Exclusive Tours in Italy For 2013

TravelOnly and Esploritalia Tours Invite You To Tour Italy In 2013

Esploritalia – “the real way to live Italian” along with TravelOnly will help inspire anyone who wants to explore Italy from a linguistic, cultural and touristic perspective. Our tours and products are designed to deliver an unforgettable journey discovering the landscapes, wineries, art, culinary and lifestyle of Italy.
Exclusive to our tours is the distinction to be guided by an expert sommelier, Antonio Mauriello, founder and owner of DiVino Wine Studio in Ottawa. He is a past director of the National Capital Sommelier Guild, and currently a sommelier consultant to the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Embassy. He is an instructor with several wine & culinary associations and schools in Canada and Italy, such as the Algonquin College Sommelier program in Ottawa and La Mia Pasta in Tuscany, Italy. Antonio also serves as a restaurant consultant, a wine columnist and a broadcaster. On December 6, 2009, Antonio received the prestigious Wine Person of the Year award honoured by the National Capital Sommelier Guild.
Escorting our language tours we are honoured to have Stefania Borrelli join us.
Stefania, an Italian Teacher for Foreigners and the founder of Esploritalia - was born and raised in Rome. She achieved her studies in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome. She achieved her BA at the University of Ottawa, where she studied linguistics, phonetics, second language teaching, French, Spanish and German. In Rome she received the Certificate of Italian Language Training for teachers, at the Centre of Italian language and Culture “Torre di Babele”, officially authorized by the Italian Ministry of Education and one of the founding members of the Association of Italian Language Schools in Italy. She has been teaching Italian since 1994 and has attained great prestige as an Italian instructor for foreigners in Rome by providing tailor-made classes to the Diplomatic Corp of 19 Embassies, introducing newly arrived Diplomats to the beautiful and rich Italian language and culture. Some of her clients in Rome included the Ambassadors of Canada, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Japan and Malaysia.
Come join us in 2013 as we offer 3 exclusive VIP tours immersed in Italian food, wine and culture. We can also help you customize your own private tours or assist with any travel related products in Italy

Nel Sole, Nel Sale, Nel Sud – In the sun, in the salt, in the south!

May 5-May 13, 2013 – 9 days, 8 nights #ESP2013-01

Travel Sicily from North to South, from East to West.

Taste delicious local recipes and wines of native grape varieties, cook with a local and discover local food staples, walk on Mt Etna volcano’s lava and among Greek temples, get lost in ‘wild’ vineyards, learn about Baroque and Byzantine palaces

The tour conveniently starts and ends in two major cities of Sicily: Catania and Palermo well connected with Rome or other European international airports.

The tour does not include air travel so you can easily extend your stay to visit these or other marvelous capitals of art, fashion and culture.

Day 1 -
Arrival day Catania, Murgo agriturismo and winery
Meeting of participants in the afternoon at the Catania International Airport. Group transfer to the agriturismo and winery at the foot of the Etna volcano and immersed in the vineyards.
This will be our headquarter for our next 3 days.
The tour kicks off with a welcome dinner and a ”brindisi al fresco” in the terrace. Antonio will be giving an overview of the typical wines and foods of the area.

Day 2 -
Today we will follow the wine route of Etna, beginning with a visit to the volcano itself! We will drive up to the mountain to an altitude of over 2,000 meters and get a close look to the lava canals and the craters.
Of course, no vineyards at that altitude, but breathtaking views!
Here, participants have two options:
A) walk among the small craters found at this altitude, relax at one of the restaurants or at a café or shop in one of the characteristic stores for souvenirs, honey, almonds or other local specialties
B) take a one-of-a-life-time excursion with the cable car up to 2,500 meters. and then with special 4×4 vehicles equipped with special tires, to go near the hot lava and the bigger craters up to a quote of 2,900 meters!
We will then descend where vineyards can be found, and, to better understand how a lava soil can make a difference in the taste of a wine, we will stop for a winery tour and tasting on the SouthEast side of the volcano or on the North side. In the late afternoon we return for dinner.

NOTE: The option B), the Etna special excursion at 2,900 meters, is not included in the tour and there is an extra fee of 51 euro (about $75 in 2009).
To take part to the special excursion to the volcano, you need to wear good walking shoes, or trekking shoes, and a raincoat. The excursion is not recommended if you suffer of asthma, since there may be sulfur smokes columns at 3,000 meters.
The participation to this excursion must be communicated at booking time and paid with the balance of the tour.

Day 3 -
The pearl of the Mediterranean: Taormina
After breakfast we tour our agriturismo and winery and taste their portfolio of DOC and IGT wines. They make wonderful products using many native grape varieties as well as blends, which are typical of the territory and match the local cuisine.
We then drive to Taormina, the pearl of the Mediterranean, the world-known ancient town embedded into the stones and the mountains. From that elevation, the view of the sea and the Etna is just spectacular.
You will have the time to tour the town and shop at your leisure in the many characteristic small ”botteghe”. Also make some time to visit the Greek amphitheater and archeological site (the entrance fee and the English audio-guide for this site is included in the tour).
Return in the evening and dinner.

Day 4 -
The Sicilian Baroque: Siracusa, Noto, Ragusa Ibla, Modica
Everyone should pack up, have breakfast, check out and be ready to leave by 09:00.
Today we move from the East of the island to the South of the island. We will drive through and stop for a short free walk at some beautiful towns representing among the best example of Baroque architecture in Italy. Ragusa and Modica, for example, have earned the UNESCO World Heritage status. Destroyed during the history by several heartquakes, they saw many reconstructions, the last being in the Baroque era, two centuries ago.
In the evening we arrive to our destination: a family owned ”casa vacanze” in Modica, where we will spend the next two nights in a peaceful country side atmosphere.
Tonight we will dine on the terrace overlooking the hill with the town of Modica. Our hosts, chef mamma Maria, sous-chef papa’ Giovanni, and sommelier son Maurizio will take perfect care of us!
Feel free to tour their garden, full of fig trees, olive trees, rosemary and caper bushes and lot of other aromatic herbs.

Day 5 -
Food discoveries, wine tasting, cooking activity
An early morning to start a day full of activities!
After breakfast on the terrace, we will go to a nearby small farm to assist to the making of cheese and ricotta, then go to Modica town centre for a demo of chocolate making at Bonajuto factory, the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily.
The Modican Chocolate is one of the best appreciated products of the Sicilian pastry. It is still made the same way the ancient Aztecs made chocolate in Mexico and its tradition dates back to the 16th century.
Too much food? Perhaps….. so, now, back to wine!
Today we will also visit an Azienda Agricola in the heart of the latest and only DOCG highest wine appellation in Sicily: Cerasuolo di Vittoria.
To finish the afternoon in beauty, let’s go back to our ”casa vacanze” and cook with mamma Maria! The family team has prepared hands-on cooking stations where you can learn how to master the traditional and modern Sicilian cuisine! Prepare dishes like caponata, arancini, gelo di mellone, and much more! We will all sit down and enjoy the fruit of our efforts. All accompanied by the best of wines, selected for you by your ever-present guide Antonio and by in-house sommelier Maurizio!

Day 6 –

Valle dei Templi
Everyone should pack up, have breakfast, check out and be ready to leave by 08:00. We will drive along the southern coast of the island, western direction.
A must-stop is in Agrigento, at the world famous ”Valle dei Templi”, a large sacred area where monumental Greek temples were erected in the fourth and fifth centuries BC. Here you will find the largest and best preserved Greek temples outside of Greece. The entrance fee and English audio-guide is included in the tour.
In the evening we will arrive at Marsala our western destination and homebase for the next two days. We selected a charming hotel, located in an historical building in the town centre.
The sunsets, visible on the coast, in this part of Sicily are breathtaking!
Anyone cares for a walk on the beach at sunset?

Day 7 – Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wine and salt: a winning combination!
In this area of western Sicily, around the cities of Trapani and Marsala, there is the most densely land cultivated with vineyards in all Italy and Europe.
And there is also a unique site: the ”saline”, the sea salt production fields.
Why not experiencing both?
In fact today we will visit wine producers in the area and you will be astonished by the flavorful wines due to the high content of salts and minerals of the surroundings.
Following, we will visit the ”saline Ettore Infersa” and the typical wind mill used as pumps to transfer the sea water from pool to pool. The sea water is left to dry in the perennial sun (!) and the salts remains dry.
The entrance to the museum of salt is included in the tour.
Return to Marsala and dinner.

Day 8 -
Monreale and Palermo
Everyone should pack up, have breakfast, check out and be ready to leave by 09:00.
Time to move North towards the capital of Sicily, Palermo, to complete our island tour. Palermo is a magic city which collects all the treasures from hundreds of civilizations that have conquered it for milleniums. Arab, Norman, Fenician, Greek, Spanish, Punic, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and lot more! Although, before arriving in Palermo, we will spend the morning visiting Monreale, located on a hill overlooking Palermo.
The Duomo di Monreale is the reason (and a good one) to stop here! One of the world’s largest and most interesting mosaic covered surfaces can be admired in this Cathedral!
We will then arrive to Palermo in the early afternoon and check in to our hotel. The afternoon is then free to tour Palermo, or to participate in a walk on the beach at Mondello, the elegant summer resort, famous for its beautiful golden sand beach, the “Belle Epoque” architecture, and the seaside facilities.
We will get together again in the evening to celebrate the end of the tour with our ”cena di arrivederci” , the goodbye dinner, made to cheer to all the fantastic time together and to cheer to our next tour of Italy together!

Day 9 -

After breakfast everyone is free to choose among the following alternatives:
1) Stay extra days in Palermo in the same hotel. Please, notify us early if you decide for this option, so we can communicate the extension to the hotel and get the better rate that we get for groups.
2) Stay extra days in Palermo in a different hotel of your choice.
3) Depart from Palermo to return to Canada or to go elsewhere.


Price: $3,550 per person (double occupancy) + HST
Single room supplement is $500 + HST
Mode of payment: cheque or credit card

Included in the Tour is:
- 9 days – 8 nights accommodation with breakfast, inclusive of taxes, tips and services.
- One meal per day (lunch or dinner), including wine (limited to one bottle every 2 participants), taxes and tips.
- Cooking class, entrance tickets to saline museum, archeological sites with English audio/guide, and VIP tasting at wineries mentioned in the daily schedule.
- Ground transportation for the duration of the tour.

Not included in the Tour is:
- Air transportation
- Transfers to and from where the tour originates and ends as specified in the program.
- Any item of service or personal nature.
- Travel insurance, cancellation and health insurance.

Travel documents needed
- A valid passport is required.


Please feel free to contact us for further details! We would love to have you join us in 2013

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Mary Lynn Villeneuve, ACC

Travel Consultant