Destroyed by an earthquake in the 17th century, Catania has been beautifully restored and offers ancient churches, castles and amphitheaters, lush gardens and lovely palazzos to explore. Tour the 13th century Ursino Castle, which was situated along the coast until earthquakes and volcanic eruptions transformed the landscape. Drive inland through picturesque villages and explore Villa Romana del Casale, a 4th century villa and UNESCO World Heritage Site containing a complex collection of Roman mosaics considered one of the finest in the Roman world.

Port: Catania (Sicily)
Experience

Catania (Sicily)

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  • Journey to Mount Etna

    The scenic drive toward the summit of Mt. Etna, Sicily's best-known natural attraction, is as amazing as the volcano itself. Ascending the circuitous roads, you'll venture past quaint mountain villages to Etna's inactive Silvestri craters, rising more than 6,000 feet above sea level. From the slopes of the craters, which bear numerous remnants of lava streams from previous eruptions, you'll have a stunning panoramic view of the glistening Gulf of Catania and the surrounding fertile, volcanic landscape, all of which lies within the island's first national park.

    Please note: Guests should bring a jacket with a windproof outer-layer as temperatures atop Mount Etna can be windy and cool, even during the summer months. The ground may be rough underfoot; thus, closed-toe shoes are recommended. This tour does not involve much walking, however guests may walk to and around the Crateri Silvestri area at their discretion.

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  • Discover Mt Etna & the Vineyard of San Michele Estate

    Depart from the pier for a scenic drive to Mt. Etna, which at more than 10,000 feet high is the tallest of Italy's mountains south of the Alps. It is also the largest active volcano in Europe. Much of the land surrounding the volcano is covered with solidified lava, as you'll see walking about the slopes and reaching an altitude of 6,200 feet.

    Then, you will travel approximately 30 minutes via air-conditioned minibus to San Michele Estate located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Etna. During your visit to its vineyards, you'll gain great insight into how Mt. Etna's soil, rich in potassium and mineral salts, makes this region perfect for wine production. You will have the opportunity to sample the different varietals produced in the vineyard.

    Then, enjoy a typical traditional Sicilian lunch accompanied by local wines before making your way back to Catania. Enjoy a brief overview of the town before arriving at the tender pier and your ship.

    Please note: Guests must be a minimum of 18 years old in order to participate in the wine tasting. Guests participating on this excursion will ascend to an altitude of 6,200 feet. As this excursion involves extensive walking, it is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. It is recommended that guests dress in warm, layered clothing and wear flat, comfortable, closed-toe walking or sports shoes. This excursion may be operated by motor coach or minibus; however, if motor coaches are used, please note that an uphill walk of approximately 220 yards is required to reach San Michele Estate. The order of sights visited may vary.

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  • Taormina On Your Own

    If you would like to explore Taormina on your own, this private motor coach transfer is ideal.

    Situated over 600 feet above sea level and looking down to the Ionian sea, Taormina is a beautiful and unforgettable city. Over the centuries, this picturesque town has fascinated poets and writers, as well as restless painters and artists searching for inspiration in this unique and refreshing climate that gives the impression that it is always springtime.

    Seize the day by discovering all Taormina has to offer, enjoying its art, history, and shopping. You will have approximately 2 hours to shop and sightsee on your own before meeting your return transfer to the ship which departs from the same place as your drop-off. Your escort will advise you of the meeting time for the return journey.

    Please note: Walking on this tour is at the guests' discretion. There are some uneven and cobblestone surfaces found within the town. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have 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. Weather appropriate clothing, comfortable walking shoes, hats and sunglasses are suggested.

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  • Acireale, Cyclops Riviera & Catania

    Driving along this coastal area of ancient, contorted lava streams and jagged rocks, you can almost picture the Cyclops of Homeric myth living in the peculiar landscape. So many other sights await you. The magnificent Gothic Cathdral in the hillside town of Acireale, the fishing village of Aci Trezz, and tiny Aci Castello, noted for its Norman castle built of black lava. Looking out to sea, behold the amazing Faraglioni, offshore jagged rock formations said to be broken off Mt. Etna by Cyclops and flung into the sea to stop Ulysses and his men from escaping in their ships. In ancient Catania, you will drive past several magnificent sights, such as the Piazza Verga and Piazza Stesicoro, before taking a guided walking tour of the city center. It begins in the lovely Piazza del Duomo, Catania's central square, which is renowned for its unusual, black lava Elephant Fountain, which has become the city's symbol. The impressive 18th-century Municipio and numerous university buildings surround the square. Catania was completely rebuilt after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1693, and lava stone was used in many buildings, giving architect Giovanni Vaccarini's grand Baroque architecture a strange, dusky aura.

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  • Panoramas of Castelmola & Taormina

    Departing the pier, travel approximately 75 minutes through scenic countryside to Castelmola. This tiny village affords lovely panoramic vistas that encompass the north coast, the beaches below Taormina and majestic Mt. Etna. A brief 20-minute walk will take you to its primary focus: the attractive Piazzetta del Duomo, which boasts tall stone buildings and intricately patterned pavement.

    Following a 30-minute guided walking exploration, return to your minibus for the transfer to Taormina, one of the world's loveliest resorts perched on a lofty terrace overlooking the sea. Walk up to the town center, where you will have the opportunity to do some independent shopping before enjoying lunch at Villa Sonia restaurant.

    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 from the 3rd century BC, which still holds performances. 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. After visiting, you will return to the pier.

    Please note: As lunch will include a seafood main course, guests preferring an alternate entrée should advise the onboard Destination Services staff. As this excursion involves walking over cobbled and uneven surfaces, it is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. It is suggested that guests wear flat, comfortable shoes. The order of sights visited may vary.

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

    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.

    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-Roman 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.

    This tour is operated by the award winning, culinary and wine tour specialist Food & Wine Trails.

    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 a minimum of 48 hours prior to tour.

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  • Highligts of Taormina

    What a joy to drive along the scenic winding road to Taormina, a town graced with an extraordinary natural setting and a delightful medieval character.

    Enjoy a guided walking tour along Taormina's narrow streets past the famous Palazzo Corvaja, a beautifully ornate building whose construction began in the 15th century. A much older architectural wonder, the Greek Theater, dates back to the 3rd century B.C., a reminder of just how long Taormina has been a vibrant city. The theater was rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century A.D. and is still used for summer performances. Many people consider the view from the theater's highpoint to be one of the most breathtaking in all of Italy, especially the sweeping panorama of Mount Etna.

    Next, a leisurely stroll along Corso Umberto, the town's main street, takes you past many fine, old houses and picture-perfect churches.

    Please note: Extensive walking is required in Taormina, including uphill climbs, steps and uneven terrain in the Greek Theater. This tour is not recommended for wheelchair guests or guests with mobility concerns.

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  • Wine Tasting At Villa San Michele

    Departing the pier aboard your air-conditioned motor coach, enjoy the scenic drive to one of the most famous estates of the Etna region, Villa San Michele. Unlike the rest of Sicily, which is generally drier and hotter, this area is characterized by a micro-climate of cold winters, temperate summers and abundant rain. The quality of the region's grapes is further enhanced by the lava soil, which is rich in potassium and mineral salts.

    Arriving at the estate, admire the wonderful panoramas afforded by the high elevation. Of course, you will also appreciate some of Villa San Michele's fine wines with an informative wine tasting.

    At the conclusion of your memorable winery visit, you will return to ship.

    Please note: Guests must be a minimum of 18 years old in order to participate in the wine tasting. It is recommended that guests wear flat, comfortable shoes. The order of sights visited may vary.

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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.

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  • Chef Market Tour, Cannoli & Lunch

    What better way to experience Sicily than a chef-guided tour to taste and savor the specialties of this magical city? Start your day with the street food of Sicily, like a delicious arancini (fried rice ball), then stroll through the classic open fish and produce market in Catania. Enjoy lunch at a local vinoteca with wines paired for each dish from different regions of Sicily. Then, cap off this glorious gastronomical day by sampling a delicious cannoli made by a Sicilian pastry master.

    There are many who believe that Puccini’s inspiration for opera was found from the chatter of the fish mongers in the market of Catania. And after your tour, you may also be a believer. Meet your Chef Instructor at the Culinary Arts Kitchen for an overview of your tour and an introduction to Sicilian cuisine. Designed to show you an authentic glimpse into the world of the Sicilian food and wine scene, this tour promises an unforgettable immersion into the tastes of Catania. The food is abundant on this tour, but the amount of walking required will balance any over indulgences!

    Begin your day with a short drive to Salvia for an arancini. Commonly referred to as street food in Sicily, arancini is a fried rice ball with various fillings such as cheese, meats and vegetables. Executive Chef Kelly scouted several locations and found her favorite pasticceria and arancini stop. While a favorite in Italy, the true arancini is Sicilian, and after trying one (or two) you will discover why.

    After your first taste of Sicily, it’s on the Mercato del Pesce di Catania. This ancient street market is always a wonderful cacophony of exotic sights and sounds, with locals selling everything from blood oranges to cuttlefish. Watch tuna and swordfish being fabricated by the local fish mongers and sample aged sheep cheeses and cured meats. You’ll have free time to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this magical market that is unlike any other in the world.

    From the market you’ll walk to the charming Ostier Vinoteca. Surrounded by wall-high bottles of Italian and Sicilian wines, enjoy a tasting degustation lunch together with wines selected for each course. Only authentic Sicilian dishes are served, using seasonal and local ingredients from the island. Relax and enjoy the hospitality of the vinoteca’s charming owner and meet the chef preparing your delicious meal.

    Following lunch, you'll walk a few blocks to a nearby patisserie for a tasting of a delicious Sicilian-style cannoli crafted by a local Sicilian pastry master. This classic dessert consists of tube-shaped, fried pastry dough filled with sweet, creamy ricotta cheese then rolled with pistachios or candied fruits to finish.

    Enjoy a leisurely stroll back to the ship and a chance to walk-off some of your delicious day of sampling a true taste of Sicily.

    Please note: This tour includes over 3 hours of moderate walking/standing. There will be some uneven, cobblestone surfaces and steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with walking difficulties who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence may vary.

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  • Sicilian Wine Roads

    Explore Sicily's historic winemaking tradition during this picturesque half-day visit to the wine region near Mt. Etna.

    Sicily is Italy's third most important wine and food destination after Tuscany and Piedmont. The distinct flavor of Sicily's wine is due to the volcanic soil from Mt. Etna, the smoldering volcano that rises nearly 11,000 feet above the sea.

    Depart the pier with your guide and drive to Linguaglossa, one of Mt. Etna's attractive villages. Following your stop here, you will continue on to the Cottanera Estate. Its lands extend from the northern foothills of Mt. Etna at about 2,300 feet above sea level. The site of ancient volcanic eruptions, these lands are now extremely fertile, and continue down as far as the alluvial beds of the Alcantara River. The vineyards of Cottanera extend for 123 acres at 1,640 feet above sea level. You will tour the vineyard and cellar, then have an opportunity to taste their wines, which will be accompanied by some local delicacies.

    At the conclusion of your scenic vineyard tour and tasting, you will re-board the coach for the return drive to the pier.

    Please note: This tour involves travel over uneven surfaces, with 15 very steep steps to climb and no wheelchair access to the wine cellar; therefore, this tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. If guests would like to purchase wine, we recommend bringing euros, as there are no ATM machines.

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  • Food & Wine Trails: Mt. Etna, Taormina and Vivera Family Winery

    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.

    Led 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 idyllic seaside town of Taormina with its stunning views, quaint streets and spectacular ruins of an ancient Greek-Roman 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.

    From Taormina, you drive to the cellar doors of Vivera. The Vivera family is a classic example of “all things Sicilian,” with mother Armida coming from Corleone in Palermo, father Antonino hailing from Ragusa, and their three children, born and raised in Catania. The whole family is involved in the winery.

    With wine ratings of 90+ points from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, Vivera produces wines that are elegant, spicy, mineral driven with depth and complexity. Begin your visit with a four-course Sicilian lunch paired with five of their wines. You can walk off your meal on a tour of the estate before boarding the motorcoach for the drive back to the ship.

    This tour is operated by the award winning, culinary and wine tour specialist, Food & Wine Trails.

    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 a minimum of 48 hours prior to tour.

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  • Beautiful Taormina & Mount Etna

    Don't forget your camera because each destination on this tour is a showstopper. The medieval history of Taormina is highly evident in the city's ancient fortresses and aristocratic palaces, the most notable being the Palazzo Corvaja. Once just a cube-shaped tower used for defense, over time the palace was added on to numerous times, so its bears Arabic, Norman and Gothic influences. Another mesmerizing attraction is the ancient Greek Theater, which has enormous historic significance and is the second largest in Sicily. Built by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C., it still holds performances during the summer. From this wonderful vantage point overlooking the sea, you can see Sicily's beautiful, precipitous coastline and famed Mt. Etna, the next spectacular attraction. Before reaching the volcano, you'll stop to relax and dine on a traditional Sicilian lunch. Then, it's on to Mt. Etna, up winding roadways, past mountain villages, and finally arriving at one of the towering craters.

    Please note: Extensive walking is required in Taormina (approximately 1 hour), including uphill climbs, steps and uneven terrain in the Greek Theater; uneven terrain and walking on lava path on Mount Etna Crater Silvestri area. Guests should bring a jacket with a windproof outer-layer as temperatures atop Mount Etna can be windy and cool, even during the summer months. The ground may be rough underfoot; thus, closed-toe shoes are recommended. This tour is not recommended for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns.

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  • Mount Etna 4x4 Expedition

    Disembarking the ship, you'll board your motor coach at the pier and begin the first leg of this fun and exciting tour that takes you to the amazing slopes of Mt. Etna.

    Leaving Catania 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. 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 may even take a 20-minute walk to see the most recent lava flow. After an exhilarating visit at the volcano's craters, your coach will return you to the pier in Catania where your tour concludes.

    Please note: This tour is not available to wheelchair guests 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.

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  • Sketches of Syracuse

    A short transfer from the pier brings you to Old Town. Here, the narrow streets are lined with medieval and Baroque buildings adorned with wrought iron balconies overflowing with flowers.

    At the beautiful Arethusa Fountain, venture to the nearby platform and marvel at views of the bay. Then, proceed to the Cathedral, a lovely structure built in the 7th century on the foundations of the former Temple of Minerva.

    Enjoy a stroll through the Piazza Duomo on the way to your awaiting motor coach, which will take you to your next destination, the ruins of the Greek theatre. Dating to the 5th century BC, it is one of the largest and best preserved theatres of the ancient world.

    The Roman amphitheatre, meanwhile, dates to the 2nd century. As you survey the ruins, you will be able to make out the gangways through which animals and gladiators entered the arena.

    Following your visit to the Roman amphitheatre, see the Cordmakers Cave, which gets its name from the ancient workers who spun and plaited hemp into cord.

    In addition, you will visit the Ear of Denys, an artificial grotto shaped like an earlobe. The name also refers to the cave's exceptional acoustics, which enabled the tyrant Denys to overhear prisoners talking in the lower room.

    Afterwards, you will have some free time and then return to your ship.

    Please note: This excursion has a substantial amount of walking and is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. In Ortigia, buses must enter a parking area and guests must be prepared to walk approximately a half a mile to the city center. It is recommended that guests wear flat, comfortable shoes. The order of sights visited may vary.

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