We will be guided on our post-conference tour of Sicily by Douglas Kenning, who lectures widely on Mediterranean histories and cultures, bringing to life the mythic dimensions of place.  This week will have us traveling clockwise around the island, often hugging its rocky coast, exploring those sites of deepest resonance.  The basic five-night trip will conclude in Palermo, from where some participants may fly home.  Our extended seven-night journey completes the circuit, taking us to Cefalù and Taormina before returning to Catania and its airport for departures home.

Tuesday, 18th of June 2013:
We depart from Siracusa for the high plateau town of Enna, more ancient than any Greek city, from where we will gaze across Sicily, as did Demeter, seeking sign of her daughter. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the Hotel Sicilia in Enna.

Wednesday, 19th of June 2013:
After breakfast at our hotel, we continue to the Roman Villa del Casale, at Piazza Armerina, where we’ll see some of the greatest mosaic floors of the ancient world, happily recently renovated.  We’ll have lunch at a local Slow Food restaurant, “La Routa,” which is situated in an old mill.  We’ll then travel further out across rolling countryside to Agrigento, where we find the Greeks again, with temples the equal to those in Greece itself.  We’ll have dinner at a great local trattoria, well-known for its fresh seafood, and head to our hotel, the Hotel Domus Aurea, overlooking the temples of Agrigento.

Thursday, 20th of June 2013:
Today, we travel west along the remote south coast to the ruins of the Greek city of Selinunte on its evocative windswept site. After lunch at Donnafugata, a local winery, we travel on to Motzia, lying among the salt flats and romantic windmills of far western Sicily, where we will lunch by the sea, and visit the Carthaginian city and its oddly exotic evidences of Canaanite religion.  We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the Baglio Oneto, a restored Spanish nobleman’s estate near Marsala.

Friday, 21st of June 2013:
We continue on to Erice to tour the ancient mountaintop town founded by Aphrodite, ruled by Hercules, where a cult of sex, from Astarte to Venus, once flourished. We’ll sample the pastries at Maria Grammatico’s shop, made famous by Mary Simeti’s book Bitter Almonds, and have a light lunch at her café. We then turn north to visit the incomparably beautiful temple at Segesta, a town that Virgil tells us was founded by Æneas.  We’ll have dinner at one of the best restaurants for Sicilian country cuisine, Altri Tempi, and then drive on to the Hotel Ambasciaton in Palermo to spend the night.

Saturday, 22nd of June 2013:
A full day in Palermo, and a morning walking tour of the incredible sites of the old city, including matchless gems like the Palatine Chapel. We lunch at the Antica Focacceria San Francesco, famous for its Slow Food quality and its anti-Mafia stance, and then travel up to Monreale to visit one of the greatest of Cathedrals, with acres of stories in gold leaf.  Dinner will be at La Medina, an Arabic food restaurant, before returning to our Palermo hotel for the night.

Sunday, 23rd of June 2013:
For anyone whose travels conclude in Palermo, our coach will be available to take participants to the piazza in front of Centrale Railway Station for bus and train connections to the airport. 

For those continuing on with us, we’ll drive along Sicily’s northern coast to Cefalù for a tour of this charming seaside town with its great Norman Cathedral.  This will be an open afternoon in old Cefalù, where you will be free to explore the town, swim at Cefalù’s famous beach, climb the stunning La Rocca (with its pre-historic cult center halfway up, and find a lovely trattoria for lunch.  We’ll meet up again in the late afternoon for the drive into the Madonie Mountains, and to our hotel at the ancient Sant’Anastasia abbey, the Relais Sant’Anastasia, which received its license for making wine from the Norman kings a thousand years ago.  Here, we’ll close our day with an organic wine tasting and dinner.

Monday, 24th of June 2013:
We continue after breakfast along the north edge of Sicily, passing Messina, to Taormina, for a discussion of the Odyssey and other stories of this coast. We will check into the Hotel Villa Belevedere and have lunch at its poolside. In the afternoon, we will visit the Roman theatre in Taormina and share more stories related to its famous view and to Taormina’s glittering past.  The remainder of the day you’ll be free to relax, swim, and enjoy the shops, views, and ancient sites of Taormina.  We’ll conclude our journey with a lovely arrivederci dinner at a local restaurant.

Tuesday, 25th of June 2013:
Our coach will leave after breakfast for Catania’s Fontanarossa airport, in time for flights departing at 11am or later.