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A Wine & Food Tour of Sicily 

A gastronomic tour around the spectacular Mediterranean island of Sicily hosted by Tony Aspler and featuring visits to many of the most notable players in Italy's most exciting wine scene, complemented by exceptional local cuisine and luxury accommodations.

12 days, from Wednesday, May 18, 2011 to Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tour cost: $5,550 from Toronto, based on double occupancy.

PROPOSED ITINERARY:

MEALS INCLUDED: B(reakfast), L(unch), or D(inner)

Day 1 – Wednesday, May 18:
Evening departure from Toronto for Rome with Alitalia (Flight #720, departing 16:45 arriving in Rome at 07:20 on 19th). Dinner as well as a light breakfast will be served on board.

Day 2 – Thursday, May 19: [B,D]
Early morning arrival in Rome, and short connecting flight to Palermo, the capital of Sicily(connecting flight Alitalia #1777 departing 09:05 arriving in Palermo at 10:20). Immediate transfer to the 4* Centrale Palace Hotel (www.angalahotels.it), a restored 18th-century villa and now a first-class hotel ideally located in the heart of old Palermo and our base for the following three days. Time to unwind this afternoon after our long journey. Late afternoon walking tour in the vicinity of the hotel for those interested. A welcome cocktail followed by dinner this evening in the hotel's elegant rooftop terrace restaurant.

Day 3 – Friday, May 20: [B]
Full-day sightseeing tour of Palermo, with highlights such as the Palazzo dei Normanni with the 12th-century Palatine Chapel, whose interior is entirely covered in mosaics; the superb cathedral and its tombs of Sicilian Kings; the Byzantine Church of la Martorana; the impressive Baroque sculptures of the Quattro Canti and nearby Monreale to visit the cathedral with its outstanding mosaics, the apex of Sicilian-Norman art. Free time for lunch in the seaside resort of Mondello, situated on a beautiful inlet of the Tyrrhenian Sea, before a late afternoon return to Palermo via the Monte Pellegrino mountain road, offering spectacular views of the coast, stopping briefly to visit the immensely popular shrine of St. Rosalia, patron saint of the city. Optional group dinner this evening in a specially chosen trattoria in the vicinity of our hotel.

Day 4 – Saturday, May 21: [B,L]
After breakfast we will venture into the Island's scenic interior near the small town of Vallelunga Pratameno and the spectacular Regaleali estate of Sicily's most historic wine producer – Tasca D'Almerita (www.tascadalmerita.it). Since 1830 the estate has been owned and operated by members of the Tasca family – currently Count Lucio Tasca and his sons. The property is also the site of Sicily's most famous cooking school which was until her recent passing was run by the Count's sister Marchesa Anna Tasca Lanza. Tasca D'Almerita was the first Sicilian producer to recognize the potential for high quality wine making on the Island and for over 100 years it has produced consistently exceptional wines using both indigenous and more recently blends of non-indigenous varietals. Here we will enjoy a fabulous tasting of their fine wines over a lunch of classic Sicilian fare sourced from the estate itself. Late afternoon return to Palermo with still some time to shop and explore. Free evening.

Day 5 – Sunday, May 22: [B,D]
Check out of hotel and departure from Palermo after breakfast. We motor to Segesta, where a superb lone Greek temple dominates a grandiose landscape of rugged mountains, a peaceful valley, and the Mediterranean in the distance. On to Erice, a small town situated atop a cliff rising abruptly 750 metres above sea level. The views from the terraces of this medieval town are breathtaking, and on clear days the coast of North Africa can be seen! Walking tour of the town with a local guide before lunch (we also recommend you try a cappucino and a sweet in the famous local pastry shop of Maria Grammatico). In the late afternoon we continue along the coast, featuring countless salt flats with typical windmills near the port of Trapani. Early evening check-in to western Sicily's most luxurious resort and our base for the following two nights – the 5* Kempinski Hotel Giardino di Costanza (www.kempinski-sicily.com). A gala group dinner this evening in the hotel's first-class restaurant.

Day 6 – Monday, May 23: [B,D]
After breakfast we will make our way to the nearby port of Marsala, situated on the western tip of Sicily. Here we'll visit the historic cellars of Donnafugata (www.donnafugata.it), where four generations of the Rallo family have produced some of Sicily's top wines from their vineyard holdings throughout the island. We'll enjoy a tasting of their impressive range of wines accompanied by a light lunch. Before leaving Marsala we'll drop by another historic property – that of Cantine Florio (www.cantineflorio.it) – for a tasting of the town's namesake sweet wine at its very best. Return to the resort with time to relax and prepare for our group dinner at the spectacular new La Foresteria estate of Planeta (www.planeta.it) – a modern wine producer rapidly gaining international acclaim for its red and white wines produced from both native and imported varietals.

Day 7 – Tuesday, May 24: [B,D]
After checking out of the resort this morning we motor eastward along the south coast of the Island, stopping for a visit to the impressive ruins of the temples on the site of the Greek city of Selinunte. Time for a light lunch en route to our main destination of Agrigento – a town with a spectacular collection of very well preserved Greek temples. We'll spend the later part of this afternoon visiting the impressive Valley of the Temples with local archaeologist Professor Michele Gallo as our guide before continuing our journey along the coast to our hotel for this evening– the charming 4* Falconara Hotel & Resort (www.hotelfalconararesort.eu), situated on a beautiful stretch of coast and occupying the medieval Falconara castle, which was built in Norman times to oppose the Moor invasions. A gourmet group dinner this evening in the hotel's highly reputed restaurant.

Day 8 – Wednesday, May 25: [B,L]
By special invitation this morning we will visit the impressive wine estate of Valle dell'Acate (www.valldellacate.com) in nearby Butera, where following a tour of the estate we'll enjoy a lunch accompanied by a selection of their exceptional wines. Late this afternoon we will complete our eastbound journey across the Island before arriving at our final destination of Taormina – Sicily's most glamourous resort – with its spectacular setting high on a rocky plateau overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. Early evening check-in at the 5* Hotel Imperiale Taormina (www.imperialetaormina.com) – ideally situated in the magnificent heart of the town. Free evening to explore the many exceptional dining options within walking distance of our hotel.

Day 9 – Thursday, May 26: [B]
After breakfast, a leisurely walking tour of Taormina, with the superb hilltop Greco-Roman theatre and the picturesque old town itself offering spectacular views of Mount Etna and the coast. Afternoon free to explore the town's many attractions that have lured generations of visiting aristocrats, artists, celebrities and tourists including chic shops and architecture dating from the 4th century build by waves of conquering Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards. Those preferring to relax on a seaside café can take the cable car to the beach far below the town. An optional group dinner will be arranged in this evening in one of Sicily's most renowned restaurants.

Day 10 – Friday, May 27: [B,L]
Departure from Taormina after breakfast. Accompanied by a local guide we will climb magnificent Mount Etna, with desolate lunar landscapes of molten lava and homes abandoned during past eruptions, but also prosperous villages living in the shadow of Europe's biggest, and still very active, volcano. While viticulture is not new to Etna, only very recently has the area's potential for producing exceptionally high quality wines earned it descriptions such as "Italy's most exciting wine region" and the "Burgundy of the Mediterranean." One of the early stars to re-emerge on the scene in the 1990s was Benanti (www.vinicolabenanti.it), whose award-winning wines – including their benchmark white "Pietramarina" – are now sought globally. Following a VIP tasting we have been invited to lunch at the Benanti estate on the eastern slope of the volcano near Catania. Late afternoon return to Taormina and free evening.

Day 11 – Saturday, May 28: [B,L]
Morning check-out of the hotel and departure from Taormina before motoring south past Catania to historic Syracuse/Siracusa, once the most powerful and beautiful Greek city on the island they called "Trinacria." We'll enjoy a guided tour of the wonderful Archaeological Zone with its Greek theatre, Roman amphitheatre, and the garden known as the Latomia of Paradise, featuring the "Ear of Dionysios," a cave with amazing acoustic properties. A special "farewell lunch" will be arranged before our early evening connecting flight from Catania Airport to Rome. Overnight at the Rome airport Hilton.

Day 12 – Sunday, May 29: [B]
10:30 am return flight direct from Rome to Toronto (arriving at 14:45).

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • Peter Sammartino and William Roberts, Sicily: An Informal History
  • John Julius Norwich, The Normans in Sicily
  • Peter Robb, Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra
  • Moses I. Finley, A History of Sicily: Ancient Sicily to the Arab Conquest
  • Mary Taylor Simeti, On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal
  • Lawrence Durrell, Sicilian Carousel
  • Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa, The Leopard (turned into a famous movie by Visconti in the 1960s!)

Tour cost: $5,550 per person from Toronto
Single Supplement: $750

Included in the price:

  • Return flight to Sicily
  • Accommodation in first-class/4 and 5 star hotels, based on double occupancy; the single room supplement is $750; please note that only a limited number of single rooms are available, so book early!
  • Hotel taxes and gratuities
  • Daily breakfast and a total of 8 multi-course dinners (or sometimes full lunch)
  • Overland transportation via private coach
  • All visits and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary, including admission to museums and monuments mentioned (please note that, as always in Italy, for some reason or another, some monuments may happen to be closed, in which case another visit would be substituted).

Not included:

  • All expenses of a personal nature
  • Airport taxes and security fees
  • Travel insurance, which is available as follows:
Deluxe package insurance:
Non-medical insurance:
Up to age 59: $336.96
$298.08
Ages 60 to 64: $415.80
$346.68
Ages 65 to 69: $498.96
$396.36
Ages 70 to 74: $650.16
$454.68
Ages 75 and over: Call for rates

 

With single supplement
Deluxe package insurance:
Non-medical insurance:
Up to age 59: $367.20
$328.32
Ages 60 to 64: $453.60
$384.48
Ages 65 to 69: $544.32
$441.72
Ages 70 to 74: $703.08
$507.60
Ages 75 and over: Call for rates

PAUWELS TRAVEL BUREAU LTD.
95 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, Ontario N3T 2J1
Tel: 519-753-2695
Fax: 519-753-6376
Email: tours@pauwelstravel.com
Ont. Reg. #1034992

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

RESERVATIONS AND DEPOSITS:
Reservations should be made as early as possible to ensure the departure of your choice. A deposit of $750.00 is required at the time of registration. Your reservation is confirmed upon receipt of your deposit and application form. No reservations will be accepted without a signed application form.

REFUND OF UNUSED ARRANGEMENTS:
Because the rates of Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. are based on group participation, no refund can be made for any tour accommodation or tour service or tour feature not taken. If cancellation occurs while the tour is in progress, no refund can be made for the tour portion not taken. We strongly suggest that, to allow for any unexpected contingencies, you purchase the all-inclusive insurance.

CANCELLATION POLICY:
Refund of deposit is made in full if cancellation is received in writing by Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. more than 90 days prior of the departure date of the tour less a $250.00 non-refundable administrative fee per person. For cancellation received in writing 90 days prior or less the following cancellation charges apply:
90 days to 46 days before departure: 25% of tour cost
45 to 15 days before departure: 50% of tour cost
within 14 days prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

RESPONSIBILITY:
Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. reserves the right without notice, to withdraw any part or all of the tour. Factors such as airline schedule changes, hotel overbookings, inclement weather, etc. may necessitate changes in the itinerary as outlined. There may also be other circumstances in which changes become necessary or advisable. Any savings realized by these changes will be passed on to the passengers, any resultant expenses shall be borne by the passenger. Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. acts only as an agent in securing hotel, transportation and other travel services and in no event shall be held responsible for the failure by any person or company to render any transportation, lodging or other travel service to be provided on the tour. All hotel, transportation and other travel services are provided to tour members subject to all the terms and conditions under which they are offered to the public generally. The acceptance of the initial service to be provided under the tour shall be considered an acceptance by the tour member of those conditions. Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. also reserves the right to decline, to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour, in which case equitable refund will be made at the discretion of the tour operators.

AIR TRANSPORTATION:
Trans-Atlantic economy flight by scheduled IATA carriers, based on charter class fare. Other fares may also be used. All fares are subject to specific rules and regulations, to changes and to government approval.

APPLICATION FORM

Please book ___ seat(s) on the "Aspler Wine Tour of Sicily," May 18–29, 2010.

Enclosed is my/our deposit of $___ ($750 per person, plus insurance premium if taken.)
Deposit and insurance premium, if taken, are due with registration. You will be invoiced for the balance approximately 45 days prior to departure.

WE REQUIRE A COPY OF YOUR PASSPORT (VALID FOR 6 MONTHS AFTER RETURN) TO BE SENT WITH YOUR APPLICATION FORM AT TIME OF REGISTRATION.

Name as it appears on passport. Indicate the appropriate title before each name (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr., Ms.)

NAME(S): ____________________________________________

If applicable, give your commonly used first name as you would like it to appear on your name tag: (e.g. "Liz" for "Mary Elizabeth")

ADDRESS: ___________________________________________

_______________________________ Postal Code: __________

PHONE:
(Residence) ______________

(Business) ______________

(Fax) ______________

If traveling alone, please indicate your willingness to share accommodations: YES ___ NO ___ SINGLE ROOM REQUIRED ___

(We will try to find a roommate for those willing to share, but cannot guarantee success in doing so. For single travelers we are not able to match, the single supplement will apply.)

SPECIAL REQUESTS: (Dietary, wheelchair assistance, frequent flyer number, twin beds, etc.): Please list here so we can do our best to assist you. (We will do our best to assist you but cannot guarantee success, especially in the case of requests for specific seating arrangements, since airlines do not normally allow individual seat selections for groups.)

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

I/we agree to the "terms and conditions" attached to the program.

Insurance, I/we accept:

All-inclusive Package ___
Non-medical Package ___
Decline Insurance ___

Signature(s) __________________________________________

If purchasing travel insurance, we require your date of birth:

Name: ______________________ Date of Birth: ____________

Name: ______________________ Date of Birth: ____________

PAYMENT:

___ Cheque payable to Pauwels Travel
___ Visa
___ Mastercard
___ American Express

Amount Paid: $______

Card Number: ____________________________________

Expiry date: _______________

Security Code: _________

Please note: All credit card payments are subject to a 2% surcharge


Signature: __________________________________________

Please forward this completed form, copy of passport and payment to:

PAUWELS TRAVEL BUREAU LTD.
95 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, Ontario N3T 2J1
Tel: 519-753-2695 / 519-756-4900 Fax: 519-753-6376

 

 

 

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