• Welcome to Palermo
  • Erice Sunset View
  • Trapani Salt-pans
  • Agrigento
  • Sicily's Countryside
  • Syracuse
  • sicily-mt-etna
  • Sicilian Wine Tasting

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Sicily (Off-Season) in 11 Days Tour

from $1,995 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $575

See Tour Dates

Rick Steves' most popular off-season tour immerses you in the culture, cuisine and history of Sicily. On your spring or autumn ramble across the island, your Rick Steves guide will introduce you to the tasty pleasures of local fruits, pastries and traditional cooking, Italy's brightest pottery and boldest wines, Europe's most amazing ancient Greek ruins, the steamy power of Mount Etna, and picture-perfect hilltop villages. Join us for the Best of Sicily (Off-Season) in 11 Days!

You also may be interested in the late spring, summer and fall departures of our Best of Sicily in 11 Days tour.

Dates & Prices

2015

2016

    • Feb 28–Mar 9 (Su-We)
    • $1,995 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Mar 20–Mar 30 (Su-We)
    • $2,195 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Mar 27–Apr 6 (Su-We)
    • $2,195 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Apr 10–Apr 20 (Su-We)
    • $2,395 + Air

    Filling Fast

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Sicily come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 20 group sightseeing events • Palermo walking tour • Palazzo Federico tour • Monreale Cathedral and Cloister tour • Segesta • Erice orientation walk • Trapanese regional tasting • Sicilian pastry lesson • Marsala Salt Flats boat cruise (weather permitting) • Island of Mozia visit • Valley of the Temples tour • Agrigento Archeological Museum tour • Villa Romana del Casale • Ragusa orientation walk • Sicilian cooking class • Syracuse Ortygia island walking tour • Hill town visit • Puppet Theatre performance • Museo dello Sbarco tour (WWII) • Catania fish market tour • Wine tasting at Sicilian winery… and more
  • All group transportation from Palermo to Catania
  • 10 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • $100 Shopping Spree (per household) at the Rick Steves Travel Store to get guidebooks and gear for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2016
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Sicily

We'll gather at our hotel in Palermo at 3 p.m. for a welcome meeting. Then we'll begin our Sicilian adventure together by joining a contessa for a personal tour of her family's home, the Palazzo Federico. We'll end our evening getting to know one another at a "Welcome to Sicily" dinner together. Sleep in Palermo (2 nights). No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Palermo and Monreale

Let's meet our coach and driver, and head up to the hill-topping town of Monreale, renowned for its Arab-flavored cathedral, blending Byzantine, Arab, Berber Jews, Gothic and Norman tradition, heritage and art. We'll tour the cathedral's interior of glittering, golden mosaics as well as the story-telling columns of the cloister. Then we'll return to Palermo, where we'll take a walking tour of Palermo's back streets, churches and colorful Capo street market — all spiced with an evocative whiff of Africa. Then we'll set you free to explore more of this exciting, energetic city, and discover that perfect trattoria for dinner on your own. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3:  Ancient Segesta and Mountaintop Erice

This morning we'll head toward the island's western coast, stopping at the ancient Greek site of Segesta to meander through its magnificent Doric temple and hilltop theatre. Then we'll continue to the enchanting medieval mountaintop town of Erice. Believed by Romans to be the home of Venus, Erice eventually evolved into a center for Christian convents and home to heavenly pastries (which we'll learn about and taste). This afternoon we’ll enjoy a tasty lunch that includes the region’s specialties: sun-dried tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives and Marsala wine, before driving to the bustling port town of Trapani and checking into our hotel. After an evening orientation walk, we'll set you free for dinner. Sleep in Trapani (2 nights).  Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4:  Salt Harvesting and Seaside Trapani

Today we'll drive down to the Trapani "salt-pans" — a coastal wetland and nature reserve where sea salt has been harvested for nearly 3,000 years. We'll tour the ancient Phoenician island of Mozia and learn about this bygone civilization. Then our guide will explain the history and process of salt harvesting as we tour the area by boat. You'll be free to spend the rest of your day exploring the seaside town of Trapani. This evening find that perfect terrace, savor your favorite apertivo, and watch the sun dip below the horizon. Boat: 1 hr.  Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 5:  Ancient Agrigento and Country Living

This morning we'll take a magical history tour through the ruins of Agrigento, one of the richest of the Greek colonies and a thriving democracy 2,500 years ago. We'll also tour the vast collection of artifacts at Agrigento's Archaeological Museum. This afternoon we'll head to our tranquil countryside hotel. You'll have plenty of time to soak in the scenery before tonight's hearty dinner together. Sleep in or near Agrigento (1 night).  Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 6:  Roman Mosaics and Ragusa

The Romans also colonized Sicily, which we'll learn about at today's first destination, the Villa Romana del Casale. Here we'll spend much of our morning surrounded by the world's most rich and colorful collection of Roman mosaics — including the time-bending "bikini girls" mosaic, discovered less than 60 years ago. This afternoon we'll enjoy a leisurely lunch in the countryside. On the road again, we'll head to the hilltop town of Ragusa. After we check into our hotel, we'll take an orientation walk through Ragusa, where you'll be free for dinner. Sleep in Ragusa (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7:  Charming Ragusa

The day is yours to wander along Ragusa's narrow streets and soak in the simple pace and traditions of everyday Sicilian life. Enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of this delectable hill town. Tonight we'll gather for a Sicilian cooking lesson featuring the region's traditional recipes. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 8:  Hill Town Visit and Ortygia

This morning we'll take a drive to your guide's favorite hill town in the Ragusa region. After free time for exploring and lunch, it's on to Syracuse, in ancient times "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all." This evening we'll take a walk through the city's historic old town on the island of Ortygia, ending with a lively performance of Sicily's traditional puppet theatre, where language is no barrier to entertainment. Tonight we'll enjoy dinner together. Sleep in Syracuse (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9:  Syracuse, Past and Present

This morning we’ll learn more about Ortygia and take a closer look at this small fishing island. We’ll explore the local market, stroll through centuries in the Cathedral of Syracuse, and marvel at the masterpiece of the Piazza del Duomo. Then the afternoon is yours to wander through Syracuse's delightful jumble of Greek, Roman, Medieval and Baroque layers — or settle on a quiet park bench with a harbor view. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: War, Wine and Catania

After breakfast, we'll head north to Catania, where we'll tour the Museum of the 1943 Landings in Sicily (Museo dello Sbarco). We'll learn how, nearly a year before D-Day, Allied troops found themselves fighting against — and at the same time liberating — their Italian adversaries. Then, after a tour of Catania's famous fish market, we'll take a drive up the slopes of Mount Etna to a local winery. We'll gather tonight back in Catania for a farewell dinner, to say arrivederci, share travel memories and toast to new friends. Salute! Sleep in Catania (1 night). Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Catania's airport by shuttle bus or taxi. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Sicily (Off-Season) in 11 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Scramble around ancient sites with rocky paths and slippery stairs.

Reviews

Elena

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was really well organized. History learning, enjoyment of beautiful Sicily nature, tasting a great food, talking with people- everything was really greatly balanced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit of Palazzo Federico; Visit of Villa Romana del Casale. Maria 's baking class and lunch!"

Ellen

Zurich,

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I highly recommend this tour! Sicily's history is fascinating. So many groups passed through leaving their mark...Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Spaniards, Normans, and more. Tommaso and the local guides did an excellent job of bringing that history to life. There was a nice balance between cities and small towns and enough time in most places to explore on your own. The late April weather was nice, most places were not crowded, and lots of flowers and trees in bloom.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was wonderful! Highlights for me were the Cattedrale di Monreale, Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and the extraordinary mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale. Also enjoyed the lively, colorful fish market in Catania."

Pat

Lakewood, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having taken a Rick Steve's Tour before, I expected it to informative and fun. I was not disappointed! Our guide Tommaso, a Sicilian native was exceptional! Knowledgeable,a great sense of humor, with proper care and concern for everyone. This trip was with 25 travelers,unlike my previous trip of 12 persons. I was a bit concerned that it would not be as intimate, but we all got to know a bit of each other, had good karma,laughed a lot and traveled together well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views were fantastic! Visiting many of the ruins that were built some 450 BC was awesome! Also getting to have 2 'hands on' cooking classes was really fabulous! The trip to the winery, the WW2 museum, the visit with the Count & Countess were all great, just great! Every town we visited had a charm and valued point of interest not to be missed! I have and will recommend this trip at every opportunity!"

Gayle

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. The variety of activities, quality of food and hotels, and excellent bus driver (Guiseppe) made our Sicily experience outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hmmm - I was "wowed" by how beautiful the countryside is - sea-level flat lands, valleys, and mountainsides are covered with beautifully tended vegetable fields, fruit orchards or olive groves."

Jack

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We would not have gone to Sicily if not for an invitation from a friend to spend her 70th birthday with her there. We had the most incredible experience - the weather was perfect, the spring flowers were in bloom, and the incredible diversity in the towns we visited was astonishing. Our companions were all great friends by the end of the trip, and Tommaso was an outstanding guide - a proud Sicilian with a fantastic sense of humor and a commitment to helping us experience the wonders of Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think, surprisingly enough, it was when we went to the salt mining places outside Trapani. I say this for two reasons - first, because when I read the itinerary, this seemed like the least interesting part of the tour, but it was fantastic. Second, because we learned that there was a Phoenician/Carthagenian (I think) colony on the island of Motya for over 400 years - pretty sobering for us who think the much briefer experience of American democracy justifies our feelings of superiority!"

Kathryn

Everson, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the two strongest tours I have every taken. The itinerary was diverse, interesting,and well paced. I now LOVE Sicily. Guide Tomasso Pante is the best guide we have ever had. His itinerary, activity, and local guide choices excellent. We visited various physical environments: cities and towns, country and seaside, mountains, antiquities. Best for me was learning about contemporary Sicilian social, economic, and political life as well as history. Viva Sicily!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The war museum in Syracusa, in which we entered a bomb shelter and a simulation of what it was like to be under attack. Seeing a Greek temple over the hill. Listening to our Guide explain so clearly that we all understood and appreciated."

Helen

Chapman Act,

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RIck Steeve tour and I found it to be very informative thanks to NIna, Jacqui and Lilyanna. It was also very entertaining thanks to a tour member who was quite a character and had us all in fits laughing at his stories and comments. I also enjoyed the two cooking classes, the opportunity to sing Waltzing Matilda in a small amphitheatre along with Peter my husband and one only other Australian on the tour. This is something I would never normally do in front of a crowd.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite "wow" moment was the afternoon spent in a beautiful location up in the hills of Erice where Maria the former orphan brought up in a nunnery prepared a delicious Sicilian feast for our afternoon lunch. My husband is a fussy eater and there was nothing at that lunch that he did not like. This was followed by a cooking lesson on making local cookies which we were then allowed to take home. What a wonderful experience that was."

Glenn

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful Guide ! Great Itinerary. Extremely enjoyable tour members. Happy balance of planned events and unstructured time. More upscale hotels than we might have chosen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many of the group and individual dinner opportunities. Loved lunch at the Mt. Etna Winery ! But all were good in their own way."

Janet

Washington, DC

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, I had a great time, met wonderful people, ate great food, and learned a lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really, it was all "wow" for me! I cannot choose one thing, but some things stand out. For me, the highlights were Monreale Cathedral, Agrigento Valley of the Temples, the Villa Romana del Casale, and the Museo dello Sbarco in Catania."

Michael

Washington, DC

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour! We had a lovely group of people from all of the US and 3 folks from Australia. Our group bonded very well and we generally enjoyed each others company. I had done the Best of Sicily tour 3 years ago and this tour covered many new areas of Sicily. It was great to do both tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Even though I had been to the Villa Romana Del Casale before, it was only partially opened due to ongoing renovations . It's a fantastic site and so impressive to see the extensive mosaic floor nearly intact."

Paul

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily is fascinating. Amazing history. Good food and wine, and a fun cooking lesson. Beautiful scenery. Complex and interesting society. Big cities, small towns, rich agricultural land, rural settings, Mt. Etna. We got to experience (and learn about) these under the leadership of an excellent guide. We stayed in comfortable hotels, ate tasty meals. The guide provided enough structure to keep us busy and interested. We also had time to explore places on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several 'wow' moments: Visiting the cathedral and cloister at Monreale. Visiting the incomplete Greek temple at Segesta, especially the views of it from the walk down from the theater. The cooking lesson. The mosaic floors in the Roman villa. The Greek temple that got build into a church, in Siracusa, with the columns still exposed on the inside and outside of the church. The amazing fish market in Catania."

Kathleen

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed all aspects of this tour especially with our great tour leader, Nina. The mosaics were amazing. The cookie class and cooking class were fun and delicious. The history and Greek Temples exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really was blown away by the Pupi Theather and show in Syracusa. The family has maintained such a wonderful tradition."

Marstin

San Anselmo, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the moment Nina met us, we knew all would be well. Humor and enthusiasm in great abundance, Nina is great example of an extraordinary tour guide. "Friend" might be a better description, for she readily joined in all we did and clearly had made meaningful contact with all the Sicilians we encountered. She was a real blessing to the Rick Steves' Sicily tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I pondered this known question; answers are not easily described. Sicily is so rich in history much of it is well-preserved. Nina never let our attention stray from the forays of Frederick II and the "fortune" he left in offspring - From the temples at Segesta, spectacular mosaics at Villa Casale, a tour by and in a real contessa's home, Trapani with its windmills toiling to bring salt water to make salt, the charm of Sircusa - ancient harbor and history - in the end it, was all a wow moment."

Linda

San Anselmo, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour absolutely exceeded my expectations in every way. Sights, food, accommodations and the folks on the tour, including guide, were all outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many WOW moments but I will say my WOW moment was Nina, our guide. She is so knowledgeable and humorous and kept us on track. In terms of sights, Villa Romana Del Casale was spectacular!"

Peter

Chapman Act,

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great on many levels - the guide, the group, the sights, the activities, the food, the hotels, the experiences, and the way the tour was structured and run. This was our first Rick Steve's Tour, but it most likely won't be our last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose, but probably seeing the famous 'bikini girls' mosaic and the other mosaics that allowed one to time travel back to roman times and see what life was like then."

Diana

Tigard, OR

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This off-season tour of Sicily was fabulous. Nina was a wonderful and articulate guide, and it was helpful that she is an American who lives in Italy, which allowed her to convey the cultural and historical aspects of Sicily as seen through an Italian-American lens. I was in Sicily to research family history, so Nina's weaving of Sicily's history and culture helped me understand the reasons my grandparents emigrated from there and how those values affected their life in the US.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult one to choose from 1) the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and 2) the Roman Villa mosaics. Really, everything was truly wonderful, but those 2 stand out for me."

Paul

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An off season tour was a winning idea. Great weather every day, beautiful flowers, and all without the in season crowds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Roman mosaics, Norman cathedrals, Arabic workmanship, Baroque churches, Greek temples, Carthaginian settlements, a synthesis of great cuisines, art of all types: a history of Europe, all in one region."

Barbara

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent guide, lots of information and good humor, hotels all good, meals wonderful, group of people very pleasant and fun to be with, arrangements seamless

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Winery meal, views of Mt. Etna"

Steve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was probably the best I've ever taken. The itinerary was perfect for the trip's duration. We saw very interesting things, participated in truly fun and interactive events, and were given just enough free time to stretch and breath between destinations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was that there were several "wow" moments throughout the tour. The architecture, food, people, interactive events, and constant excellent care were totally worth the tour's cost. I'd sign up again in a minute."

James

Venice, FL

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience from beginning to end ! The tour guide, Jamie was polite, well informed and most helpful throughout the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gosh, it's hard to choose! Catania was a "wow" place !!! And, each dinner or lunch was a "new" wow" moment --- not a bad meal throughout --- even better that the Villages of Italy tour! Oh, I forgot the "farmhouse dinner" there --- it was a "moment" to remember!"

Cynthia

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been on three Rick Steves tours to date, each wonderful. They are always such a great experience, as I seem to see more, and learn more then I could on my own. Sicily was amazing!!!! I think the island is very unique, and most of us have no idea of the history that is there. Tour guide Jamie and his assistant Kevin -- were very good travel guides, and lovely people to get to know. I am so glad I got to know them!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a WOW-- honestly. If I was to pick one vista, Palermo Hotel, it just does not get better then that!!! WOW! Trapani was my favorite town. Best meal, Maria in Erice - that visit was a highlight for sure! I loved hiking up to Segesta - Breathtaking is a mild description. Cooking school was so fun!! Then -we exited the class on eve of Palm Sunday to a huge town event, carrying lights and Jesus up to the church at. That was morbidly good!! Never seen anything like it."

Barbara

Kelleys Island, OH

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the local flavor of the food, hotels and the selection of sites to see. We traveled with interesting and companionable people and the pace was good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics in the church at Monreale and the home tour of the Countess"

Jane

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the trip. Felt like I traveled in time as well as space. Culinary and wine experience delicious. Great local guides. Loved going in March for the green hills, wild flowers and cool weather. Itinerary was excellent. Expanded my knowledge of Sicily's history and current situation, plus the foods and wines of the area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't name a single moment that was extra WOW. Lots of interesting, delicious, beautiful sites and experiences."

Karen

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a winner from start to finish! Sicily was even more beautiful than I had anticipated and for someone with an interest in ancient history, it was a dream come true to see these Greek, Phoenician and Roman ruins. There were daily opportunities to enjoy good food and good wine and the camaraderie of fellow travelers. All in all, I returned with memories that will last a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Greek temple at Segesta as the sun broke through the clouds was unforgettable!"

Joseph

Sun City Center, FL

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt that the tour was excellent in every way. I have traveled with other companies and by myself and found the Rick Steves tour an easier way to travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the cooking class. It was fun and informative. The fact that we then ate what we made was even better. Very Nice"

Donna

Windsor, CA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great from start to finish! It fulfilled my expections of what I expected in regard to history, culture, food, wine and general character of Sicily ,independently of Italy. Our guide was excellent and never at a loss for meaningful words.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot say I had one moment more worthy of note then another......infact there were many that I can remember . The church in Monreale,the walk around Erice, the island tour near Trapani,wandering in Ragusa, seeing the wonderful mosaics of the villa of Casale were all outstanding. Also the tour and lunch at the winery on Mt. Etna Ned's to be mentioned!"

Sandra

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was very comprehensive. We saw & learned a lot. We're able to take pictures to remind us of what we learned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The countess singing at the end of her discussion of her showing us her palazzo. HER VOICE was wonderful."

Randolph

Burbank, CA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As with all the many tours we have been on the tour was inciteful, inspiring and packed in alot of information in this case about Sicily. I felt the tour could have been longer with more chance to absorb and reflect upon what we had seen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The palazzo of the count and countess. I really enjooyed talking to both. Particularly the count and his auto racing which at 80 years he still does and her singing voice. Also very much enjoyed the Villa Roman Villa of Casale which I thought was amazing and bought four books about from gift shop. The cooking leeson was also a wow moment and I thought the chef/instructor was very funny."

Heidi

Allentown, NJ

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Jamie's knowledge and enthusiam were wonderful- he made everything fun. The hotels were excellent, and the sites chosen ere well worth exploring. The choices of specialized regional guides was well reseached.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Times when we got to explore local markets and crafts meant the most to me, as that's what is usually difficult to figure out on our own."

Linda

Venice, FL

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautiful Sicily offers a multi cultural experience built upon layers upon layers of history, architecture, art, culture and religion. As with all Rick Steves tours, the itinerary was intelligently constructed and flawless in it's delivery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having lunch and wine tasting at the base of Mt. Etna courtesy of Bernanti Winery leaves a stunning memory of this beautiful island. However, I believe I was most moved by being a completely coincidental participant of the solemn pagentry of the Palm Sunday evening procession following our raucous arancini culinary lesson in Ragusa."

Michael

St Louis, MO

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While I am a seasoned traveler (47 States, 75 countries), this was my first tour, about which I had some concerns in advance. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased about every aspect of the tour, except perhaps for some of the hotels, esp. in Palermo, a dreary room, though the breakfast there was among the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour by the Contessa of her palace in Palermo."

Nancy

Bethesda, MD

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We knew that Sicily would be a fascinating, focused look at layers of history, and the route of this off-season tour was perfect for that. the bonus was all the fun. Donald White made it fun, and [INVALID] of course [INVALID] the fellow travelers are bound to have similar interests and senses of humor. We were lucky to have an extra day at start for Palatine Chapel and extra time for a quick taxi trip to Taormina before our flight from Catania last day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Greek Theater in Taormina (not on the tour, but one we squoze in on last day). on the tour itself, tie between mosaics at Villa del Casale, Agrigento, and the entire layers at Segesta, from mosque to Roman agora to Greek."

Bruce

Cable, WI

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Sicily trip was an adventure we'll be talking about for a long time. The history, the architecture, the food, the people[INVALID]everything was great. We covered a lot of ground thanks to a very active itinerary. Our group of travelers was fun to be around. Also, going off-season allowed us to really see things without having to contend with crowds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but three stand out--the hill town of Erice, the Valley of the Temples and the Villa Romana del Casale."

Sara

Cable, WI

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. We packed in lots of experiences, architecture, history and delicious food. I enjoyed traveling off-season and avoiding the crowds. Our traveling companions were a friendly and fun group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the sea from Erice was spectacular. I actually said, "Wow"."

Michael

Palmetto Bay, FL

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I know my wife will (or has) provide a detailed review so here is no need for me to repeat it. We both had a really great time on our first ever organized tour. My wife's maternal grandfather came from there as a young man so it had always been on her bucket list to revisit this branch of her roots. The grandfather's wife was from Milan, so Northern Italy is also a no brainer. This, plus it being the home of Donald White, would be a sure thing for us if such a tour existed!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I know you get this all the time but it's impossible to pick out the one moment in an outstanding experience. Palermo with the Countess and local guide Jackie were memorable start, I loved the salt ponds and windmills, and of course the Benanti twins and their Father and their vineyards."

Min-Che

Princeton, NJ

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Interesting contents, excellent guides and fellow travelers. Excellent selection of hotels and food.

Barbara

Goleta, CA

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the tour experience was fine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the palace in Palermo."

Cynthia

Reno, NV

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the pace of the tour. I enjoyed the fewer numbers in the group which allowed you to get to know each other a little better and gave you leg room in the tour bus. I enjoyed our short orientation in the town when we first arrived and were then allowed to wander off on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. My favorites were the views. I loved the view from Upper Ragusa and the view from Erice. Not on the tour, but recommended by our guide, we went to Taormina and went to the theater and the view of the waters through remains of the theater was breathtaking. Loved that recommendation."

Frederick

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour's overall pace. Things moved along but, in general, I did not feel rushed. I could have enjoyed more time at some stops, e.g. the Museum with the Valley of the Temples. The only disappointment was the War Museum, which did not interest me that much--plus some of the exhibits did not work and I did not know how to pace myself, since I did not know how big the Museum was until after it was over.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Villa Romana and the Valley of the Temples."

Adair

Palmetto Bay, FL

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Not having traveled with a tour group before, I thought this tour's emphasis on getting us into places and participating in activities that we would not have seen or done on our own was exactly what a tour should be. From meeting a contessa in her palazzo to making cookies with a renowned baker to a marvelous lunch and tour of a vineyard on Mt Etna to attending a traditional Sicilian puppet theatre - all were entertaining ways to learn about the people and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"too tough to choose"

Deborah

Henderson, NV

Tour: 03/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing, and I would take another Rick Steve's tour, tour guides were fun and informative--Donald was Great! This was my first guided tour and I'm sure now I will compare any and all to it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say I have just one, WOW to the winery, puppet show, cooking school, I just had so much fun and learned so much Trapani was wonderful also."

John

Eugene, OR

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience. Tomasso was an excellent guide. Clearly passionate and knowledgeable about his country, and it really made a difference.

John

Irvine, CA

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A very interesting place to visit. Wonderful sites. Beautiful country and nice, friendly people. Tommaso was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman Villa and the mosaics. Totally unprecedented. Amazing. Followed closely by the Greek temples."

Stephanie

Lancaster, PA

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I planned this trip exclusively around my three year old nephew's birthday visit (they live in Germany), and so was trying to combine a family visit with proper "traveltime". My expectations for Sicily, then, were not exponentially high. I had also visited a few cities on the island in years past- I enjoyed it, but was not blown away. On this visit, Sicily SANG! That's the trump card a great guide provides, and this trip was vastly richer on so many levels because of it!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Haha- It must certainly be my salumeria serenade in Siracusa by a handsome older man who made me the "world's best sandwich" for two Euros! (Had to be there! ;) Tommaso invited us casually to join him on some free time one day to seek out this salumeria at a local market. Once again, these little 'in the know' experiences with a bonafide local guide connected us to other locals in a whole other way. These little moments made it for me!"

Charles

Irvine, CA

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour guide was excellent, fair price for tour and Sicily was certainly worth seeing. Hotels with the exception of Ragusa were good and breakfast buffets were tasty. Hotel in Ragusa is unsafe and should not be used as a overnight stop, extra night in another city would have been better. Room assignments were not fairly done, I never had a room with a view and always had to walk up many flights of stairs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Valley of the temples was my favorite sight and as a former history teacher I was overwhelmed."

Malcolm

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 03/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First I need to say that soon after receiving the request for an evaluation I wrote a very detailed one but lost it due to an issue with my computer, while I was tweaking it to fit in more wording. My evaluation was without exception very positive, so it wouldn't have been much use in improving the tour. This second try will be shorter. .............. This tour ranks with the best I've taken, from the guide to the very carefully designed and tweaked program and Sicily itself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first was the Palermo palazzo tour, later displaced by views of the Segesta temple walking back from the theater. There were others later, but not quite as "wow"."

Jordan

Boston, MA

Tour: 03/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The trip was very interesting covering a wise variety of history, culture and people mixed with fun activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Syracusa amphitheater"

Annette

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 03/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our 6th Rick Steves tour -- and probably our best -- despite 2 days of rain. Going off-season was phenomenal: we had most of the sites to ourselves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We started off with a big bang with a tour of a lived-in palazzo in Palermo. The Contessa, our hostess, was electrifying. I needed bubble wrap in Siracusa. I just had a sweet interaction with the store owner who didn't know the phrase - but after I explained why I wanted it -- he understood. I loved it when he held the item, his fingers went back and forth on it and he said "ah - that is why they call it "bubble wrap." I wrote down the phrase and told him it was his phrase for the day."

Barry

Plain City, OH

Tour: 03/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was outstanding. The tour guide, the sites and the activities that we would not normally have if taking the trip on our own. The tour of Count Frederico family home in Palermo, Marie's candy making class and the winery tour were all well organized and very enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All historical sites were a "wow" moment for me. I go on trips for the history and cultures of the areas."

John

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was more than expected in all aspects. The locations visited, hotels, food, group & most of all the guide were beyond top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento."

Susy

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was our 6th Rick Steves' tour and one of favorites. The activities were well planned, the food exceptional and the tour guide at the top of his game.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many... the Valley of the Temples stands out as a visual highlight. Also our farewell dinner at the Benanti winery was amazing! The wine/wine tasting, food, volcano and wine presentations, and ambiance were absolutely outstanding."

Nancy

Austin, TX

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Alfio was outstanding as a guide and just a great person to be with! He took such good care of us, and always was on top of every detail. His knowledge of the complicated history, culture, sites, everything about Sicily was amazing. His background as a food expert got us into some very special places with every dish a taste delight. I have never had a better tour learning so much, seeing so many interesting places, and meeting so many local people who were all so gracious to us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"*Meeting Sra. Maria Grammatico in her kitchen in Erice (and walking even in the cold rain to see this jewel of a town), Learning about the Mothia on the island of San Pantaleo The Byzantine Monastery near Palermo The Greek temples at Segesta and Agrigento The cooking school in Ragusa where we learned to make "arancii" The Roman villa Casale, The convent in Ortigia and ruins Going to the winery on the slopes of Mt. Etna with a talk on the volcano and having a superb dinner with the owners."

Sandi

Naperville, IL

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time on the Sicily tour. The food and wine were spectacular! We particularly enjoyed the blend of history and everyday life in the Sicily of today. Another great experience on a Rick Steves tour!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The meals were what really delighted us! From dinner in a former convent to a lovely lunch high atop a hill to a scrumptious meal at Benanti Winery - each place that was chosen was outstanding for both the ambience and the food. Excellent seafood!"

Steven

Portola Hills, CA

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The off-season Sicily tour provides a solid overview of the flow of history from tha Phoenicians, to the Greeks, to the Romans, and up to the present, as well as the invasion of Sicily. City and sea views were regularly available. The food and were reasonably priced yet excellent. Each day on this Sicily tour provided new insights and experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was a mix of the residence in Palermo that was built on the old city wall in Palermo and the Cathedral in Syracusa. The contessa of the home was inviting and I was impressed by the history of the residence. The main hall had tiles showing the old Palermo before various landfills. Other tiles contained the crest of the Hapsburg empire. Similarly, the Cathedral in Syracusa was initially a Greek temple that was incorporated into a church with the Normans adding battlements."

Leslie

Reston, VA

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We went a lot of places on this trip and did a lot of things. Some things required different transportation modes, queuing up in a different mode but it all went like clockwork. The schedules got published, everyone took pictures with their phone, and everyone was on time for all the activities and we really seemed to get along as a group. Alfio was passionate about what he was showing us and we all seemed to pick up on his passion for Sicily and Italy. I had a fabulous time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics at Monreale and Villa Romana del Casale but also the Mysteri at Chiesa Purgatorio in Trapani - I'd never seen anything like that."

Gian Domenico

Rameldange,

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For me this was a woderful trip thanks to a very experienced and creative Guide. Also, we were lucky to find a very friendly and open group of people of all ages. It was our first Rick Steves tour and we appreciated the choice of sights, restaurants and events.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The guided tour of the archaeological museum and the valley of temples in Agrigento."

Rosalia

Rameldange,

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, great sites, great food, wonderful group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but if I really have to pick one I would say the day we spent on the island of Mozia and visited the museum there. It was magical and so much to see."

Clifford

Columbia, SC

Tour: 03/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my expectations. Our group was great. All-in-all a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mine occurred on the first day before the tour after a frustrating afternoon trying to work with the inadequate guidebook. We went up to the hotel restaurant for a glass of wine and, just before sunset, stepped onto that wonderful terrace overlooking the city."

Gregory

St Louis, MO

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been on a few Rick Steve's tours and once again this was a very enjoyable experience. The guides were great, the food and wine outstanding, and a wonderful group of people.One big reason we like these tours is that they take us places we probably wouldn't find on our own. I only have one regret. The Lonely Planet Guide book was better than nothing, but Rick really needs to do a Sicily book of his own. His guide books stand head and shoulders above the rest and I missed having one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food and wine provided many. Especially our last (extra)night in Cantania when we went to a restaurant right in the fish market and had one of the best seafood meals I have ever had. Unfortunately, I now need to spend more time at the gym.I did a lot of walking but I guess it wasn't enough to offset all the great food provided by the tour and the restaurants of Sicily."

Susan

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

O ur guide Tomasso was the absolute best. He was really keyed into everyone of us and showed a sincere concern that we have a great time. As a Sicilian native, he provided a genuine feel for what it is like being a Sicilian. The destinations were absolutely wonderful. Loved the ancient Geeek ruins. I felt like a Greek maiden experiencing the temples. I can't think of any destination I would omit other than the modern church in Syracuse. Everything was so ancient and so wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow, there were so many! Monreale Cathedral was awesome. The Roman mosaics in Villa de Casale were unrivaled. But the Valley of the Temples In Agriento was the absolute best. What a dream! And the ride at night with the music really invoked that Grecian feeling!!"

Ken

Lindale, TX

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never been on a commercial tour before and this tour certainly exceeded my expectations. Met some great people on the tour and had a lot of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman Villa, Erice and the meals were the highlights for me."

Ann

Lindale, TX

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fabulous!! We have used rick steves books to travel on our own a number of times nd a tour was a dream for us. And it met all my expectations. The locations were great, the bus driver was great, the meals fabulous and the hotels were the best I have ever stayed in. The guide could not have been better. Tomaso was wonderful! It was an off season tour so the price was right for us. Please have more off season tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Ragusa and erice. Loved walking around those hill top towns. Also the mount etna trip and winery were a treat. And the group dinners."

Pam

San Diego, CA

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful! We covered a lot of Sicily in a short time. The weather was good and the crowds minimal. Guides were fabulous. It was interesting for me to compare the sights I saw on an October 2004 tour of Southern Italy and Sicily. I joined this tour because it covered some locations not visited on that tour. I liked the idea of an entire tour spent in Sicily. I induced two friends to join the tour who had not been a an RS tour. They too loved it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "wow" moments: seeing the exquisite mosaics in the cathedral of Monreale, the Villa Romana del Casale and (before tour) Capella Pallatine in Palermo. The Museo dello Sbarco in Catania made a big impression on me; the way the Greek temple in Segesta appears out of nowhere as we ascended the hill; the views from Segesta and Erice."

David

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an excellent tour. I loved the pace, the varied sights, the quirky hotels, the food, and the included activities. If you have been to Italy before, you need to see Sicily, the other Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As in all the tours we have taken, there are several wow moments. The tours are full of wow moments. Probably the Cathedral in Monreale and its mosaics was the biggest wow. But, from seeing the ruins at Segesta to our first glimpse of Ragusa Ibla or Agrigento or the Villa del Casale mosaics, each day brought a new wow moment."

Cynthia

Birmingham`, MI

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was jam packed with everything Sicily has to offer -- monuments, art, cities on the coast, a hill town, great food, cooking classes, a visit to a winery, Mt. Etna, museums, etc. The pace of this trip was more frenetic than other RS tours I have taken. I would have preferred longer stays in the main cities and more free time to explore them, and no single night stays. Everyone received a Lonely Planet guide to Sicily, but we really wished for a Rick Steves book.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The nighttime drive past the lighted monuments in Agrigento was really lovely."

Beth

Westerville, OH

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful sites, amazing food and wine, our guide Tomaso was attentive, knowledgable, friendly. Loved the idea of an off-season trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several but I think the home with the roman mosaics was it for me. Because it was off-season we had great unobstructed views and could travel through the site at a leisurely pace. Tomaso led us through taking the time to point out all kinds of features I would not have found on my own even though I think we were supposed to explore on our own."

Elizabeth

Brewster, MA

Tour: 02/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My comments are brief because I am so happy about the whole experience. Tomasso is knowledgeable, has developed a charming personna, was flexible when weather or other circumstances required schedule [INVALID]ations, was helpful with our post-tour plans. The tour included so many types of experiences that if someone tired of churches, there was archaeology; too much walking? - a long bus ride; a room with no view followed by a room with a glorious view. You warned us about stairs!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mafia information from different sites."

Patrick

Franconia, VA

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 6th RS tour and it measured up to and exceeded the standards that I expect and appreciate while traveling with RS. Simply put, it was first rate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Agrigento and the hotel courtyard view in the evening of the illuminated ancient temples on the nearby hilltops. There are, of course, many other contenders for the "wow moment" on this trip."

Gregory

Mt Hood Parkdale, OR

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great time of year to go without crowds and good weather.Guide leader very good and brought alot of historical perspective. Ricardo contributed a lot with his humor and his bon ami. Having time to explore on our own was appreciated. Exposure to culture thru local food was wonderful. Two nights in the same location eased wear and tear. The lunches were all wonderful without taking a substanial amount of time. More info about olives,groves and continuing importance to their culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually there were two moments: The arrival at Segesta and appreciating what a beautful site the Greeks had chosen.Perhaps a little more discussion about this site would have been in order. Allowing us to walk the ground between the theater and the temple was great. The two night sleep in old Regusa was a highlight with the free time to explore on our own. The walk west through the valley of temples will never be forgotten."

Shelley

Mt Hood Parkdale, OR

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a good compatible group and able guides. Rooms, meals, itinerary, and pace were fine. Better than fine. I got to do and see things I would have missed traveling on our own. I had better meals and accommodations than I would have on my own. Local guides were informative and I enjoyed the layers of history coming together as the trip progressed. Food was fabulous. Just a wonderful experience with variety and interest.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was interested in Sicily because of the Greek ruins there. Segesta was my wow moment. Absolutely a stunning setting, we were the only group there so we had the temple to ourselves. The weather was somewhat dramatic as well, with intermittent sprinkles and blue sky. Then we shuttled to the theater which is perched on a vantage point over the valley and Mediterranean in the distance. Those Greeks knew how to choose location. We walked back down catching views of the temple below. Fantastic."

Kathleen

Lexington, KY

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! We loved getting to know the sights, sounds and tastes of Sicily. We traveled with a group of congenial people and heard interesting stories from our guides. We saw a lot of Greek ruins and cathedrals. We also did several unusual things [INVALID] a cooking class to make Sicilian meatballs, a boat ride to view how sea salt is harvested, watching a Sicilian puppet show, visiting a winery on the slopes of Mt. Etna.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the food [INVALID] from its bounty displayed at open air markets (such color!) to its appearance on our table (and now, unfortunately, around my waistline...) We also made an unscheduled stop at Modica to see their chocolate shops and I was really glad!"

Paul

Lexington, KY

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great food, great guides, great wine! The only reason I did not check outstanding is that the motel at Syracusa was a big disappointment. The bed was a double, their was no shower and most disturbing was that our water was yellow. Bathing in yellow water is not of Rick Steve quality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food and wine were the best and exceeded my expectations. The citrus fruit was really good too!"

Susan

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip to Sicily was an excellent experience as we expected it would be! All of our guides were very professional, friendly, knowledgeable, eager to educate us and enrich our tour experience. Sicily is such and interesting place, the landscape, the history, the culture and the influences through the years ... we really got an education. And of course our compatriots were choice - people to visit with, learn with, share food and wine with!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"What surprised me and honestly took my breath away was the Palentine Chapel and Montreale Catherdral from the Norman era. The mosaics were beautiful and amazing!!"

Jane

Sapulpa, OK

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was great, as we've come to expect from RS tours (this was our ninth!) I do have a comment about the off-season aspect: The biggest advantage was there were no crowds; in some cases we had a venue to ourselves. The disadvantage: many places were closed for the season. In Ragusa, for example, we had trouble one day finding a place for lunch. I think we tried five different trattorias or restaurants near the main square before we found one that was open. Noto as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics at Piazza Armerina (Villa Romana del Cassale) were amazing. I could have spent several more hours there, marvelling at the intricate, elaborate mosaics. Wonderful."

Joan

Canton, GA

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All events worked out as scheduled and there were additional surprises that just added to the overall Outstanding quality. Owe a thank you to our guide of last year, Tommaso, who recommended that we take the tour of Sicily in February -for his advice. It was wonderful to visit the UNESCO sites with little to no other visitors but our group. The weather was great and the scenery so green and lush with the new spring growth. We loved driving across the country surrounded in natures beauty.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just one, there were many! Opening the gates to the Countessa's bright garden in Palermo- the country hotel courtyard & beautiful gardens overlooking the valley of kings- Greek Segesta temple and theatre & the views & Syracuse Catheral supported by the Greek ruins of Godess Athena's"

Linda

Harrisburg, PA

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great food. Enjoyed seeing almost the whole island and learning the history. Loved Maria and cooking (and eating) mazaponi. Great added stop at the chocolate shop in Modeno. Did I mention how good the food was? Great group of traveling companions. Could have done without the museum on the salt flats island and the arancini cooking class, but overall enjoyed the activities. Would like less bus time, more bathroom stops and more walking. Add a couple more days. Excellent value for the cost.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the Mt. Etna family winery with dinner and wine tasting was my favorite activity. I've done a lot of private tours of wineries and vineyards and this ranks with the best in all respects. The family was so gracious and hospitable."

Daniel

Denison, TX

Tour: 02/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour of Sicily was a very good combination of sight-seeing, short lectures, cooking classes and dining with the moderate amount of physical activity I was looking for. My Fitbit step count ranged from 7 to 17 thousand steps during the tour. With a couple more food and wine oriented activities the tour name could be "a taste of Italy". The tour guides (Don and Riccardo) were both excellent and added greatly to the experience. The hotels ranged from "ok" to good - never shared a bathroom.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the greek temples was awe inspiring. Maria Grammatico's food up in Eriche was fantastic."

Victor

Cleveland Heights, OH

Tour: 02/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In addition to the marvelous visual eye candy of Sicily, there were multiple personal exposures to Italians/Sicilians whose personal warmth in the scheduled as well as the unscheduled events made this into one of the most delightful and personal trips that my wife and I have ever had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No doubt this was a "Pistons, Passions, and Sicilian pleasures" travel adventure.In Palermo, upon being greeted by Contessa Ferderico on our entry into Plazzo Federico, my gaze fell upon a 1930's Siata Balilla Mille Miglia Spyder racing car and instantly knew that this would be a WOW. After a gracious tour of the Palazzo by the Contessa, Count Federico, the racer, shared Mille Meglia and Targa Florio racing stories & his photos with me. Wow, FORZA SIATA, FORZA LANCIA, FORZA ALFA, FORZA FERRARI!"

Susan

Monticello, FL

Tour: 02/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my sixth RS tour[INVALID]my husband and I are knowledgeable RS "groupies". We would not choose another tour company. First off-season tour[INVALID]and we loved no one else at the attractions and the attentiveness of the local folks. Twas rainy and windy the few two days and then turned gorgeous. LOVED Nina Bernardo as our Il Duce/La Dolca[INVALID]superlative guide with an amazing laugh. Also, LOVED being the guinea pigs for 1/3 new tour destinations at the end. Local tour guides excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The recently "improved" Villa Romana del Casale with its ancient mosaics. Even in such a large comlex, we were the only tourists "in the House" sble to get up close and personal with the amazing mosaics. The benefit of taking an off-season tour."

Larry

South San Francisco, CA

Tour: 02/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wondrous and joyous because of the uniqueness and diversity of the cities, towns and their people, especially for an island. I have travelled many of the north, central and south mainland Italy areas in previous years. This Sicilian journey has comprehensively added to my education of one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult question to answer as all the included activities were all "wows". It will have to be Giorgio, the most enthusiastic and optimistic proprietor of Hotel dell'Orologio in Ragusa. He hopes his business will spark an economic revival that will encourage locals to stay and preserve their traditional way of life but with an outlook and flexibility to accommodate modern changes. The hotel's units are scattered in a section of the old town with locals homes right next door, above or below you."

Kathy

Claremont, CA

Tour: 02/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour (my first) was very well organized and efficiently run. I was very impressed with the quality of the various tour activities, the dining and most of the hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had read the book "Bitter Almonds" and was thrilled to be able to meet and participate in a cooking activity with the subject of the biography, Maria Grammatico."

Sandy

Victoria, BC

Tour: 02/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour so I did not know exactly what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find the tour exceptionally well organized, expertly guided and my fellow travelers a lot of fun! I found it to be a good balance of sightseeing and historical information, good food and wine and hands on activities like cooking classes. Every hotel was very good, with friendly and helpful people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taking the short boat ride to the small island of Mozia near Marsala and seeing the excavation findings of Phoenician civilization. The salt flats and windmills on the way were beautiful too."

Steve

Monticello, FL

Tour: 02/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

"Off-Season" worked out great in spite of rain and chilly winds the first few days. I only needed a slight variation in clothing from the three "in-season" trips I've been on. Next trip will be "off-season".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman Vila. It was a true delight touring the ground without mass crowds."

Sharon

Lacey, WA

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had never been to Sicily and have always heard so much. Wonderful time exploring the island. Really enjoyed seeing the agricultural side.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After experimenting with it here at home, I think the lemon risotto is a hit. Lots of wonderful sights from Greek/Roman ruins and the lush countryside. But....food is always a comfort and I won't turn down risotto"

Susan

Ames, IA

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a very interesting tour.. Our guide was enthusiastic and knowledgable. The tour group was full of interesting and friendly people. Our hotels were interesting and the owners and/or workers were very kind and accommodating. The weather did not cooperate, but who can control that?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Valley of the Temples was wonderful. We got to see it at night as well. Our local guide was wonderful."

Anita

Montebello, CA

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I LOVED this trip! This tour of Sicily was perfect in every way. I enjoyed the "off-season" schedule because we missed all the crowds and had full access to the sights. The weather was cool and, even though it rained, it was still pleasant. There was a great balance between sight seeing and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would be hard to pick one "wow" moment because each new city that we arrived in became my "new favorite." Every experience was authentic and not staged for the tourists. I enjoyed seeing the Contessa's palazzo, making desserts with Maria Grammatico, seeing the temple and castle in Sagesta and Erice, the mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale, streets of Ragusa, the Archaeological Park, and the WWII Museum in Catania. I loved everything!"

Adria

Forest Hills, NY

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily is a traveler's feast of breathtaking sites, delicious food and sumptuous wine. A region where people see themselves as Sicilian first, Italian second; they set themselves apart with a warm, intense, gregarious nature you immediately fall in love with it. I'm grateful to have been part of this off-season itinerary giving me the opportunity to get so much closer to this wonderful place with little to no crowds. This was my first venture into Italy and I'm glad I went to Sicily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night we learned pasta making at Hotel dell'Orologio in Ragusa. I discovered I was a natural at pasta making and I got a real kick out of the instructor so sweetly telling me so. Also, it was my birthday that evening, and I was surprised with a beautiful and delicious cake (Buon Compleanno Adria written upon it) and overwhelmed by the warmth and hugs I got not only from my tour friends but from the class instructor and staff, as well. It will be a birthday I remember for a long time."

John

Lacey, WA

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Sicily combines great food, beautiful vistas and incredible history. Going during the off-season allowed us to spend quiet time in areas like the Villa Romana del Casale without waiting in long lines and being pushed along by hordes of other tourists. Although it rained some, that was a small price to pay for the better access off-season.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ancient Greek site of Segesta stood out because of its almost intact temple and beautiful mountain site with a great view to the coast."

Lynne

Chester, NS

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Pace was perfect. Great blend of history, cultural, social and culinary experiences. Liked staying in locations for 2 nights. Enjoyed variety of accommodations and their generally central locations. Liked small group size. 11 days covered the itinerary well. Added value of wine and water included greatly appreciated. Could not have wished for a better guide or driver. Overall excellent value for price.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two moments stand out. Valley of the Temples, and Roman Villa with stunning mosaics"

Steven

North Quincy, MA

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tommaso did a great job organizing and implementing an outstanding tour; he created a positive atmosphere among participants and his sense of humor and thoughtfulness was contagious. Good balance of structured and unstructured time. Delicious food and wine. Well done!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoyed and appreciated the archeological site visits across Sicily as well as learning about the merging of cultures. Visit to WWII museum in Catania was something I didn't expect to find as fascinating as I did."

Mary

Chicago, IL

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tommaso was a great guide. We had a great deal of rain, yet he kept us going so we wouldn't miss anything. He is very knowledgeable and loves Sicily

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I believe Agrigento was one of many highlights. It is just beautiful and the guest guide made it come to life. The archaeological museum was wonderful."

James

Mt Vernon, IL

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After 3 of these tours, we maintain our avid support of the way in which they are run. From the sites visited to the guides, they are always exciting and jam packed with interesting and fun things. The [INVALID]ion of hotels are always where you would want to be in the locales, right in the middle of it all. This is our first tour that has been hampered by rain, and we still had a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I actually had two. The first was the Contessa's villa in Palermo. What a taste of how the other half lives. Their courtesy and hospitality were just marvelous. The second Wow was the winery on Mt. Etna. Again, the courtesy and hospitality of these folks was beyond compare."

Rowe

Newton, IA

Tour: 02/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful experience in learning about this island with an incredible history and diverse cultures. Tommaso is a great guide with his own unique history and detailed knowledge of Sicily which he shares with enthusiasm. The food and wine are exquisite in their favors, freshness, styles and varieties.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" lasted the entire 11 days as I learned of the incredible history of this island and all of the cultures and peoples who have lived in and contributed to Sicily's story"

Michael

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been on four Rick Steves tours and this was the best so far. Alfio is an excellent guide and the addition of Jamie as his assistant made for an informative and fun experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sicily offered much more than I expected. The scenery, historical sights, and fine dining would be hard to beat."

Dane

Greenland, NH

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RS tour, and it was beyond my wildest expectations. Probably the best part was having two exceptional guides -- two individuals who took care of us in so many ways -- tour content, excellent logistics, lots of humor, and general care and thoughtfulness.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the ruins and having at hand an exceptional guide expertise that supplemented all that we saw. I had so many questions and each were answered with much care."

Marcia

Kewadin, MI

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This skillful tour weaves together the complex history and cultures that have invaded and occupied this island to create the Sicily of today. Every aspect was beyond my expectations including the lodging, food, beauty, history, museums etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. The cathedral in Monreale. Mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale. Cooking lesson in Ragusa Greek ruins at night (lighted)The giant in the museum. Lunch at the agriturismo T"

Ross

Kewadin, MI

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was wonderful. So pleased that we joined this one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics at Monreale The mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale"

Louanne

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sicily was amazing! There is a so much history packed into this relatively small island. The tour leader was born and has lived in Sicily most of his life so he offered insights into social and historical background. The tour was 'off-season' which I especially enjoyed. No crowds! I hope Rick can include more of these in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. The hotel in Agrigento with hotel overlooking night lit ruins. Also, touring the contessa's home in Palermo which is the only property continually occupied by the same family. The contessa served wine and snacks before entertaining us with her beautiful soprano's voice."

Christine

Greenland, NH

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was amazing and far exceeded our expectations. Each day was better than the day before and we thought it couldn't get better and then it did! The guides were eager to make our trip one of a lifetime and eagerly answered our questions and were amazing fonts of information. It was like taking a three credit college course. It was obviously carefully planned and yet there was flexibility to include new things. We were so lucky to have both Alfio and Jamie as our guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was a visual wow moment when we were in Agrigento and were treated to an amazing tour of the ruins as well as the viewing of the archaeological museum. Our guide was extraordinary and we were spent by the end of the day with all of the things we saw and the information that we tried to absorb. Our hotel for that evening was trully lovely and the dinner we all enjoyed together was extraordinary."

Donna

Lucca,

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first organized tour of any kind, and we hoped that a Rick Steves tour would be our kind of travel. We were right! We saw many of the traditional sights in each stop, but we were treated to places and activities that I'm sure are not common on other types of tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral in Ortygia, Siracusa. The 2500-year-old ancient columns of a Doric temple are incorporated into the walls of the Christian church."

Maureen

East Greenwich, RI

Tour: 02/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Off Season Sicily was an ideal winter escape. While snow was pilling up in the northeast, we were walking through Greek temples surrounded by almond blossoms and gaping at Norman architecture. Many times we are the only 18 people at a jaw dropping site. Alfio and Jamie were intelligent, humorous, thoughtful and enthusiastic about the addition of this tour.

Weather

Sicily/ Palermo

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Italy: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus recommended books and movies.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Meridiana (www.meridiana.it) is the only airline that operates a non-stop flight from the US (JFK) to Palermo. All other flights to Sicily require at least one connection, typically through Rome, Milan, London, Amsterdam or Naples.

Most tour members will arrange to fly into Palermo and out of Catania ("multi-city" on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, a train or bus trip, and possibly additional overnight stay in Sicily.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines.

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Sicily before your tour begins, use the Sicily guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Palermo that we do not do as a group: Cappella Palatina; Teatro Massimo (closed Mondays); Marionette Museum; Museo Archeologico Regionale A. Salinas; Palazzo Abatellis; Capuchin Crypt; Palazzo Mirto; Galleria D’Arte Moderna (GAM).

Packing

For advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick's packing tips.