Midwest, USA. It is so unique that it warrants more attention. My first Rick Steves tour; certainly not the last. This was our 4th RS tour and we liked it very much. Overall the tour was very well organized. It was a wonderful trip. Outstanding tour. Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Our guide, our hotels, our transportation, places visited, were all excellent! The leadership was thoughtful and capable and encouraged us to look deeper than the surface to see the culture and history. "It is hard to choose my favorite WOW moment, because every place we visited was a wow moment. First, our tour guide, Tommaso, was great (see above), the itinerary was packed with wonderful experiences, Massimo our bus driver was fantastic, comfortable, clean bus, snacks, Tommaso's stories during the bus rides, amazing historic sites, local guides, wonderful meals. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) and up stairways to reach your hotel, then up several flights of stairs to reach your room. I'm sure this helped us to fully enjoy the entire tour. Suggestions were given for your free time and enough time was given to shop! Rambles in remote parts of southern Italy. That same night I was able to view Mt Etna from my balcony and see the red "lava blurps" at the top of the volcano. I was overwhelmed by the amount of history this one island contains. ", "Maria Grammatico? Every day was an adventure. My husband, Paul, and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The weather was bad the day we were supposed to visit Mt. Best trip yet with RS's! The sites were well chosen, and the local guides added a great deal to our understanding of the history of Sicily. "Ancient Agrigento, hands down. I've worked with groups for 40 years and I was impressed by his skill as a group leader. "The incredible Greek and Roman ruins and museums! The places we visited were spectacular. The Best of Sicily Tour exceeded our expectations in every way. This trip exceeded my expectations, especially the level of planning, the quality of the guide, local guides, guest speakers, the activities and sights, and the wonderful meals. A wow moment has to be the weather--wow, we were grateful!". 4.1 out of 5 stars 47. Our guide, Jamie, was outstanding. They guides were incredible! But my favorite was listening to Tomasso in the bus! The food and choice of tourist attractions were varied and all very interesting. "Only one??? I enjoyed the food and the wine. I finally realized why the new occupants of an area would just take stones from the previous rulers - so much easier! Followed by an incredible Sicilian lunch prepared for all of us. Every day was a new exciting adventure. Sicily was particulary interesting in that every place was so different. Shop Rick's Travel Store. I loved having a variety of experiences, from the tour guides, to cooking demos, wine tasting, farm lunches, so much more than I expected. Sicilian Pizza !!!! Seeing the Greek and Roman ruins and learning about the history of Sicily a close second. So I was a bit worried about moving from place to place, however it was seamless! "It's a bit cruel to even ask the question. Etna. "There were many that qualify. I especially enjoyed the cooking demos and meeting the locals such as baking cookies with Maria and making couscous and busiate pasta with another chef. The cities of Palermo and Catania were pretty gritty and at times I felt that they both needed a big power wash. Hopefully, theose cities improve there appearances as Sicily sees the growing importance of tourism. Si! It was awesome.". Bus: 3 hours. Alfio was a fantastic guide, one of the best and I have been on many group travel tours. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Virginia's qualified suggestion: Alfio showed us two memorials dedicated to judges killed by Mafia". There was a nice mix of ruins and experiences such as the pastry demonstration and wine tasting. "The baking lesson with a pastry chef was so much fun and everyone really got involved.". First Rick Steve's trip, had high expectations and you exceeded them. This morning we'll take a magical history tour through the ruins of Agrigento, one of the richest of the Greek colonies and a thriving democracy 2,500 years ago. Our loss but it finally made sense!". Flying out of Gatwick to Palermo or Catania. For a first impression Leonardo da Vinci in Milan: "The Last Supper" Milan, Italy 1:27. "Probably the mosaics at the roman villa.". Invading Normans asserted their rule by replacing Arab mosques with imposing churches and this was their grandest — wall-papered with exquisite gold-leaf mosaics telling vivid Bible stories. Alfio was our guide, and was outstanding. July and August are hot and can be crowded — especially at beaches and resorts. "Our stay at Trapani on the edge of the Tyrrhenian Sea, along with a side visit to the ancient island of Mozia and a salt farm, was informative and gorgeous. This was absolutely the best meal we had, with everything fresh and beautifully prepared, and each dish native to Sicily. Best of all was our guide Virginia, who is an absolute delight. So much history was brought to life by photos, exhibits, videos, etc. The view, particularly in the morning light, was outstanding! Add in the centuries since it was created and it just boggles the mind. And so it was clearly. The tour was full of surprises - complex and fascinating history, natural beauty, rich culture, and delicious food. Our main guide was Jamie who was INCREDIBLE- all the information that he shared - how does one person remember all the names, dates, myths; and make it so interesting and fun? Even thought our tour ended at the onset of the Corona Virus, we had a spectacular time. City guides were knowledgeable and well versed in sharing. This was my 8th Rick Steves Tour over a 20 year period. I loved it! "We have done a lot of European travel and have seen some beautiful ancient sites but the Villa Romana del Casale was truly a WOW moment for me. The Monreal cathedral was amazing.". The tour of the winery and the salt processing facility were prime examples. Posted by Suki. I wanted to go to see the Byzantine mosaics in Palermo, the Greek temples, the Greek and Roman theaters and the Roman mosaics - so all WOWS. Karin made the bus rides fun with stories from ancient times and music. Sicily is lovely and has such interesting history, beautiful scenery and delicious food! my concerns were out to rest as our travel pals were great! He is engaging, knowledgeable, passionate about Sicily, and an absolute joy! It was very well organized and enjoyable. We expected Palermo to be gritty and look like it had a long battle with Mafia domination. Most tour members arrange to fly into Palermo (PMO) and out of Catania (CTA) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. March through June and October are ideal, with few crowds, lots of festivals, and mild weather. I attribute most of the success to our guide Virginia. "The local guide in Syracuse was very enthusiastic about her city. ", A delightful trip around the isle of Sicily. So many fabulous experiences.". . Sicily was just fantastic. 1. Terms of Service | Privacy, Mosaics in Sicily’s Villa Romana del Casale (clip), Celebrating Sicily: Italy at Its Most Extreme, Open Doors to the Past: Visiting Europe’s Time-Warp Homes, Sicily’s Spicy, Slice-of-Life Street Scenes, Sicily III: Looking up Relatives It brought local talent to the stage and it was great to see and listen to these stars. "I went to Sicily in 1986 when only a small section of the mosaics in Villa Romana had been uncovered. Taormina? "Each day provided a new "wow" experience whether it was visiting the Monreale Cathedral, cooking class in Erice, the salt pans of Trapani, the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento, Roman Mosaics of the Villa Romana del Casale, activity of Mt Etna volano, and the Greek theater of hill town of Taormina. While book signing, she graciously shared (I in broken-Italian) our connection with cookbook author Maria Taylor Semetti. Perfect blend of history, culture, walking, climbing, and free time. "Three moments of discovery: Mozia Island echos with ancient civilization, the Puppet Theatre was captivatingly alive and Mount Etna is a gorgeous volcano, active with black and white plumes.". "The puppet show in Syracusa was a huge hit. The mosaics in Monreale were amazing and I'll call them my wow moment. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour in the Documents section of your tour account. So many adventures and 3000 years of history, all jam packed into 11 days on this small, vibrant island. Lunch at the nearby shelter was overrated but I don't know what it could be replaced by. But from the first glimpse of the mountains from the plane, I knew this was going to be a special trip. The accommodations were very diverse, clean, good breakfasts, friendly desk staff. The tour gave a good look at the remnants of all these cultures. very enjoyable. It should help you in deciding what towns to visit. As in past experiences with RS Tours, this tour of Sicily was a great experience. Our all-seafood dinner in Agrigento at Trattoria Caico was spectacular. ", "Agrigento This was our first trip with Rick Steve's. "There were so many "Wow" moments! I loved the towns of Taormina, and Syracuse because we were so close to the sea.". Va Bene! Sicily is an amazing island with many beautiful places to visit. This being my 3rd tour, I was extremely very happy with everything, especially our tour guide, Karin! Day 1 for a late start was a packed fun and fabulous stint to open the tour. The hotels chosen were great places to stay , be it city centers or in the countryside. This was our first Rick Steves tour though we've often used Ricks's tour books on our previous European vacations. Given some of the places we went, that is no small achievement. We were able to get to our hotel in time to see the sun setting behind Mt Etna also. We had a great group of of people and Donald was a wonderful guide. per person + air, Single Every day was a marvel-Greek Land, Roman Land, Carthaginian Land, Salt Land, Volcano Land, Island Land, Cliff Land. We love traveling with the Rick Steves program. "There were many, but the Valley of Temples was the top for an art and history buff like me. I have to say my expectations where exceeded by 100 percent. This was my 3rd Rick Steve's Tour and was by far my favorite. Palermo was a big city with lots to see, but perhaps one less day there may have been better, as I really liked touring the other areas better. "The views from the rooftop terrace at our hotel in Palermo and the restaurant deck at our hotel in Taormina took my breath away. Enjoyed some incredible seafood and saw sights that I will always remember for the rest of my life. There were ancient sites, a winery, preparation of desserts with Maria, WW 2 museum, and much more. FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. "Mount Etna spewing fire into the night sky above Taormina. ▲▲▲ Palermo Sicily's sprawling, gritty capital, with colorful markets and bustling shopping streets that signal a fun-loving city in regeneration. "I loved Mt Etna! My first organised tour of any kind and would love to do another. Her knowledge and enthusiasm made everyday fun with unexpected surprises along the way. Note: This is the only Rick Steves guidebook with information on Sicily (neither Rick Steves Italy, nor Rick Steves Best of Italy, have any Sicilian coverage). We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. Most appreciated were the variety of activities, the walking/learning tours, our delightful guide, the friendliness of the locals, the chance to practice my newly learned Italian, the fabulous food, the restoration of antiquities, the volcano, and the scenic places on the water. Sadly, in Erice, we followed the wrong street, so no time to see/buy from Maria's array of sweet creations, a personal loss to me. 4.8 out of 5 stars 194. Agrigento? And an entertaining pastry demo by a former convent resident. The guide described herself as quite touched by the moment reflecting that for thousands of years that space had been used for worship and prayer, and hoping it could be used in peace and harmony in the future.". The Best of Sicily Tour packed in so many great highlights I hardly know where to begin. The tour group conversation was great, the sky was a beautiful Mediterranean blue, the temperature was perfect, and the setting was lovely with a light breeze stirring the leaves in the trees. As a history major, I was blown away by having the opportunity to see them in person.". We have traveled to Italy quite a bit, but were told we "had" to do Sicily, so we decided instead of researching the whole island ourselves, to let Rick Steves do it for us! To be in a "home" that was used for daily life; to see the wonderful mosaics in the children's room - that was pretty emotional for me. That whole story was amazing. The personalized nature of the tour was not expected and very much enjoyed. It is a busy tour, so you need to pay attention, but you will be richly rewarded for your efforts. Prompt and courteous It was an incredible trip. Etna was the "MAJOR WOW". "Seeing the ancient, well preserved - Churches, Temples, Mosaics was the "MINOR WOW" for me. overall i was pleased with the tour. Sleep on the island of Ortygia. Etna sputtered a tiny plume of gray, straight ahead the cerulean blue ocean sparkled, lovely red and pink tropical flowers peeked around every corner, and the storybook, white stone town of Taormina climbed from below up the hilltop. I was very surprised with the quality of the tour. 4.7 out of 5 stars 68. Whether it be the scenic vistas, the captivating history and amazing architecture, the gracious and fun-loving people, or the great food, we were always happy to have made the choice to go to Europe again and to utilize the great support the RS Tours provide. "There were many moments that could be my "wow" moment. Their history for me is WOW ! At no time did I feel unsafe or lost. Posted by Ron (Cesena, Italy) on 07/15/10 09:34 PM. ", First class tour guide and accommodations. "There were so many wow moments it is really impossible to name just one. ", I thought that the itinerary was excellent. I would do it again in a heartbeat. ", We are both delighted with our Sicily tour, It was far above our expectations. The pace was about right. In Group activities, radios were a plus. The knowledge of all the guides was so AMAZING! Rick Steves' Europe is public television's most-watched, longest-running travel series. Our group was congenial and led by the amazing David. Rick Steves' Europe. 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