Perennial favorite Italy is featured this week, but with a twist. TourCrafters (tel. 800/621-2259; www.tourcrafters.com) has put together a great land-only package for family-owned farmhouse stays in Sicily starting from $725 for eight days/seven nights. The great part of this special is that it is valid April 1 through October 31 and the price holds static throughout the entire promotional period -- even the heavily traveled months of July and August. Reservations must be paid for within 72 hours of booking -- there is no booking deadline, however -- and prices are based on double occupancy. If you want to include airfare Tour Crafters can help you with that.
The price includes not only seven nights of accommodations but also a week of car rental, daily homemade breakfasts, service charges and taxes; you may in some cases be able to have dinner at the farmhouses but it is not included. The farmhouse stays are scattered and staggered through Sicily to provide you an opportunity to take in the sights, whether it's orange and olive groves that you'll pass on the way to Castelbuono at your first destination farmhouse -- Casa Rocca Gonato. From this point you can visit Palermo's cathedral, markets and other attractions, and the Norman cloister and cathedral at Monreale. On the third day, the trip takes you to fishing village of Cefalu, about 50 miles east of Palermo, along with the Greek temple at Segesta and the medieval town of Erice. From there, you'll then spend one night in Marsala and then head to Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina -- known for its preserved fourth-century mosaics. Spend one night in Piazza Armerinan, and then off to Ragusa. You spend your last two nights at Casa Pericata, which is near Syracuse. You can experience the chocolate of Modica, the historic center of Syracuse. And of course, a visit to Sicily would not be complete without a visit to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.
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