Walkers' World 
Guided Easy Walking and Sightseeing in
Western Sicily

ITINERARY


Day 1 - Sunday
Pick up in Palermo Airport at 4 PM and transfer by private bus (about one hour) to the small village of Scopello on the west coast of Sicily. After checking into our hotel we have a welcome briefing and dinner. In the evening there is a chance to stroll slowly around the village.

Day 2 – Monday      Scopello and Segesta
We start by exploring Scopello which consists of a “baglio” (a  typical fortified structure of Western Sicily built around a courtyard and once used as the centre of an agricultural estate ),  
a small square with a church, a few houses and an ancient wood-fired oven situated in one of the narrow alleys. Scopello prides itself in the special bread that comes from this oven -  pane cunzatu - a delicious loaf seasoned with salt, olive oil, oregano, tomatoes, local cheese and anchovies and served hot.  Nearby we see an abandonned tonnara (tuna processing factory) that dates back to the 13th century. Now it is a museum and part of the seafront lido at the edge of a pretty cove and beach. From Scopello we follow a path to a 14th century watch-tower with amazing views of the village and its coastline and along this trail we find what remains of the old Castello di Baida built in XIV century over the ruins of an ancient arab settlement.

In the afternoon our bus takes us to Segesta, an archeaological site with spectacular ruins including a Greek temple that looks as if it were built yesterday although we learn it was actually constructed around 430 BC.  But Segesta dates back long before that. According to Roman mythology  the Trojan hero Aeneas stopped off in Sicily during his long wanderings from Troy and founded Segesta in the 12th century BC.  As we walk to explore the archaeological park with its Doric Temple and ancient Greek Theatre we admire the stunning nature of the mountain setting.

Day 3 – Tuesday        Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro
Adjacent to our hotel is the Nature Reserve of Zingaro on the Western coastline of the Gulf of Castellammare. This was the very first protected area established in Sicily when, in 1980, a big environmental protest march managed to rescue this piece of heaven from a planned motorway project.  Today, the reserve is pristine and beautiful with limestone cliffs above clear waters, small coves that can only be reached on foot, and an extremely lush and varied vegetation that offers a habitat for mammals and birds.  At the other end of the reserve lies the village of San Vito Lo Capo where, strolling through its steets, we see what looks like a piece of Africa in Sicily. Small and square whitewashed houses, private courtyards, jasmin and bouganvillea testify the strong Arab influence of this town. Although famous for its cous-cous, the gelaterias of the town are note-worthy. The problem is to choose a flavour. There are so many it is hard to get past the five different versions of chocolate.

Day 4 – Wednesday   Erice -   Riserva Naturale Monte Cofano
In the morning we go to the lovely Nature Reserve of Monte Cofano which includes caves which have hosted human settlements since palaeolithic times.

In the afternoon we explore Erice, a city of ancient origin but medieval in its present appearance.  
Originally founded in the Bronze Age by the Elymians, an ancient people with their own not-yet-deciphered language, the town was populated by many peoples - the Sicani, the Phoenicians and later the Greeks.  Folklore even claims it was visited by mythological characters like Hercules and the Greek hero, Aeneas on his way home from the Trojan war. Like many Sicilian towns, Erice passed from one invader to another and each left their architectural calling cards and their cultural footprints.  Amongst the most visited sites are the two castles, Pepoli Castle and Venus Castle that was built on the site of the ancient Temple of Venus. Other attractions include churches like the Gothic Chiesa Madre built in 1314 and the Mediaeval Church of Saint John the Baptist.  The maze of cobbled medieval streets is a pleasure to tour and the views are stunning but visitors are eventually distracted by Erice’s sweets. You have never tasted a cannoli like that of Erice with its fresh whipped riccota filling piped into crispy deep-fried pastry. After a day of walking a few calories don't matter!

Day 5 – Thursday    Marsala
This morning we check out of our hotel in Scopello and head south. Just north of Marsala we stop to see the 20 sq km lagoon known as Lo Stagnone, a haven for water fowl and nursery for fish and crustaceans. The production of salt in these shallow waters dates back to the Phoenicians and today some saline still produce salt using traditional methods from 2000 years ago.  A short boat ride takes us to Motya, a tiny island in the centre of the lagoon. Founded by Phoenicians in the 8th century BC, Motya was an important and rich colony standing at the crossroads of the main commercial routes of the Mediterranean. Our walk  goes through the remains of what was once a city that was destroyed in the 4th century BC by the tyrant of Syracuse. Thanks to the Englishman Joseph Whitaker, from a family of Marsala wine merchants, the site was excavated in the 20th century.

Later in the day we reach Marsala. After checking into our hotel, we walk to explore the town and visit the Cantine Florio, the oldest cellar producing the famous Marsala wine, where we have a tasting..

Day 6 – Friday     Levanzo
This morning we take a ferry to the idyllic island of Levanzo. One of the Egadi Islands, the scarcely populated and extremely quiet island was inhabited in prehistoric times as witnessed by the Grotta del Genovese.
At the entrance of the grotto (cave) there are paintings (charcoal drawings fixed to the wall with animal fat) dating back to 7000BC depicting hunting and breeding scenes, female figures (resembling the Mother Goddesses) and male figures. Toward the deep end of the cave are graffiti thought to have been drawn around 12,000 BC representing oxen, deer and horses.  It makes one wonder if early man was not as primitive as we are led to believe. But there is more of interest than just prehistoric caves. This is a nature walk where we observe endemic plants and interesting birdlife as well as lovely Mediterranean scenery..
terrestrial and underwater archaeological finds, dating back to the Paleolithic era, testify
Day 7 –  Saturday   Selinunte
An hour away from Marsala is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in all of the Mediterranean region. Founded in the 7th century BC by the Greeks, Selinunte stands on rolling green hills flanked by two rivers and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The park covers 270 hectares with over eight km of trails. Starting from the three Eastern Temples we walk through the Acropolis enclosed in its massive walls all the way to the Sanctuary of Malophoros. To see the entire park takes three to four hours of easy walking. Nearby, we find the Belice Nature Reserve with 3 km of beach ideal for a beach stroll before heading back to Marsala.

Day 8 – Sunday  Departure  
Transfer by private bus to Palermo Airport (about 2 hours) arriving at 12.00 noon.

Western Sicily Western Sicily Itinerary
Western Sicily Cost Contact us and Booking
Western Sicily Accommodation Walkers World Homepage