Humanities West Travel Program
Serving the Bay Area since 1983, Humanities West Explores History and Celebrates the Arts, continues our Humanities West Travel Program.
Please join us!
We will be continuing the conversations begun at our Humanities West weekend seminars as we journey to places we have featured in our programs.
Humanities West partners with Sicily Tour for a Tour to Sicily in November 2017.
Contact Dkenning@sicily-tour.com for additional information and to register.
Humanities West, in partnership with Sicily Tour (www.sicily-tour.com), announces:
History, Myths, & Arts of Sicily
10 – 20 November 2017
“Italy without Sicily leaves no image in the soul: here is the key to everything.”
Goethe, in Palermo, April 13, 1787
Our 11-day (10-night) circuit of Sicily includes all the major sites, all historical periods, surprising landscapes, villages, modern life (including historical and sociological discussions of the Mafia), two wineries, a remote cheese farm, and, every day, fabulous Sicilian cuisine. [contact Douglas, below, for the itinerary]
Tour led by Dr. Douglas Kenning, Sicily resident and popular Bay Area lecturer on the ancient Mediterranean.
€ 2690 (tour price) + $500 (tax deductible donation to Humanities West)
maximum group size: 16
email: email@example.com, tel: 707-771-0745
Sicily Tour Itinerary
The best way to see Sicily is on a circular route, with Catania as the place to arrive and Siracusa the place to start. The east of the island is where it all began: prehistoric Sicily, the coast where the Greeks arrived, and Syracuse, where the first and greatest golden age of Sicily flowered. Then we follow a circular tour of the greatest sights of the island, returning to the east a restful epilogue at Taormina, before you leave for home from Catania. This is how you might understand Sicily as you enjoy her, in a relaxed and comprehensible chronological order.
Nov 10. — Arrive in Catania. We meet you at the airport and take you to a charming hotel in Ortigia, the ancient city center of Siracusa. Afternoon walk around the incredible island-peninsula of Ortigia, its palaces, narrow lanes, unique cathedral built within a Greek temple, Jewish Quarter, Arethusa fountain. Welcome dinner at a favorite Siracusa restaurant (incl) and overnight in Siracusa. (Hotel Livingston or Royal Maniace)
Nov 11 –Today is our grand tour of Siracusa, for two centuries the greatest of ancient Greek cities, beginning with the world’s only surviving ancient Greek fort and its lovely overlook of the coast where we tell stories of the ancient Greeks, of Dionysus, Plato, and one of histories Great turning points. We continue on to one of the world’s finest Greek Theatres, the Ear of Dionysius, and the Roman Amphitheatre, finishing with stories of Archimedes. After a midday break, we will have a cooking class with a renowned local chef, with dinner on our creations (incl). Free evening and overnight in Siracusa. (Hotel Livingston or Royal Maniace)
Nov 12 – Day on your own in Ortigia and Siracusa. Options include the world-class Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum, other museums (incl. medieval art, papyrus, numismatic, etc.), two medieval-Norman churches, the Jewish Quarter with its unique Byzantine-period miqwe, swimming in the sea (a few steps from the hotel), our highly praised (UNESCO world heritage) Sicilian marionette theatre, & other local opera, music, or other events. Of course, you might just sleep late and spend the day sitting in cafés watching street life. Overnight in Siracusa. (Hotel Livingston or Royal Maniace)
Nov 13 – We depart Siracusa to visit Noto, a Unesco world heritage site of honey-gold baroque, before continuing through the ancient and storied Hyblean Highlands to lunch at a dairy farm where Ornella and her farmer husband Salvo treats us to produce of the farm (incl). Afternoon visit to a panoramic overview of the charming town of Modica followed by a short walking visit to old Ragusa (Ragusa Ibla). Onto your hotel in Piazza Armerina (Torre di Renda)
Nov 14 – Morning visit of the Roman Villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina with the greatest mosaic floors of the ancient world. Then we travel further out across rolling countryside to the remote vineyards of Feudo Principi di Butera for a tasting and elegant light lunch (incl). Finally we take an afternoon drive on country roads to Agrigento, talking of the WWII allied landings & battles, to visit Greek temples equal to those in Greece itself. Dinner on your own and overnight in Agrigento in a hotel overlooking the temples. (Hotel Colleverde or Baglio della Luna).
Nov 15 – We travel west along the less visited south coast to the ruins of the Greek city of Selinunte, the third great city of the Greek west, on its evocative windswept coastal site. There will be an option of salad buffet lunch at a beach place or picnic in the quiet and remote Greek quarry site of Cava di Cusa. Then, we proceed through Marsala, talking of Garibaldi, Carthage, and Marsala wine, to the salt flats and romantic windmills of far western Sicily, including the Carthaginian site of Mozia, to visit perhaps the greatest existing Greek sculpture. Dinner (incl) and overnight in an old Sicilian fortified estate. (Baglio Oneto) or old town Marsala (Hotel Carmine).
Nov 16 – We continue to Erice and tour the ancient mountaintop town founded by Aphrodite, ruled by Hercules, where a cult of sex once flourished. We sample the pastries at Maria Grammatico’s shop, made famous by Mary Simeti’s book Bitter Almonds. We turn north to visit the incomparably beautiful temple at Segesta, a town Virgil tells us was founded by Aeneas. Dinner at one of the best restaurants for traditional Sicilian cuisine (Altri Tempi, incl) and overnight in Palermo. (Hotel Piazza Borsa, or Ambasciatori or Massimo Plaza Hotel)
Nov 17 – A morning walking tour of the incredible sites of Arabic-Jewish- Palermo, including matchless gems like the Palatine Chapel and La Martorana. We lunch (not incl) at Focacceria San Francesco, famous for its Slow Food quality and its anti-Mafia stance. In the afternoon, you are free to pursue your own interests in Palermo (we’ll have recommendations). Dinner on your own and overnight in Palermo. (Hotel Piazza Borsa, or Ambasciatori or Massimo Plaza Hotel)
Nov 18, Thurs – In the morning, we visit the Norman cathedral of Monreale, one of the greatest buildings in the world. Then we drive along the coast to Cefalù, for a few hours in this charming medieval seacoast town, where you will be on you own to visit another Norman cathedral, shop, lunch (not incl.), climb the great rock, or swim at one of Sicily’s most celebrated beaches. Then we continue into the Madonie mountains to our hotel, Relais Sant’Anastasia, in an ancient abbey where they have been making wines for a thousand years. Organic wine tasting with dinner (incl). Overnight at Relais Sant’Anastasia. Alternatively, depending on availability at Relais Sant’Anastasia, we could remain in Cefalù for dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant overlooking the sea and overnight in old town Cefalù (La Plumeria Hotel).
Nov 19, Fri – Early start towards Taormina, along the scenic north coast of Sicily, with views and stories of the Aeolian Islands. Check into your hotel in Taormina, lunch and walking tour of the antique theatre and town. Farewell dinner and overnight. (Hotel Villa Belvedere or HN Collection).
Nov 20 – We will take you to Catania airport for your flight home, unless you have taken the option of remaining longer in Taormina or have other plans (let us know).
PRICE (2017-2018) € 2690 (price in $ will be subject to exchange rate at time of payment; as of March 2017 that would be ca. $2920) + $500 tax-deductible donation to Humanities West.
 archaeological museum transport will be provided by us; all else is reachable by foot in Ortigia. Entrances on this day are not included (ave. € 7~10).
 only if there is a show on this day. Marionette museum also open daily.