November 5 to 15, 2019
Nov. 5: Meet in Rome. Afternoon tour of Rome's historic center, with several Caravaggio's along the way, since we will be seeing more of his work in Sicily. Dinner. Albergo Santa Chiara, Rome: one night.
Nov. 6: Mid-day flight to Reggio Calabria to see the Riace Bronzes, among the most important archeological finds of the past century. Then cross to Sicily and arrive in Taormina where we spend the next 2 nights. Dinner. Grand Hotel Timeo: 2 nights.
Nov. 7: Explore Taormina, perhaps the prettiest spot in Sicily, with views of Etna, best seen from the ruins of the Greek/Roman theater. Hikes, strolls, lovely shops. Dinner.
Nov. 8: Drive to Siracusa, an appealing port city with a wealth of Greek ruins and a beautiful harbor. Morning visit to the archeological park with its Greek theater, haunting stone quarry, and Roman amphitheater. Afternoon tour of Ortigia, the historic center of Siracusa. Lunch. Grand Hotel Ortigia, Siracusa: 2 nights.
Nov. 8: Morning visit to the Catacombs of San Giovanni, where St. Paul is thought to have preached. Then on to Noto for a stroll through this remarkable Baroque city, plus lunch. Then, back in Siracusa, an evening puppet show. Lunch.
Nov. 10: Drive inland to visit the stunning Villa Casale in Piazza Armerina. Acres of late-Roman mosaic floors. There's nothing else quite like this. We will also visit the local museum in Aidone where artworks smuggled from Sicily, acquired by US museums, and then, ultimately, repatriated, now reside. A very interesting story. Lunch and dinner. Villa Athena, Agrigento: 2 nights.
Nov. 11: Visit the temples and museum of Agrigento. Lunch and dinner.
Nov. 12: Drive to Palermo. Afternoon tour of the historic center: Baroque stucco-works of Giacomo Serpotta, the Palazzo Abatellis with its collection of artworks, and more. Lunch. Centrale Palace Hotel, Palermo: 3 nights
Nov. 13: Excursion to the Greek temple and theater of Segesta and the beguiling hill town of Erice, a place long associated with Aphrodite. Lunch.
Nov. 14: More treasures of Palermo and environs: La Zisa, a 12th c. Norman pleasure palace; the glittering cathedral of Monreale and, perhaps the very best in all of Sicily, the Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace. A jewel of medieval art. Dinner.
Nov. 15: The tour ends with breakfast.
Regarding flights: You should plan to arrive in Rome no later than the morning of November 5 and depart from Palermo the morning of November 15. Recommended airlines are Alitalia and Delta, both of which have flights out of Palermo.
Optional tour of the Galleria Borghese the afternoon of November 4, for people who arrive early.
Then two nights in Taormina at the luxurious old-world Grand Hotel Timeo.
And another two at the Grand Hotel Ortigia on the waterfront in Siracusa.
In Agrigento, we stay at the 5-star Villa Athena that overlooks the Temple ridge.
We finish the tour with three nights at the 4-star Centrale Palace Hotel in Palermo's historic center.
Per person in double occupancy: $5800
Per person in single occupancy: $6650
Group size: Approximately 12 participants.
These rates include ten nights in hotels, all breakfasts, meals as outlined in the itinerary, entrance fees for all sites in the itinerary, private bus transportation in Rome and in Sicily; all tips to guides and drivers, the flight on November 6 from Rome to Reggio Calabria.
Not included are flights to and from Italy, airport transpiration associated with these flights, unscheduled meals, and items of a personal nature.
In Rome, we are staying at the 3-star Albergo Santa Chiara. Upgrades are available to the 5-star Grand Hotel de la Minerve, which is just down the street. Rates available upon request.
As art historians we appreciate the depth of knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm displayed by Nancy and Libby. Plus they really know their restaurants–Sicily was 10 days of the best food we’ve ever eaten!
John Hand and Dare Hartwell; Washington, DC