Pilgrimage to Sicily
Travelling to Italy, Led by Bishop Martin Shaw , 9 - 20 September 2019
17:50 Easyjet flight EZY6173 arrives at Catania Airport. Meet our Pax Travel Tour Manager for our coach transfer to our accommodation – Best Western Hotel Mediterraneo (or similar). Dinner will be included in the hotel or a local restaurant on each night of our stay.
This morning we will have a walking guided tour of Catania, including the 11th century Cathedral dedicated to St Agatha. Lunch is at choice and the rest of the day is at leisure. Eucharist will be celebrated during the course of the day.
This morning we transfer to the Archaeological Park in Syracuse to meet our local guide, for today’s guided tour. After we have been guided around Syracuse we continue by coach for the transfer to Ortygia, the ancient district of Syracuse, where we will finish our tour. Lunch is at choice. After lunch we regroup and walk to the beautiful ruins of the Norman church of St John, on the traditional place where St Paul is said to have preached to the people of Syracuse, there will also be an opportunity to visit the crypts on the site of the martyrdom of St Marcian and surrounding Christian Catacombs. Transfer back to Catania.
Today we will be visiting Noto, Ragusa and Scicli, to visit some of the sites seen in the BBC4 detective series “Montalbano”. Our first stop is Noto where there will be a short time at leisure to explore before transferring to Ragusa. Many of the “Vigata” scenes are filmed in and around Ragusa’s Piazza Duomo which is overlooked by the Cathedral of San Giorgio. Montalbano is also known for his love of food and is a lunch time regular of the fictional “Trattoria San Calogero”, which in real life is Trattoria La Rusticana (Corso XXV Aprile) perhaps a nice spot to grab some lunch! Transfer back to Catania in the afternoon.
Today is at leisure, you will have free time to explore Catania and the surrounding areas.
Coach departs for Palermo. On the way we make a lunch stop at Enna. Enna is in the heart of Sicily and features a beautiful Duomo, which after being destroyed in 1446 by a fire, has been rebuilt and still features original ruins in places. After some time for lunch at choice we join our coach and transfer to our accommodation in Palermo – Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel, Palermo. The Eucharist will be celebrated during the course of the day.
This morning we start our exploration of this fascinating city on foot, which lies in the spectacular positing by the sea and overlooked by Monte Pellegrino. The Quattro Canti linking the main arteries of the city is considered to be its centre and is a convenient place from which to visit the historic area. From here it is a short walk to the cathedral, nearer to the Quattro Canti is the lovely area of the Piazza Pretoria with its impressive and elaborate 16th century fountain. From here you follow on into the next square, where in an exotic palm garden are two exquisite churches. La Martorana (which is its nickname taken from the name of the founder) was founded in 1143 and became home to the nuns who are now famous for having started the production of marzipan fruits, which are sold all over Sicily. Just next door to La Martorana is the church of San Cataldo, which is distinctive for its red cupolas and dates from the same period as La Martorana but is designed in a much purer, more severe, Romanesque style but still with obvious Arabic influences. Lunch will be at choice and the rest of the day will be at leisure in Palermo.
We join our coach for our drive along the coast to the lovely resort of Cefalu, which offers both a pleasant promenade by the beach and a fascinating medieval quarter. On arrival we make our way to the Magnificent Cathedral for a guided tour. We will see the striking mosaic in the apse of ‘Christ Pantocrator’ which unusually for Byzantine art, features the human nature of Christ, looking out onto the world with a compassionate and gentle expression, we will also have the chance to visit the Cloisters during our tour. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore this stunning town. Early evening dinner in Cefalu before we transfer back to Palermo.
This morning we drive to Monreale, which was created by one man, King William II because this site was revealed to him in a dream by the Virgin Mary. On arrival we begin our guided tour at the Cathedral, the most impressive aspect of the building has to be the mosaic decoration, we also visit the second wonder of Monreale, the cloister garden, which used to form part of the Benedictine complex. We have a break for lunch, which is at choice. This afternoon we join our coach and transfer to Segesta and visit to the Greek temple, once known as Egesta (before the Romans added the ‘S’), which stands proudly alone in a majestic setting against a backdrop of hills. Return by coach to our hotel.
Coach departs for Erice, set high above the sea level with stunning views. There will be some free time here before we join our coach and transfer to the Trattoria del Sale, near to Trapani, for lunch (which will be in place of tonight’s evening meal) here there will also be the opportunity to visit the salt museum set in the old salt mills. After lunch we transfer by coach to Marsala for a tour and special wine tasting at the ‘Cantine Florio’. After our tour we return to Palermo in the evening.
Today is at leisure, you will have free time to explore Palermo and the surrounding areas.
Morning at leisure, lunch is at choice. Coach departs from the hotel for Catania Airport a comfort stop will be made on route. 18:30 Easyjet flight EZY6174 departs for Bristol Airport.
This tour involves a substantial amount of walking, some of which will be over irregular surfaces such as cobblestones and badly-maintained walking areas. If everyday walking is something you find difficult, this tour may be unsuitable for you.
This itinerary is a guide and subject to change.
Single room supplement: £329
09/09/19 - 20/09/19
Return scheduled flights on EasyJet: Bristol –Catania - Bristol. UK and Italy airport taxes. 23kg luggage allowance per person. 11 nights accommodation in shared twin and single rooms with private facilities as follows: 9th - 14th September at Best Western Hotel Mediterraneo (or similar), Catania. 14th – 20th September at Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel (or similar), Palermo. Meal plan: 11 continental breakfasts and 1 lunch and 10 dinners. Excursions by air-conditioned coach and entrance fees as per the itinerary. Pax Travel Italian speaking tour manager to accompany the group whilst in Sicily. 5 half day guided tours (1 Catania and in 1 Siracusa, 1 Palermo and 1 in Monreale, 1 Cefalu). Marsala vineyard tour and tasting. Entrance fees included as per itinerary. ATOL and ABTA financial protection. Religious services arranged on request.
Single rooms supplement at £329 per person for eleven-nights (limited availability). Fuel Surcharges if passed on by the airline. UK coach transfers. 10 Lunches, 1 dinner and drinks. City Tax in Palermo and Catania.
Terms of Payment:
Deposit of £250 (plus the insurance premium if the cover we offer is required) per person on booking with a completed booking form. Final payment is due 10 weeks before departure date.
The tour price of £1699 is guaranteed until Monday 26th November 2018. Any further bookings may be subject to a flight surcharge.