six UNESCO World Heritage sites, with options on two more.
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: € 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 from the second century BCE for the next six centuries and Naples is home to the two best-preserved Roman sites in the world (Pompeii and Herculaneum), as well as the seat of Italy's richest post-Renaissance kingdom.
Itinerary: Please click here for the detailed itinerary. (For the Naples-only version, see the second half of this itinerary.)
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
2017 Tour Dates: 24 March - 03 April, 2018
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 it still is succeeding.
The Land: Then there is the Sahara desert, for Tunisia actually has some ofreal dune landscape, not common elsewhere in the Sahara. The middle days of the tour will be spent in desert oases.
Dates & Price: TBA. Please contact us for details.