Connect with local winemakers and top regional chefs, explore ancient Greek ruins and climb Mt Etna—and, of course, dive deep into Ann's personal obsession, pizza, in its birthplace.
Food, art and culinary culture with chef Ann Kim
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Best of Sicily, Siracusa, Mt Etna, Taormina, Naples
Sicily is the stuff of legend, unlike anything you’ve experienced before now. No less than thirteen different empires have ruled the island, each leaving a mark on the land, the people, and the cuisine—a fascinating collision of cultures. This is Italy, so of course the wine is delicious, and the views take in medieval alleys leading to buzzing piazzas bathed in golden sunlight. But Sicily goes deeper. Food and culture are layered over thousands of years of history, a tribute to the Mediterranean Sea and an age-old mix of flavors and cultures, evident in every bite.
With you is award-winning chef and pizza icon, Ann Kim. Eleven years ago, Ann almost bought a Jimmy Johns franchise because she was too scared to start her own restaurant. Then she decided to give it her best shot. “Fuck fear,” she said. “Lesson learned.” Today her three Minneapolis restaurants have topped countless top restaurant lists, and led to her earning a James Beard Award for Best Chef. Ann will join us to uncover the delicious backstory of the world’s greatest foods, from traditional Sicilian pastas and desserts to the freshest seafoods and, of course, pizza. We’ll meet vintners and cheesemakers, street artists and top local chefs, we’ll hike to vineyards perched atop a mighty volcano with sweeping views of the Ionian sea, as we go deep in the story behind what makes southern Italy so deliciously unforgettable.
If you want to venture into iconic Italy, but do it like a local, this is the trip for you. Mouthwatering flavors, beautiful beaches and soaring scenery—and that’s only the beginning. We promise, you’ll never see a pizza slice—or Italy—the same way again.
We’ll be in the literal birthplace of pizza, the home of world-class wines and the freshest seafood—and we’ll try it all!
In the finest accommodations—palatial seafront hotels and noble rural villas, all perfectly located.
Ann Kim's obsession is pizza. All three of her Minneapolis restaurants are popular not-just-pizzerias that mix in Korean influences like kimchi, chili and banchan. Ann earned a James Beard Award for "Best Chef" in 2019.
“I’ve spent the last 11 years dedicated to the art of pizza making. Now I get to experience the birthplace of pizza for the first time—that’s frickin’ amazing!” —Ann Kim
“If my work has made what's been a traditionally narrow path a little bit more inclusive, that will be my greatest achievement.” —Ann Kim
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The Italy lesser-seen comes with unforgettable access to superb wines, volcano hikes, street art walks, private boat rides, Greek theaters, the birthplace of pizza.
Benvenuto a Sicily! We meet up with Ann and our fellow adventurers in historic Catania, then dive right into the epic market scene. We’ll sample some of Sicily’s finest street foods as fishmongers hawk fresh swordfish and octopus hauled in overnight. Afterwards, we head to nearby Siracusa, a seaside wonder basking in 2,700 years of history with deep Greek, Roman, Byzantine, North African and Norman influences. We’ll wander through ancient sites like the monumental (still in-use) Greek theater—built in a hillside for perfect acoustics over 2,000 years ago—and around dreamy Ortigia, the cobblestone island that still lives like a village. Later we’ll join the locals on a passeggiata, or evening walk, on the promenade for an unforgettable first sunset together over the Mediterranean.
After a grand breakfast, we explore nearby hill towns each as rewarding, and historic, as the next. First is Noto, breezy, walkable and famed for its limestone Baroque buildings. We’ll stop here at Caffe Sicilia for a fresh slice of hazelnut sponge cake and a cappuccino ghiacciato (iced coffee with almond milk granita) in a beloved family-run bakery. Afterwards we continue to Ragusa, an unreal mountain-top town with sloping alleyways and sun-kissed cathedrals. Here, we get a full-on exposé of traditional Sicilian cheeses at the CoRFiLaC Laboratory, where we find out how to taste cheese like pros and see all stages of the best Sicilian cheesemaking.
Next is a meet-up at one of Italy’s most respected tomato growers, Casa Morana, where we’ll learn how they make epic tomato sauce and sit down to a picnic lunch on the farm. Then we stop in Modica to cap off lunch with something sweet, before returning to Siracusa to explore its lit-up lanes on our own.
After breakfast, we pack our things and move our Sicilian adventure to an active volcano over twice the size of Mt Vesuvius. At nearly 11,000 feet, Mt Etna is a towering green mountain that sometimes glows red. We’ll hike its craggy fissures with a local volcanologist who shares the ins and outs of Etna’s fascinating history.
Appetites worked up, we’ll move on to one of the area’s top-notch vineyards set atop the volcano’s slopes with panoramic views. At Tenuta San Michele, we’ll meet the winemaker, sip juicy reds and rich whites, then lunch on the best charcuterie and aged sun-dried tomatoes under the golden Sicilian sun. For the night, we’re sticking around Etna’s shadow. We set up in an intimate boutique hotel in a village at the volcano’s foot, where we can toast our day under a starlit sky.
Don’t sleep in today! Rise early for breakfast as the morning mist hangs over the volcano. Then pack up a sun hat, as we begin the day with a private boat ride along the breathtaking rocky shorelines and beaches of the Ionian Sea. It’s surreal scenery, as we see inside Grotta Azzurra, a sea cave with crystalline waters that glow blue. We enjoy a specially prepared lunch at sea, then dock to explore the lovely historic city of Taormina’s medieval lanes and churches, and its epic hilltop Greek theater with a full coastline panorama below.
We’ll have an afternoon full of Taormina’s endless appeal. Sit with an espresso in vibrant piazzas, browse shops in the alleys bursting with life, pop into a Gothic cathedral, and take some gelato to cliff-hugging terraces overlooking the sea. We’ll return to our hotel by the volcano for another star-lit night under Mt Etna’s gaze.
Our adventure of southern Italy moves on today, as we fly to a buzzing Mediterranean capital under the watch of Mt Vesuvius. We’ll jump right into Naples’ irresistible energy with a chef-led tour of its most famous creation: pizza! We’ll stop to savor slices at Naples’ most beloved pizzerias and learn the history of the world’s favorite pie.
Naples is a blast after dark, and the evening is yours to explore its hipster bars with DJs spinning vinyl, and cozy intimate restaurants with wine lists as long as the night. Enjoy!
You hungry? This is our last full day, so expect to eat. After breakfast we’ll find more of Naples’ storied appeal outside our door, and learn why Neapolitan pizza is not just to-go street food. We’ll sit for an immersive, tasty “pizza course” with an authentic wood-fired oven to craft different types of Neapolitan pizza and hear some of Ann’s delicious insights.
For decades, Naples has also been a bastion for new, cutting-edge art in a nation that often dwells farther back in time. On a guided street art and historical tour, we’ll explore Naples’ most creative expressions, vibrant piazzas, the grandiose Royal Palace, and more by foot—including Italy’s only known Bansky work. We also learn about Jorit, the local street artist gone global, and admire his San Gennaro mural that depicts the saint with the likeness of a local factory worker. Have your cameras ready!
For dinner, we’re the star guests at one of Naples’ top restaurants, Michelin-starred Palazzo Petrucci in Posillipo, where we’ll settle in for unforgettable courses and plenty of wine to toast our journey together. The night ends whenever it ends!
This morning, we say goodbye to Ann and the group. After breakfast, we’ll pack up all we’ve collected, along with new memories, and head to the airport. Ciao!
Authentic, lovingly curated accommodations—we’ll relax and unwind under the gaze of a volcano in Sicily, and feel like we’re part of the vibrant story of Naples
In Sicily, even post offices are palaces. You’ll feel that fully, entering this magnificent, palatial former post office from 1920 in the perfect spot in historic Siracusa. It’s a joy to stay here. Sprawling rooms are decked with fine Italian designs, lounges have expansive views of the Mediterranean coastline—and Siracusa’s iconic monuments, shops and restaurants are just footsteps away.
Set at the foot of Mt Etna, this intimate, 13-room hotel is made from a luxurious mansion dating from the early 1700s that makes any guest feel like a Sicilian noble returning home. The chic rustic feel benefits from wood beam ceilings in its alluring interiors—the perfect place to set up while exploring the area’s best wineries and a hike up an active volcano.
Filled with antiques, modern art and Liberty stained glass, this 19th-century, neoclassical villa is the perfect spot for a base right in the historic center of vibrant Naples. Most rooms come with terraces, others face the courtyard pool, and lovely staff serve wonderful breakfasts in the oasis-like courtyard.
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Six nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; internal flight from Sicily to Naples; departure airport transfer; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
Our adventure begins in Catania, Italy, at the Il Principe Hotel. The closest airport is Catania's Fontanarossa Airport (CTA). We recommend arriving one day early to ensure you’re at our starting point on time. On our last day, the closest airport is Naples International Airport (NAP) in Naples, Italy. Your flight home should be scheduled to depart at 12pm or later from NAP airport.
US citizens are not required to have a visa for stays in Italy of under 90 days. Just bring a valid US passport. For citizens of other countries, please check with the Italian embassy or consulate for information and requirements.
For solo travelers, there is a $1,575 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Our adventures typically have between 10 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.
This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure trip leader. They're an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
You may cancel on or before May 9, 2021 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after May 10, 2021 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after July 8, 2021 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details). Please note that for guests who are transferring trips or traveling on rescheduled trip dates, your cancelation terms will vary from the above, and are generally non-refundable. Please refer to your correspondence from our Customer Experience team for specific details.