SOUL OF SICILY

DESIGN & LIFESTYLE TOURS ITALY

SOUL OF SICILY

DESIGN & LIFESTYLE TOUR ITALY

8 or 12 Day Tours June 2019

Sicily is a place that delivers something special when it comes to holiday destinations as her beauty and variety make it both inspiring and highly memorable. Join with me on my special, bespoke tour of Sicily with other amazing women who want to do something special. This 12-day tour (8-day option possible)  is like no other. See below why Sicily has made the list for my women’s tours to Italy.

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Lovely Accom

Relax Somewhere Beautiful
Daily Lessons
in Design & Lifestyle
Great Activities Planned
But Plenty of Time for Yourself
No Drama Women
Connect in a Spirit of Sisterhood
Amazing Food & Wine
Indulge in the  Local Cuisine 
Incredible Beauty
Visits to Stunning Beaches & Sites

YOUR ITINERARY

DAY 1 – MONDAY JUNE 17 – CASTELBUONO

In the heart of Madonie Mountains, surrounded by the colours and scents of the pristine nature, we will head to our accommodation which is a beautiful 12th-century abbey, an oasis nestled in the countryside and surrounded by vineyards and nature. Let’s immerse ourselves in the peace and quiet of the mountains while eating delicious Sicilian food and quality wine from their winery. Here we will enjoy nature, and take a visit to the winery before relaxing by the pool with a view of the mountains. Tonight we’ll enjoy a stunning outdoor dinner under the stars at the “La Corte dell’Abate” restaurant.

DAY 2 – TUESDAY JUNE 18 – CASTELBUONO

After a slow breakfast, we’ll explore the small medieval village of Castelbuono in the Park of Madonie. The town is still well preserved and captivates you from the very first moment you arrive. The town develops around the castle of Ventimiglia and walking through its narrow streets, is like entering another dimension, it’s like seeing a parade of knights and beautiful ladies wearing rustling brocade clothes and complicated hairstyles. Later today we will relax with a meal and enjoy our magnificent surroundings at the abbey.

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY JUNE 19 – SITES & SOUNDS  – CEFALU

Let’s move on to the seaside town of Cefalu, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy with its views of the Aeolian Islands and its ancient medieval streets. After checking into our accommodation we relax with a drink with a view before heading to the piazzas and wandering the streets to marvel at the Duomo de Cefalu. This afternoon you have free time to do as you please. You can rest and relax with a book, drink spritz by the pool….you decide because it’s YOUR holiday. We will have sunset drinks in the hotel garden before a great night out at a local restaurant that serves delicious Sicilian cuisine.

DAY 4 – THURSDAY JUNE 20 – BOATS & BIKINIS – CEFALU

Enjoy today as we float about in the ocean enjoying the sights of the coastline and the Aeolian Islands by boat. We will depart from the Cefalù port and immediately you will see the marvellous view of an original fishing village and the cathedral that stands on one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

After about 30 minutes of relaxing sailing, you can swim in the water and enjoy the snorkelling. This day is all about being out on the water experiencing something special. Sit back and just take it all in. There is no stress and it’s your chance to take it easy and let the day pass by. Tonight we enjoy some seafood and a little wine in the back streets of Cefalu. Late this afternoon there is the option to take a hike to the top of La Rocca which is a wonderful climb to the top if you are reasonably fit. This walk reveals interesting archaeological remains and fortifications from ancient through medieval times. Views over the town and across the bay are impressive and well worth the effort. Meet at my favourite piazza for an aperitif and to soak up the lively atmosphere and watch as the locals meet and greet their friends at the end of the day. I love it here.

DAY 5 – FRIDAY JUNE 21 – ARRIVE & REVIVE – TAORMINA

Arrive today at your very special hotel in the gorgeous town of Taormina, a town set high in the hills with amazing views of Mt Etna. Let’s relax before heading off to explore the delightful streets of Taormina with so many shopping and eating opportunities a girl simply cannot go wrong. The most famous handmade arancini balls are found down little alleyways and backstreets. Let’s enjoy a delicious dinner together at a hand-picked wine bar in the town centre.

DAY 6 – SATURDAY JUNE  22 – WANDERING IN WONDER – TAORMINA

This morning we will head to the ancient ruins of the Via del Teatro Greco an ancient Greek theatre in Taormina, built in the third century BC. From here the views of the coastline and mountains are spectacular. Later we’ll take the funicular down to the beach for a wander and a dip in the ocean if you feel inclined. Tonight we’ll enjoy our foodie walking tour. Fall in love with Taormina through tasting its astonishing street food. Spend these 2.5-hours eating and drinking like Sicilians, visiting its best venues most preferred among the locals. Our guide will explain about Taormina and its street food history and culture, taste authentic dishes – traditional bruschettas with various toppings, locally produced organic cheeses, salami, prosciutto, typical Sicilian relish caponata and parmigiana, olives, and Sicilian desserts with a company of the best wines of the island


DAY 7 – SUNDAY JUNE 23 – SICILIAN COUNTRYSIDE – TAORMINA

Today we’ll be chauffeur driven to Etna slope while you admire the scenery of the Sicilian countryside, the Mediterranean Sea and mountains, as well as hardened Etna lava flows. After 40 minutes ride, we’ll arrive at a family run old milestone of the 1800 year farmhouse producing wines, dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables. The owner of the farmhouse will welcome us with a glass of refreshing Etna wine, and you will take a guided tour of the estate while your native local guide tells you interesting stories about history and culture of Sicily. Then take a seat at the outdoor patio and enjoy delicious and hearty traditional Sicilian lunch at the farmhouse. Taste all locally produced organic fresh food – cheeses, salami, prosciutto, bruschettas, traditional Sicilian relish caponata and parmigiana, olives, mushrooms, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil and fresh home-made bread with Etna red and white wines.

DAY 8 – MONDAY JUNE 24 – FOODIE TIME – SALINA (AEOLIAN ISLANDS)

We’ll transfer to the port of Milazzo were we take the ferry to Salina, one of the prettiest of the Aeolian islands. There we’ll check into our special accommodation by the sea which has views over the ocean to the active volcano on the Island of Stromboli. Salina is a green and fertile land, home to around 2,500 people, 400 different types of plants and topographically characterised by its twin (inactive) volcanoes, Monte Fossa delle Felci and Monte dei Porri that gave the island its original Greek name “Didyme” meaning twins. Gastronomically, Salina is best known for three products: fish, capers and a sweet dessert wine called Malvasia delle Lipari. We will spend the afternoon enjoying the town of Marina Salina. We will enjoy a delicious sea-side meal at a local restaurant.

DAY 9 – TUESDAY JUNE 25 – ISLAND TIME – SALINA

Today we are free to be. The plans for this day are loose and open to what our heart desires. We can choose to go for a hike or explore the island by bus or even hire a scooter so we’re going to go with the flow today and see what unfolds as I don’t want to over plan what we do here. If you love not always having everything perfectly planned then you will love this and women on my tours enjoy that we can be a little less structured at times. Dinner out at a local restaurant in Santa Marina tonight.

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY JUNE 26 – THE VOLCANOS OF STROMBOLI

Let’s take a boat trip to Panarea & Stromboli and visit the famous active volcano on the island of Stromboli. Take the full day to relax, take a refreshing swim and drink in the sites of the Aeolian islands. Watch the sunset with an active volcano in the background while enjoying a glass of wine. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Today’s lesson: How to follow your heart and let go of fear.

DAY 11 – THURSDAY JUNE 27 – SALINA – FREE TO BE

Today is your final day to relax and unwind by the sea. Head to one of the nearby islands by ferry or hang out by the ocean. Enjoy your last tranquil day of relaxation.
Today’s Lesson: One audacious goal.

DAY 12 – FRIDAY JUNE 28 – FAREWELL FRIENDS – SALINA  

Today we say our farewells in Salina. From here you can make your own arrangements because everyone will have their own agenda. There are ferry services that go to Palermo, Salerno, Milazzo, Messina. You may want to continue in Sicily or cross over to Calabria at the base of mainland Italy. There are so many options so feel free to ask for assistance with your plans.

NOW all you have to do is press the button below to register. Numbers are strictly limited so act today to avoid disappointment. There is no need to pay now….let’s connect first.

 

8 or 12 Magnificent Days

SOUL OF SICILY TOURS

8 Day Tour – June 17-24, 2019 

Cefalu & Taormina

Investment: 8 Day Tour

Pay in Full  – $4195 AUD  

Payment Plan – 3 x $1468 AUD 

+ Dinner Package €390 (payable on tour)

12 Day Tour- June 17-28, 2019

Taormina, Cefalu & Aeolian Islands 

Investment: 12 Day Tour

Pay in Full – $5829 AUD  

Payment Plan 3 x $2040 AUD  

+ Dinner Package €550 (payable on tour)

 

Why not stay on and do the Sensational Amalfi Coast Tour before this one starts?

WHAT IS IT?

  • Enjoy the stunning sites of Sicily with a group of great women.
  • Take time to unwind and enjoy the magnificent views.
  • Revive your heart and renew your soul and zest for life.
  • Be invigorated by the vibrancy and colour of the region.
  • Laugh, eat, drink and be merry morning noon and night.
  • Savour local wines and feast on freshly caught seafood.
  • This tour is about doing something special just…for…you!

This is no cookie-cutter style of trip. This is a trip with beauty and lifestyle in mind.

The Inside Scoop
Who’s It For?

IT’S FOR ANY WOMAN WHO:

Dreams of doing something special for herself and connecting with other working women who need a break from life.

  • Spend time hanging out along beaches of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
  • Soak up the atmosphere in gorgeous Taormina.
  • Hang out on boats in the sea for a little indulgence.
  • Learn about creating a more exciting, creative life.
  • Witness the beauty of the Aeolian Islands, the craters of Mt Etna.
  • Enjoy being pampered and having the planning done for you.
  • Rekindle her excitement and learn to create more for her life.

I want you to be explorers and adventurers with a carefree sense of fun.

HOW IT WORKS

I will be your host but not your tour guide and I want to make this clear right here and now. I am not a travel agent, nor a tour guide, I don’t speak Italian (but I’m learning) and I am not going to play mother (because I have done it for 22 years and it’s tiring). I have this super itinerary planned, however, you will need to be a little independent and make your own decisions. I am here to make sure I create a holiday that will go down in your history as one of the best times of your life ever. Goody…Now, what are we going to do?

YOUR INCLUSIONS (For your particular destinations)

  • Twin share accommodation (Single supplement of $800 for 8 days or $1200 for 12 days if available)
  • 1 x welcome cocktail and aperitif.
  • All dinners included with your meal package
  • All breakfasts.
  • All day trips mentioned in Itinerary
  • All transfers and land transport during the tour. 
  • Any cooking classes during the tour.
  • Design and lifestyle lessons daily
  • A one-on-one phone call to help with planning or answer any questions.
  • Private Facebook Group for tour participants.
  • Your What to Pack for Italy Guide.
  • Your personalised Italy Guidebook – preparing for your tour.
  • Payment plan available for a limited time.

Notes

  • Lunches are not included (Pay your way)
  • Dinner package (as outlined) in cash payable on tour.

Conditions

* The trip fee does not include your flights or your compulsory travel insurance. Without insurance, you cannot travel on this tour. You will be responsible to transport to and from the tour departure point. I am here to help.

 Your Inclusions
 Where You’ll Stay 

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

  • All accommodation has been carefully picked due to easy access to the centre of each town. 
  • Mixed styles of accommodation from hotels to cosy bed and breakfasts.
  • You’ll share a room and bathroom with another guest/s. A private room may be requested if available (extra cost if available).
  • With so many women, it’s like a girls weekend on steroids.
  • Be treated to a unique experience.
WHY YOU SHOULD COME

 

  • Life’s short!
  • The women who come on my tours say that friendships and fun were the best part of the tour.
  • Connect with new women and share special times together (over wine of course).
  • Come with friends or come alone…I don’t care. If you are fun, happy, easy to get along with then you’re invited.
  • You can come from anywhere in the world, even though I am from Australia. You are welcome
“There are many highlights. However, if I can only choose one, it would be the company of the lovely women on the tour (including yourself Carmen) who all shared the same passion for travelling to Italy on an adventure.”

 

 Amazing Experiences 
Fun & Friendships

HOW IS THIS TOUR DIFFERENT?

  • There are no huge buses, big bustling groups and guides with flags. This is a personal tour with great women and we are all about nurturing fun and frivolity within a small group.
  • You are not going to stand in long queues and waste your precious holiday time. We are going use every moment of your time in Italy to do unique and interesting things that big tour groups don’t do.
  • I am all for supporting women, not bringing them down. We have a no-whinge, no-nasty rule on this tour as we want to keep the mood light and happy.
“It was a great opportunity to spend some quality time with other like-minded ladies who enjoy travel and meeting new friends. It was so easy being “myself” and being accepted from the start.”

 

WHY I HAD TO DO IT

I had been dreaming for years about creating trips for like-minded women to travel and be inspired by the design, creativity, craftsmanship, colour and vibrancy of Italy. I chose to add the Amalfi Coast to the mix as so many women wanted to experience her beauty and doing it with a group of fun women made it an even better option.

This is a tour about women, sisterhood, forging friendships and enjoying an enviable lifestyle in one of the most stunning places on earth. It’s about getting out of your normal routine and into the world to reignite your passion for life and live a little carefree for a while. Make friends with women for life.

As women, we don’t always give ourselves permission to do something special for ourselves and because I know that you are so busy and that you most likely wouldn’t take the time to plan something like this, I wanted to place it right in your lap. This is an incredible opportunity to explore some of the most glorious parts of Italy to stimulate your design brain and nurture your inner creativity with a small group of fun-loving women.

I am also pretty passionate about seeking out beauty and finding places, experiences, buildings, scenery, artisans and creatives that can show us something special. I wanted us to be immersing ourselves in it all and to escape from the routine of daily life and open our eyes to the excitement around us. I wanted an experience for you that would fill you with so much joy and happiness rather than a tour that just ticks off the must-see list.

Why I Run These Tours

I REALLY WANT YOU TO COME IF:

  • You want to hang out with incredible women.
  • You want to learn more about the Italian lifestyle.
  • You like to witness the beauty of the Italian coastline
  • You dream of hanging out in the streets and piazzas in Italy
  • You love having long leisurely meals in beautiful places every day.
  • You want to reignite your creativity and experiene a little freedom.
  • You enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.
  • You always embrace having fun and enjoying each day.

I AM NOT SURE THIS IS FOR YOU IF:

  • You can’t tackle a few (lots of) steps…Italy has lots of them.
  • You don’t have a reasonable level of fitness and stamina.
  • You aren’t prepared to make a few of your own simple decisions.
  • You are a drama queen when everything does not unfold perfectly.
  • You want a big tourist group and guides with flags.
  • You are not prepared for a little adventure and daily creativity.
  • Don’t want to eat and drink authentic Italian food and wine every day.
  • You are scared about what might happen to your waistline.

I Really Want You To Come if..

WHY TRAVEL WITH CARMEN?

 

CREATIVE SOUL WITH A LOVE FOR TRAVEL     carmen circle

After visiting Italy I just knew that so many women would love to do the same as me and experience the country from a design and lifestyle perspective and I wanted to bring women who wanted that together.

I WANT US ALL TO DO SOMETHING WE’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT

We work hard and life is busy. I want to create something super-special so we can just live life to the full for nine blissful days. It’s about finding yourself, igniting your passion and renewing your zest for life.

LOVE OF TRAVEL, ART, HISTORY, ARCHITECTURE AND FOOD

These are my passions and they fuel me and most probably you too. I wanted to share all of these things with a group of women who will appreciate and connect with them like I do.

FUN AND FRIENDLY WOMEN WHO WANT TO HAVE FUN

Tours that are serious are not my cup of tea. I embrace life in a fun and friendly manner and this will be no different in the Italian Riviera and soak up the sights and tastes of The Cinque Terre. We’ll squeal with delight while having a dip in the sea and hang with the locals and try to speak Italian over a glass of prosecco.

SHARE WHAT I KNOW AFTER YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY

Each day I want to share a little of what I have learned about creating a home and life we love. I want to help women be more expressive in their lives, find more moments of joy and work towards doing things in their life that they truly love.

EVERYTHING IS PLANNED FOR YOU

I have spent crazy amounts of time planning this tour so that all of the thinking and organising is done for you.

That means you can just enjoy coming to Italy without the stress! #stessfreeholiday

PERSONALIZED SERVICE & SUPPORT

You are not dealing with a large company here. You are talking directly to me. I will answer your questions and help make the decisions so much easier. I am just a phone call or email away.

This means that if you are unsure about something, then you can just ask me directly. If I don’t know, I’ll find out.

TRAVEL PLANNING

We work closely with a travel agent who can help organise all of your flights and travel details. She is here to help you to find the best-priced flights on the dates that suit you and at rates to match or better those you can find online.

Don’t waste time Googling, just ask me to put you in touch.

PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

As a special guest of my tour, you’ll receive an invitation to join my private Facebook Group for registered guests only. This is a great way to connect with others before you go, ask any questions and maintain friendships when you return.

This brings us together before we even leave and makes staying in touch fun and easy.

Here are the Perks!

Your Questions Answered

DO I NEED TO DRESS SUPER FANCY?

No. This is a very casual holiday so you will need smart casual day wear, some walking gear and a couple of nice dresses for dinners and lunches. High heels are not necessary and not overly practical for cobblestone streets and steep steps. Please travel light as you don’t want to be burdened with huge suitcases, plus there are many shopping opportunities to buy lovely things.

ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?

No. You will need to book your own flights because everyone is welcome to come no matter where they live and whatever carrier you prefer to use. Maybe you have frequent flyer points that you would like to use?  We are here to help you and with my own dedicated travel agent by my side, we can help with all your flight and travel planning. Just ask me.

DO I NEED MY OWN TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Yes. You must have your own travel insurance to come on the tour and will need to provide copies of the insurance to me prior to departure. Without travel insurance, you cannot join the tour.

HOW DO I GET TO TAORMINA?

There are several ways but the easiest way if you are flying in is to fly to Catania and take a train to the Giardini Naxos train station and get a taxi or bus from there to Taormina. If you have come from the Amalfi Coast tour please feel free to take the train down with me. You will need to pay your way and organise accommodation between tours. I can help with planning.

CAN I TRAVEL PRIOR TO OR AFTER THE TOUR?

Yes. You can definitely take advantage of being in Italy and head to any number of amazing places. We can help you with that. You may like to do the Sensational Amalfi CoastTour before this tour kicks off.

DO I HAVE TO BE FIT AND HEALTHY?
Yes, you must be fit and healthy as the tours require a lot of walking during the day and Italy has a lot of steps. You also have to be responsible for carrying all of your own luggage as we are not staying in hotels with porters. If you suffer from any major illness or health issues that you cannot manage yourself with ease, unfortunately, this tour cannot provide the level of care you may need.

 

WHY AREN’T LUNCHES INCLUDED?

I want to keep the trip flexible and on some days we will choose to go and do our own thing which gives you the chance to eat when and where you like. If we do eat together for lunches, the women in the past tours have set up a kitty to make payment at restaurants easy. All organised lunches are optional. 

WHY IS THERE A CASH PAYMENT FOR DINNERS?

This keeps the tour cost down and helps with the direct payment of meals. This also means we can choose what we want from the menu and not have to have set menus for the group. This also means we can keep our plans flexible and makes meal payments easy. Please pay the supplement in Euro at the start of the tour.

WHAT IS THE STORY WITH ALCOHOL?

We will order wine as part of the meal but if you wish to have more then please contribute what you think is fair. If you don’t drink alcohol then that is okay but please be aware that it will be a part of all of the lunch and dinner experiences and if you find it uncomfortable, this may not be the tour for you.

IS THE ITINERARY LIKELY TO CHANGE?

There may be a few little tweaks to the plan, but ultimately it will say very similar. Plans change depending on weather, restaurant availability and group decisions made on the day. I like to have a solid plan, but I am also open and flexible to changes.

WHAT IF I CHOOSE NOT TO DO AN ACTIVITY? 

Please notify me prior to the tour if possible if there is something that you choose not to do. If you decide on the tour not to do an activity then that is perfectly fine however the tour will proceed with the planned itinerary without you. We can certainly assist you with alternative ideas.

WHO WILL I SHARE WITH?

Accommodation will be twin or group share. If you are travelling with a friend, I will ensure that you are together. If available, you may request your own room at an additional cost. All accommodation is in a shared room unless your request a single supplement at the additional cost. We will stay in a mix of self-catering apartments and bed and breakfast style accommodation.

SOUL OF SICILY TOURS

8 Day Tour – June 17-24, 2019 

Cefalu & Taormina

Investment: 8 Day Tour

Pay in Full  – $4195 AUD  

Payment Plan – 3 x $1468 AUD 

+ Dinner Package €390 (payable on tour)

12 Day Tour- June 17-28, 2019

Taormina, Cefalu & Aeolian Islands 

Investment: 12 Day Tour

Pay in Full – $5829 AUD  

Payment Plan 3 x $2040 AUD  

+ Dinner Package €550 (payable on tour)

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What to Pack for Italy

Your Female Guide For What to Take on Your Fabulous Italy Getaway

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