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Day 1 – DEPART USA – Today, we depart our home airport to connect with our overnight flight to Rome. We enjoy in-flight movies, dinner, and breakfast while aloft.

Day 2 – SICILY/PALERMO - This morning, our travels take us to St. Paul’s Island, where a shipwreck delivered him safely in 60AD. The famed Statue of St. Paul involved the talents of two famous 18th century artists, Sigismondo Dimech and his apprentice, Salvatore Dimech (no relation). In the statue’s left hand is a book, the symbol of his prolific writing, and at his feet there is a snake. Legend tells us that St. Paul survived the bite of a poisonous snake while on the island and from that point on, no poisonous snakes existed ever again on the island! Our next stop is St. Paul

Day 3 – PALERMO – Today, following breakfast, we start our excursion to Palermo, Sicily’s capital, with a visit to the magnificent Duomo of Monreale. We then explore Palermo, founded by the Phoenicians. We celebrate Mass at the Norman church of Martorana. Following a stop for lunch on our own, we visit the historic city center, San Giuseppe dei Teatini, Cathedral founded in 1185AD, with six tombs of past emperors. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 4 – PALERMO/AGRIGENTO/CATANIA – This morning, we depart for Agrigento, the Greek major city of “Akraga” (5th Century BC) and visit the Valley of the Temples, where you will admire one of the best-preserved landscapes of Magna Grecia’s temple of Juno, Concordia Castore, and Polluce. We celebrate Mass at the Agrigento Cathedral, founded in the 11th century, and dedicated to St. Gerland. We stop along our route for lunch on our own before continuing to Catania. Following check in, we enjoy dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 5 – TAORMINA/CATANIA – Today, we drive to Taormina, an ancient Greek colony, known as the pearl of Sicily, for its beauty and history. We celebrate Mass at the baroque-medieval Cathedral of San Nicola, built in the 13th century. A pleasant walk through the narrow streets filled with typical shops introduces us to its magical atmosphere. We break for lunch on our own before we visit the Greek Theater on the hill overlooking Taormina’s Bay, the ancient summer resort of Roman Emperors and prominent Romans. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Catania.

Day 6 – CATANIA/SIRACUSA/CATANIA – This morning, we journey to Siracusa, a Greek city that in ancient days was fierce rival of Rome and Athens. It was here that St. Paul landed after departing Malta, en-route to his trial in Rome. The visit includes: the Archaeological Park with the Greek Theatre (5th century BC), where during the season the ancient Greek tragedies are performed; the Ara of Ierone; the Roman Anfiteatro, where the gladiator competitions occurred; the Latomie of the Stone Paradise, ancient hollow stones known for their different shapes, the most famous being the Orecchio of Dionisio. Some of the ancient sights to see in Syracuse are located in Ortigia, the most important being: the Cathedral, where we will celebrate Mass, a Doric Temple built on a Sicilian settlement, Byzantine Basilica, a Norman church, with late Renaissance and then Baroque elements and the Arethusa Fountain, which is a place linked to Greek mythology. We return to Catania for dinner and overnight

Day 7 – CATANIA/RAGUSA/MODICA/SCICLI/CATANIA – Today, we travel to Ragusa, which is really two separate towns, both of whom were combined to form one municipality in 1926. Lower Ragusa, known as Ragusa Ibla, or simply “Ibla,” is the ancient part of the city, rebuilt after suffering heavy damage due to the infamous 1693 earthquake that devastated south-eastern Sicily. The other, Upper Ragusa, or Ragusa Superiore, is the main part of the new city, which was built on the ridge across from Ibla after the earthquake. Because upper Ragusa was built in the early 1700s, most of its churches and main buildings were thus constructed in the Baroque and New-Classical styles of that era. Most of the city’s history deals with the old city of Ibla. Populated by the Indigenous Siculi in ancient times, the town was called “Hybla Heraea” from which the name Ibla was derived. Ibla's best-known church is the Basilica of St. George, whose entrance is reached by climbing a spacious set of elegantly decorated curving stairs. The majestic dome of the church towers above the town and dominates the Piazza del Duomo and its neat rows of palm trees beneath it. We then travel to the town of Modica. What makes Modica so unique and charming is undoubtedly the baroque look that dominates the old town center, as well as the maze of narrow streets bordered by old shops, houses, and buildings, which characterize both Modica Alta and Modica Bassa. Scicli is the loveliest city in the province of Ragusa, lying on a vast valley amidst rocky mountains, where the San Bartolomeo, the Santa Maria La Nuova and the Fiumara di Modica rivers intersect. The 18th century look, which was a result of the reconstruction following the earthquake of 1693, along with its elegant palazzi and churches, contribute to its being referred to as the “Baroque Jewel.” We return to Catania for dinner and overnight. Mass to be determined.

Day 8 – CATANIA/TINDARI/MESSINA/CATANIA – This morning, we drive to Messina to see "The Gate of Sicily," just five kilometers separating Messina from mainland Italy! In the ancient times, it was given the name “Zancle” by the Greeks for its sickle-shaped harbour. Seeing the beauty of the town, it is hard to imagine that in 1908 a devastating earthquake levelled Messina and that during World War II, the town was subjected to several intensive bombing raids. After passing some points of interest, such as the Church of San Francesco and the Fountain of Neptune, our tour will proceed to the National Museum. From there, we pass the City Hall, the Church of the Annunziata dei Catalani, and the Piazza Duomo. Important to note is the astronomical clock, the most interesting component of the 60-meter-high belltower located to the left of the Cathedral. We continue the excursion to Tindari, and the northern coast of Sicily. The town is a Greek colony that was founded in 396 BC and occupies a magnificent position on the coast. Nowadays, Tindari is a popular pilgrimage site for those who visit the sanctuary dedicated to the “Black Madonna.” We return to Catania for dinner and overnight. Mass to be determined.

Day 9 – CATANIA – Today is spent in Catania, which was built in 729 BC with the name “Katane,” which means “grater” in Sicilian. It was conquered by the Romans in 263 BC. The Roman influence can still be felt, as some architectural ruins of the Augustan period remain. After the Byzantine domination there was the Arabic and then the Norman supremacy, which brought many changes and innovations to the town, the building of the Cathedral, and the many monasteries. With the Aragonese, Catania had a period of economic recovery and cultural revolution. In fact, it was during this period that the first university of the island was born. Following Spanish domination and the earthquake in 1693, both plunged the land into a serious economic crisis. This period was then followed by an important rebuilding campaign that continued after the unity of Italy. The 19th century saw a flourishing period of cultural splendor for Catania, involving expansion and growth in worldly, literary, musical, and theatrical expressions. We visit Catania’s most significant monuments: the Elephant Fountain, the Cathedral (11th century), and Ursino Castle (1239-1250). Following a break for lunch on our own, the afternoon is spent at leisure shopping around this beautiful City. We return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 10 – CATANIA/HOME – This morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight connections back to the US. We arrive later that day filled with memories of a lifetime!