THE LAND WHERE LEMONS GROW
THIS TOUR IS NOW FULLY BOOKED
By the end of April, wild flowers carpet the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily and the scent of zagara, or citrus blossom, bludgeons its way onto the plane as soon as the doors open in Catania. This glorious perfume will lead us to groves where Sicily’s famous blood oranges grow in the shadow of Etna and to private gardens packed with ornamental citrus. Crossing the Strait of Messina to Reggio Calabria, we spend a day immersed in the unique world of bergamot in this remote and disregarded region. Our journey will take us to farms and palaces, to a packing house and a marmalade kitchen. Wherever we go we will meet citrus growers, merchants and chefs delighted to share their expertise. We are fortunate to be invited to stay in the intimate surroundings of Commenda di San Calogero, a citrus estate where the house is surrounded by a beautiful garden and elegant en-suite guestrooms encircle a courtyard. Guests are invited to use the library and salotto, and delicious evening meals are served in the spacious dining room. Our last two nights on the island will be spent at the luxurious 4* Castello San Marco, a baroque castle surrounded by gardens giving magnificent views of the volcano.
Day 1: Monday 27th April
Flight BA2594 departs from London Gatwick at 14.30 arriving in Catania Airport at 18.30. We will drive from the airport directly to San Calogero, arriving in time for a delicious home-cooked dinner accompanied by carefully selected local wines.
Day 2: Tuesday 28th April
After a short introductory talk, we set out to spend our first day at San Giorgio, a citrus estate belonging to Rudolf and Benedikta von Freyberg. Rudolf will show us around his organic farm where he has been growing Sicily’s unique blood oranges for 30 years. The day will include a cookery demonstration and a delicious home-cooked lunch on a citrus theme. We return to San Calogero for our evening meal and time to explore the beautiful garden.
Day 3: Wednesday 29th April
This morning we travel to San Giuliano, a citrus growing estate also renowned for its wonderful garden. Here we meet Rachel Lamb, who will explain how she puts citrus to ornamental use in the garden. We will also visit a marmalade kitchen concealed among the orange groves, where delicious single fruit marmalades are produced for export all over the world. After a light lunch at San Calogero we travel to Siracusa. Here there will be free time to explore the intriguing island of Ortigia and to eat in one of the town’s many restaurants.
Day 4: Thursday 30th April
We spend today with the Borghese family at Il Biviere, an organic citrus growing estate and garden. Here we will learn more about the citrus industry by visiting the fields and the packing house before enjoying a guided tour of Princess Borghese’s extraordinary family garden and enjoying a lunch with a citrus themed in the villa. Afterwards we travel north to our seaside hotel, Castello San Marco, for an evening meal with local wines.
Day 5: Friday 1st May
An early ferry takes us across the Strait of Messina today, to Calabria, home of bergamot, the most valuable citrus fruit in the world. We start the day in a bergamot grove, visit the bergamot museum, see oil extracted from the fruit and enjoy a lunch and cookery demonstration featuring bergamot. We will also take the opportunity to explore Reggio Calabria and visit the archaeological museum, where we will see the Riace Bronzes discovered off the coast of Calabria. Return to Castello San Marco for an evening meal together with local wines.
Day 6: Saturday 2nd May
We complete our journey today by visiting a nursery dedicated to rare and bizarre forms of citrus. Return to Catania airport in good time to check in for the 19.15 BA2595 return flight to London Gatwick arriving at 21.30.
How much & what's included
The price per person: £2775.00
Single supplement: £250.00 (per person, levied by the hotels).
The price includes: buffet breakfast each day; four lunches; and four evening meals (wine included).
Those wishing to make their own flight arrangements should state this on the booking form and we will deduct £169 per person from the tour price
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