The Temples at Selinunte
The Temples at Selinunte

Archaeological Tours

Sicily and its Islands: The Jewel of the Mediterranean

This new tour provides an opportunity to visit some of the less accessible and lesser-visited sites on this Italian island. We venture out to Levanzo, one of the Aegadian Islands, to view cave paintings that have survived from Sicily’s earliest human settlements and then over to the Aeolian Islands to visit the remains of villages once inhabited by their Neolithic settlers.

We will revisit some of the important Greek and Roman sites, including the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and the amazing Villa at Piazza Armerina, and we will also venture to sites that are new to us, such as Akrai and the Catacombs of San Giovanni in Syracuse. There will be, however, a more in-depth view of familiar places, including Palermo and Selinus, and we can offer a selection of special access experiences to sites such as the Hypogeum of Salvia Crispia and the extraordinary Cappella Palatina. Grasp the chance to go off the beaten track to visit the Bronze Age sites of Pantalica and Castelluccio, stroll down the medieval streets of Ortygia and admire the baroque architecture of Noto. What’s more, throughout this fascinating tour, we will sample the incredible culinary delights that have made this region famous.

What's included?

  •  Expert scholar & tour manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  A/C coach
  •  Ferry
  •  Entries & tips
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  A name badge, luggage strap and bag tag
  •  A study guide, reading list, and other useful tour documentation compiled by your expert scholar and your Archaeological Tours team
  •  Four lectures from your expert scholar

Full Price
$8,580

Today's Price
$8,330

Saving
$250

Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $2,060

Tour highlights:

  • Enjoy a special access visit to the unique Norman Cappella Palatina, shimmering with gold mosaics
  • Venture out to Levanzo in the Aegadian Islands to view the cave paintings that have survived from Sicily’s earliest human settlements
  • See truly exceptional mosaics at the Villa Romana, Piazza Armerina
  • Visit the remains of villages once inhabited by Neolithic settlers on the Aeolian Islands
  • Go off the beaten track to the second millennium necropoleis of Pantalica and Castelluccio

Tour details

Dates March 24 2020 - April 7 2020
Duration 15 days
Cost
Full Price
$8,580
Today's Price
$8,330
Saving
$250
Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $2,060 Balance due by December 31 2019
Activity Level
Tour code A20SIC

Book Now or call 866-740-5130 if you have any questions

March 24 2020: Itinerary

We fly into Palermo and meet as a group in the hotel later this evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Piazza Borsa Hotel, Palermo

This morning, we take a walk to the National Archeological Museum to see its important metopes from Selinunte and then continue on to the Normano-Arabic churches of La Martorana and San Cataldo, with their characteristic blend of Byzantine mosaics and Arabic architecture. After lunch, we visit the Norman cathedral and explore the Roman houses in Piazza Vittoria. Later, we have a private visit to the Cappella Palatina, famed for its incredible Byzantine mosaics.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Piazza Borsa Hotel, Palermo

Our touring today begins in Monreale, made famous by its 12th century Norman cathedral that was built by William II in order to put the Archbishop of Palermo in his place. Founded by Benedictines, it is resplendent with gold mosaics. Next, we visit the Benedictine Cloister, which has a unique blend of Norman and Arabic architecture. After lunch, we make our way to Segesta, where we visit its 5th century Doric temple and its Hellenistic theater.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Carmine, Marsala

We start the day with a special visit to the Hypogeum of Salvia Crispia – a late antique funerary chamber – and continue to the vast Punic ditch surrounding the city. Next, we tour the excellent Archeological Museum of Marsala, which houses the remains of a Punic Liburnian ship that partook in the First Punic War, as well as the newly restored Late Antique Merchant Ship found nearby. In the afternoon, we take a ferry to Motya and explore this Punic island, that was sacked in 397 BCE by the Syracusan tyrant, Dionysius II.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Hotel Carmine, Marsala

Today we take to the sea and travel by hydrofoil to the Aegadian island of Levanzo, the scene of the final battle of First Punic War. Our visit will be to the Grotta del Genovese, where we see well-preserved Paleolithic drawings and Neolithic paintings, mostly of animals and fish. Free time to explore this idyllic island will follow.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Hotel Carmine, Marsala

Today, we travel to Selinus for a special in-depth visit of the city that was sacked by Carthaginians in 409 BCE. We start at the Eastern Hill, with its spectacular temples, and travel in golf carts through the vast unexplored parts of Selinus, ending up at the Sanctuaries of the Malophorus and Zeus Meilichios. From here, we drive to the imposing Hellenistic walls and gates that protect the Acropolis. Our day ends at the Acropolis, with its Punic houses and Greek temples.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Kore, Agrigento

We spend the entire day in Agrigento, starting at the National Archaeological Museum, which has a well-known collection of vases, as well as one of the enormous telemons that decorated the Temple of Olympian Zeus. After lunch, we explore the Valley of the Temples, starting with the Temple of Hera Lacinia and the Temple of Corcordia, which is undeniably one of the best-preserved in the Greek world. Our final visits are to the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Garden of the Kolymbethra.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Hotel Kore, Agrigento

Piazza Armerina awaits discovery this morning – in particular, the impressive late Roman villa with its unique collection of in-situ 4th century CE mosaics. Here, we feast our eyes on a famous hunt scene, a depiction of 10 bikini-wearing maidens participating in athletic events, and an array of other mythological scenes. We continue to the archaeological museum at Aidone, which houses priceless artifacts from Morgantina that have been repatriated to the area from the Metropolitan and Getty museums.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel, Siracusa

Touring today begins in the Neapolis Archeological Park. This site is home to captivating remains that include a Roman amphitheater, an altar of the 3rd century BCE (known as the Altar of Hieron II), the “Ear of Dionysius” quarry, and a Greek theater that once held around 15,000 people and is carved out of the living rock. Following lunch, we explore the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum, which holds a staggering collection of artifacts from south-eastern Sicily, including remains from Pantalica and Castelluccio, and a collection of Sicilian coins. On our return to Ortygia, we visit the remarkable cathedral, first built in the 5th century BCE as the Temple of Athena.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel, Siracusa

Today, we have a private visit to the San Giovanni Catacombs in Siracusa. Our tour here includes the Norman cathedral, which was destroyed in the 1693 earthquake, as well as the Crypt of St. Marcian, where St. Paul is said to have preached. Later, there will be free time to explore the wonders of Ortygia. You could visit the Byzantine Jewish Baths or the remains of the Temple of Artemis.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel, Siracusa

We begin our day at the little-visited site of Akrai, originally found in the 7th century BCE by the Siracusans. Here, we see the remains of a theater as well as a series of tombs that were reused in the Christian period. Next, we make our way to Noto, a beautiful baroque city that was built ex novo after the disastrous 1693 earthquake felled the city. We end our day at the 4th century CE Villa Romana del Tellaro, which has lively mosaic floors and was discovered in the 1970s.

All meals included

Hotel: Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel, Siracusa

This morning, we take small mini vans to explore prehistoric sites near Siracusa. We start with the rocky Necropolis Pantalica, where 5,000 tombs built between the 13th and 8th centuries BCE are dotted along the sides of a canyon, in a stunning setting. Here, we explore tombs and Byzantine churches forged from the Bronze Age sites. After lunch, we continue to the older site of Castelluccio, where 200 tombs were dug out in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Ortea Palace Luxury Hotel, Siracusa

Our destination today is Lipari, the capital of the Aeolian Islands. On our way there, we will make a stop in Taormina to visit the Roman theater and then enjoy some time at leisure. Then, we continue to Milazzo and we board a ferry to Lipari.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Hotel Bougainville, Lipari

Lipari is split into an upper and lower town, with the upper town being the most historic and the lower more commercial. We spend the morning exploring the city, starting at the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, first built by Roger I in 1084. We continue at the Museo Archaeologico Bernabò Brea, home to an important prehistoric and classical collection in two buildings on either side of the Duomo. The Classical section is best known for its fascinating and unique collection of Greek theatrical masks, as well as fine stone and terracotta sarcophagi. We will also study the wonderful fortifications and several other excavations in both the upper and lower town areas, including the Contrada Diana necropolis, where two hypogea were found, as well as part of the Greek city walls. This afternoon we visit the thermal baths of San Calogero, and then we move on to Quattrocchi or Quattropani for some amazing views.

All meals included

Hotel: Romano Palace Hotel, Catania

Today we make our way to the airport, where we take our individual flights home or continue with onward travel.

Meals include: Breakfast

March 24 2020: Additional Info

March 24 2020: Accommodation

This hotel used to be a palace and it still feels like one! Step into the atrium-style lobby, once you’ve checked in you’ll feel the rooms are spacious and well equipped. You’ll be able to grab a drink and lounge in the large courtyard before exploring the historical gem of Palermo, and the waterfront is within easy walking distance. Don’t miss the hotel’s breakfast pastries which are highly recommended!

This upscale hotel is a 5-minute walk from Mother Church, a 6-minute walk from Villa Cavallotti and 15 km from Aeroporto Vincenzo Florio.

Close to the Valley of the Temples, this 4-star hotel lies in the Villaggio Mosè business district, a 10-minute drive from Agrigento. It offers modern rooms with air conditioning. WiFi is free at reception.

Rooms at Hotel Kore have simple furnishings and tiled floors. Each includes a private bathroom with hairdryer and toiletry set.

Traditional Sicilian cuisine is served at the restaurant, along with classic Italian dishes. Breakfast is continental-style, with croissants, eggs, cold meats and cheeses.

Across the street from the Mediterranean Sea, this upscale hotel in a 1920s palace is 5 km from Siracusa train station and 11 km from Minaret Beach.

Set in a classic Mediterranean-style complex with wide arches, the hotel is a 17-minute walk from the Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo, the Eolian Museum and the Lipari Castle.

Set along Sicily's east coast, the hotel is 5 km from Castello Ursino, 6 km from Teatro Massimo Bellini and from Catania Cathedral.

March 24 2020: Enquiries

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