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Traditions & History of Sicily & Calabria
September 19 - 28, 2019                    $3595

Trip #1970
Deposit:  $500
Final Payment:  7/10/19
Single Sup. +$595
Trip Director:  Franke Pass
Optional Insurance:  +$348 for trip cost up to $400
+$397 for trip cost over $4000*

*Must be Paid with Deposit

Package Includes:
*Round Trip Air from Dulles
*Hotel Transfers, Porterage, Taxes
*Sightseeing as per Itinerary
*Daily Buffet Breakfast, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners
*8 Nights at 4 Star Centrally Located Hotels
*Deluxe Touring Coach for Tours & Transfers

Day 1 – Sept.19. 2019: Depart the U.S. to Italy. We depart US on evening flight. (Dinner-in flight) (Breakfast-in flight)

Day 2 – Sept. 20, 2019: Arrive Palermo. Welcome to Italy! This morning we arrive in Palermo and after clearing customs, we meet our guide who accompanies us throughout our tour of Sicily. After check in at our centrally located Hotel, enjoy the afternoon at leisure to start exploring Palermo, Sicily's capital. Here the architecture reflects its many conquerors over the centuries including Normans, Arabs, Asians, and Greeks with distinct styles ranging from Arabic to Baroque, from Norman to Art Nouveau. This evening we have an orientation tour with our tour manager and after we savor a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (Dinner)

Day 3 – Sept. 21, 2019: Palermo / Monreale/Palermo. After our daily breakfast we meet our local guide for a guided tour of Palermo city center. You will explore old avenues and Arabic neighborhoods, iconic cathedrals, Tetatro Massimo Palermo's elegant Opera House (from outside). Your guided tour will include also the visit of the Palatine Chapel inside the Norman Palace. Then continue to Monreale, a small hill town and enjoy the panorama from the "royal mountain," a mighty Norman cathedral hidden further in among the houses, and the distinguished beautiful Cloisters. After lunch on your own in the afternoon, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (Breakfast)

Day 4 – Sept. 22. 2019: Palermo / Erice / Country Lunch & Salt Road. After breakfast, travel on a full day excursion, first to the hilltop town of Erice, a medieval town, built on the top of Monte San Giuliano. It was an ancient settlement, predating the Middle Ages, but little remains from this period. Instead it has incredible city walls, fine paved streets, stone houses with decorated doorways, and open spaces with churches, all dating from the Middle Ages. Then proceed to an Oil Mill and Farmhouse, locally called Baglio, to experience the Sicilian traditions and have a country style lunch with simple and delicious Sicilian products that have passed from generation to generation, and visit the oil mill and learn about the oil production. After lunch drive along saltpans and Sicilian windmills, it is possible to see numerous dazzlingly white mountains shimmering in the sun. These are not snow-capped mountains but hills of salt, an unreal scenario created by the salt flats, which form a sort of immense chessboard that ranges in color from off-green to pink. Return to Palermo in the afternoon. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 5 – Sept. 23. 2019: Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina area. We depart by private motor coach for Taormina area with a stop to visit Agrigento. Our sightseeing tour takes us to the ruins of the Valley of the Temples, where the city's ancient architects erected most of their sacred buildings during the fifth century BC. The four major temples are stunning, reflecting the wealth and luxury of ancient Agrigento. The panoramic view of the Valley of the Temples is truly grand, overlooking some of the most impressive Greek ruins of the Mediterranean. The gently rolling hills surrounding the spectacular temples wear a white mantle of blossoms gleaming on hundreds of almond trees, filling the air with the sweet perfume that heralds the arrival of spring. We continue towards the Taormina area (Naxos or Letojanni). Standing high on Monte Tauro and dominating the two grand, sweeping bays below, Taormina is Sicily's best-known resort and it is a strong contender for the title of most beautiful place on earth! Taormina forms a balcony overlooking the sea, facing Mount Etna. This climactic resort of worldwide repute has a peaceful atmosphere, beautiful monuments, spectacular views and lovely gardens that invite exploration on foot the coast below. Dinner at Hotel restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 6 – Sept. 24, 2019: Taormina & OPTIONAL TOUR Etna. After breakfast we reach Taormina center and start our guided tour. Our walking tour of Taormina includes Via Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, which is on the site of the Roman Forum, the Palazzo Corvala, the recently unearthed remains of an imperial Roman bath, and the magnificent Teatro Greco, a Roman reconstruction of an earlier Greek theatre. From the perspective of the audience, we may see Taormina to the right, Mt. Etna directly ahead and the Sicilian coast, the Ionian Sea and Calabria to the left, all in one spectacular sweeping view. The gate of the Torre dell' Orologio leads to the medieval part of the town, where many houses still preserve their ancient portals and Roman-Gothic windows. On the Piazza del Duomo is the 13th century Norman cathedral, the Duomo, featuring splendid triptychs by painters of the Messina school. Spend some free time to discover the site on own. In the afternoon we offer an OPTIONAL TOUR to Etna Volcano. Drive along the coastline, renowned for its beautiful scenery, stopping to ascend the slopes of massive Mt. Etna. The volcano totally dominates the life and landscape of eastern Sicily. Some villages and roads are built from lava and the flows have cut great swaths through the valley that have ultimately provided the extremely fertile soil of the island. The views are impressive as we ascend the snow-capped mountain. After we go back to the Hotel, dinner is at leisure tonight. (Breakfast)

Day 7: – Sept. 25, 2019: OPTIONAL TOUR Siracusa. Today after breakfast, sign up for a full day OPTIONAL TOUR of Siracusa. We travel via private motor coach to this ancient city, founded by the Greeks from Corinth, and once the most important city in the Western World. Siracusa reached its zenith in the 5th century BC when it ruled all of Sicily. In the unique Parco Archeologico, the impressive ruins include the magnificent Greek Theatre, one of the biggest and best preserved in the entire Mediterranean, situated adjacent to a large Roman Coliseum and an ancient quarry possessing such remarkable acoustics that Caravaggio called it "Orecchio de Dionisiso" (the ear of Dionysius). The quarry was once a prison for 7000 Athenian prisoners of war. Following lunch on your own, we set out to visit the beautiful island of Ortygia. Here, amid the artistic vestiges of over 2500 years of history, we walk streets once trod by Pindar, Aeschylus, Plato, Cicero and Archimedes. We explore the Piazza Archimede, the legendary Fonte Aretusa (Fountain of Arethusa), and Siracusa's historically unique Duomo, a building that has been a Greek Temple, a Moslem mosque and Christian church at various times in its long history, one which is clearly visible in the architecture of the building. We return to Taormina in the late afternoon. This evening we have our farewell dinner at a Hotel restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 8 – Sept. 26. 2019: Reggio Calabria. After breakfast, check out and transfer to the harbor for our short ferry ride to Reggio Calabria. Welcome to the southern part of the beautiful peninsula. Please proceed to baggage claim and clear customs before meeting your tour manager who will be escorting you throughout your journey. We reach our centrally located Hotel in Reggio Calabria, the city owns what it fondly describes as "the most beautiful mile in Italy," a panoramic promenade along the shoreline that features a marvelous view of the sea and the shoreline of Sicily some four miles across the straits. After check in at the hotel, time to relax before our gentle walking tour to discover the city. Visitors from all over the world come to Reggio for one main reason: the Bronzi di Riace. Two magnificent bronze statue, nude Greek warriors discovered in 1972, dating around mid-fifth century BC. Visit the Cathedral and enjoy then the beautiful lively promenade Corso Garibaldi, incredibly favored by the locals for their passeggiata. You are free for dinner tonight to sample Reggio Calabria's wide selection of good traditional restaurants. (Breakfast)

Day 9 – Sept. 27, 2019: The Calabria Countryside - Locri Gerace & Aspromonte. After breakfast, let's depart for an excursion of what we call Undiscovered Italy. This is an area of extraordinary beauty, not very well known to international tourism, but featuring gorgeous scenery, vivid history, and the endless charm of southern Italy; a landscape dominated by the Fiumare flowing down from the peaks of Aspromonte to the sea, citrus fruit trees, vineyards, olive, fig, and almond trees typical of the Macchia Mediterranea. We drive through many seaside towns that serve the long stretch of sandy beaches along the Ionian coastline; we reach Locri, an archaeological site facing the Ionian Sea for an explanation of one of the earliest settlements of Magna Graecia (4th century B.C.). We then proceed to Gerace an ancient fortified hill town like no other in Italy, visit the main Church and the several tiny Piazzas. Now the stunning countryside landscape awaits us, this region of the Appennines Mountains is called Aspromonte. We will stop at a local Trattoria for a very traditional country lunch. Return to Reggio Calabria for an evening at leisure. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 10 – Sept. 28, 2019: Depart Lamezia. After breakfast we depart by private motor coach to the Lamezia airport for our flight back to the US. (B

This itinerary is approximate.  The exact times, days and destinations may vary due to unforeseen circumstances.

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