SICILIAN SAUNTER: Hiking Sicily’s Western Shores
Sicily close-up with seaside and inland walks in the Trapani and Marsala regions
sit-down tastings at
at Donnafugata, Ceuso, De Bartoli and other leading wineries
around a Greek temple and amphitheater at the archaeological park of Segesta
the splendid Byzantine mosaics at the Cathedral of Monreale
ancient methods for making sea-salt and enjoy a boat ride in the surrounding lagoon
hilltop town of Erice
and the Baroque port city of Marsala
in the middle of the Mediterranean, Sicily was at a maritime crossroads for
countless competing civilizations: Phoenician, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians,
Arabs, Normans, Spanish, and more. Today, that multicultural layer-cake is
visible in the island’s abundant archaeological and architectural sites—and in
better way to feel the sweep of history than by hiking in the archaeological
parks, nature preserves, and wilderness areas that abound on the island. SICILIAN SAUNTER covers both
sides of Sicily’s raw beauty: its rugged coastline, and its stark, mountainous
interior. During our hikes, we’ll encounter the remnants of ancient
civilizations—Greek at Segesta, Phoenician at Monte Cofano, and Norman on
keep our eye out for current residents like the pink flamingoes of the Stagnone
islands and the wild
horses on the Cofano nature preserve.
The tour is
structured with morning hikes and afternoon wine tastings. We hike every day except one, when we
transfer regions. Most hikes are approximately three to four hours (7 to 10 miles) along dirt trails,
coastal paths, and country roads (see Trip Notes on website); van support is
available only on the first day.
feature a winery visit.
We’ve selected some of Sicily’s newer boutique estates, which are family-run and operate on a
whole different scale than the industrial wine factories of yore. Here we’ll
have the opportunity to meet the owner and/or winemaker and hear a personal
perspective on how Sicily has made such great strides in recent years.
well acquainted with indigenous grapes like nero d’avola and grillo, and see
how well international varietals like cabernet, merlot, and syrah have adapted
to the Mediterranean sun.
activities are integrated throughout. We’ll see the magnificent Byzantine
mosaics at Monreale
Cathedral, the ancient way to harvest sea salt, and the Baroque makeover of
Marsala, a rustic port
town until this meditation wine made it big in Britain and brought in new
And of course,
we’ll feast on la cucina siciliana every day. Seafood plays a big part, with tuna,
swordfish, and cuttlefish caught in nearby waters, then grilled, smoked, turned
into carpaccio, or tossed with pasta. Other classic primi combine sardines with wild fennel and
breadcrumbs (pasta con sarde), north African couscous with fish, and eggplant with basil and
ricotta salata (pasta alla norma), while secondi focus on fish by the sea and grilled meats inland. Desserts
containing apricots, citrus, raisins, sugar, or sweet spices all show the hand
of the Arabs, who brought these ingredients into play during their domination
in the 10th and 11th centuries. Just don’t forget to take the cannoli!
itinerary, see website.