17. STORIA, ARTE, CULTURA E NATURA DI SICILIA
PALERMO MONREALE ERICE SEGESTA SELINUNTE AGRIGENTO MODICA RAGUSA TAORMINA
Info - Agrigento
Agrigento, is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas in Greek, Agrigentum in Latin and Kirkent or Jirjent in Arabic, one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden age of Ancient Greece.
Akragas grew rapidly, becoming one of the richest and most famous of the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia. It came to prominence under the 6th-century tyrants Phalaris and Theron, and became a democracy after the overthrow of Theron's son Thrasydaeus.
The city was disputed between the Romans and the Carthaginians during the First and the Second Punic War, when both Rome and Carthage fought to control it. The Romans eventually captured Akragas in 210 BC and renamed it Agrigentum, although it remained a largely Greek-speaking community for centuries thereafter. It became prosperous again under Roman rule and its inhabitants received full Roman citizenship following the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city passed into the hands of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy and then the Byzantine Empire. In 828 AD the Saracens captured the diminished remnant of the city. They pronounced its name as Kerkent in Arabic; it was thus Sicilianized as "Girgenti". It retained this name until 1927, when Benito Mussolini's government reintroduced an Italianized version of the Latin name.
Agrigento was captured by the Normans under Count Roger I in 1087. In 1860, the inhabitants enthusiastically supported Giuseppe Garibaldi in his conquest of southern Italy (in the course of the Unification of Italy).
Info - Alcamo
Info - Erice
Erice is a historic town and comune in the province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy. Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo San Vito to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands on Sicily's north-western coast, providing spectacular views.
The bordering municipalities are Buseto Palizzolo, Paceco, Trapani, Valderice and Custonaci. The hamlets are Ballata, Casa Santa, Crocefissello, Napola, Pizzolungo, Rigaletta, San Cusumano and Torretta.
The ancient name of Erice was Eryx, and its foundation was associated with the eponymous Greek hero Eryx. It was not a Greek colony, but was largely Hellenized. It was destroyed in the First Punic War by the Carthaginians, and from then on declined in importance.
Eryx was conquered by Aghlebids in 831 and was renamed as Cebel Hamid (In Western sources Gebel Hamed, meaning Mountain of Hamid). It was ruled by Arabs over 3 centuries until Norman conquest in 1167. Normans renamed it Monte San Giuliano. It was known as Monte San Giuliano until 1934.
Info - Modica
Modica is a city and comune in the Province of Ragusa, Sicily, southern Italy. The city is situated in the Hyblaean Mountains and, along with Val di Noto, is part of UNESCO Heritage Sites in Italy.
According to Thucydides, the city was founded in 1360 BC or 1031 BC and was inhabited by the Sicels in the 7th century BC. It was probably a dependency of Syracuse. Modica was occupied by the Romans after the battle of the Egadi islands against the Carthaginians in the Punic Wars 241 BC, together with Syracuse and all of Sicily. Modica became one of the thirty-five decuman ("spontaneously submitted") cities of the island and was oppressed by the praetor Verres. It became an independent municipium, and apparently a place of some consequence. The city is also mentioned among the inland towns of the island both by Pliny and Ptolemy; and though its name is not found in the Itineraries, it is again mentioned by the Geographer of Ravenna. Silius Italicus also includes it in his list of Sicilian cities, and immediately associates it with Netum (now Noto Antico), with which it was clearly in the same neighborhood.
Info - Monreale
Monreale is a town and comune in the province of Palermo, in Sicily, Italy, on the slope of Monte Caputo, overlooking the very fertile valley called "La Conca d'oro" (the Golden Shell), famed for its orange, olive and almond trees, the produce of which is exported in large quantities. The town has a population of approximately 30,000, and it is located 15 km (12 mi) south of Palermo.
After the occupation of Palermo by the Arabs the Bishop of Palermo was forced to move his seat outside the capital. The role of the new cathedral was assigned to a modest little church, Aghia Kiriaki in the village nearby which was later called Monreale. After the Norman conquest in 1072 Christians got back the old city cathedral. Probably this role as temporary ecclesiastical centre played a part in King William II's decision to build here his famous cathedral.
The town was for long a mere village, and started its expansion when the Norman Kings of Sicily chose the area as their hunting resort, building here a palace (probably identifiable with the modern Town Hall).
Info - Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The city was founded by the Phoenicians, but named by the Ancient Greeks as Panormus meaning 'always fit for landing in.' Palermo became part of the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and eventually part of the Byzantine Empire, for over a thousand years. From 827 to 1071 it was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when it first became a capital. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became capital of a new kingdom (from 1130 to 1816), the Kingdom of Sicily. Eventually it would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860.
Palermo is Sicily's cultural, economic and touristic capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches, palaces and buildings, and its nightlife and music.
Info - Ragusa
Ragusa has two distinct areas, the lower and older town of Ragusa Ibla, and the higher Ragusa Superiore (Upper Town). The two halves are separated by the Valle dei Ponti, a deep ravine crossed by four bridges. The most noteworthy of them is the eighteenth-century Ponte dei Cappuccini.
The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista is the main monument of Ragusa Superiore. The church was located originally in the west part of the ancient Ragusa, under the walls of the Mediaeval castle, where the small church of St. Agnese is today.
Ragusa Ibla hosts a wide array of Baroque architecture, including several stunning palaces and churches.
Info - San Vito Lo Capo: by boat
San Vito Lo Capo is a town and comune in North-Western Sicily, Italy, administratively part of the province of Trapani. It has 3,914 inhabitants as of 2004. The small town is located in a valley between spectacular mountains, and is home to a public beach popular with local vacationers. The town's primary industries are tourism and agriculture, particularly olive groves owned by small farmers.
The town's eastern border is provided by a small range of mountains, the northernmost of which is peaked by a large cross visible from the public beach below. The mountain is popular with local climbers, and a logbook is provided at the cross for climbers to record their adventures. The mountain is also home to numerous caves, most of which are inaccessible without professional climbing gear. A particular cave, accessible by foot at the southern base of the mountain, was named "Caverna della Capra Guasto," or "Cave of the Dead Goat" by explorers Christian D'Angelo and William Spears. The adventurers famously explored the cave's interior using only a camera flash for light, and provide the first historical record of the cave's penetration by humans.
Info - Segesta
Segesta was one of the major cities of the Elymian people, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicily. It is located in the northwestern part of Sicily in Italy, near the modern comune of Calatafimi-Segesta in the province of Trapani.
Of particular beauty are the Doric-style Temple, and theater, partly dug into the rock of the Hill.
Info - Selinunte
Selinunte was an ancient Greek city on the southern coast of Sicily in Italy. The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis. Of the five temples, only the Temple of Hera, also known as Temple E, has been re-erected. At its peak before 409 BC the city grew to 30,000 people.
A unique opportunity for Italian language immersion, and for appreciation of Mediterranean history and cultures, as participants experience the social life of the Sicilian capital, in addition to the friendly environment of small communities in peaceful villages.
Package price inclusions
Package price inclusions
- Transfer from Airport to and from Hotel via private motorcoach (if all the participants group arrive with the same flight)
- Long distance transfer via private motorcoach
- Transportation within cities, via buses and trains and walking
- 14 nights: Three or four stars hotel and agriturismo
(Supplement is $600 for single room, and $180 + $180 for double room).
- Breakfast and dinner is included daily (with water, other beverages NOT included).
- Entrance fees to museums specified in tour
- Specialized English local guides for entrance to specified museums. The guides are certified by the Association of Professional Guides
- Accompanying Tour Leader for duration of the tour 24/7.
- Basic travel insurance
Tour cost does NOT include:
- PLEASE NOTE: This Special Program n.16 is quoted LAND ONLY. Ask more informations if you need airfare
- Room supplement for single or double
- Optional Trip Protection/Cancellation Insurance
- Excess baggage fee
- Lunch and beverages other than water
- Tips and gratuities. Suggested fees are listed in the final price quote.
- Personal expenses: purchases, phone cards, hotel minibar
- Northern Italian climate is cold in the winter months, and February can be snowy.
Rome on the other hand, is quite mild.
Summer months are hot throughout the peninsula.
- Visits to cities of art usually require considerable walking as they offer much to explore, learn and enjoy. We recommend you pack comfortable walking shoes.
Museums and Churches, above all, require modest attire. Shorts and bare shoulder blouses or tops, are not permitted. We recommend carrying a light sweater, shirt, or shawl to cover the shoulders.
- Museums also require visitors to pass through a metal detector, and all backpacks and large bags must be stored. Your Tour facilitator will give the pertinent instructions daily for each of your stops.
- Tour buses are not permitted into the cities' historical center and groups will be required to use mass transit or to walk. Your Tour Facilitator will also address these issues daily.
Short program»Usefull Tips »Tour full program
DAY 1 (23 maggio): DEPARTURE
DAY 2 (24 maggio): ARRIVAL IN PALERMO
Arrival in Palermo and relax
DAY 3 (25 maggio): PALERMO CITY TOUR
Walking tour of the city
DAY 4 (26 maggio): WORKSHOP
An immersion into art and literature
DAY 5 (27 maggio): VISIT TO MONREALE
The priceless mosaics of Monreale
DAY 6 (28 maggio): ZINGARO RESERVE
San Vito lo Capo and the Natural Reserve of the Gipsy
DAY 7 (29 maggio): FULL DAY TRIP TO ERICE
Full day trip to Erice via Alcamo
DAY 8 (30 maggio): FULL DAY TRIP TO SEGESTA AND SELINUNTE
Full day trip to Segesta and Selinunte
DAY 9 (31 maggio): COOKING LESSON AND ACTIVITIES
Cooking lesson and activities
DAY 10 (1 giugno): TRANSFER TO AGRIGENTO
Transfer to Agrigento and relax
DAY 11 (2 giugno): VISIT THE CITY OF TEMPLES
Visit the City of Temples and Pirandello's Literary ParkValle dei Templi
DAY 12 (3 giugno): RELAX AND ENJOY THE BEACH
Enjoy the beach!
DAY 13 (4 giugno): VISIT RAGUSA AND MODICA AND TRANSFERTO LETOJANNI
Transfer to Letojanni and stop in Ragusa and Modica
DAY 14 (5 giugno): PICTORIAL AND LITERARY CREATIVE ACTIVITIES
Artistic and literary creative activities
DAY 15 (6 giugno): TAORMINA
Visit Taormina and the ancient Greek Theatre
DAY 16 (7 giugno): DEPARTURE