|1. LA CUCINA DEL SOLE – MOUNT ETNA
The lessons are held by Monica Consoli in her charming Sicilian house built in 18th century, with the fascinating courtyard full of citrus trees and jasmine, in the large typical kitchen which was her mother “reign” and where she learned all the secrets of traditional good cooking. Each lesson lasts about 3 hours with final lunch that consists in the dishes made during the cooking class.
Other classes available on request include: Italian Cuisine, Haute Cuisine, Country-style Cookery, Plate and Table Decoration, Etiquette, Ecole Ménagère, Quick Recipes, Hand-Made Pasta, Lectures and Tasting of olive oil, Lectures and Tasting of Sicilian and/or Italian cheese.
2. COOKING IN 1* MICHELIN RESTAURANT IN TAORMINA
Meet the great Chef at his 1 Michelin starred restaurant. The Chef will guide and oversee the cooking lesson, illustrating the best techniques to handle and cook the dishes freely adapted and designed by the new "chefs for one day". Through the interplay of flavors and senses, the kitchen will become the stage where to observe team dynamics, leadership skills and the ability to find solutions quickly. Lunch or dinner with beverages is included.
3. COOKING CLASS IN ORTIGIA
You will meet the Chef in Siracusa at Ortigia Island and follow him to the historic open market to buy all the ingredients necessary for the cooking class, which is held in a typical Sicilian house. The dishes you've prepared will be served with the right Sicilian wine and Sicilian desserts.
4. COOKING CLASS IN CATANIA
A visit with the Chef to the traditional market “La Pescheria”, in the heart of Catania, where breathing the sea smell, you will buy all the ingredients for the cooking class held in a local restaurant. All your five senses will be completely involved during this experience. With all the fresh ingredients bought at the market you will prepare four different dishes: a starter, a main course “primo”, and dessert. Little breaks during the lesson give a chance to taste typical products and sparkling wines. Lunch and beverages are included.
5. WINE TOUR: SCILIO & GAMBINO WINERIES
Departure from Taormina or Catania area. Arrival in Linguaglossa on Mount Etna to visit Scilio Winery which dates back to 1815. The Scilio Winery is surrounded by organically cultivated vineyards, where for centuries the traditions of winemaking have been handed down from generation to generation. Luisa will show you the vineyard, the old palmento (milestone) and the barriques, then you will taste their best wines and a delicious red passito of Etna. Later you will be visiting the Gambino Winery. The unique climate and ground conditions determine the typicality of the Etna grapes and wine. At the highest altitudes the changes of temperature between night and day allow a phenol and aromatic ripening that is essential for the colour and taste of the red grapes and for the aroma of the white wines. After lunch return to the Hotel.
6. WINE TOUR: BARONE DI VILLAGRANDE, GAMBINO & TENUTE CHIUSE DEL SIGNORE WINERIES
Departure from Taormina or Catania area. Arrival in Milo on Mount Etna to visit the Barone di Villagrande surrounded by organically cultivated vineyards, where for centuries the traditions of winemaking have been handed down from generation to generation. Visit and Wine tasting with Barbara. Later you will be visiting the Gambino Winery. The unique climate and ground conditions determine the typicality of the Etna grapes and wine. At the highest altitudes the changes of temperature between night and day allow a phenol and aromatic ripening that is essential for the colour and taste of the red grapes and for the aroma of the white wines. Lunch and wine tasting. After lunch you will visit the last winery the Tenuta Chiuse Del Signore which produces first-rate wines and olive oil. This viticultural family-owned farm dates back to the 20th century. Return to the Hotel.
7. EXCLUSIVE ETNA WINERIES: TENUTE CHIUSE DEL SIGNORE & BENANTI
Departure from Taormina or Catania area. Arrival in Linguaglossa to visit the winery “Tenute Chiuse Del Signore”, which produces first-rate wines and olive oil. This viticultural family-owned farm dates back to the 20th century and rises on a charming hilltop at 550 metres above sea level, in the small town of Linguaglossa in the Etna Natural Park. The Estate's wines come from vineyards planted on the north side of Etna mountain, on rich soils originated from old volcanic eruptions. An oasis measuring about 150 acres, where the Volcano oversees the Alcantara River Valley and the golden beaches of Taormina.
Transfer to Viagrande and visit the prestigious Benanti Winery, one of the first wineries in Sicily which produces high quality wines. They maximized the potential of Etnean soil by researching particular clones and by using the most modern techniques of vinification to produce ancient fragrances. Lunch is included. Return to the Hotel.
8. COTTANERA & PASSOPISCIARO
Departure from Taormina or Catania area. Arrival in Castiglione di Sicilia. Visit Passopisciaro Winery to discover one of the best boutique wineries of Mount Etna! Then drive to Cottanera, with its pioneer viticulture,
today one of the most extraordinary companies in Italian and International enology. The vineyards grow over lava stone, 700 meters above sea level, on the northern slope of the volcano, becoming the mirror of a unique, precious and fascinating territory. Experience a one of a kind wine tasting with lunch included. Return to the Hotel.
9. TERRAZZE DELL’ETNA & PLANETA WINERY
Departure from Taormina or Catania area. Drive to Etna North in Castiglione di Sicilia. Visit Planeta Feudo di Mezzo Winery, located in a spectacular position within a lava flow dating from 1566, just a few meters away from the “Sciara Nuova” and “Monteguardia” vineyards. Your will taste the four Planeta Wines are produced here. Then drive to the new wine estate Terrazze dell’Etna to visit the Vineyards and enjoy a Sicilian Barbecue with their very special wines. Return at the Hotel
10. VISIT AT BIVIERE GARDEN (min 4 pax)
Pick up in hotel and departure for Lentini to visit the famous Giardino del Biviere a unique Mediterranean garden. The tour is held by the owner Princess Maria Carla Borghese. According to legend here Hercules, son of Zeus, gave as a gift to Cecere, the Goddess of harvest, the skin of the Nemean Lion he had defeated. Once he arrived in Lestrigoni, the little town where the Goddess Cecere lived, he created from dry and desolate land a lake that was named after him: Lacunus Erculeus. This lake, today surrounded by rich vegetation and animal life, was dried out in the 1930’s in order to defeat the malaria disease. Today, thanks to its local community love for plants, it has been turned into a unique and picturesque mediterranean garden. The old south-facing port shows an extraordinary collection of plants, Cactaceae Variety, growing on the carefully and restored jetties to form a gangway of greenery. Princess Borghese will be happy to enjoy with you a cocktail before your return to the hotel.
11. ETNA VOLCANO TOUR WITH A NATURALISTIC GUIDE (By Jeep or Car)
Explore Volcano Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Mount Etna is one of the greatest and beautiful volcano adventure tour destinations in Sicily, not only for the volcanic phenomena but also for the breathtaking views and the different kinds of vegetation visible during the ascent. This volcano has more than 400 craters, split all over the Catania county. The first stop of the tour is Valle del Bove, a wide valley located on the eastern slope of the volcano and part of the protected area of the Etna Regional Park. Proceeding we will go through old lava flows that date back to 1979 till we reach Mount Fontana, 1300 meters above sea level. This is a great panoramic point, from which you can admire the majesty of the valley and of the Monti Sartorius.
A short walk to visit the craters of the Sartorius Mountains , which date back to 1865 and are characterized by seven little eruptive cones. Halfway down from the top we will reach another panoramic point which offers a breathtaking view of the Ionian Coast, from Riposto to Taormina and a glimpse of the Calabrian Coast ,of the North-East crater and of the latest new lava flows and craters of 2002. Driving up the Mareneve Road, we will reach Piano Provenzana. Here you will have time to relax and enjoy an espresso. Later we will walk through the pine forest of Ragabo and reach the Corruccio cave. Return at Hotel.
12. BIKE TOURS
Optional transfer from the hotel in Taormina to Giardini Naxos, where the biking tour starts. From Giardini Naxos, cycling, you can admire the Valley of the Alcantara River. On this route you will go through citrus and orchard groves, and you will admire the Arabian castle of Calatabiano. Visit at the Alcantara Gorges, deep incisions in volcanic rocks and cliffs caused by the eruptions of Mount Etna. Lunch at a typical Sicilian restaurant. Return through the path of "Gurne", that are small lakes situated in the Alcantara Valley.
Optional transfer from the hotel in Taormina to Giardini Naxos, where the biking tour starts. One day excursion along the Ionian Coast during which you will clycle through citrus groves. Points of interest: • Natural Reserve of Fiumefreddo
• Riposto (Etna harbour) • Santa Tecla, Stazzo and Pozzillo, small villages of fishermen. Lunch break with "Pane Condito", typical Sicilian bread. Return to Giardini Naxos and transfer to the hotel in Taormina.
13. FISHING TOURS
Fishing Tour with local fishermen
Depart for a fishing experience with local fisherman who takes places near the coast cliffs with depths from 15 to 30 meters, you can fish for bream, bass, garfish, or for small and medium sized fish. Lunch is included using your catch of the day at a local restaurant
14. DONKEY AND JEEP TOUR ON MOUNT ETNA (10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.)
Accompanied by a friendly English speaking guide, discover the tallest active volcano in Europe! After breakfast, meet your private driver outside the hotel to embark on a full-day exploration of Mount Etna by Jeep. Visit the extinguished Silvestri Craters in the Sapienza Refuge, where an incredible variety of flora and fauna live in the moon-like landscape, and stop for a special pic-nic set for you in a private and an elegant setting. In the afternoon, your driver brings you to the Piano Provenanzo, where you meet your personal donkey and trekking leader! Long before the inventions of cars and airplanes, donkeys were the main means of transportation in this area, and you get to tour this magical land as it was experiences by generations before our modern era. Enjoy a gentle ride through the stunningly lush Ragabo Forest and across ski trails for an incredible view of the volcano.
15. GODFATHER TOWNS AND CASTELLO DEGLI SCHIAVI
Enjoy an introduction to the real Sicily, exploring the towns of Savoca and Forza D'Agro with your English speaking driver. Departure for Fiumefreddo and admire The Castello degli Schiavi, with the owner Barone Platania , the location where the movie was filmed. Then drive to Savoca, walking tour of the town, admiring the Godfather Set with the typical streets and the famous Bar Vitelli. We will take a walk on the panoramic promenade to the famous church of Sant'Nicolò or better called Santa Lucia which was used in the Godfather movie for the marriage of Al Pacino and Apollonia. A taste of lemon Granita is a must! We then drive to the next charming medieval village of Forza D'Agrò, which is without a doubt one of the best examples of a typical village of the Province of Messina which still conserves its medieval street layout and on all sides of the town you have the most incredible views. We then drive you to finish our journey to the Medieval village of Castelmola (just above Taormina) to take a pleasant walk in the town. We will then drive you back to your hotel.
16. ETNA JEEP & HELICOPTER TOUR
Pick up in hotel by jeep and Transfer on Mount Etna where you will enjoy a private Helicopter tour (20 min) and admire The beauty and power of Etna's fiery craters seen from above. Flight over the Piano Provenzana and whole district Etna North, reaching 3400 meters, to see the craters, the Valle del Bove and have an overall view of Big Mountain.
Then return on your jeep to continue your naturalistic tour. Our walk options are weather dependent and may include an exploration to the recently craters of Monte Nero and the Bottoniera, or through the Linguaglossa pine forest, crossing a corridor of lava flow. Here you can go and visit the crater of 2001-2002 by cable-car (not included and weather dependent).