Walk in sea of wild flowers, savor the breathtaking blue and emerald green of the Mediterranean Sea, awe-inspiring views of Mt. Etna and enjoy picnic feasts amongst vineyards. Touch the columns of a Doric Temple and sit in an open air Greek Theater to contemplate actors’ voices reciting. Admire pictorial mosaic floors in one of the finest Roman Villas ever to have been discovered. Enter one of the world’s finest Norman Cathedrals with 12th century gilded Byzantine mosaics and walk along medieval cobbled streets where time seems to have stood still.
Day 1: Palermo airport – Gulf of Castellammare. We meet at 2:00 p.m. at Palermo airport and travel to Scopello a coastal village, to relax and unwind or walk down to a cove by the sea for a swim and to photograph the picturesque buildings of a 13th century Tuna fishing community in existence until the mid 20th century.
Day 2: Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve. We walk in the Zingaro Nature Reserve enjoying the breathtaking blues and greens of the Mediterranean Sea and the views of the beautiful Sicilian coastline where we find ourselves at times wading waist-high through the wild flowers. When we reach the white sandy beaches of San Vito lo Capo we can take off our boots and cool our feet as we stroll to a water front café. Total time and distance: 4 hours/8 miles.
Day 3: Erice and Egadi Islands. From the western port of Trapani we take a hydrofoil across the crystal clear sea to Levanzo and walk across the farming hinterland to reach the Grotta del Genovese cave. We enter through an enlarged rabbit warren with gas lamps to see a hidden treasure of Paleolithic and Neolithic drawings. After a picnic lunch we continue past Faraglioni rocks with fine views of two more islands of the archipelago, Favignana and Marettimo, returning mid-afternoon to explore the cobbled streets of the charming town of Erice. Total time and distance: 3.5 hours/7 miles.
Day 4: Segesta. We visit Greco-Trojan Segesta on the slopes of Monte Barbara and touch the columns of the 4th century BC Doric Temple. Take a seat in its ancient Theater and enjoy the magnificent views; then close your eyes and you can almost hear the actors’ voices reciting the plays of Escalius. After exploring the archaeological park we follow a high forest trail above a river gorge to reach our picnic feast amongst vineyards. In the afternoon we travel through olive groves and citrus orchards along the south coast to Agrigento. Total time and distance: 3 hours/6 miles.
Day 5: Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples and Piazza Armerina’s Roman Villa. Considered in antiquity by the poet Pindar as 'most beautiful of mortal cities' we get a real understanding for the lives of the Ancient Greek Civilization as we visit the magnificent Valley of the Temples and archaeological museum with a local guide. In the afternoon we drive to Piazza Armerina and jump forward several centuries at Imperial Roman Villa Casale. Located in central Sicily and the grain growing area which was known as "the Bread Basket of Rome", this is one of the finest Roman Villas ever to have been discovered. Its forty rooms of pictorial mosaic floors testify to the sumptuous life enjoyed by its inhabitants. We end our day in the quintessential Sicilian town of Enna perched on a 2000 ft plateau.
Day 6: Madonie Mountains National Park. We travel high into the mountain range of the Madonie to reach the town of Petralia Soprana and stroll through the cobbled streets where time seems to have stood still. Our hiking trail starts here and climbs across meadows and through pine forests - awe-inspiring scenery with views of Mt. Etna; the sleeping giant which looms at a distance of over 50 miles as we approach Geraci Siculo where a mountain feast awaits us. Total time and distance: 4 hours/8 miles.
Day 7: Cefalu and Santa Anastasia winery. We awake in the foothills of the Madonie in the elegant hotel and winery of Santa Anastasia. We visit Cefalu's charming old quarters, the Norman Cathedral and narrow alleys of the old fishing town. A short walk onto the Rocca promontory with walls and castle ruins offers magnificent views of the harbor, town and emerald blue sea. In the afternoon you can relax and enjoy the dramatic setting at the hotel on a terrace with spectacular views of the Aeolian Islands. Total time and distance: 2 hours/4 miles.
Day 8: Monreale Cathedral and departure. We make one last excursion to Monreale Cathedral, one of the finest examples of 12th century gilded Byzantine mosaics in the world. Then it is time to say farewell to this side of Sicily and head for Palermo airport for flights. If you wish we can help you to extend your stay or make other independent departure arrangements.
Dates for 2013 :- 13-20th April and 28 Sept-5 October
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Europe Italy Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Archeology/History