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.
Not sure if you can do it? Contact us to schedule a call about how demanding the rides are or about reserving and e-bike.
• Palermo and its Arab-Norman architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• 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
May 2 - May 10, 2020
Private room (single supplement) USD 495
8 days (8 nights)
This was a WONDERFUL blend of cycling, food appreciation and cultural insight. Exceeded ALL expectations.
Don Kagey Sicily Cycling Tour[fa icon="quote-right"]
Palermo - Arrival and check-in
After an airport
Palermo - Walking Tour
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 is in charge of transforming the best ingredients and the freshest catch. Welcome to Sicily!
Corleone - 20
Today we start our journey leaving Palermo and traveling into an unexpected, rural Sicily. Orange and olive trees are abundant in the fertile valleys as we transfer to Corleone. 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. 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, and forest as we gain elevation. We are now in the Sicilian central mountain region. Abbazia Santa Maria del Bosco is a unique place. A cooking lesson and a visit of the premises will precede dinner.
Corleone - Menfi - 37 mls - 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 bucolic 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 the local chef...with your help (some of the ingredients are grown within the property).
Belice Valley - 46
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.
Menfi - Marsala - 51
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.
We’ll sail to butterfly-shaped Favignana Island, the largest of the Egadi islands. We’ll learn about the Florio Museum, a former tuna processing plant, and the history of tuna fishing on the island, including the “mattanza,” the traditional ritual of trapping and killing tuna. After taking in the sights we’ll gather at the port and board a boat for a private tour. Around the coast, tufa quarries are carved out of the crystal-clear waters. We’ll stop at protected coves to swim in clear, blue water and enjoy lunch on the boat. The rest of the day is open to enjoy the relaxed pace of island life, taking a stroll through the piazzas and small streets or maybe relaxing on the beach! We make our way back to the Sicilian coast via hydrofoil to reach our next hotel for the final celebratory dinner.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Palermo airport according to your travel plans and flight schedule.
• Two professional tour guides throughout the program
• All accommodations in 4 star hotels and one 3 star hotel
• All breakfasts, all lunches, and all dinners (Day 1 not included)
• Wine and beer with meals, coffee, cappuccino, and gelato stops
• Tastings of wine and local specialties
• Ferry and boat rides
• Cooking demonstration with a local chef
• Logistical support during the tour and luggage transfer
• Guided tour of Palermo
• Shuttle at the beginning and at the end of the tour
• All activities mentioned in the day-by-day description
• Bianchi bike rental with GPS navigation