Explore Italy's fascinating island of Sicily in depth from two locations on the island. At this crossroads of the Mediterranean, you will discover a unique blend of cultural influences—from the Greeks, Romans, Moors, and Normans to later civilizations.

Starting at: $4,440 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Greek theater of Taormina with Mt. Etna in the background  The Palatine Chapel, Palermo  The Greek temple of Segesta  The famous mosaics within the cathedral at Monreale  Palermo's Cathedral  The view of coastal Cefalú  Mosaic ceiling in the cathedral in Cefalú  The Romanesque cathedral of Cefalú  The castle of Erice   Temple of Concord, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento  Mosaics at the Roman Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina  Mosaics at the Roman Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina  Mosaics at the Roman Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina  The baroque cathedral of Ortygia, Siracusa  The Greek theater of Siracusa  Coastal view near Taormina  The Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace, Taormina

Palermo and Taormina

A Stay in Sicily

10 days from $4,440

Explore Italy's fascinating island of Sicily in depth from two locations on the island. At this crossroads of the Mediterranean, you will discover a unique blend of cultural influences—from the Greeks, Romans, Moors, and Normans to later civilizations.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Spending two weeks staying in two sites was really good... it meant far less packing and repacking and less fatigue. Our group was very congenial, and that was one of the high points if not the high point of our trip.

- Stephen B.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Mercure Palermo Excelsior City

Palermo, Sicily

The Mercure Palermo Excelsior City is nestled in the heart of the city and ideally located close to shops and places of interest in Palermo. Return from sightseeing to relax in the sauna, unwind with a workout in the fully equipped fitness center, or chat with new friends in the cozy lounge. Savor culinary delights in the hotel’s restaurants and then retire to the comforts of your guest room. Each is tastefully appointed with satellite TV, minibar, and other amenities designed to ensure your comfort.

Number of nights: 4



Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace

Taormina, Sicily

Set on the edge of Baia di Mazzaro, the beautiful Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace offers remarkable views of the sea and coastline. The bay, one of the most remarkable areas of Taormina, is the perfect place to enjoy water sports. However, you also may choose to relax on the hotel’s private beach. Amenities include a fitness center, a spa and a seawater pool. Each guest room boasts sophisticated finishes and modern conveniences.

Number of nights: 4



Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay (2019 Departures)

Taormina, Italy

The most beautiful feature of the Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay is its similarity to a village built on a cliff that cascades towards the sea. This creates stunning terraces and views over the magnificent bay. With a private seaside solarium and swimming pool, as well as easy access to the center of Taormina, its position is enviable. The interiors of this 5-star hotel are luxuriously appointed in classic style embellished by the colors and styles of the sea. Enjoy freshly prepared, local cuisine and picture-perfect views while dining.

Number of nights: 4

Activity Levels

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring two cities and hotel stays. Full-day excursions outside the city but well paced. Walking tours of museums and outdoor sites, including archaeological sites, which can be over uneven terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Hotel in Palermo centrally located for easy access to shops and restaurants while hotel in Taormina ideally located along the waterfront and close to funicular for upper town, which is ideal for time at leisure, including final day.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Special Air Rates/Services

As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Details regarding how you may access these options will be provided in your trip confirmation packet.

Program Includes:

  • Low fares
  • Travel dates to fit your schedule
  • Optimal air routing
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments, as offered by participating carriers (subject to availability at time of booking)
  • Ability to adjust your reservations (up to 60 days prior to departure) without penalty, including trip extensions and upgrades. Does not apply to Instant Purchase tickets.
  • Guaranteed transfers in most cases between the tour arrival airport and your hotel
  • Passenger Service Assistance in the event of a flight cancellation or delay
  • Flight insurance, up to $250,000 (Subject to policy terms)
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Spending two weeks staying in two sites was really good... it meant far less packing and repacking and less fatigue. Our group was very congenial, and that was one of the high points if not the high point of our trip.

- Stephen B.
Reading List
Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History
By: John Julius Norwich
Critically acclaimed author John Julius Norwich weaves the turbulent story of Sicily into a spellbinding narrative that places the island at the crossroads of world history.“Sicily,” said Goethe, “is the key to everything.” It is the largest island in the Mediterranean, the stepping-stone between Europe and Africa, the link between the Latin West and the Greek East. Sicily’s strategic location has tempted Roman emperors, French princes, and Spanish kings. The subsequent struggles to conquer and keep it have played crucial roles in the rise and fall of the world’s most powerful dynasties.Yet Sicily has often been little more than a footnote in books about other empires. John Julius Norwich’s engrossing narrative is the first to knit together all of the colorful strands of Sicilian history into a single comprehensive study. Here is a vivid, erudite, page-turning chronicle of an island and the remarkable kings, queens, and tyrants who fought to rule it. From its beginnings as a Greek city-state to its emergence as a multicultural trading hub during the Crusades, from the rebellion against Italian unification to the rise of the Mafia, the story of Sicily is rich with extraordinary moments and dramatic characters. Writing with his customary deftness and humor, Norwich outlines the surprising influence Sicily has had on world history—the Romans’ fascination with Greek civilization dates back to their sack of Sicily—and tells the story of one of the world’s most kaleidoscopic cultures in a galvanizing, contemporary way.This volume has been a long time coming—Norwich began to explore Sicily’s colorful history during his first visit to the island in the early 1960s. The dean of popular historians leads his readers through the millennia with the steady narrative hand of a master teacher or the world’s most learned tour guide. Like the island itself, Sicily is a book brimming with bold flavors that begs to be revisited again and again.Praise for Sicily“Suavely readable . . . The very model of a popular historian, [Norwich] writes to give pleasure to the common reader. And what pleasure it is.”—The Wall Street Journal“Entertaining on every page . . . There is something ancient and sorrowful in Sicily, ‘some dark, brooding quality,’ just as captivating as its spellbinding history or its beautiful and varied landscapes, from beaches to lemon groves, pine forests to volcanoes. . . . The most amiable and freewheeling of guides, Norwich will always find time for the amusing anecdote.”—The Sunday Times“Utterly engrossing . . . written with passion about the art and architecture of this magical island, filled with gossipy tidbits and sweeping historical theories.”—The Daily Beast “Dazzling . . . Norwich is an elegantly graceful and entertaining storyteller.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch “Charming . . . richly nuanced history relayed with enormous fondness.”—Kirkus Reviews “A brisk and always-lively tour.”—Open Letters Monthly“Norwich is deeply in love with Sicily. [His] boundless affection has inspired a determined effort to understand its painful past. The result is impressionistic, as love often is.”—The Times“Norwich sketches personalities vividly. . . . He does the island and the reader a generous service in providing such an amiable introduction.”—The Sunday Telegraph “Norwich tells [Sicily’s] long, sad but fascinating story with sympathy and brio.”—Literary Review
Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra
By: Peter Robb
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the YearA New York Public Library Best Book of the YearFrom the author of M and A Death in Brazil comes Midnight in Sicily.South of mainland Italy lies the island of Sicily, home to an ancient culture that--with its stark landscapes, glorious coastlines, and extraordinary treasure troves of art and archeology--has seduced travelers for centuries. But at the heart of the island's rare beauty is a network of violence and corruption that reaches into every corner of Sicilian life: Cosa Nostra, the Mafia. Peter Robb lived in southern Italy for over fourteen years and recounts its sensuous pleasures, its literature, politics, art, and crimes.
Blue Guide Sicily (Ninth Edition) (Blue Guides)
By: Ellen Grady
Fully updated new edition of a key Blue Guide, the guide of choice for experts and independent travelers. Revised and extensively updated, Blue Guide Sicily offers an in-depth history of this historically rich destination. Ellen Grady gives a comprehensive overview of the island―from detailed analyses of cities, sights and works of art to carefully chosen suggestions of where and what to eat and where to stay. The guide is strong on history, art, archaeology, architecture, landscape, conservation and wildlife. Full-color maps, two-tone plans and black-and-white photographs. 10 color maps, 40 B&W Photographs and two-tone plans
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Pietro Iagnocco, Anna Beltrami, Karina Coates, Susie Walker, Mirna Cicioni
Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher*Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Italian phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Order an espresso like a local, ask shop keepers about the latest fashions and bargain for fresh produce at the market; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features 5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q &A - suggested answers to questions asked Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary, a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture.About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves. The world awaits! *#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS
Eat Smart in Sicily: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure
By: Joan Peterson, Marcella Croce
Find the heart of Sicilian culture through its sumptuous cuisine Rich with seafood, citrus, olives, and almond sweets, the cuisine of the sun-drenched island of Sicily reflects the influence of Greeks, Norman French, Tunisians, and Italians, among others. Unlike guidebooks that sweep Sicily into an overview of Italy, this latest addition to the award-winning Eat Smart series focuses solely on the cuisine of Sicily. Eat Smart in Sicily provides an historical overview of the peoples who have lived there and their contributions to Sicilian cuisine, with attention given to the fare distinct to the villages and urban centers of Sicily's four regions. A helpful guide to Sicilian menus, with English translations of Italian (or Sicilian) words, makes ordering food in Sicily an easy and immediately rewarding experience. Highlighting regional recipe mainstays, Joan Peterson and Marcella Croce provide tips to shopping for traditional ingredients in Sicily and at home. The book also includes a comprehensive glossary of foods, kitchen utensils, and cooking methods to prepare authentic Sicilian specialties at home or abroad.
Sicily
By: Pamela Sheldon Johns
Featuring more than 50 simple and authentic recipes from the Silver Spoon kitchen, Sicily is a culinary journey through an island that is unique among the many regions of Italy. Sicily's position away from the mainland, its blend of Arabic and Mediterranean influences and its sun-drenched climate have led to the evolution of one of the country's most distinct and exciting cuisines.Each chapter examines one of Sicily's provinces, with fascinating narrative texts examining the key produce and ingredients that are found in each area, such as pasta with sardines from Palermo, and couscous from Trapani, interwoven with the recipes. Each recipe is accompanied by a stunning image of the finished dish, and the beautiful and diverse landscape of Sicily, its produce and its people are illustrated in specially commissioned photographs.
Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily, 1943
By: Carlo D'Este
Bitter Victory illuminates a chapter of World War II that has lacked a balanced, full-scale treatment until now. In recounting the second-largest amphibious operation in military history, Carlo D'Este for the first time reveals the conflicts in planning and the behind-the-scenes quarrels between top Allied commanders. The book explodes the myth of the Patton-Montgomery rivalry and exposes how Alexander's inept generalship nearly wrecked the campaign. D'Este documents in chilling detail the series of savage battles fought against an overmatched but brilliant foe and how the Germans—against overwhelming odds—carried out one of the greatest strategic withdrawals in history. His controversial narrative depicts for the first time how the Allies bungled their attempt to cut off the Axis retreat from Sicily, turning what ought to have been a great triumph into a bitter victory that later came to haunt the Allies in Italy. Using a wealth of original sources, D'Este paints an unforgettable portrait of men at war. From the front lines to the councils of the Axis and Allied high commands, Bitter Victory offers penetrating reassessments of the men who masterminded the campaign. Thrilling and authoritative, this is military history on an epic scale.
Palermo, City of Kings: The Heart of Sicily
By: Jeremy Dummett
Palermo - the capital of Sicily - is a destination with a difference. The city is a treasure trove of original monuments and works of art, combined with architecture of grand proportions. Yet it also has a grittier side, exemplified by its mafia connections. Jeremy Dummett here provides the first concise history of Palermo, together with a survey of its most important monuments and sites.Palermo became the capital of Sicily under the Arabs in the ninth century. Until this time Syracuse had been the leading city of Sicily. Palermo blossomed under the Arabs and the Normans and the influence of both can be seen in the city today. Later it became the scene of the Sicilian Vespers when the island rose against the French. In 1860 Sicily was freed from the rule of the Spanish Bourbons by Garibaldi and went on to join the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. Many prominent writers have fallen for the city and those that left accounts of their travels include Goethe, Henry Swinburne and Maupassant.Palermo's monuments are striking and unusual, from the Byzantine mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in the Palatine chapel located in the Norman palace, to the sculptures by Giacomo Serpotta in the oratories, the decorative piazzas Pretoria and Quattro Canti, the Arab-Norman style Cathedral and the Norman complex of buildings at Monreale. Palermo has also produced world class writers and artists, including in modern times the writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and painter Renato Guttuso. In addition to being an essential companion for visitors to Palermo, this book can be equally enjoyed as a standalone history of the city and its place at the heart of Sicily.
Seeking Sicily: A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean
By: John Keahey
"Keahey's exploration of this misunderstood island offers a much-needed look at a much-maligned land."―Paul Paolicelli, author of Under the Southern SunSicily is the Mediterranean's largest and most mysterious island. Its people, for three thousand years under the thumb of one invader after another, hold tightly onto a culture so unique that they remain emotionally and culturally distinct, viewing themselves first as Sicilians, not Italians. Many of these islanders, carrying considerable DNA from Arab and Muslim ancestors who ruled for 250 years and integrated vast numbers of settlers from the continent just ninety miles to the south, say proudly that Sicily is located north of Africa, not south of Italy.Seeking Sicily explores what lies behind the soul of the island's inhabitants. It touches on history, archaeology, food, the Mafia, and politics and looks to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Sicilian authors to plumb the islanders' so-called Sicilitudine. This "culture apart" is best exemplified by the writings of one of Sicily's greatest writers, Leonardo Sciascia. Seeking Sicily also looks to contemporary Sicilians who have never shaken off the influences of their forbearers, who believed in the ancient gods and goddesses.Author John Keahey is not content to let images from the island's overly touristed villages carry the story. Starting in Palermo, he journeyed to such places as Arab-founded Scopello on the west coast, the Greek ruins of Selinunte on the southwest, and Sciascia's ancestral village of Racalmuto in the south, where he experienced unique, local festivals. He spent Easter Week in Enna at the island's center, witnessing surreal processions that date back to Spanish rule. And he learned about Sicilian cuisine in Spanish Baroque Noto and Greek Siracusa in the southeast, and met elderly, retired fishermen in the tiny east-coast fishing village of Aci Trezza, home of the mythical Cyclops and immortalized by Luchino Visconti's mid-1940s film masterpiece, La terra trema. He walked near the summit of Etna, Europe's largest and most active volcano, studied the mountain's role in creating this island, and looked out over the expanse of the Ionian Sea, marveling at the three millennia of myths and history that forged Sicily into what it is today.
Sicilian Odyssey (National Geographic Directions)
By: Francine Prose
A blending of art and cultural criticism, travel writing, and personal narrative, Sicilian Odyssey is Francine Prose's imaginative consideration of the diverse cultural legacies found juxtaposed and entangled on the Mediterranean island of Sicily. She writes of the intensity of Sicily, the "commitment to the extreme," where the history is more colorful, the sun hotter, the cooking earthier, the violence more horrific, the carnival more raucous, the politics more Byzantine than other places on Earth, and how much the island can teach us about the triumph of beauty over violence and life over death.Prose examines architectural sites and objects and looks at the ways in which myth and actuality converge. Exploring the intact and beautiful Greek amphitheaters at Siracusa and Taormina, the cathedral at Monreale, the Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina, and some of the masterpieces of the Baroque scattered throughout the island, Prose focuses her keen insight to imagine them in their own time, to examine the evolution and decline of the cultures that produced them, and to deconstruct powerful responses each evokes in her.Illuminated by the author's own photographs, Sicilian Odyssey brings exotic and enigmatic Sicily to life through the prism of its past.
Sicily: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories)
By: Joseph Privitera
Sicily was the jewel of the Mediterranean, and Sicilians were the first civilized people of the Western World-here is their rich and diverse history in crisp prose and lively illustration. This concise history relates how Sicily rose to become the first independent, civilized nation of greater Italy, as well as home to many of the world's most distinguished philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, and artists. The narrative subsequently recounts the region's millennium-long decline at the hands of foreign invaders, its hard-won battle for freedom in 1860 under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi, and its current status as a center for art and tourism.
Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History
By: Sandra Benjamin
Tourists, armchair travelers, and historians will all delight in this fluid narrative that can be read straight through, dipped into over time, or used as a reference guide to each period in Sicily’s fascinating tale. Emigration of people from Sicily often overshadows the importance of the people who immigrated to the island through the centuries. These have included several who became Sicily’s rulers, along with Jews, Ligurians, and Albanians. Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Hohenstaufens, Spaniards, Bourbons, the Savoy Kingdom of Italy and the modern era have all held sway, and left lasting influences on the island’s culture and architecture. Sicily’s character has also been determined by what passed it by: events that affected Europe generally, namely the Crusades and Columbus’s discovery of the Americas, remarkably had little influence on Italy’s most famous island. Maps, biographical notes, suggestions for further reading, a glossary, pronunciation keys, and much more make this unique book as essential as it is enjoyable.
Ancient Sicily: Monuments Past & Present (Monuments Past and Present) (Spiral bound) - Common
By: By (author) Emanuela Borgia By (author) Gaetano Messineo
This new book in the popular Monuments Past and Present series explores historic sites in Sicily, illustrating important monuments and districts as they appear today, with overlays indicating how the sites are thought to have looked in ancient times. The book begins with a brief history of Sicily from its early contacts with Minoans and Myceneaens, through its division between the Greeks and Phoen...
A House in Sicily
By: Daphne Phelps
This is the captivating memoir of a resourceful woman who started life anew in the "most beautiful house in Sicily." For fifty years, at Casa Cuseni in the small Sicilian town of Taormina, Daphne Phelps has extended her English charm and warm hospitality to seasoned travelers and professional escapists as well as to writers and artists like Tennessee Williams, Bertrand Russell, Henry Faulkner, and Roald Dahl. This memoir tells their story, and hers. It begins in 1947 when, thirty-four years old and war-weary, a modest Englishwoman arrived in Taormina with little Italian, less money, and a plan to sell the property she had unexpectedly inherited. Instead, she fell in love, not just with the airy quarters of the golden stone house on a hillside but also with a community and its way of life. To save Casa Cuseni from certain demolition, Daphne converted her enchanting inheritance into the wondrous pensione that for nearly half a century she has run with the blessing of every Taorminan from the local silk-shirted godfather, Don Ciccio, to Concetta Genio, her steadfast cook, housekeeper, and friend. "A loving portrait ... of a vanishing way of life." - New York Times Book Review; "The often humorous clash of cultures ... [and] the stories of the ordinary Sicilian men and women who populate the pages that make this book, and this place, so special,... so thoroughly alive." - Chicago Tribune.
On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal
By: Mary Taylor Simeti
An American woman residing in Sicily for the past twenty years portrays the Sicilian landscape and customs—both rural and urban—from the perspectives of both a “foreigner” and a resident.
Palermo (Armchair Traveller)
By: Roberto Alajmo
Palermo’s heart lies hidden under its many outer layers. In this unusual guide to the beautiful Sicilian capital, Roberto Alajmo uncovers each stratum to reveal its true character. Although disguised as a tourist’s handbook, Palermo has much more to offer than ordinary recommendations for the intrepid traveler—it gives an insight into the city from a lifelong resident’s point of view, showcasing its hidden cultural and culinary jewels; portraying its people and their secrets; touching on its politics and contentious mafia involvement. Seeing Palermo with one’s own eyes is an ineffable experience, even for Alajmo; the essence of the city, its beauty, is the only aspect left to the reader to discover.  
Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (At Table)
By: Robert V. Camuto
Inspired by a deep passion for wine, an Italian heritage, and a desire for a land somewhat wilder than his home in southern France, Robert V. Camuto set out to explore Sicily’s emerging wine scene. What he discovered during more than a year of traveling the region, however, was far more than a fascinating wine frontier.   Chronicling his journey through Palermo to Marsala, and across the rugged interior of Sicily to the heights of Mount Etna, Camuto captures the personalities and flavors and the traditions and natural riches that have made Italy’s largest and oldest wine region the world traveler’s newest discovery. In the island’s vastly different wines he finds an expression of humanity and nature—and the space where the two merge into something more.  Here, amid the wild landscapes, lavish markets, dramatic religious rituals, deliciously contrasting flavors, and astonishing natural warmth of its people, Camuto portrays Sicily at a shining moment in history. He takes readers into the anti-Mafia movement growing in the former mob vineyards around infamous Corleone; tells the stories of some of the island’s most prominent landowning families; and introduces us to film and music celebrities and other foreigners drawn to Sicily’s vineyards. His book takes wine as a powerful metaphor for the independent identity of this mythic land, which has thrown off its legacies of violence, corruption, and poverty to emerge, finally free, with its great soul intact. Watch the Palmento book trailer on YouTube.
The Four Corners of Palermo
By: Giuseppe Di Piazza
A noir and sensual page-turner that cracks open the Mafia’s secret world through the stories of four livesPalermo in the 1980s is a perfect place for a young crime reporter to get his start. The Sicilian Mafia is at work, threatening, wounding, and killing anyone who dares to defy their orders. Our protagonist is himself no angel, hardly compassionate, a bit macho and egocentric, but candid in his recounting of what has unfolded in front of his eyes both on the job and in his private life.Di Piazza, who is also a Sicilian journalist, tells his stories as if he were reporting actual events. His description of the tense bravado of a youth growing up in the midst of Mafia terror is strikingly acute.
The Leopard: A Novel
By: Giuseppe Di Lampedusa
Set in the 1860s, The Leopard tells the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution. The dramatic sweep and richness of observation, the seamless intertwining of public and private worlds, and the grasp of human frailty imbue The Leopard with its particular melancholy beauty and power, and place it among the greatest historical novels of our time.Although Giuseppe di Lampedusa had long had the book in mind, he began writing it only in his late fifties; he died at age sixty, soon after the manuscript was rejected as unpublishable. In his introduction, Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, Lampedusa's nephew, gives us a detailed history of the initial publication and the various editions that followed. And he includes passages Lampedusa wrote for the book that were omitted by the original Italian editors.Here, finally, is the definitive edition of this brilliant and timeless novel.(Translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun.)
The Shape of Water (Inspector Montalbano, Book 1)
By: Andrea Camilleri
“You either love Andrea Camilleri or you haven’t read him yet. Each novel in this wholly addictive, entirely magical series, set in Sicily and starring a detective unlike any other in crime fiction, blasts the brain like a shot of pure oxygen...transporting. Long live Camilleri, and long live Montalbano.”—A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window The Shape of Water is the first book in the sly, witty, and engaging Inspector Montalbano mystery series with its sardonic take on Sicilian life. Silvio Lupanello, a big-shot in Vigàta, is found dead in his car with his pants around his knees. The car happens to be parked in a part of town used by prostitutes and drug dealers, and as the news of his death spreads, the rumors begin. Enter Inspector Salvo Montalbano, Vigàta's most respected detective. With his characteristic mix of humor, cynicism, compassion, and love of good food, Montalbano battles against the powerful and corrupt who are determined to block his path to the real killer. Andrea Camilleri's novels starring Inspector Montalbano have become an international sensation and have been translated into numberous languages. 
The Wine-Dark Sea (New York Review Books Classics)
By: Leonardo Sciascia
Leonardo Sciascia was an outstanding and controversial presence in twentieth-century Italian literary and intellectual life. Writing about his native Sicily and its culture of secrecy and suspicion, Sciascia matched sympathy with skepticism, unflinching intelligence with a streetfighter's intransigent poise. Sciascia was particularly admired for his short stories, and The Wine-Dark Sea offers what he considered his best work in the genre: thirteen spare and trenchant miniatures that range in subject from village idiots to mafia dons, marital spats to American dreams. Here, in unforgettable form, Sciascia examines the contradictions—sometimes comic, sometimes deadly, and sometimes both—of Sicily's turbulent history and day-to-day life.
Palermo: Travels in the City of Happiness: Art, Architecture, and History in Sicily's Ancient Capital
By: Allan Langdale
'Palermo: Travels in the City of Happiness' is a captivatingly personal account of a week of urban adventures in Palermo. Written with a profound love for the history of the ancient Sicilian capital, Langdale takes us on a succession of journeys through the city’s colorful neighborhoods and varied historical periods. In these pages Palermo’s streets, piazzas and architecture become eloquent witnesses to eras past; everything from the palaces of the medieval Norman kings to the modern apartments built during the mafia’s ‘Sack of Palermo’ in the late twentieth century. The centerpieces of the book are the glorious remains of the medieval Norman kings, such as the Palermo cathedral, the Palatine chapel, the Church of the Martorana, and the cathedral and monastery of Monreale, on Palermo’s outskirts. This economical little book provides insights no cursory guidebook could ever attempt. In short, it is an incomparable introduction to Palermo and its art, architecture and history; a perfect companion for anyone interested in Sicily’s capital.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Paper Folded)
By: Smithsonian Journeys
Swiftmaps is proud to partner with Smithsonian Journeys to bring a new and exciting World Map series to the American marketplace. Featuring eye-catching bold and vivid colors complemented with rich vintage tan ocean tones that will make this the perfect reference piece --- sure to stand-out and highlight any home or business wall. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching visual shaded 3D relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Now printed on high-quality 80 lb. paper and professionally FOLDED in a compact 8x10 inch size. FEATURES: 1) Africa centered allowing viewers to see continents complete and intact 2) Clearly labeled country and city names for easy location 3) Latitude and longitude indications 4) Shaded relief of ocean and land topography 4) Desirable Miller Projection. The Smithsonian Journeys wall map series serve not only as a handy reference piece, but as an eye-catching accent for any room or office. NOTE: each map is professionally folded to 8x10 inches and when unfolded the map is 24 inches high and 36 inches wide.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare:  Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included
  • For cruises and train journeys: Port charges and cruise line fees, gratuities for ship’s crew

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  
 

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Reservations Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.