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  • Culture
  • Foodie Holidays
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    • — Wander through colourful markets and try the unique street food of Palermo — Enjoy a hands-on cookery class with a local chef in Erice — Sample a variety of local specialities during produce and wine tastings — Visit unique heritage sites and baroque cities, including Agrigento and Noto
  • 1

    Start Palermo

    This tour starts in Palermo, the regional capital of Sicily. This busy port city on the northwest coast encompasses fascinating and often-overlooked attractions. There is fine architecture to admire, good museums, palazzi and churches. It is the food scene, colourful markets and long-established food shops, however, that give the city an original, eccentric character worth discovering. Accommodation: B&B Hotel Quattro Canti (or similar)

  • 2

    Explore the markets of Palermo and indulge in fabulous street food; optional afternoon visit to Monreale and the ‘duomo’

    We start our week with a guided foodie tour through the historic centre of Palermo. During our walk, we wander through the carts and kiosks of street vendors, colourful markets and local bakeries while trying some of the best local specialities. These vary by season, but usually include arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with meat sauce and cheese), panelle (fried chickpea pancake), and sfincione (the traditional pizza of Palermo) – all delicious. As we walk, the local guide reveals secrets of Sicilian street cuisine and explains the history of the city, while pointing out notable monuments and historic streets, such as Piazza San Domenico, Vucciria and Quattro Canti. The rest of the day is free; you may decide to continue sightseeing at your own pace or take an optional visit to Monreale, famous for its duomo (cathedral), considered the greatest example of Norman architecture in the world. Accommodation: B&B Hotel Quattro Canti (or similar)

  • 3

    Transfer to Erice; hands-on cookery class with a local chef; continue to Marsala and sample the local wines

    In the morning, we transfer to our next destination, the hilltop town of Erice. The local gastronomy in this part of Sicily is strongly influenced by the Arabs, who occupied the area for many centuries until the Normans took over. A hands-on cookery course with a local chef gives us the opportunity to learn more about the interesting culinary fusions, while practising (and tasting) traditional regional recipes. In the afternoon, we head to the southern town of Marsala, home to the much-loved fortified wines of the same name. A wine tasting is offered after a tour of one of the best local wineries. Accommodation: Villa Favorita Bungalow, Hotel Carmine (or similar)

  • 4

    Morning visit to an olive farm for olive oil and produce tasting; transfer to Agrigento for a guided tour of the Valley of the Temples

    In the morning, we leave Marsala and transfer to a traditional organic olive farm. We learn about the cultivation and production methods and sample olive oil accompanied by local produce. In the afternoon, we transfer to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. A guided tour allows us to learn about the history of this archaeological park, which consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between about 510 BCE and 430 BCE. Accommodation: Hotel della Valle (or similar)

  • 5

    To Piazza Armerina; guided tour of the Villa Romana del Casale followed by a delicious produce tasting; afternoon visit to the town of Ragusa

    Today’s destination is Piazza Armerina, home of Villa Romana del Casale. Built in the fourth century CE as a hunting lodge by a Roman patrician, the villa is home to well-preserved Roman mosaics, which are spread over 37,670sqft (3,500sqm). After a guided tour of this UNESCO-listed site, we enjoy a delicious produce tasting of Sicilian delicacies. In the afternoon, we transfer to the baroque gem of Ragusa, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. The town is part of the Val di Noto World Heritage site and 18 of the buildings are protected by UNESCO. After a short orientation walk, we have free time to enjoy a relaxing and well-deserved aperitivo (traditional Italian pre-dinner drinks and snacks) in a piazza. Accommodation: Hotel Mediterraneo or Hotel Barocco (or similar)

  • 6

    Transfer to rural farm for cheese tasting; to the baroque town of Noto; time to explore and transfer to Catania

    We start our day with a transfer to a family-run farm in the countryside near Ragusa, a province where cheese-making traditions are stronger than anywhere else in Sicily. After a cheese-making demonstration and a farm tour, we taste samples, including ricotta made by the owners. Later, we transfer to the other baroque gem of the Val di Noto, the town of Noto itself. After a relaxing stroll through what is considered one of the most beautiful historic centres in Sicily, we can enjoy another staple of Sicilian cuisine: granita (crushed ice flavoured with fresh fruit or nuts and sugar) accompanied by traditional brioche (a soft, fragrant sweetbread). In the afternoon, we transfer to Catania, our base for the last two nights of the tour. Accommodation: B&B Hotel Catania (or similar)

  • 7

    Visit the loud, fast-paced fish market; travel to Etna for an excellent wine and produce tasting and short walk; return to Catania

    After breakfast, we visit La Pescheria, the colourful, loud and pungent fish market, which is one of the oldest and biggest in Italy. Held every morning except Sunday, it is everything one expects an Italian market to be; following the local traditions, fishermen try to attract buyers with their loud voices and plenty of gesticulation. Nearby, there are also fruit and vegetable stalls plus other produce from the mountain villages around Etna. Later this morning, we transfer to a renowned wine cellar on Mount Etna and enjoy a wine and produce tasting for lunch, followed by a walk (one hour, 3mi/5km maximum) around the most active volcano in Europe. We return to Catania in the afternoon, and in the evening our leader will recommend an excellent local restaurant where we can enjoy a farewell dinner. Accommodation: B&B Hotel Catania (or similar)

  • 8

    End Catania

    This Sicilian food adventure comes to an end after breakfast. If you’d like more time to explore this fascinating island, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

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