Women's Sicily Tour

June 7 – June 16, 2024

Celebrate yourself and experience the magic of the Sicilian coast, countryside, & culture with new-found friends.

JOIN ME FOR THE

The Sunny Sicily Trip of Your Dreams!

June 7-16, 2024

Ready to explore and savor the sunny island of Sicily, it’s coastal towns, Mt Etna, countryside, and incredible food culture? In this carefully curated, done-for-you tour you’ll visit a wide swath of the island featuring women led wineries and resorts, panoramic ocean views, posh surroundings, baroque beauty, artisans, and once in a lifetime spots.

You’ll enjoy small-group, Chef Julie-led tasting, cultural, & pampering experiences throughout incredible Sicily with other fun loving women just like you.

Come solo or grab a friend – either way you’ll make memories for a lifetime and return home refreshed and inspired by the Sicilian seaside and way of life. 

LET’S GO!

What's Included:

  • 9 nights of 4-star hotels and resorts
  • 8 full days of guided excursions, tastings, and tours
  • Full transportation with the group all week to/from the Sicily, Catania airport
  • 2 incredible women-led winery visits and wine tastings
  • Visit to the base of Mt Etna
  • Panoramic ocean view hotels, pools, and optional massages
  • Stay at an incredible, posh, women-led Baglio in the countryside with gardens and pool
  • Farm to table cooking class of Sicilian classic dishes
  • Private boat tour of the Bay of Sirens – Isola Bella with a sunset dinner
  • Bufala Mozzarella cheese making and tasting at a family farm
  • Modica Chocolate making and tasting at a 150 year old family run shop
  • Women artisan visits including a private hands-on sculpting experience
  • Visits and tastings at Sicilian bakeries and granita shops
  • Siracusa Street Food tour
  • Visits to the most iconic Sicilian towns including private group guided tours of Taormina, Ragusa, Modica, Noto, Marzamemi, Siracusa, and Ortigia Island
  • Most meals included with table wine

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Your tour officially begins at Catania airport in Sicily on Friday 6/7/2024 at 2pm and ends on Sunday 6/16/2024 at 10:30am at the Catania airport in Sicily.  You’re responsible for your transport to and from Catania which we can help arrange.

You'll love the authentic experiences and getting a true taste of Sicilian culture!

Trip Pricing

NOTE: A limited number of Private Rooms (single occupancy) are available on a first-come, first-served basis for an additional cost of $1300 reflected below in the pricing.

SHARED ROOM PRICING

$6,695 PER PERSON 

Pay $500 now to secure your spot

50% balance ($3,097.50) due by January 1, 2024

Remaining balance ($3,097.50) due by March 1, 2024

PRIVATE ROOM PRICING

$7,995  PER PERSON 

Pay $500 now to secure your spot

50% balance ($3,747.50) due by January 1, 2024

Remaining balance ($3,747.50) due by March 1, 2024

You can review our full trip waiver here

Meet Your Travel Guide

Julie Hartigan

Julie Hartigan is an NYC-based Chef, Media Personality, and lifelong Travel Lover! She believes some of the greatest personal growth and most memorable moments in life come when immersed in another culture. Julie’s passion is exploring and sharing regional, authentic dishes, ingredients, wine, and cuisine with others.

In addition to creating 1000’s of recipes Julie has tasted her way through Japan, Cuba, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Italy, France, England, Ireland, Montreal, the Caribbean, and as many more places to come as possible.

A natural born host; Julie’s trips are designed to be a fun-filled, life-changing experience for solo midlife women travelers where you’ll come home feeling joyful, alive, and transformed.

Daily Breakdown

Welcome to Sunny Sicily! 

This stunning and historic island located just off the “toe of the “boot” of the Italian mainland is filled with gorgeous beaches, posh resorts, historic cities, the majesty of Mt Etna, wineries, farms, and too many culinary delicacies to count.  A large island to explore; your tour is designed to give you an immersive taste of both the classic coastal towns and historic cities on the east side of the island as well as family farms, baroque hill towns, and visits to some of Sicily’s most iconic spots.  Everything is done for you! You’ll return home relaxed and pampered with memories for a lifetime. 

Note: Itinerary and details are subject to change due to unforeseen closures or weather.

 Trip Kick-Off & Pooltime: Arrive in Catania – Friday, June 7

Today you’ll gather with your travel buddies for the week at the Catania airport in Sicily for a private group transport where you’ll be whisked to our posh Panoramic Hotel in beautiful Taormina where EVERY room has a water view.  You’ll check in, unwind, take a dip in the pool, and if you like you can treat yourself to an optional massage right in your room! 

Note: If you like, you can arrive to Sicily a day or 2 early to catch up on sleep -we can arrange nights ahead for you at our Taormina hotel or other resorts. Or we can arrange for you to stay right in Catania and do a street food tour.

 

For our first 3 nights in Sicily we’re staying at the stunning Panoramic Hotel Taormina – a seaside hotel in front of the picturesque Isola Bella with easy beach access and incredible sea views from all the rooms plus a posh pool and bar at their panoramic pool. 

Pre-Tour Welcome Dinner at the Hotel

Friday, June 7th

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.

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.

DAY 3 – Monday, June 10

Women’s Wineries and Majestic 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.

For Nights 3 & 4 we’re staying at  Baglio Occhipinti. It is a beautiful 4 star resort and agriturismo with a cooking school, winery, and working farm. 

DAY 4  – Tuesday, June 11

Experience a Women Led Farm and Winery

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.

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.

DAY 5 – Wednesday, June 12

Explore Baroque Ragusa and Bufala Mozzarella

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.

For nights 5 & 6 we’re staying at the historic 4 star 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.

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.

For the rest of the nights we’re staying at Algilà Oritigia 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! 

DAY 9 –  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.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You may be wondering…
That’s a big YES! These tours are specifically designed to be welcoming and fun for women travelling on their own to make new friends.
We’ll host several online meet and greet happy hours ahead of the trip where we’ll get to know each other and Julie will help coordinate a roommate for you for a shared room.
Nope! Just a $500 deposit to secure your spot and then payments are spread out over the months leading up to the trip.
 

Your trip includes:

  • 9 nights of 4-star hotels
  • 8 full days of excursions and tours
  • Transportation between the Sicily/Catania airport and all the tour hotels and experiences
  • 2 winery visits and wine tastings
  • Visit to Mt Etna
  • Cooking classes
  • Boat tour of the Bay of Isola Bella with a sunset dinner
  • Cheese making and tasting
  • Chocolate making and tasting
  • Artisan experiences
  • Local bakery and granita shop visits and tastings
  • Siracusa street food tour
  • Private group guided tours of Taormina, Ragusa, Modica, Noto, Marzamemi, Siracusa, Ortigia Island
  • Most meals included

I designed this trip to be as “all-inclusive” as possible so you can plan your travel budget way ahead of time.

Here are a few things that aren’t included:

  • 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
  • Most meals are served with table wine and additional wine of your choosing by the glass or bottle will be available to purchase
  • Massages will be available at several hotels at an additional charge that goes directly to your massage therapist
  • You’re responsible for your flight to the Catania airport on Sicily to arrive for and leave from the tour
  • You’re responsible for international medical insurance coverage during your tour

We’ll be sending you additional information soon where you can specify a roommate if you sign up for this trip with someone.  We’ll also be having online happy hour meet and greets before the trip so we can get to know each other and Julie can help guide you to a wonderful roomie match.  

Yes! Italy is one of the most food friendly countries, particularly with gluten intolerances. You’ll be able to specify your specific dietary needs after signing up for the trip so Julie can make sure you’ll have delicious options throughout the tour.

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.

Yes! If you’d like to see other areas of Italy Julie and her Italy Trip Planners are available for recommendations and to help you book additional experiences.  The west coast of Sicily and Palermo can easily be added on to your tour as well as Rome, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast.  You can also easily take domestic flights within Italy from the airport in Catania to easily reach further cities like Venice or Florence.
 
Changes come up! Your $500 deposit is non refundable but can be transferred to a future trip with Julie Hartigan Adventures CO. We highly recommend purchasing Trip Insurance to cover your flight and other trip costs should anything unexpected come up after you book. Our recommended travel insurance provider is IMG and you can get quotes or email our dedicated IMG agent Alex DeJesus at Alex.Dejesus@imgglobal.com  for more information.

Definitely!  After you sign up for the trip I’ll be there to help you with all your travel logistics from booking your flights (and how to strategically use credit card points to score free flights with points) to travel insurance, packing tips and more. We have a series of group calls to discuss all the trip details, get to know each other, and answer questions too and I’m always available for any questions you have.

You can absolutely add on more time in Italy or arrive early to see more of this beautiful country. Flying through Rome is a simple way to see the Eternal City or Naples and the Amalfi Coast. From Catania airport on Sicily it’s also an easy domestic flight within Italy to visit Milan, Florence, or Venice. Or you can stay a few extra days on Sicily to visit the west coast of the island and the capital of Palermo. Our trip planners are available to help you with any additional Italy travel arrangements you’d like.

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