You'll be free to spend the rest of your day exploring the seaside town of Trapani. We'll focus on Agrigento's "Valley of the Temples" — the largest, best-preserved collection of ancient Greek buildings outside of Greece itself. The Romans also colonized Sicily, which we'll learn about at today's first destination, the Villa Romana del Casale. This morning we'll learn more about Ortygia and take a closer look at this small fishing island.Find that perfect terrace, savor your favorite , and watch the sun slowly dip into the sea. This afternoon we'll head to our tranquil countryside hotel. Here we'll spend much of our morning surrounded by the world's most rich and colorful collection of Roman mosaics — including the time-bending "bikini girls" mosaic, discovered less than 60 years ago. We'll explore the local market, stroll through centuries in the Cathedral of Syracuse, and marvel at the masterpiece of the Piazza del Duomo.After we check into our hotel, we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk. This afternoon you are free to luxuriate in this cliff-hanging, Old World resort town.This evening, join in the local to feel the pulse of Sicilian culture, then find the ideal people-watching spot to enjoy your gelato and dinner on your own. Wander through its elegant gardens, posh cafés, and shops, ride a cable car down to the beach, or explore the nearby mountain-top village of Castelmola.My 'wow' moments occurred each day, but Agrighento was extra special. His ability to educate while at the same time entertain us made it an unforgettable experience. The hotel, view, food and overall experience resonated with me. Other tours I have taken offered these perks as an optional part of the tour and were very helpful.The sights related to century old temples and surrounding ruins were awe inspiring and worth the expense of the trip by themselves." I was apprehensive heading into this tour. Some gewgaws I ordered as part of the 0 thing were incomplete, the travel clock; or didn't work, the compass thingy. "The Greek theatres." From the first moment, Alfio made our sojourn in Sicily both delicious and delightful.This afternoon we'll enjoy a tasty lunch that includes the region's specialties: sun-dried tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, and Marsala wine. We'll tour the Phoenician island of Mozia, and learn about this bygone civilization.We'll take an orientation walk before setting you free for the evening. Then our guide will teach us the history and process of salt harvesting as we tour the area by boat. This morning we'll take a magical history tour through the ruins of Agrigento, one of the richest of the Greek colonies and a thriving democracy 2,500 years ago.
On your eye-opening loop around the island, your Rick Steves guide will introduce you to the hearty welcome and home cooking of a Sicilian family farm, the steamy power of Mount Etna, Italy's brightest pottery and boldest wines, Europe's most amazing ancient Greek ruins, and slow sunsets from picture-perfect seaside villages. After lunch, we'll return to the city, where you'll be free to explore more of this exciting, energetic city, and discover a tucked-away trattoria for dinner on your own. Walking: strenuous This morning we'll head toward the island's western coast, stopping at the ancient Greek site of Segesta to meander through its magnificent Doric temple and hilltop theater.
The balance of activities, tours, meals, hikes and free time was perfect. "I really enjoyed seeing the mosaics at Villa del Casale.
While the duomos had gorgeous paintings and sculptures to tell the religious stories, the mosaics were a more secular representation of their lives.
Then we'll continue to the enchanting medieval mountaintop town of Erice.
Believed by Romans to be the home of Venus, Erice eventually evolved into a center for Christian convents and home to heavenly pastries (which we'll learn about and taste). Today we'll drive down to the Trapani "salt pans" — a coastal wetland and nature reserve where sea salt has been harvested for nearly 3,000 years.