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4
moderate to challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights in 3 star hotels B&B's and Agriturismos
Meals
  • 1 Dinner
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£960GBP

Overview

Trip Code: MFS

Trip highlights


  • Following in the footsteps of pilgrims from centuries ago
  • Discovering the rugged beauty of inland Sicily and the enthusiasm, hospitality and pride of the Sicilians
  • Visiting the charming towns of Prizzi, Racalmuto and Sutera
  • Feasting on local culinary delights and tasting superb Sicilian wines
  • Staying in comfortable and welcoming hotels and charming B&Bs
  • The artistic melting pot of Palermo and the magnificence of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento

Travel by foot along the 'regie trazzere' or ancient road from Palermo and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the north to Agrigento on the southern Mediterranean coast to discover the rugged beauty of inland Sicily with its archaeological treasures and friendly locals who have been welcoming pilgrims for centuries. The Magna Via Francigena was officially re-opened in 2017 in celebration of its rich historical legacy as a trade route connecting Africa and the Middle East to Europe. It runs through ancient landscapes to extraordinary villages clinging to the cliffs and some suprisingly green hills among lakes and rolling mountains. However what is striking about the Magna Via Francigena is the influence of those who occupied the land over the years, from the Greeks and Romans, to the people of Byzantium and the Moors, and the legacies they left behind in the form of mozaics and other ancient relics, traditions and culinary influences. On arrival in Agrigento, dip your toes into the sea, receive your Testamonium at the cathedral and revel in the satisfaction of having walked across Sicily.

Countries:

Italy

Starting Point:

Palermo

Finishing Point:

Agrigento


Arrive in Palermo and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city's range of historical attractions, ancient buildings, and dramatic coastlines. We can assist with pre-trip accommodation if you'd like to fully discover this intriguing city.

Meals:  Nil

After breakfast a private transfer (at 9am, approx. 1 hr) takes you to Santa Cristina di Gela to commence walking. Setting out on foot you will start climbing along the “antica trazzera” (old route) towards the Santuario Maria S.S. del Rosario di Tagliavia. According to legend, in 1800 a rock with the sacred image of Mary was found by two shepherds, and in the same place while they were digging to build a fence for their animals they discovered a miraculous spring of water that healed King Ferdinado I di Borbone. The sanctuary was erected in 1841 and is a must-stop. Continue towards the peaks of Argentaria and Pizzo Nicolosi at the Gorges del Drago, and on to Corleone, sadly infamous for the Mafia, where you stay overnight. Enjoy the town's Spanish baroque influence or visit the Cidma museum, which recounts the history of the Cosa Nostra (allow an hour). Another interesting spot is the waterfall “delle due rocche”, 10 mins out of town. Distance: 26.5km/16.5mi (ascent +872m/2861ft, descent -769m/2523ft) Option to shorten: on request to the taxi driver this morning you can be dropped off at Sant'Agata (walk 5km less) if you wish to spend more time in Corleone. Alternatively you can have a longer walk, starting from Piana degli Albanesi (walk 5km extra).

Meals:  B

Today is a beautiful hike. The path will lead you through vineyards and open fields and past dry stone Masserie (country farms) where you may encounter a farmer who'll want you to try their freshly made ricotta! From the lake of Prizzi a steady climb takes you into town. Time to grab a cannolo with pistachio and candied orange! Distance: 20.6km/13.8mi (ascent +885m/2904ft, descent -466m/1529ft)

Meals:  B

A large part of today’s walk is inside the peaceful Carcaci Natural reserve, home to numerous species of birds of prey and a beautiful piece of forest to discover. Through the trees you can see the abandoned village of Carcaci. Its old world charm remains, along with the unaltered symmetry of its cross-layout, rural structures and small stone church. In the last part inside the Bosco Comuni (Comuni forest) there are the typical “pagliai” farmers. On arrival at Castronovo there is a transfer (at 4pm, approx 25 mins) to your overnight accommodation, an agristurismo in Cammarata. Dinner is included tonight. Distance: 24.5km/15.3mi (ascent +602m/1975ft, descent -894m/2933ft)

Meals:  B,D

Start your walk along the railway then gradually uphill to Acquaviva Platani. The Platani Valley is in front of you, and in the distance the charming villages of Mussomeli and Sutera, today's destination. The last part of the path to Sutera is along a stunning ridge. In Sutera, enjoy exploring the maze of alleys and chalk houses of the Rabato neighbourhood, founded by the Arabs around 860, and visit the rich ethnographic museum. Distance: 15km/9.4mi (ascent +650m/2133ft, descent -700m/2297ft)

Meals:  B

You descend to the bed of the river Platani, which you ford and climb on the other side to Milena. Here the path goes up the hills that surrounds the village and gives you a panoramic overview of all the valleys nearby. Racalmuto, your destination today, is the hometown of the famous writer Leonardo Sciascia. Distance: 23.5km/14.7mi (ascent +830m/2723ft, descent -1000m/3280ft)

Meals:  B

On your walk today you will pass through several charming villages such as Grotte and Comitini, where the pace is slow and you'll find some fabulous arancini (fried rice balls filled with eg ragu or spinach and ham). The Baroque village of Aragona is below you with the sea just beyond. Descend to Aragona and take the train to Agrigento (payable locally) where your pilgrimage ends. Be sure to explore the old town and the Valley of the Temples. * An optional transfer is available Aragona to Agrigento - must be pre-booked and pre-paid, please ask our consultants. Distance 11.5km/7.2mi (ascent +225m/738ft, descent -332m/1089ft)

Meals:  B

Trip concludes after breakfast. We can assist with booking an extra night in Agrigento, please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 1 dinner
  • 7 nights in 3 star hotels, B&B's and Agriturismo on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities (hotel taxes extra, payable locally - allow €5-10)
  • Digital information pack including smartphone app with maps and route book
  • Luggage transfer (max 1 piece, max weight 20kg and max size 60 x 50 x 40 cm per person). Supplement applies for excess
  • Transfer from Palermo to Santa Cristina Gela on day 2 and Castronovo to Cammarata on day 4
  • Emergency hotline and SMS alert
  • Credenziale - pilgrim's passport

  • Travel to Palermo and from Agrigento
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • Entrance fees not listed as included
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Transfers not listed as included
  • Train or optional private transfer from Aragona to Agrigento on day 7
  • Excess luggage
  • Hotel tax - allow EUR5-10 for the trip - payable directly to the hotel
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

moderate to challenging

4

This trip involves 6 days walking, with daily walks between 3 to 6 hours and distance from 11.5 to 26.5km / 7.8 to 16.6mi. The walks are moderate in mountainous terrain, with daily ascents and descents between 400 and 1000m per day, although the majority are not difficult and the trail is well marked. The terrain varies from paved secondary roads with little traffic, paths along fields and forests and gravel roads. There are a few streams to cross, some with very little water and some others that can be more difficult in case of rain. When it is possible we provide an alternative route in case of heavy rain and in the case of river Platani (day 7) a transfer can be arranged (locally) if it has been raining on previous days. It is essential that you have a good to excellent level of fitness and be comfortable walking in at times remote and always undulating terrain over a mixture of surfaces from rocky to grassy, asphalt to cobblestone.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Mar to 25 Jul and 1 Sep to 30 Nov

Notes

H
High Season
Note:
High season is 22 Mar to 25 Jul and 1 Sep to 1 Nov, upplement applies

Priceper person from

£960GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Discount for triple share rooms (pp)GBP£-92
  • Optional transfer Aragona to Agrigento day 7 (1-4pax)GBP£70
  • Single supplementGBP£190
  • Solo traveller supplementGBP£590
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.