A Girlfriends Trip to Sicily
On October 16th I boarded a first-class flight with my dear friend and co-owner of Nashville Luxury Travel Leslie Horn. The trip included an extension option to Malta then Leslie and I would end up in Florence for a few days. I have been on multiple trips with Leslie, and she is my favorite person to travel with! I also know the relationships NLT has all over the world and knew this trip was going to be pure magic.
We arrived in Palermo, the capital of Sicily at a beautiful 5 star hotel via a private driver. Our rooms were large and luxurious with crisp linens, a breathtaking view of the sea and all the welcoming treats of fresh fruit and chocolates. Over the next 2 days we would welcome the additional fourteen women, both Tennessee local and other southern states. All of us would become cherished friends as we experienced this trip together.
The beauty, history and architectural wonders are at every turn in Sicily. The people were lovely and the cuisine was incredible. Palermo is a bustling city with old world charm. Alive with centuries old churches, cathedrals and Catacombe for your backdrop and food markets, small boutiques, horse drawn carriages and small café’s that left me feeling I could melt into the lifestyle. The pride of the city is the largest of opera houses in all of Italy called the “Teatro Massimo,” where we would later have a wonderful dinner under the Sicilian moonlight. A few of us would explore the burial Catacomb Dei Cappuccini, quite macabre but oh so fascinating with displays of mummified bodies hanging on the walls dating back to the 15th century.
We departed for Ragusa on another perfect weather day with stops in Agrigento to explore the sprawling acres of lush orchards, olive trees and the well preserved ancient Greek temples that date back to the 5 and 6th centuries B.C. It’s here that our guide would tell us infamous stories of the Sicilian mafia that are more intense and truer than the “Godfather” movies. This trip at times was an emotional experience in all the best ways. When we stopped in Monreale to visit the Cathedral was brought to tears with the overwhelming history and beauty of this place. The Cathedral was majestically adorned with tiny intricate pieces of mosaic and gold that told of bible stories long ago. Hearing the stories of those from all walks of life and religions who built this architectural masterpiece and the years that it took to complete was absolutely astounding.
Our accommodations in Ragusa were old world medieval and so fascinating because the landmark gave you an idea of what it might be like to live in those times. This wasn’t a resort hotel but rather a family owned castle like villa. This little gem is favored by the famous and has a small airstrip and tower just adjacent to the property. Exploring Ragusa was so special, a hilltop city known for gorgeous baroque architecture, grand churches with lovely stained glass and paintings. It was also full of amazing history and famous for almond granitas to indulge ourselves. Street musicians offered all the ambiance as we strolled the streets, ate lunch and shopped for pistachio and almond cream to take home.
Noto was another must see in its baroque style splendor, rich in history sitting at the foot of the Iblean Mountains, marked by a grand arch entrance to the city and a gradual slope to walk to the top, I found this place to be like a fairytale village rich in its own unique history. Here we would eat gelato, take a tiny train through the winding streets, and eat a fabulous lunch before moving on to Taormina. Along this journey we would visit two wonderful wineries where we would sample and purchase the wine to be shipped home in time for Christmas. Both of these wineries provided lavish feasts of Sicilian cuisine. We would also dine at two Michelin Star restaurants on this journey.
Taormina captured our hearts. The Pearl of the Ionian Sea on the eastern coastline. As our driver navigated up steep cliffs and winding roads, 200 Meters above sea level we would witness the boasting views of Mt Etna and the beautiful opalescent blue green sea. We all had 365-degree views of all of Taormina from our lovely boutique hotel. This lively town where Sicilian trios and quartets could be heard everywhere during the dinner hours, the cobblestone streets filled with small boutiques, the restaurants lining the alleys and thoroughfares were all so quaint and plentiful! It never felt like a tourist destination. We visited the ancient theater with Mt Etna puffing tiny little clouds in the horizon. The gardens, the mountainside villas and beaches were everywhere!
Our last night farewell dinner with these fabulous women was at a hotel perched high above the city where we took in the beautiful sunset as we sipped cocktails and had another amazing dining experience. We celebrated 3 Birthdays on this trip! To our surprise Leslie and her partners pre-arranged the most memorable private Birthday parties imaginable, filled with a live Italian band, private villa, a DJ and a pajama party! We laughed, danced and sang our hearts out by the sea and under that Sicilian sun and moonlight.
Malta was next for six of us but that is a whole other adventure too brilliant to limit in just a few words.
My takeaway, if you want a pretty flawless adventure with the best tour guides, the best dining experiences, the best accommodations and every detail to your liking and budget. Let the people who do this and have the very best relationships with the people who live in those places you want to visit prepare your adventure for you, otherwise you’ll miss the magic in the details. Thank you, Leslie Horn, Nashville Luxury Travel and those you partner with for giving us memories that dreams are made of!
For more information call Leslie Horn 615-472-8432 or visit nashvilleluxurytravel.com.
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