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‘One of the 50 best holidays in Italy.’
– The Times

‘One of ‘The 50 Best Cultural Tours’
– The Telegraph

‘Embark on the Gastronomic Tour of Sicily for a mouth-watering vacation.’
– USA Today

Eastern Sicily is home to a vibrant culinary tradition that mixes delicious local produce with cooking styles drawn from its many foreign rulers – Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and the Spanish. Each adding new ingredients from their far-flung empires to further enrich the Sicilian repertoire and make the island a perfect pilgrimage for a cultural and gastronomic tour.

It’s no accident that in ancient times the island was regarded as the special preserve of Demeter, the goddess of fertility, grain and agriculture: its agricultural abundance is renowned. The rolling hills and expansive, bounteous plains produce seemingly unlimited quantities of fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables, while teeming flocks and herds produce delicious cheeses and meats. These terrestrial riches are surrounded by plentiful fishing grounds, filling the busy stalls of the vigorous markets with an enormous range of marine delicacies. To complete the picture, Sicily now produces some of the most highly regarded new wines in Europe, the perfect accompaniment to its long-renowned ices, fruit drinks and digestifs. This veritable cornucopia of delights provides all the ingredients for a magnificent voyage of discovery: our wonderful food tour of Sicily.

The modern cuisine is one of the defining creations of the uniquely diverse past of this great island and its history, culture and archaeology will be fundamental elements of our journey. As we travel through the ever-changing landscapes of Eastern Sicily we will discover how the profusion of the landscape’s gifts created remarkable ancient powers here, notably the famed ancient city of Syracuse, whose people quickly built outposts like the ancient city of Acrae at Palazzolo Acreide to secure the benefits for themselves, not forgetting to build shrines to Demeter to offer her thanks, and to fascinate us today. Under her kings, and then the Roman governors, Syracuse grew yet further to be garlanded with an enormous theatre, an altar of prodigious size – the final destination of many an animal from those vast herds in the plains – and a spacious amphitheatre. The quarries, today with a garden-like feel, testify to other sources of wealth, and a darker past.

Later ages bring the picture-perfect towns of Noto, Scicli and Ragusa Ibla, wreathed atmospherically in tiers round steep hills and blessed with remarkable churches from the time of Spanish rule. Spain, like her predecessors brought contacts with – and cargoes from – a wider world, and ushered in a Sicilian fascination with new flavours and reputation for skill in creating them. We’ll combine story and delectation as, to pick one treat from many, we sample almond granitas in Noto, one of the most beautiful baroque towns in Europe.

Your guide on this food tour has lived and worked in this region for many years. She has drawn deeply on her personal knowledge of land and people to bring to bring to you a tour that combines practical cooking experience with highlights of the region’s cuisine and visits to key historical and cultural sites.

As this Sicily tour relies so closely on seasonal produce, the itinerary may change slightly to take advantage of the best culinary delights on offer. We are certain that any food and wine lover will be in raptures over this week-long cultural and gastronomic feast.

Our tours receive an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 757 reviews, according to AITO reviews.

Day 1: Arrival in Catania. Transfer from the airport to our hotel in Siracusa approximately 45 minutes away. Welcome drinks and dinner as we introduce you to some of the tastes and flavours of Sicily.
Day 2: The day begins with a drive to Palazzolo Acreide, where we visit the Archaeological Park. Afterwards we head to a nearby olive farm where the owners are producing award-winning organic extra virgin olive oil from native, centuries-old, olive trees. We tour the farm before enjoying a wonderful lunch of local delicacies. We return to Ortygia in the late afternoon and, after a brief rest, enjoy a Sicilian wine-tasting aperitivo with a local expert Sommelier.
Day 3: We meet our culinary expert for a stroll through Ortygia’s bustling food market. Under his guidance we sample the local produce in preparation for a private cooking class in his restaurant. In the afternoon we will explore the city’s long history and visit the Syracuse Archaeological Park before taking a walking tour of the historic centre as the sun sets. The evening is free to dine at your leisure.
Day 4: The day begins with a tour of the beautiful baroque town of Noto and a granita tasting. Later we head to an artisanal Dairy Farm where we take an exclusive tour before experiencing a rustic Sicilian lunch. In the afternoon we head for Ragusa, check in to our hotel and take an early-evening stroll around the historic centre of Ragusa Ibla before dinner.
Day 5: A day to delight the senses begins with a walking tour of the historical centre of Scicli, and a visit to a beautiful herb farm for an aromatic tour that will inspire cooks and gardeners alike. The visit will conclude with a tasting lunch, on a terrace overlooking the beautiful southern coast. In the afternoon we visit Modica for a demonstration of traditional Modicano chocolate making. In the late afternoon we return to Ragusa and the evening is free for you to dine at leisure.
Day 6: We journey to Vizzini to visit and tour a fabulous biodiversity farm before meeting up with our expert chef and rolling up our sleeves for a pasta-making class followed by a splendid lunch. We then continue on to Mt Etna to check into our final hotel and, after some time to relax, enjoy a wine tasting and dinner.
Day 7: We spend the morning walking on Mt. Etna in the company of an expert volcanologist. We’ll stroll through verdant woods of pine and silver birch before ascending to a lunar landscape of lava flows and ash filled craters with incredible views all around. Afterwards we visit a local winery to enjoy a rustic lunch and sample the award-winning wines that thrive on Etna’s slopes in the company of an expert Sommelier. A last chance to relax, then a sumptuous farewell dinner.
Day 8: The end of our our gastronomic tour of Sicily. Transfer to Catania airport, just over an hour’s drive away.

I would like to book, what else do I need to know?

For information not covered below please refer to our FAQ’s or contact us directly on info@petersommer.com

Arrival and Departure Information

Arrival Airport – Catania (Fontanarossa)

Departure Airport – Catania (Fontanarossa)

Check in time at your hotel in Syracuse is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives mid to late afternoon. Check out time from your hotel on Mt. Etna is 11:00 am. We will arrange local transfers from Catania airport and to Catania airport at the start and end of the tour.

Booking Flights
The cheapest way to book flights is with the airline online.

If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.

Travel Insurance
We consider adequate travel insurance to be essential. You should ensure that you take out a suitable policy, to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits.

Visas

For UK Nationals, travel to the EU will change from 1 January 2021. Please check the current situation regarding visa requirements before you travel. You can find more information online here.

Tour Includes:

Accommodation – we use high standard 3-5* hotels with character
All meals (except 2 dinners) including water, tea and coffee and wine with dinner
The services of your expert tour leader throughout the entire trip
Airport transfers on first and last day of tour
Travel by private minibus
All entrance fees
All tips to restaurant and hotel staff
Hotel taxes

Not included:

Flights and airport taxes
Visas
Travel insurance
Tips for drivers
Tips for guides

Lucia Iacono

Born and bred in Siracusa (Sicily), Lucia studied for a BA in foreign languages and literature at the University of Catania. After a brief stint working as an English language teacher, she followed her heart and become a qualified tourist guide, specialising initially in the South-Eastern provinces of Ragusa and Siracusa. Lucia has over 20 years’ experience in this field, but still works with the same passion and enthusiasm with which she began. She loves introducing people to the unbelievable wealth of art, archaeology and culture that Sicily has to offer, and is always on the lookout for something new, exciting and interesting that reveals the true quirks of Sicilian culture.

View Lucia Iacono's Biography

Accreditations

AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2015 Gold Award AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2017 Gold Award AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2018 Silver Award AITO Tour Operator of the Year 2019 Silver Award Best Travel Company for Arts and Culture Holidays Silver British Travel Award 2022 Member of AITO The Specialist Travel Association Member of ABTA the Association of British Travel Agents Member of ASTA The American Society of Travel Advisors Member of ABTOI the Association of British Travel Organisers to Italy

Rated as Excellent on Aito Reviews with over 500 reviews