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Women’s Sicily Tour Hub  

June 7 – June 16, 2024

All the info you need for your upcoming trip in one place! 

Getting to Catania

Our tour focuses on the east coast of Sicily so you’ll be flying to arrive at Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA) in Catania on the island of Sicily. There are 96 airports that fly to Catania Airport where our tour begins and ends.  Most travelers from the US fly through a connection in Rome but you can search for the best rates and itinerary for your local international airport and preferred airline.  Our trip planners are available to help you find the best route.

If you’re having a hard time communicating with your cab driver just show them the address on your phone to read.

The address for Panoramic Hotel Taormina is: 

Via Nazionale 196 B – 98039 Taormina (ME)

Email: info@panoramictaormina.it

Phone: +39 0942 620674

Italy Arrival Instructions

You’ll need to be in the Catania Airport in Sicily by Friday early afternoon for group transport to our 1st hotel “Panoramic Hotel Taormina” for the tour kickoff dinner that night.

Please notify Julie IMMEDIATELY via Whatsapp if you are experiencing any travel delays on your way to Italy.

Early Arrival

Our tour officially starts at the Friday night kickoff dinner at 7:30 pm at our Taormina Hotel.

If you’d like to arrive early to Sicily our trip planners can book you private transport from the airport in Catania and a night ahead at our hotel in Taormina. Or they can book you a night or two ahead of our tour in Catania along with a guided tour of the food markets or other things to see.  Any early arrival travel arrangements are at your own cost.

WHAT TO DO:

Please email our trip planners at  groups@s-cape.it “Julie Hartigan Group Block” and request early arrival nights for 6/6 at a group discount.

cc juliehartigan@gmail.com   

 

Tour Hotel Overview 

Throughout your tour, you’ll be staying at 4 different hotels in Sicily.

In Taormina

Friday, June 7th – Sunday, June 9th, checking out the morning of Monday June 10th. 

 
Panoramic Hotel

A seaside hotel in front of the picturesque Isola Bella, this
beautifully classic location offers incredible sea views from all the rooms.

Via Nazionale 196 B – 98039 Taormina

Email: info@panoramictaormina.it

Phone: +39 0942 620674

THE COUNTRYSIDE IN VITTORIA

Monday June 10th – Tuesday, June 11th, checking out the morning of Wednesday June 12th. 

 
Baglio Occhipinti

Hotel description

C.da Fossa di Lupo 97019 Vittoria (RG)

Email: info@bagliocchipinti.com

Tel: +39 349 394 4359

RAGUSA IBLA

Wednesday, June 12th – Thursday, June 13th, checking out the morning of Friday, June 14th. 

Hotel Itria Palace

A former Nobiliar Palace in the enchanting Ragusa Ibla. This hotel matches modern comfort with its unchanged Sicilian spirit: the renovation has highlighted and preserved the local stone and beautiful, quintessentially Sicilian details.

Corso Don Minzoni, 6
97100 Ragusa Ibla (RG)

Email: info@itriapalace.it

Phone: +39 0932 1914958

SIRACUSA

Friday, June 14th – Saturday June 15th, Checking out the morning of Sunday, June 16th

Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel

This luxurious hotel is located on the mastra rua, the main, most prestigious street of Ortigia: a 19th century nobiliar palace has been carefully renovated to host a hotel with a lot of character and rooms that are all different from one another, but preserve the typical Sicilian flair.

Via Vittorio Veneto, 93,
I-96100 Siracusa, Italia

Email: booking@algila.it

Phone: +39 0931 465 186

Emergency Contacts

Julie Hartigan

Email: juliehartigan@gmail.com 

Phone: 201-780-4176

Greta Guercini

S-Cape Travel

Email: groups@s-cape.it

Phone: +39(0)552345334

Official Tour Day-by-Day Itinerary

Please note: While on the tour we’ll have daily meetings with our designated Italy guide to go over ALL the details for the day, including where and when to meet and when we’ll be going place to place together.

Throughout the entire tour, you’ll be accompanied by Julie as well as our full-time bilingual, local resident guide to answer all your questions and help you have the trip of a lifetime! 

Please ask for anything you may need so we can help you.

FRIDAY, JUNE 7

Pre-Tour Welcome Dinner

After decompressing from your travels we’ll kick things off right at our hotel with aperitivo cocktails and a light dinner by the pool to get to know your travel besties for the week.  

DAY 1 – SATURDAY,  JUNE 8

The Splendor of Taormina

After a posh breakfast and briefing we’ll all head to Port Messina where your adventure starts with a morning walking tour of Taormina with a local guide, including a visit to the Ancient Greek Amphitheater. Originally built by the Greeks, who used it for dramas and music performances, the Romans expanded it and used it for gladiator battles and other sports: today the working amphitheater hosts concerts and theatre festivals.

This is also the perfect chance to explore the buzzing city center of Taormina and get familiar with the Sicilian way of life!

You’ll have a free afternoon to shop, wander, grab a glam drink on the terrace of the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace (featured in the show White Lotus), or  decompress at the hotel pool or the beach of Isola Bella which is right across from our hotel. We’ll regroup for a fun dinner together in Taormina.

What to wear: There’s LOTS of walking today so comfy shoes, a sun hat, and sunscreen are a must!

7:30 am – 10:00 am

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

10:00 am 

Meeting point: Porta Messina

Guided tour of Taormina and visit to the main highlights: Porta Messina, Corso Umberto I, Palazzo Corvaja, Roman Odeon, Piazza 9 Aprile, Cathedral, Roman Naumachia and Ancient Greek theatre

1:00 pm  

Lunch on your own with a free afternoon to explore Taormina, visit the beach, get a massage, or rest at the hotel pool

7:00 pm 

Group Dinner in Taormina

DAY 2 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

The Beauty of Isola Bella

This morning is free for you to sleep in and relax by the pool or our lush hotel with a view of Isola Bella, hit the beach just across from our hotel, or revisit the town of Taormina.  We’ll gather in the afternoon to head to the waterfront town of Giardini Naxos, where we’ll enjoy a private boat tour through the most stunning bays, coral grottos, tiny beaches, nestled caves and the crystal-clear waters of the Isola Bella. We’ll cruise through the Bay of the Sirens past the most  luxuriant homes and finally enjoy a private sunset dinner right on board. Afterwards you’re free to wander Giardini Naxos for some nightlife or return to the hotel with the group.

What to wear: for the afternoon boat ride wear a swimsuit, sunscreen, flat sandals, and bring a beach towel as well as layers to wear as the weather cools after dinner.

7:30 am – 10:00 am

Open breakfast at the hotel

10:00 am

Morning free time to explore Taormina, visit the beach, get a massage, or rest at the hotel pool

4:45 pm 

Taxi to Giardini Naxos

5:30 pm – 8:30 pm 

Boat tour including fish-based light dinner

8:30 pm 

Taxi back to hotel

DAY 3 – MONDAY, JUNE 10

Women’s Wineries & Mt Etna

 

Today we check out to leave Taormina and head inland towards Castiglione di Sicilia, Mt Etna and it’s infamous wineries. The volcanic soil is what makes Sicilian wines so special and today you’re in for a treat! We’ll be visiting the award winning Giulia Monteleone winery right at the base of Mt Etna. Giulia is one of the youngest wine makers in the region, and a great example of the new generation of Sicilian women proudly taking over their family
business. We will visit the vineyards and the Byzantine Cuba chapel – made entirely of lava stone! We’ll then walk to the river Alcantara (where the Arabs tried to breed crocodiles!) to enjoy refreshing white wine.

We’ll return to the winery for a full tasting and lunch before heading a few hours south and inland to spend the next few days immersing ourselves in the countryside of Sicily. 

After checking into the pampering Baglio Occhipinti property late afternoon and a stroll through their gardens or dip in their pool we’ll enjoy a fabulous and fun Sicilian Cooking Class right at our Baglio. You’ll learn to make classic Sicilian dishes like fresh pasta, foccacia, arancini, and seasonal specialties with produce we pick ourselves in the Baglio gardens and then sit down in the gardens to enjoy what we made.

7:30 am – 9:00 am

Open breakfast at the hotel

You’re also checking out of the hotel this morning so need to pack your bag.

9:00 am 

Transfer Taormina-Castiglione di Sicilia

10 am

Giulia Monteleone Winery including lunch

2 pm 

Transfer to the Baglio Occhipinti

4:30 pm  

Check in to Baglio Occhipinti

6:00 pm 

Cooking lesson and dinner

Overnight at Baglio Occhipinti

DAY 4 – TUESDAY, JUNE 11

A Day at the Farm

Woman power at it’s best today! First we’ll relax and unwind at the beautiful and pampering Baglio – this gorgeously renovated 17th century farm is run and designed by the talented landscape architect Fausta Occhipinti and her mother Rosaura who were even visited by Stanley Tucci on his show. You can enjoy a massage, relax at their pool set in lemon groves, or wander the lush gardens before we gather together for a beautiful picnic lunch.

After lunch we’ll visit the Baglio’s accompanying winery run by Fausta’s sister; the groundbreaking young woman winemaker Arianna Occhipinti who began making wine at 16 and had her own label at 22!  We’ll walk through the vineyards hearing the story of this talented sister duo and Arianna’s unique approach to winemaking. Her focus on native grapes, biodynamic and organic techniques, and allowing the terroir to define the wines have made her world renowned.  After enjoying a full wine tasting with snacks we’ll return to the Baglio for a gorgeous outdoor Farm to Table dinner.

What to wear: Casual attire but sunscreen is a must!

9 am

Free time to decompress and enjoy the venue

2:45 pm  

Transfer to Arianna Occhipinti Winery

3:00 pm 

Visit of the vineyards, winery and wine tasting

5:30 pm

Transfer back to the Baglio Occhipinti

6:00 pm 

Dinner 

Overnight at Baglio Occhipinti

DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12

Explore Baroque Ragusa and Bufala Mozzarella Making

After checking out and saying goodbye to the Baglio and Occhipinti’s at breakfast we’ll head to a 4th generation family run farm Azienda Agricola Magazzè famous for their adorable Bufala and fresh Bufala Mozzarella!   We’ll learn how to hand pull this Sicilian delicacy and enjoy an delicious tasting experience on the farm.

Next we’ll venture to the nearby, incredible Castle of Donnafugata, with its infamous labyrinth gardens and 122 rooms. Legend has it, that local royalty Regina Bianca di Navarra was secretly locked in the castle after her husbands passing until she escaped. After hearing the legends of the rooms we’ll relax in the gardens, enjoy lunch nearby, and travel to our next stop – the stunning hilltop town of Ragusa Ibla where we’ll be staying for a few days in a historic palace turned boutique hotel.

We’ll enjoy a late-afternoon walking tour to discover Ragusa’s unique baroque art, architecture and history and then you’ll enjoy dinner on your own to explore and shop.

What to wear: Travel to the farm in comfy clothes with walking shoes -you’ll be able to freshen up and change before dinner.

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

9:00 am 

Transfer to the Azienda Agricola Magazzè

10:00 am

Learn about their production techniques and taste their mozzarella cheese tasting includes mozzarella cheese, pizza margherita and cannoli with ricotta cheese

11:00 am 

Transfer to Donnafugata Castle

11:30 am 

Visit the Castle

1:00 pm 

Lunch included nearby

3:00 pm 

Transfer to Ragusa 

3:30 pm 

Check in to Hotel Itria Palace

4:30 pm

Walking tour of Ragusa with tour guide

6:00 pm

Free time for shopping and dinner

Overnight at Hotel Itria Palace

DAY 6 – THURSDAY, JUNE 13

Visit Modica & its Magical Chocolate

Today we head to Modica (just 30 mins from Ragusa), a UNESCO site renowned for its architecture and unique chocolate making techniques. Originally a Medieval town carved into rock, the town was devastated by an earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt according to the glamorous and theatrical baroque style which then spread throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.

We’ll admire the stunning baroque facades, discover the elaborate churches and beautiful palaces, and lose ourselves in the labyrinth of narrow streets and staircases. In addition to it’s architecture – magical Modica is also known around the world for it’s traditional Chocolate Making!

We’ll also be treated to a special visit with the oldest chocolatier in Sicily – Antica Dolceria Bonajuto.  In the Bonajuto family for 6 generations and over 150 years -this family run small business will show us their bean to bar process where we’ll enjoy their specialties paired with biscuits and liqueur.  Afterwards you’ll have time to explore Modica for lunch on your own and shopping. We’ll then return to Ragusa to freshen up and get ready for an incredible and posh dinner at an infamous restaurant in town.

What to wear: walking shoes and casual for the day – you’ll have time to freshen up and change before dinner

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

9:30 am 

Transfer to Modica 

10 am

Walking tour of Modia with tour leader

12 pm 

Stop by Bonajuto chocolate workshop and tasting

1:00 pm 

Free time for lunch and explore Modica

4:00 pm

Transfer back to hotel

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm 

Rest time

6:30 pm

Walk to the restaurant

7:00 pm

Dinner at a posh Ragusa restaurant!

Overnight at Hotel Itria Palace

DAY 7 – FRIDAY, JUNE 14

The Coastal Towns of Noto and Marzamemi

Today we’ll check out and say goodbye to Ragusa as we head back towards the coastline of Sicily. First stop? The beautiful town of Noto: this tranquil town will charm you with it’s noble palaces, stunning churches, art galleries and top restaurants while still preserving the feel of a Sicilian village. We’ll enjoy a stroll along elegant Corso Vittorio Emanuele, looking for the best lunch spot, and top it off with a granita at Caffè Sicilia – often referred to as the best granita shop in all of Sicily!

After Noto, another Sicilian gem awaits: Marzamemi, an ancient and colorful fishing village and home to one of the oldest tuna fisheries. The “tonnara” were in operation for centuries and are considered a Sicilian specialty We’ll enjoy a private tour through this adorable and timeless local seaside village.

Late afternoon we’ll head to our final seaside stop of Siracusa where we’ll be staying for our final nights in Sicily: this scenic coastal city needs little introduction – it’s often considered one of the most mind-blowingly beautiful places the island has to offer! We’ll check into our stunning boutique hotel right in the heart of Ortigia, the ancient center of Siracusa and heart of the Greek colonies in Italy. You’ll enjoy free time to rest, shop and enjoy dinner on your own or at our hotel’s beautiful restaurant.

What to wear: Comfortable shoes for the daytime, anything goes for dinner!

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

9:00 am

Transfer to Noto

10:15 am

Visit Noto with the tour leader, including granita at Caffè Sicilia

12:30 pm

Free time for lunch

3:00 pm

Transfer to Marzamemi

3:30 pm

Visit with the tour leader

5:30 pm

Transfer to Siracusa

6:30 pm

Check in to hotel Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel

Free time for dinner

Overnight at Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel

DAY 8 – SATURDAY, JUNE 15

A Taste of Siracusa

Today we’ll discover Siracusa through its epic market and a full street food tour hosted by a local woman. The market is best enjoyed
early in the morning, when the stalls are still brimful of fresh fish caught during the night, fruits and local produce. We’ll sample bites of classic dishes and learn more about Siracusa through it’s food culture.

After visiting the market, we’ll enjoy a passeggiata through the lanes of historic Ortigia Island with free time to relax, shop, and fully explore Siracusa.

Later that afternoon we’ll regroup to visit with a world-renowned woman artist at her workshop. Stefania Pennacchio’s uses a unique sculpturing technique known as Raku that’s based on  a Japanese tradition from Kyoto and adapted to her Sicilian heritage. Legend has it that a ceramist in Kyoto started this method when he had so much work to do, that he removed his pottery from the kiln when still red hot and cooled it in sawdust or paper. Stefania’s favorite subjects are women, warriors and goddesses, that are part of the Sicilian history, myth and tradition – we’ll hear her story firsthand and create a special work of personal art for ourselves to bring home and commemorate our time in Sicily.

That night we’ll enjoy a fabulous, celebratory final dinner together to toast ourselves and our travels together through stunning sunny Sicilia! 

What to wear: Comfortable shoes for the daytime, something to celebrate yourself for dinner!

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Morning foodie tour of Siracusa with a local guide, food quantity enough for lunch
Visit Ortigia Island

12:30 pm 

Free time to explore Siracusa
3:30 pm

Regroup and walk to Stefania Pennacchio workshop

4:00 pm 

First workshop 

5:00 pm 

Second workshop

6:00 pm

Walk to the hotel to refresh 

8:00 pm 

Farewell dinner

Overnight at Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel

DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JUNE 16

Departure

Today we check out of our hotel in Siracusa for a group return trip to the Catania airport by 10am where you’ll say goodbye to your travel buddies and continue your travels home or to other destinations in Italy which we can help arrange.   You’ll leave our tour with new friends, incredible memories for a lifetime, and a true taste of Sicilian life, food, wine, history, and culture. 

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

9:00 am

Check out of Hotel and Pack for Further Travels

Trip Insurance

Please note that it’s mandatory that you obtain a minimum of $100K coverage for international medical insurance before joining us in Tuscany so we’ll be able to provide you with emergency medical care abroad if something happens to you while you’re on the trip with us. 

 

I’ve partnered with IMG to provide you with a great trip insurance option if you don’t already have one. They come highly recommended by my friend’s women’s adventure travel company which has been using them for a decade now. 

 

With IMG’s iTravelInsured® travel protection plans, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you have protection for your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs in addition to 24/7 global assistance services (including excellent medical coverage) to support you while you’re away from home. There are multiple iTravelInsured plans available (Lite, SE, LX, and GT) with varying coverages and benefit levels to suit your lifestyle and budget.

 

Download the PDF linked below to learn more about what each plan includes and you can book directly from the link below. If you’re interested in purchasing a plan or have additional questions you can reach out directly to your very own personal agent, Alex DeJesus at Alex.DeJesus@imglobal.com.

Packing List

Note: We’ll be moving around quite a bit throughout Sicily so please pack as lightly as you can – your bag will be taken care of for you from hotel to hotel.

Be sure to check your airline’s bag check policy and weight limits and test your bag on your bathroom scale or with a luggage scale before you go.

Leave room for the goodies you’ll be bringing back with you too!  You can even pack a small light duffle inside your main bag to bring back gifts and souvenirs.

Comfortable Shoes Only

I can’t emphasize this enough! Sicilian towns are known for their hills, steps, and cobblestones.  A cute pair of white sneakers or super comfy flat sandals will work with anything you wear

Layers!

The temps in Sicily will range from 80-85 degrees by day and drop to 60’s and coastal breezy at night.  Be sure to bring a light sweater, hoodie, or light jacket to put on at night.

A Light Tote Bag or Backpack

For some days of the tour, we’ll be out and about for much of the day so having a roomy but light bag will be helpful to carry what you need with you.

A Light Scarf or Wrap

Handy on freezing cold flights, in air-conditioned places, to cover your shoulders if you enter a church and they require it.  

Your Bathing Suit and Sunscreen

You’ll have lots of opportunities to swim on this trip with multiple hotel pools, the beach, and a boat tour! No need to bring towels

Medications & If You’re Prone to Car Sickness

Be sure to bring any OTC medications you rely on for headaches, allergies, etc, and of course your prescriptions if you have any.  If you’re prone to car sickness bring some Sea Bands or Dramamine – the beautiful Sicilian countryside is filled with windy, hilly backroads

Chargers and European Converters/Power Adapter

Be sure to pick up European/Italy converters for your cell phone charger.  Note that your hair dryer/flat iron/curling irons will NOT work with a power adapter (they often blow out!)  Our hotels all have hair dryers and if you like you can pick up an inexpensive European travel flat or curling iron on Amazon.

Optional: One FUN Outfit or Dress

You can dress really comfortably and casually for just about all of our tour.  The final celebration dinner is an opportunity to celebrate yourself and dress up if you like but no stress!  

Pro Packing Tips

My favorite packing move when I travel for weeks in Europe is to bring one sundress (or dress/tights in winter) per day plus a jacket that goes with it all. Europeans tend to wear less athleisure than Americans so it also helps you blend right in like a local.  And fewer choices of outfits will streamline things for you.

If you prefer pants opt for darker-colored pants or shorts and plan to re-wear them several times with different tops to make your life easier! 

Packing cubes are fantastic to help you stay super organized in your luggage as you go from place to place.

 
Don’t Forget

Credit Cards & Cash

Your American Express Card won’t be accepted in Italy so be sure to travel with a Visa which will be accepted everywhere, including in taxis.   You can use your ATM card at the airport or as we travel to take out Euros so no need to worry about that before arriving.  You may want to notify your bank that you’ll be traveling internationally so they don’t think it’s suspicious card activity.

International Cell Service

Be sure to contact your cellular service provider for an unlimited international plan for the time you’ll be traveling.  Let your loved ones know to contact you over Whatsapp while you’re away – it’s the most reliable for texts and calls. We’ll be sure to share wifi logins at all of our tour stops so you can stay as connected as possible.

Zoom Call Dates

Join these Zoom calls to talk about the trip and connect with your other travel buddies for the week! 

Monday 
January 8
8 pm EST
Wednesday
February 7
5 pm EST
Monday
April 8
12 pm EST
Tuesday
May 7
7 pm EST

Sicily Restaurant Recs

You’ll have free time to shop and wander in Taormina, Ragusa, Modica, and Siracusa so 2 lunches and 2 dinners are open for you to explore the towns. Our local guide will be available for recommendations or to make reservations for you. More recommendations to come here soon!