Is Sicily, The Motherland - Wine, Cooking, Culture & Adventure For Me?

Please read this page carefully to make sure it is a right fit for you.

  1. Your Disposition - Our vacations are focused on having a good time with new friends. Everything we do revolves around that. People seeking a self-centered vacation might reconsider. Our groups tend to span all ages, men & women, singles & couples... everyone is welcome, and when our guests come ready to embrace a new culture, look forward to trying new things, and interact with other guests, it is always amazing. Even the way our guests see us is important. If you see us as "providers of a service", you may reconsider our trips. We bring you into our family and become part of the group with you... as though you are visiting friends and family. If you are able to be in this frame of mind, our trips will be like nothing you have ever experienced, but if you are looking for a more detached relationship with us, our trips may not be for you.
  2. Be Ready to Embrace the Culture - Our trips focus on bringing you into the true culture of the place, but some guests want to see it, but not live it. We embrace the culture and do things the way locals do, which may or may not be what you are looking for. This includes little things like not having cappuccino with our meals (Italians only have cappuccino as a breakfast beverage), not having bacon and eggs for breakfast (Italians have coffee or tea and pastries), or larger things, like the fact that we have our dinners after 8:00 PM, like the Italians do. Every step of the way we adapt to the local culture, rather than asking the local culture to adapt to us. This also tends to make us much more welcome guests than other groups!
  3. Physical Intensity - You by no means need to be athletic for this vacation, but you must be able to handle some level of physical exertion. A good rule to follow would be to ask yourself if you can do three flights of stairs, then continue walking without needing to sit down for a while. Or, if you can walk up to 2 miles per day.
  4. Age Concerns - We have had guests as old as 90 years old with no problems whatsoever. Age is not a limiting factor, so long as you are in good physical condition with no health problems that exertion would complicate.
  5. Walking & Bus Time - In Italy, walking is always a larger concern than it probably is back home. This is because the towns are ancient, and much is closed to vehicle traffic. Some guests are also concerned about how much time they will spend in a bus. It is important to note that Sicily is very large. Coast to coast is easily a 6 hour drive, but we try to break up the driving time as best we can, while making an amazing vacation.

Total Walking & Bus Time for the Week

  • Total Walking All Week: ~8 miles (12 km)
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day.
  • Total Time in Bus All Week: ~11 hours
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day, and does not include transfers at beginning and end of the week.

Detail Day By Day:

Day Walking Bus Rest Time
Day 1 On the day of your arrival, there will be a minimum of walking required. Basically from the airport to our shuttle. When we head out to dinner in Taormina, there will be about 3/4 - 1 mile of walking in total to get from the shuttle to the restaurant and back to our shuttle. Walking through town is very leisurely and flat throughout. Our time spent on the bus will be about 45 minutes to an hour. n/a
Day 2 Our adventure up to Mt. Etna has us mostly in four-wheel drive vehicles. We will stop for a few short strolls to see some points of interest. While the walking is not far, it is on some uneven trail-type terrain and sturdy, comfortable shoes are required. The maximum amount of walking will be about ½ mile, at most. Completely at your discretion as you can opt to stay near the vehicles at any time. Our time on the bus today will be approximately 1 hour each way. There will be about 1 hour of time in the four-wheel drive vehicles. The afternoon free time is up to you. If you choose to go to visit Taormina, the amount of walking is up to you and could be approximately 1 mile or so, during your visit. There is a small incline up to the Roman Amphitheater if you wish to see this archeological site with its incredible views of Mt. Etna and the coastline below.
Day 3 Our day in Catania will be full of walking, albeit, at a leisurely pace as we’re not running from place to place. Throughout the day, there will be approximately 2 miles or more if you are going out and about for shopping and other sight-seeing during free time on your own. There will be lots of time to simply sit at a cafe should you choose. Our time on the bus today will be just under an hour each way. You can stop and relax at your leisure in Catania.
Day 4 Much like our day in Catania, our day in Siracusa and Ortygia will be a similar amount of walking as we’re exploring the city. Once again, approximately 2 miles or more depending on what you are doing during some of the free time that you will have. Like with Catania, you will have many opportunities to take a break and relax. Our time on the bus today will be about 2 1/2 hours total. This includes the travel time to Syracuse, then the travel time to Ragusa. You can stop and relax at your leisure in Syracuse.
Day 5 During our cooking class, we will be standing for a good deal of the time, however you are welcome to cook and rest at your own discretion. When we head to our evening excursion in Scicli, there will be up to approximately 1 ½ miles of walking through the mostly flat streets. With the evening excursion to Scicli, we will spend less than an hour on the bus today. Rest time will be at your leisure during and after the cooking class.
Day 6 Today we’ll be visiting two different cities. Modica and Ragusa Ibla. Depending on your enthusiasm, you can take the city walking tour of Modica, or choose to wait near the area where our chocolate class will be. Modica has some hilly parts, but nothing too strenuous. Approximately 1 ½ miles of walking for the city tour. Ragusa Ibla is a small town. There are some slight inclines, however nothing too severe or dramatic. From one end of town to the other is about 2/3 mile. Time on the bus today between the villa and Modica, then Modica to Ragusa, then back to the villa adds up to roughly 2 hours total. You will have free time in both Modica is you skip the city tour, and Ragusa there is some good leisure time. We will be back at the villa early for dinner, giving you ample time to rest aftere the day out.
Day 7 Not much walking today. If you opt to walk back to the country villa after lunch, the walk is about 1 mile of country road along stone walls. It’s a lovely walk, but we also have a vehicle for those that want to take it easy. During our time at the flour mill, there is just minimal walking on the grounds there. Total time on the bus will be about an hour. There is lots of rest time built into the morning, as well as time between lunch and our evening excursion/dinner.
Day 8 The walk through the Valley of the Temples will be approximately 2 miles. Mostly flat and in some cases a decline. You will need comfortable and sturdy shoes. Sooner or later in any Mainland Sicily vacation, you need to make the long-haul between east and west. Right in the middle is the Temples of Agrigento, and there is little in between. It is roughly 90 miles from our villa to Agrigento, then We strategically make our stops to make the drive time as little as possible, but it still adds up to a total of about 3 1/2 hours, then another ~60 miles after lunch to our hotel. We do break it up quite nicely. There will be lots of time to snooze in the bus on the way to Agrigento, and in the bus after lunch. We will also have some time to lay down and relax before dinner.
Day 9 Even though we are out a good portion of the day, there’s not too much walking. During class there is plenty of down time and relaxing. When we are at the salt flats, there will be about 1/2 mile of walking, at most. Western Sicily is a vast area with great distances in between. Rather switching hotels as often as many do, today, we cover quite a bit of ground, but do it in. circle so that we end up in our wonderful hotel without having to pack and repack. It is roughly 40 miles to the Salt Flats, then 30 miles to Val d'Erice, then about 50 miles back home. Each ride is roughly an hour of bus time. The sausage class in Val D'Erice is in a very relaxing place, and we will have some time back at the hotel to rest and freshen up before our pizza dinner near the beach in Menfi, which is very close to our hotel.
Day 10 Besides our cooking class, which requires standing, there is not much walking involved than would be in any normal average day. When we visit the winery, there is a minimal amount of walking. The drive between the hotel and the winery is roughly 20 minutes each way Today will be a very relaxing day. You can be as involved as you like during the cooking class, or just sleep in. We will have ample rest time after lunch to rest before a very stress-free evening at the beautiful winery.
Day 11 Our day in Palermo exploring the city and the street markets will give us an opportunity to walk off the fabulous dinner we had last night. There will be approximately 3 miles or more of leisurely walking, in total, throughout the day. It is important to note that we do not do the typical tour of Palermo that others do. We take our guests into the heart of the bustling street markets to experience a true once in a lifetime street-food experience. This can be a bit overwhelming for some, so the less adventurous are welcome to stay back at the hotel today and soak in the pool, take in the view and spend a relaxing day with the gorgeous view. Again, rather than check in and out of hotels every day, we like to unpack as little as possible. The trade-off is a little more driving. Palermo is 55 miles from our Hotel, and should take roughly an hour and fifteen minutes each way. Palermo is a very large and busy city. Some of our guests choose to just stay back at the hotel and relax by the pool on this day. For those that want to experience the Palermo Walking Food Tour, you will have a chance to rest and freshen up before our farewell dinner.
Day 12 n/a Today is your departure day. We will take you directly to the terminal at the Palermo Airport. The drive to the airport from Menfi is approximately 1 ¼ hours. n/a

Special Needs we can (and cannot) cater to on our Mainland Sicily Tour

Physical Limitations You must be able to walk up to at least 4 miles in a day. You must be able to at least walk a couple of flights of stairs without rest in order to come on this trip in order to go on the excursions.
Food Limitations We can cater to most food allergies, vegetarian diets, and to some extent kosher diets. We will substitute with other dishes if you let us know in advance. We can even cater to a gluten-free diet. Our cooking class menus will not change based on a guest's food limitations, but even in the classes, we can usually offer alternatives to eat. That said, if you do have limitations, it is important that you have a positive attitude about it. We are happy to substitute, but the variety of alternatives may be limited.