858.201.6424
☰ Menu
Slider Container
Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image Slider Image

Easter in Sicily 8 Days


Easter Traditions in Sicily   •   March 22-29

Live and breathe the atmosphere of Eastertime in Sicily with us!

Watch centuries-old processions wind through the island’s narrow streets and ancient piazzas. Easter also marks the arrival of spring in Sicily. Indeed, Sicilian folk traditions fuse Christian rituals           and earlier pagan rites celebrating the start of spring.

Easter is a perfect time to visit Sicily for food lovers as well. It is the season of the “Martorana” or “Pasta Reale” – local marzipan treats shaped to resemble fruits of all type. Here you can taste Cassata — Sicily's most famous dessert, which is made from ricotta, almonds and candied fruit. Fresh peas, fava beans and artichokes combine perfectly to create the wonderful “frittella” dish.


TOUR ITINERARY  { 8 days / 7 nights }

Tuesday March 22

Upon arrival into Catania Airport, collect your luggage. You will meet with your English-speaking assistant in the arrivals hall. Transfer by private minibus to your hotel in Catania’s city center.

Rest of the day to relax and freshen up from your journey.

A late afternoon briefing with our tour escort before dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight stay at the Romano House Hotel or similar. Breakfast daily included.

Wednesday March 23

This morning we will leave for Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. Weather conditions permitting, we will cross a fascinating landscape and reach a height of 1,800 meters, where we will enjoy a fantastic view of the Ionian Sea.

Visit and lunch with wine tasting in an Etna DOC winery on the volcano’s slope.

Your day continues with a guided tour of Taormina, looking down onto the Ionian Sea from 200 meters above. Over the centuries, this city has lured poets, writers and painters. Be mesmerized by the beauty of the Greek-Roman Theatre with the sea and Mount Etna in the background.

Then head back to Catania for an evening on your own.

Thursday March 24

Today we visit Piazza Armerina, with the famous “Villa Romana del Casale.” The villa still contains one of the richest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world, thanks to a flood that covered them in mud in the 12th century.

We will then continue our day in Enna for a guided tour of the town and lunch at leisure.

On the first day of the Holy Tritium, namely Holy Thursday, Enna starts preparing for the celebrations of the Holy Week. Art displays are set up in all confraternity churches, while the altar of repose is set up in the Parish churches.

Starting from sunset, the inhabitants of the town will head from church to church until late at night. Some count the number of the churches they visit, since — according to folk customs — this number should be odd. However, the meaning of these celebrations is rooted in faith and tradition.

Transfer to Agrigento and accommodation at Baglio della Luna Hotel or similar 4-star hotel. Overnight stay.

Friday March 25

Today we will meet our guide who will take us to admire the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) in Agrigento.

We will also visit the Valley of The Temples, which house the remains of a Greek colony. These ancient Greek structures have miraculously survived 24 centuries of history. We will see the Temple of Juno, Concord, Heracles, Zeus, Castor & Pollux and finally the rocky hill where the medieval town was built.

Lunch in a restaurant with a view of the temples included.

In the afternoon we will drive to Caltanissetta to admire the Black Christ procession.

The Black Christ is certainly the oldest simulacrum of Caltanissetta, the principal protector of the town until 1625, when the title was given to Saint Michael the Archangel for saving the town from plague. But the unchanged feeling of veneration, generation after generation, still proclaims the Black Christ as the “Lord of the Town”. According to tradition, the crucifix was found by two countrymen in a cave between two lit candles. Since then, the little crucifix has attracted so many votive candles their smoke darkened it over the centuries – so  much that is now known as the “Black Christ”.

On Holy Friday, at sunset, the crucifix, is placed in a golden crown-shaped canopy. It is then carried on the shoulders of the bare-footed figliamari-fogliamari (pickers of wild plants) from the sanctuary. This is the most important tradition of the entire community: the whole Real Maestranza, the Bishop, the entire Clergy, including the various religious congregations, and the town administration, open the way to the Black Christ. The procession slowly crosses the streets of the town center, as the fogliamari spread incense and break the silence with their sorrowful ladate, biblical lamentations in an archaic dialect.

Dinner is included. Return to Agrigento and overnight stay.

Saturday March 26

Breakfast at the hotel and departure for San Biagio Platani, where you will admire the imposing Archi di Pane (Bread Arches) hanging in the old town center. This typical and unique event dates back to the mid-17th century.

The brotherhoods of Madonara and Signurara decorate a part of the town with huge artistic bread arches. These decorations are dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Christ. These arches are made using reeds, willow, cereals, rosemary and bread. Every detail of the arch is an important religious symbol.

Family lunch in a private home and transfer to Palermo.

Arrival and check-into the Excelsior Palace Hotel or similar and overnight stay.

Sunday March 27

Today we will explore the town of Piana degli Albanesi just south of Palermo. As the name suggests, Piana degli Albanesi was founded by Albanian immigrants fleeing a Turkish invasion in 1488. Being somewhat isolated, the town has managed to maintain much of its original identity and traditions, one of which is its Orthodox Easter celebrations (it has been a Greek Orthodox Bishopric since 1937). On Palm Sunday, there is a procession through the streets to mark Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem. Festivities continue all week until Easter Sunday when the townsfolk put on their traditional 15th century costumes and hand out blessed, hand-painted eggs. After Mass, there is the procession of the Holy Veil, a piece of cloth in which believers can discern the face of Christ.

Lunch at a local restaurant included.

A completely different event takes place on Easter Sunday in the hills south of Palermo, in the small town of Prizzi. This is the Dance of the Devils, another unique blend of Christian and pagan beliefs. It features the characters of Death, dressed in yellow, and two red devils in ghoulish masks. They dance around death randomly snatching innocent onlookers and trying to avoid the statues of the Risen Christ and Mary, which free the imprisoned souls. In the struggle that ensues between good and evil, it is Christ and the Madonna who triumph, along with other locals dressed as angels. During the ensuing celebrations, cannateddi, typical Easter sweets, are offered to the public.

Return to Palermo. Overnight stay.

Monday March 28

This morning, meet your English speaking-guide in the lobby and get ready for a private tour of Palermo and Monreale.

You’ll be enchanted by Palermo’s wide boulevards, the traditional Sicilian Old Quarter, and baroque palaces. Admire the city’s main highlights including the so-called Quattro Canti (the Four Corners), Palermo’s extravagant baroque square. The square is ringed by four buildings with baroque sculptures that depict the Four Seasons, Spanish kings, and the patron saints of four old quarters of the city. See the twelfth-century Cathedral, housing a pantheon of royal tombs.

Then visit Palermo’s food market “La Vucciria,” an explosion of colors, sound and voices. Here you will taste typical street food such as pani ca meusa, panelle, arancini.

Our day continues as we discover the Arab-Norman splendor of the Monreale Cathedral and Cloister. This nearby treasure dates from the 12th century and shows the diverse architectural influences of both the Normans and the Arab population.

Lunch and rest of the day at leisure.

Tuesday March 29

Check-out and private transfer to Palermo airport for your onward travel arrangements.

+
DAY 1

Tuesday March 22

Upon arrival into Catania Airport, collect your luggage. You will meet with your English-speaking assistant in the arrivals hall. Transfer by private minibus to your hotel in Catania’s city center.

Rest of the day to relax and freshen up from your journey.

A late afternoon briefing with our tour escort before dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight stay at the Romano House Hotel or similar. Breakfast daily included.

+
DAY 2

Wednesday March 23

This morning we will leave for Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. Weather conditions permitting, we will cross a fascinating landscape and reach a height of 1,800 meters, where we will enjoy a fantastic view of the Ionian Sea.

Visit and lunch with wine tasting in an Etna DOC winery on the volcano’s slope.

Your day continues with a guided tour of Taormina, looking down onto the Ionian Sea from 200 meters above. Over the centuries, this city has lured poets, writers and painters. Be mesmerized by the beauty of the Greek-Roman Theatre with the sea and Mount Etna in the background.

Then head back to Catania for an evening on your own.

+
DAY 3

Thursday March 24

Today we visit Piazza Armerina, with the famous “Villa Romana del Casale.” The villa still contains one of the richest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world, thanks to a flood that covered them in mud in the 12th century.

We will then continue our day in Enna for a guided tour of the town and lunch at leisure.

On the first day of the Holy Tritium, namely Holy Thursday, Enna starts preparing for the celebrations of the Holy Week. Art displays are set up in all confraternity churches, while the altar of repose is set up in the Parish churches.

Starting from sunset, the inhabitants of the town will head from church to church until late at night. Some count the number of the churches they visit, since — according to folk customs — this number should be odd. However, the meaning of these celebrations is rooted in faith and tradition.

Transfer to Agrigento and accommodation at Baglio della Luna Hotel or similar 4-star hotel. Overnight stay.

+
DAY 4

Friday March 25

Today we will meet our guide who will take us to admire the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) in Agrigento.

We will also visit the Valley of The Temples, which house the remains of a Greek colony. These ancient Greek structures have miraculously survived 24 centuries of history. We will see the Temple of Juno, Concord, Heracles, Zeus, Castor & Pollux and finally the rocky hill where the medieval town was built.

Lunch in a restaurant with a view of the temples included.

In the afternoon we will drive to Caltanissetta to admire the Black Christ procession.

The Black Christ is certainly the oldest simulacrum of Caltanissetta, the principal protector of the town until 1625, when the title was given to Saint Michael the Archangel for saving the town from plague. But the unchanged feeling of veneration, generation after generation, still proclaims the Black Christ as the “Lord of the Town”. According to tradition, the crucifix was found by two countrymen in a cave between two lit candles. Since then, the little crucifix has attracted so many votive candles their smoke darkened it over the centuries – so  much that is now known as the “Black Christ”.

On Holy Friday, at sunset, the crucifix, is placed in a golden crown-shaped canopy. It is then carried on the shoulders of the bare-footed figliamari-fogliamari (pickers of wild plants) from the sanctuary. This is the most important tradition of the entire community: the whole Real Maestranza, the Bishop, the entire Clergy, including the various religious congregations, and the town administration, open the way to the Black Christ. The procession slowly crosses the streets of the town center, as the fogliamari spread incense and break the silence with their sorrowful ladate, biblical lamentations in an archaic dialect.

Dinner is included. Return to Agrigento and overnight stay.

+
DAY 5

Saturday March 26

Breakfast at the hotel and departure for San Biagio Platani, where you will admire the imposing Archi di Pane (Bread Arches) hanging in the old town center. This typical and unique event dates back to the mid-17th century.

The brotherhoods of Madonara and Signurara decorate a part of the town with huge artistic bread arches. These decorations are dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Christ. These arches are made using reeds, willow, cereals, rosemary and bread. Every detail of the arch is an important religious symbol.

Family lunch in a private home and transfer to Palermo.

Arrival and check-into the Excelsior Palace Hotel or similar and overnight stay.

+
DAY 6

Sunday March 27

Today we will explore the town of Piana degli Albanesi just south of Palermo. As the name suggests, Piana degli Albanesi was founded by Albanian immigrants fleeing a Turkish invasion in 1488. Being somewhat isolated, the town has managed to maintain much of its original identity and traditions, one of which is its Orthodox Easter celebrations (it has been a Greek Orthodox Bishopric since 1937). On Palm Sunday, there is a procession through the streets to mark Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem. Festivities continue all week until Easter Sunday when the townsfolk put on their traditional 15th century costumes and hand out blessed, hand-painted eggs. After Mass, there is the procession of the Holy Veil, a piece of cloth in which believers can discern the face of Christ.

Lunch at a local restaurant included.

A completely different event takes place on Easter Sunday in the hills south of Palermo, in the small town of Prizzi. This is the Dance of the Devils, another unique blend of Christian and pagan beliefs. It features the characters of Death, dressed in yellow, and two red devils in ghoulish masks. They dance around death randomly snatching innocent onlookers and trying to avoid the statues of the Risen Christ and Mary, which free the imprisoned souls. In the struggle that ensues between good and evil, it is Christ and the Madonna who triumph, along with other locals dressed as angels. During the ensuing celebrations, cannateddi, typical Easter sweets, are offered to the public.

Return to Palermo. Overnight stay.

+
DAY 7

Monday March 28

This morning, meet your English speaking-guide in the lobby and get ready for a private tour of Palermo and Monreale.

You’ll be enchanted by Palermo’s wide boulevards, the traditional Sicilian Old Quarter, and baroque palaces. Admire the city’s main highlights including the so-called Quattro Canti (the Four Corners), Palermo’s extravagant baroque square. The square is ringed by four buildings with baroque sculptures that depict the Four Seasons, Spanish kings, and the patron saints of four old quarters of the city. See the twelfth-century Cathedral, housing a pantheon of royal tombs.

Then visit Palermo’s food market “La Vucciria,” an explosion of colors, sound and voices. Here you will taste typical street food such as pani ca meusa, panelle, arancini.

Our day continues as we discover the Arab-Norman splendor of the Monreale Cathedral and Cloister. This nearby treasure dates from the 12th century and shows the diverse architectural influences of both the Normans and the Arab population.

Lunch and rest of the day at leisure.

+
DAY 8

Tuesday March 29

Check-out and private transfer to Palermo airport for your onward travel arrangements.


Price per person in Double/Twin room     $ 3,665.00
* $ 555 USD supplement for individual travelers / single rooms


INCLUDED:

  • English speaking Tour Manager for the whole tour
  • Private Luxury bus for all tours and transfers
  • 2 nights in a 4-star Hotel – Classic room  in Catania
  • 2 nights in a 4-star Hotel – Classic room  in Agrigento
  • 3 nights in a 4-star Hotel – Classic room  in Palermo
  • Daily breakfast included
  • Entrance fees in Taormina, Piazza Armerina, Palermo and Monreale, Valley of the Temples
  • Meals as per program
  • Luggage handling


NOT INCLUDED

  • Cable car excursion on Mount Etna
  • Insurance
  • Hotel city tax
  • All other services not indicated above