A totally immersive experience
With its strategic and historic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, Sicily bears testament to the myriad civilizations and cultures that have left their mark on its sun-kissed shores. Remnants of these civilizations, in addition to scenic coastlines, charming fishing villages, and peaceful vineyards, all combine for a unique experience in a land that still feels frozen in an earlier time.
This is the perfect trip for anyone longing to do a deep dive into the history and culture of Sicily. You will visit important monuments and archaeological sites, including the incomparable Valley of the Temples, and charming towns such as Noto and Taormina.
DatesSeptember 20–28, 2024
From $11,495 per person
Trip size25 participants
Minimum age18 years
A different kind of classroom
With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every CME Abroad trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.
Dr. Schapira, a professor of medicine at Stanford, is recognized for her expertise in oncology and palliative medicine. With a passion for collaborating with local faculty and embracing diverse approaches, she aims to address the educational needs of healthcare professionals worldwide.
Take a deep dive into this unique volcanic island
Explore bustling cities, archeological ruins, and charming seaside towns all while immersing yourself in the history, culture, and cuisine of Sicily.
Arrive Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Arrive in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Upon arrival, a private transfer will greet you at the airport and take you to your deluxe hotel located in the center of the city. The afternoon is at leisure to recover from your flight. Gather for a welcome reception and buffet dinner at the hotel this evening.Accommodations:
Grand Hotel et Des PalmesIncluded meal: Dinner
Palermo / Monreale
Today’s tour takes you first on a leisurely drive through the Conca d’Oro Valley to Monreale. The cathedral and its Benedictine monastery were founded in 1172 by the Norman King William II and shows off a typical Sicilian fusion of architectural styles: Byzantine mosaics, Arab-inspired ornamental floors, and a magnificent cloister flanked by a series of unique, decorative columns. Return to Palermo for lunch, then embark on a walking tour beginning with a cannoli and granita dessert tasting at a local specialty shop. Then explore the city’s medieval center, where the palaces and churches show distinct Arab-Norman influence as well as the island’s signature Baroque flair. The true center of Palermo is the Quattro Canti, the intersection of the city’s two main thoroughfares. Here you’ll explore the Palermo Cathedral, which serves as a basilica, cathedral, and Muslim mosque and whose architectural details reveal its rich history. Return to the hotel to freshen up before gathering for a gourmet dinner in the hotel restaurant.Accommodations:
Grand Hotel et Des PalmesIncluded meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Agrigento / Valley of the Temples / Palermo
Depart Palermo and head south to Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a guided tour of this archaeological treasure, where you’ll explore the eight temples and the amazing history that these buildings, tombs, and ruins tell: from the almost entirely intact Temple of Concordia and the Temple of Hera that suffered damage in a medieval earthquake to the Temple of Juno on its hilltop perch and the unfortunate Temple of Zeus, dismantled by greedy builders over the centuries for its stones. Lunch will be provided around midday in Agrigento overlooking the Valley of the Temples. Return to Palermo in the late afternoon where the evening and dinner are on your own.Accommodations:
Grand Hotel et Des PalmesIncluded meals: Breakfast and lunch
Palermo / Piazza Armerina / Siracusa
Depart Palermo and journey to Sicily’s eastern coast, passing through wonderful landscapes of rolling hills with orange and lemon trees, farms, and vineyards. Stop at Piazza Armerina, which features some of the most important Roman monuments in Sicily. The Villa Romana del Casale, which is located on the outskirts of the town, has a huge, sumptuous villa with public halls, private quarters, baths, and courtyards, all of which belonged to Maximianus Herculeus. Although little remains of the building itself, the floors here are decorated with some of the finest mosaics that survive from Roman antiquity. The hunting, mythological, and domestic scenes, not to mention the exotic landscapes, all exhibit the most astonishingly realistic attention to detail. Continue to the town of Siracusa and check in to your hotel, a seaside property on the island of Ortygia, where we have dinner.Accommodations:
Ortea Palace HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Noto / Siracusa
This morning, visit the nearby town of Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Sicily’s most beautiful baroque cities. Visit the cathedral and the Palazzo Nicolaci and enjoy free time to wander Noto’s charming streets. After lunch in Noto, return to the area near our hotel and enjoy a guided walking tour of Ortygia. Colonized by the Greeks in the 8th century B.C., Siracusa became one of the most powerful and prestigious cities of the ancient world, rivaling even Athens. Visit the Greek Apollo Temple and Arethusa Fountain, then discover the Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco on a private tour and wine tasting. Return to the hotel on foot and enjoy the evening and dinner on your own.Accommodations:
Ortea Palace HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast and lunch
Siracusa / Catania / Taormina
Depart Siracusa and travel north to the seaside town of Taormina. Along the way stop in Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, and tour its magnificent baroque cathedral and local market. Then visit a nearby organic citrus farm for a buffet lunch off fresh, local produce. In the afternoon, continue to the seaside city of Taormina, situated on a rocky plateau with Mt. Etna rising majestically in the background. Gather for dinner in the hotel restaurant.Accommodations:
Mazzarò Sea PalaceIncluded meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Taormina represents a variety of historical periods, from the early Greek settlements and the Roman age, to the remains of Byzantine and Medieval constructions, up to the 15th-century Catalan buildings and 17th-century Baroque churches and palaces. Embark on a walking tour and visit the Greek Theater, the second-largest theater in Sicily, which was built in the 3rd century and later almost completely remodeled by the Romans. Then stroll along the main street Corso Umberto, arriving at the San Nicolò Cathedral Square. You will have free time to wander its twisting alleys or stroll in the Public Gardens, established in the 19th century, with its three hectares of flowerbeds, hedges, and thick vegetation. Lunch and dinner are on your own.Accommodations:
Mazzarò Sea PalaceIncluded meal: Breakfast
Today we venture toward “Mongibello,” the beautiful Mount Etna, which dominates the skyline of eastern Sicily. First visit a local farm house where we learn about and taste a unique honey specific to that region. Continue to a winery on the slopes of Etna and enjoy a tasting and tour before partaking in a wine-paired farewell lunch on the vineyard grounds. Return to Taormina for a last afternoon and evening at leisure.Accommodations:
Mazzarò Sea PalaceIncluded meals: Breakfast and lunch
Catania / Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Catania to check in for your international flight home.Included meal: Breakfast
Start preparing for the trip of a lifetime
From top to bottom, we’ve taken care of all the details, so you can enjoy a no-stress, worry-free travel experience.
Grand Hotel et Des Palmes, Palermo
This five-star property is located in the heart of the city of Palermo, within easy walking distance from the city’s main attractions. Amenities include a bar, restaurant, and wellness center.
Ortea Palace Hotel, Siracusa
Located in the heart of Siracusa’s Ortygia island, this luxury hotel overlooks the charming Porto Piccolo. Housed in a restored historic post office building, the hotel features a restaurant, wellness center, and spa.
Mazzarò Sea Palace, Taormina
Located on one of the most enchanting and unspoilt stretches of the Sicilian coast, in the bay of Taormina, the Mazzarò Sea Palace is a luxury hotel where all rooms have a sea view. Amenities include a restaurant, pool, solarium, and spa.
Secure your spot today
The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours, and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.