back to Italy

Italy

Ancient Civilisations of Sicily

Sicily has been conquered and settled by different peoples over thousands of years: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans have all settled or invaded the island, driven there by its fertile land and its strategic location, giving Sicily an unrivalled cultural identity.

Our tour will take in its layers of history, its wealth of architecture, ancient Greek sculpture, churches, palaces and mosaics and we will experience its vibrant markets and medieval cobbled streets, dramatic waterfronts and countryside with its semi-deserted Doric temples. Add to this its spectacular seafood and wonderfully fresh local produce (lemon, orange and olive groves abound) and we are sure to have the experience of a lifetime.

 

Itinerary

  1. To Catania

    We fly from London Gatwick to Sicily. easyJet flight EZY8567 departs at 11:55 and arrives in Catania at 15:55. Transfer to our hotel in Siracusa for three nights.

  2. Siracusa

    Our sightseeing in Siracusa today includes the archaeological area with its Greek theatre; the Ear of Dionysius Grotto; the Grotto of Cordari; the Latomie and the small island of Ortigia with its narrow, winding medieval streets, baroque palaces and churches. Afternoon visit to the Madonna delle Lacrime Sanctuary. Dinner at a local restaurant in Siracusa.

  3. Noto, Modica & Ragusa

    Full day excursion to Noto, Modica and Ragusa Ibla; three beautiful and interesting towns with churches and  Baroque palaces. Chocolate tasting in Modica is a must and also cheese tasting in Ragusa. Dinner at a local restaurant.

  4. Floor mosiacs in Piazza Armerina

    Piazza Armerina

    Departure after breakfast to Piazza Armerina (2 hours). Visit this small, picturesque hill town with its cathedral on top of the hill. Piazza Armerina was known as “the town of 100 churches” - many of its churches are now deconsecrated.  We then visit the Roman Villa del Casale (floor mosaics). Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we continue to Palermo. Four night stay.

  5. Palermo

    Our visits in Palermo include the Cathedral, the Palatine Chapel, the Norman palace, Piazza Verdi with the Massimo Theatre and the Politeama Theatre. In the afternoon we visit the Saint Rosaly Sanctuary in Monte Pellegrino with its wonderful views over Palermo. Continue to Mondello beach with time to relax.  Dinner at a local restaurant.

  6. Agrigento

    Full day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Valley of Temples” (the Concorde Temple, Castor & Pollux Temples, Zeus temples and several others) and the town with visit to the cathedral.

  7. Erice & Marsala

    Depart after breakfast for the pretty hilltop town of Erice, overlooking Trapani and the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy traditional  almond pastries at Grammatico Pasticceria. We continue to Marsala with a visit to a vineyard to sample some Marsala dessert wine.

  8. Monreale & Cefalu

    We depart after breakfast for Monreale, a lovely little town overlooking Palermo. Visit the Norman Cathedral with its gold mosaics and the Benedictine cloister. Continue to the coastal town of Cefalù where we visit the magnificent cathedral. Lunch at a local fish restaurant (included). Depart for Taormina area for two nights.

  9. Taormina & Mt Etna

    Today is free for shopping or visiting sites at your leisure with an OPTIONAL half day excursion to Mount Etna and the Silvestri craters. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Taormina.

  10. Home

    We leave Taormina for Catania where we visit the town and its traditional fish market. Lunch in Catania (a chance to taste the Catanese brioche served with granita or ice cream). Transfer to Catania airport. Our return flight EZY8568 departs  Catania at 16:25 and arrives back at London Gatwick at 18:40.

  11. Additional Options

    You may wish to add an extra day in Taormina at the end of your tour. A free day allows you to explore the coast, visit the beautiful town, or spend time relaxing.

Essential Information

The price you pay is inclusive

The only extras you need to budget for are lunches, drinks and shopping. We include gratuities to guide, driver and hotel staff.

Included

Flights, Hotel accommodation, Breakfast and dinner daily, Sightseeing programme, Entrance fees & guiding, Gratuities

Not included

Travel Insurance, Single Room supplement, lunches

Touring information

Days generally start at 9 and finish around 5 with dinner served around 7 or 7.30. Lunches are not included as we like to keep flexibility of each day’s timings, but our tour managers are expert at recommending options each day. Touring takes place by air-conditioned private coach, by vaporetto (water taxi) in venice, and on foot. All entrance fees are included.

Passports, visas and health

A visa is not required by British and EU passport holders, but please do check that your passport is not out of date. If you are holding a passport from a non-EU country let us know and we will check whether a visa is required. We recommend that you keep your passport in your hotel room and do not carry it on excursions. No inoculations are recommended.

Travel Insurance

The McCabe recommended insurance policy is designed for the older traveller. The premium for an Italian pilgrimage is £59 for travellers aged up to 75. Travellers over 75 pay £74 and we also recommend that older travellers obtain a note from their doctor stating that they are fit to travel. Do feel free to shop around as there are many suitable insurance options including annual policies on the market. We do insist that all travellers take out medical insurance.

A key feature of our recommended policy is that there is no requirement to call a Medical Help Line as most pre-existing conditions are covered.

You can read the full policy wording here.

Airline

Flights are available from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Luton, Stansted and other airports. Please check the specific flights shown for your chosen departure.

Hotels

You can expect comfortable, clean accommodation during your stay and all rooms have private facilities. McCabe use a mix of religious guesthouse accommodation and locally graded three star hotels

Breakfast and dinner are served generally at your accommodation.

You can click on the hotel websites below:

 

Cuisine

Breakfast: Italians are not great breakfast eaters with just croissants and coffee being the norm. We have asked that where possible this be supplemented at all of our guesthouses and hotels and you can expect to be offered in addition fruit juice, rolls, cheese and perhaps cereal together with coffee or tea. Dinner will normally consist of a pasta dish or soup followed by a meat course and desert. Italians don’t normally eat vegetables with a meat course but we have tried to emphasise that we do! Sometimes an “antipasti” course is offered or a salad bar to begin your meal. Coffee can be ordered at the table or at the bar and is not included at dinner. It is the Italian custom to drink bottled water at the table, which can be with or without gas. This is inexpensive as is house wine, which can be ordered in a small or large carafe; generally cheaper than buying by the bottle. Extras should generally be paid for in cash at the table and rounded up a little … say 5% or to the nearest round figure. It is not necessary or expected to tip more than this.

Practical information

Travelling Alone

Many of our passengers travel alone and object to expensive single room supplements. McCabe Pilgrimages will accept individual bookings on a 'guaranteed share' basis. We charge the basic price and accommodate you with a person of the same sex also requesting shared accommodation. If we do not find someone to share with you, you will be accommodated in a single room at only 50% of the usual single room supplement. For single travellers who do require single accommodation this should be requested when booking and, if available, the normal supplement will be payable.

The McCabe Educational Trust

For many, meeting the ‘Living Stones’ of The Land becomes a real highlight of their pilgrimage. The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on pilgrimage. On your pilgrimage you will meet some of these people. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £15 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Full Financial Security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website HERE

Read reviews

Dates

Upcoming Pilgrimages

We have no tours scheduled to this destination at present.

Send to a friend




Rome, Assisi & Ravenna

Prices from £1,895 pp

Read more

Milan, Ravenna and Venice

Prices from £1,795 pp

Read more

Travel club

A portfolio of tours with our regular travellers in mind

Read more