SEATTLE, Wash. Zegrahm Expeditions, well-known for their circumnavigations of some of the world’s more obscure archipelagos, announces their first-ever expedition around the Mediterranean’s largest island, Sicily, departing April 4, 2011. This 13-day expedition combines visits to the isle’s amazing archaeological wonders with a tasty immersion into the region’s famed viticulture and cuisine.
Beginning in Malta, explore the 5,000-year-old Tarxien Temples at Hgar Q’im and the architectural wonders of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, board the intimate 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey and follow ancient trade routes to land on Sicily’s shores at Licata. As you trace the scenic coastline, stops include Phoenician settlements near Marsala, and the Greek temples of Agrigento, Selinunte, Segesta, and Morgantina. Tour the Roman theaters and villas of Taormina, Piazza Amerina, and Lipari and discover the ornate architecture of Norman-Arab castles and cathedrals in Cefalu, Palermo, and Monreale.
In addition to exploring Sicily’s amazing archaeological legacy, the gastronomical culture here is sure to impress, as well. With a wealth of coastal ingredients and savory array of sun-ripened produce, it’s no wonder that there is a movement presently afoot to protect Mediterranean cuisine under UNESCO. To better appreciate the local flavors, Zegrahm provides travelers the opportunity to stop at several vineyards for wine tastings, sample olive oil straight from the press, visit local outdoor markets, and relish the wonderful cuisine at traditional restaurants throughout the voyage.
“While a bit of a departure from our more remote destinations and natural history-focused itineraries, we believe this trip presents a perfect balance: with most mornings spent visiting historic sites and free time in the evenings to explore or dine on your own in picturesque coastal towns. It fills a niche for our growing contingent of travelers interested in archaeology and/or food and wine-inspired trips,” says Jon Nicholson, Zegrahm’s President.
Enlightening travelers throughout the voyage are an esteemed group of leaders with both professional and personal interests in this region, including a native Sicilian with a Ph.D. in Italian literature and a passion for gastronomy literary works; an archaeologist who has directed over 30 years worth of excavations in Sicily and beyond (and an alter ego as the “Time-Traveling Gourmet”); host and archaeologist for an international TV documentary series; a travel photographer with a Ph.D. in art history; and a professor of world cultural geography with a focus on the ancient and modern societies of the Mediterranean.