Palatine Chapel of Palermo
Mosaic detail at Villa del Casale
© Ollie Kenzie
Step into the Villa del Casale to view its stunning Roman mosaics, widely regarded as one of the richest collections in the world
Uncover remarkable architectural fusions, from William II’s Norman-Byzantine Cathedral of Monreale to the Palatine Chapel in Palermo, resplendent with Byzantine mosaics
Syracuse offers a wealth of cultural delights including the Archaeological Park with its Roman amphitheatre, Greek theatre and forbidding quarries
“As expected with ACE, all was exceptionally well organised”
- ACE customer on a previous Ancient Sicily tour
Even the most worldly surveyor of ancient civilisations is mesmerised by the monumental grandeur of Agrigento – “Athens with improvements”, according to one 19th century visitor. Our circuit of historical Sicily, starting in the heart of Palermo, travels via Agrigento and Syracuse to Taormina – Goethe’s “patch of paradise”, characterised by idyllic coastal vistas.
As well as absorbing the monumental magnificence of Sicily’s classical heritage, we will examine later cultural influences, from the extraordinary Arabo-Norman architecture of Palermo to the UNESCO-listed Norman-Byzantine Cathedral of Monreale, built by William II.
Palermo, like Monreale, reveals a fusion of Islamic, Byzantine, Norman and Romanesque traditions. The city’s Palatine Chapel in the Palazzo dei Normanni is distinguished, above all, by its overwhelming Byzantine mosaics, rivalled by the golden masterpieces on display in the cathedral in Monreale.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus at Agrigento was amongst the largest in the entire Greek world, presenting an astonishing display of wealth and power. The highlights of Syracuse, “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all” in the opinion of Cicero, include the vast Archaeological Park and the island of Ortygia, where the Baroque façade of the cathedral barely conceals the Doric columns of the ancient Temple of Athena.
The Roman Villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina contains some of the finest mosaics in existence, with remarkable depictions of mythological figures and ancient life.
We will stay in hotels of a four-star standard throughout the tour.
This tour will be led by Hugh Doherty, DPhil, a specialist in classical and medieval history and Lecturer at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. Hugh studied at King’s College London before gaining his MPhil at the University of Cambridge and DPhil at the University of Oxford.
We have availability in various room types - please call the office on 01223 841055 to enquire.
Included: return airfare, overnight accommodation (room only) at a London Gatwick Airport hotel on September 2, tour accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, nine breakfasts, two lunches, seven dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £380.