“Without the unexpected relentless generosity of Connie Costa I would not have had the culinary adventures in Sicily that I had! She is a remarkable woman who went above and beyond to help my experience in Sicily be an unforgettable one. She checked in on me daily and made many suggestions but mostly demands! Nothing about her is not Sicilian. HA! She connected me with family members who live in Palermo so I would have local connections/support, she guided me to the Palermo markets and to a most incredible restaurant where I tried sea urchin for the first time! Theres no doubt I would not have had the magical time I had in Palermo especially were it not for the ride I took with dear Connie. She takes people on tours of this gorgeous island…and I highly recommend you experience this place and this woman’s passion for the place!” – Dayna Mondello
“If you have not been with Connie on a trip to Italy you have not yet lived!! This is the trip of a lifetime. So much thought and planning goes into this, so much fun and happiness is the outcome. I plan to go again.” – Dee Bacus
Exclusive & Unique Food Tour in Sicily
Please plan on arriving at least one night before the start of the tour. I will book this for you.
The day of your arrival you will be greeted at the airport by your friendly, private driver.
Drop-off at your hotel in Mondello.
Day 1. –
Welcome to Sicily!
Wake-up in Connie Costa’s favorite town in the world: Mondello!
Feast on a delicious, and bountiful breakfast with many local delicacies.
Breakfast included every day at the hotel.
Light lunch included
Welcome to Sicilia Dinner!
Day: Cooking Class with the Duchess
Transfer to Palazzo Lampedusa. Meet your Chef, Duchess Nicoletta at her historic palazzo, Palazzo Lampedusa. Visit to one of Palermo’s historic markets (Il Capo, La Vucciria or Borgo Vecchio). At the market, meet the Market’s lively characters, see fish fly and, purchase the freshest selection of produce to prepare your meal. This cooking demonstration is held at the Duchess’ palazzo in the heart of Palermo. A late lunch will follow the class. Evening at leisure.
All Day: Excursion to Erice
Light lunch included
Pausa Caffe’ (coffee stop!) at Castellamare Del Golfo. This is one of my favorite little towns to stop and have some coffee or gelato.
After enjoying a gelato or espresso in Castellamare Del Golfo, we will visit the mystical medieval mountaintop town of Erice. Believed by Romans to be the home of Venus, Erice is one of the most enchanting towns in Sicily. You will lose yourself in the medieval streets, and discover Erice’s magical castles. The views are jaw-dropping. We will enjoy one of Sicily’s most famous street foods: the famous Arancine!
After Erice we will head to Trapani, and enjoy a sunset dinner at a famous seafood restaurant. Everything will be cooked by Chef Francesco, one of Connie’s favorite chefs in Sicily.
Tour of: Palermo & Monreale
Today we will enjoy the city of Palermo. I am not sure why it has a bad reputation, since Palermo is one of my favorite cities in the world. Like any major city, there are the grittier parts, but I love and appreciate even those areas of my beautiful Palermo. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a safe city. Palermo is home to beautiful monuments and spectacular churches, such as the main church of Palermo, La Cattedrale di Palermo. It’s also home to the second largest opera house in Europe, the majestic, Teatro Massimo. We will also visit my favorite part of Palermo, Via Liberta’, home to the most famous designer labels, beautiful shops and restaurants. It’s tres chic!
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about my beloved Palermo: Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. The 12th-century Palermo Cathedral houses royal tombs, while the huge neoclassical Teatro Massimo is known for opera performances. Also in the center are the Palazzo dei Normanni, a royal palace started in the 9th century, and the Cappella Palatina, with Byzantine mosaics. Busy markets include the central Ballarò street market and the Vucciria, near the port.
Then we are off to Monreale. A beautiful hilltop town overlooking “La Conca D’Oro”, a lush valley full of almond, olive and orange trees. Monreale is mostly known for its impressive Norman-Byzantine Duomo di Monreale.
Check-out of your hotel in Mondello.
Day: Lunch Included
In the morning depart to Cefalù with your driver guide. This enchanting fishing village and summertime resort sits on a rocky outcrop in the center of Sicily’s north coast. Cefalù lies in a scenic locale between the massive peak and a long sweeping beach. Against this backdrop rise the lofty twin towers of the cathedral built by Roger II in 1130. This splendid cathedral is one of the finest examples of Arab-Norman architecture, and contains luminous mosaics.
After lunch, there will be a quick stop to the beautiful town of Castelbuono. We will savor samples of homemade panettone, one of the most famous sweet breads of Italy.
Castelbuono is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Palermo, Sicily. It is known for its castle from which its name derives, and around which the city developed in the 14th century. (source: Wikipedia)
Private transfer to your hotel in Taormina.
Breakfast included daily.
Day: Taormina & Mt. Etna Excursion
Taormina is Sicily’s most famous city. Dating from the fourth and third centuries B.C., it is perched dramatically high on a rocky promontory overlooking the Ionian Sea. It’s a charming medieval town with typical cobblestoned streets leading into spacious squares graced by lovely 15th-century palazzi. One of the town’s highlights is the extraordinary classical Greco-Roman theatre.
Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south. (source: Wikipedia)
Visit Local Winery at the foot of Mount Etna.
Evening at Leisure
In the morning departure to Syracuse, one of the most beautiful Sicilian towns. You will visit the major archaeological sites, including the famous Greek Theater, “The Ear of Dionysius,” and take a walking tour of Ortigia Island to admire the architectural splendor of ancient streets, baroque palaces, and classic churches as the Duomo, built upon the old temple of Athena.
Noto is a city in southeastern Sicily, Italy. It’s known for its baroque architecture, including the reconstructed 18th-century Noto Cathedral. Across the street is the Palazzo Ducezio, now the town hall, with the Hall of Mirrors embellished by gilding and stuccos. Nearby, the Palazzo Nicolaci has richly decorated balconies. Resembling a triumphal arch, the 19th-century Porta Reale marks the entrance to the city. (source: Wikipedia)
We will enjoy a decadent dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Sicily. It is owned by a noble family, who pride themselves in serving organic, local, high-quality Sicilian food. A memorable feast, indeed!
BONUS TOUR – HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Day at Leisure in Taormina
Day: Ragusa & Modica
Ragusa is a hilltop city in southeast Sicily, Italy. Ragusa Ibla, the old town, is home to many baroque buildings, like the Duomo di San Giorgio, a grand church with paintings and stained-glass windows. There are sweeping views from the Giardino Ibleo, a public park with churches and fountains. In Ragusa Superiore, the city’s more modern part, is ornate Ragusa Cathedral, with a museum of religious art and relics. (source: Wikipedia)
Modica is a city in southeast Sicily, Italy. It’s known for its Baroque buildings, like the Cathedral of St. George. Featuring a working lab, the Chocolate Museum explores the city’s history of chocolate-making. Casa Natale Salvatore Quasimodo, where the 20th-century poet was born, is now a museum with his books and furniture. Among the displays at the Museo Civico F.L. Belgiorno is a 3rd-century B.C. bronze statue. (source: Wikipedia)
Dinner at one of the best restaurants in Sicily.
A foodie’s heaven! If you love excellence, you will love this chef’s masterpieces. This restaurant was voted as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, and the chef was voted one of the 3 best chefs in all of Italy. He is a master chef, who loves Sicily and only cooks with the highest quality ingredients the island has to offer. This will surely be a highlight of your trip.
Transfer to an Agriturismo in Agrigento
Sicilian Cooking Class with Annalisa Pompeo
Annalisa Pompeo of GoSicily leads super fun cooking classes. Her charming personality, alongside her passion for cooking, makes it one of the many highlights for my clients. A few years back, Annalisa did not feel fulfilled and was in a dead-end job; she knew there was more to life. One day, she decided to start living her life’s purpose so she got rid of her house, her job, and decided to pursue her passion for cooking. Hence, GoSicily was born. I admire her love for Sicily, her knowledge of Sicilian food, and her courage to pursue her dreams and follow her bliss.
Valley of Temples
The Valle dei Templi is an archaeological site in Agrigento, Sicily. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy. The area was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1997. (source: Wikipedia)
Farm Visit in Agrigento
Visit Scala Dei Turchi
Check-out of the Agriturismo in Agrigento
Private Transfer from Agrigento to Palermo
Option (depends on your flight): one night in Mondello
Private Transfer to Palermo Airport
Arrivederci Sicilia! A presto!!
Not included in price:
-meals not specified
-anything not included in itinerary
Please let us know if you want any of the above to be included in the price (additional charge). You may also add additional cities in Italy.
(please note: itinerary subject to change)
“What a wonderful trip! And again Connie you are the best and most knowledgeable tour guide that I have ever had the pleasure of traveling with. Can’t hardly wait to travel with you again! ” Dee Bacus
“Connie is amazing. Not only did she plan my entire trip, she gave me an experience that was nothing short of magical. This trip was very important to me, as it was a tribute to my mother who passed in late August of 2011. I wanted to honor her on her 40th birthday by taking our dream trip. I would have never imagined that I would be leaving Italy so touched and in love. In my time there I got to do so much more than sight see and eat delicious food. I was able to take the time to do some soul searching. I’m a huge fan of the movie Eat Pray Love, so when I talk to my friend’s about how wonderful this trip was, I always tell them it was my Eat Pray Love moment. I ate my way around Sicily and have never been the same after those exquisite meals. I had a lot of time to pray and reflect on the goals I want to achieve all while sitting on gorgeous beaches, and I received the beautiful gift of learning to love myself, which was definitely not on my agenda beforehand. It’s beautiful to see that Connie can take something that is already amazing like travel and turn it into pure magic. I will never forget cooking in a palazzo, sitting around the table with Connie’s family eating an authentic meal, or standing at the top of the Greek Amphitheater. Those are things I would have never seen myself doing, but that’s where the magic truly lies. I came home knowing that anything is possible if I simply believe it is so. After coming home I began to take more risks and search for the things that truly bring me joy. I have promised myself that I will always be the most authentic and brave version of myself. I am no longer afraid of what people think of me, I flaunt my sassy and bubbly personality all over the place. I recently signed my first apartment lease and began working a job outside of food service which were two huge goals of mine. I’m no longer afraid to live and that’s a beautiful feeling.” – Rachel Ancheta
About Exclusive Sicily Tours
My Exclusive & Unique Food Tour in Sicily was born out of my obsession for my beloved Sicilia. Born in Los Angeles, but raised in Palermo, it wasn’t until we returned to live in Los Angeles that I started to appreciate Sicily. Upon returning to Italy when I was 19 years old, I fell madly in-love with this enchanting island. It frustrates me to see tourists only visit the 3 most popular towns in Italy, and not visit my gorgeous island. People have no idea what Sicily has to offer.
Sicily is unlike any place in the world. If you want breathtaking nature, gorgeous beaches, historical sites, unique art, diverse cultures, charming towns, friendly people and the best food in the world, then Sicily is the place for you! I am convinced without a doubt that I am the most passionate guide out there. I do not know anyone who loves Sicily as much as I do.
My tours are exclusive and unique because I go out of my way to make you fall-in-love with Sicily. I take you to the best restaurants in Sicily, have you meet the top chefs and food & wine experts, tour with other passionate guides, and visit the most beautiful cities. I also take you to smaller towns where you will never see a tourist. I want you to feel like a local. Most importantly, you get to meet my Sicilian family. All they care about is that you feel like you are a part of our family, and that you never forget this experience. Together, we have sooo much fun. So, what are you waiting for? Join our family!
“The Sicily, Italy trip was simply amazing. You’ll discover not only a place as rich in history if not more so than mainland Italy, but you’ll eat food better than any you can find here. It’s so fresh and alive! You’ll get to experience being a part of Italian family life and what it feels like to dine al fresco with the laughter and joy of people who are pleasant and beautiful in heart and soul.
The most amazing part of the trip is discovering yourself somewhere between the warm sea, the island air, the slopes of Mt. Etna, the quaint streets and piazzas, and the joyful ebb and flow of island life. WOW! You’ll never remember what you did at that one day of work, but you’ll always remember your trip to Italy!” – Onna Young
“Honestly, this is the best tour for experiencing a country such as Sicily from the point of view of someone who truly loves Sicily. If you love to explore city after city absorbing the culture and nuances of each city and its people and food, then this is the tour for you!” MaryFrances Giacalone
“I highly recommend going on this retreat. I joined Connie and Dr. Sarah on last year’s trip and it is one I will never forget. I met some amazing people and left with some beautiful friendships. Sicily is breathtaking, so full of history and beauty. The people are so warm and welcoming. If I had to describe this trip in one word, it would be magical. I cannot wait to go back next year. Connie and Sarah are so wonderful and inspiring. You can tell a lot of planning and love was put into this trip. Everything was perfect, from the hotels to the tours and the workshops.” – Leela Mahadeo