Sir John Soane Museum Foundation

Soane Travels


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Saturday, 17 May to Sunday, 25 May 2008

Organized by Stefano Aluffi-Pentini,
founding director, A Private View of Italy / A Private View of Europe


SOANE TRAVELS: Sicily – Full Brochure

Travel with us for a week of architecture, art and the decorative arts. This special opportunity is reserved for 24/26 discerning travelers who are looking for an extraordinary journey to this beautiful island.

We will start the week in Palermo, where the history is rich and the area contains some of the islands richest treasures.  After four nights in the area, we will spend a day driving along the southern coast of Sicily viewing some of the most important archaeological sites and ruins before arriving to Siracusa for the next four nights stay at the charming seaside hotel in the old town.

painting flag tample

Travelers can plan to depart from USA on Friday evening, flying most likely into Rome for a connection to Palermo - on the return, it would be flying out of Catania to connect to a flight homeward bound.   We will be staying in the top hotels in each town -  in Palermo, the Hotel Villa Igiea, all rooms reserved are deluxe with sea views; in Siracusa, the Hotel des Estangers et Miramare provides our home for the next four nights also with lovely views over the sea.

The cost per person includes 8-nights in hotels, breakfast each day, six lunches and dinners including evening cocktails or receptions, local transportation by private deluxe coach, all entries and guides.

sunset theatre

Cost:   $8,980* double occupancy

*includes a $1,000 donation to the foundation.  As we are billed for hotels, buses, food, etc. in Euros, this price is calculated using an exchange rate of 1.38 euro to the dollar -- if there are any drastic changes up or down in the exchange, we reserve the right to come back to you to request a supplement, or we may be able to provide a rebate if the dollar becomes stronger...   

Single supplement rate available at $1,250 additional.

Junior Suite available for a surcharge of $1,900 per room
Senior Suite available for a surcharge of $2,300 per room.

A non-refundable deposit of $1,500** per person is due November 15, 2007. 
**If your place can be resold to another traveler, then $1,000 will be refunded

For further information and updated itinerary

contact the foundation at 212-223-2012 or



The following is the current itinerary.  All visits are subject to reconfirmation or change and substitution without notice.  Our trip, limited to approximately 26 people, will include many of these highlights:

cathedral crest hilton


Flights arrivals via Rome.  Check-in to the Hotel Villa Igiea.

2:00 PM - Welcome and start of our weeklong program with visits to...  Our start time this day will depend on people's flight arrivals that day - so it maybe slightly earlier or later.
- la Martorana
- San Cataldo
- Fontana Pretoria and Quattro Canti
- Duomo

Return to hotel with time to settle in and unpack...

- Private visit, drinks and dinner at Palazzo Lanza Tomasi received by Duca e Duchessa Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi.  The Palace has been the last residence of the author of the “Leopard,” Principe di Lampedusa, and is now lived in by his heirs. From the loggia and from the hanging garden you have a beautiful view on the bay of Palermo.


- This morning we visit of Palazzo Abatellis and Galleria Regionale di Sicilia. This 15th century Palace is home to the greatest art collection of Sicily.
- Church of S.Giovanni degli Eremiti. Reflecting Islamic architecture whit bulbous domes, corner arches and filigreed windows, this deconsecrated church was built in the grounds of a mosque. Beyond the building, a ruined cloister encloses a pretty garden.
- Capella Palatina. This dazzling chapel, built by Roger the II (1132-1140) , blends Byzantine, Islamic and Norman styles of craftsmanship. It is lavishly adorned with mosaics, as well as marble inlaid with gold ,stone and glass.
- Lunch at Villa Spedalotto in Bagheria received by Marchese e Marchesa di Spedalotto. From the “loggia” of this elegant and well preserved country residence, you can appreciate the landscape ad the beauty of the Sicilian countryside.
- Villa Palagonia in Bagheria >  Designed in the 18th century, this Villa has a remarkable extravagant architecture. It was visited by Goethe.
- Visit of Monreale. Magnificently adorned and with a splendid view of the Conca d'Oro ,the cathedral of Monreale is one of the great sights in of Norman Sicily. The interior of the cathedral glitters with mosaics carried out by Sicilian and Byzantine artists.

- Dinner at Palazzo Aiutamicristo received by Baroni Calefati. Impressive building with two large courtyards and a renaissance “loggia”, one of the oldest palace of Palermo, that was not much changed after the visit of Emperor Charles V in 1535.

palermo VILLA


- Visit to the town of Segesta. This sight presents a massive temple stranded on a remote hillside and the ruins of an ancient theatre on the top of a mountain.
- Next, we venture to the Island of Mozia - a quick 10 minute boat ride.  Used by the Phoenicians as a commercial centre, this island is located in a spectacular Mediterranean landscape. The small museum is containing the celebrated Efebo d Mozia.
- Lunch at the Salt-works of Mozia
- Visit of Selinunte (time permitting). Founded in 651 BC, Selinunte was one of the great cities of Magna Grecia and it toppled ruins are among Italy's most important historic sites.

- Dinner this evening on your own at one of the local restaurants, trattorias or at the hotel.


- This morning we start with a visit of the Oratorio di Santa Zita.  This chapel, dedicated to the
Virgin of the Rosary, is decorated with stucco relief by Giacomo Serpotta (1688).
- Oratorio di San Domenico by Serpotta
- Casa Professa
- Spasimo

- Lunch on your own and afternoon at leisure for a beach club or the pool at the Hotel Villa Igiea is very beautiful... shopping, strolling or more exploring.

- 7:00 PM Private visit and reception at Palazzo Gangi, residence of Principi Vanni Calvello.
- Dinner at the restaurant Kalhesa

temple painting  


- This morning we will be departing from Palermo for a drive through the heart of Sicily heading southeast for Agrigento, and then ultimately our next hotel in Siracusa.
- Agrigento, the valley of the temples of Agrigento ranks among the most impressive complexes of ancient Greek buildings. The extraordinary Doric temples are also beautifully preserved.
- Picnic lunch in the garden of Kolymbetra in the Valle dei Templi (please wear very comfortable clothing but with a cover-up for the sun).
- Villa Romana del Casale at Piazza Armerina

Late afternoon arrival in Siracusa and check-in at the Hotel des Etrangers et Miramare.

- Dinner this evening (location to be determined).


- This morning we venture to the ancient Theatre and the Latomie.  The Neapolis Quarter of Siracusa , one of the most important cities of the Greek World, feature the Roman theatre, the Greek theatre and beautiful ancient gardens.
- Lunch on a boat descending the Anapo River.
- Visit of Ortigia.  This peninsula is the self-contained hub of the old city. It presents spectacular Baroque palaces and churches made of brilliant white stone.
- Castello Maniace
- The Duomo is the highlight of Ortigia , this church was decorated in 1728 by architect Andrea Palma.  Its Baroque facade masks the Temple of Athena which has been absorbed into the Duomo.
- Church of Santa Lucia with the “Burial of St.Lucy “ by Caravaggio.

- Dinner this evening on your own at one of the local restaurants, trattorias or at the hotel.

siracusaharbour valleyoftemples  


- Visit to Noto, built from scratch in the early 18th century to replace Noto antica , which was devastated by an earthquake, in baroque style, Noto is now one of the most enchanting towns in Sicily.
- Ragusa Ibla
- Lunch at a local trattoria.
- Visit to to the town of Modica.

- Dinner at Case del Feudo, orange grove of Barone Beneventano.


- This morning we visit of the city of Catania.  This important city contains still some of Sicily's most imaginative baroque buildings; from Piazza del Duomo there is a dramatic vista to Mount Etna.
- Private visit to Palazzo Biscari in Catania received by Don Ruggero e Donna Nicoletta Moncada di Paternò.  The palace is one of the grandest of Sicily with rich XVIII Century decoration and a spectacular ball-room.
- Lunch in a restaurant in Palazzo Biscari.
- Continue with the visit of Catania, before returning to Siracusa.

- Farewell dinner at Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco received by Barone e Baronessa Beneventano.  Across the Duomo is the Palazzo, a bold example of Siracusan Baroque; it houses an interesting collection of old engravings representing Siracusa.


- This morning we check-out and have a bus departing for Catania International Airport for flights to connect onwards for home.



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