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JUN. 11-20, 2016 $3,295
Palermo, Erice, Segesta, Cefalu, Taormina, Syracuse
UCLA Faculty on Tour Activity Level: Moderate Activity Hide This
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JUN. 11-20, 2016
Palermo, Erice, Segesta, Cefalu, Taormina, Syracuse

As a cultural crossroads of the ancient world, Sicily abounds with enchanting natural beauty, impressive man-made creations seemingly untouched by time, fascinating culture and a vast history. Accompanied by UCLA professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, Massimo Ciavolella, spend four nights each in Palermo and Taormina. In Palermo, visit the cathedral and the city’s market. See the Duomo and medieval castles in Erice before meeting a local family that runs an olive farm, where you’ll enjoy a tour and tasting. Continue to scenic Segesta to witness its unfinished temple and the renowned amphitheater at Mount Barbaro. Visit a 12th-century cathedral in Cefalù before moving to Taormina, celebrated for its stunning views and ancient Greek theater. Visit Piazza Armerina and marvel at the well-preserved mosaics found in the Imperial Roman Villa del Casale. Journey to the Valley of the Temples, one of Western Europe’s most impressive classical sites. Marvel at the ancient ruins in Syracuse.

Cost: $3,295
AHI Travel
Activity Level: Moderate Activity
COVID-19 Information:
  • Enjoy a series of lectures by local experts to enhance your experience.
  • Visit the ancient city of Syracuse, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Sample olive oil during lunch and a visit to an olive farm in Erice.
  • Explore the temples of ancient Agrigento, “the most beautiful city built by mortal men.”
  • See Taormina’s remarkably-preserved ancient Greek theater.
  • Immerse yourself in Sicilian traditions of food and wine as you sample local delicacies.
  • Savor regional delights, including an authentic pizza after a cooking demonstration.
  • Discover the charming towns of Segesta and Cefalù.


UCLA Faculty on Tour

Massimo Ciavolella
Department of Italian
Massimo Ciavolella studied at the Universities of Bologna, Rome and British Columbia, where he received his Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Ciavolella served as chair of the Department of Italian from 1998 to 2005, and since 2011, is director of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Presently he holds the title of Franklin D. Murphy Chair of Italian Renaissance Studies in the Departments of Italian and Comparative Literature at UCLA. He has published books and articles on love as a disease from ancient Greece to the 18th century, early modern Italian theatre, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and has edited and translated from French into English and Italian three seminal early modern studies on erotomania and several Italian plays into English.



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.


Mercure Palermo Excelsior | Palermo
Nestled in the heart of the city, this first-class hotel is ideally close to local shops and other places of
interest. Return from sightseeing to relax in the sauna, unwind with a workout in the fully-equipped fitness center or chat with new friends in the cozy lounge. Savor culinary delights in the hotel’s restaurants, then retire to the comforts of your guest room. Each is tastefully appointed with satellite TV, minibar and other amenities designed to ensure your comfort. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available.

Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace | Taormina
Set on the edge of Baia di Mazzarò, the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace offers impeccable views of the coast. The bay, one of the most treasured areas of Taormina, is the perfect place to enjoy water sports. However, you also may choose to relax on the hotel’s private beach. Other amenities
include a fitness center, a spa, a seawater pool, a restaurant and a piano bar. Each guest room boasts sophisticated finishes and modern conveniences. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available.


Pricing: $3,295 to $3,545
AHI Travel

Special Program Available

  • AHI Air Program
Download Reservation Form Download Brochure (3.4 MB) Request Brochure In Mail
310.206.0613 (P)
310.209.4271 (F)
  • With the informative lectures along the way with the local tour guides and all of the archaeological sites, it really put me in touch with the importance of Sicily in history."
    Carolyn Paris

Book this Tour

How to Book

Download the tour Reservation Form here. This tour is booked quickly, so sign up early to reserve space.

Enclose a check or provide credit card information for $600 per person, per tour, as a deposit for the selected tour. Make check payable to AHI Travel. Deposits are provisional and fully refundable pending your acceptance of final brochure terms.

Mail completed reservation form and your deposit to:
UCLA Alumni Association
Attn: Alumni Travel
James West Alumni Center
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1397

A brochure will be mailed to you as soon as it is available.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance to cover the possibility of trip cancellation or interruption, emergency medical evacuation, medical expenses and baggage loss incurred while traveling. All confirmed passengers will receive travel insurance information in your confirmation packet. It’s one of our many membership benefits! For information about travel insurance, visit Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, terrorist incidents and travel supplier financial insolvencies will be provided if the insurance is purchased within 15 days of your trip deposit. Please read the insurance brochure carefully.

Download Reservation Form Download Brochure (3.4 MB) Request Brochure In Mail
310.206.0613 (P)
310.209.4271 (F)
  • With the informative lectures along the way with the local tour guides and all of the archaeological sites, it really put me in touch with the importance of Sicily in history."
    Carolyn Paris