Your English speaking driver/guide will meet you as you disembark at approximately 8:00am – he will be holding a sign with your name on it, so look for him!
We will start out by driving to the western part of Sicily from Palermo. Our first stop will be at the magnificent Temple of Segesta. It was built by the Elimian, an old population whose origins are perhaps Turkish, but later colonized by the Greeks to become one of the most important Greek colonies in the west side of Sicily. It is the first Greek Temple built in Doric style. The Temple has 36 columns, still intact despite the several earthquakes which effected this area. We will also visit the theater, which is a typical example of the Greek semi circular theater style. We then move on to the medieval town of Erice, situated 880 meters above the sea level and surrounded by ancient Elimi and Phoenician walls on the northeastern side of the city. Two castles make for a spectacular skyline to this town: Pepoli Castle, with foundations dating from Saracen times; and Venus Castle, dating from the Norman era but built on ruins of the ancient Temple of Venus. Surrounded by a lush park, the hilltop castles alone are worth a stop in Erice, which offers charming old stone streets and medieval churches. Pepoli Castle was at first a feudal stronghold, though Erice was eventually ceded to the Crown as a demesnial city. The view from the castle towers is stupendous. Though both castles have been modified somewhat over the centuries, they still have that distinctively medieval character one expects of such fortresses.
It is interesting to visit the Cathedral built in the 1300s in Gothic Catalan style with mirable decorations. We will see the picture of the famous black Virgin, which is highly acclaimed in this area. We will stroll the village and taste the famous marzipan cakes made with almonds in different flavors (pistachio, pinots, orange, lemon and so on..) by the famous pastries shop “Grammatico”. At approximately 3:30pm we will head back to the ship.
Our driver/guide will pick you up and drop you off at your ship at the conclusion of the tour; Tickets, meals and extras not included.
Palermo to Erice & Segesta