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Treasures of Sicily & Malta

  • Destination: Europe, Italy, Malta, Sicily
  • Duration: 12 days
  • Start: 05/12/2017
  • End: 05/23/2017
  • Price: $6295

groupTourRed guaranteedDepartureRed
SAVE $750 WHEN BOOKED WITH SARDINIA & CORSICA*
*Direct bookings only. Not combinable with Early Booking Discount.
If you are a history buff, enjoy amazing Mediterranean cuisine or just love the images that Wilhem von Gloeden left us from the early 20th century, then you want to travel to Sicily. Starting in Palermo, this Coda tour will travel across the island and explore the best of the sites left behind by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Normans and Arabs. You will be awestruck by the Temples of Agrigento and will be wowed by the romantic views from hilltop Taormina. After Sicily, the tour continues to Malta, home of the Knights of St. John, and site of one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. Spend three nights in Malta exploring pre-historic ruins, Arab-period villages and, a special treat, the Caravaggio masterpiece “The Beheading of Saint John.”
Start in Palermo (PMO); End in Malta (MLA).

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Two extraordinary islands – close in proximity. yet radically different – even though they saw similar invasions from ancient populations – Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards, the Knights of St John, French and British for Malta, and the Bourbon Dynasty ruling Sicily.

Malta is home to examples of the oldest free-standing Megalithic structures in the world; Siciian Baroque architecture arose from the ruins of its massive 1693 earthquake. Rugged landscapes define both, yet each is varied – Sicily, from raging sea shores to towering mountains, and Malta with rock and limestone outcroppings dotting its 21 semi-tropical islands. Both boast inviting and hospitable peoples; both share similar languages and religions; both retain their original, unique cuisines served accompanied with locally-made wines; both are steeped in splendorous art, imposing architecture and fascinating histories – Sicily and Malta, each unique, and yet each very much alike. We are offering a deluxe journey through Sicily & Malta with an opportunity to discover their rich history, exquisite foods and wines and, yes, the Sicilians and Maltese themselves.

Please click ( + ) signs by each day for detailed information.

Day 1

FRI MAY 12, 2017 • Depart USA

Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Palermo (PMO).
Day 2

SAT MAY 13 • Arrive Palermo

p2Arrive in Rome or Milan for a connecting flight to Palermo, Sicily. Upon arrival, transfer to the 5-star Hotel Wagner, located in the city center.

Hotel: Hotel Wagner
Room: Superior
Meals: None

Day 3

SUN MAY 14 • Palermo City Tour & Monreale

p3The entire day is devoted to visiting Palermo and Monreale’s most splendid medieval treasures. The Capella Palatina was completed in 1143 as the royal chapel for the Norman king of Sicily, Roger II. It is a striking example of cross-cultural coalescence: Greek artists created the shimmering mosaics; Muslim artisans carved and painted the wooden ceiling beams; Italian sculptors fashioned the marble altar furnishings. We’ll see more superb mosaics by the same artists who decorated the Capella Palatina at La Martorana Church. In a nearby piazza is the Fontana Pretoria, an over-the-top assembly of three dozen nude satyrs, nymphs, mermen, and mermaids sport in a marble fountain. Visit Vucciria, Sicily’s most picturesque food market, and have lunch at a nearby restaurant, Lo Scudiero . As a special highlight, we have arranged a visit to the Palazzo Conte Federico , one of the oldest and most important buildings in Palermo. It dates back to the 12th century and is Arabic-Norman origin. Above the double-arched Norman windows can be seen the coat of arms of the imperial family of the Hohenstaufen, of the kingdom of Aragonia and the city of Palermo.

Then we travel to the small hill-town of Monreale to see the spectacular 12th-century Cathedral. Inside are Byzantine mosaics more numerous and, arguably, even more beautiful than those in the Capella Palatina. This evening, gather for a Welcome Dinner at Castello a Mare Restaurant with fellow travelers.

Hotel: Hotel Wagner
Room: Superior
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

MON MAY 15 • Palermo via Segesta & Erice to Agrigento

p4Depart Palermo to the ancient sites at Segesta and Erice. Surrounded by hills in a remote setting is the 5th-century B.C. Temple of Segesta. This grand Doric temple was never finished and why the workmen abandoned the project remains a mystery. Nearby is the Theater, built in the 3rd century B.C. and still used for performances of ancient Greek and Roman dramas. Then we continue to Erice, a perfectly preserved medieval village set atop a sheer cliff overlooking the sea. Erice is extremely ancient, and is said to have been the setting for the myths of Hercules and Venus and Adonis. Lunch at Monte San Giuliano Restaurant . After lunch in the town, a walking tour includes the Norman Castle, the Cathedral, and the medieval watchtowers. Continue to Agrigento and check in to the Villa Athena. This 18th-century villa rises from the landscape in the Valley of the Temples, less than 1 3/4 miles from town. It is slightly worn, but its location at the archaeological site is so dramatic that it continues to be the best place to stay for visiting Agrigento.

Hotel: Hotel Villa Athena
Room: Deluxe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

TUE MAY 16 • Agrigento

p5Today is devoted to exploring Agrigento’s “Greek Valley of Temples” and visiting the artifacts and treasures displayed in the Archeological Museum. Highlights include the near-perfectly preserved Temple of Concord, the primitive Rock Sanctuary of Demeter, and the picturesque ruins of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Among the artistic marvels in the Museum is a giant male caryatid from the Temple of Zeus and a beautifully sculpted torso attributed to Praxiteles. Enjoy lunch at the local restaurant Kalos. Return to the hotel. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Hotel: Hotel Villa Athena
Room: Deluxe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

WED MAY 17 • Agrigento - Modica – Ragusa - Syracuse

p6This morning, drive to the 19th Century towns of Modica and Ragusa, both located in what is known as Sicily’s Baroque Valley, and designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their wealth of Sicilian Baroque architecture. Lunch at a local restaurant. In Ragusa, take a walking tour of the Old Town (Ragusa Ibla), a nostalgic remnant of yesterday – wander its narrow streets, surrounded with weathered and crumbling baroque palaces. Drive to the exquisitely preserved village of Noto, an architectural jewel atop a plateau, and then continue on to the historic, culturally-rich city of Syracuse. Check in at the Hotel Algilà Ortigia Charme, steps from the vibrant pedestrian town square, Piazza del Duomo, and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Hotel: Hotel Algilà Ortigia Charme
Room: Executive
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7

THU MAY 18 • Syracuse – Drive to Catania

p7Enjoy the sights with a day-tour of Syracuse. According to the historian Thucydides, Syracuse was founded by Greeks from Corinth in 773 B.C, – we will explore the city’s ancient origins, beginning at the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum, one of Europe’s finest collections of art and artifacts from the classical world. Among the stars of the museum is the voluptuous Landolina Venus. Then, crossing a causeway to the island of Ortygia, visit the ruins of the Doric Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Athena, which is now part of the Cathedral. Lunch in a local restaurant, then drive to Catania for overnight at the luxuriously modern Hotel UNA Palace Catania, with its stunning views of Mt. Etna.

Hotel: Hotel UNA Palace Catania
Room: Executive
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8

FRI MAY 19 • Catania – Taormina - Catania

p8This morning, depart Catania and drive to Taormina, regarded as the most beautiful town in Sicily. Taormina, set between the Mediterranean and the snow-capped peak of Mount Etna, was inhabited well before 734BC (the dated arrival of the Greeks in Sicily), and remained a prosperous and artistic town surviving Roman, Arab, Muslim and Norman conquests. An exquisite seaside retreat, it became, during the early 20th century, a colony of expatriate artists, writers, intellectuals, and free-spirits, and earned the sobriquet of “…a gentleman’s destination.”

Gardening is a passion in Taormina; even the piazzas are filled with tubs of flowers. Go up to the Greek Theater, carved into the summit of a hill and offering spectacular views of Mount Etna and the sea. After the visit, drive to Mt. Etna. Along the way, stop at a local winery enjoying a typical Sicilian lunch and tasting different kinds of wines. After lunch continue on to 6000 feet above sea level and visit the Monti Silvestri, two inactive craters formed as a result of the Mt. Etna eruption of 1892. Enjoy this natural phenomenon, then return to Taormina

Return to Catania with evening at leisure.

Hotel: Hotel UNA Palace Catania
Room: Executive
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9

SAT MAY 20 • Catania/Malta - Valletta

p9Transfer to airport for early morning flight from Catania to Malta:
KM #645 – DEP: 7:25AM ARR: 8:05AM (Ticketed by Coda Tours & included in Tour Rate.)
Upon arrival, drive to the capital city, Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with buildings dating from the 16h century. Enjoy an exceptional vista of the immense fortifications of the Grand Harbour from the fragrant Barraka Gardens. Next, a stroll along Triq Republikka to see the chief historic buildings built by the Knights of St. John, most notably the Auberges, and the Grand Masters Palace. We will stop at the St. John’s Cathedral, the principle church of the order and home to Caravaggio’s masterpiece “Beheading of St. John.”

After lunch, check in to the hotel and spend the afternoon and evening at leisure.

Hotel: Phoenicia Hotel
Room: Deluxe Seaview
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10

SUN MAY 21 • Mdina & Rabat

p10Visit the ancient, fortified city of Mdina and its neighbor, Rabat. Dating back to before 4000BC, Mdina was once the centre of the Maltese royalty and religious authorities, yet, over the centuries, it lost its popularity and was referred to as the “Silent City”. Visiting this old capital, view the architecture as it still stands, attesting to its once great power and influence; Rabat (the Semitic word for suburb) was the sister-city to Mdina, and known not for its superb architecture. Of note are a ruined Roman-era house (Dormus Romana) with its inlaid flooring ranking among the finest of ancient mosaics of the western Mediterranean, St. Agatha’s Catacombs, and St. Paul’s Church and Grotto.

Hotel: Phoenicia Hotel
Room: Deluxe Seaview
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11

MON MAY 22 • Qormi, Tarxien Temples & Birgu (Citta Vittoriosa)

p11Today, drive into the interior of the island and pass through the town of Qormi (recognized nationally as the capital of Maltese bread-making and the annual Qormi Wine Festival) en-route to The Tarxien Temples, an archaeological complex dating from 3150 BC. The site was accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 along with many of the other Megalithic temples on the island.

A morning tour of Birgu (Citta Vittoriosa) takes us to the Inquisitor’s Palace as well as the Collachio, the old part of the town with its narrow, winding streets lined with the original palaces (Auberges) of the Birgu upper classes. Dating from “The Great Siege of 1565” (the Ottioman invasion), these lavish residences depict the grandeur and mystery associated with the famed Order of the Knights of Malta. The tour on Malta will end with a visit of the Hypogeum (literally meaning “underground” in Greek), a subterranean structure dating to the Saflieni phase in Maltese prehistory. Thought to be originally a sanctuary, it became a necropolis in prehistoric times. It is the only prehistoric underground temple in the world. UNESCO listed it as a unique structure in the World Heritage Site list.

We gather for a farewell dinner this evening.

Hotel: Phoenicia Hotel
Room: Deluxe Seaview
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12

TUE MAY 23 • Malta – Rome – USA

Transfer to airport to take flight from Malta (MLA) to the USA.

Rates & Facts

Rates Per Person
Double occupancy $6295
Single occupancy $7695

SAVE $750 WHEN BOOKED WITH SARDINIA & CORSICA*
*Direct bookings only. Not combinable with Early Booking Discount.
NOTE: Rates are based on current rates and currency exchange rates at the time of publishing the tour on-line. These rates are subject to change until final payment.

Your tour includes:

  • 10-nights’ accommodations in 4-★ & 5-★ hotels as described in the itinerary. Room categories as specified. Breakfast daily in the hotels.
  • Complete program of tours as described in the itinerary
  • Airfare Catania/Malta on Day 9, May 20, in economy class
  • Welcome and farewell dinners in charming restaurants. Mineral water, ½ wine and coffee included
  • 5 lunches in local restaurants. Mineral water, ¼ wine and coffee included
  • Visit to Palazzo Federico with welcome cocktail
  • Professional English-speaking tour guides in Sicily & Malta
  • Coda Tour Manager on minimum participation of 6 travelers
  • Complete pre-departure assistance and information
  • Final document portfolio

Your tour does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Visa and passport fees (if applicable. No visas are required for American/Canadian passport holders for this trip)
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance (recommended)
  • Meals and beverages other than those specified in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, WiFi, Internet)
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers and Coda Tour Manager