Day 1- Segesta and Erice
We met our group in Palermo and traveled to Segesta, a Greek city, to see the Teatro and the Doric Temple. The weather turned rainy and cold. After lunch we drove to Erice in the NW corner of Sicily and took a tour of the city with Francesco.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-HOF-2-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-HOF-5-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-HOF-14-smallSicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-HOF-47-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-HOF-54-smallDay 2 – Monte Cofano Nature Reserve and Erice
Monte Cofano divides the Gulf of Bonagra into two bays. We hiked in the Riserva Naturale di Monte Cofano in the morning. Our hike ended at the home of Anna and Guiseppe Santoro where we had a picnic. They were hosting the birthday party of their four-year-old grandson. In the afternoon we returned to Erice.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8038-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8077--small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8274--small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8286-smallDay 3 – Trapani/Monreale/Cefalu
We departed Erice in the morning and detoured inland to the province of Trapani, known for its white wines and olive oil. We hiked through vineyards to an agriturismo where we stopped for lunch. After lunch we drove to Monreale to see its beautiful 12th century cathedral—a fantastic blend of Norman, Arab, Byzantine and classic elements. We then headed to the seaside town of Cefalu where Jim and I enjoyed pizza with a beautiful view of their Duomo.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8311-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8450-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8502-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC02536-smallDay 4 – Madonie Mountains and Cefalu
Our morning hike was in the Madonie Mountains. On the drive there, we stopped in Castelbuono for a break and toured the Mother Church of Castelbuono. We had a picnic on our hike then returned to Cefalu where we toured the Cathedral and went to the Museo Mandralisca where we saw famous the painting “Portrait of a Man” by Antonello da Messina.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8622-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8686--small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8741--small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8785--small Day 5 – Sulfur Mine, Rosita’s Place, Villa Romana
This morning we walked through the hills of central Sicily past an old sulfur mine. We had lunch at a wonderful masseria (Rosita’s place) before visiting the 17th century UNESCO World Heritage Site Villa Romana. This Roman hunting lodge was covered by a landslide for centuries. It features lavish mosaics. We then drove to Vecchia Masseria, a lovely agriturismo, where we would spend two nights.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8793-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8859-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8872--small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8970-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_8981-smallDay 6 – Hike, Caltagirone
We hiked from our hotel through eucalyptus, cork oak, and pine forests and past ruins from the 5th century to the Middle Ages. After a picnic lunch we hiked back to the hotel for a break before heading to Caltagirone to visit a ceramic workshop. We then headed to a cooking class and dinner with tastes of local wines.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9036-smallSicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9086-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9108-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9149--small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9175-small Day 7 – Palazzolo/Pantalica Gorge/Siracusa
On the way to the Pantalica Gorge, we visited Palazzolo Acreide, a small town in the Iblei highlands. The Pantalica Gorge is Sicily’s greatest necropolis. Hundreds of rock-hewn Neolithic tombs were created between the 13th and 8th centuries BC. In the afternoon, we drove to the town of Siracusa where we stayed in the old town on the island of Ortygia.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9231-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9271-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9340-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9425-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9427-small Day 8 – Siracusa
We took a tour of Ortygia’s market and Greek ruins before visiting the Parco Archeologico in Siracusa.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9469-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9502-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9576-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9619-smallDay 9 – Mount Etna
Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe. We donned our winter gear and took the cable car up part of the way. It was a very windy day, almost too windy for the cable car so it moved very slowly. We then hiked on Etna’s lava. We didn’t make the summit because of the wind. Etna has several peaks, all formed from different eruptions.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9675-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9713-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9722-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9840-small Day 10 – Taormina
Taormina is a beautiful village, perched on a cliff above the sea. Today, we toured the Greek theater (mostly the Roman influence remains) with beautiful views of Mt. Etna.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_0025-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9930-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_9932-small Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC02627-smallDay 11 – Mount Etna
Today we drove from Taormina to Catania to fly to Rome and then home. Mount Etna gave us a show on the drive, emitting ash and we heard that the area was closed, due to the ash, two days earlier.Sicily-Mary-Chaffin-Pax-OK-DSC_0077-small

-Photos and text by 7-time WT adventurer Mary Chaffin, Hiking in Sicily

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