Day 1: Sicilian Sunday in Noto & Syracuse
After enjoying breakfast at our hotel, Ortea Palace, we headed out to enjoy a typical Sicilian summer Sunday. During the summer, families in Sicily start their day by heading to a coffee bar followed by the beach. Most Sicilians work and go to school six days a week, so Sundays are an important time for rest and relaxation.
Visiting the town of Noto, we enjoyed beautiful baroque architecture seen in the buildings and monuments throughout the town, but the highlight was meeting the top pastry chef in the region, Corrado Assenza. Corrado is the owner of Caffé Sicilia, a restaurant serving some of Italy’s finest gelato, cannoli, and granita, a type of Italian frozen ice with a crystalline texture specific to Sicily. Corrado and his restaurant have been recently featured on Netflix’s new docuseries, Chef’s Table.
Corrado presented us with the most fantastic freshly-made strawberry ice cream I have ever had, and we also got to try ice cream eaten inside a brioche, which is quite popular in this region.
Next we were off to a local beach for a quick dip in the Mediterranean Sea. Stopping by a beach store on the way, our wonderful guide explained that what we call “pool noodles” they call “little sausages”. How perfect for Italy!
We finished our evening with dinner in the old town of Ortigia. It is an amazing city with beautiful views, including that of the cathedral standing tall in the town square, illuminated in lights. Dinner here was the perfect way to end our evening.
Day 2: Sicilian Market Tour & Private Cooking Class
Sicily is food lover’s dream, but to non-locals these culinary treasures may be hard to spot. In order to immerse ourselves in the culture, we arranged with our local team a private chef and market shopping experience.
We met our chef at our hotel and proceeded to the open-air market. Fresh fish, bread, cheese, meat, and produce were on display for our choosing, with the market offering the best local products available. Local food is a staple here in Sicily.
With our fresh ingredients, we went to the chef’s home and spent the lunch hour cooking and eating there. This was an absolutely wonderful experience for the entire family.
We tried octopus, meats, fish, fresh pasta, and possibly the best cannoli I have ever tasted in my life. Every bite was outstanding.
With our stomachs full, we spent the afternoon relaxing and swimming at a beach club that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea.
Day 3: The Aeolian Islands
To travel to the Italian islands, you can take a high-speed ferry and arrive there within two hours. The ferry is fast, but a private transfer is also an option and makes the trip more personal and fun!
With many stops along the way, we made a fun day of our journey to the island of Salinas. Salinas is one of many volcanic islands on the Italian coast. Its beautiful coves, fantastic restaurants, and unspoiled local flair make it a wonderful destination for couples and families alike.
Upon arrival, we were transferred to the Relay and Relais & Château property, Capofaro. Just 27 rooms and set in a vineyard on the sea, this is a beautiful and unique place to spend your vacation at.
As a member of a preferred agency affiliate of Relais & Château, our clients receive beautiful welcome amenities and complimentary breakfast. This is a benefit of booking through our agency, and is a wonderful way to be welcomed to the island of Salinas!
Day 4: Exploring Salinas
Exploring the coasts of Salinas is a popular summer pastime for many local Italians. Taking a break from the hot summer day, we headed to the port to meet our private boat.
Our captain arranged a last minute request for fishing by bringing along a simple spool of fishing line and a container of bait “Italian style”- a bread and cheese paste!
How fun it was to fish like the local kids do with the help of our wonderful captain.
Many stops can be made to enjoy various scenic coves where other boats gather to enjoy the cool Mediterranean waters and breathtaking views.
What is special about Salinas is the authenticity. You still have a true Italian experience, but with far fewer tourists, making it feel as if you are a local yourself! Our local spot for dinner that evening was reasonably priced, delicious, scenic, and family friendly.
To finish the evening, we were treated to a group of local musicians gathering in the piazza, Italian for square, to play for the local Salinas people. Later on, we were also lucky enough to catch a beautiful Italian coast sunset. It was a perfect end to an amazing day.
Day 5: Stromboli- Volcanic Boat Trip at Sunset
A private sunset cruise to the island of Stromboli is a fun, exciting, and unique experience. From Salina of Lipari it’s roughly a 1 hour boat ride to reach Stromboli.
Swimming and dinner on the boat can be arranged to perfect your sunset cruise.
The real show comes just after the sun has disappeared and the Stromboli island shines bright with her volcanic lava and exciting eruptions, that is, if you’re lucky enough to view this magical event.
As seen in the pictures, we had a fascinating and spectacular evening watching the eruption from the water. Sailing back to Salina under a clear sky full of stars was the icing on the cake.
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