Messina, the third largest city in Sicily, was the most important port of departure for European knights on their way to the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Today, this extensively rebuilt port city still boasts many historically and architecturally significant landmarks, particularly the renowned cathedral with its unusual astronomical clock, the 12th century Catania Church and the ornate Teatro Vittorio Emanuele. Messina is also the starting point for a day trip to the peak of breath-taking Mt. Etna-Crateri Silvestri.

Port: Messina (Sicily)
Experience

Messina (Sicily)

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  • Executive Collection Half Day Car

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 2 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

  • Executive Collection Full Day Minibus

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 10 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

  • Executive Collection Half Day Van

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 6 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

  • Executive Collection Full Day Van

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 6 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

  • Executive Collection Full Day Car

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 2 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

  • Executive Collection Half Day Minibus

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 10 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

  • Highlights of Messina

    Over the centuries, Messina has been coveted for its wonderful natural harbor and strategic location on the easternmost tip of Sicily, the closest point to mainland Italy.

    From atop a scenic promontory, you will have the opportunity to see what has lured visitors and conquerors for centuries. Then, continue to the cathedral, where according to legend, England's king Richard the Lion-Hearted worshipped in 1190 at the beginning of the Third Crusade. One of the cathedral's highlights is its unusual astronomical clock.

    Proceeding along the Via Garibaldi, you will come upon the 12th century Catania Church and the ornate Teatro Vittorio Emanuele, which was originally built in 1852. While Messina contains a number of historic buildings of architectural significance, today it is known for being a bustling, modern metropolis, having been substantially rebuilt following earthquakes and, more recently, heavy Allied bombing during World War II.

    Please note: This tour includes a moderate amount of walking. The tour is available to guests who utilize a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have a companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun cap and sunscreen are suggested.

  • Hidden Sicily – “in the Godfather’s Footsteps”

    On this delightful tour of Sicily, you'll visit some of the picturesque locales in which scenes from two of The Godfather movies were filmed.

    Depart for a brief drive through the center of Messina, then along the highway and coastal road to Santa Teresa, the largest coastal town between Messina and Taormina. From there, you'll travel inland to Savoca, a lovely old village nestled between two hills. The private house at the entrance of Savoca is called Bar Vitelli, which displays a collection of local artisan tools and photographs taken when Francis Ford Coppola was in this area shooting scenes from The Godfather, Part II. Inside the Cappuccini Church's catacombs, you'll see a crypt with 37 standing, fully-clothed and mummified bodies of friars and nobility from the 18th and 19th centuries. Next, begin a slow walking tour along the village's uphill-sloping main street. View the Chiesa Madre, Santa Lucia, San Michele and Immacolata Churches built in the 15th-16th centuries, along with magnificent vistas over the valley. Remains of the Norman Castle can also be seen.

    Continue on for a 20-minute drive to Forza d'Agro, a charming little village overlooking the coastline and Arab-Norman castle of Capo Sant'Alessio. In 1990, Al Pacino and Sophia Coppola came here to shoot scenes from The Godfather, Part III. From the main square, circular steps lead up to the Gothic-Catalan portal in front of the 15th-century Church of St. Agostino, or Triade.

    Afterward, you'll rejoin your coach for the drive back to the ship, passing the Baroque Chiesa Madre along the way.

    Please note: This tour involves approximately 20 minutes of slow walking, including steep, uphill roads, and 30 steps to descend and ascend the catacombs.

  • The Land of the Godfather

    Disembarking the ship, you'll meet your waiting motor coach and start your exploration of this delightful area of Sicily that was the setting for many scenes in the movie The Godfather.

    Your tour begins with a brief drive through the town of Messina. Founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonizers, today it serves as a bustling commercial and military port for the island. Your route through the city will bring you through Piazza Duomo where you will see the Cathedral with its astronomic clock, Corso Cavour and Via Boccetta. From here, it's a pleasant drive over the scenic coastal road which showcases beautiful villas, flowering gardens and several smaller villages along the route to Santa Teresa, the largest coastal town between Messina and Taormina.

    Turning inland, it's an equally picturesque journey to the village of Savoca. Nestled in a saddle between two hills, the town's lovely scenery and historical-artistic heritage make Savoca one of the most attractive - although unknown - places in the environs of Taormina. At the entrance of the village you'll find the Bar Vitelli, which has an interesting collection of local artisans' tools and photographs taken when Francis Ford Coppola filmed some scenes for The Godfather here. Your first stop will be at the Cappuccini Church to view the crypt and the mummified bodies of 37 friars and noblemen who lived there in the 18th and 19th centuries. These fully dressed bodies are found standing in the niches of the church's catacombs and are quite a remarkable site to behold.

    From here, it's a short stop at Bar Vitelli for some Sicilian granita and cookies before embarking on a leisurely walking tour of the village's main street. As the street makes its way uphill, you'll see several churches that originate from the 15th and 16th centuries, such as Chiesa Madre, Santa Lucia and San Michele. There are also some impressive ruins of an ancient Norman castle and this vantage point above the town also provides marvelous views of the Sicilian coastline, the strait of Messina, the Italian mainland and colorful villages perched on the surrounding hills.

    Re-joining your coach, you'll next proceed to Forza d'Agro, a charming little village that overlooks the Arab-Norman castle of Capo Sant'Alessio and the dazzling stretch of coastline that extends toward Messina. Al Pacino and Sophia Coppola paid a visit here in 1990 when they were shooting some scenes for The Godfather III. From the main square, a small lane will lead you up to another of the town's landmarks, the Church of Santa Agostino with its impressive 15th century façade and remarkable Gothic-Catalan portal.

    After what will surely be an enjoyable visit in Forza d'Agro, your coach will transfer you back to the pier in Messina, along the way viewing another wonderful church, the Baroque Mother Church.

    Please note: This tour includes a significant amount of walking over uneven surfaces. The tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair or those with mobility concerns. Light-weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun cap and sunscreen are suggested.

  • Taormina, Lava River & Wine Tasting

    Your tour begins with an independent visit of Taormina, a village full of medieval charm and character. You'll have approximately 1.5 hours to explore the village at your own pace. Enjoy shopping among the boutiques on the Corso Umberto. Also, be sure to visit the Greek Theater, which dates back to the 3rd century BC. On a clear day, it offers views of the snowcapped peak of Mt. Etna.

    Return to your coach and proceed south en route to Mt. Etna through the scenic roads that wind around the slopes of the mountain, passing the town of Giarre and the village of Santa Venerina. On the way to the winery, you'll stop for photos at the lava river from the last eruption in 1992.

    Then, you'll drive across Santa Venerina to a Sicilian estate that affords fine views over the fertile valley. Grapevines blanket the fields, and the resulting wine is certified Etna, which has a distinct flavor from the lava-based soil. After the winery tour, enjoy a wine tasting with local products and learn about the different qualities of wine produced on the estate. You may also purchase the wines before the return drive to the ship.

    Please note: Guests must be able to walk approximately 0.5 mile over uneven and cobblestone surfaces with inclines and 45 to 60 steps to reach the wine cellars. Walking while in Taormina is at the guests' discretion. Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. No traffic is allowed inside the city walls of Taormina; therefore, all touring must be done on foot. There is an approximately 0.25- mile incline from the bus parking lot to the village gates. This tour involves approximately 1.5 hours on your own in Taormina. This tour does not include entrance fees. Tour order may vary, but all listed sites will be covered.

  • Castelmola & Taormina

    Founded in the 6th century BC by Greeks from Naples, Taormina was subsequently occupied by the Romans. Today, the influences of both civilizations are found in the ruins of the town's Greco-Roman theatre. For centuries, writers have documented the beauty of Taormina, and the town is one of the most impressive in all of Sicily. It offers incredible views, ancient ruins, and an abundance of quaint shops and boutiques.

    Many of its narrow cobblestone streets are closed to traffic, making the main part of Taormina accessible only on foot. Stroll through this charming resort town perched high on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Naxos. Your guide will introduce you to the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and the bustling main street of Corso Umberto, which is lined with former mansions with enchanting architecture and balconies brimming with flowers.

    Stop briefly in the inner courtyard of the medieval Corvaja Palace for a look at a richly painted original Sicilian carretta, or carriage. Enjoy the panoramic views of the bay and snow-capped Mt. Etna in the distance. Follow your guide up the narrow street that leads to the Greco-Roman theatre from the 3rd century BC, which still holds performances. Even the theatre's location is dramatic.

    Next you'll head to Castelmola. This tiny village is strategically located near Taormina and enjoys splendid panoramic views. The focus of the village is the attractive Piazzetta del Duomo with its fine, intricate paving. Lunch will be served at a local hotel overlooking the beautiful Bay of Naxos.

    Please note: Strenuous uphill walking is required. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat. The Greco-Roman theatre has many steps and walking is on uneven ground. To reach the village of Castelmola, an uphill walk is required with approximately 70 steps.

  • Mount Etna

    Get ready to explore Europe's largest active volcano during this scenic tour of Mount Etna.

    Depart the pier via for the drive to Messina. Along the way, you'll pass Piazza Duomo, a Cathedral with an astronomical clock, Corso Cavour and Viale Boccetta. Drive to Mt. Etna along the autostrada, and then continue along the scenic road winding around the slopes of the mountain, past Giarre, Santa Venerina and Zafferana.

    You'll arrive at Mt. Etna and the Silvestri Crater, located approximately 6,500 feet above sea level. The slopes of Mt. Etna soar to over 10,800 feet, and its flanks are covered with scores of cones and craters. From there, you can gaze across the Catania Gulf to view picturesque woods, orchids and vineyards, as well as the crater and remnants of the awe-inspiring streams of lava from 2001-2002 eruptions.

    Afterward, you'll rejoin your coach for the drive back to the ship.

    Please note: Due to Mt. Etna's winds and rough ground underfoot, a warm sweater or jacket and sturdy shoes are recommended. Although the tour does not involve much walking, guests may walk to Crateri Silvestri and the surrounding area at their discretion. Guests who do not wish to walk may visit the bars and restaurants in front of the parking area.

  • Sicilian Wine

    Depart from Messina on a scenic drive to one of the most spectacular estates in the Etna region. This region is characterized by a microclimate with frigid winters and temperate summers, abundant rainfall and a wide temperature range. These conditions are in contrast with those of the rest of Sicily, which is generally drier and hotter. These climatic conditions influence the maturation of the grapes and flavor of the local wines. The particular taste of Etna wine is due to the lava soil, which is rich in potassium and mineral salts.

    You'll visit the San Michele Estate, whose winery and cellars are situated in an ancient, traditional Etna-style building. The estate's 62 acres of vineyards are in a single area, distributed across large terraces. The varieties of grapes cultivated are those synonymous with the region: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Mantellato, Caricante and Cataratto. The flavor of the wine is only rivaled by the beauty of the surroundings, which includes magnificent Mt. Etna towering up to its summit at 11,000 feet.

    After visiting the estate, you'll drive back to the ship, enjoying a brief stop for photos at the 1992 lava flows.

    Please note: A moderate amount of walking is required; wear suitable footwear. The winery visit involves 45 minutes of walking with approximately 30 steps to negotiate at the wine cellar

  • Beautiful Taormina & Mt. Etna

    Graced with an extraordinary natural setting and a delightful medieval character, Taormina has inspired visitors for centuries, including novelist D.H. Lawrence, who wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover here.

    Your guided walking tour will take you along Taormina's narrow roads past the famous Palazzo Corvaja, one of many well-preserved palaces in this Sicilian resort town. Next, you will explore the famous Greek Theater, which dates back to the 3rd century B.C. It was rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century A.D. and is still used for summer performances. The view from the top of the theater is one of the most breathtaking and most photographed in all of Italy with a sweeping panorama of Mount Etna, Sicily's precipitous east coast and the Calabrian coast.

    Continuing along the road to the famed Etna, you will stop for a traditional Sicilian lunch and then ascend a winding mountain road, traveling past picturesque villages to the volcano's gaping crater, which stands more than 6,000 feet above sea level.

    Please note: This tour includes a significant amount of walking over uneven surfaces and can be strenuous at times. The tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair or those with mobility concerns. Light-weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun cap and sunscreen are suggested.

  • Taormina and Mount Etna

    Explore a well-preserved Medieval town and Europe's most active volcano during this scenic full-day tour of historic Taormina.

    Depart the pier in Catania for the 40-mile drive to along the scenic highway to Taormina. A hilly road on the approach to your destination will lead to the parking area, where your guided walking tour of this storybook setting commences. This beautiful and renowned tourist resort is a small Medieval town perched atop of a cliff overlooking the Ionic Sea and Mt. Etna, and offers wonderful photo opportunities. Taormina has a delightfully unique character. The buildings and shops in the town center remain relatively unchanged, and exude a delightfully unique character. Many have window boxes overflowing with brightly colored flowers, and retained their picturesque charm.

    Upon arrival, your walking tour begins with a brief stop for exterior views of the famed Palazzo Corvaia, which is adorned by a lovely 15th-century façade, and classic double windows. Next, you'll continue on for a visit to the impressive Greek Theater, built by the Greeks in the 3rd century B.C. and reconstructed in Roman style in the 2nd century A.D. With a diameter of 358 feet, it is the second-largest theater in Sicily, after Syracuse. This remarkable theater still retains its excellent acoustics, and is used for performances of classic plays during the summer months. The Greek Theater is known for its stunning location, and offers a spectacular view of majestic Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, from its upper tiers. Before leaving Taormina, some free time at your leisure will be made to browse the many shops along Corso Umberto, Taormina's busy main street. You'll see the many shops and cafes, and visit the lanes and viuzze just off this pedestrian avenue where local handicrafts are sold.

    Next, you'll drive along the autostrada to Mt. Etna, then continue along the scenic road that winds around the slopes of the mountain, past Giarre, Santa Venerina and Zafferana. Mt. Etna's majestic slopes soar to over 10,800 feet, and its flanks are covered with scores of cones and craters. Upon arrival at the Silvestri Crater, located approximately 6,500 feet above sea level, you can gaze across the Catania Gulf to view picturesque woods, orchids and vineyards, as well as the spectacular crater and remnants of the awe-inspiring streams of lava from 2001-2002 eruptions. Enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant at Mt. Etna, then rejoin your coach for the return drive to the ship.

    Please note: This tour involves high-altitude, off-road driving and walking on rugged paths and winding roads, with uneven, slippery and uphill surfaces that are not wheelchair accessible. Guests must be in good physical condition to participate on this tour; it is not recommended for those with back, neck, heart or respiratory problems. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and bring a warm sweater or jacket, as the weather can be windy and cool. The visit to Mt. Etna is dependent upon weather conditions.

  • Tindari

    Watch ancient history come to life during this extraordinary walking tour of picturesque Tindari.

    Depart the pier for a brief sightseeing tour of Messina. Along the way, you'll pass Piazza Duomo, a Cathedral with an astronomical clock, Corso Cavour and Viale Boccetta before turning onto the highway to Tindari, located approximately 43 miles away. As you drive the Autostrada along the Tyrrhenian Coast, you'll see magnificent views of the Eolian Islands.

    Upon arriving at Tindari, a small town founded by the Greeks and rebuilt by the Romans, you'll embark on a walking tour. After viewing the spectacular Greek-Roman Theatre and Roman Villa, you'll stop to visit Santuario della Madonna Nera.

    Before returning to the ship, some free time will be made to enjoy shopping at the local souvenir stands.

    Please note: The tour of Tindari is entirely on foot, and involves extensive walking, including uphill climbs, steep steps and uneven ground inside the archaeological area.

  • The Cape of Tindari

    A scenic drive along the northern coast of Sicily takes you to the archaeological site of Tindari, which lies on a high cape overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Tyndaris, as it was then known, was founded in 396 B.C. by Dionysius I, ruler of Syracuse, in an area that has been inhabited since prehistoric times. An ally of the Romans during the Punic Wars, Tyndaris prospered in the Imperial Age.

    Upon entering the revered archaeological site, continue to the Greek theater, with its transformations dating from Roman times and splendid view of the sea. You will also see Tindari's fascinating Roman-era thermal bath, which is adorned with colorful mosaics. Next, visit the great Christian Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, which rises up majestically on the cape and attracts faithful worshipers from all over the island. The square in front of the sanctuary offers an unforgettable view over the aqua-blue sea stretching out before you.

    Please note: This tour includes a significant amount of walking over uneven surfaces. The tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair or those with mobility concerns. Light-weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun cap and sunscreen are suggested.

  • Taormina and Sicilian Vineyard

    Discover some of Italy's most popular destinations, including Messina, Mt. Etna, the Greek Theater and a wine farm on this scenic full-tour of Taormina.

    Depart the pier via for a brief sightseeing tour of Messina. Along the way, you'll pass Piazza Duomo, a Cathedral with an astronomical clock, Corso Cavour and Viale Boccetta before turning onto the highway to Taormina, one of the Mediterranean's most well-preserved medieval towns. Perched on the side of a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna, picturesque Taormina has a delightfully unique character. The buildings and shops in the town center, many with window boxes overflowing with brightly colored flowers, are relatively unchanged, and have retained their picturesque charm.

    Upon arrival, your walking tour begins with a brief stop for exterior views of the famed Palazzo Corvaia, a 15th-century palace. The building reflects the architectural style of the period, and is adorned with classic double windows. Visit the Greek Theater, reconstructed in Roman style in the 2nd century A.D. With a diameter of 358 feet, it is the second largest theater in Sicily, and in excellent condition. Its marvelous acoustics are still appreciated in contemporary performances of classical plays during the summer months. The upper tiers reveal spectacular views of majestic Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. Time will be made to stroll along Corso Umberto, Taormina's busy main street. See the many shops and cafes, and visit the lanes and viuzze just off this pedestrian avenue where local handicrafts are sold.

    Continue on along the scenic road that winds around the slopes of the mountain, past Giarre, Santa Venerina, Zafferana, orchards, vineyards and woods to the wine farm located on Mt. Etna's flanks. Upon arrival, a wine expert will escort you to the wine cellar for the highlight of your trip; a delicious brunch and wine tasting consisting of 5 local wines. The wine expert will explain the different wines, and their unique characteristics.

    After your visit to the wine farm, you'll rejoin your coach for the drive back to the ship.

  • Food & Wine Trails: Mt. Etna, Taormina & Villagrande Estate

    Guided by a charming, local sommelier, you’ll discover the wines from Sicily’s Mt. Etna region during a tour, tasting, and lunch at a beautiful mountainside winery; and explore the seaside town of Taormina and the ruins of an ancient Greek theater.

    The Mt. Etna wine appellation is a region of extremes: vineyards planted on 45-degree slopes, rocky soil that ought to be impossible to farm, unpredictable weather and of course, that volcano. Despite the odds and according to such publications as Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and FOOD & WINE, Etna is one of Italy’s hottest wine regions.

    Start your day taking a short drive from the pier to the charming historical town of Taormina. With one of the world’s greatest views, Taormina sits on a rocky terrace high above the Ionian Sea. Begin with a guided walking tour of this medieval town which features a cathedral, Greek Theater, Palazzo Corvaia, the Odeon, and the shopping area, Corso Umberto. You’ll have some free time to sit in one of the cafés or further explore the town’s palaces, squares, staircases, and small side alleys.

    Upon arrival at the cellar doors of Villagrande Estate, a member of the Nicolosi family will welcome you to their estate. The Nicolosi family has been making wine on the slopes of Mt. Etna for 10 generations. Begin your visit with a four-course Sicilian lunch paired with four of their wines. You can walk off your meal during a tour of the estate grounds and underground wine cellar before boarding the motorcoach for the drive back to the ship.

    Regent Seven Seas Cruises is proud to partner with FOOD & WINE TRAILS, America’s foremost culinary travel company, in the offering of this tour. F&WT tours are always kept intimate and visit sites not typically offered by mainstream travel suppliers. Their tours are always led by a knowledgeable, English-speaking sommelier, wine or food expert, cooking instructor or chef, who enjoys introducing visitors to some of the best and most authentic food and wine of their region.

    Please note: This tour includes over 3-hours of walking, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time at the winery. There will be steep inclines and uneven surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Given it is a set meal that is served on this excursion, guests with any dietary restrictions should advise the Destination Services Desk once on board the ship.

  • Taormina and Greco-Roman Theater

    Discover ancient theaters and historic sites during this half-day tour of picturesque Taormina.

    Depart the pier via for the drive to Messina. Along the way, you'll pass Piazza Duomo, a Cathedral with an astronomical clock, Corso Cavour and Viale Boccetta before turning onto the highway to Taormina. Upon arrival, a hilly road will lead you to the parking area, where your guided walking tour commences. This beautiful and renowned tourist resort is a small, medieval town atop a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna. Visit the Greek Theater, reconstructed in Roman style in the 2nd century A.D. With a diameter of 358 feet, it is the second-largest theater in Sicily, and in excellent condition. Its marvelous acoustics are still appreciated in contemporary performances of classical plays during the summer months. The upper tiers reveal spectacular views of majestic Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano.

    Next, you'll enjoy splendid exterior views of the Palazzo Corvaia's exquisite 15th-century façade, the Odeon, a small Imperial Age rehearsal theater, and public gardens blossoming with colorful flowers. Time will also be made to stroll along Corso Umberto, Taormina's busy main street. See its many shops, or have coffee at the deluxe Hotel San Domenico, formerly an old Dominican monastery surrounded by beautiful gardens flowing with exotic foliage.

    Afterward, you'll rejoin your coach for the 45-minute drive back to Messina and the ship.

    Please note: Extensive walking uphill, over steps and uneven terrain in the Greek Theater is required in Taormina.

  • Highlights of Taormina & Greek Theatre

    Dating from the 4th century, Taormina boasts a charming, medieval character that remains unspoiled, despite the many visitors to this Sicilian village overlooking the Ionian Sea.

    Walking the scenic, narrow streets with your guide, you will behold sites such as the famed, 15th-century Palazzo Corvaja and the popular Greek Theater from the 3rd century B.C. While the theater is still used for summer performances, it is difficult to look anywhere from here but eastward at the astoundingly beautiful seascape with towering Mount Etna in the distance.

    Later, enjoy a stroll along Corso Umberto, the town's main street, which is flanked by fine old houses and beautiful churches. You may also visit Taormina's aromatic Public Garden, or feel free to wander into the many small lanes where you can shop for local handicrafts.

    Please note: This tour includes a significant amount of walking, at times over uneven surfaces. The tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair and not recommended for those with mobility concerns. Light-weight clothing; comfortable, flat walking shoes; sun cap and sunscreen are suggested.

  • Mt. Etna 4x4 Expedition

    Boarding your motor coach at the pier, you'll begin the first leg of this fun and exciting tour that takes you to the amazing slopes of Mt. Etna. To start, you'll first have a brief look at the town of Messina. Founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonizers, today it serves as a bustling commercial and military port for the island. Your route through the city will bring you through Piazza Duomo where you will see the Cathedral with its astronomic clock, Corso Cavour and Via Boccetta.

    Leaving Messina behind, your coach travels to Mt. Etna via the autostrada and then onto a scenic road that winds around the slopes of the great mountain, passing the town of Giarre and the quaint villages of Santa Venerina and Zafferana along the way. Arriving at Mt. Etna, you'll stop at Cratere Silvestri which sits at approximately 6,397 feet above sea level. Mt. Etna is Europe's largest active volcano with commanding slopes that soar to nearly 11,000 feet and flanks that are covered with scores of cones and craters. From this amazing vantage point, you will be able to gaze out across the Catania Gulf and view the surrounding woods, orchards and vineyards. But of course, the major attraction here is the massive crater and the awe-inspiring remnants of the lava streams that once flowed down the mountainside. A brief rest stop is allowed here and you may wish to visit one of the souvenir shops before it's time to continue on.

    Leaving your coach behind, you'll travel via cable car, enjoying sweeping views of the majestic mountain as you ascend upward to the base of the main craters. Transferring to special 4X4 mini-buses, you'll be able to explore up-close these awesome cavities in the mountain found at a dizzying height of over 9,500 feet above sea level. A professional alpine guide accompanies you during your tour of the craters and those who wish to do so can take a 20-minute walk to see the most recent lava flow. After an exhilarating visit at the volcano's craters, you'll return to your coach and travel to a local restaurant where a tasty lunch of local favorites will be served before transferring you back to the pier in Messina.

    Please note: This tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair or those with mobility concerns. Your 4X4 vehicle will navigate over rocky and uneven terrain and is not recommended for pregnant women or guests with heart, back, or neck ailments. Conditions on Mt. Etna may be windy and cool and guests should bring a sweater or jacket and wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.

  • Mount Etna and Off-Road Ascent

    Drive to Mt. Etna along the autostrada and then continue along the scenic road which winds around the slopes of the mountain, passing the town of Giarre and the villages of Santa Venerina and Zafferana.

    Arrive at Mt. Etna-Crateri Silvestri, at about 2,000 meters above sea level. Mt. Etna is Europe's largest active volcano, with slopes soaring to over 3,296 meters and the flanks of which are covered with scores of cones and craters. From there you will be able to enjoy wonderful sights including woods, orchards, and vineyards. But, of course, the main attractions are the crater and the remnants of the awe-inspiring streams of lava.

    Take cable-car and a special 4x4WD van to reach the base of the main crater at about 2,900 meters above sea level. You will have the assistance of a professional alpine guide. There you will take a walk of about 20 minutes each way to see the latest lava flow. You will spend about 2 hours on this portion of the tour before moving to a local restaurant on Mt Etna for lunch.

    Please note: Due to the winds and rough ground underfoot at Mt. Etna, a warm sweater or jacket and sturdy shoes are recommended. The walking area at Mt. Etna is on uneven ground, and not wheelchair accessible. Breathing problems may arise due to the high altitude. The off-road vehicles are not air-conditioned, and travel over bumpy paths en route to Mt. Etna. The operation of this tour is dependent upon weather conditions. Windy or cloudy weather may result in the cancellation of this tour.

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