Date(s) - 16/10/2017 - 17/10/2017
Travel Dates: October 21st – November 1st, 2017
Featured Attractions: MAXIMA is excited to partner with accomplished Canadian-Italian cooking instructor and owner of Cucina di Natalina, Natalina Bombino Campagnolo, for a 12 day culinary infused tour that combines the Jewels of the Mediterranean – Malta and Sicily. You will savour the different tastes of both these beautiful islands through cooking classes, agricultural experiences and with the immersion of the local cultures. This small group experience will be just like traveling with friends!
Itinerary & Price
Double: $4799 CDN
Single: $5789 CDN
$1500 deposit required to reserve your place; fully refundable up to 90 days prior to departure.
Does not include flight costs and cancelation penalties related to airfare.
Prices subject to change based on currency fluctuation
10 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and 6 Dinners included
Day 1: Saturday, October 21st
Depart from your home airport for your overnight flight to Sicily with a connection in Europe.
Day 2: Sunday, October 22nd (D)
Arrive at Catania Fontanarossa Airport and be transferred to your host hotel in Taormina, the 4 Star Villa Diodoro. After checking into the hotel, join the group for a small orientation in the lobby followed by an included welcome dinner with wine.
Accommodations: Villa Diodoro, for 5 nights
Day 3: Monday, October 23rd (B,L)
After your light breakfast (we advise that you eat light), we’ll head out for our first culinary experience at Villa Britannia by foot since Taormina is very walkable. Louisa, our host, will guide us through 3 different Sicilian dishes using only the finest local ingredients. Enjoy finger foods as you navigate the day coupled with an aperitivo, followed ultimately by lunch on the terrace and accompanied by DOC Sicilian wines, homemade mandarinetto and tea/coffee. This afternoon, we will be meeting with our local guide for a walking tour of Taormina. Over the course of your stay, you’ll want to check out the several painting exhibitions held in local palazzi and churches, fine elegant shopping along the famous “Corso Umberto” with its classical music cafès and pastry shops as well as optional activities such as naturalistic walks, enjoying the beaches and more.
Day 4: Tuesday, October 24th (B,L)
After breakfast, it’s time to get a little bit adventurous with a day out at Mount Etna. Some may take a motorcoach to the various viewing points but we will explore Etna on a jeep tour! We’ll be led long a beautiful naturalistic path while learning about the origins of the volcano. Then we’ll reach a scenic spot that overlooks the Bove Valley to enjoy amazing views of the summit craters. Get inside a volcanic cave for a deeper look followed by a view of the lunar landscape. After having built up an appetite, we will stay in the Etna region to arrive at Azienda Agricola Biondi for an exploration of their vineyards, wine and food.
Day 5: Wednesday, October 25th (B,L)
Depart for neighboring Catania following breakfast. Our touring within Catania will be coupled with a food tour since no visit to Catania isn’t complete without including its various markets. Our 4 hour walking tour will offer us a historical overview of the city, of the alleys and the squares of the old town, while offering us the chance to sample some of its culinary delights. The tour starts at Piazza Duomo, a jewel of Sicilian baroque architecture and UNESCO heritage site, where we will visit the Cathedral. From here you will head to the quaint fish market, better known as “la pescheria” followed by many other stops along the way. We will arrive back in Taormina late afternoon for some down time and dinner on own.
Day 6: Thursday, October 26th (B,L,D)
Today after breakfast, we will head southeast to arrive in the countryside of Ragusa. Our class will begin mid to late morning and include different Sicilian traditions, starting from appetizers to dessert. This will be all hands on with historical context communicated throughout. The menu is likely to include (subject to change): Caponata vegetables as the main appetizer, followed by ravioli, pork and sausage and then finally dessert. Throughout the course, you’ll be nibbling on cheese, olives and more as well as enjoying local wine. Our day won’t quite yet be complete in the countryside after participating in the cooking class. As an added bonus, we’ll be travelling just down the road to a remote location to discover what the next part of the day has in store for us. Arrive back in Taormina early evening for a final light dinner together at the hotel including wine.
Day 7: Friday, October 27th (B,D)
After breakfast, we will depart for the Catania Airport for our early afternoon flight to Malta. A short flight takes us approximately 130 miles further south to the Maltese Islands. Malta, although not on many travellers radars yet offers a treasure trove in history, culture and food experiences. Malta, sharing a similar history with Sicily, is deeply rooted in local traditions and a pride of having resisted so many invaders from the Ottoman Empire to Nazi Germany. Upon arrival, we will be transferred to our host hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner shortly thereafter.
Accommodations: Le Meridien for 5 nights
Day 8: Saturday, October 28th (B,L,D)
For our first full day in Malta, awaken to the sounds of the sea and the anticipation of what the capital city, Valletta, has to offer. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel followed by transportation to Valletta where we will learn about the landmark city that the Knights of Malta built. Lunch is served in an old bakery that has been converted to a restaurant. Our grand finale of the day will be a tour of the unassuming St. John’s Co-Cathedral – the Church of the Knights of Malta. Inside we will discover a treasure trove of magnificent art and the opulence of the vaulted ceilings and tombstone flooring. From here, we gather to venture back to the hotel to relax and freshen up for dinner with wine at a special restaurant on the outskirts of Rabat.
Day 9: Sunday, October 29th (B,L)
The site we will be visiting this morning is the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temple sites. Ħaġar Qim was in fact never completely buried as the tallest stones, remained exposed and featured in 18th and 19th century paintings. We venture to the majestic cliffs of Dingli for some amazing views. Make sure your camera is fully charged for the magnificent views. The village lies on a plateau some 250 meters above sea level, which is one of the highest points of Malta. The area provides not only open sea views over the tiny, uninhabited isle of Filfla, but is also a good vantage point over Malta. Lunch will follow at a local restaurant. Our afternoon will have us visiting Rabat and Mdina (the Silent City).Arrive back to the hotel by late afternoon to enjoy some free time and dinner on own.
Day 10: Monday, October 30th (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we will travel across the centre of Malta to arrive in the village of Mosta where we discover the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and its significant connection with World War II.Our lunch experience will bring us to the hilltop village of Wardija. Known for its noble estates and hunting lodges, Wardija also has a connection to olive cultivation and the production of olive oil. A wonderful farmer’s lunch will be prepared on site including wine. Arrive back at our host hotel to enjoy the afternoon on own. We will gather in the hotel lobby later on in the day to depart for a restaurant that has no menus. You’ll be tasting the freshest of fresh foods cooked under minimal heat and enjoyed family style.
Day 11: Tuesday, October 31st (B,L,D)
Today after breakfast, we depart for Malta’s sister Island – Gozo. A short 25 minute ferry connects the two islands yet its differences are numerous as we will learn from our local guide. Upon arrival to Gozo, we will be visiting a site where local sea salt harvesting takes place. We will continue with a visit to an agritourismo that focuses on local foods and in particular showcasing their Gozitan platter which we will be enjoying with their wine. Arrive in Malta for our last night with shared platters to be enjoyed at the hotel.
Day 12: Wednesday, November 1st (B)
Depart early morning for our flight back home. Surely, the memories (and recipes) that we keep from our culinary adventure will last as long as we continue to enjoy food and all that it teaches us.
Know Before You Go
PASSPORT VISA INFORMATION
Malta requires a minimum of 3 months passport validity beyond the date of the expected departure from Malta.
IMPORTANT: We recommend that our clients traveling abroad take a photocopy of their passport and applicable visas. It should be packed separately from your actual passport and visa. We also recommend leaving a copy at home with your emergency contact.
DESTINATION FACTS STATS
Malta is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
An adapter (which changes the physical plug) and/or converter (which changes the electric current) are necessary if you plan to use an appliance with voltage different from the standard within the country you are visiting. Due to the difference in adapters, please note, if your appliance has dual voltage you may still need an adapter for the plug. When packing your electronic items for travel, please review the converter electric current level to make sure it is the same or greater than the items you are planning on using. If you plan on utilizing or transporting a sleep apnea machine, please remember to pack an extension cord and adapter plug to ensure proper function.
Villa Diodoro – Sicily
Le Meridien – Malta