Islands of the Mediterranean 2018
9 - 19 MAY 2018
Sicily is fascinating and certainly very different from the rest of Italy. Enjoy its diverse landscape – from the azure waters of the Mediterranean, through fertile farmland covered in fragrant citrus groves and shimmering olive tress to rugged, barren mountains. Absorb Sicily’s long and rich history – it has been “host” to many cultures over the millennia. Mingle with its friendly people, admire the unique meld of architectural styles. Discover the pleasures of real Sicilian food.
Our conference will be held in the cities of Palermo and Taormina for you to experience the best of Sicily. Please join us for this fabulous congress.
Wednesday 9 May 2018 - Australia to Dubai
CONTINUE ON FROM THE PRE-CONFERENCE TOUR OR DEPART FROM AUSTRALIA
Depart Australia on Emirates and overnight in Dubai airport hotel.
Thursday 10 May 2018 - Dubai to Rome
Continue journey with flight from Dubai to Rome. Overnight in Rome.
Friday 11 May 2018 - Rome to Palermo
Depart Rome and fly to Palermo.
Transfer to your magnificent Sicilian Art Nouveau hotel. Meet your fellow delegates for welcome cocktails overlooking the Bay of Palermo.
Saturday 12 May 2018 - Palermo
Morning conference session
This afternoon discover Palermo, a noisy eclectic city, at the crossroads of civilisations. Admire the unique Arab-Norman style of the Cathedral – a feast of geometric patterns, ziggurat crenellations, majolica cupolas and blind arches. Walk through the elegant Piazza Vigliena which is framed by a perfect circle of curvi-linear facades that disappear up to the blue vault of the sky in a clever display of perspective. Absorb the noises, smells and street life in Mercato di Ballaro, Palermo’s throbbing street market. Savour some of Sicily’s freshest produce.
This evening return to the hotel or you may wish to stay on in town to try out one of the city’s new-school eateries. A short taxi ride will bring you back to the hotel.
Sunday 13 May 2018 - Palermo
Morning conference session
This afternoon visit the superb Cathedral of Monreale perched above the fertile valley called ‘La Conca d’oro’ (‘The Golden Shell’) where almond, orange and olive trees grow. Be enchanted by the gold mosaics that cover almost the whole interior of the church. Wander the immense cloisters with over 200 arches decorated with magnificent details.
Discover, the ruins of Segesta, the principal city of the Elymians, an ancient civilisation claiming descent from the Trojans that settled in Sicily in the Bronze Age.
Clamber around the hilltop theatre and Doric temple and soak up the magic of this ancient site.
Evening is free.
Monday 14 May 2018 - Palermo
This morning visit a local hospital in Palermo.
The rest of the day is free for you to make your own way around Palermo. You may wish to visit the Palazzo Abatellis museum, showcasing works by Sicilian artists from the middle ages to the 18th century. Perhaps something a bit grimmer – the Museum of the Inquisition. Or the Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in a neo-classical palazzo. In your wanderings you can poke your head into endless chapels and churches, the Cappuchine Catacombes or, on a lighter note, a collection of marionettes and puppets from all over the world.
Tuesday 15 May 2018 - Palermo to Taormina
Today depart from Palermo to go to Taormina. En route we stop at the sumptuous Villa del Casale, thought to have been the country retreat of Marcus Aurelius Maximianus. The house was buried in mud in its entirety for 700 years and only excavated in the 1950s. You will walk through the home’s private quarters and reception rooms, each of which has a floor decorated in exquisitely designed mosaics. These mosaics are considered remarkable for their natural, narrative style, the range of their subject matter and the variety of their colour.
After a delicious lunch travel to Taormina and check into your fabulous hotel, a converted monastery with stunning views over Mount Etna and Taormina Bay.
Wednesday 16 May 2018 - Taormina
Morning conference session
On our walking tour of Taormina you will understand why it has been a favourite holiday resort for the rich and famous for centuries. There are plazas with umbrella-covered cafes, little medieval churches, grand palazzi and wonderful shopping, from antiques to trinkets. The Greek theatre, hewn out of the rocky slope of Mt Tauro, affords a breathtaking views of Mt Etna and the Ionian Sea.
The rest of the evening is free for you discover the best of Taormina.
Thursday 17 May 2018 - Taormina
This morning travel to Mt Etna. Admire the changing landscape as you travel up the volcano’s slopes: from orange and olive trees orchards, charming vineyards terraces, forests of pine, beech, and birch; to high lava deserts. Trek around the old inactive Etna craters and learn of the extraordinary history of the region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit a private villa on the slopes of the volcano and taste wines produced at the small family winery and enjoy a light home-made lunch.
Afternoon conference session
Tonight bid farewell to Sicily at our gala dinner.
Friday 18 May 2018 - Australia via Rome and Dubai
Return to Australia via Rome and Dubai, arriving Saturday 19 May.
OR Join further Islands of the Mediterranean on our optional post conference cruise.
End of arrangements
Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.