28 September – 05 October 2017
Sicily – the mythic garden of Persephone – is abundant with colour and luminosity. We visit gardens in the east of the island, some created by the English in former times, others planted more recently, and add some cultural elements to the programme. Mount Etna is part of Sicilian life with its rich volcanic soil assuring delicious fruit, vegetables and excellent wine.
An island of great contrasts, Sicily has been invaded by Greeks, Romans, Normans and Spaniards, all of whom have influenced its culture and character. Lord Nelson was rewarded with an estate in the foothills of Etna by the Sicilians for his aid in a maritime campaign.
Warm weather after the late summer thunderstorms encourages new growth on terraced hillside gardens. The olive trees are heavy with fruit and the orange groves are soon ready for harvest.
The first few days are spent in the attractive town of Taormina at the comfortable, welcoming Hotel Villa Belvedere, with superb views over the bay and to Mount Etna. We head south to Ortigia, our base for a couple of days in a beautiful historical part of Siracusa, at the well-situated Grand Hotel overlooking the harbour. The views from their rooftop restaurant are stunning.
The group will be a maximum of 16 participants. We use a comfortable small coach and travel is just over one hour on certain days.