<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1008058222566041&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Sicilian cuisine is Italian, but also uniquely Sicilian. The volcanic soil is ideal for growing vegetables and grapes, and the surrounding water is abundant with fish.

The largest island in the Mediterranean is arguably the most beautiful and certainly the most dense with history and humanity. Sicily's complex culture is matched only by its stunning natural beauty and the incredible, diverse landscape: rolling hills and valleys swathed in grapevines, miles of aquamarine coastline and a series of archipelagos that can be reached via a quick boat ride. We will pedal back in time to a colorful and enigmatic past that has never left the island. With Tourissimo, you will see (and taste) the real Sicily.

This seductive Mediterranean island has lured conquerors and visitors for centuries. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Normans have all contributed to the many layers of its vibrant culture. We’ll steep ourselves in the sights, scents and flavors of the western part of Sicily, an area less exploited by tourism. We’ll swim in pristine waters, sample the finest wines of the island at a local producer, and learn about the Greek heritage of Selinunte, a stunning waterfront village that is a UNESCO Archeological Site.

Sicily is a region renowned for its Baroque and Norman architecture, for its artistic importance (many poets, writers and intellectuals were born here), and of course, its excellent food!

The cuisine in Sicily is different from the rest of Italy because of the various cultures it has been exposed to.

In addition to its great wines, dinner in Sicily usually consists of vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes), plenty of seafood, and yes, lots of pasta and olive oil. Its lemons, oranges, figs, almonds and apricots are among the best in the world. In past decades Sicily received attention for its organized crime, and the Mafia became a literary and Hollywood phenomenon. Unfortunately, that is all that some people know Sicily for. True to the Tourissimo Experience brand promise, we will show you a different story. Without hiding the evidence of this scare, we will learn the historical roots of it through the people who, with courage and pride, are winning the battle against organized crime.

Highlights

  • Palermo and its Arab-Norman architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Monreale and its cathedral
  • Corleone
  • Selinunte ruins
  • Take a swim in the blue Mediterranean waters
  • Saline (salt farms) near Trapani
  • The ghost towns of Gibellina and Poggioreale
  • A lesser traveled, bucolic Sicily
  • Seafood and Slow Food dishes and specialties
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Sicilian wine production
  • Overnight stay at a stunning countryside abbey
Dates:

May 4 - May 11, 2019

Prices:

USD 4,995

Private room (single supplement) USD 495

Duration:

8 days (7 nights)

Level:

Active

Share with others:
Book Online
This was a WONDERFUL blend of cycling, food appreciation and cultural insight. Exceeded ALL expectations.

Don Kagey Chef Bike Tour Sicily

[fa icon="quote-right"]
Sicily_f

Day by Day

[fa icon="plus"] Day 1

Palermo

Palermo is the cultural center of Sicily and is known for its architecture, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This morning we’ve planned a “street food” tour through the Capo Market and the Vucciria Market. It doesn’t get more authentic than that! Besides giving an insight into the Sicilian cuisine, our guide provides historical information on the monuments and churches along the walk and shares with us the most intimate secrets of local habits.

We will also go through our shopping list for our dinner. After some free time in the lively city center we’ll take a short walk to dinner – a private event- where Chef Dario from Palermo and our guest chefs are in charge of transforming the best ingredients and the freshest catch. Welcome to Sicily!

[fa icon="plus"] Day 2

Corleone - 35 or 46 miles - Steady Climb

Today we start our bike journey, leaving Palermo and traveling into an unexpected, rural Sicily. Orange and olive trees are abundant in the fertile valleys as we transfer to Monreale. In Monreale we visit the Cathedral, also recognized by UNESCO, and considered the best expression of Norman architecture in Sicily. Monreale is situated on the slopes of Monte Caputo and the ride will afford breathtaking views of the valleys below as we descend.

In the town of Piana degli Albanesi, we’ll stop to taste some of the best cannoli in Sicily! Rolling, secondary roads take us to our accommodation near Sambuca di Sicilia in the middle of the Sicilian countryside, an area characterized by cultivated fields and Mediterranean scrub. If you’ve read The Godfather by Mario Puzo or seen the blockbuster film of the same name by Francis Ford Coppola, you’ve heard of Corleone. The young Vito Corleone flees to the New World to become the respected man of honor that the Italian immigrants called Padrino (Godfather). After the movie, Sicily became synonymous with the Mafia and omerta, the code of silence. 

We'll stay overnight at stunning Santa Maria del Bosco Abbaye.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 3

Menfi - 37 miles - Hilly

Today’s panoramic ride involves a gradual descent leaving the Sicani Mountains Regional Park and a short climb just after Lake Arancio, a slice of paradise between Sambuca di Sicilia and Menfi. After crossing several sleepy villages, we will reach the southern Sicily coast. We’ll stop here to swim in clear, blue water and enjoy lunch on the beach. The hotel is just a few miles away (you can ride or finish the ride here and take advantage of the van) and the rest of the day is open to enjoy the relaxed pace of the Sicilian countryside.

Relais Casina Miregia offers great Sicilian hospitality in a beautiful setting. Relax by the swimming pool and enjoy the view before a dinner prepared by our chefs (some of the ingredients are grown within the property).

[fa icon="plus"] Day 4

Belice Valley Loop - 46 or 36 miles  - Hilly

Today’s loop ride takes us inland to the ghost town of Poggioreale. This town (and others) was almost destroyed and then abandoned in 1968 due to a violent earthquake. The ruins show a somehow sinister, yet fascinating pre-1968 Sicilian village.

The lush, fertile Belice River Valley is home to shepherds who proudly carry on their cheese making traditions (Slow food presidia), unwilling to settle for the comfort and opportunities of the coastal towns. What better way to enjoy the day than a picnic with fresh vegetables, crispy bread, and cheese sampling! Our host is Stefano, a young winemaker that with much pride and against all odds has started an interesting production and he is in the process of bringing back the indigenous grapes such as Catarratto (white) and Perricone (red). We will take a tour of the vineyard, which is next to the old village of Montevago, destroyed by the earthquake.

The way back to Menfi is a rolling ride with very little traffic and some gorgeous photo opportunities.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 5

Menfi to Marsala - 51 miles - Flat

After our breakfast "made in Sicily", following the Ciclovia of the Southern Coast we’ll arrive in Selinunte, one of the most impressive archeological sites of ancient Greece. In the 6th century, it was a city with 100,000 inhabitants and was one of the most powerful in the world. Today it impresses visitors with its striking waterfront setting. Leaving Selinunte we’ll pedal along golden, sandy beaches to reach Mazara del Vallo. It is not a touristy town, but a busy workaday port with the largest fishing fleet in Italy.

We’ll have lunch here which will feature the best of the daily catch. There’s a strong north African influence in this town which can be seen in the labyrinth of streets called the Casbah. The eastern half of the island is almost completely flat and very easy to explore by bicycle. Continuing along the Southwest coast of Sicily we reach Marsala. Marsala is located at the westernmost part of Sicily and it is in the Italian history books for the docking of Garibaldi on May 11th 1860. Nowadays, Marsala is best known for its sweet dessert wines. We spend one night in Marsala, a town worth exploring and learning about.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 6

Mozia - 25 miles - Flat

Mozia, originally a colony of the Phoenicians, is a memorable archaeological, natural, and historical site just outside of Marsala. It covers an island situated in a striking location in a kind of shallow lagoon lined with the salt flats and windmills that are characteristic on this stretch of coastline. The island's terrain is flat and rural, and excavated stretches alternate with fields, woodland, and vineyard. It makes a good opportunity for a guided excursion and a visit to the museum. The history of this part of Mediterranean is interesting. The Carthaginians were crucial in the ancient history of Sicily, building, conquering and losing settlements. A number of ancient shipwrecks have been found which were probably fleeing to the shelter of Lilybaeum (now Marsala) after the Romans defeat of the Carthaginians in naval Battle of the Egadi Islands in the first Punic war (241 BC).

Back on the bikes, we make our way to Nubia. We spend two nights in a Relais in the middle of saline, yet another spectacular setting hand-picked by Tourissimo tour designers.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 7

Mount Erice - 40 or 58 miles - One Long Climb

The province of Trapani is known for its coral, tuna fishing tradition, and wine. We will ride south through the peaceful landscape of saline, which are artificial ponds where salt, a very precious product traded in the Mediterranean since the Bronze Age, is still collected. Salt was a highly valued trade item to the point of being considered a form of currency. Dotted along the salt pans are tiny windmills that were used to grind salt.

From there we’ll ride into a nature reserve and every turn in this network of secondary roads affords stunning views of the Egadi Islands to the West and Erice to the North. We then ride to the top of Mount Erice, at around 750 meters (2,460 ft) above sea level (but you can skip the climb and ride in the van or cable car).

Our celebratory dinner will be in the magical setting of the Antiche Saline.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 8
Palermo
After breakfast, unless you are extending your stay, a transfer will be arranged to the Palermo airport. 

 

What's Included

Bianchi Intenso Ultegra-105 Bianchi Via Nirone S
  • Bikes equipped with a Garmin GPS (choice road or hybrid) 
  • Two or more professional tour guides throughout the program
  • All accommodations in 4-star hotels and one 3 star
  • All breakfasts, all lunches and all dinners
  • Wine and beer with meals
  • Wine tasting
  • Sicilian delicacies prepared with a local chef and our chefs
  • Visit of Selinunte Greek ruins
  • Guided tour of Palermo markets 
  • Support vehicle during the tour and luggage transfer
  • Shuttle at the beginning and at the end of the tour 
  • All coffee and cappuccino stops, ice cream, and snacks
  • All activities mentioned in the day-by-day description
  • Airfare
  • Pre-tour hotel stays and post-tour hotel stays
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and cell phone
  • Guide gratuity
  • Optional tour extension

Hotels

Santa Maria del Bosco dinner-web

ABBAZIA SANTA MARIA DEL BOSCO

Relais_Antiche_Saline_Room_web

RELAIS ANTICHE SALINE

Casina_Miregia_Menfi-web

CASINA MIREGIA

More Info

Food and Wine

Sicilian cuisine shows traces of all of the cultures which established themselves on the island over the last two millennia. Although its cuisine has a lot in common with mainland Italian cuisine, Sicilian food also has Greek, Spanish, French and Arab influences. The use of apricots, sugar, citrus, sweet melons, rice, saffron, raisins, nutmeg, clove, pepper, pine nuts, cinnamon (along with fried preparations) is a sign of Arab influences from the Arab domination of Sicily in the 10th and 11th centuries. Normans influences are also found, such as in the fondness for meat dishes. Later, the Spanish introduced numerous items from the New World, including cocoa, corn, peppers, and tomatoes. In Catania, on the east coast, initially settled by Greek colonists, fish, olives, broad beans, pistachio and fresh vegetables are preferred instead. Much of the island's cuisine encourages the use of fresh vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, and fish such as tuna, cuttlefish, and swordfish. In Trapani, in the extreme western corner of the island, North African influences are clear in the use of couscous.

Sicily is a wine-lover's paradise, such is the variety, complexity and abundance of Bacchus' unique gift! There are 23 DOC zones in Sicily: Alcamo,Contea di Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Eloro, Erice, Etna, Faro, Malvasia delle Lipari, Mamertino di Milazzo, Marsala, Menfi, Monreale, Moscato di Noto, Moscato di Pantelleria, Passito di Pantelleria, Moscato di Siracusa, Riesi, Salaparuta, Sambuca di Sicilia, Santa Margherita di Belice, Sciacca and Vittoria. Many grape types are grown, used either in purezza (single grape variety wines), or blended. Some have been around for centuries while others are more recent imports. The following are some of the main varieties: red grapes - Nero D’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Mantellato, Perricone, Frappato, Calabrese and the more recently introduced Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz (Syrah); white grapes - Cataratto, Grecanico, Grillo, Inzolia, Zibibbo, Damaschino, Trebbiano, Ausonica, Moscato Bianco, Carricante, Corinto Nero and the more recently introduced Chardonnay, Viognier and Fiano. Sicily has the most Slow Food Presidia (local projects) of all of the Italian regions. That means that the island has lots to offer in terms of gastronomical discoveries ranging from greens and vegetables to cheese and artisanal bread. Among a few that we will experience are Trapani Sea Salt, The Menfi Artichoke and the Belice Vastedda that is Italy’s only stretched-curd sheep’s milk cheese.

Related Posts

Request a Tour Summary