Food Focus: Sicily Southeast

Join tour host Lori Chisholm for a foodie exploration of her favourite region of Sicily, Italy. You’ll experience private tours, market visits, a cooking class, tastings of various Sicilian specialties, lovely wines and aperitives, and, of course, architectural and historical highlights.  Limited to 13 participants.


September 13 - 23, 2017

$4,235 from Toronto

Based on twin accommodation $395 single supplement


*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


Day 1 - Wednesday, September 13:

Evening flight via Alitalia from Toronto to Rome. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.

Day 2 - Thursday, September 14:

Morning arrival in Rome with a brief layover before boarding our connecting flight to Catania, Sicily. Transfer by taxi to our centrally-located 4-star hotel, with its lovely bar and breakfast terrace. This will be our home for four nights. After a brief opportunity to freshen up and unpack, we’ll gather for an aperitivo in the hotel bar before heading to a local trattoria for our welcome dinner.

Day 3 - Friday, September 15:

After a leisurely breakfast, we are off on a guided walking tour of the historic centre of Catania with its Roman amphitheatre under excavation, the university, Opera, lovely Duomo and famous elephant fountain. Along the way, we will have our first experience of Sicilian street food from arancini to cannoli. After the tour, we are free for the rest of the day. You can stroll Via Etnea or spend some extra time in the renowned Catania fish market or perhaps visit the Museum of the 1943 Landings. I can give you some restaurant suggestions for dinner.

Day 4 - Saturday, September 16:

After breakfast, we will depart mid-morning for our private wine tour and tasting lunch at one of the oldest and most respected wineries in Sicily. Our sommelier, Valentina, will take us out to the vineyards with a view of Etna in one direction and the Ionian Sea in the other. There we’ll have a chance to try the family’s sparkling wine with, perhaps, some crostini, then head back to the historic winery buildings for a tour followed by a lunch of local products paired with Etnean wines. Upon return to Catania, we’ll have the evening free.

Day 5 - Sunday, September 17:

The morning is free. After lunch, we’re off to cliff-hanging Taormina for the afternoon. Taormina sits just north of Catania overlooking the Ionian Sea. The views to Mount Etna are stunning. We’ll have a private walking tour of this world-famous, quite posh resort town including the ancient Greek amphitheatre which is still used for open-air concerts today. We’ll give you a chance to indulge in an aperitivo and enjoy the views of Mount Etna before we head back to Catania.

Day 6 - Monday, September 18:

After breakfast and check-out, we’ll be on our way for the short transfer to Ortigia. First, we’ll stop at an olive oil estate which produces organic extra virgin olive oil with a Protected Designation of Origin. We’ll learn about olive oil production and traditions, then we’ll be treated to a tasting and typical Sicilian lunch prepared by the family using local products.  On we go to Ortigia, my favourite spot in Sicily and our home for the next five nights. Here, we’ll be staying in a former convent, the 4-star Domus Mariae Benessere. Perfectly located minutes from the market, this elegant hotel has a lovely breakfast room, a sun terrace and a spa. This afternoon, my friend Valeria will take us on a private walking tour of Ortigia with many stops that most tourists never get to see. Her knowledge of this town is incomparable; you will be charmed by her passion! I will have lots of suggestions for dinner tonight.

Day 7 - Tuesday, September 19:

After breakfast today, we’ll be meeting our private cooking instructor and Ortigia native, Fiora. She will take us through the vibrant and colourful food market (a photographer’s dream!) where we will choose the ingredients for our cooking class and lunch. We’ll spend several hours at Fiora’s apartment overlooking the harbour preparing (and devouring!) a fabulous Sicilian lunch with wine. If you have room for dinner after this event, I can recommend some of my favourite restaurants.

Day 8 - Wednesday, September 20:

This morning after breakfast, we’ll board our coach for Ragusa Ibla, a gorgeous Baroque city not far from Siracusa. We’ll have a private guided tour so we can better absorb the cultural atmosphere of this charming town and then we’ll be off to a local dairy farm set in a landscape of olive groves, carob trees and drystone walls to learn about the production of Ibleian cheeses. We’ll have a cheese tasting and light lunch at the farm and then take the brief trip to Modica, famous for its chocolate prepared in the ancient Aztec tradition. Upon our return to Ortigia, the evening will be free. Join the passagiata, the evening people-watching stroll before dinner.

Day 9 - Thursday, September 21:

I always include one free day in my itineraries. You can arrange a day trip to Noto or Mount Etna; a boat ride around the island is a nice option; you can shop; you could book an appointment at our hotel spa or you might want to take a city bus to the Neapolis Archaeological Park. I can help! I’ll be having lunch at my favourite spot in the market. Let me know if you want to join me.

Day 10 - Friday, September 22:

Your final full day in Sicily is free until dinner. We’ll find a spot to have an aperitivo and then dine at one of my local favourites. It will be an opportunity to share stories from the week and celebrate new friendships. 

Day 11 - Saturday, September 23:

After breakfast, we have a private transfer to the airport in Catania. From there we fly to Rome and then, after a brief layover, home to Canada.




Economy airfare Toronto – Catania – Toronto with Alitalia; 9 nights’ accommodation in centrally-located 4-star hotels; All ground transfers and private coach in Sicily; 9 breakfasts; Welcome dinner Catania; Private guided walking and food tour in Catania; Private winery visit with lunch at Viagrande; Day trip to Taormina with private guided tour; Olive oil farm visit with lunch; Private guided walking tour in Ortigia; Private market tour with cooking experience and lunch in Ortigia; Day trip to Ragusa and Modica with private guided tours and lunch; Farewell dinner Ortigia; All guide and driver gratuities; Admissions to all sites during tours as per itinerary; Taxes and fuel surcharges ($590); 2-hour lounge pass for Toronto Pearson airport.


All expenses of a personal nature; Meals others than those listed above; Beverages with meals except as listed in the itinerary; Travel insurance – please contact the Pauwels office for rates.


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