Old World Sicily & Malta
Discover the ancient and modern with Coco’s small group tour of Sicily and Malta. With our tours you really enjoy the beauty, cuisine, and history – without the crowds you’d find on a big bus or in the high season. Sicily is always one of my most popular tours and is a great Italian experience. This one island has everything that mainland Italy offers and this time we’ve added the hidden gem Malta for you to spend a leisurely three days to cap off a truly great tour. You will be enchanted by their diverse architecture, unique culture, and delicious dishes left by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, Germans, Spanish, Italians, and even the British had on these gorgeous islands.
Between the sparkling coast to mountains, flamboyant capitals to the ultra-chic you can expect stunning archaeological treasures, ancient and modern works of art, and a warm welcome at every turn as we visit these wonderful islands.
15 Days 14 Nights
Culinary Icon Meals
2 Lunches, 7 Dinners
Double $5,499 pp
Single $6,299 pp
Triple $5,449 pp
*Included in Price: Round Trip Air from Nashville or most U.S. cities
Day 1 Overnight Flight – Palermo Hotel Porta Felice
You’re on your way to Sicily – an island paradise nestled amongst the deep blue waves of the Mediterranean. Look past the Italy you think you know and see how this coastal farmland balances ancient traditions and modern comforts. After we get to our hotel and freshen up, I will take you for a walk and point out the hidden treasures of Palermo that our group will soon visit. You will love Palermo, it’s a charming city for a walking tour, with its mix of high culture, street drama, and time-worn elegance, it’s my favorite city to visit and I always look forward to going. I know you will fall in love with it too.
Day 2 Palermo
Today we meet with our first local guide in the capital of Sicily. Palermo is a pulsating city with a lot of sights, sounds, tastes and aroma for all of your senses to take in on a street food journey. Arancini (Fried Rice balls),fresh juices, Sfincione, Pezzi de Rosticceria, Pane con le milza, great desserts and of course, cannoli. Most of the Italian desserts Americans love are Sicilian creations. Tonight we join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner featuring the local cuisine.
Day 3 Palermo – Monreale Breakfast & Lunch Hotel Porta Felice
Palermo is well known for their street foods where you will see and taste the layers of influences and we are guided through the cities lively open air markets. The excursion will get you acquaint with Palermo’s many lovely squares – the Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria and Piazza Bellini and discover an exotic mix of Moorish, Norman and Spanish Baroque architecture along the way. We see the Palace of the Normans, La Martorana church, and the cathedral that houses the Imperial Crown of Constance of Aragon. Next we venture to the nearby town of Monreale and visit a 12th-century cathedral with its dazzling interior of multicolored marbles, paintings, mosaics and cloisters. Now it’s your choice! Explore the cathedral’s cloisters, taking in their serene atmosphere of the monastic complex -OR- ascend the southern tower to the panoramic terraces for a bird’s-eye view over Palermo. The remainder of the day is yours and I will help you get to what interests you: dinner reservations, shopping, people watching at a café, leisurely walks or you can simply take some time to relax.e
Day 4 Palermo – Impact Moment – Trapani Breakfast & Dinner I Mulini Resort
Many are interested in the story of the mafia and every travelor asks me about it. Instead of ignoring it as a blemish on Italian culture we’ve added this walking tour focusing on the history of the Sicilian Mafia and the anti-Mafia fight. We meet our local guide who is part of a civic movement resisting the MafiaAddiopizzo “Goodbye Pizzo”. A grassroots movement established in Sicily to build a community of businesses and consumers who refuse to pay “pizzo”— Mafia extortion money. We get to see a fascinating side of Palermo most other tours don’t focus on.
As the day draws to a close we settle into Trapani for two nights and watch the sunset fade against the crashing waves and whirling windmills.
Day 5 Trapani – Isle of Mozia – Marsala – Optional Excursion Breakfast & Lunch I Mulini Resort
Next we visit the tiny island of Mozia, not only is it a small natural paradise but was once a great trading port for the Phoenician, Greek and Roman civilization has with some of the most remarkable archiological remains from 1.000 B.C. On the way, we sail next to a submerged Roman road, once traversed on foot. We meet our local guide, visiting the ruins of its ancient port, and a museum featuring impressive Greek statuary. Next we continue to Marsala, heading down into a wine cellar for a sampling paired with a tasting of locally produced foods. The remainder of the day is yours to explore. Perhaps you will join an optional tour to Erice to visit Maria Grammatico’s famous bakery for a pastry-making class.
When Americans think of Italian pastrys it’s actually the Sicilian culinary tradition that we love in the U.S. Today you will be conducted in a traditional patisserie kitchen to enjoy a Sicilian Pastry class under the guidance of Mrs Maria, who learned about the secrets of ancient pastry art from nuns in the convent of Erice when she was just a child.
You will learn how to prepare almond pastries and typical dessert such as Martorana cake and enjoy the desserts prepared by your own hands.
Day 6 Trapani – Agrigento – Valley of the Temples Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Baia Di Ulisse
In 1968, an earthquake destroyed the humble village of Gibellina now rebuilt as the largest open-air museum of contemporary art. You will marvel as we walk through the “new” village with an extraordinary collection of works by great artists. Not just sculptures and bold architectures but the reconstruction punctuates the landscape and is truly amazing. Next we
head to an award-winning olive grove and learn about the traditional oil making process. We sample their unique olive oil that compliments the lunch of local delicacies before departing for another adventure at the Valley of the Temples. Now we make our way to Argentino to one of the main attractions of Sicily and meet our local expert. You will be astonished at the up-close view of the temples of Juno, Concordia, Hercules and Jupiter.
Day 7 Agrigento – Piazza Armerina – Taormina Breakfast & Dinner Hotel Villa Diodoro
Today we head into the picturous countryside to Piazza Armerina, home of the ancient Villa Romana del Casale (UNESCO), and explore the site with an expert guided tour of its impressive mosaics. In the afternoon we journey along the Ionian Coast to Taormina, a seaside hub of ancient Greek theaters and hilly walkways where we settle into your new home for the next three nights. You will love the proximity of our hotel to all things Taormina. Besides the natural wonderment of Taorimina shopping and quaint restaurants await us. Tonight you will enjoy a Sicilian dinner and entertainment, where we booked local musicians to delight us tonight.
Day 8 Taormina Breakfast Hotel Villa Diodoro
After breakfast we meet our local guide and discover Taormina, leading us to the city’s Duomo, public gardens, and then we walk in the footsteps of ancient attendees to the well-preserved Greek theater. Have your cameras ready for an exceptional view of the adjacent ocean. Now that you have a lay of the land you are ready to explore on your own. Ask me about local shopping and restaurants then enjoy a bite to eat and peruse the local boutiques for handcrafted souvenirs.
Day 9 Taormina – Mount Etna Breakfast Hotel Villa Diodoro
Heres a unique opportunity to enjoy one of the numerous exciting experiences created for you an experience to Mount Etna on off road vehicles. We travel the slopes of majestic Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe and one of the most active of the world. Together we discover the amazing landscapes passing by lava formations and basalt rocks and caves.
The evening is ours to enjoy in Taromina.
Day 10 Taormina – Ragusa Breakfast & Dinner Poggio Del Sole Hotel
You will love our stop in Ragusa an ancient city perched upon a hill recognized for its Baroque architecture. With our local guide we meander over cobblestone streets and winding lanes to admire the highly opulent style of building and wrought iron balconies. We have a free afternoon, ask Me or Mari where to enjoy a nice lunch or you are welcome to join me in a visit to Paulo shop. He is a friend of mine who’s family owns the oldest chocolate shop in Sicily Antica Dolceria Bonajuto where they still make handmade chocolate in the aincient ways. You’ll be happy to know we carry his chocolate at Coco’s Italian. Follow this link for a video I made on their shop:
As the sun sets, retreat to your countryside resort just outside the city. Now is the time to make spa reservations for tomorrow if your are so inclined.
Day 11 Ragusa – Optional Excursion Breakfast & Dinner Poggio Del Sole Hotel
The entire day is yours. With free time, you might choose to relax in the countryside and enjoy the resort’s amenities. Or, perhaps you will join an optional tour to the picture-perfect towns of Scicli and Modica, where you’ll enjoy a savory brunch at a ricotta farm before continuing to an Aztec chocolate shop for some sweet samples. Tonight we gather for a dinner before we leave Sicily for Malta.
Day 12 Pozzallo – Ferry to Malta – Three Cities – St. Julian’s Breakfast & Lunch The George Urban Boutique Hotel
Today we Say goodbye to Italy and venture to the island paradise of Malta, one of the smallest countries in the world. Start your exploration in Three Cities, a conglomeration of three fortified cities of medieval heritage. Once the setting of battles by the Knights of Malta, this area preserves endless layers of the past. Next we connect with the heart of the neighborhood at a Band Club where locals gather to learn music and marching for the local festivals. Band clubs are part of the social and cultural history of the Maltese islands and have established themselves as an institution in every town and village, aimed at spreading Maltese culture and teaching of music. Our day ends 8 miles away in St. Julian’s a fun town for locals and tourist with many different kinds of restaurants and trendy nightlife. Our home for the next three nights.
Day 13 St. Julian’s – Valletta – St. Julian’s Breakfast The George Urban Boutique Hotel
Our adventure continues with a local guide and walking tour of Valletta, the capital of Malta, the . Discover this fortified city on a guided walking tour. You’ll take in the picturesque Barrakka Gardens overlooking the harbor, featuring a charming blend of natural beauty and terraced arches. Then it’s your choice! Visit the private home of a modern-day Knight of Malta -OR- tour the masterpieces featuring Mattia Preti and Caravaggio, two famouse Italian painters who were commisioned to make masterpeices for Valletta’s Cathedral. Tonight lets find a recomended restaurant for some local fare.
Day 14 St. Julian’s – Optional Excursion Breakfast & Dinner The George Urban Boutique Hotel
The day is yours to experience the island of Malta however you please. Soak up the sunshine, relax on the beach, or even explore the colorful harbor on foot. Perhaps you’ll join an optional excursion to a temple complex older than Stonehenge, followed by an intimate look at Mdina – the “Silent City.” As the day draws to a close, enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers as you recount memories of the Mediterranean islands.
St. Julian’s – Tour Ends
Say goodbye to Malta and the Mediterranean as your tour comes to a close today.
Added tours available are:
Ask about pre and post days to your tour.
Pre Night: Hotel Porta Felice
Standard double pricing – From $180 per night
Would you like to begin your vacation one night early with an additional day at Hotel in Palermo?
Post Night: The George Urban Boutique Hotel
Standard double pricing – From $260 per night
Would you like to extend your vacation with an additional day at in Malta?
Bitter Almonds: Erice village & Sicilian pastry baking lesson and tasting – $75 pp
Duration: 4 Hours Your transportation is included
In the workshop of a renowned pastry chef and author, learn to make delicious Sicilian specialties. After you meander through the historic streets of Erice, you’ll head to Maria Grammatico’s Bakery, whose life story is dictated in the novel Bitter Almonds. There, you’ll learn to prepare two almond pastry recipes and learn about history behind the iconic Sicilian cannoli. Almonds are grown throughout southeast Sicily, the foundation of many age-old traditional recipes. Once you finally taste the fruits of your labor, you’ll understand why Sicilian pastries are so loved around the world.
Malta’s Megalithic Temples & Ancient Capitals – $130 pp
Duration: 4 Hours Your transportation is included
Uncover Malta’s ancient past on a visit to Hagar Qim, a megalithic temple complex that is among the oldest in the world. These UNESCO-recognized architectural masterpieces are even older than Stonehenge, dating back to 3200 B.C. Stop at Dingli Cliffs for a dramatic photo opportunity overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Then, explore the Maltese city of Mdina, layered in legends spanning millennia. Once the prolific capital of Malta, this walled city is populated by less than 300 residents and became known as “the Silent City.” Cars are not allowed past the city walls, so you will meander cobblestone streets by foot with a local expert. Discover its colorful medieval architecture and beautiful Maltese facades. You are sure to be inspired by this unforgettable region of Malta.