untold italy small group tours

Eastern Sicily Tour Overview

Come with us to Eastern Sicily for the adventure of a lifetime exploring the island’s ancient and Baroque past. Discover vibrant, exciting towns and landscapes, meet the locals and enjoy experiences that you’ll keep in your heart forever.

Eastern Sicily is a heady combination of history, culture, local tastes, brilliant wine and artisan crafts passed down by generations. And, of course, remarkable people. Our tour itinerary takes you to many of the island’s classic highlights. Plus, in the Untold Italy way, we uncover a myriad of hidden secrets. From breathtaking Taormina to the slopes of Mount Etna and charming Ortigia, you’ll experience ancient ruins, magical landscapes and the ultimate in Sicilian hospitality.

Beginning in Catania, we spend a day in Taormina. Here we explore the impressive remains of an Ancient Greek theatre and you have plenty of time to live out your own ‘White Lotus’ fantasies. Mount Etna is calling us too. Get up close to the island’s great nurturer and destroyer before tasting her bounty and how it’s celebrated at a local winery.

Heading inland to the Baroque towns of Val di Noto, we learn about their resurgence after the devastating earthquake of 1693. This area of Sicily is diverse and exciting, so you’ll also discover layers of culture that have endured and evolved over centuries.

Our tour ends in the beauty that is the island of Ortigia, a city that brims with two and a half thousand years of history.

 Of course the highlight of any visit to Sicily is the abundant, delicious and seasonally thoughtful food and wine. Through shared meals and tasting experiences you’ll learn how Sicilians are brilliantly applying modern techniques to ancient traditions and ensuring the sustainability of their environment.

We’re excited to show you the contrasts and rhythm of this land and let it seep into all of your senses so that you’re craving more and wondering why you didn’t visit sooner.

Upcoming Eastern Sicily Tours

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Tour of Eastern Sicily Highlights

Dreamy Taormina • The tastiest Sicilian food and wine • Vibrant Catania • Romantic Ortigia and towns of the Val di Noto • Smouldering Mount Etna • Chocolate Making • Local artisans

group photo noto tour
sicily symbol
cannoli sicily
eastern sicily tour
sicilian fruits
artisan ceramics caltagirone

What our Guests Say About Untold Italy Tours

Magical! Beautiful! I’m a bit of a dreamer and I just got lost there last night. Lost in this beauty.. Magnificent! I just loved it – view video

Vicki / Australia

We have been to Italy several times, but never like this. It has been a wonderful experience – view video

Pati / USA

Aside from every little surprise around every corner, I’ll remember Cosimo and the genuine excitement and pride that come out of him and his storytellingview video

Steve / USA

Tour of Eastern Sicily Itinerary

CATANIA EASTERN SICILY

Day One

Arrive in CATANIA

Our journey starts in Catania at the foot of smouldering Mount Etna. A city of contrasts, this vibrant Baroque metropolis is the perfect introduction to our time in Sicily.

In Catania you’ll find opulent palazzi on one corner and the bustling fish market around another. It’s a place where ancient rituals coexist with modern life. Check into our hotel, explore the city and in the evening get together with the group for your welcome aperitivo with your host and fellow travelers.

  • Hotel: Luxury 4 Star hotel in the heart of Catania – check in from 3pm
  • Meals: Welcome aperitivo, Dinner with wine
mount etna east sicily

Day Two

the craters (& wine) of mt etna

Mount Etna’s craters look like a scene from the planet Mars. We visit this unique landscape after breakfast at the hotel and tread the volcanic soil that has always defined the island of Sicily. Civilizations and invaders have come and gone from Sicily but Etna remains the great mother of this land.

Our expert local guide takes us safely around the craters and lava flows and explains the topography and volcanic history along the way. Views from this area are breathtaking so it’s definitely a day to remember your camera.

With an appreciation of why the volcano is both feared and revered, we continue to an outstanding local winery that is pioneering a renaissance of winemaking in this region. We meet the wine makers and discover the organic and sustainable practices and techniques deployed in creating exciting wines from native grape varieties.

Of course, wine in Sicily is always enjoyed with a meal. Our lunch today pairs the wine from this property with local and seasonal produce that it was made to compliment. And it’s then you’ll understand the symbiosis and connection between the people, the land, and their food and wine.

In the afternoon we return to Catania to relax or explore the city, before meeting again for a delicious dinner.

  • Hotel: Luxury 4 Star boutique hotel in Catania
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • Activities: Guided tour of Mount Etna craters with expert local guide, and winery visit

Day Three

ancient greek taormina

Today we set off for one of the most popular towns in all of Sicily – spectacular Taormina! More recently made famous thanks to HBO’s The White Lotus series, we’ll delve deeper into the thousands of years of history that run through this beautiful place.

Draped in blossoming bougainvillea, Taormina is perched up high on a hill above the sea with a stunning view across to the mainland. Together, we walk its elegant and refined streets as we tour the town with our expert local guide. We explore the incredible Greek Theater and have the chance to admire the exceptional views of both Mount Etna and the coastline.

Enjoy the rest of the day with some free time over a long lunch, relaxing at Isola Bella, or shopping. You can take the cable car to the Mazzaro Beach and lounge at a Lido on the pristine white sand, or even hire a boat to take you to the crystal-clear Blue Grotto. Don’t miss a granita from the best bar in town either at the iconic Bam Bar!

We head back to Catania in the late afternoon with time to freshen up before we meet for a seafood feast at the market. Mornings here are chaotic with the sounds and colors of locals buying the freshest clams, swordfish and tuna. Evenings are atmospheric but a lot more relaxed. Sit back after wandering this iconic institution of the city (operating since the 900s) as we sip on a crisp Etna white wine paired with the freshest of fish.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with wine
  • Activities: Guided tour of Taormina and Greek theater
  • Accommodation: 4 star luxury boutique hotel in Catania
RAGUSA EASTERN SICILY

Day Four

CALTAGIRONE & RAGUSA

This morning we depart for Baroque Val di Noto, but not before making an exciting stop on the way. Colorful Caltagirone is festooned in the ceramic tiles for which the town is best known. The artisan origins of the city pre-date Arab occupation, however as we learn about Sicily’s layered past, the Arabs left their mark in the form of glazing techniques used to this day.

We’ll explore the town with our expert archeologist guide, taking note of the impressive 142 steps of the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte inlaid with ornate tiles for spectacular effect.

Later, we visit the workshop of a third generation artisan family entrusted with maintaining and restoring Caltigirone’s public ceramic works. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase a piece of the highest quality and craftsmanship here.

Laden with our one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces, we head off for a magical lunch at a local winery. Discover hyper local grape varieties you’ve likely never heard of before, all paired superbly with seasonal dishes.

After lunch we make our way to our lovely villa hotel in Ragusa. This carefully restored 19th century villa preserves the magical atmosphere of bygone times and is an oasis in the heart of the city. Enjoy some time to relax, and unpack before we head into town for aperitivo and dinner. Bring your cameras- the view is magnifico!

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • Activities: Guided tour of Caltagirone with artisan workshop visit
  • Accommodation: 4 star villa hotel in Ragusa
modica chocolate sicily

Day Five

MODICA, CHOCOLATE & SICILIAN ART

Our adventure today begins in delicious Modica – a town known for its delicious chocolate. Here the locals prepare their sweet treats according to ancient traditions dating back to the Aztecs.

We meet our local guide for a walk through town as they recount stories and legends about this hilltop beauty, admire ornate and beautiful Cathedral San Giorgio and gaze upon the town from up high. Like Ragusa, Modica is full of steps that take you down little alleys and offer spectacular views, and intriguing history.

After a delicious lunch in town, we’re off for an extra sweet experience as we learn to make the town’s iconic chocolate. Cooked over a low fire, the chocolate remains granular. You can enjoy it plain or get creative with other delicious flavor combinations. With our sweet tooths satisfied, we return to our villa hotel to relax and reset.

This afternoon, we have time to delve a little deeper into gorgeous Ragusa. But first, we’re off to visit some local artisans who have dedicated themselves to the painting and restoration of traditional Sicilian carts. This beautiful art is a dying profession and a purely oral tradition handed down from centuries from master to pupil. Step inside their workshop for a glimpse into the past, before it disappears forever…

Mesmerized and inspired by this painstakingly beautiful work, we have some free time to wander and explore Ragusa. This evening we meet in town for a delicious dinner paired with matching wines.

  • Hotel: 4 star villa hotel in Ragusa
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • Activities: Guided walking tour of Modica, chocolate making class, local artisan visit
noto eastern sicily

Day Six

BAROQUE NOTO & A SICILIAN FEAST

The final leg of our trip takes us to pretty as a picture Ortigia. On our way to the island, the old town of Siracusa, we can’t miss a stop at the beautiful Baroque gem Noto. The great earthquake of 1693 completely destroyed the towns of the Val di Noto. First among equals, Noto was completely rebuilt in the exuberant Baroque style you see today.

Our expert local guide shows us the grand palazzi and beautiful churches of the town. Enjoy the bird’s eye view from the opulent Chiesa Santa Chiara where you’ll find an enchanting view of the Baroque interior and sweeping vistas of the city of Noto from the rooftop.

With stomachs rumbling, we stop for lunch at a local restaurant to enjoy tasty seasonal Sicilian dishes. Enjoy a little free time in pretty Noto afterwards and be sure to grab an almond granita from iconic Caffè Sicilia along the way (don’t resist, you’ll be talking about this for the longest time)! before we venture onwards towards Ortigia.

We check-in to our luxury boutique hotel before you have some free time to unwind and relax. Exploring Ortigia’s laneways and seaside vistas is one of life’s ultimate pleasures and there will be plenty of time for that this afternoon. You may want to peek inside the ornate Baroque cathedral or indulge in an “only in Sicily” cannolo. We’ll share the best addresses of course!

In the evening we continue our food discovery journey by enjoying a rooftop feast and cooking demonstration of some of the island’s favorite dishes. As we watch the sun set over the rooftops of Ortigia we hear stories and tales of the origins of the dishes beloved by Sicilians.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • Activities: Noto tour and rooftop dinner
  • Hotel: 4 star boutique hotel in Ortigia
siracusa east sicily

Day Seven

Explore ortigia & siracusa

There’s something about Ortigia that pulls you in. Maybe it’s the labyrinth of streets opening onto elegant piazza or the turquoise sea lapping at the shoreline. Regardless, it’s a special place where time seems to stand still yet life continues in glorious chaos on this tiny peninsula.

We start our day at the fish market in Ortigia to check out its vibrant produce, before wandering across the bridge towards Siracusa’s archaeological park where you’ll discover the stories and history behind one of Europe’s largest surviving Greek Theaters, the Ear of Dionysus and later Roman ruins.

In awe of the greatness still standing all these centuries later, we head back to Ortigia for a delicious and fun market lunch. Spend some time relaxing back at the hotel in the afternoon, or why not go for a final shop in one of the many excellent boutiques in town.

We begin our final evening on the water for an unforgettable sunset cruise that will leave you speechless. Enjoy views of the Maniace castle from the sea and look back out over Ortigia’s colorful facades, majestic churches and protective walls. We duck in and out of local grottoes including of course a heart-shaped one, known as the grotto of love.

Afterwards, we head into town for a memorable meal to end your time with us in Sicily. We’ll recount the treasures of Ortigia and other highlights of eastern Sicily (and no doubt vow to return again) over a delicious dinner prepared with seasonal and slow food principles in mind.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with wine, Dinner with wine
  • Activities: Siracusa Archaeological park and Ortigia tour and sunset boat cruise
  • Hotel: 4 star boutique hotel in Ortigia
ortigia eastern sicily

Day Eight

Arrivederci eastern Sicily

It’s time now to say our farewells. Our trip has given you a glimpse of Sicilian history, culture, food and wine – influenced over 2,500 years by many civilizations who all left their mark. We have no doubt you’ll take a little piece of Sicily home with you in your heart.

Group departure transfers to Catania airport or train station will be arranged for a morning departure.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Transfer: Group transfer to Catania airport or train station

Tour of Eastern Sicily Inclusions

We have strived to make our Eastern Sicily tour as all inclusive as possible with no hidden surprises. Included in your tour are:

  • 7 nights in luxury 4 star accommodation – 3 nights at a city hotel in Catania, 2 nights in a boutique hotel in Ragusa and 2 nights at a boutique hotel in Ortigia
  • 4 guided orientation walking tours with expert local guides
  • Unique experiences: Wine tasting, cooking class, chocolate making class, artisan workshop visits, boat tour and more
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 aperitivo and 7 dinners as specified in the itinerary, wine and bottled water is included with meals other than breakfast
  • Luxury air-conditioned mini-bus
  • Group departure transfers
  • Tips and gratuities for drivers and guides
catania market
isola bella taormina
sicilian pasta
sicilian art

Eastern Sicily Tour FAQ

Accommodation on Tour

We have three wonderful accommodation stops on our tour of eastern Sicily. Our home base in Catania is an boutique 4 star hotel in the heart of the city with a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. In Ragusa we stay in a charming villa hotel with lush gardens and a swimming pool. Our last stop in Oritigia takes us to a beautiful 4 star property close to the sea.

Meet Your Host

Olivia is an Australian woman living in Rome, with a passion for the land of la dolce vita, cooking and wine. Her super powers include finding the most charming villages and delectable cheeses.

Olivia is your local host that ensures your trip is memorable for all the right reasons.

Arrivals and Departures

Our tour begins in Catania when you check into your hotel from 3pm. Our activities conclude on the morning of our final day in Ortigia when we check out of our hotel. Group departure transfers to Catania are included in your tour price.

Upcoming Tour Dates

  • 2024 – October 5 -12 – SOLD OUT
  • SPRING 2025 – March 30 – April 6 – book now
  • SPRING 2025 – May 2 – 9 – book now
  • FALL 2025 – September 20 – 27 – book now
  • FALL 2025 – October 14 – 21 – book now
  • Exclusive tours available on request for groups of 6-10 – inquire

Booking information

  • Price from $US 7,390 per person based on double or twin share accommodation
  • A supplement applies for solo travelers wanting a private room
  • 30% deposit required to reserve your spot
  • Cancel for a full refund up to 120 days before departure
  • Read complete terms and conditions
GENERAL TOUR FAQ

Discover Sicily

Italy’s largest island has a long and rich history marked by waves of invasion and immigration that informed its culture – from architecture and art to food and wine. Combined with stunning natural assets – from Mount Etna, the central hills to the surrounding sea, this colorful past makes Sicily one of the most exciting Italian regions to visit.

Sicily Travel Guide

Uncover the highlights of the region

READ THE GUIDE

Val di Noto

Exploring Sicily’s Baroque valley

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