Pictures from the Italy

Where Mountains Meet the Sea

A Journey to Sicily

Led by:

The Rev. Orion Davis
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
Sparta, NJ

September 21 – 29, 2008

Trip map

DAY 1, Sunday, September 21, 2008 - Depart New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport for your nonstop transatlantic flight.  Our final destination is Sicily, Italy’s first multicultural society.  Here, Archimedes taught and Saint Paul preached.  It has been a Greek colony, a Roman province, an Arab emirate and a Norman kingdom. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Swabians, Angevins and Aragonese made Sicily their own leaving behind an eclectic society that can still be seen today.  Lunch and snack on board the aircraft. D

DAY 2: Monday, September 22, 2008 - We will arrive at Palermo, Sicily, the capital of Sicily.  Here we will meet our English speaking driver and drive inlands toward the east of Sicily to Gangi where we will stay at the Villa Raino, an Agriturismo resort originally built over 100 years ago by a noble family.  The Villa Raino is well known for its excellent food and restaurant.  We can enjoy its country style rooms and the beautiful countryside which surrounds the villa.  Dinner and overnight at the villa. BD

DAY 3: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - After breakfast at the villa, we will drive to the base of Mount Etna, Europe’s greatest natural wonder.  We will take the 16 minute funicular ride to the top of the mountain and then transfer by Land Rover to see the craters at the very top.  After descending the mountain, we will tour Etna through some of the many picturesque villages seeing the lush vegetation, almond trees, olive groves, vineyards, and oranges which are in stark contrast to the desolate lava fields of the mountain itself.  We will return to Villa Raino for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 4: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - Today we are off to Siricusa on the southeastern corner of Sicily on the Ionian coast.  We will have a local guide join us today and begin our tour from the island of Ortygia, the nucleus of the ancient city.  We will cross the bridge to see the temple, probably the oldest Greek temple in Sicily, dedicated to the Greek god, Apollo.  We will visit the cathedral and the archbishop’s palace, and the majestic Roman amphitheatre.  St. Paul visited Syricuse’s Christian community and here you will find the most extensive Paleo – Christian catacombs outside of Rome.  There are also recently discovered Jewish baths outside of Ortygia which are at least 1500 years old.  We return to Villa Raino for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 5: Thursday, September 25, 2008 - We say goodbye to our hosts at the Villa Raino and depart for the province of Enna where we will visit the town of Piazza Armenia.  This medieval city boasts a massive duomo dedicated to Mary of the Assumption which dates back to 1600.  We will visit what Enna is most famous for - its Roman mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale.  After a guided tour of the villa, we will drive to the region of Palermo where we will check into the Casale del Principe, our home for four nights.  We will have dinner and overnight at the Casale. BD

DAY 6: Friday, September 26, 2008 - We will travel today to Agrigento built on a plateau overlooking Sicily’s southern coast.  Agrigento was founded as Akragas around 582 BC by a group of colonists who were descendants of the Greeks from Rhodes and Crete.  Archaeologists have determined that the area was inhabited much earlier.  A female skull dating over half a million years ago was found nearby.  We will be joined by a local guide who will take us through the Valley of the Temples including those of Juno, Concord, Hercules and Jupiter.  This Valley of Temples follow one another along an archaeological promenade which is unique in the world and bears witness to the former splendor of this city.  We will return to Casale del Principe for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 7: Saturday, September 27, 2008 - After breakfast, we will depart for a full day tour to the cities of Palermo and MonrealePalermo was bombed repeatedly during the Second World War and in 1968 a devastating earthquake rocked the city.  Nevertheless, Palermo soon regained its splendor.  A local guide will join us in Palermo and take us to Porta Nuova, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the cathedral.  We will explore many of the splendid churches including the Arab cupolas of San Giovanni degli Eremit.  Now we are off to Monreale located just a few miles from PalermoMonreale dates from the late Middle Ages and here we visit the cathedral with its splendid Byzantine mosaics and also the Benedictine cloister.  We will take a walking tour through the town seeing the Town Hall, the many piazzas and churches before we return to Casale del Prinicipe for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 8: Sunday, September 28, 2008 - Our adventures today take us to Cefalu located on the Tyrrhenian Sea Cefalu dates from Hellenic times and is considered one of Sicily’s undiscovered jewels.  The Norman – Arab – Byzantine cathedral that we will explore, built in 1131, is considered to be one of the greatest churches in southern Europe.  For those up to the challenge, a climb up the Rocca will give splendid views of the area.  We will continue to Gibilmanna for a visit to the Franciscan sanctuary before our return to the Casale del Prinicipe for our “farewell to Sicily” dinner and overnight. BLD

DAY 9: Monday, September 29, 2008 - Our driver for the past days will take us to the airport in Palermo where we bid him goodbye and board our flight for the return to the United States arriving back into New York this afternoon. BD

Price: $3,399.00.00.  Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from New York's JFK.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement costs available on request.

Final payment due June 23, 2008

Cancellation Penalties
◊ March 1 – May 23, 2008 - $200 per person plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ May 24 – June 22 - $300 per person plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ After June 23, 2008: NO REFUND

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, S Snack

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.