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March 27

Day 1 of Sicily Highlights

We kicked off our 8 day tour of Sicily’s most famous places with Palermo. Our first stop was the Oratorio San Lorenzo, where we discussed organized crime, then took a stroll through Vucciria to the puppet theater.

Our performance was a long one, an origin story for Charlemagne, performed by Mimmo Cuticchio, the famous master of puppetry in Sicily. He and his crew came out for some nice remarks at the end, saying that the puppets fight every day but they are against war.

Our evening finished with spritz and a fun street food dinner at Antica Focacceria San Francesco, Palermo

I am pleased to be back to this island which captured my heart so long ago. It’s a messy, complicated place, but it will always feel like home.

March 28

Day 2 of Sicily Highlights

Today we started our exploration of Palermo with guide and photographer Domenico Aronica. He does a fun tour that combines the hidden corners of Palermo with local characters and street food.

In the evening, we visited my lovely friend, Contessa Alwine Federico, and toured her palace, then went for a hearty apericena in the Ballaro market together. A good day spent with good friends.

March 30

Sicily Highlights, Day 3-4

I’m in the midst of my first Sicily Highlights tour and I thought I’d catch you up on the progress (space available for the Sept tour,

Day 3 was spent with local guide and author Jackie Alio, who took us on a trip through the many layers of Sicilian history at Zisa Palace and the incredible Byzantine mosaics of Monreale Cathedral.

After a lovely seaside lunch in Mondello, we headed to Agrigento for the night.

Arab-Norman architecture explained at the Zisa Palace

Day 4 has been devoted to Greek Sicily and the marvelous architecture of the Valley of the Temples. Because we had more time, we got a thorough visit, including the lush Kolymbetra gardens and archaeological museum.

Our day was capped off by a celebration dinner with many courses of fish specialties. Off to bed to recharge for another fantastic day tomorrow!

Giants and legends on a carpet of purple at the Temple of Zeus

April 1

Sicily Highlights, Day 5-6

The past two days have been spent in Siracusa, a city that rivaled Athens as the most important city of antiquity and one that has a particularly sentimental place in my life. The heart of the city is Ortigia, or “quail” which is roughly the shape of the small island.

A little painting time with the cathedral of Siracusa

Most buildings are from the baroque period, the city was rebuilt after a major earthquake in the late 1600’s. The beautiful white limestone against the sapphire sky makes this one of the prettiest places in Sicily.

Never get tired of this beauty in Siracusa

There’s also tons of things to do-castles, churches, Greek temples, catacombs…far too much for only two days unfortunately.

This island was not very glamorous the first time I came here, but recent projects have made it a gorgeous destination with shops and excellent restaurants, including the singing sandwich maker, Andrea. The nice thing about a city with too many things to do is that you always have a reason to return.

April 3

Last days on Sicily Highlights

Our tour concluded with a highlight, the beautiful old-world town of Taormina. We stopped along the way to spend a bit of time exploring Catania, then checked in to our hotel with its really stunning views from every room.

I laid in bed this morning and just enjoyed looking at Mount Etna, smoking and sputtering in the distance. After a little walk and visit to the Greek-Roman theater, we all took the rest of the day to relax before our final dinner.

A fabulous 8 days in Sicily, an introduction for those who have never been before. Tomorrow, on to Sicilian Pleasures, my new idea for enjoying the parts of Sicily that are off the beaten path.

Does this all sound like something you’d enjoy? We have spots available on our September tours! More here:

Join us on an adventure in Sicily!

Complicated, misunderstood, generous, outrageous, sensual and seductive, Sicily is pure opera. If you think you know Italy but haven’t been to Sicily, you are in for a mind-bending treat. 3000 years of history piled up like a sweet cassata cake is waiting for your exploration. Andiamo!

AWS Staff

This post was published by the Adventures with Sarah team. Click here to find out more about the people that make everything at AWS happen.

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