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 Florence and checked into our hotel “Panoramic Hotel Taormina” by Friday, 6/7 at 5 pm 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 6 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.


Please email Teresa and Stefania at welcome@palazzocastri.com to request your early arrival room in the “Julie Hartigan Group Block” for 6/6 at a 10% discount.

cc juliehartigan@gmail.com  &  greta.guercini@s-cape.it  so we can make SURE you’re well taken care of!

If you want another hotel option for early arrival, the Hotel Caravaggio is RIGHT next door to our Florence Hotel Palazzo Castri.  It’s a 3-star vs a 4-star hotel so their rooms are a lot less expensive ($200-$240 per night) if you just want a place to crash or if Palazzo Castri is booked.

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 Sunday, June 9th. 

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


Sunday, June 9th – Tuesday, June 11th, checking out the morning of Tuesday, June 11th. 

Baglio Occhipinti

Hotel description

C.da Fossa di Lupo 97019 Vittoria (RG)

Email: info@bagliocchipinti.com

Tel: +39 349 394 4359


Tuesday, June 11th – Thursday, June 13th, checking out the morning of Thursday, June 13th. 

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


Thursday, June 13th – 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 Esther 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.


Pre-Tour Welcome Dinner

After checking in and decompressing from our travels we’ll kick things off together at our hotel the night before our touring starts to get to know your travel besties for the week.


The Beauty of Taormina

Your adventure starts with a morning walking tour of Taormina with a local guide, including the Ancient Greek Amphitheater. The Amphitheater was 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 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. Free afternoon to decompress. Option to taxi to Giardini Naxos (not included). Dinner on your own.

What to wear: There’s LOTS of walking today so comfy shoes 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 

Dinner on your own in Taormina


Overnight at Palazzo Castri


Relax in Taormina

Today is free for you to enjoy the town and the lush hotel we are staying at. We’ll gather back in the afternoon and taxi to Giardini Naxos, where a boat tour through the most characteristic bays awaits. We’ll see cozy beaches, nestled caves and ruby red corals, we’ll immerge ourselves in the crystal-clear waters of the Isola Bella, and head to the Bay of the Sirens, which hosts the most luxuriant hotels of the town.

What to wear: There’s LOTS of walking today so comfy shoes are a must!

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


Women’s Wineries

Today we are headed to Castiglione di Sicilia to visit Giulia Monteleone winery. 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 venue, the vineyards and the Byzantine Cuba chapel, an exceptional small Chapel built of lava stone. We’ll then walk to the river Alcantara – where the Arabs tried to breed crocodiles! – for a sip of white wine. The rest of the tasting and the lunch will be held at the winery itself.

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


A Day at the Farm

Free morning to be spent relaxing in the beautiful Baglio, meditating and maybe journal about the experience. In the afternoon, we will take a short transfer to the Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti, where we will walk through the vineyards while listening to the story of the family and learning about their production techniques. Once back at the winery, we will see the production process and will savor Arianna’s refined wines, paired with some dry snacks.

What to wear: There’s LOTS of walking today so comfy shoes are 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 


Overnight at Baglio Occhipinti


Taste Buffalo Mozzarella

Our day starts with a transfer to the Azienda Agricola Magazzè (45 min), bufala-cheese producers for 4 generations,
where we will learn how the popular buffalo mozzarella is produced…and obviously get some to taste!
After pleasing our taste buds, it’s time to please our eyes: we travel to the Castle of Donnafugata, with its 122 rooms
and an extension of 2500 mq. Legend has it, that the Regina Bianca di Navarra escaped the castle after her husband
died and she became desire of a local Lord. Despite this being only a legend, a room in the castle is dedicated to Bianca di Navarra.
After listening to the secrets of some of the rooms, we will get lost in the labyrinth hosted in the park of the castle.
Don’t worry – none will be left there! But sometimes getting lost is the perfect way to find resources one may have never thought of… Lunch will be hosted in a nearby restaurant. After lunch, we travel to baroque Ragusa, one of the most beautiful cities of Baroque Val di Noto, check in and have some rest. We’ll regroup for a late-afternoon walking tour of Ragusa Ibla with the tour leader to discover its beautiful baroque art and architecture.

What to wear: Travel to the farm in comfy yoga clothes, & you’ll be able to change at the farm if you’d like to visit the town of Volterra

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


Modica & Chocolate

Today we head to Modica (30 mins driving from Ragusa), a UNESCO site and renowned for its popular chocolate.
Originally a Medieval town carved into rock, the town was devastated by an earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt according
to the baroque style and taste. Admire the stunning baroque facades, discover the elaborate churches and beautiful palaces, you can lose yourself in the labyrinth of narrow streets and staircases.
During our visit we’ll stop by Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, historical chocolate makers that will show us their production process and delight our taste buds with their chocolate: it’s a unique chocolate, incredibly tasty and with a peculiar
crunchy consistency given by the intact crystals of brown sugars.

What to wear: Travel to the spa in your bathing suit and coverup but bring a change of clothes, you’ll be able to change at the spa before heading to Montalcino and the winery. You’re also checking out of the hotel this morning so need to pack your bag

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 Michelin-star restaurant Il Duomo

Overnight at Hotel Itria Palace


Noto and Marzamemi

Our day begins with a transfer to Noto: this beautiful, tranquil but very characteristic town is made of noble baroque palaces and beautiful churches, art galleries and top restaurants, but preserves the feel of a Sicilian village. Enjoy a stroll along elegant Corso Vittorio Emanuele, looking for the best lunch spot, and top it with a granita at Caffè Sicilia – many say that the best in Sicily is to be found here!
After Noto, another Sicilian gem awaits: Marzamemi, ancient fishing village, home to one of the oldest tuna fisheries. The “tonnara” worked for centuries, up to the late Sixties, when it was closed due to scarcity of fish. Enjoy the gentle pace of the local life, enjoy lunch or sip your granita in one of the warmly colored roads of the timeless little town. We will then move to Siracusa: this scenic coastal city needs little introduction – you may have heard of it as one of the most beautiful places the island has to offer but consider yourself lucky if you haven’t as it will feel even more mind-blowingly beautiful. It’s truly a magical place, which we will explore with a quick orientation tour – there will be more time to know everything about it tomorrow!

What to wear: Comfortable shoes for the daytime, something fun to celebrate YOU 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


Majestic Siracusa

Today we discover Siracusa through its epic market, on a food tour run by local guides. 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 the local street foods. After visiting the market, we’ll enjoy a passeggiata through the lanes of
Ortigia Island.
The afternoon is free to shop and decompress. We’ll regroup at around 4 to visit Stefania Pennacchio’s sculpturing
workshop, where we will have the chance to make our raku artefact, according to the Japanese tradition. Legend has
it that a ceramist in Kyoto started this method when he had so much work to do, that he started to remove the pottery
from the oven when still red hot, and then cool it in sawdust or paper. Stefania adopted this special technique and
adapted it to the Sicilian heritage – her favorite subjects are women, warriors and goddesses, that are part of the
Sicilian history, myth and tradition. NB: the workshop is quite small and the group will be divided into 2 sessions (1 hour each).
We’ll fire our last night in Sicily with a locally sourced dinner (water, coffee and table wine included)

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



Today we return Catania airport, where your trip ends. The group transfer will reach Catania airport by 10:30am. For an earlier departure, we can organize a private transfer at your cost.

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 Tuscany so please pack as lightly as you can so your bag is easy for you to handle!

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! Florence and Tuscan 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



The temps in Florence and Tuscany will range from 75-80 degrees by day and drop to 52 – 58 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

All our hotels have pools or spas to soak in AND we’ll be visiting a special indoor/outdoor Thermal Spa too – no need to bring towels


Yoga Pants or Leggings

They’re my go-to for overnight flights..and we’ll also be doing gentle outdoor yoga at one stop in our tour.


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 Tuscan 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 at a posh resort so if you like bring a fun sundress for that night! 


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! 

January 8
8 pm EST
February 7
5 pm EST
April 8
12 pm EST
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!