May 7, 2017
July 17, 2017
|Duration:||14 Days / 13 Nights|
|Price from:||Sold Out|
|Single Room Supplement:||Waived|
This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is opened up to OAT clients & could be co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.
DAY 1Depart U.S. Fly overnight from the U.S. to Palermo, Sicily.
DAY 2Arrive Palermo, Italy Meals included: D Accommodations: Hotel Plaza Opera or similar Today, arrive in Sicily. After you are met and transferred to your hotel, you'll enjoy an orientation walk and Welcome Drink, followed by a brief Italian lesson while meeting with your fellow travelers and Trip Leader. You'll also meet those who traveled on our optional Puglia: Italy's Undiscovered Heel extension. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a local wine bar tonight.
DAY 3Explore Palermo Meals included: B L Accommodations: Hotel Plaza Opera or similar This morning, we enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for our first excursion in the province of Palermo: Monreale, where we will enjoy a guided visit. We'll view the town's 12th-century Norman Cathedral, which sits in the hills overlooking Palermo. See Byzantine art come to life within the cathedral's nave, where nearly every surface is covered with intricately-detailed mosaics depicting biblical scenes in rich colors and gold filigree. Then we explore one of the city's historic quarters, with a walk through a traditional market to enjoy a lunch featuring the local street food—some of which originated from Africa’s Mediterranean coast. After lunch, you'll have some time at leisure to make your own discoveries, which our Trip Leader may help you identify. Later, our group will gather for an enlightening discussion about the Sicilian Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra), followed by dinner on your own tonight.
DAY 4Palermo • Optional Castelbuono & Cefalù tour OPTIONAL TOUR Meals included: B Accommodations: Hotel Plaza Opera or similar After breakfast, you may wish to join a full-day optional tour to Castelbuono & Cefalù on Sicily's northern coast. First we'll visit Castelbuono, a medieval town in the Madonie Mountains. Here, you'll view the battlements and towers of the town’s imposing 14th-century castle and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. We continue to Cefalù, which takes its name from the Greek word meaning “cape.” This small town is situated between a natural bay and towering granite cliff called La Rocca. Built for the Norman King, Roger II, the picturesque historic town features a “Sicilian Romanesque” cathedral that began construction in 1131. We return to Palermo in the late afternoon. Travelers choosing not to join our optional tour will enjoy a day at leisure in Palermo. The city's strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean has led to past filled with a regular succession of invaders, from Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and Romans, to Normans, Swabians, French and Spanish Bourbons, and more. This helps to explain the city's eclectic mix of architectural styles—although the 17th- and 18th-century Baroque period has left the most visible mark on Palermo's civic and religious structures. Intense rebuilding after heavy bombing during World War II has also contributed to the city's chaotic beauty. Depending on your interests, your Trip Leader can offer suggestions on where to find the most interesting museums, medieval churches, Byzantine mosaics, or bustling street markets for an authentic taste of local life. Or if you're brave, you may even wish to visit the mummified cadavers at Palermo's Catacombe dei Cappucini. Dinner is on your own this evening.
DAY 5Palermo • Erice • Segesta • Mazara del Vallo Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Visir Resort & Spa or similar After breakfast, we'll drive to Erice, a wonderfully preserved medieval town that towers over Sicily's western coast. After a walking tour of the ancient mountain-top town, we’ll head to Segesta, a region that was home to the ancient Elymians, one of Sicily's indigenous peoples. In a reminder of Segesta's ancient Greek heritage, the columns of a beautifully preserved unfinished Doric temple still stand proudly in a majestic hilltop location. We'll walk in the countryside surrounding this idyllic setting to a nearby agriturismo set in the foothills of Monte Pispisa, with views of the surrounding olive groves, vineyards, and temple ruins. After lunch, we continue to Mazara, where we'll check into our hotel. We'll gather together this evening for an included dinner at our hotel.
DAY 6Mazara walking tour • Sicilian cooking lesson • Mazara Kasbah quarter Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Visir Resort & Spa or similar After breakfast, we'll embark on a walking tour of Mazara. We'll see its impressive Duomo and visit a museum built to house the famous “Dancing Satyr,” a mysterious Greek bronze statue brought up by local fishermen in 1998 after resting on the seabed for 2,000 years. Then we'll visit Mazara's historic Kasbah quarter, where some 3,000 Tunisians and other Maghreb Arabs live and work. Here, we'll learn about the intermingling of Sicilian and Arab culture and the co-existence of Muslim and Christian faiths during an enlightening discussion with some Tunisian locals. Afterward we'll enjoy a traditional couscous lunch in the heart of the Kasbah. This evening we'll learn how to prepare authentic Sicilian fare during a cooking class at a local restaurant and enjoy the food we helped to prepare during an included dinner.
DAY 7Mazara • Boat ride to Mothya Island • Marsala wine tasting Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Visir Resort & Spa or similar Today begins with a hearty breakfast, followed by a boat ride (weather permitting) to the small island of Mothya. Some 2,700 years ago, the Phoenicians built a settlement here. We'll visit the ancient island fortress and enjoy a light picnic lunch amid the peaceful and historic surroundings before returning to Mazara. This afternoon, we first enjoy a brief visit to Museo del Sale, a semi-working salt museum where we’ll learn about the age-old Trapani tradition of salt production and refining. Then, we visit a local winery to enjoy a tasting of the renowned wines of the Marsala vineyards. This evening, we'll enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.
DAY 8Valley of Temples • Agrigento • Piazza Armerina Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Gigliotto Agriturism or similar After breakfast, we depart for Piazza Armerina. Along the way, we stop at the Valley of Temples, situated just outside the city of Agrigento. Agrigento was once the Greek city of Akragas, one of the most culturally advanced cities of the ancient world. In the Valley of Temples, we’ll view the stunning archaeological remains of eight Greek temples, built between 510 and 430 BC. After lunch in a local restaurant in Agrigento, we continue our journey deep into the Sicilian hinterlands to Piazza Armerina. Upon arrival at our agriturismo (a traditional farm house sanctioned for lodging by the Italian government), we’ll enjoy dinner at the farm’s restaurant featuring locally grown cuisine.
DAY 9Villa Romana del Casale • Ragusa Meals included: B L D Accommodations: De Stefano Palace or similar Following breakfast, we depart for Villa Romana del Casale, home to the ruins of an extraordinary Roman villa. Constructed in the middle of the 4th century AD as a hunting lodge, the villa was covered by a landslide in the 12th century. Twentieth-century excavations have revealed some of the finest examples of Roman mosaics in all of Europe, with scenes ranging from Homeric escapades to depictions of daily life. The villa is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch at a local restaurant, we journey to Ragusa. After Ragusa was leveled by an earthquake in 1693, wealthier members of the population decided to build their new town higher up a cliff, while the rest of the inhabitants rebuilt on the original site, at the bottom of a gorge. The two distinct towns remained separated until 1926, when the higher and lower sections became one, and now a jumble of homes and churches cling to the walls of the steep ravine that divides them. Upon arrival, we'll first explore Upper Town—Ragusa Superiore—noted for the extravagant Sicilian Baroque architecture of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. This evening, we'll dine like the locals and enjoy apericena, a light dinner featuring a variety of traditional Sicilian foods eaten with the fingers.
DAY 10Old Town Ragusa • Modica Meals included: B D Accommodations: De Stefano Palace or similar This morning, our discoveries focus on the Baroque splendor of Ragusa Ibla, one of Sicily’s best-preserved old towns, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll view numerous structures ornately decorated in the Baroque style with elaborate balconies. A highlight is the 18th-century Duomo di San Giorgio, set in the center of Ibla, with a neo-classical dome added in 1820. After lunch on your own in Ibla, you have leisure time to explore its picturesque alleys and stairways. Perhaps you’ll sample a treat from Gelati DiVini, a local shop specializing in delicious wine-flavored ice creams. Later this afternoon, we'll make our journey to the neighboring town of Modica, part of the Val di Noto UNESCO World Heritage Site, like the Sicilian locals—aboard vintage Fiat 500s. These small, iconic Italian cars are also ideal for maneuvering through the narrow streets and lanes of Modica. Like Ragusa, Modica was largely rebuilt in the Sicilian Baroque style after the 1693 earthquake—and is also divided into upper and lower sections, connected by numerous flights of steps. We’ll walk the cobblestone streets to admire its various buildings, considered to be among the most beautiful architecture in Sicily. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
DAY 11Castelluccio • A Day in the Life of a Sicilian dairy farm Meals included: B L Accommodations: De Stefano Palace or similar After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll journey to the village of Castelluccio, where we’ll experience A Day in the Life of a Sicilian dairy farm. We’ll visit a dairy farm owned by a local family, who will be happy to show us some of the culinary traditions that have made Sicily famous around the world. We’ll begin by seeing how they make cheese, specifically ricotta, which, in Italy, is typically made from sheep’s milk (while in the U.S., it’s usually made with cow’s milk). Cheese experts often say that the difference between fresh ricotta and store-bought ricotta is stark—and we’ll be able to test this theory for ourselves as we sample the fruit of our labor. We’ll also have a chance to bake bread before enjoying an authentic Sicilian lunch with our hosts. After lunch, we'll return to our hotel in Ragusa and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner is on your own this evening.
DAY 12Syracuse • Ortigia • Catania Meals included: B Accommodations: Hotel Una Palace or similar After breakfast at our hotel, we depart for Syracuse, known as the birthplace of the famed mathematician Archimedes and as one of the most powerful ports of the ancient Mediterranean world. At 2,700 years old, Syracuse boasts a rich and storied history—evident today in the city's Greek, Roman, and Baroque architecture, which has helped earn Syracuse UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. When we arrive, we'll set off on a discovery tour of Ortigia, where an enticing blend of architectural styles awaits, including Greek and Roman ruins, Medieval Norman structures, and Baroque buildings. Highlights include the fountain of Arethusa, the Temple of Apollo, and the Piazza del Duomo, the lovely pedestrian square that serves as the heart of Ortigia. After lunch on your own, we'll take a boat ride along Ortigia Bay (not available November through March or in bad weather). Afterwards, we continue to Catania, where you'll dine on your own this evening.
DAY 13Catania • Explore Taormina Meals included: B Accommodations: Hotel Una Palace or similar Breakfast this morning is followed by a guided tour of Catania, a vibrant city perched on the edge of the Ionian Sea. Founded in the 8th century BC, Catania was once among Italy's most important cultural centers, particularly in the Renaissance period. Sicily's first university opened here in 1434, and Catania's tradition of education and industry continues to thrive today. We'll visit the local WWII Museum, dedicated to the Allied landing on the southern coast of Sicily. Then, we'll visit the local fish market, where an array of sights and sounds (and seafood!) delight. Our tour concludes with a stroll along Via Crociferi, a scenic passage laced with churches, monasteries, and private homes. After lunch on your own, we'll journey to hillside Taormina, one of the most highly regarded ruins in Sicily. We'll tour the ancient site with its impressive Greek amphitheater, as well as the charming village of Taormina, and admire sweeping views of Mt. Etna and the Ionian Sea. Dinner is on your own this evening.
DAY 14Catania • Linguaglossa • Donkey ride at Mount Etna Meals included: B L D Accommodations: Hotel Una Palace or similar After breakfast at our hotel, we journey to the quaint alpine town of Linguaglossa, situated on the northern slope of Mount Etna. The tallest active volcano in Europe and the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps, Mount Etna soars to a height of more than 10,000 feet. It's also one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and its rich volcanic soil brings abundant vineyards and orchards to Etna's slopes. From Linguaglossa, we'll journey up to Piano Provenzana, a former ski station at an altitude of almost 6,000 feet. Then, we'll have an opportunity to trek a little by donkey (and also by foot) to admire the surrounding mountain views. Please note: Departures from November-March will not visit Piano Provenzana, but will enjoy these activities from Linguaglossa. Afterward, we'll enjoy a barbecue lunch. Then we'll transfer back to Catania for time at leisure before gathering again this evening. We'll toast our adventure over a Farewell Drink at the hotel, followed by a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
DAY 15Return to U.S. or begin post-trip extension Meals included: B We depart our hotel this morning and transfer to the airport for our flight home. Or, begin our Calabria: Southern Italy's Heartland extension.
In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2017 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.
Please note: A $25 documentation fee will be added to the final payment for this trip.
We limit our trips to small groups so we suggest you deposit early to guarantee your spot. View information regarding Air Travel & Transfers here.
Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of OAT resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.
This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is designed for GWT clients however if room block is not sold by 120 days prior to departure date, the trip can be opened up to OAT clients and could be co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.
Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation
Shared Room - one person, traveling solo who would like to share with another passenger and pay the per person "Double" price
Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Gutsy Women Travel includes a group transfer (if travelers purchase airfare from our operator) or individuals can book private transportation if desired.
For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
For online 24/7 booking capability go to gutsywomentravel.com.
Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.