Our Sicilian Food Odyssey Adventure is a sensory journey of flavours, smells, and colours derived from markets and producers, mingled with the beautiful village-scapes, and the history of the region. Just as a Slow Food chef meticulously selects his producers and suppliers, we have met with hotel owners, restaurant owners, farmers and retailers to create an itinerary that reflects the layers of life on the island. Here, history, culture and cuisine are interconnected and each of the civilisations that have ruled Sicily have left traces of their presence both in the architecture of the buildings as well as in the ingredients of their traditional dishes.
Enjoy this special relaxed itinerary, which may change and flow like Sicily itself.
On this unique tour, we will allow ourselves to enjoy the pleasures of the table, open our minds to fare trade, and the responsible management of our environment. Hotels have been selected for their history and tradition, as well as their level of comfort. The hotels are part of the experience of the tour with each owner (or staff member) telling us the story of the building during our welcome aperitivos in the hotel.
About the Slow Food movement
Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. It counteracts the rise of the ‘fast life’ pattern, and combats people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, and how our food choices affect the world around us.
Renowed foodie, Maggie Beer, introduced Slow Food to Australia in 1995. Slow Food groups now exist Australia-wide. You can visit the website for more information – here.
Back Track Adventures and Matteo Carri have put together a special itinerary to whet your appetite for this impressive movement.
Your Tour Leader:
MATTEO CARRI was born in a little town called Sieci, just over 10 kilometres upstream from Florence on the river Arno. His Irish mother studied at an international cooking school in Sussex, U.K., before moving to Tuscany 40 years ago where Matteo and his brother were raised on country farmhouse (pictured left with little brother, Marco). Here, Matteo indulged in fresh fruit and vegetables from the farm’s peach, cherry and fig trees, and picked wild asparagus which found its way into his mother’s prized risotto. His love for cooking started early, helping his mother with cooking, catering and all the odd jobs in the hospitality business – a wonderful learning curve.
Hospitality and a passion for food, ingredients and good cooking remained in Matt’s blood, and on graduating high school he worked in restaurants in Dublin and London, before moving into travel with Exodus where he worked in reservations, operations, and sales, and also led tours in Tuscany and helped design a Cooking in Tuscany Tour. In later years, Matt returned to Italy to run a farmhouse with apartments, B&B and direct sale wine cellar, before venturing to Australia. Now ensconced in Brisbane at Back Track Adventures, Matt has rekindled his passion for food, cooking and the best ingredients, reaching out to the Slow Food movement to create a tour that will have your mouth watering. Join him on this memorable adventure!
Costs & dates
|TRIP DURATION||14 days from Catania|
|COST^ & DATES||
*All prices are subject to change based on exchange rate fluctuations.
» 13-nights accommodation;
» Minibus transportation throughout;
» Return hydrofoil to Aeolian islands;
» 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 12 dinners;
» Evening aperitivo throughout;
» Tasting as per itinerary;
» Entrance to sites as per itinerary;
» Transfer to start hotel if not on group flight or arriving after the group;
» Travel insurance;
» Personal expenses;
» Additional wine with meals;
» Car or scooter hire in Salina.
Would you like to extend your time in Italy? A direct flight is available from Catania to the following:
» ^Please refer to Booking Terms and Conditions regarding pricing. ^Though we are not expecting any price increases from our suppliers, airline prices and/or taxes could increase. These increases will be added to our quoted holiday costs.
|Day 1||Arrival in Catania, transfer to the hotel for welcome dinner.|
|Day 2||Visit Siracusa – The Neapolis Archaeological Park of Siracusa, Ortigia market and its ancient quarter. Evening in the fishing village of Marzamemi for a sunset aperitivo.|
|Day 3||Visit black pig Slow Food presidia in Palazzolo Acreide and sample the produce. Afternoon visit to Chocolate factory in Modica followed by Slow Food fish dinner.|
|Day 4||Discover the baroque city of Ragusa in the morning. We’ll be heading to Donnafugata, and you will have the rest of the day to immerse yourself in a cooking class and tasting Villa Favorita’s produce.|
|Day 5||Halfway towards Trapani we will visit the Favara Farm Cultural park where we will have lunch before making our way to Saline di Trapani presidia and check-in to our hotel.|
|Day 6||Discover the town of Erice and taste the pastries. After a Slow Food lunch, a two hour coastal walk will help our digestion.|
|Day 7||Visit the ancient site of Selinunte, getting lost in Marsala trying sweet wine.|
|Day 8||Explore the Ancient Elymian site of Sagesta, visit the famous Monreale cathedral and then continue on to Palermo, for a leisurely afternoon and a special dinner.|
|Day 9||Visit Palermo’s Ballarò Street Market and discover the city on your own before spending the evening at Cefalù, a once-sleepy fishing village.|
|Day 10||Transfer to Milazzo to board the Hydrofoil to Salina Island in the Aeolians. A relaxing evening by the sea awaits.|
|Day 11||Visit the Capers Slow Food presidia and sample some of Salvatore’s wine. In the afternoon we will take to the sea on a sunset boat tour of Stromboli.|
|Day 12||We make our way back to mainland Sicily and transfer to Taormina for a lovely evening overlooking the bay.|
|Day 13||Today we will be visiting the Etna volcano and Bronte, a small town famous for the culture of pistachios. Final dinner in Taormina.|
|Day 14||Early morning transfer to the airport for a last breakfast all together at the airport. We bid our group farewell.|
Day 1: Arrival in Catania, transfer to the hotel for welcome dinner.
Welcome to Sicily! The group flight is scheduled to arrive at Catania airport around 4pm. On arrival, you will be transferred to Villa Favorita near Noto, about an hour away. At around 7pm we will have our first “aperitivo” where our host will tell us the story of the building and the family who owns it. We then have our dinner, comprised exclusively of locally sourced ingredients.
Day 2: Visit Siracusa, the Ortigia market and its ancient quarter. Evening in the fishing village of Marzamemi for a sunset aperitivo.
We start our Sicilian experience with a morning visit to Siracusa’s Archaeological Park, Neapolis, where you will be able to explore a Greek theatre, a Roman amphitheatre and the famous ‘Ear of Dionysus’, a cave carved in limestone with exceptional acoustics and an unsavoury history.
After the park we will head to the ancient quarter of Ortigia. Ortigia is an island connected to the mainland by two bridges and is referred to as “Citta Vecchia” – the old town. Here we visit the historic food market, packed with local produce, where the beautifully presented fresh-caught fish, ruby red oranges, walnuts as big as peaches, and bags of spices give life to a kaleidoscope of colours and flavours. We will be tasting some of the produce, as well as visiting the city’s main sites before having a tasty, tasting lunch at the popular Deli Fratelli Brugio. After lunch we will be heading back to the hotel for a bit of free time.
Mid-afternoon we head for the small fishing village of Marzamemi, around 30 minutes away. The town dates back to the 1630s, when it was under Arab rule. We will visit this typical village and see the Tonnara di Marzamemi – the tuna factory, where tuna is caught, cleaned and canned. We will also visit the workshop and the retail shop of the Campisi family who have been working with fish produce since 1854. We will be sampling some of the tuna produce, as well as various types of pesto produced by the family.
Day 3: Visit black pig Slow Food presidia in Palazzolo Acreide. Afternoon visit to Chocolate factory in Modica followed by Slow Food fish dinner.
Today we will visit our first Slow Food presidia at Palazzolo Acreide. Palazzolo Acreide is a baroque town with Greek roots, not generally included in the touristic itineraries. The presidia is set for the preservation of the Sausages of Palazzolo Acreide, which have been forged over centuries of meat-cutting skills that date back to the Roman times.
We will visit a breeding farm, a traditional butcher, and finally we will be tasting the produce at Ristorante Andrea, a slow food hotspot for the town.
After lunch we will head back to the hotel for a bit of downtime, before heading to the nearby town of Modica. Modica is particularly famous for its chocolate, which is a traditional product characterised by an ancient and original recipe that gives the chocolate a peculiar grainy texture and aromatic flavour. The chocolate was introduced by the Spanish during their reign in Sicily and was imported directly from the new world. After visiting the town’s historic centre, we will make our way to Ornato restaurant, a lovely Slow Food osteria specialising in fish dishes.
Day 4: Discover the baroque city of Ragusa. Rest of the day free for cooking class and tasting of Villa Favorita’s produce.
Today we will visit the ancient city of Ragusa, which dates back to the 2nd millennium BC when it was called Hybla Heraea. After the earthquake of 1693 most of the town was rebuilt in baroque style by the Spanish and was divided into “Ragusa Superiore” (Upper Ragusa)and the ancient city “Ragusa Inferiore” (Lower Ragusa, now Ragusa Ibla), before reuniting in 1926. We will be visiting the main sites of the town: Santa Maria dell’Irta church, Duomo di San Giorgio, and Giardini Iblei, before heading to Donnafugata where we will visit the ominous castle where the famous movie “The Leopard” was shot. After stopping for lunch we will head back to the hotel for a leisurely afternoon that includes a cooking class and tasting of the produce from Villa Favorita.
Day 5: Favara Farm Cultural park, then onto Saline di Trapani presidia. Morning drive to Favara – a town near Agrigento – halfway to Trapani, our destination on the western tip of the island.
Favara has been reinvented thanks to Andrea Bartoli, who in 2010 initiated a project to fight unemployment and decrepitude by turning some of the derelict buildings into a cultural centre that now hosts expositions, exhibitions by international and local artists, politically charged artwork, along with shops, a garden bar, cultural events, talks, screenings and workshops.
After a visit of the town and a healthy lunch we will resume our journey to Trapani. Once we are all settled in at the Relais Antiche Saline, we will visit the Salt Slow Food presidia and the Museum of Salt which is only a short walk from the hotel. On the same site we will have our aperitivo among the salt lagoon and a dinner at the al fresco restaurant.
Day 6: Erice to taste the pastries, a Slow Food lunch, and a coastal walk to aid digestion.
In the morning we will drive up to Erice – the town on top of Mount Erice, a dramatic formation behind Trapani. The town was founded by the Phoenicians but was strongly influenced by the Greeks. Destroyed by the Carthaginians in the First Punic War, Erice was later conquered by the Arabs and, later, the Normans. Here we will be visiting the entire town to take in the breathtaking views. We will also stop at a famous Pasticceria and discover some of the secrets of Sicilian marzipan and pasta di mandorla (almond paste). We will then head for San Vito Lo Capo peninsula where we will stop for a Slow Food lunch.
After lunch, to facilitate the digestion, we will be take a 2-hour coastal walk along the famous Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro. The terrain is relatively easy with swimming opportunities in the crystal clear water of the little coves we will find along the way. After the hike we will head back to the hotel to relax and have dinner in Trapani.
Day 7: the ancient site of Selinunte, then to Marsala to try sweet wine
This morning we will drive to Selinunte, on the south coast of Sicily. Now a 270 hectare Archaeological park overlooking the Mediterranean, Selinunte was once one of the most important of the Greek colonies in Sicily. As the park is quite extensive, we will move between areas on a little electric ‘train’ which will allow us to make the most of our time here and save some energy for the afternoon.
We will make our way to Marsala for a light lunch at Ciacco Putia Gourmet. After lunch we set off to discover the town at a leisurely pace. Marsala is particularly famous for its desert wine or Marsala wine, but also for the docking of Giuseppe Garibaldi and his thousand men who “freed” Sicily from the Spanish and unified Italy.
Day 8: Ancient Elymian site of Sagesta, Monreale cathedral and Palermo.
On this day we will leave Trapani behind and head for Palermo. To make the most of this transfer we will be stopping along the way in Sagesta, one of the major cities of the Elymian, the civilisation that preceded the Greeks. Once we have visited the site we will then continue to Monreale. In Monreale we will visit the famous cathedral whose architecture is a mix of Norman, Byzantine, and Arab style – very different from the other churches we have visited so far. From here we will also have a full view of Palermo and its gulf. After a light lunch at Monreale, we make our way into Palermo to our next hotel, Palazzo Brunaccini. After an orientation walk you will be left some free time before our aperitivo and dinner with a twist.
Day 9: Palermo’s Ballarò Street Market, evening at Cefalù fishing village.
In the morning we will be visiting the Ballarò street market. One of the most famous of the island, the Ballarò market is a symposium of colours, smells and flavours that are reminiscent of an Arab bazaar. After a light lunch at the Osteria Ballarò you can enjoy a bit of free time – a visit to Regional Archaeological Museum Antonio Salinas is recommended. At around 3pm we will make our way to Cefalù. Once a sleepy fishing village, Cefalù is now a popular tourist spot. Generally, at around 5pm the majority of tourists head back to Palermo, so we will enjoy the benefits of visiting during a quieter time of day, sipping local wine while gazing at sea. After an early dinner, we head back for our final night in Palermo.
Day 10: Hydrofoil to Salina Island in the Aeolians. A relaxing evening by the sea awaits.
Today we have an early start to make our way to Milazzo where we will embark for Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands. We expect to arrive on the island and check-in at Hotel L’Ariana around 2 pm. The rest of the day is left at your own leisure until aperitivo time when we will be making our way to Lingua, in the south-east part of the island for dinner at IL Gambero.
Day 11: VISIT To Capers Slow Food presidia, and a sunset boat tour of Stromboli.
Late start today with a visit to Capers Slow Food presidia mid-morning. Salvatore D’Amico is not only the man in charge of the Slow Food presidia, but is also a wine producer and an endless source of stories and legends about the Aeolian islands. Australia is considered the “8th of the Aeolian Islands” due to the high number of locals who left in the beginning of the last century looking for a better life down under. Here we will be sampling the capers, of course, but also Salvatore’s wine which he produces in the old fashioned, organic way. We will have lunch here before a bit more free time. In the afternoon we may be able to head out to explore the island by boat – weather permitting. After a tour of the island and a swim at Pollara, where the the 1994 movie “Il Postino” was shot, we will be heading for the island of Stromboli. This famous volcano has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2000 years. We will enjoy a fish dinner on board while gazing on the last sunset in Salina and return to the hotel.
Day 12: mainland Sicily and transfer to Taormina.
In the morning we will board the hydrofoil to make our way back to mainland Sicily. From Milazzo it will be a just over an hour drive before we reach Taormina, our last stop. We will drop our bags at the Hotel Villa Schuler and then head to the Greek theatre, probably the best-known site of the town. After lunch we will check in at our hotel and we will have some free time until aperitivo. During the aperitivo, Mr Schuler will tell us the story of his family and how the hotel has become the longest-running hotel in Sicily. The dinner this evening will be at your own arrangements, so that you can have bit of “me time” and find your own favourite restaurant in Taormina. Suggestions will be provided if you get stuck.
Day 13: Etna volcano & Bronte. Final dinner in Taormina.
For our last day out we will be visiting Mount Etna, the active volcano that lies behind Taormina. Centuries of volcanic eruptions have enriched this area with dark, fertile soil, full of nutrients and minerals and perfect for the many types of produce farmed here. We will visit Bronte, a beautiful town on the flank of Mount Etna, and the world-famous capital of pistachios. The Bronte pistachio is also a Slow Food presidium, and we will be visiting the production site. Unfortunately, the harvest only occurs every two years – the next harvest season will be September 2019 – and during the 2018 season the growers will cut the buds and prune the trees to promote growth for the following year. After our lunch in Bronte – where you will certainly be able to sample the local pistachios! – we will head back to Taormina for some free time when you will be able to do some last-minute shopping. After an aperitivo at the hotel, we will make our way to Osteria Tischi Toschi for our final dinner.
Day 14: TRANSIT AND LAST BREAKFAST TOGETHER
This morning we say goodbye to Sicily with an early flight to Rome. We will have our final breakfast at the airport…if you have still room for it.
L’ Ariana is located upon a cliff above the sea of Rinella reflecting its silhouette in the bay, in the south part of the island of Salina. The hotel reflects an atmosphere of past times; the thick walls and deep windows of the original building are intact.
Set in the deep colours of the Mediterranean countryside, with the air carrying the scent of the sea, the hotel welcomes you with its simple traditions and comforts.
Hotel Villa Schuler:
Family-owned for three generations since 1905, the Villa Schuler is the oldest owner-run hotel in Taormina, Sicily.
Superbly and centrally located in the historic center of Taormina, surrounded by its own extensive, subtropical, shady terraced gardens, its unique and quiet position offers stupendous views of snow-capped Mount Etna and the Bay of Naxos.
Relais Antiche Saline:
Angelo Culcasi was one of many Trapanesi engaged in processing of salt (or the white gold as it was known). For four generations the Culcasi were regarded as the “Family of Salt”: son Alberto, then Carmelo, and Salvatore, and finally their children, have lived and worked in the salt planes of Trapani for generations.
In 2013, Salvatore Culcasi manage to fulfill his dream and complete the museum and trattoria of the salt, as well as transforming the farmhouse which was once the home to the salt working family, into a delightful and picturesque hotel among the salt flats and lagoons.
Today the hotel is run with a modern approach that retains the traditional and warm Sicilian hospitality.
Relais Villa Favorita:
Placed in the Val di Noto in the heart of Baroque Sicily, this residence was born with the transformation of the 18th century villa property of the Di Lorenzo barons of Granieri marquis of Castelluccio family. To this day the Relais is still run by direct descendants of the family.
The manor entrance with its almond tree boulevard announces the unicity of the Villa. The bedrooms and the rest of the compound maintain the charm of the original mansion thanks to the restorations which have been carried out following all the original architectural principles and the guidelines traced by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The Villa, thanks to its strategic position is the ideal place to discover all of the south-east part of Sicily with all the magnificent coast and late Baroque beauty of the val di Noto.
This refined Boutique Hotel of 18 rooms is in the heart of the old town of Palermo.
The ancient historic maison, originally owned by the princess Lucrezia Brunaccini, after an accurate restoration, today is a modern hotel which combines the fascination of the past with a contemporary and charming style.
For its central position, very close to the Ballarò ancient market, and the major sites of UNESCO in Palermo, it is the perfect place for a walking tour of Palermo!
The Premium package
Upgrade to higher category rooms for the whole tour from $640 per person* and experience the best rooms in our choice of
hotels. (*only two upgrades are available. Price subject to exchange rate)
- Relais Villa Favorita – Superior
- Relais Antiche Saline – Curatulu, (Grand Superior)
- Palazzo Brunaccini – Deluxe
- Hotel L’Ariana – Seaview with terrace
- Hotel Villa Schuler – Double superior seaview
The Single supplement – $1442*
*All prices are subject to change based on exchange rate fluctuations. If a single room is requested by a participant, the single supplement is to be paid by the requested participant. If you wish to share a room, we will endeavour to match you with another share room request, the rooming partner will be of the same gender. This extra cost will be paid by the requesting client. If you are requesting to share a room and there is not another applicant to share, you will be required to pay the single supplement to confirm your place on the tour. If another applicant of the same gender willing to share books on the trip, you will be paired and the supplement will be refunded. All single supplement rooms are with a double bed and ensuite.