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Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

1. Syracuse, Ortygia and Noto Full-Day Tour from Catania

Learn the ancient history of Sicily on a full-day sightseeing tour that takes you to the archaeological park of Neapolis where you can visit classical monuments of Greek and Roman Syracuse at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Following a pick-up from your accommodation in Catania, transfer to the ruins of Syracuse, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walk, discover many old Roman streets, as well as monuments such as the Greek Theatre, whose cavea is one of the largest ever built by the ancient Greeks. Near the Greek Theatre, you will see the latomie, including the limestone cave known as the “Ear of Dyonisius,” as well as the Christian Church of San Nicolò ai Cordari. Admire the Amphitheatre of the Roman imperial age, and more. Then, continue to Ortygia Island to experience the historic heart of Syracuse. Located at the park’s eastern end, and separated by a narrow channel, Ortygia is filled with Greek temples, Christian churches, and Arabian streets. Visit the Arethusa fountain and Piazza del Duomo, where the baroque palaces, such as Beneventano del Bosco Palace and Senate Palace are among the most beautiful in Sicily. After lunch (own expense), go to the small town of Noto, noted for its unique style of Sicilian Baroque architecture, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. Wander the open-air museum and beautiful Corso Vittorio Emanuele to admire the many palaces and churches that, grouped together, are known as the “Stone Garden.”

8-days Tour of Sicily: Highlights (Small Group)

2. 8-days Tour of Sicily: Highlights (Small Group)

To begin, take a walk with your native local guide who will reveal Taormina’s culture, architecture, natural and political history, and tell stories about the Sicilian people and their traditions. Conquered by the Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Byzantines, and Normans, Taormina boasts a rich and fascinating history and a robust mix of styles. Discover little streets and hidden corners that give Taormina a special charm. The next day involves a half-day trip to the small antique villages of Savoca and Forza d’Agro located on the mountains. See the places where the most famous scenes of the Godfather movies were made. Next, get a real taste of Taormina. Savor its delicious food, soak in its vibrant culture, and meet the people who keep so many wonderful food and wine traditions alive. Just follow your expert guide through the town and eat and drink like the locals. The next day involves an adventure to visit Mt. Etna. You will have free time to walk on the old lava flows before continuing your tour to a famous winery located on the slopes of Etna, famous for it’s unique vulcanic wines and organic food. You will then head to magnificent Noto. While walking around, taste a famous Modica chocolate and Sicilian ice-cream with extraordinary flavor. The next day will feature a 2-hour walking tour of Ortigia, Syracuse’s old town. Admire the majesty of the Apollo Temple before heading down Via Cavour, one of the most colorful streets in Ortigia, where local artists and aristocrats like to spend their evenings. It’s then time to say goodbye to Syracuse and move towards Palermo passing the ancient Temple Valley. The following day, sample the best Sicilian streetfood during a 3-hour walking tour of Palermo. This food tour, led by a local expert guide, explores the fascinating culinary world of Sicily’s capital and includes a visit of the famous and bustling Vucciria and Mercato del Capo outdoor markets.

Noto: Sicilian Baroque Architecture Guided Walking Tour

3. Noto: Sicilian Baroque Architecture Guided Walking Tour

The guided tour of Noto will take you back to the Baroque era with its buildings embellished with decorations, stairways and statues like a stone garden and having become the capital of Sicilian Baroque. The guided tour starts from the entrance door to the historic center, the Porta Reale or Porta Ferdinandea, near the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the nearby Convent of the Holy Savior. We go up the beautiful staircase to be able to admire one of the most beautiful interiors in Noto, with wonderful frescoes and decorations. Walking along the main street, a few steps away we find another beautiful church in which the Baroque style is very recognizable especially inside: we are talking about the Church of Santa Chiara next to a former Benedictine monastery, where you can admire the columns embellished with stuccoes, statues of the apostles and putti. The tour continues arriving in the Piazza del Duomo which houses the majestic Palazzo Ducezio, seat of the Town Hall, built between the 18th and 19th centuries, with its frescoed roof and rooms in which the mirrors create games of visual illusions that make them more large. In front of this baroque-style jewel stands the monumental staircase that leads to the stupendous Cathedral of S. Nicolò, the very symbol of Noto with its honey color that characterizes it at sunset and which we will visit inside. Built in the eighteenth century, it has collapsed three times over time, it has been rebuilt even if many frescoes have been lost; the beautiful facade has two bell towers, one housing a bell while the other has a clock. We continue the visit reaching another well-known symbolic place, namely Via Nicolaci, the street where the infiorata is set up (a carpet of flowers lying on the road) which attracts many tourists and we will also visit externally from some of the most beautiful buildings in Noto. One of these palaces for sure is Palazzo Nicolaci with its beautiful and famous balconies decorated in the lower part with statues, masks, animals and various figures carved in the limestone in the typical Baroque style. Walking through the alleys of the historic center we can admire the Loggia del Mercato which was once the seat of the Noto market with the wrought iron loggia and today used for cultural events. We end the guided tour by discovering the elegant building that houses the Tina di Lorenzo Theater in neoclassical style and the marble Fountain of Hercules built in the 1700s.

From Taormina: Siracusa & Noto Small-Group Tour

4. From Taormina: Siracusa & Noto Small-Group Tour

Start your day at 8:00 AM with a pickup from the pre-arranged meeting point in Taormina. Once you have enjoyed a pleasant meet-and-greet with your driver, head to Syracuse, taking in all the sights along the way.  Your first stop of the day will be the archaeological park of the Neapolis. Here, you'll be able to admire the site's Greek and Roman heritage by witnessing landmarks such as the Greek Theatre, the Ear of Dionysius and the Latomie. Afterwards, you will move to the lovely Ortigia Island, the historical centre of Syracuse which is connected to the city by a short bridge. Here, you will walk through the alleys and the squares of the old town discovering its landmarks, starting from the ruins of the temple of Apollo, to the Cathedral and the Arethusa Fountain. During your visit of Ortigia, a light lunch with local products will be offered; alternatively, you could decide to have lunch on your own. The last stop of your day will be Noto, which is considered the capital of the Sicilian Baroque. You will have 1-hour to visit the historical centre of the city by your self before enjoying your relaxing car ride back to Taormina by 7:00 - 7:30 PM.

Noto: Historical Walking Tour with a Local Guide

5. Noto: Historical Walking Tour with a Local Guide

The tour will take place in a small group and with the accompaniment of a qualified tour guide who will tell you about the events of the great earthquake that devastated the Val di Noto in 1693 and the reconstruction of the city, which lives again thanks to its unique monuments and distinctive architecture. The itinerary will start from the Royal Gate and leading to visit from the inside and most beautiful monumental churches that Noto has to offer. You will be able to admire the Church of San Francesco, the Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Church of Santa Chiara, after which you will go up the eccentric Via Nicolaci, famous for the Infiorata and the most beautiful Baroque balconies in Sicily. Finally you will reach the Fountain of Hercules, which inevitably refers to the hero of Greek mythology who, legend has it, is said to have founded several cities in Sicily. In addition to information regarding the monuments and places surrounding Noto, the guide will also advise you regarding the food and wine specialties of the area, which are not to be missed!

Sicily: 7-Day Sicilian Culture and Art Tour

6. Sicily: 7-Day Sicilian Culture and Art Tour

Day 1 After getting picked up at Catania Airport, enjoy a welcome aperitif in the company of your local guide in Catania. Afterward, enjoy a walking tour of the city during which you will see iconic landmarks such as the Duomo Square, The cathedral fi Saint Agatha, Roman Amphitheatre, and Bellini Park. Day 2 Start your day with a light trek on Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna. After your trek, re-energize with a traditional Italian lunch at a family-run restaurant. You will also be able to sample some local wines from the Etna region. After lunch, enjoy some free time to explore the town of Taormina at your own pace before heading up to Castelmola, where you can sample the region's famous almond wine served with delicious biscuits. Finish the day by watching the breathtaking sunset in the village of Savoca, one of Italy's prettiest villages and the setting for the Godfather movie. Day 3 Today, enjoy a guided tour of the city of Syracuse, including a visit to the island of Ortigia. Here, admire landmarks such as the Cathedral of Saint Lucy, Caravaggio, Archimedes Square, and the Fountain of Aretusa. Afterward, move onto Neapolis Archaeological Park where you can admire the Latomie del Paradiso, Greek Theatre, Roman Amphitheatre, and  The Ear of Dionysius. Stop for lunch in the town of Noto, a baroque-style town with elegant churches and sprawling palaces. In the afternoon, enjoy a chocolate-making masterclass in the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily before heading to the picture-perfect town of Ragusa Ibla, where you will spend the night. Day 4 Start your day at the Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina, where one of the largest and richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world awaits you. Afterward, head to the Valley of Temples, where you will discover one of the greatest examples of Greater Greece's art and architecture. Enjoy some free time to explore this sprawling temple complex, with 7 ancient Greek temples. Day 5 In the morning, head to the coastal town of Marsala to sample the town's namesake wine. Learn how to differentiate this unique fortified wine by its amber color and unique scent. In the afternoon, head to the Trapani Salt Museum. Here, learn more about salt production methods in the area and admire a unique landscape dotted with over 100 mills, some of which are still in function. Finish the day with a stroll around the medieval town of Erice, a historic and charming town located in the Sicilian hills. Day 6 Today, you will be visiting the towns of Palermo and Monreale, both of which are famous for their Byzantine-style mosaics. In Palermo, visit the 12th-century cathedral and immerse yourself in the city's vibrant history and culture. In Monreale, admire the fine mosaics in the town's great Norman cathedral. Afterward, take in panoramic views of the surrounding valley, filled with orange, olive and almond trees. Day 7 Spend your last day in Sicily at the seaside town of Cefalu. Spend a few hours getting lost in a maze of tiny streets and ice-cream shops before heading Castelbuono, a picturesque village hidden in the Madonie Mountains. Get dropped off back at the airport at the end of your trip.

The Barocco & Food Experience: Siracusa, Ortigia, Noto

7. The Barocco & Food Experience: Siracusa, Ortigia, Noto

Depart from Catania in a comfortable minivan or luxury minibus which is heading for one of Sicily’s most spectacular sights. The archaeological park in Syracuse was constructed in the 5th century BC, then rebuilt in the 3rd century AD. The 16,000-capacity amphitheatre, also known as the Teatro Greco, is the archaeological park’s mind-blowing centrepiece, though there are other key sites such as the Latomia del Paradiso, a deep limestone quarry from which stone to build the ancient city was extracted. A visit to the Syracuse Archaeological Park would be enough to take your breath away normally. But this trip is packed with some of the island’s top attractions - such as the island of Ortigia. Here, you’ll take a guided walking tour with an expert local guide who can answer any and all of your questions on the island - which is the historic centre of Syracuse. Take in the most famed landmarks such as the Cathedral “il Duomo”, the Maniace Castle and the Aretusa fountain. Any day trip in Sicily is not complete without a traditional lunch, which is included in our tour, with wine tasting as well! The final stop on your tour is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque locations in not only Sicily, but all of Italy, the stunning town of Noto. Less than 40km southwest of Syracuse, you’ll have an hour of free time in Noto, which you can spend strolling the Corso Vittorio Emanuele marvelling at the elegant baroque palazzi and churches. And you’ll have the chance to stop for a granita tasting too!

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What people are saying about Noto

A great experience, our guide was very friendly and helpful. We were picked up on time and saw some very nice sites. We enjoyed our day greatly and got to see 3 places in sicily which was quite convenient as we were there for only a short stay. Would definitely recommend this experience!

Nando was very helpful, courteous and was an excellent guide. We got to understand Sicily better because of his explanations and knowledge.

Our guide Giuseppe is knowledgeable, caring and fun. The tour was perfect.

All very interesting, NANDO excellent guide and driver, all perfect

Overall nice trup across several beautiful cities.