October / 2015

Hello Arianna!
I hope this note finds you well.
......
On the whole the trip was excellent and your hard work in coordinating all the details paid off.  Corinna did a wonderful job in articulating information and in tending to everyone's needs and requests. Her kind friendly attitude made us all feel comfortable, secure and safe. Also, our driver did a excellent job in getting us around safely in some of the most difficult of traffic.
As I start reliving the trip with my thousands of photos I will have only exciting cherished memories of all the history of Sicily and the wonderful food and wines we experienced.
The only comment I will repeat from Ellen's comments ( below)  is about the Grand Hotel in Palermo.  It is a beautiful old hotel with a great deal of charm. However, the rooms and hallways  desperately need renovations.  The carpeting is absolutely filthy and some of the furniture was extremely worn.  The front desk personal were not the most friendly and helpful. The hotel  did have a wonderful breakfast buffet.
I am sure you will be hearing from other members of the group at some point.
Thanks again and I will definitely be recommending you and your company to friends and colleagues who want to tour Sicily.
Take care!  Stephen 

June / 2015


Dear Arianna,

Greetings from Far Horizons!  It was a pleasure meeting you in Palermo, thank you for taking the time to come to the hotel and for all your assistance and hard work throughout the tour.  From our perspective, the trip was a phenomenal success!  Everything happened seamlessly with only a couple minor hiccups, both of which were out of our/your control (i.e. the road closure between Piazza Armerina, Morgantina and Ragusa). 
Corinna, our guide, was a star. So very professional, knowledgeable, efficient and personable.  I know that the trip was well planned by everyone at Private Sicily and Far Horizons in advance, and Corinna executed every detail expertly.  Our driver for the majority of the trip, Gigi, was also great as he was always coordinating with Corinna to make sure we were on schedule and happy.
The selection of the restaurants and meals by Private Sicily was exceptional.  Often there was too much food for our group members, but at the same time the meals were delicious and a highlight of the trip.
The hotels, overall, were wonderful. The only minor complaints had to do with dim lighting in some locations (Hotel Romano in Catania and Hotel de Stefano in Ragusa) and the lack of shower doors or curtains to prevent the water from overflowing onto the bathroom floor.  Because our clients are older, the need for these precautionary measures (also bathmats) becomes important for safety reasons.  BUT, the hotels were very nice across the board, making returning after a long day of touring pleasant.
The only real negative I will relay to you is that the bus for the trip seemed to be in need of new shocks. The bus was always clean and comfortable, but on some of the roads it seemed abnormally bumpy.  This is not a reflection on the driver, but rather just a comment for improvement with regards to the vehicle itself.
I have been a tour manager on over 15 trips around the world and I have to say that this was one of the best run and most enjoyable trips I have been on.  Everything was great!  A huge thanks to Private Sicily for an unforgettable trip!

Best regards,
Heather

Heather Stoeckley
General Manager
Far Horizons Archaeological and Cultural Trips, Inc. 

March / 2014

Private Sicily helped me organize a weekend of birthday celebrations in Palermo and surroundings. The event was a great success, and I was complemented for the seamless organization. I had to tell the truth to my guests. that is that it was due to the excellent work of Private Sicily. The staff, Barbara and Lillo in particular, are very professional, extremely dedicated, incredibly pro-active, and extremely knowledgeable! They know Sicily and everything it has offer visitors first-hand. It was a pleasure working with them.

Cristiana V. K. - Washington

March /2014

Dear Barbara
I wanted to thank you for the excellent arrangements and advice that you provided for our stay in Sicily. We enjoyed every minute of it and wished we could have spent more time visiting as there is so much to see. We are determined to come back for another holiday!
Kind regards, K. and T.

March /2014

Dear Barbara,
I have just arrived home and would like to thank you for your kind help in arranging my visit to Roma and Firenze.
Hotels, tours, and drivers were all fine, and I enjoyed my trip to Italy very much. The hotel in Firenze was great as it is just in front of St. Marina Novella, which I liked very much. 
It was kind of short; hopefully I can go back and visit Firenze again and other cities in Italy.
Best regards,
Yoshiko

Group Total 
Sept /2013

Cari:Andrea, Antonio, Arianna, Attilio, Barbara, Carine, Cesare, Cetti, Christian,
Cristina, Domenico, Domenico,Donatella, Filippo, Francesco, Gandolfo, Giuseppe,
Lidia, Lillo, Mario, Maurizio, Mauro, Nina, Nino, Nedo, Pasquale, Pietro,
Silvio, Tony, Valentina, Valentina, Vincenzo e tutti gli altri che non ho dimenticato

Ilviaggio che mi avete aiutato a preparare nel corso dei trascorsi due anni è
stato un successo.
Me lo hanno testimoniato calorosamente i 52 amici che lo hanno condiviso con me.

E, se così è stato, non è solo merito della vostra competenza e professionalismo, ma
soprattutto del vostro amore per quello che fate: accogliere gente che poco conosce il
nostro paese, ne ammira a volte soltanto le bellezze, ed il cui interesse è
temperato spesso da paure e pregiudizi.

Il vostro compito di cambiare ed arricchire questa immagine lo avete adempiuto in
pieno ed io non posso che darvene atto e comunicarvi quella che è per voi
certamente la più ambita ricompensa: tutti mi ha manifestato il desiderio di tornare.

E' stato bello lavorare con voi.
Con stima e con affetto
Lucio M.
__________________________________________________________________

Robin Berrington
Ocotober 2012

And many thanks for the excellent trip. In spite of the dreadful return
journey, I think all of us had a great time in Sicily. It is a beautiful
area and deserves a return trip. Of course, much of the credit for this
goes to you, so I thank you for all your help.
__________________________________________________________________

Food Diary Sicily
Oct. 19 – Oct .29, 2012
Jane Olmsted

Eremo della Giubiliana, Ragusa Lovely five star country hotel situated in
an ancient hermitage, lovely grounds and inside many antique prints and
books around in the public rooms, including a suit of armor.

Dinner – Chinese porcelain soup spoon with cured raw fish garnished with
orange segment, Focaccia di ragusa (many thin layers of dough and
tomatoes), “Fake” pizza of fresh sardines and anchovies with cucumber and
lemon mint, Fettuccine with shell fish and wild mustard sauce, Raviolo of
yellow squash, sauce of two ricottas and black pig of Nebrodi sausage,
Swordfish alla Palermitana, fondant potato, pistachio and caramelized onion
sauce, Cassata “out of season” with chocolate sauce and gelato of
pistachios from Bronte.

read more...

Ordinarily I don’t list breakfast but the one served at Eremo deserves a
five star mention.

assorted fruit juices, prosecco on ice with flutes at the ready, scrambled
eggs, boiled eggs, fried pancetta, prosciutto, special Ragusa cheese (a
young caciocavallo}, fresh local ricotta, local honey, sliced fresh fruits,
yogurt with many toppings, croissants, cornetti, brioche, cream filled pastries,
fruit tarts, white and whole wheat bread made there, assorted jams
and jellies made there, plus the usual coffees and teas.

Dinner at La Locanda del Colonello, Modica Alta Very simple understated
décor, white tablecloths, each table with a wide mouth canning jar filled
with local vegetation: dried carob pods, unshelled almonds and wild fennel
stalks. Since all ordered a la carte, here is a partial listing of what was
available. On the table, warm house made bread served in brown paper lunch
bags, little dishes for dipping in very green local olive oil. Street food
sampler (arancini, etc. ) served in white paper bag, pureed fava beans with
roasted octopus served in hand painted green rimmed soup bowl, spaghetti
with anchovies, fish couscous, ricotta ravioli with pork stew, veal rolls
with vegetable salad, lemon and mint, ricotta ice cream with cannolo waffle,
persimmon and Modica chocolate, pear tart with walnuts and vanilla. Late
harvest Grillo wine from Marsala.. All delicious and beautifully
presented.

Dinner in Ortigia, Siracusa Unfortunately I don’t have the name of the
restaurant. On the table antipasti: Sicilian orange salad, fresh ricotta
topped with chopped pistachios, grilled zucchini, grilled eggplant,
caponata, and rolled spinach frittata stuffed with ricotta. Followed by
three pastas to sample: rigatoni with ricotta and almonds, spaghetti with
sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts, and rigatoni with ricotta and pistachios.
Some of the desserts were almond semifreddo, budino cioccolata (chocolate
pudding), crème caramel and cannoli.

La Forestiera at Planeta Estate Very modern hotel, plots of labeled herbs
growing around infinity pool, etc. All guests are served aperitif and
canapés in the lobby before dinner. All are seated at one long table and
served the same menu. Our menu was a frothy cauliflower soup, a huge
timballo shown before cutting, which had a ricotta crust and contained
pasta, meat and vegetables in a creamy sauce, followed by couscous with
lamb ragout with vegetables, and for dessert a profiterole with yogurt
mousse and strawberry sauce. Wines were Carricante 2011 Planeta, Plumbago
2010 Planeta, and Syrah 2008 Planeta. The food there was well cooked but I
didn’t think the menu was well balanced. The breakfast buffet was sumptuous.

Casa del Brodo, Palermo Very old, very traditional restaurant with a
specialty of boiled beef. We started off with tortellini in brodo. Then
the boiled beef, also in brodo, which had a hint of saffron, and boiled
carrots, potatoes, etc. We had a taste of Palermo style
green sauce, which unlike the northern versions, contains chopped green
olives. Numerous desserts were available.

Al Brigantino, Palermo Set price menu and what a menu it was! On the
table for all to share - fried squares of besciamella, small fried triglie
(red mullet), delicious balls of mashed sardines which contained currants,
marinated squid and octopus, raw oysters, shrimp salad on lettuce, then
three pastas: eggplant cavatelli with chunks of tuna, shellfish risotto,
spaghetti with white clam sauce, Torrearsa Bianco wine and lemon granita to
finish.

Trattoria del Sale, Trapani Located in the area of all the salt ponds,
with the old windmills used to pump water in the distance. On the table,
dressed olives, crostini with caponata and Trapani pesto, a raw sauce of
tomatoes, garlic, basil, almonds, EVOO. Then pasta. Then bounteous
platters of fried shrimp, sardines, small triglie (red mullet). Then we had
a sampling of Trapani couccous and ended with oranges for dessert

Il Porticiollo, Cefalu` Seated with a lovely view of the sea, we started
with a wonderful octopus and potato salad, then rigatoni with a subtle sauce
of eggplant, swordfish, a little tomato, and mint, followed by a thin slice
of grilled swordfish and insalata mista. Lemon granita to finish.

Wines – I didn’t list them because although they were good, they were not
notable like the famed Tuscan and Piemonte wines. We like reds named
Cerasuolo and Nero di Avola.

I can’t end without mentioning the Grand Hotel Piazza de la Borsa in
Palermo. It is listed as 4* but as far as I am concerned it is 5*. We did
not dine there but the breakfast spread served on the Roof Garden was
outstanding In addition to the usual fare, they offered sliced tomatoes and
cucumbers, fruit tarts and slices of sweet breakfast cakes. With a nod to
Germans, wursts and with a nod to N. Africans, spices like turmeric and
paprika plus wonderful ricotta.
__________________________________________________________________

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