Agrigento.Eracle

For thousands of years, waves of civilizations have left their imprint on the Mediterranean. Three destinations that are considered the crossroads of this complex history are southern Italy, Sicily and Malta. Somerset Tours & Travel now invite you to join us on our exceptional journey to discover these ancient empires. We’ll be exploring the perfectly preserved city of Pompeii, the sparkling Amalfi coast and the highlights of Sicily and Malta. We’ll uncover remarkable relics of ancient empires, the island of Capri, the storied town of Taormina, the world’s best-preserved ancient Greek theater in historic Siracusa, the majestic Doric temples of Agrigento and the magnificent culture of Malta.

Our tour departs South Africa and flies on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul to Naples, Italy on 02 September 2017. We’ll base ourselves in Sorrento for 3 nights giving us time to explore Naples, the island of Capri, the Amalfi Coast and the ancient city of Pompeii, destroyed and completely buried when Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. The excavation of the partially buried city has given great insight into early Roman life.

From Naples, we’ll fly to Catania on the island of Sicily and transfer to Taormina, situated on a rocky terrace high above the Ionian Sea with its beautiful setting and views of the sea and Mt Etna, often with a puff of steam wafting above it’s smoldering cone. Here we’ll have two days to discover this charming ancient Roman town wth its quaint piazzas, terraces, shops, open-air cafes, winding and cobbled lanes, Isola Bella and the Mt Etna Wineries.

Continuing on to Palermo, we stop at the charming seaside village of Cefalu and experience traditional Sicilian life. We’ll spend 3 nights in Mondello which is a perfect base for exploring Palermo, Monreale, Erice, Castellammare del Golfo and Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve and surrounds. Erice is a hilltop town dedicated to the Phoenician Astarte, the Greek Aphrodite and the Roman Venus. The Cathedral and its impressive bell tower and ramparts of the town are extremely beautiful.

The tour will then proceed to Siracusa visiting Agrigento, one of the most important Greek settlements in Italy en route. Here we will explore the Valley of Temples. We’ll admire the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Concorde, one of the best preserved Doric temples in the Greek world, the Temple of Ercules and the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Siracusa is packed with over 2 500 years of history. Architectural styles vary widely, encompassing Greek and Roman remains, medieval Norman buildings and a great deal of understated Baroque.

From Siracusa we’ll visit Noto, a real jewel of Sicilian Baroque, belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage List for it’s beautiful Baroque churches and “palazzi”. Travelling through the historical centre of the town we’ll reach the main monuments; the cathedral, the Santa Chiara church, Palazzo Ducezio and the via Nicolaci, famous for the yearly Infiorata flower festival. Noto’s pastry shops and coffee shops are excellent with a wide range of Cannoli, Sicilian ice creams and Granite!

One night will be spent in Ragusa, one of the most picturesque towns in all Sicily, before heading to Pozzallo to catch the ferry to Malta. In Malta we’ll base ourselves in Valletta for 4 nights from where we will be able to explore the majestic and historically and architecturally fascinating city of Valletta and the island of Gozo.

We return to South Africa from Valletta on 17 September flying via Istanbul to arrive in Johannesburg on 18 September 2017.

Liz Cotton will be accompanying the tour from South Africa and professional local English-speaking guides with an excellent knowledge of history and culture will be escorting the group in cities and on excursions.

Space on this tour is limited to 18 participants. If you have any queries, or would like to secure your reservation on this once in a lifetime tour, please do not hesitate to contact Liz on email info@somersettours.co.za.

Don’t miss discovering the intriguing mélange of cultures that flourished in the wake of ancient empires. This outstanding, custom-designed itinerary showcases the very best of this historic region at the best time of year.