DAY 1 | June 11.
Depart for Palermo, Italy.
DAY 2 | June 12. Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Upon arrival, transferA and check in to the Mercure Palermo Excelsior. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.
DAY 3 | June 13. Palermo / Monreale
Educational Focus: Sicily, a Country within a Country. Discuss how multinational exposure has influenced Sicily.
Excursion: Palermo, the Sicilian Capital. Visit Palermo’s Cathedral, a harmonious blend of Gothic, Moorish and Norman architecture; Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace; and the Islamic-influenced domes of St. John of the Hermits, a 12th-century Norman church. Continue to the market, offering fresh produce and fish.
Local Flavor: Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.
Excursion: The Mosaics of Monreale. In Monreale, explore the Santa Maria la Nuova, a famous cathedral known for its splendid display of mosaics, and admire breathtaking views of the Conca d’Oro Valley from its towers.
DAY 4 | June 14. Erice / Segesta
Excursion: Elymian Erice. Discover one of Sicily’s most advanced centers of Elymian civilization. On the island’s northwestern coast, Erice is known for its Phoenician walls and two castles. See the Norman Duomo, a Romanesque masterpiece.
Cultural Event: Meet the People. Sample Sicilian delights at a family-owned olive farm. Then, take a guided tour of the facility and grounds and enjoy a tasting.
Excursion: Segesta. Situated in Segesta’s pristine countryside is a spectacular Doric temple, the grandest and best preserved of all of Sicily’s Hellenistic monuments. This site is also home to an impressive amphitheater carved into the rock of Mount Barbaro.
Educational Focus: Mafia Past and Present. In Sicily, they call it Cosa Nostra. Examine the legacy of these groups and their effect on Sicilian society.
DAY 5 | June 15. Palermo | Cefalù
Excursion: Cefalù. This pretty fishing village is anchored between the Tyrrhenian Sea and a limestone promontory. Its highlights include a 12th-century Romanesque cathedral regarded as one of the greatest churches in southern Europe.
Independent Exploration: This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure.
Local Flavor: Savor local specialties during dinner at a Palermo restaurant.
DAY 6 | June 16. Palermo / Agrigento / Taormina
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to Taormina.
Excursion: Ancient Greek Temples. Explore Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, one of Western Europe’s most impressive classical sites. See the Temple of Hercules, the Doric Temple of Concord and the unfinished Temple of Juno.
Local Flavor: Savor regional specialties during lunch in Agrigento.
Excursion: Roman Mosaics. Visit Piazza Armerina and marvel at the Roman mosaics found in the Villa Romana del Casale, a fourth-century residence that boasts more than 35,000 square feet of mosaics on its floors and walls. Upon arrival in Taormina, check in to the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace.
DAY 7 | June 17. Taormina
Educational Focus: Art & Architecture in Sicily. Learn about the archaeological riches found in Sicily’s Grecian temples, Roman bridges and Norman castles.
Excursion: Taormina. Explore Taormina, situated high atop Monte Tauro on the eastern coast of Sicily. Marvel at the town’s palazzi, 14th- and 15th-century palaces and striking view of the seacoast. See the ancient theater of Taormina, which still is in use today.
Cultural Event and Local Flavor: Sicilian Cuisine. Bring home new culinary skills thanks to a private pizza-making lesson with a local chef, then enjoy a pizza lunch.
Independent Exploration: The rest of the day is yours to explore at leisure.
DAY 8 | June 18. Syracuse
Educational Focus: Syracuse, Queen of All Towns. Syracuse once was the most powerful of Greece’s colonies, and it remained one of the world’s most vital cities for more than 1,000 years.
Excursion: Syracuse. Travel to historic Syracuse on the island of Ortygia and explore its Old Town, a showcase of baroque and medieval architecture. Stroll the elegant Piazza del Duomo and enter the Duomo, built on the site of the Temple of Athena. Continue to the Archaeological Park, home of ancient ruins.
DAY 9 | June 19. Taormina
Independent Exploration: Spend your last day in Italy at leisure. Tonight, recount your Sicilian adventure with your fellow travelers during a Farewell Reception and Graduation Ceremony, followed by a Farewell Dinner.
DAY 10 | June 20. In Transit
After breakfast, transfer to the Catania airport for the return flights to your gateway city.
NOTE: Itinerary subject to change. Some excursions on this program may involve an element of walking.