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1 / 61

Sicily: A Cultural Journey

12 days
The Sicilian sun shines light on a different side of Italy. In the midst of the Mediterranean, discover an island with personality all its own—full of flavor and teeming with one-of-a-kind art and architecture. From multicultural Palermo to breathtaking Taormina, each stop on this tour of Sicily reveals unexpected treasures.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1

Fly through the night to Italy aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Palermo3 nights Hotel info

Day 2

Included meals: Dinner

Touch down in Palermo, Sicily’s capital and chief port. After you clear customs, a Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport and escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or begin exploring Palermo. Later this evening, meet your fellow travelers at your welcome dinner.

Day 3

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Palermo cathedral, Capella Palatina , Cathedral of Monreale

This morning, you’ll have a guided tour of bayside Palermo, situated at the foot of Mount Pellegrino. Pass the city’s palazzi, visit the Palermo Cathedral and view the stunning artwork of the Capella Palatina. Make your way through the Four Corners, where four Spanish Baroque palaces stand, and the so-called “Fountain of Shame.” Next, continue to nearby Monreale for a visit to the town’s magnificent Norman cathedral, whose mosaics are comparable to those of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia.

Day 4

Included meals: Breakfast

You’ll find plenty of possibilities for your free day in Palermo. Visit the collection of art in the Galleria Regionale della Sicilia, study the eclectic mix of architectural styles in the Duomo, visit the Teatro Massimo, shop the open-air stalls of the Vucciria Market or explore the Marionette Museum. Be sure to leave time for gelato sampling—the Italian style of ice cream was invented right here in Palermo. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to medieval Erice and Segesta.

Optional Excursion - Ancient Ruins: Segesta & Erice $99*pp Details

Journey to western Sicily to visit the ancient ruins of Segesta. Here, you’ll view a magnificent Doric temple and an ancient Greek theater. Next, visit the well-preserved village of Erice, perched on the summit of Monte San Giuiliano. The relics within Erice are fascinating, from its Phoenician walls to its Norman castles. Your guided tour of the town will take you past the town's churches, and will touch upon the role they played in Erice's history.

Agrigento1 night Hotel info

Day 5

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Agrigento Greek ruins

Travel south through the Sicilian countryside to Agrigento. Here, enjoy a guided tour of its fascinating Greek ruins, followed by an included dinner this evening.

Syracuse3 nights Hotel info

Day 6

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Villa Romana del Casale

Transfer to Syracuse. On the way, stop in Piazza Amerina for a guided tour of the stunning mosaics in Villa Romana del Casale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight’s dinner is included, and served upon arrival in Syracuse.

Day 7

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Syracuse Greek Theater

Not long after its founding in 734 B.C., Syracuse rivaled Athens and Rome for political power and cultural importance. Plato considered it a model for the ideal city. On your guided tour, enter the Archaeological Park for a visit to the most complete ancient Greek theater in existence. Note the way that the natural setting is incorporated into the design of the theater, where Aeschylus premiered many of his works. Then, tour the massive Paradise Quarry and gardens, featuring the cave that Caravaggio dubbed “The Ear of Dionysius” for its unique acoustics. Also included is a visit to an ancient Roman amphitheater. Later, cross a bridge to the Island of Ortygia, where your guide leads a walking tour of this beautiful old city of Syracuse. Highlights include the 6th-century Temple of Apollo, the Duomo and the harbor-front fountain.

Day 8

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend the day as you like in Syracuse. Consider a visit to the Archaeological Museum or the more unusual Papyrus Museum. Alternatively, you might opt for an excursion to a traditional Sicilian villa for lunch, as well as a visit to the village of Noto.

Optional Excursion - Traditions of Sicily: Villa Lunch & Noto Village $89*pp Details

Start off the day in Noto, a quaint city at the foot of the Hyblaean Mountains. A local guide gives you the lay of the land, highlighting the UNESCO-recognized cathedral and the city's Baroque-style architecture. Next, travel to a rustic villa, Casa Bianca, owned and run by a Sicilian contessa. With its warm climate, open fields and fertile soil, Sicily is home to some of Italy’s finest foods, and today’s authentic family-style meal showcases many of the region’s delicious and varied flavors.

Taormina Region3 nights Hotel info

Day 9

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Greek theater ruins

Transfer to Taormina where a local guide introduces you to this scenic town perched high above the sea. Pass the Duomo, the Corso Umberto I and the Palazzo Corvaia, seat of the first Sicilian parliament. Then, visit the town’s 2nd-century Greek theater, whose stunning location overlooking the coast—with Mount Etna providing a natural background—reflects how seriously the ancient Greeks regarded drama. Performances are still held here today during the summer. This evening, you’re invited to our optional traditional Sicilian dinner and wine Tasting.

Optional Excursion - Traditional Sicilian Dinner & Wine Tasting $89*pp Details

Venture into the foothills surrounding Mt. Etna for dinner and a wine tasting at a local vineyard. Like Sicily itself, Sicilian cuisine has been profoundly influenced by the myriad cultures that have made this island their home.

Day 10

Included meals: Breakfast

Your day is free for window shopping and cafe hopping along charming Corso Umberto. Alternatively, join a full-day optional excursion to Mount Etna, which at 3329 meters, is the highest active volcano in Europe.

Optional Excursion - Mount Etna: Sicily's Volcanic Landscapes $79*pp Details

Travel from Taormina to the base of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and highest active volcano. Here, a local guide will board your bus and you’ll ascend up to 5,000 feet, stopping at a scenic vantage point to snap photos and learn about the mountain’s long history of eruptions, as well as its native flora and fauna. Continue up to 6,600 feet, where you’ll have free time to walk among the volcanic craters and peruse the mountainside shops before sampling local delicacies at an included three-course lunch. Please note: Comfortable shoes and layered clothing are recommended. Temperatures on the mountain are cool in the summer and can be quite chilly the rest of the year.

Day 11

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

From magnificent beaches to cliff walks, spend another free day soaking in the Taormina’s region’s natural beauty. Or, opt to take our Hidden Sicily excursion to Savoca and Forza d’Agrò, two traditional Sicilian villages that served as sets for Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Godfather. This evening bid farewell to your travel companions over an included dinner.

Optional Excursion - Hidden Sicily: Medieval Savoca & Forza D'Agro $49*pp Details

Delve into the traditional Sicilian villages that served as sets for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” First, visit Savoca and tour the Church of St. Lucia and the Bar Vitelli. Walk through this medieval village and marvel at its 15th-century buildings and panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea. Continue on to Forza d’Agrò, another “hidden” Sicilian village, where you’ll visit the Church of the Annunciation. Please note: The order of villages visited is subject to change. In the event that the Church of the Annunciation is closed, it may only be viewed from the outside.

Day 12

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

If you’re not continuing on our tour extension to Rome, a Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport in Catania for your return flight home.

Add Rome City Stay $409 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and vibrant street life, no other city comes close.

Rome2 nights Hotel info

Day 12

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: The Colosseum

Travel to the airport for your flight to Rome. Upon arrival, a Go Ahead representative greets you and oversees hotel check-in. Then, follow in the footsteps of the caesars during an included excursion to Imperial Rome, featuring a guided tour of the Colosseum.

Day 13

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a free day in Rome however you choose. Take in all the art and architecture, from relics of Caesar’s reign to treasures of the Renaissance. Or, you could join today’s optional sightseeing tour of Vatican City, featuring visits to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Opt to end the day at Dinner with Tenors, an evening of food and live opera music.

Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City $89*pp Details

This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you'll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world's most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you'll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you'll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece. Finally, you'll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sundays. Advanced reservation and booking is required prior to your final payment deadline. Backpacks are not allowed in the Vatican and a dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced.

Must be booked 70 days before departure

Optional Excursion - Dinner with Tenors $79*pp Details

End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera's best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun!

Day 14

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Board your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Palermo, Italy
  • Agrigento, Italy
  • Syracuse, Italy
  • Taormina, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & Visa

In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Sicily. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Transportation / Walking on tour

Round-trip flights arrive in Palermo and depart from Catania (or Rome on the tour extension). When you first arrive in Palermo, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, most of Sicily’s locations are best accessed on foot. Local city buses in Palermo and Syracuse can break up periods of walking. Taxis are also useful, particularly in connecting downtown Syracuse (where most hotels are located) to the island of Ortygia (where most shops and restaurants are). In Taormina, local buses connect the beachfront city of Naxos to Taormina proper. You can also ride a funicular up to Taormina’s city center.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.  Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/ credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/16/2014

Number of Past Tours: 12

From: IN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Excellent value, excellent tour!

Another excellent Go Ahead tour, with wonderful companions. I always meet interesting people on these tours (a bonus of traveling with a group). Giuliana, our tour director, was wonderful, and Salvatore, our driver, a marvel (as are all of Go Ahead's drivers). The local guides were very knowledgeable (Guisi, our guide on the optionals from Taormina, was particularly likeable, and a good sport...it was raining buckets in Savoca, but she still cheerfully took a group of us up to Chiesa di San Nicolo). The hotels were excellent...the hotel in Palermo very centrally located, the hotel in Siracusa was beautiful, and while the hotel in Taormina was outside the city, the hotel shuttle service was very efficient. I don't think it would be possible to set up this itinerary at such a good price as a solo traveler. Already looking for my next tour!

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 9/25/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Overall Experience

We completely enjoyed the entire itinerary of this trip. The guides were the best and the bus drivers excellent specially on those winding narrow streets. We took all the optional side trips and they were so worth the additional cost. However, our flight arrangements did not work out well for us at all on both ends of the trip and that greatly overshadowed our overall experience. We would have paid more to go from Philadelphia directly to Rome.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/18/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

My first Tour

GoAhead Tours is a good company. Many of the people on my tour of Sicily were past GoAhead Tourists. Many got recommendations for GoAhead. The tour Director was wonderful, Carmellllooooo.... Had a really nice time, we had a lovely bunch of people on the tour. I Love Taormina.

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1 / 5

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/18/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Informative and educational trip

Like any tour, there are pros and cons. Carmelo was an excellent tour director with a relaxed and caring personality. He was responsive to everyone's needs. The extra excursions he planned were excellent and a great value. Salvatore was the consummate driver, as we had the utmost confidence in him, as well as an always smiling and pleasant attitude (how he remained this way while driving a bus in Italy, I'll never know!) The tour guide for the excursions were also exceptional. They were seasoned pros at what they did, while having a humorous side to keep you off balance. Special mentions to Rita in Catania and Angelo in Taormina. The accomadition itinerary was good as you spent three days in three cities, giving you some stability. The hotel in Palermo was centrally located. The first tour dinner was at an excellent restaurant in Palermo. I never realized the history and culture of this key island in the center of the Mediteraean Sea. Now for the cons. The Taormina hotel's location was on the beach, rather than in the town. Timing the shuttle to and from the hotel was an unnecessary hassle. The tour meal at this this hotel was horrible, and being the last night of the tour, it literally and figurativley, left a bad taste in your mouth. This was after we ate in the same hotel the night before and had a very good meal. In summary, this was a very good value and would highly recommend to see Sicily, which is quite unlike the mainland Italy of Rome, Florence and Venice.

 

Hello Bob, We’re so happy to hear how much you enjoyed your tour of Sicily. It is surely a special place and very different than other destinations in Italy! Thank you for your feedback regarding your hotel in Taormina. The farewell dinner should be an extra special and memorable one filled with local flavors and I am sorry that the hotel did not deliver. We will certainly be addressing the concerns with this hotel with our operations team so that we can continue to provide our travelers with hotels that meet Go Ahead’s standards of quality and service.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | October 07, 2014

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/5/2009

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wonderful Time

My daughter and I decided to take this tour and see the country where my father's family came from. My grandfather was born in Palermo and came to the United States as a young man looking for work and a chance to make a decent living. That was many years ago and it worked for him. He lived and worked to provide for a wife and 6 children, but never forgot about his homeland. He spoke of Sicily with love in his heart and we saw why when we toured the country. Beautiful people, land, and culture awaited us and we were not disappointed. Our time there was wonderful and we would go back again if the opportunity presented itself.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing Tour Director

Just returned from an amazing trip to Sicily and Rome. Our tour director, Sabra, went over and above the call of duty to make sure we all had a true Sicilian experience. We will never forget the wonderful fish dinner in Palermo, our luncheon with the Contessa at Casa Bianca in Syracuse, the Greek ruins and our beautiful ocean view in Taormina! So glad we did some of the extra excursions as suggested by Sabra! We also want to give a shout out to Salvatore, our bus driver, who did an unbelievable job maneuvering through some very tight spots. We always felt safe with him and he is truly a wonderful young man. Only wish we had one more full day in Rome. Two years ago we did the Paris trip with "Go Ahead" and had a wonderful tour guide Brian. We knew he would be a tough act to follow, but Sabra met all our expectations and did not disappoint! Thank you again Sabra and Salvatore, for a wonderful vacation which we will never forget!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

An excellent overview of Sicily

The scheduled itinerary is an excellent way to see some of the amazing sights in Sicily. Allowing three nights in three different hotels means you are not spending half your evenings packing and unpacking; all three sightseeing centers - Palermo, Siracusa and Taormina - allow for multiple things to see in these cities and ample time to visit exciting places in surrounding areas. The optional excursion to Segesta and Erice when staying in Palermo is a must. Both places are very interesting and picturesque and you are given ample time in each to explore in addition to the portions with the guide. We saw Segesta first, then drove to Erice, where after the guided tour we had time to shop and eat. I would suggest to GoAhead that after the morning visit to Segesta that a quick light lunch for the group at a local restaurant in Erice be arranged, and then follow that by a guided tour and then time for a some shopping - we were famished during the tour, although it was quite good. The day you drive to Siracusa from Palermo is a long one, but the stop along the way - Agrigento - simply cannot be missed. We were given a very good guided tour but only had a very brief time to catch a quick lunch before boarding the bus to continue on to Siracusa. Perhaps it would be better to stop in Agrigento or in some seaside hotel nearby that day to relax after the touring the valley of the temples in Agrigento, then continue on to Siracusa the next day. Siracusa was quite picturesque and there are ample things to see in Ortygia, the old part of Siracusa. Our only complaint about this stop was that the hotel, magnificent as it was, was rather isolated geographically from the historic center, and that after touring the nearby modern cathedral, the catacombs of St.John and the wonderful archeological museum, there is nothing else in the area you can access on foot. We had to take a taxi to and from our hotel to reach Ortygia for more exploration and entertainment on the day after the included tour. True, the hotel was quite a stunning resort with a large pool and fairly close access to some small beaches, but we didn't travel all the way to Sicily to lie around a pool all day. We think a hotel in Ortygia itself would be preferable even if it wasn't as grand as the one we stayed in. The last city, Taormina is simply breathtaking in its views and this is where you go for serious shopping - much more to see and buy here than in Siracusa. Again, the only problem here was that a very beautiful seaside hotel with marvelous views was picked - but it was very far away from Taormina, Castelmora, Mazzaro etc cities that you need to see in this area. We had to taxi back and forth, or take a hotel shuttle which required you sign up in advance for a limited number of seats - no spontaneous runs to Taormina possible. Since not every traveler is interested in the optional excursions, placing you in a hotel far away from things to see and do is frustrating. The optional excursion to Mt Etna shouldn't be missed but be aware that you are not going to see the summit - this trip takes you as high as the general population or buses can reach; for trips to the summit you will need to make other arrangements. That said, what you do see and what you can climb on during this excursion was quite amazing. I want to add that our tour director, Sabra, was phenomenal. Not only was she a wealth of information but she went out of her way to make arrangements for special sidetrips - a wonderful seafood restaurant in a little town outside of Palermo, a boat trip around the Siracusa harbor with a delightful antipasto lunch, a nighttime excursion to Castelmora with almond wine served in a very bizarre restaurant followed by a bus trip back to Taormina so we could shop and walk and eat in this pretty city at night. She was charming, funny and quite careful regarding details and making sure everyone was being taken care of. I can't say enough good about her - she made an excellent trip a phenomenal one. That said, other than the problems with the return flights (see below) and the hotels in 2 of the 3 cities being too far from the main attractions, our overall experience was a very good one, and we would not hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone interested in seeing Sicily. We had an excellent trip and one that we will have many fond memories of.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/1/2014

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

What an experience!

This was our third trip to Sicily and the second time on this exact tour with Stefania. She brings so much insight and passion to her groups and everything runs very smoothly because of her attention to every detail. The lunch at the Sicilian farm is always the highlight for everyone and should not be missed. Hotels were wonderful and in very good locations. This is one of the best Go Ahead tours for the money.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/1/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beautiful country, beautiful experience

The tour of Sicily was more than I hoped it would be. The country was just miles and miles of non-stop gorgeousness, breathtaking views and wonderful weather. The Sicilian people were warm and wonderful and the food was exquisite--everything you might wish for in Italian food: satisfying, tasty, and also so fresh! Our main tour guide and our bus driver were just fabulous. I could not have asked for a better team to feel safe and happy with, as well as informed and comfortable with asking questions. Everything was handled with the utmost care. Our various tour guides on the different excursions were also quite good. I can't wait to go back!

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/17/2014

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: RI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Sicily is special! and so is Rita!

Just returned from this tour and it was all that was expected and more. Sicily is a complex and wonderful place to visit with all of the varied history and culture. Our Tour Director, Rita is most special in that she was able to provide an excellent tour of the Sicily with passion and love of the area. The hotels are quite fine and it was nice to spend three days in each one. Each area is different with the towns/cities, the food associated with the area and the history with strong Greek influence as well as Norman and Roman depending on where you were residing. We have been to Italy several times at this point and what made Sicily also different was the people. I would highly recommend Mt. Etna and also the Sicilian Manor for lunch with the Contessa. It really was a nice tour that I would recommend to all!

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