In more ways than one, Sicily is the ultimate Italy. Rich in art, archaeological treasures, history, folklore and breathtaking Mediterranean scenery, the island has been the crossroads between Europe and Africa for centuries. Sicily is warm, golden, and sprinkled with blindingly white Greek temples. This is where Archimedes taught, St. Paul preached and where the omnipresent Mount Etna made history. Over the centuries, the island was colonized by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, before becoming a part of Spain, then the Bourbon Kingdom, and finally Italy. All the conquerors left behind their cultural footprints which add to the fascination: vestiges of the ancient Greeks and Romans entice in Agrigento and Taormina, the presence of the Normans lingers in Palermo and Monreale, the rock-clinging seaside beauty of Siracusa still lives according to its own rhythm, and the distinctive Byzantine and Arab art mingles with Italian influences. Sicily has an intriguing cuisine, the serene sea, cities with a cosmopolitan vibe, and two volcanoes which define it, and as Goethe said, "to have seen Italy without seeing Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all."
The Secrets of Sicily tour is an exciting journey, introducing the very best of the island. We'll experience the relaxed island lifestyle and sample delicious Sicilian food and wine, while exploring the diverse cultures and landscapes and indulging our senses with visits to authentic restaurants, wineries and even a chocolate factory. From beautifully sited lodgings, we set out on walks among the temples and along spectacular seashores. Our route will follow the Romans, Greeks, Arabs and Normans, all of whom inhabited the area. We'll witness the amazing architecture and the rich history they left behind, taste wines made with grapes grown in volcanic soil of Mount Etna, learn to prepare Sicilian dishes and enjoy cocktails with a Sicilian contessa in her 14th-century palazzo.