Jewish tour of Sicily
See Sicily from a Jewish angle. Fully escorted private tour of Sicily. 10 days/ 9 nights. First class,
Regain one of the most fascinating pages in the history of Sicily and discover the Jewish contribution to the Sicilian cultural heritage
Small groups (no more than 25 people),
departures guaranteed with at least 6 participants
Jewish tour of Sicily: suggested itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Palermo
You are greeted at Palermo airport and transferred to your hotel. Later in the afternoon, meet your tour director, for an orientation talk and enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Day 2: Palermo, Monreale
After breakfast, we will explore the historical centre of the city, walking through the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter and its fascinating remains. We will visit to the site of the Synagogue and with the help of some descriptions made by Jewish mediaeval travellers, we will discover the biggest Jewish community of the capital city.
Later, we will walk to the Duomo and the imposing building of the Norman Palace for a deeper understanding of the social intercourse between Jews, religious power and political power.
The tour ends in the splendid Norman royal palace of the Zisa, built in Norman Arab style, that still keeps a Hebrew inscription and a Jewish candle-holder.
Day 3: Palermo, Monreale
After breakfast, we will be transferred to Monreale in order to visit the splendid Byzantine style mosaics describing scenes from both Old and New Testaments.
Later we will be transferred to the picturesque quarter of La Kalsa in order to visit the jewish memorial tombstone and a short walk in the characteristic small narrow streets. We will end the day at the famous Piazza Marina where the imposing building of Palazzo Steri , once the seat of the Holy Inquisition, is still standing. We will take the time to visit the victims undergrounds cells conserving some impressive gratifies curved on the walls. Rest of Day at Leisure
Day 4: Palermo - Erice - Trapani - Marsala
Early departure to tour western Sicily. We will reach Erice city- centre by cableway. The mediaeval town of Erice was settled by the Elymians and was an important religious site associated with goddesses of fertility. Wander through its' ancient streets and visit some of the famous home-made pastry-shops, world-famous for marzipan candies and other delicacies like almond and pistachio pastries. In the afternoon, we will drive between Trapani and Marsala along the Salt Route to tour the historic saltpan works. Arrive in Marsala, visit a local winery's cellar and taste Sicilian wines. Later, we'll return to Palermo. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 5: Siculiana - Agrigento
After Breakfast we will drive long the West coast of Sicily. Our first stop will be the small village of Siculiana in order to discover one of the jewish tombstone reused and transformed into baptistery. Then we will continue to toward Agrigento, whose history dates back to 6th century B.C., guided tour of the Valley of the Temples, a magnificent cluster of Greek ruins overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. At evening join us for a magical view of the valley of the Temples by night.
Day 6: Agira- Siracusa
After breakfast, we will drive along the interior part of the island discovering its fascinating landscape and fertility in order to reach the small town of Agira. Visit the Synagogue site and the magnificent stone portal of the aron hakodesh with its Hebrew iscription. The portal, unique example of Jewish architecture, will give us an insight into the life of a small Jewish community in the heart of mediaeval Sicily. After lunch in one of the local restaurant we will drive toward the oriental coast in order to reach the city of Syracuse.
Day 7: Syracuse
Today will be dedicated to the magnificient city of Syracuse, once the most important rival of Athens, founded by settlers from Corinth in 735 B.C. Our first stop is at Acradina, the site of the earliest Jewish settlement. We will visit the catacombs of S. Giovanni and the crypt of S. Marciano, who, according to the legend, was killed by the Jews of the city. Then, we'll move to the island of Ortigia and walk in the narrow streets of the Giudecca (the ancient Jewish quarter). See the site of the Synagogue and the Miqwè- Jewish ritual bath, 11 metres below ground level, the most archaic that has ever been found in all Europe. The tour ends in the main Piazza visiting the Duomo once Greek Temple dedicated Athena.
Day 8: Mt Etna - Catania
After breakfast we will drive up to the slopes of Mt. Etna. Weather and volcanic conditions permitting, we experience the lava fields and incredible views of Europe's highest and most active volcano. On our way down we will stop in one of the winery farmhouse located on the lower slop of the Volcano ,for wine tasting and a light meal based on the local products of Catania province. After lunch we will drive to the city of Catania for a short guided visit that include the famous Duomo dedicated to Saint Aghata and the Orsino Castle with some evidence of Jewish influence on its architecture. After visiting the city we will turn back to our hotel in Syracuse…
Day 9: Messina - Taormina
In the morning we will drive along the east coast in order to reach the city of Messina. We will explore the city centre and its Jewish history. Visit the Norman Cathedral- with its Latin inscription against the Jewish city- community and the beautiful Palazzo Penso- Jewish family heritage. At Noon we will take the time to enjoy the fantastic and unique clock tower mechanism that moving some figures create a real open space show. Then, we will drive to Taormina for a guided tour. We will visit the panoramic Greek Theatre and walk to the site of the Jewish quarter and the mediaeval convent of S. Domenico.After a short free time for strolling on your own, we will drive back to our hotel in Syracuse.
Meet together for a Farwell dinner at hotel
Day 10: Catania departure
Transfer to Catania airport for departure.
The above itinerary can be customized and rearranged according to your needs and dates of travel. Ask your tour operator to contact us or write to us directly if you want a Sicilian tour operator to take care of all travel arrangements.