Sicily by Sea
See the legacy of art and architecture remaining from ancient and medieval civilizations as you explore this “crossroad of continents” aboard the famed tall ship Sea Cloud II.
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With colonists, conquerors, and visitors from Europe, Africa, and Asia since the earliest times, Sicily has long been considered a “Crossroads of Continents.” Traces of ancient and medieval civilizations are still found in Sicily’s language, cuisine, and traditions, yet this Mediterranean island also showcases a legacy of glorious works of art and architecture. Discover such treasures as you circle the island aboard the famed tall ship Sea Cloud II, providing a sailing experience of eras past. Explore major Greek temples at Segesta and Agrigento, and the Greek and Roman theater of Syracuse. View the amazing Norman architecture and mosaics of churches in Palermo and Monreale, and stroll through charming medieval towns of Erice and Syracuse’s Ortygia Island, as well as the sophisticated baroque town of Noto. During your cruise, enjoy special invitations to tour palazzi and enjoy refreshments with a Sicilian baron. Optional extensions to Catania and Malta will be offered.
October 10-11 — Depart U.S., Catania, Sicily, Embark
Depart on an overnight flight to Catania, Sicily. Upon arrival in Catania, transfer to the awaiting Sea Cloud II. Enjoy dinner on board as you begin your cruise through the Strait of Messina. (D)
October 12 — At Sea
Experience the thrill of cruising aboard the elegant Sea Cloud II as she travels through gentle waters under a full set of billowing sails. Attend onboard lectures and admire the passing panorama of Sicily’s volcanic Aeolian Islands. This evening celebrate the beginning of your Sicilian adventure at the captain’s welcome dinner. (B, L, D)
October 13 — Palermo, Sicily
Dock in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, for a morning visit to the 12th-century Palatine Chapel in the Palace of the Norman Kings. Described by Guy de Maupassant as “the most surprising religious jewel ever dreamt of,” the chapel is known for its extraordinary golden mosaics. After lunch on board, drive to Monreale to discover the magnificent Norman cathedral, whose brilliantly colored mosaics depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Return to Palermo for a special reception at Palazzo Gangi. (B, L, D)
October 14 — Trapani, Sicily
Arrive at the port of Trapani and depart on a morning excursion to Segesta to view its splendid Greek temple and theater. Following lunch on board, you may wish to travel to the medieval hilltop town of Erice. Alternatively, journey to the village of Mazara del Vallo to see its spectacular seven-foot bronze statue, only recently retrieved from the sea by local fishermen. With his flying hair and goat ears, the 2,400-year-old figure was quickly dubbed the “Dancing Satyr.” In the early evening, Sea Cloud II sails along the northern coast of Sicily. (B, L, D)
October 15 — Porto Empedocle, Sicily
Enjoy a relaxing morning at sea. Following lunch, arrive in Porto Empedocle and drive to Agrigento (a World Heritage site), which Pindar called “the most beautiful city built by mortal men.” Tour the Valley of the Temples, with some of the finest Greek ruins in the world. Return to the ship and set sail for Syracuse. (B, L, D)
October 16—Syracuse, Sicily
Today explore Syracuse, one of the most important cities in antiquity. Discover the dramatic well-preserved Greek and Roman theaters of the Archeological Zone. On Syracuse’s beautiful Ortygia Island, see the cathedral built on the ruins of the Temple of Athena as well as Caravaggio’s prized painting, The Burial of St. Lucy, in the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia. By special invitation we will visit the baroque palazzo of Barone Beneventano where he will welcome us for a tour and afternoon refreshments. (B, L, D)
October 17 — Syracuse, Sicily
Drive to the 4th-century Villa del Tellaro, where artful mosaics depict hunting scenes and the story of Hector. Continue to the lovely town of Noto, set amid olive groves and almond trees on a plateau overlooking the Asinaro Valley. A walking tour will introduce us to the town’s baroque treasures. (B, L, D)
October 18 — Valletta, Malta, Disembark, U.S.
Disembark Sea Cloud II in Malta this morning and transfer to the airport for the flight to the U.S. (B)