Start your trip with a couple of days in Palermo, the island’s intoxicating capital. You can see symbols of the Phoenician, Arab and Norman influences which shaped Sicily’s history everywhere among its swaying palms and banyan trees. Be sure to visit the impressive church of La Martorana and the Capella Palatina. We can also arrange a guided visit to nearby Monreale, whose massive cathedral of exquisitely carved white-marble columns is one of the Norman’s greatest legacies.
Vineyards & Beaches
Collect your car and drive south, stopping first to visit the Greek site of Segesta. Perched on a hill amid unspoiled green countryside, this ancient Doric Temple’s beautiful setting makes it a great place for a picnic lunch underneath the olive trees. Then continue south for a stay amid the vineyards and olive groves of Menfi, where you’re just a short drive from several superb sandy beaches. There are more magnificent Greek ruins to visit in the form of nearby Selinunte, and the superb fish restaurants alone make the attractive port town of Sciacca well worth a visit too.
Then drive east to experience authentic Sicilian hospitality while staying on a working olive farm, the perfect base for a daytrip to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Ancient Akragas was one of the major cities during Greece’s golden age, and this area is home to seven mighty temples alone. Today they’re unusually well-preserved, especially Concordia. Visit in the morning if possible, to beat the crowds and the heat. There’re also miles of white sand beaches to explore, with the remarkable white rocks at Scala dei Turchi being our top pick. Back at the farm, we’ll arrange a private tour of the olive groves after which you’ll enjoy a tasting session of the estate’s renowned olive oil.
Take a short drive further east for a few days exploring the Baroque towns of the island’s south-east corner. See Noto’s honey-hued stone buildings, wander Scicli’s pretty piazza and palazzi, then take in the sweeping views from Ragusa’s hilltop Duomo. Sightseeing done, pay an indulgent visit to Modica’s famed chocolatiers before dining on Sicilian specialities in one of the countless excellent restaurants.
End your Sicilian road trip with a stay in Ortigia, the pretty coastal town of Syracuse’s historic centre, which you reach via a causeway from the mainland. Home to an impressive cathedral, the town’s central piazza is the perfect spot to grab a coffee and while away an afternoon people watching. The Greek and Roman ruins on the edge of town are also well worth a visit, the highlight being the 5th century BC Greek amphitheatre, which is still used for events today.
Trip idea / Italy
From Historical Riches to Beautiful Beaches
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