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Sicily From Ragusa to etna and beyond

Sunday 29th September 2024 - Friday 4th October 2024

Have you tried Sicilian granita? 

For Sicilians, granita isn’t just a refreshing treat – it’s a ritual. You enjoy it with a special soft pastry.. which you must dip into it, starting right from the tuppo (the bulge). Even within the island, there are variations in the way granita is made, and one sunny mid-morning, at a small cafe in the middle of a historic district, I accidentally discovered the best kind... 

After years of thoroughly researching the island, its architecture, cuisine, and wines, I have a lot to share with you.

I want to show you how Sicily has evolved from making very rich and over-ripe alcoholic wines, to wines of great elegance and character. I would love to take you on a walk through the cobbled streets of historic districts, where you can admire the great examples of Sicilian baroque architecture. During our journey, I can also recommend the best places to try simple yet delicious local delicacies, and introduce you to the masterpieces of some of the great local chefs.

Taormina to sea.jpg

What To Expect

I’ve personally hand-picked every hotel, every restaurant, and every wine you'll experience. The hotels on the route are boutique gems that whisper relaxation and style the moment you step foot there. I’ve picked the restaurants to give you a cross-section of Sicilian cuisine. Besides the hidden-gem restaurants that we’ll visit, I`ll show you where to try the best local favourites, like tasty Arancini.

 

It’s probably the most imitated food in the world, but you have to try them here as they are masterpieces of regional cuisine. Under their crispy shell is a soft heart made of saffron-flavoured rice, either with caciocavallo, a typical seasoned cheese, and minced meat with tomato, onion, celery, carrots, red wine and peas or with butter, mozzarella cheese and

ham for a delectable treat.

 

We always cater for any dietary requirements you may have, all you need to do is state it on your booking form. 

 

All your meals will be perfectly paired with the best local wines. The wines I’ve selected are great expressions of their area. Some of the local gems I've chosen for you are:

Probably the best expression of Cerasuolo di Vittoria (taste and judge for yourself)

  • Archineri Bianco from old Carricante vines

  • One special tiny pre-phylloxera production

  • Faro from the northernmost extreme of the island

The winemakers and owners are good friends of mine, and they will share meals and their stories with us during our private visits to their wineries. So, get your taste buds and your cameras ready!
 

Tour Highlights

 

  • Your tour begins on Sunday 29th September 2024 in Catania with a light lunch in its historical centre, before heading on for Ragusa Ibla . Ragusa dates back several thousand years and was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. You will be right in the heart of the old part (Ragusa Ibla) which is small and very beautiful, with great examples of Sicilian Baroque architecture.

  • The next day, you will enjoy a private visit and tasting at two of the top wineries of the area, Cos and Valle dell'Acate. After a kitchen lunch with the owner of Valle dell'Acate we'll be taking you to visit Modica. We’ll get dropped at the baroque Cathedral of San Giorgio and stroll down Corso Umberto to the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto…I'll show you where to buy the best examples of the famous Modica chocolate and fill yourself with some freshly-made cannoli.

  • Afterwards, I have arranged dinner at a spectacular little restaurant the heart of Ibla with an amazing view too. We will return to the hotel later on foot.

  • Day 3 will take us to Etna where we'll have a picnic in a volcano ...extinct of course! An afternoon visit to Tenuta di Fessina winery (one of the most established and leaders of the area), before finishing the day at your lodgings halfway up Mount Etna where we'll be pairing some of the local dishes to the elegant whites and reds of the mountain.

  • No visit to Sicily is complete without witnessing the majestic presence of Mount Etna. Through a guided tour in jeeps, you'll have the opportunity to marvel at the old craters and lava flows left behind by centuries of eruptions. After a light and casual lunch at a charming local trattoria along the way, we'll proceed to one of today's most prestigious wineries, Pietradolce; a winery that I've had the privilege of working with for over a decade during my time in wine export. Their wines were part of our portfolio, which we exported to 35 countries. I was deeply impressed by the owner's vineyard selections and philosophy, which we will discuss over dinner, as he will be joining us.

Day 5 will be dedicated to exploring Taormina, where you can wander through the picturesque medieval streets and take in the stunning Teatro Antico. Later, we'll indulge in a delicious meal on the beautiful beach in front of the charming Isola Bella. The culinary experience will feature a delightful combination of the finest local dishes paired with exceptional wines from Hauner, followed by a delightful surprise known as the nectar, which will leave you speechless.

  • On the final day of our tour, we will visit one of the most innovative and advanced wineries in the northeast of Sicily. And who better to accompany us than Gianfranco, the charming owner of the winery? He started as an agent for Andrea Barzagli, the former Juventus soccer star and Italian national team member, who later became his business partner. Gianfranco takes winemaking very seriously, but he is also one of the most convivial and entertaining people I've ever met. After his personal guided tour, we will enjoy a delightful and informative lunch with him. To cap off our incredible week, we'll be heading back to your boutique luxury hotel where we'll have the last of our Sicilian culinary experiences accompanied by the wines of one of the most famous wineries from the Eoilan islands (just off the north coast of Sicily); Hauner! These wines combined with the exceptional cuisine at Donna Carmela will leave you with a perfect taste and memory of this special island. 

Explore the map above to view a few key places we will be visiting.

If you would like to receive a detailed tour itinerary please click here.

Top Wines To Taste From This Tour

Experience the Best of Sicily with Phil 

Those were just a few of the many highlights and wines that I have in store for you. My goal is to show you Sicily through my eyes, which have been immersed in its land, cuisine, wines, and people for over a decade. By the end of this trip, I want you to be able to look back with a smile and reflect on the fact that you have seen and tasted the very best that Sicily has to offer. I can't wait to welcome you and embark on this unforgettable journey together!

What To Know Before You Go

1

Tour Fitness

Please note our tours are active holidays. Walking, stair-climbing and standing around for lengthy periods are unavoidable aspects of every tour. These features should not present problems for anyone of normal fitness, but our tours and events are not suitable for those who walk slowly, need support, or lack stamina. Please read our Tour Fitness page before booking.

2

Terms & Conditions

Our Terms & Conditions cover everything from booking to insurance. Please give them a read before you book.

3

Dietary Requirements

All diets can be catered for please just let Maestro Tours know what they are on your booking form.

4

Accessability

Unfortunately due to the physical nature of these tours they are not wheelchair friendly.

5

What's Not Included

Flights/travel to and from Italy. All guests must have their own insurance and show proof of this at the start of the tour. Extras (eg minibar or bar drinks) at the hotels. Lunches on Tuesday 3rd October and Thursday 5th October.

6

Getting There

Every guest of Maestro Tours will be personally welcomed at the airport by our founder Phil Langford. Spot the Maestro Tours sign as you walk out of arrivals! All guests are required to arrange flights that will arrive on the tour start date. Tour start times will vary. We understand arrival times will also vary. Please inform us of your arrival time either by email or on your booking form.  For this tour we reccommend you arrive into Cantania airport by 12pm. If you are arriving by a different mode of transport and will not arrive at the airport, you can arrange to meet either in the centre of Catania or directly at the hotel in Ragusa Ibla. Check in at the hotel will be from 3pm.

A Personalized and Intimate Tour Experience

Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to discover the enchanting island of Sicily with an experienced and passionate host. Phil Langford's extensive knowledge of the region's cuisine, wines, and culture will take you on a personalized journey through the most captivating and less-traveled corners of the island. With a limited group of only 12 guests, this six-day tour promises an intimate, comfortable, and safe experience that will leave you with lifelong memories.

 

Book your space now and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure that will delight all your senses.