RMC Travel

and the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society

present

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SICILY October 1 – 12, 2013

Sicily will immerse you in its distinctive culture, crafts and history.

This special tour combines two of the Island’s most exiting cities – Palermo and Catania, and will introduce you to the Aeolian Islands Archipelago that is made up of seven islands: Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi. Here we will hike vast black ebony-like beaches that contrast with light colored shorelines. See dramatic nature (delete offering many peculiarities) such as strange perforated rocks resembling bold bridges and arches (I faraglioni); areas of bubbling sea due to underwater fumaroles; rocks with a network of clefts from which boiling water gushes and hot springs… plus magnificent Mt Etna.

A superb opportunity to explore the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Sicily’s Aeolian Islands, see Mt Etna up-close and visit two of Italy’s most beautiful cities… the vestiges of the ancient Greeks and Romans of Catania, and the presence of the Normans that still lingers in Palermo… and on a specially tailored walking itinerary (see note below)

IMPORTANT WALKING PROGRAM INFORMATION

There has been some concern as to the difficulty of the walks and the terrain in Sicily. Again, we have arranged to have two walking escorts along so that those who only want to take the easy part of the walk, can return with one of the guides, while the rest of the group continues with the 2nd guide on a more difficult trek. This way on each walk we can sort of tailor-make them to cater for all levels of walking ability so that everyone gets the most enjoyment out of the experience

Your Tour Includes:

  • Round-trip transportation from Montauk to JFK
  • Round-trip airfare from New York City
  • Round-trip airport/hotel transfers
  • Baggage handling at airports & hotels
  • Great combination of deluxe and boutique hotels throughout
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • Daily breakfast
  • 7 Lunches
  • 7 Dinners as per itinerary
  • All guided sightseeing including entrance fees

Added Features:

  • Welcome to Sicily dinner
  • Ferry ride to the Island of Volcano and its thermal springs
  • Sicilian wine tasting in Lipari
  • Hydrofoil excursion to the “green” Island of Salina
  • Full day boat fishing jaunt including special onboard luncheon
  • Walk to the edge of the Silvestri Craters on Mt Etna
  • Optional “Etna Challenge” up to the top of Etna
  • Walking sightseeing tour of Catania
  • Farewell dinner to Sicily

Tour Itinerary

 

Day 1- Tuesday, October 1: Depart JFK

Depart JFK for Sicily.

 

Day 2- Wednesday, October 2: To Palermo (D)

Arrival in Rome and connect to your flight to Palermo.

Upon arrival, you will be met and escorted to your hotel and some time to relax before our Welcome to Sicily dinner.

 

Day 3: Thursday, October 3: In Palermo (B)

PalermoMeet your guide in the lobby to start your tour of Palermo. We start with a panoramic tour of the city. We then take to the narrow streets of the Albergheria district and the picturesque Ballarò Market with its many colorful fish, vegetable, fruit, meat and herb stands. Continue with a visit to the Norman Royal Palace with its Palatine Chapel of King Roger II, famous for its Byzantine mosaics and wooden Arabic Muqarna-ceiling. Afterwards we stroll along the Bonanno Park with its palm trees, an artificially created oasis in town, to the Cathedral (visit from outside). This monumental edifice from the 12th century has been rebuilt several times since. Continue to the Cappuccini Catacombs. Although it may seem bizarre, the Catacombe dei Cappuccini (Catacombs of the Capuchins or Capuchin Catacombs) are special and must-see site. On to Monreale that dates from the late Middle Ages, when it began to develop around the great architectural mass of the Cathedral. Lunch on our own at one of the many charming restaurants followed by a tour of the Cathedral. The cathedral and its cloister represent the largest concentration of Norman, Arab and Byzantine art in one place. It is an an amalgamation of Arab, Byzantine and Norman artistic styles framed by traditional Romanesque architecture, representing the best of twelfth-century culture. End our tour of Monreale with a visit to the Cloister. Return to Palermo and dinner on your own. Overnight in Palermo.

Day 4: Friday, October 4: To Vulcano & Lipari (B/L/D)

VulcanoTransfer to Milazzo harbor where we board a ferry to the island of Vulcano (about a one-hour ride) famous for its thermal springs. Here we take our first walk to Vulcano’s crater to see the “fumaroles.” This is an easy walk that takes about 3 hours allowing for some stops along the way. There is about a 40 minute uphill walking on a clear path with an easy gradient that is not steep. You then will find yourself on a large flat area where you get a great view across to other islands and Vulcanello. The path is good, clean and easy to follow, and is used by local school children. Check-in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at hotel in Lipari.

Walk about 3.5 miles – 3 hours.

 

Day 5: Saturday, October 5: Lipari and the pumice quarries and wine tasting (B/L/D)

LipariOur morning begins with an easy hike to the northern coast of the island. The effort is worth it as we get to appreciate a wonderful view over the fascinating pumice quarries. This is a nice walk along the coast to see typical pumice caves. It is not too long and the gradient is not steep. The first half is a gradual uphill walk and takes about 30 minutes. It’s on a path through vegetation and then follows along a mule track. In the afternoon we visit the historical center of Lipari. We will enjoy a wine tasting session of Sicilian wines and delicious local food specialties. Overnight and dinner at our hotel in Lipari.

Walk about 3.5 miles – 3 hours

 

Day 6: Sunday, October 6: Climb Fossa delle Felci on the island of Salina (B/L/D)

SalinaToday, we have an excursion by hydrofoil to the ‘green’ island of Salina which lies just a few miles to the north-west of Lipari. Arriving at the port of Rinella, we take a short public bus ride to Val di Chiesa (15 minutes) and the start of our treks. There will be two walks. One easy on the south side of the island of Lipari with a beautiful view of Vulcano island. This walk lasts about 3 hours with a gradual elevation. The other choice will be a bit more difficult The first uphill lasts up about 90 minutes And starts with some steps for about 15 minutes. It is steep. The final part is less tough but still an uphill. This path is in the middle of the woods. In the afternoon, we will take the hydrofoil back to Lipari and stay overnight at our hotel.

Easy Walk about 3 miles 2 ½ hours

More Difficult walk about 4.5 miles – 4 hours

 

Day 7: Monday, October 7: PESCATURISMO Day at leisure – fishing trip including luncheon onboard: (B/L)

In the morning we embark on our boat for an unforgettable day together with experienced fishermen who will show us the techniques used to catch the local fish. If you want, you can fish with the fishermen. Or just relax and sunbathe as you enjoy your cruise. Afterwards the fish is cooked on board and lunch becomes a large meal. Return in the afternoon. If you are still hungry there is the opportunity to eat in many of the restaurants on Lipari. Overnight in Lipari.

 

Day 8. Tuesday, October 8: Stromboli (B/L/D)

stromboliOur day begins with a one-hour hydrofoil journey to the island of Stromboli. A unique island famed for being home to one of only three active volcanoes in Italy and a unique place to explore. Once there, we have free time to relax on the black sand beaches of the island. At sunset we will again have a choice of two walks. The easy walk to discover the spectacular “Sciara del Fuoco” from where you can see the volcano craters and the explosions. The excursion is 3 hours and the elevation is gradual. The first part is an uphill walk on asphalt which then becomes a natural path. Consider about 40 minutes going up and then the path is a mix of flat zone and down hill. The second choice is more difficult and is a Stromboli climb. The walk is challenging and the uphill very steep but offer a spectacular sight. Those that want to do this can decide when they get there. The walks finishes in the dark because it is better to admire the explosions. Late dinner in pizzeria and overnight in hotel.

Both walks are about 3.5 miles – 3 hours

 

Day 9 Wednesday, October 9: To Etna South (B/L/D)

SilvestriIn the morning we take a hydrofoil from Stromboli to Milazzo (about a 2-hour ride), then a private transfer from Milazzo harbor to the southern side of Mt Etna. On Etna, before dinner we will take a short walk to the edge of the “Silvestri craters” for a first approach to the volcano. Crateri Silvestri is a very easy and short walk, but gives a first ” bite” of Mount Etna. This evening (weather permitting) from a distance, watch the spectacular “Etna Eruptions.” Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel on Etna south.

Walk about 2 hours

 

Day 10: Thursday, October 10: On Etna and the OPTIONAL “Etna Challenge” and to Catania: (B/L)

EtnaThis morning a chance to relax or take a spectacular optional walk on the southern area of the Mount Etna volcano. We will take a path called “schiena dell’asino” and from there admire the stunning Bove Valley. The walk is easy without any hard uphill climbs Then for those who want to continue, they can be part of an optional guided excursion with volcanologic guides. You will take the cable car and then the jeep and stop at 9,000 feet. From there, all the way down again to 6,000 feet. In this case there isn’t a real path but mostly is volcano ash. I suggest this excursion because it is the best way to admire the volcano and the craters. Later in the afternoon, we travel to Catania for our overnight and dinner on your own.

Walk about 4 hours – Note: Our guide will go over the program and explain the walks so you can judge for yourself if you want to take the optional continuation walk.

 

Day 11: Friday, October 11: In Catania (B/D)

cataniaMorning walking tour of Catania. We start from the real heart of the city as we stroll with our guide into the baroque part of the city with its elegant buildings, squares and splendid churches that introduces us to three thousand years of foreign dominations on the Island including Roman ruins, the University Palace with its lovely courtyard decorated in Etna pebble mosaics, the Cathedral and Ursino Castle, where Frederic the second lived. We end our walk with a visit to the “Pescheria,” the open fish market that reminds of an African souk with all the fishermen shouting their prices. Maybe have lunch on your own here as you have the afternoon is free for relaxing, shopping and independent activities… maybe even have lunch This evening, we have our Farewell to Sicily dinner at a local restaurant.

Sightseeing Walk about 3.5 miles – 3 hours

 

Day12: Saturday, October 12: To JFK

Transfer to the airport for you connecting flight home.

Our Hotels (or similar)

Palermo: The Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa – Situated in the heart of Palermo, in a refurbished cloister, the 127 air-conditioned guestrooms at Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa include minibars and safes. Beds have down comforters, down blankets, and premium bedding, wired high-speed Internet access 32-inch LCD televisions are equipped with satellite channels, pay movies, and TV Internet access. All accommodations provide desks and direct-dial phones. Bathrooms offer double sinks, bathrobes, bidets, and makeup/shaving mirrors.

Lipari: Hotel Giardino sul Mare – A few minutes from Marina Corta, the picturesque fishing port, the Hotel Giardino sul Mare looks out from a bastion of rock over the bay of Lipari, the largest island in the Aeolian archipelago. 46 attractive, welcoming rooms with private shower, WC and telephone, TV satellite, safe, mini-bar, hairdryer and cool, leafy restaurant terrace where, in sight of the distant Sicilian coastline and passing fishing boat, you can sample the hotel’s local dishes. Swimming pool, air conditioning

Stromboli: Hotel Villaggio Stromboli – All of the 37 rooms are elegantly furnished boutique hotel have a sea view and faces Strombolicchio. All the bedrooms offer: terrace, bathroom, TV set, frigobar, safety box, ceiling blade ventilation, air conditioning. Two restaurants, one covered where the guests can have breakfast the other one in the open with three big terraces few meters far from the beach. The restaurant features typically Mediterranean cooking or vegetarian.

Etna: Hotel Rifugio Sapienza – 24 rooms equipped with bathroom with shower or bath, A/C and TV, all recently renovated and furnished in Alpine style. The hotel’s cozy restaurant features local specialties.

Catania: The Sheraton – With panoramic views of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea, this Sheraton Hotel has direct access to the sea. It offers a swimming pool, a modern spa, and spacious rooms with a modern design. All air-conditioned, the rooms feature a minibar, and a flat-screen TV with satellite and pay-per-view channels. Each has a private bathroom with bathtub, hairdryer, and toiletries. Guests get one hour of free internet access, either Wi-Fi or at the internet terminals. Breakfast is buffet style at Sheraton Catania Hotel. There is also a poolside bar. a stylish indoor bar and Il Timo Gourmet Restaurant. indoor bar and Il Timo Gourmet Restaurant.

 

PRICE PER PERSON

Double occupancy $3,099

Add to above costs:

U.S. airline facility, security and Fuel Surcharge $396

Taxes: $ 150 (This is the current charge but is subject to change by airline at time of ticketing)

Prepaid Gratuities $120 (for guides, escort, drivers, wait-staff, hotel staff, baggage porterage)

Single room supplement $599

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