Welcome to Sicily, sunny and iridescent land, in which lush green and undulating hills alternate with entire valleys covered with vineyards and olive trees, and where more than 1000 kilometers of coastline are washed by crystal clear waters and there is a magnificent setting of all different islands. Upset over the centuries by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, Sicily is the extreme edge of a Europe which goes south towards Africa, where wonderful things shine in the dust. Nearly twenty-five centuries of foreign domination among Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Spanish and Byzantines in the island have left a huge heritage. Art, history, traditions and, not least, food and wine culture without equal, they all fill this eccentric island in the Mediterranean, giving it a unique character. Moving from Palermo, we will discover an extraordinary artistic and architectural heritage, a vociferous and sensual town, the limpid sea of Mondello, the bilingual community of Piana degli Albanesi. We will satisfy the eyes with art and awaken the seven senses intoxicating them with the scents and the flavors of this land: a cultural and gastronomic experience like no other.
Individual arrive, accommodation and meeting with our tour leader. After a short briefing we will go for a bike ride to reach the Vucciria market that changes its appearance in the late afternoon to get prepared for the vibrant nightlife. We will go to the Taverna Azzurra of Zio Totò, in the heart of the city’s most popular market represented in a painting by Renato Guttuso, to taste sweet Sicilian wines like Marsala, Zibibbo and Passito di Pantelleria. Dinner will be in a restaurant in the old town to enjoy the typical Sicilian cuisine made of recipes full of contrasts and paradoxes, with dishes that bring to the table all the peoples who have passed through this land, with a wealth of colours and flavours obtained by skillfully blending simple and sometimes poor ingredients.
Today we will spend the whole day cycling in Palermo to ge to know its customs and habits. The 3 markets Vuccirìa (this name comes from the word Bucceria, from the French boucherie, which means butcher), Capo and Ballarò (famous for selling delicious fruits that come from the Palermo countryside) are the places where we will see any kind of things: fish, meat and seasonable vegetables that become street food at any time. Markets need to be visited at slow pace, taking time to taste every kind of food you come across, like Palermo sfincione, panelle, potato croquettes, boiled potatoes, thistles, olives, cedars, bread with spleen, quarume and carcagnòlo: we will have plenty of choice to experience Palermo at the table and on the street. For lunch we will treat ourselves with a picnic in town, within the Botanical Garden of Palermo, where biodiversity ranges from tropical forest to deserts, and the silence will make you forget being in a populated and bustling city. In the late afternoon, after a bike ride along the coast, we will go to Cala di Palermo to pay a visit to the friends of SPACCIOBIO, to taste the products of the Vitabio cooperative: Sicilian craft beers, DOC wines white (Insolia, Catarratto, Grecanico) and red (Merlot, Nero d’Avola, Cerasuolo di Vittoria), extra virgin olive oil and goat and sheep cheeses strictly organic and Sicilian. Dinner at one of the local pizzeria in Palermo, where authenticity is genuine.
Riding our bikes we will leave Palermo, along the slopes of the Natural Reserve of Monte Pellegrino (1,050 mt) that encompasses the entire carbonate massif of the mount and the Real Tenuta della Favorita. We will then get to Mondello, famous for its sites of historical interest and for the numerous Liberty style villas that make of its seafront promenade one of the gems of Art Nouveau in Europe. Chance to take a dip in Mondello, the beautiful beach of Palermo people. In Mondello we will taste a just boiled Octopus with plenty of lemon juice in one of the many restaurants right by the beach, as it wants the tradition of Palermo. From Mondello we will reach the seaside village of Sferracavallo to enjoy an excellent seafood lunch at the water’s edge: pasta with clams or with sea urchins, grilled fish, peppered mussels and chilled white house wine! The afternoon return in town will allow us to walk the Liberty Avenue, the main street of Palermo once surrounded by Art Nouveau buildings of which today only a few buildings, submerged by the city’s buildings, still survive. At dinner we will have the best Trapani cous cous in Palermo.
After breakfast a private transfer will take us to the bilingual community of Piana degli Albanesi, Hora and Arbëreshëvet in arbëreshë: here on the mountains of Palermo, we will taste the famous cannoli accompanied by a sweet wine and we will learn about the unique Sicilian gold artisans from the Byzantine tradition. From Piana degli Albanesi we will follow slightly downhill the panoramic old railway that crosses the whole Conca d’Oro up to Monreale. After visiting the Cathedral, we will meet Marilù Monte, President of the Slow Food Presidium “White Plums of Monreale” that will guide us to the knowledge and tasting of typical products of Monreale: bread and biscuits, a delicacy known throughout the province of Palermo.
Greetings, kisses and…sweet hugs!! If you still have time, we really recommend you the last sin of gluttony reaching the Marsicano Pastry, amazing food and wine museum supporter of the project AddioPizzo, against the Mafia. Eat your fill and then dispose of it all with one last ride in the center.
Price per person based on two sharing
Daily High Season from 01.07 to 31.08.2016; from 20.12 to 10.01; Easter Holy week.
5 days / 4 nights
This tour is available to anyone with a minimum of habit to cycle. Daily mileage varies from 20 to 40 kilometres a day, with scheduled stops for visits and refreshments. The route is focused on typical food and wine of the Palermo area. The bike will be a way to dispose of the good food and enjoy the many landscapes that this land offers. There will also be cultural moments and the opportunity, if possible, for a good swim in the clear Sicilian sea.
En suite rooms in good central 3 star hotel. 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners and mentioned tastings included. Drinks are not included during dinners and lunches.
One of our expert tour leader will be with you for the whole trip. Sharing with you the love of travel and nature and a great knowledge of the territory, you will live an authentic holiday full of fun and relax.
Giuseppe, enabled nature and bike tour guide, was born in Palermo and is a real passionate and connoisseur of Sicily. Giuseppe got his PhD in Agriculture studying “the biodiversity of the Mediterranean grasslands” in Australia. A true lover of agricultural productions and Mediterranean cuisine, he uses his knowledge and his passion to explain to his guests the complexity of Sicily. He produces extra virgin olive oil and organic cherries with his father in the Sicilian hinterland in the province of Palermo. He teaches natural sciences in the high school and has a specialization in educational support to children with disabilities.
We organize your holidays in Italy: tours by bike, trekking, snorkeling, cultural trips preferring public transportations instead of private ones. We propose holidays “with a slow pace”, because we need to taste every instant of a good trip, to recapture calm and peace, to smile and think, to admire what nature offers, to chat together with locals, to have a direct approach to local cultures and to travel responsibly and sustainably.