Simply Sicily

Simply Sicily

23 September to 05 October 2019
21 September to 03 October 2020

Enquire now for the 2019 Tour

Hosted by Renato Di Stefano

Seductively beautiful, Sicily has been luring visitors for centuries. Experience the unique legacy of the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, crusading Knights of St. John, the Bourbons and Ottoman Turks, all on this stunning island of Sicily. Staying at a luxury sea front villa in Marina di Modica, discover ancient towns, churches, Roman ruins, a rumbling stratovolcano and the delectable layer-cake of Sicilian culinary influences in two amazing weeks.

Renato Di Stefano has a passion for his native island of Sicily, Italian food and the romantic Italian language. From an early age, under the guidance of his Nonna, Renato learned the importance of using fresh produce to prepare delicious meals. During regular visits at the Messina markets, he quickly learned how to select choice fresh ingredients using all of the senses. His childhood experience together with the many tips and tricks that he learned while helping nonna prepare the family meals laid the foundations for his love of good food and traditional Italian cooking.
As a TAFE lecturer for many years, Renato introduced the concept of teaching the Italian language and culture through its cuisine by giving students a taste of the broad and varied gastronomy of its regions and was invited to run classes at Phil Hoffmann Travel as part of our ‘Lifestyles’ Series.
Renato has been hosting tours in Italy since 2002. Whilst his regular and successful “Tuscan Experience” tours continue to delight travellers, Sicily is a natural progression for Renato as he extends his love of Italy and introduces southern Italy.

Renato Di Stefano

The Setting

An exclusive seafront villa with private swimming pool situated in the beautiful small sea side resort of Marina di Modica on the southern coast of Sicily. Surrounded by a luxuriant garden, the prestigious property boasts large, well-equipped terraces with panoramic sea views. Furnished in contemporary style, the comfortable interior is divided into two separate buildings overlooking the large swimming pool and includes 9 air conditioned bedrooms, eight luxurious bathrooms two kitchens, two living rooms and a lounge. The villa is situated not far from the UNESCO-listed centres of Modica, Scicli, Noto, Ragusa Ibla and near the ancient city of Syracuse.

Tour Features

9 nights villa stay in Marina di Modica
1 night accommodation in Agrigento
2 nights’ accommodation in Taormina
Travel by mini coach as per itinerary
Sightseeing per itinerary with entry fees
Culinary art sessions with Renato
25 meals including Continental breakfast daily, 9 lunches and 4 dinners (with limited wine*)
Services of professional guides at selected locations
Group return transfers from Catania airport at arrival and departure

Maximum 14 guests


per person, twin share (land only)

2019 – $6,999AUD

2020 – $7,499AUD

Single supplement $1,430


$2,000 AUD per person upon booking (Non-refundable)

Final payment is due no later than 3 months prior to travel.

Emily Tassone at Avanti Italy
Mobile 0400 823 508

Group cost quoted for this tour is based on a minimum of 10 guests (maximum of 14).
If the minimum number of guests is not reached the tour will be cancelled and deposits will be refunded to those that have paid. Itinerary subject to change.


  1. Deposit – Non-refundable $2,000 upon confirmation of the tour
  2. Balance due 3 months prior to arrival

Cancellation Penalties
From confirmation day to 3 months prior to arrival $2,000 penalty per person
From 3 months prior to arrival day 100% penalty on total amount per person

Enquire now for 2019 tour


Day 1 (Mon) – Catania to Agrigento
Meet at Catania airport, for the transfer at 11.00am to Agrigento. Later, discover the Valley of the Temples. This UNESCO-listed site is home to five ancient Greek temples dating from the 6th century BC. These are some of the grandest remains beyond Athens. Following a group dinner at a typical restaurant enjoy the beauty of the temples by night. (D)
Stay Agrigento – 1 night

Day 2 (Tue) – Piazza Armerina, Marina di Modica
Travel from Agrigento to Piazza Armerina and visit Villa del Casale. This ancient Roman villa is grandiose and complex in itself but is particularly famous for its spectacular mosaic floors. The mosaics floors almost completely adorn the floors of the villa and are a truly rare and singular masterpiece. After lunch, travel to your villa in Marina di Modica. (B, L, D)
Stay Marina di Modica- 9 nights

Day 3 (Wed) – Villa / Ispica
Spend a relaxing day at the villa with lunch on the terrace followed by a leisurely walk to Marina di Modica. This evening, enjoy an aperitivo on the verandah before dining out in Ispica at the Torre Marabino restaurant (B, L, D)
Day 4 (Thu) – Siracusa
After lunch at the villa, travel to Siracusa, the most important city of Magna Grecia. Visit the archaeological park with its ancient Greek Theatre, Roman Amphitheatre and the Paradise Quarry with the ear of Diogenes, famous for its acoustic effects. A short distance away to Ortigia, the old city, to see the Temple of Apollo and the beautiful Piazza Archimede. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure with a group dinner (not included) at a typical restaurant. (B, L)

Day 5 (Fri) – Villa / Pozzallo
Enjoy the morning at leisure. Later, join Renato in the kitchen as he prepares a delicious lunch. The rest of the afternoon is free with aperitivo on the terrace. Tonight, enjoy dinner (not included) at a restaurant in Pozzallo (B, L)

Day 6 (Sat) – Noto and Marzamemi
Following lunch at the villa, visit Baroque Noto and discover the beautiful churches and splendid palaces of the aristocracy. Enjoy a guided visit of Palazzo Nicolaci. Free time for gelato at the famous Caffè Sicilia before journeying to Marzamemi, an enchanting 17th century fishing village on the southern point of Sicily with dinner (not included) at a typical seaside restaurant. (B, L)

Day 7 (Sun) – Villa / Marina di Modica
Sunday morning at leisure followed by a culinary art session with Renato. Sample a glass (or two) of local vino and indulge in the fruits of your labour at lunch. Stroll to Marina di Modica beach for a gelato then later, enjoy an evening aperitivo on the terrace. Dinner (not included) is at a local restaurant. (B, L)

Day 8 (Mon) – Scicli
After a leisurely morning, travel to UNESCO-listed Scicli, a monumental baroque city. Scicli is one of the filming locations for Montalbano, and viewers will enjoy spotting familiar scenes. Dinner (not included) is at the Satra restaurant in Scicli. (B, L)
Day 9 (Tue) – Ragusa and Modica
Set amid rocky peaks, visit beautiful Ragusa Ibla with its tangle of narrow streets, steep staircases and Baroque palazzi. Walk to the churches and noble palaces. Later, discover atmospheric Modica with its steeply stacked medieval centre and spectacular baroque cathedral. Visit also the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. Dinner (not included) at a typical restaurant (B)

Day 10 (Wed) – Marina di Modica
Enjoy the day free to relax and then to pack for your morning departure. Enjoy a group lunch, afternoon drinks on the terrace and farewell dinner at the villa. (B, L, D)

Day 11 (Thu) – Mt Etna, and Taormina (for 2 nights)
Bidding Marina di Modica farewell, travel towards the top of Mt Etna (3300m), the highest and most active volcano in Europe. Visit the Gambino winery on Mt Etna for a degustation lunch with some excellent wines. Proceed to the magical city of Taormina, renowned for the beauty of its monuments, elegant buildings and gardens and most importantly for the magnificent Greek theatre. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. (B, L)

Day 12 (Fri) – Taormina
A morning tour of Taormina concludes with a visit of the magnificent Greek theatre where views of the coast and Mt. Etna are fabulous. The rest of the day is at leisure. Join Renato for a farewell drink on the rooftop bar of the Hotel (B)

Day 13 (Sat) – Taormina to Catania
Farewell Taormina today with a 9:00 am transfer to Catania airport. (B)

Arrivederci e buon viaggio!