Amber Road Tours certainly exceeded my expectations on many levels. The sites were unbelievable and so very diverse reflecting so many past civilizations. The pace was perfect for me — we stayed on the move, yet had some down time as well. The hotels were quite charming and definitely roomy for European standards. The food and wine were excellent. And the people were all very friendly, well-traveled, diverse and fascinating. Our local guides were very professional and extremely knowledgeable. The whole trip went along without a glitch, which I attribute to our Tour Director, Aldo, who is also very talented and one of the funniest guys I’ve met. His energy level was amazing and contagious; and he made sure every one of us was taken care of. I would recommend this tour to any of my friends/relatives and especially to those who have an appreciation for history, culture and beauty. And I will definitely be taking another Amber Roads tour in the not too distant future.
Sicily tour Comments Leave a comment
Ditto to everything our fellow tour member Sally Marr wrote. Aldo made this tour terrific, Ole! Sicily is endlessly fascinating.
As I am about to leave for home after 8 weeks in this beautiful part of the world, I look back on the days spent touring Sicily with this Amber Road tour as the highlight of my time here. Sicily is a fascinating and beautiful country with great diversity and this tour shows it off perfectly. The tour, my third with Amber Road, more than lived up to my expectations with its mix of good company, knowledgeable and engaging guides as well as an enthusiastic and fun loving tour leader. Aldo, with his marvellous sense of humour, managed effortlessly to impart so much information about the culture, history, language and social aspects of life in Sicily while keeping everything on track for the 12 days. The itinerary has been well thought out with the right amount of activity each day as well as down time to explore on your own. The hotels and included meals were all top class. A comfortable coach with the professional and friendly driver Fabio, topped off this tour. Thanks so much to all involved in this tour of an truly amazing country.
Aldo shared his love of isola di Sicilia by immersing us daily in the culture, history and fantastic gastronomic foods and wines. This was my second Amber tour which exceeded any and all expectations! Italy is Italy but Sicily is Sicily is Sicily a very distinct difference from Italy which I can only now appreciate and understand after our SUPERB TOUR. Hats off to Aldo for a crazy fun filled tour. Special thanks to Liz and Jonathan for all the attention to details, no situation or problem impossible from start to finish!!!
What can we say!!! Our fellow travelers have probably summed it all up (What a great group…it was lots of laughs mostly started by Aldo). This was our second Amber Road tour & didn’t disappoint it lived up to its high standard (well done Jonathan) & hopefully it won’t be our last. After travelling thru Italy, Amalfi Coast/Apulia 2 yrs ago Sicily was on our bucket list to complete our love of that country. If you want history Sicily is the place to go…. To add to the experience you have to have a guide by the name of Aldo (“IN THE LOBBY”) he made the whole time effortless looking after 20 people is no mean feat…. his knowledge of his country is boundless. If anyone wants to travel on a small group and be waited on…..well Amber Road is the tour to take.
After looking forward to this tour for many months, we are happy to say that it surpassed our high expectations. Sicily itself is beautiful and fascinating, and our experience of it was enhanced by knowledgable and engaging local guides, our expert driver, Fabio, and–most of all–our tour director, Aldo. His boundless energy, enthusiasm, and good humor were complemented by meticulous planning and organization that made our journey effortless. The hotels, food, wine, and activities offered us a wonderful taste of the variety of riches that Sicily offers. Bravo, Aldo and Amber Road, and grazie mille!
Although we have traveled quite a bit throughout Italy, this tour of Sicily with Amber Roads was our first organized tour. We were slightly apprehensive given the many too-good-to-be-true reviews. We needn’t have worried for our expectations were exceeded and we, too, are pleased to join the chorus of positive reviewers.
Amber Roads is very well organized. We were provided detailed, clear instructions at every step along the way. The accommodations were quite nice, and the bathrooms in every hotel had been renovated. The included meals and wine selections were outstanding. The transportation was by luxury coach at the hands of our very skilled driver, Fabio. The selection of sites we visited was varied and exceptional, giving us the true flavor and historical perspective of Sicily. As well, the pace of the tour was well thought out, with several events every day but enough down time in each location to explore on our own. The local guides were all quite professional, proficient and personable. Last but certainly not least, if you are fortunate enough to have Aldo as your tour director, you are in for a special treat. Aldo personifies joie de vivre. He has a vibrant personality, is very knowledgeable and has a unique talent for making everyone feel special while at the same time keeping things on track. He always told us what to expect in advance, and each day’s timetable. We can honestly say there were no glitches at all during our 12-day tour. We highly recommend the Amber Road’s Sicily tour.
We had emailed Aldo after the tour to thank him for being a wonderful, efficient, and caring tour guide to us during the tour itself, and then again on our trip to our ancestral town of Sant’Alfio. He works tirelessly in accommodating requests, and keeping all schedules running on time. His humorous personality, and love of Sicily shines through at all times. He is a gem. How fortunate we were to find the church where my grandfather prayed, and also the church where he was married. Also the cemetery where my ancestors are buried. So very special. We will never forget that day.
Also wanted to let you know that we found the island of Sicily to be so interesting and more amazing than we ever expected. All of the diverse civilizations such as the Greeks, Normans, Arabs, Romans, Corinthians, Carthaginians, that built and rebuilt the island over the past centuries left their marks with so much old world beauty to the island. The artwork, history, archeological sites, amphitheaters, temples, mosques, churches, castles, are not to be topped anywhere else. All of the city guides were exceptional in conveying this diverse history of all of the sites on our itinerary. The farm land between the cities can be described as a beautiful patchwork quilt of crops of vegetables, fruit trees, and vineyards with mountains and Mt. Etna as a background. We will never forget coming upon the site of the old world town of Ragusa from the bus. The homes layered and staggered one on top of another, built into the mountain, was such a magnificent site. Pairing our lunch and dinner menus to the specialty foods and wines of the regions we were touring made for some interesting tasting choices. All menus, foods and wines were delicious. We are currently on diets. Who ever thought that the beautiful Gambino Vineyard could be cultivated at the base of Mt. Etna? Such fertile grounds made way for the delicious wines we had at the fantastic wine tasting. And finally, we found the Sicilian people all over the island to be warm, kind, caring and helpful. They were so glad to have us as tourists to their beautiful island. This has been a trip we will never forget!! Thanks again, Amber Road Tours!
From the moment Aldo greeted us in the lobby of the Central Palace Hotel, we knew we were in good hands. Besides keeping us on schedule with departure times and meeting places, Aldo would explain Sicily’s politics, economics, and food, and entertain us with lessons in Italian both with and without words. The restaurants and sights he recommended for our free time (especially Castel Mola) always turned out to be excellent choices. Turning the page to the itinerary, this tour appealed to us because it would take us all around the island, and it amply fulfilled those expectations. Day after day, we marveled at the increasing variety of landscapes, architectural styles, and archaeological excavations. Local guides described the history and culture during walking tours at each stop. The food – bread, fish, pasta – and the wine were simply extraordinary everywhere we went. As Also promised, we enjoyed a terrific Sicilian experience!
Overall excellent experience. Well organized with varied, diverse and interesting itinerary. Having participants from other countries was definitely a highlight. Local guides were all well informed and helpful with suggestions. Guided visit by baron in Ragusa and puppet theatre were well appreciated stops. Good balance between organized activities and free time. Saverio was an excellent guide and driver Marcello was a true professional.
Super Tour of Sicily. Our tour manager Saverio was great. We really enjoyed his sense of humour. Hotels were good. We enjoyed our tour.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Does it make you smile and perhaps your heart skips a beat? And when you finally must part, do you start planning and counting the days until you are reunited once again? That’s how I feel about Italy. This is our fifth visit to Italy and the Sicily tour is our third with Amber Road. We recently returned from our trip and are still reliving our experiences! Sicily is a blend of many cultures – Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish – and we discovered magnificent temples, ancient amphitheaters, breathtaking cathedrals, intricate mosaics, baroque palaces and went back in time in medieval towns. We also enjoyed stunning landscapes, Mt. Etna, colorful markets, salt pans, a puppet theater, wine tastings and fabulous food. I now have an unhealthy obsession with cannoli, arancini, cassata, fried ricotta with honey, marzipan, gelato, Marsala wine, sugared almonds – need I say more? And I have the pounds to prove it! The hotels were all centrally located and Hotel Belvedere in Taormina was my favorite, a charming and elegant villa with spectacular views of the Bay of Naxos and Mt. Etna. We had a great group of travel companions and a good balance of tour activities and free time on our own. Since Julian and I were in Palermo a couple of days before the tour, we took the hour-long train trip from Palermo to Cefalu, a picturesque seaside town with a lovely Norman Duomo which has beautiful mosaics. We also had a guided tour of Palermo’s opera house built in the 1890’s, Teatro Massimo, and it was very interesting. Our tour director Saverio Renda was excellent. In a most engaging and entertaining manner he provided the group with historical facts, as well as anecdotes of his family and contemporary life in Sicily. Marcello was a courteous and amazing driver and our local guides were very good. Mille grazie for a truly memorable trip. We highly recommend it. I am ready for our next adventure. As Saverio would say: “Andiamo”!
Our tour of Sicily in the spring of 2016 was an outstanding experience. Mariaelena, our tour manager, was an outstanding asset to our experience. Her thoughtful, efficient and timely attention to the needs of the participants was amazing. Her dialogue regarding the culture, history and people of Sicily added so much to our tour. I would totally recommend Amber Road Tours to anyone.
A first-rate itinerary which exposed us to a great variety of the wonders and contrasts of the island; excellent hotels; very good food and wine; a superb tour leader in the ever-patient, efficient and charming Mariaelena; and a highly capable and courteous driver in Francesco. A superb introduction to and overview of Sicily.
Sicily was my first Amber Road tour and it will definitely not be my last. I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I am.!!!!!! How do I begin, first of all, Mariaelena, our guide was the most perfect tour guide ever. Her knowledge of Sicily and its people and her love of them emanated through all she did. Her personality is sparkling, caring, mellow, empathetic, attentive…. I have never had a better suited tour guide and I have traveled a LOT . She catered to everyone’s special needs if called for and worked with all their personalities.
Amber Road’s selection of hotels was excellent. Even no porter and no hot water at the first hotel was ok because the hotel with its facilities and location was great. All of the hotels were in great locations so that we could freely walk the town independently. I loved the uniqueness of each town as shown in it its architecture, its cuisine andrhistory . Amber Road stayed true to the “cultural” experienced advertised.
Our group was very cohesive and for the most part blended well together We all got along well and made friendships that hopefully will extend beyond the trip. Your choice of restaurants for lunch and dinner was exemplary. I have NEVER had such exquisite food with such large quantities of both wine and food in all my travels including cruises. It would be hard to choose a favorite. Quality in all aspects is certainly your trademark. Kudos to the company.
Amber Road gives great value, both for the places we stayed and the group meals. Mariaelena [tour manager] was great. We would certainly give your tour an A+.
I can’t say enough good things about my experience with my adventure to Sicily with Amber Road Tours. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was overwhelmed with the beauty of the country and its citizens! A total new world of its own. The hotels were extremely comfortable. And the food!! We were treated to the most wonderful experiences with deliciousness! Ate ourselves to oblivion! The tour guides were very knowledgeable and showed how proud they were of their heritage and country. Lastly, our tour guide, Mariaelena is a most beautiful person. Her consideration to everyone’s needs, her smile, and her stories made the experience so much more enjoyable. I hope our paths cross again soon! I have told every traveling friend that they should consider Amber Tours – the best!!
Reading through your Comments Pages, everyone, without exception, have praised their Amber Roads Tour – for the planning, the seamless organisation, the exciting time to somewhere new, the quality of the staff, the exposure to new and local foods and wines, interesting co-travellers and to the happy times they had. Our wonderful Tour to Sicily proved no exception, with all things coming together to make it an exciting and rewarding trip. As a Tour Leader, Aldo was outstanding. He is right up there with the best! We are already cruising your website to make plans for 2016, 2017, . . .
Amber Road Tours made Sicily a dream come true for us. We’d traveled with small groups twice before (to Greece and northern Italy) and had great experiences, but Amber Road’s tour was superb. Sicily had been on our wish list for years and the more we researched it, the more of it we wanted to experience. Amber Road’s was absolutely the best and most inclusive itinerary we found. We arrived two days early and thanks to Lisa were booked into the same room in the Centrale Palace we’d have as part of the tour, so we didn’t have to move, a nice touch not offered by other tour companies. At Jonathon’s suggestion, on our first day we went to Teatro Massimo and had a terrific tour of this beautiful opera house. The next day we went to Cefalu by train, the hotel’s location made it simple, and the final tour information provided by Amber Road made it simpler still.
Our tour manager Aldo made every day a party and an adventure with no hint of the behind-the-scenes effort it takes to make everything run smoothly. Our local guides’ passion added greatly to our appreciation of ‘their’ cities and sites. And every day we were amazed at our driver Fabio’s skill as he maneuvered our 40 passenger bus up and down winding switchbacks and through spaces we’d have thought wouldn’t accommodate a VW bug (showing my age here!) Extras included three sites in Ragusa not open to the general public and a small ‘tourist eruption’ of Mt. Etna, (well, maybe the eruption wasn’t arranged by Amber Road, but it sure gave our photographs more drama.) Compatible fellow travelers, perfect weather, great hotels, delicious food, and an itinerary to die for…. we will travel again with Amber Road, that’s for sure. Picking the tour will be the only difficulty. Thanks Amber Road!
Several members of the tour have already commented about Aldo, our excellent guide, and the overall value and balance of the tour. The group itself was delightful – very compatible. I don’t think that any of us had been on an Amber Road Tour before. I appreciated being exposed to the multiple layers of historical eras and the contrasts among the cities, small towns, and countryside. Specifically, Ragusa was delightful, well worth a 2 night stay. The Roman Villa was amazing — I wish we had stayed longer there. Erice was also worth a longer stay and I wish the tour had formally included visiting the salt-museum north of Marsalla. (I did go there, on my own.) I was glad that I went 2 days early to Palermo, in order to explore the complex city. The tour could have omitted Monreale (which duplicated the mosaics/paintings in the Palatine Chapel) and instead included the magnificent Cataldo and La Martorana churches, which are located close to the hotel. Noto made an interesting contrast to Ragusa, and Syracusa contrasted with Palermo, but was much less interesting (aside from the cathedral, whose Greek columns remain prominent). Clambering around Mt. Etna was fun, but the time allotted was too short. It was nice to relax in Taermina at the end. Great trip!
This tour was better than advertised, which is a rarity in the travel business. Tour Director Saverio Renda and his driver, Fabio, both did an outstanding job and were a pleasure to travel with. The program was well planned, well organized and well executed. Most appreciated were the small size of the group (19), the later than usual morning departure times, the comfortable and well-located hotels, the knowledgeable and friendly local guides, the tasty meals, the friendly service, the sufficient free time and the absence of “extra” excursions for sale. We commend the management and staff of Amber Road and expect that they have not seen the last of us.
We had never done a tour before, thinking it wouldn’t be for us. On the warm recommendation of some friends we thought we should give it a go for Sicily. It was almost everything we expected. The itinerary was especially relevant, the organisation and timing perfect (down to the toilet stops!), and the balance of organised and free time right. A special mention to the different tour guides for the day, so knowledgable and passionate, and also Aldo with his fun, humour and insight into the culture and way of life of the Sicilian. Such rich and remarkable history ! We hope to do another tour soon with Amber Road.
Sicily was wonderful and the tour guide, local guides and bus drivers were exceptional. The pacing was perfect and the roomy bus a treat. So much to be learned about its illustrious history, peoples and the land itself. With olives , grapes , citrus, wheat, almonds, and so much more to see as we traveled the countryside …we were in awe. Aldo paced his information well, allowing time to absorb and created a relaxed and fun experience.
From beginning to end, this was a fabulous tour. Aldo was an exceptional tour leader, knowledgeable, energetic, unfailingly upbeat. The local tour guides were uniformly excellent. And the bus driver Francesco was astounding. We loved the food, the accommodations, the itinerary. The weather gods were with us so despite torrential rains in Sicily, we mostly eluded them. The layers of history in Sicily are amazing. Recommend John Julius Norwich history of Sicily before you go.
We found the tour of Sicily exceeding our expectations. Our tour manager, Aldo, was exceptional. He provided us with information about the Sicilian culture, food, and their way of life and he was also a lot of fun. The local tour guides in each area spoke English and were very knowledgeable about the places we visited. Our bus driver, was an expert. Not only did he drive carefully, he was patient and we felt very safe in his capable hands as he traversed the small roads with a big tour bus. The archeological sites we visited were without a doubt some of the best we have encountered and once again, the tour guides were experts in their field of study. This was a memorable holiday and I will be traveling with Amber Roads in the future.