Tag Archives: Sicily

Things to do in Palermo

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Sicily is one of Italy’s most exotic regions with almost too many things to do and see in the capital city of Palermo! Surely images of “mafia” and “The Godfather” come to mind when imagining Sicily but there is so much beauty and fascination with this region. Sicily has it all: Ancient ruins, mountains, volcanos, wine, ocean (after all, Sicily is an Island), mind-blowing food, warm people, divine desserts and unforgettable cities- like it’s capital Palermo.

Palermo is Sicily’s capital and a major touristic destination. The city is a contrast of Sicilian color, old and new architecture, ruined and developed as it was hit hard by the bombings of WWII. One minute you’ll walk down a street and be dazzled by sparkling new shops and smooth sidewalks and down around the corner you may find a tiny outdoor food market with vats of boiled potatoes waiting to be sold by a grandfather like vendor, surrounded by ruined buildings visibly charred by bombing while a young boy carries food to his family on a donkey. It is an incredible trip that every Italophile must make in his or her life!

If you are planning to visit Palermo, here is a list of top 7 things to do in Palermo to put on your list:

(images from google)

1. Vucciria Market- More than 700 years old, this outdoor food market in Palermo has more than a pulse left- it radiates the zest of life! Come here to not only relish in the hollering abbanniata of local vendors belting out their wares at the top of their lungs, but to savor in salted capers, mountains of deep red tomatoes, fresh fish so fresh its gills hardly stop moving, street snacks like fried calamari, artichokes and panelle (a fried chickpea bread). Discover Sicilian culture and tradition at this market, we recommend coming with one of our gourmet tour guides so you can really understand and discover all the hidden gems.

2. Sicilian Cooking Class- After your market visit to the Vucciria with bags full of ripe Sicilian produce and specialties- don’t you think you should learn how to make some Sicilian fare? We specialize in gourmet travel and our clients can’t stop raving on tripadvisor about how cooking classes in Italy transform their understanding of Italian food and how they bring this culinary magic back with them home. Not only are these benefits evident when you take a cooking class in Italy, but you make priceless connections with the locals. Sicilians have a gift of being some of the warmest people on earth. Cooking with locals will give you the opportunity to spend an afternoon not only with a Sicilian chef, but with new friends.

3. Museo Archeologico Regionale (Regional Archeological Museum)- Sicily has a strong connection with the Greeks and Romans so many ancient structures were influenced by their styles as a result. Many artifacts  reside in this museum monastery with not only these constructed remains, but also galleries of preserved scenes from various eras of Sicily’s rich history.

4.  Catacombe dei Cappuccini (Cappuccini Catacombs!) Get ready to get goosebumps because these catacombs are the home to some 8000 mummified Palermitani who died between the 17th and 19th century! These mummies are even on display and divided by social status such as religion, crimes, chastity and wealth. Make sure you make this stop a request if you are taking a guided tour of Palermo!

5. A cultural walking tour of Palermo- Yes, knowing what sites to visit are important, having a guide take you through Palermo to discover sights, monuments and museums makes your trip to Palermo not only informative but fun! Get to know the inside and out of this Sicilian hub full of artifacts and modern history with a private, entertaining and friendly English speaking private tour in Palermo. Plus, you’ll get some exercise walking around to justify the food and wine you’ll enjoy on your tour.

6. Eat out! Sicily is known for succulent meat dishes, mouthwatering lasagna, superb wines made from rich, mineral volcanic soil, explosive tomatoes (not from the volcanos, but the effect on your tastebuds) and decadent desserts like world famous cannoli and cassata. So treat yourself to a night (or few) out fine dining your way through the culinary treasures of Sicily. Want to avoid the touristic trap restaurants in Palermo? Contact us- we offer complimentary bookings in Palermo’s finest restaurants (secret tips that not even the guidebooks know).

7.  Visit to the botanical garden (Orto Botanico Palermo)- Sicily has an exotic past and a tropical nook in the city with it’s botanical garden! Visit to walk through groves of fig and palm trees, striking flora and fauna, papayas and coffee trees! I bet you didn’t know Sicily could grow 2 things: coffee and palm! Were we right?

Anything we are missing or that you would like to learn more about for things to do in Palermo? Contact us! Le Baccanti is proud to have been planning luxury vacations and tours in Italy for over 10 years. We are happy to share our expertise with our clients aka our VIPS!

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Top 3 Beach Holidays in Italy

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Italy is one of the top destinations for beach holidays, for locals and tourists alike. Locals flee to the coast to escape the heat from the mainland and to work up that amazing Mediterranean glow while the rest of us are fleeing for a once in a lifetime vacation of blue sky, sea and fine sand with fabulous food and wine to match. There are so many beaches to choose from in Italy and any of these three regions are home to the world’s most gorgeous shores.

1. The Amalfi Coast

With a truly panoramic coast, windy hills, perfect warm sunny weather and plenty of free and private beaches- the Amalfi is a no-brainer when it comes to planning your beach holiday in Italy. The most noted city for luxury beach holidays on this end of the Italian coast is Positano. It is very easy to travel here and many options for private sunbathing as well as a slew of choices if you would like to indulge in the country’s best wine. If you are coming to Amalfi, we highly recommend on of our top requested wine tours of the Amalfi Coast. Just in case you need a break from all the sunbathing and beach for a day sipping wine and eating delicious southern Italian cuisine.

2. Tuscany

Tuscany is known for its lush green rolling hills and Chianti wine country, but did you know it has some of the country’s best beaches too? The Livorno coast aka the Tuscan Riviera is home to some very top pristine beaches with perfectly fined white sand, carved reefs and cliffs dotted with Etruscan castles. A great beach on the Southern coast of Tuscany is Castiglioncello. A perfect 5 day stay at Castiglioncello should include a wine tour in Bolgheri of Super Tuscan wines where you will tour the beautiful southern Tuscan wine region, meet the world’s most esteemed wine producers and enjoy a gourmet luxury lunch on a terrace overlooking the sea.

3. Sicily

With its rich history, Greek ruins and artifacts, gorgeous culinary arts and of course mind blowing wine, Sicily has a lot to offer also in terms of beach holidays. Spend a day near Taoromina to visit Lido Mazzaro and treat yourself to a wine tour of Etna to discover wines that have been transformed by rich volcanic soil that is unlike any other juice you will taste on the rest of the peninsula. If you are looking for something even more exclusive, we suggest the Aeolian Islands where you will be surprised to find exotic black sand beaches.

Le Baccanti Tours is a luxury travel company located in Tuscany, Italy. We have been specializing in gourmet food, wine and cultural tours of Italy for over 10 years.Please see our website www.lebaccanti.com for more information on how to book your next trip to Italy with us!

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Sicily why?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plus WHY CHOOSE SICILY

– Blue sea and hot sun enjoyable for most of the year

– History and architecture: from the Greek to the Romans, Norman and Muslim people, Spanish, etc., an incredible mixture of different cultures which have been melting during the centuries. Visits of archaeological sites and temples

– Food and wines: wonderful fresh seafood(swordfish, tuna, sardines, anchovies…), pastas and cous cous cooked with fish, seasonal vegetables and many different spices, and of course amazing pastries and ice creams! Wines? Nowadays some of the best Italian ones, Donnafugata, Cantine Florio, Palari, Paceco, Planeta, Tasca d’ Almerita are just some of the finest wine producers, and of course Marsala

– Nature, botanical gardens, breathtaking views…

– Plus this gorgeous island is surrounded by other 14 small islands, which are tiny paradises

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