Sicily was a crossroads and meeting place for Byzantine, Arab and Norman workers. From this fortunate union of different cultures sprang the splendour of medieval Sicilian art, dazzling in its gilded mosaics, strong in the architecture of its palazzi, graceful in the lines of its "cubas".
The Cathedral of Palermo and the Tomb of Frederick II
On arriving in Palermo we will begin the tour of the city with a visit to the Cathedral; founded by the Byzantines, turned into a mosque by the Arabs, and chosen by the Normans as the place for burying their lords, the first of them being Frederick II. Visit to Lo Spasimo and La Magione. Dinner and overnight stay.
Arab-Norman Monreale and Palermo
Breakfast and departure for Monreale, where we will visit the Cathedral and the Cloister, with Moorish architecture. On return to Palermo, we can admire the Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace, the Castello della Zisa, which holds the Museum of Islamic Civilization, and the Cuba. Influences of Arab architecture are found in the Norman
churches of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, of Martorana and of San Cataldo, as well as in Palazzo Chiaramonte.
The S.S. Trinità of Delia and the Madonna of the Snow in Erice
After breakfast, departure for Castelvetrano, near which is the Arab-Norman church of S.S. Trinità of Delia. We will continue on to Mazara del Vallo, to see the Cathedral and San Nicolò Regale. On arriving in Erice, we will visit the Norman church of the Madonna of the Snow. In the evening, return to Palermo.
From the Cathedral of Cefalù to Messina
After breakfast, departure for Cefalù where we will visit the Cathedral, decorated with Byzantine mosaics, the ancient public Lavatory, and the Mandralisca Museum; continuation on to Messina, stopping at S. Stefano di Camastra, a town famous for its ceramics.
Messina, Itala, and the Cuba of Castiglione
After breakfast, in Messina we will visit the church of the Annunziata dei Catalani, the Cathedral and Santa Maria Alemanna. In Arab style are the church of S.S. Pietro e Paolo at Itala and the church of the same name at Agrò, in the area of Casalvecchio Siculo. Stop at the Cuba of Castiglione di Sicilia. Dinner and overnight stay in Taormina.
The Palazzo Corvaja and Castello Ursino
After breakfast, transfer to Taormina to visit the two 15thcentury buildings Palazzo Corvaja and Palazzo dei Duchi di
Santo Stefano. Continuation on to the Castello Ursino of Catania, built by Frederick II.
The Castello di Lombardia and the Santo Spirito Abbey
After breakfast, departure for Enna, with a stop at Aidone. In Enna, there is the Castello di Lombardia, one of the most
impressive in Sicily. Near Caltanissetta is the Romanesque Santo Spirito Abbey, which has a basin for baptisms by immersion. Dinner and overnight stay in Palermo.
After breakfast and free time to roam the city, departure for airport.