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Sun set

Summer, Sun, Ocean


Florence, Pompeji, Sicily
and climbing of the Etna

Italy pure - a tour throu history, culture and landscape of vulcany. Apartment accommodation and exciting excursions, sightseeing tours and stop overs with hotel accommodations in Florence, Pompeji and at the Etna vulcany.

Itinerary: Trip by bus from Berlin or Hamburg via Munich - Florence - Rome - Naples - Pompeii (overnight accommodations) - Campania and Calabria to Villa S. Giovanni, by ferry to Messina, by bus to Catania, overnight accommodations in hotel, next day climbing of the Etna (except in winter), trip to Terrasini, 10 days stay in Terrasini.
Excursions to: 1. Segesta for a picnic and the hot springs, 2. Palermo with a city tour; 3. Selinunte and Agrigento with a visit to the temples, 4. to the medieval city of Erice, known for its almond cookies, 5. to the national park of Scopello for swimming and hiking, 6. to Monrealle for a visit of the Cathedral, 7. to Cefalu for swimming, 7. by ferry to the island of Farignana for a bike excursion, 9. climbing of the Etna.
Bus trip back via Palermo, by ferry to Naples, from Naples by bus via Florence (overnight accommodations) - Sterzing - Munich - back to Hamburg or Berlin.

Accommodations: Depending on where you start your trip one night on bus with reclining seats or futon-type sleeping area; in Pompeii one night in hotel in multiple-bed rooms; near Catania two nights in hotel in multiple-bed rooms; in Terrasini nine nights in apartments suitable for 4-6 people. All apartments have a bathroom with shower, kitchen, and balcony. One night on ferry in Pullman seats from Palermo to Naples; in Florence one night in hotel in multiple-bed rooms; One night on bus in reclining seats or futon-type sleeping area.

Meals: Italian breakfast at hotels.

Tour Escort: Tour coordinator

Extra: Entrance fees to the Agrigento museum, to the catacombs in Palermo, to the Selinunte Acropolis etc., food, drinks, excursions by jeep to the Etna for 25.000 Lira per person, bike rental, Christmas dinner for approx. $18, dinner at the ferry to Naples for approx. $12, tourist class cabin for approx. $34 per person.

Climate: Spring: day 68 degrees, night 50 degrees, water 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall: day 80 degrees, night 66 degrees, water 76 degrees Fahrenheit. December: day 62 degrees, night 50 degrees, water 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

Currency: US $1 = 1352 Italian Lira

Visa: No visa required for US-citizens

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Vita Sicilianita - The Sicilian Way of Life

Sicily is seen by many as being "a country within a country". Positioned off the tip of the boot of southern Italy, Sicily is an incredible mixture of several cultures from southern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. Indeed, Italians from northern Italy have such difficulty finding similarities between their region and Sicily, that they often consider themselves foreigners!

During our 17-day stay in Sicily, we'll have plenty of time to become well acquainted with the Sicilian way-of-life. In complete contrast to the industrialized north of Italy, there are not too many possibilities of earning one's living outside of agriculture or the big cities. In fact, the contrasts between the dilapidated homes in the smaller villages and the gorgeous, well-kept villas and churches in the bigger cities are astonishing.

On our way to Sicily, we'll make our first stop in the ancient city of Pompeii. Here we'll spend a restful evening snoozing in a hotel under the sleeping volcano, Vesuvius. If you recall, it was this mountain which erupted almost 2,000 years ago, thus burying alive the inhabitants of both Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The next morning, we'll be off to Sicily with the city of Catania as our first destination. After a tour of the city and its adjacent port, we'll sleep in a hotel in anticipation of our climb up the towering volcano, Etna. The following day, we'll head up the mountain to about 5,000 feet above sea level. From here, we'll have to enlist a group of jeeps to take us to the crater of the volcano. If you're in an especially energetic mood, we might suggest an early start (2:00 a.m.). This will give us enough time to arrive at the 11,122 foot-peak in time for one of the most beautiful sunrises you will ever experience!

Our next "port of call" will be the charming fishing village of Terrasini which lies in the Bay of Castellamare . We'll be using Terrasini as our hub, from which we'll visit a variety of sights. Naturally, our accommodations in Terrasini will be comfortable, heated apartments, directly on the ocean (allowing us a refreshing morning dip!).

From Terrasini, we'll first set our sights toward the ruined city of Segesta. Only a few remains are left to attest to its former grandeur. Take for instance the acoustically perfect amphitheater. If you stand in the middle of the stage, you can be still heard comfortably, even from the far reaches of the audience. From the edge of this Greek-style theater which was cut into the surrounding stone, you'll be graced with an unparalleled view of the Mediterranean. The main attraction of Segesta has always been the secretive temple which lies on a mountain meadow outside of the city. Nobody really knows why the temple was never completed. In its present state, it stands as one of the most beautiful and impressive pieces of Sicilian architecture.

The nearby island of Favignana will certainly rate as a excellent spot for our diving or snorkeling fans. From the rugged beauty of its jagged cliffs to the calm blue water (filled with a plethora of underwater life), Favignana is filled with a island splendor that is difficult to contest. After eating lunch at the nearby beach, you should have plenty of energy to go on a island-wide bike trip.

Not far from Palermo, in the city of Monreale, you'll find one the most important pieces of architecture in all of Sicily. The beautiful mosaics and frescoes in this cathedral depict several scenes from the New Testament. The adjacent Benedictine Cloister is also worth a visit. If there is any interest in our group, we can climb the peak of Mount Jato. Up on the top, you'll find a 360 degree panorama of the entire area, as well as small excavation site.

Moving on further, we approach the great Greek city of Selinunte. The city got its name from the parsley (selino) which grows in abundance along the mouths of the rivers . After the city's destruction from war and earthquakes in pre-Roman times, many farmers used Selinunte as a quarry to build their houses. This area now represents the largest expanse of ancient ruins in all of Europe. Depending on the weather, we'll either stay or travel on to our next stop: Agrigento.

Agrigento is actually made up of three different cities, all cleanly divided from one another, but all belonging to a united whole. From far away, you can immediately see the striking, modern section. It sets itself apart from the rest of Agrigento by its gleaming new buildings and up-to-date street layout. Right in the back of the modern section lies the medieval city, Grigenti. The most striking aspect of this area is certainly the yellow-brown sandstone, which covers a large part of the region. Between these two areas stretches Akragas, with its sandstone temples and columns. When we look at the ruins of Agrigento, we can easily imagine its former splendor and opulence.

100 yards above the ocean, you'll notice the charming shepherd's village of Scopello. Despite its proximity to the water, the area is noticeably lacking in fishermen. Instead of the typical seafood restaurants that you would usually find in such a location, you'll be able to take advantage of a beautiful little bay. Our swimming and snorkeling enthusiasts will be more than happy here. Not far from the beach area, you'll find a cozy group of cafes where you can sit in peace with a refreshing drink. At night, we'll head back to Terrasini (via Castellmare del Golfo).

Finally, after all the excursions and sight-seeing, we'll spend our last day on the island to visit Palermo, undeniably the heart of Sicily. Here, you'll especially be able to experience the "sicilianita", the real heartbeat of this "country". The aforementioned difference between splendor and poverty becomes quite evident here. But in spite of all the "injuries" that Palermo has suffered from since the Baroque Age, it has retained the distinct beauty of a southern port city. The center of Palermo is filled with markets and shopping areas, giving it an atmosphere of hospitality and openness.

After a fun-filled day in the Sicilian capital, we'll board a waiting ship, which will take us back to the mainland city of Naples. From the ship, we'll have one last look at the island of Sicily. After a morning breakfast in Naples, we'll have plenty of time to ask ourselves if we have indeed experienced "a country within a country"...

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