Chiesa di Santa Caterina D'Alessandria, Palermo
Villa Resuttano Terrasi, Palermo
Villa Palagonia, Bagheria
Palazzo Ajutamicristo, Palermo
Il Cortile Maqueda, Palazzo Reale, Palermo
Palazzo Alliata di Pietratagliata, Palermo
Greek Theatre, Segesta
Valley of the Temples, Agrigento
Imperial Roman Villa del Casale
Palazzo Benevetano del Bosco, Ortygia
Palazzo Biscari, Catania
By Kimberly Driessen-Greitzer
July 26, 2023
Kimberly Driessen-Greitzer, a participant in the ICAA's travel program "A Grand Tour of Sicily" in Spring of 2023, provides this remembrance of an unforgettable experience. The tour, arranged by Classical Excursions, brought travelers to architectural and design treasures of Sicily, including everything from exclusive receptions at private villas and palazzos to tours of magnificent ancient Greek temples, on a journey that extended from Palermo to Noto and all points in between. Learn more about the ICAA's travel programs, which bring classical enthusiasts to architecture and design destinations around the world.
With its unique confluence of cultures, Sicily is a multi-faceted region with a rich artistic heritage. During the ICAA’s Grand Tour of Sicily, arranged by Classical Excursions, our group enjoyed a curated itinerary of Greek and Roman ruins, Arab-Norman architecture, aristocratic palazzi, Baroque towns, and countless examples of Sicily’s exuberant decorative arts in situ.
Along with the beautifully preserved archaeological sites of Segesta, Agrigento, and Villa Romana del Casale, the enchanting cities of Ortygia, Modica, Noto, and Palermo offered endless delights for the devoted classicist. As an interiors enthusiast, the standout sites for me were our visits to numerous private villas and palazzi. Throughout the tour we were graciously welcomed by the current owners and caretakers who educated us on each site’s historical significance, as well as the current efforts to restore and preserve the sites for future generations. Many of our visits included an intimate lunch or dinner which added an extra layer of glamour; it is not everyday one has the opportunity to have lunch in a top designer’s holiday home, or dine with a Princess under one of the world’s largest Murano chandeliers.
In addition to unparalleled access to beautiful and important sites, one of the highlights of any ICAA trip is enjoying the camaraderie of one’s fellow travelers, and the Grand Tour of Sicily was no exception. Drawn together by a shared interest in art, architecture, and design, it is a testament to the quality of the ICAA’s travel program the top practitioners in their fields take part. It is a pleasure to observe architects admiring a building’s proportions, designers appreciating decorative details, landscape architects trading notes on a garden feature, and young professionals honing their craft and widening their perspective through travel. With so many interesting traveling companions, the friendships and connections formed on ICAA travel programs continue long after the journey is over.
With its thoughtful itinerary, exceptional access to sites not normally available to the public, mix of attendees, and the warm hospitality of the site hosts, the ICAA’s Grand Tour of Sicily provided the perfect introduction to Sicily’s aesthetic and cultural riches. I feel fortunate to have shared this inspiring journey with so many talented art and design lovers, and I am already planning my next ICAA adventure.
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