Treasures Of Sicily

Oct 1-10, 2021


A 10-day exclusive tour of Sicily led by a geographer and art historian. Sicily is a veritable treasure chest of art, history, color and culture, where fabulous food and wine meet spectacular landscapes.


  • 10 days (9 nights) in  three privately owned superior town house properties, where modern comforts combine with historic traditions.
  • Discover the exquisite Baroque towns of Val di Noto – architectural gems
  • Visit the filming locations of detective series Montalbano
  • Enjoy pastries and cannoli (Sicily’s delicious crispy, brandy snap desserts)
  • Explore the Greek town of Siracusa where Archimedes, Greek philosopher lived and worked
  • Learn chocolate-making skills in Modica at the oldest ‘laboratorio’ in Sicily
  • Visit a vineyard for an exclusive visit and wine tasting
  • Marvel at the Greek Temples built in Sicily at the same time as the Parthenon in Athens
  • Explore historic palaces in Palermo rich in history and art
  • Visit the amazing and vast ballroom where Burt Lancaster danced when he was filming the movie ‘The Leopard’
  • Enjoy lunch on a hillside over-looking the Mediterranean Sea, whilst sampling wonderful local products including cheeses, honey, hams and succulent fruits
  • Tour the street markets of Palermo
  • Meet local Sicilian people who will share with you the finest local produce of Sicily.


Day 1

Catania and Ragusa Ibla

Arrive at Catania Airport, on Sicily’s eastern coast. Giorgio, our friendly local chauffeur and his son Filippo, will pick you up and drive you throughout the trip.

The first stop is Ragusa Ibla, a UNESCO world heritage site and probably the most beautiful of the Sicilian Baroque hilltop towns.

You will be staying at a boutique hotel in the heart of the old town, Boutique Hotel 1768, where there is a cool atrium where you will enjoy an aperitivi and conversation. There’s time to relax, take a nap and unpack before meeting your travel mates again for evening drinks on the terrace and a gentle stroll up to the wonderful cathedral before heading to the welcome dinner of home-made pasta, local salads and some spectacular Sicilian wines.

Day 2

Ragusa Ibla – Montalbano – Scicli – Modica

Today is all about the Val di Noto, a valley of exceptional natural beauty. This area inspired the writer Andrea Camilleri to create and write the Montalbano Detective novels here. Montalbano is now probably the most popular detective TV series in Italy.

You will visit Scicli, Punta Secca and Donnafugata. You will enjoy a light lunch at a wonderful sandwich shop, that sells all types of delicious snacks including an amazing range of cannoli (Sicilian pastries).

In the afternoon, you are off to Modica to visit the oldest chocolate shop in Sicily, where you opportunity to try your hand at chocolate making. Of course, there’s also the opportunity to buy chocolate too.

Dinner will be near the Duomo at Trattoria La Rusticana where Detective Montalbano dines in the TV series.

Day 3

Ragusa Ibla – Siracusa – Ortigia

Sunday is a special day in Sicily; the locals all come out in their Sunday best to go to church. Today, there’s an opportunity to attend mass in the fabulous Duomo of San Giorgio just minutes from the hotel. As you walk up the steps to the church, marvel at the intricate Baroque architecture before your eyes.

After church, the group will get together for an aperitivo and lunch on an outdoor terrace admiring the wonderful Sicilian countryside.

Later, you will head to Siracusa for a visit to this spectacular Greek town, including a stroll through the historic alleys of Ortigia where the Ortigia Cosmetics and Perfume brand was created. You will have a chance to visit the Ortigia studio for the chance to see and smell these wonderful and unique fragrances.

Dinner will be in Siracusa in the historic old town.

Day 4

Ragusa – Greek Temples – Cefalu

Today you will travel west towards Agrigento, where you will find an exceptional group of classical temples built on Italy’s south coast by the Greeks in the 5th century BC. The temple site is now a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s possible to wander amongst the temples which are surrounded by a verdant green park. The park is home to a unique species of goat known as ‘Capra Girgentana’ who have curly horns and clearly thrive in this beautiful and historic environment.

Lunch will be close to Agrigento in a rustic farmhouse setting with salads, cheeses, quiches and desserts.

After lunch, you will travel north through Italy’s rural interior to the coastal town of Cefalu, where you will be staying for the next three night at a boutique B&B.

Dinner will be at the B&B with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Day 5


You will take a one-hour hike along the coast to the beautiful small city of Cefalu, the most stylish small town in Sicily. Drink in the fresh sea air as you walk through the Sicilian countryside to the medieval city of Cefalu. Narrow, stone streets, a superb cathedral and a fabulous array of shops and artisan studios await you. Inside the cathedral in Cefalu there’s a 12th century mosaic of Christ ‘The Almighty’, created by the Normans when they invaded and took control of Sicily in the 1100s.

Enjoy lunch in one of the numerous cafes, bars and small restaurants to choose from before exploring the town center, waterfront and the medieval laundry, where the washerwomen of the town worked and gossiped more than five hundred years ago. There will be a car service back to the hotel available in the late afternoon.

This evening, a fish supper is organized at a tiny, family-run restaurant adjacent to La Tonnara (the old tuna processing factory).

Day 6


This morning,  you can either rest and soak in the sun and the sea views from one of  the hotel’s numerous terraces, or you can join an excursion inland to the Nebrodi Hills to see the isolated villages and winding roads of Sicily’s mountainous interior. It was here that Sicily’s legendary and fiendishly difficult car race, the infamous ‘Targa Florio’, was held until the route was deemed too dangerous in the 1970s.

For lunch, you will visit to an agriturismo where Margarita and her charming husband will delight us with an olive oil tasting and local pasta sampling and a casual lunch, washed down with a locally produced wine.

Dinner will be in the historic center of Cefalu, after a sunset drink at the beach.

Day 7

Cefalu – Bagheria – Aspra – Palermo

You will travel along Sicily’s north coast. Many wealthy families in Sicily owned farms in the countryside and a palace or large house on the coast, usually in a town. The first stop is Bagheria, a seaside location popular with the wealthy Sicilians to build their summer houses. These elaborate historic homes are mostly empty now and open to the public as museums. You will enjoy a tour of a small, and almost unknown villa that was occupied by the last member of an aristocratic family until just five years ago. The house is filled with fabulous furniture, family photographs and incredible ladies’ gowns (from the last hundred years).

Lunch will be at Aspra in a tiny waterfront seafood eatery. The freshest of fish is served here, adjacent to the beach. A truly Sicilian experience.

From Aspra it’s just about forty minutes into Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, where you will stay for the next 3 nights. The accommodation in Palermo is a stylish and contemporary palace located opposite the public gardens.

Day 8


Palermo was the capital city of the Kingdom of Sicily for seven centuries. The city is an incredible mixture of different styles and influences. There are churches that look like mosques with domed red roof tops and vast, sprawling, historic palaces. The Palazzo Normanno was the center of the royal court and today is the home of the Sicilian Regional government. Part of Palermo’s UNESCO world heritage status are the incredible Arabo-Normano churches of the city. You will visit the Palazzo dei Normanni and the spectacular Cappella Palatina – a richly decorated chapel filled with mosaics.

Around mid-day you will enjoy a wonderful walking tour of the street markets of Palermo, where you will sample the delicious and varied street food of the Sicilians whilst learning about the streets and history of Palermo.

You will head back to the hotel via the smallest bookshop you’ve ever seen with a charming and tiny selection of interesting and unique volumes. You will meet the owner and see the courtyards that make up the University of Palermo.

This evening, you will head to Mondello for dinner on the beach at the stunning ‘Alle Terrazze’ Ristorante over-looking the Golfo di Mondello.

Day 9

Palermo – Monreale – Trapani – Marsala

You will complete your visit to Sicily with a trip to the island’s west coast, travelling out of Palermo to Trapani and the incredible salt flats. These salt flats have been farmed for centuries, producing the finest sea salt for cooking and (in the old days) preserving food. The landscape is hauntingly beautiful.

Then, it’s on to Marsala, where the traditional sweet Sicilian wine is harvested and fermented in oak barrels for years. You will enjoy a visit to a cantina where you can try a selection of Marsala wines, served with delicious Sicilian snacks.

Then, you will head back into Palermo via the Cathedral and monastic complex of Monreale, a huge religious building, highly decorated with carvings and mosaics.

This evening, you will enjoy a Farewell Dinner in a super chic and trendy bistro where modern and traditional dishes are served in a vibrant atmosphere. The sommelier will take you on a journey through some of the many wonderful wines of Sicily. A fitting end to an amazing Sicily experience.

Day 10


Alas, today is the end of your trip through Sicily. A private vehicle transfer service to Palermo Airport will be available. Buon viaggio!


Ragusa Ibla - a.d. 1768 - 4* boutique hotel

In the heart of one of the iconic cities of Sicilian Baroque  and overlooking the Piazza Duomo of Ragusa Ibla, a.d. 1768 is a refined and exclusive historic residence that redefines the concept of Sicilian hospitality. Every room is furnished in a funky combination of stylish retro and modern with a dash of Sicilian color thrown in.


Cefalu - A Tonnara - Exclusive B&B

Stay in the wonderful scenery of Kalura in Cefalù, a villa from the 1970s built where the tuna fisherman used to stretch their nets which has been converted to become A Tonnara Charme B&B. An exclusive place where natural beauty is combined with an innovative design.  The stylish and well cared-for accommodation will offer you a relaxing and comfortable stay, and a unique experience.

Palermo - The Hotellerie - Historic B&B

The Hotellerie in Palermo is a place designed to offer the best possible hospitality. The suites are built inside the ancient Arab walls that have protected the city since the 9th century, more precisely in the walls of the Foro Italico on top of which there is the “Walk of the cattive”.
The structure overlooks the sea, near Porta Felice which is the historic access to the Cassaro, now Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Behind it lies the historic district of Kalsa which once housed the Emir’s citadel and which today offers countless sites to visit.


Janet Simmonds

This exceptional journey will be led by Geographer and Art Historian Janet Simmonds. Janet lives in Venice and works all over Italy. She has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford.

When she’s not touring, she writes about travel including numerous articles on Sicily. Lucky for us, Janet speaks Italian, French and English. Janet has recently been appointed Oxford University’s official itinerary creator in Italy.



  • Breakfast daily
  • 7 Lunches –  these are typical 2-course meals, including one glass of wine per person
  • 9 Dinners –  these are 3-course meals with two glasses of wine per person
  • Teas and coffees with meals.
  • Accommodation, double room for single occupancy
  • All indicated sight-seeing, entrance fees and activities
  • All indicated transportation
  • All guiding services organized and coordinated by Janet Simmonds

Not Included

  • International Airfare
  • Beverages, except as indicated above
  • Lunch on Day 1 and Day 5
  • Mandatory travel and medical insurance
  • Additional expenses

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