Home Sicily Travel
Date: 3 February 2018 – 10 February 2010 (for individual tours contact us)
Application deadline: 15 January 2018
Duration: 7 days
Free time: 1 day
Cost: 1300 USD/ 1000 EUR/ 940 GBP
We’re going to share with you our more than 3-year experience of living in Sicily and visit the best locations to photograph discovering the most amazing locations of the Island. Explore with us Taormina and Savoca, tracking down the Godfather’s path and visiting the world famous ancient Greek Theatre, Catania with its fish market, Acitrezza and Acicastello, Siracusa’s timeless beauty, the volcano Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. In the meantime, you can also enjoy and have fun at Sicily’s traditional carnival, one of the most captivating events of the Sicilian culture dating back to the 16th century, at the magnificent Baroque city of Acireale.
Instructors: Peter Toth (“Sicily’s street photographer” – With his signature socio-cultural photography, he Peter captured the heart of the locals immediately) Zoltan Pitrolffy (One of the most renowned fashion photographers of the 90s, Zoltan – who is also a sculptor – created some of the most memorable editorials for magazines, such as GQ, Elle, FHM, Joy and Playboy. Zoltan will share his experience on portrait photography and will also give some tips and advice on studio photography and lightning.)
Accommodation: private bedrooms (for 1 or 2 persons who come together) with shared bathroom, private apartments, B&B or hotel (we help you find accommodation, but you can arrange it for yourself as well, however – living here for more than 3 years – I’d prefer having a look at your choice just to make sure it’s location is easily reachable on foot)
Boarding: half board (breakfast of your choice of coffee and pastry at a bar, and one-course dinner at the same bar)
Maximum number of participants: 12
Apart from the participants of the photo workshop, anyone can join us for the tour as an escort for the price of 700 USD (including half board, airport transfers, excursions, entrance fees)
Day 1 - Arrival - Catania
Our team will be waiting for you at the airport and once we have collected everyone’s luggage, we will take you to the hotel, where everyone can unpack and have a short rest.
3:30 p.m. – we will meet you at the hotel, and then take you to downtown Catania to see the city waking up from its afternoon siesta. That’s when the elderly take their spot at the local parks, and launch their favorite card games. In fact, at the most hidden spots in the park nearby the market, they can often be found indulging in illegal gambling activities. It is a great opportunity for you to take pictures of real people and truly characteristic faces.
7:00 p.m. – we will take you back to the hotel – stores close early (at 8:00 or 8:30 p.m., so this way everyone can have a chance to pick up something for dinner).
Day 2 – Tracking down The Godfather’s path
Once you have had breakfast we will meet you at the hotel at 8:00 a.m., then we will all leave for Savoca (arrival at around 9:00 a.m.), where Coppola shot several scenes for his world famous movie, The Godfather (Il Padrino). We will visit Bar Vitelli-t, the bar where Al Pacino was seen sitting on the terrace with a weapon in his hand, in one of the famous scenes of the movie. In addition to the bar, another thing that Savoca is known for is the fact that there is approximately the same number of churches or church remains than there are residents in this friendly village. The patron saint of Savoca is Santa Lucia, who is celebrated with a procession on August 2nd annually. Each year Santa Lucia is impersonated by a local girl, who is younger than 10 and who gets carried around sitting on a local man’s shoulder. The church on top of the hill is also named after Santa Lucia, and in terms of the movie it is known as the place where Michael Corleone married Apollonia.
We recommend that you grab some food at one of the local bars before we head over to the nearby town of Forza d’Agro at around 12:00 p.m.
Not only Forza d’Agro is a town with astonishing beauty, but it is also one that was featured in The Godfather movie. One of its churches is seen in The Godfather 2, when Vito escapes after murdering his mother.
We will arrive in Taormina at around 2 p.m., where we will take a 60 minute break, so you can all have lunch just the way you wish. At about 3:30 p.m., we will take a walk around the city, and then to finish off our program for the day, we will visit the ruins of a world famous ancient Greek theater, which was also depicted by the Hungarian painter Csontváry-Kosztka in one of his paintings.
We will arrive at the island of Isola Bella at around 6 o’clock in the evening. It is a fascinating mini island close to the shore, which one can approach even on foot, walking on the rocks and the narrow spit. Please note, that if we happen to spend too much time on the previous parts of this day’s program, we will not be able to visit Isola Bella unfortunately.
We will get back to the accommodation at around 7:30 p.m. – which should give you just enough time to stop by one of the nearby shops and pick up some food for dinner. We recommend that at the end of the second day you all go to sleep early, as we are scheduled to meet at 3:15 a.m. the following morning!
Day 3 – Sunrise, fish market, morning walk
We will meet you at the hotel at 3:15 in the morning (that’s right, you read it well!), so we can take you to the wholesale fish market, where fishermen arrive with their prey at this time of the day. The fish market is located in the nearby (10-minute distance) fishing village of Aci Trezza. The early morning bustle, the unbelievable faces and characters of the place, as well as the enormous and great looking fish will guarantee you all to have an unforgettable experience. (You should make sure that you are not wearing white clothes and open-toe shoes for this program.) The bars next to the fish market are usually open at this early hour, so for those who feel like it: you can have your morning coffee with the fishermen here.
The silhouette of Aci Trezza is sure to get imprinted in your memory once you visit the island of Sicily. According to legend, the Cyclopes, who were helpers of the god of fire, metalworking and the forge, lived deep in Mount Etna. Arriving at the Sicilian shores, Odysseus and his shipmates stumbled into a cave, where the one-eyed giant, Polyphemus lived. Four of his men fell victim to the Cyclops, but the rest were able to escape – thanks to the cunning Odysseus, who drove a smoldering wooden stake into the giant’s only eye. Legend has it that the discomfited Cyclops casted huge rocks towards Odysseus’ ship as it was leaving the shore. They are the so-called Cyclops Rocks (Faraglioni dei Ciclopi), which are still among the main places of interest in Aci Trezza.
That’s where we will wait for the sunrise, at the most ideal location for the perfect pictures with those rocks in the background.
However, Aci Trezza is not only famous for its fish market and for those monstrous rocks. It is also the place where Visconti shot his 1948 movie, the La Terra Trema (The Calm Before The Storm), a film based on Giovanni Verga’s verist novel, the I Malavolgia (The House by the Medlar-Tree). Visconti explained the story of the novel to Acitrezza’s residents, he asked the fishermen to give him feedback about the different situations, but in general he let them decide how they wanted to play the story. Visconti accomplished something that only truly great artists are capable of: he successfully instructed his amateur actors in a way, that their performance preserved both its credibility and its natural flavor, and as such he ended up conveying the true reality and not some directed version of it, while also giving it the kind of richness and depth that is most typical to ballads. Without a doubt, The Calm Before The Storm is one of the most essential, most powerful and most significant pieces of neo-realism, not only in terms of Visconti’s works, but also in regards to the entire movement. It is definitely worth a watch before taking off for your trip.
After Aci Trezza, we will move onto Acicastello, a town that is built right on the tail of the fishing village, and is famous for its Norman castle built in 1076.
At around 7:00 a.m. we will stop by at a shepherd’s, who (because of the extreme temperature) makes fresh ricotta cheese starting in the month of October. We can have a sample with a slice of fresh and warm bread when visiting him. (We can also pay a visit and take pictures even at times when he has no ricotta cheese available.)
Then we will go over to Santa Maria La Scala – and from there, on special lava rocks, we will walk around the La Timpa nature preserve taking photos of the astonishing natural spectacles.
After our walk, in Santa Maria la Scala you may want to have a taste of the world famous Sicilian breakfast. The bar is especially popular here because of its snow cones and warm brioche handmade by an old lady, one of the locals.
Next we will go for a walk and have a look at the hard-working fishermen in Stazzo, the tiny, hidden fishing village of Santa Tecla, as well as the town of Pozzillo surrounded by its citruses.
We plan to get back to the accommodation at around noon, and from that point on till the end of the day you will be free to do whatever you wish to wind down from our extremely busy early morning schedule.
Day 4 – Let’s get back to Catania again
We will meet you at the hotel at 7:00 in the morning, and then head straight to Catania, where we will visit the famous fish market, as well as the town’s „traditional” market. With amazing genre scenes and unbelievable faces, it will be a perfect opportunity for street photography.
Around 10:00 a.m. we will go over to the Catania harbor, where once again we will take lots of amazing pictures.
We are scheduled to get back to the accommodation at around 1:00 p.m., when everyone will have an opportunity to eat lunch and get some rest too. At 4:00 p.m. we will meet you at the hotel to discuss the work we have done so far and all that we have experienced. We will also analyze many of the pictures we have taken up to this point.
Day 5 – Rest and beach time
It is „riposo”, which means a day for rest. You can all do whatever you want, but needless to say we will help you organize your individual programs, and give you some tips and advice in terms of where you should go and what we think you should do. The sea has a very pleasant temperature from mid May to the end of October here. It is ideal for swimming, which means if you happen to be in our group during this period, you must go to the beach and enjoy it. Of course, we will provide assistance to those who would like to rent a car or a scooter for this day. Such rentals cost around 30 EUR/day (+ security deposit, which of course will be refunded when you return the vehicle).
Day 6 – Let’s have a visit to the Southernmost corner of Sicily
This morning we plan to leave early again; therefore, we will come to the hotel to meet you at 6:00 a.m. to take you to Portopalo, the Southernmost place of the island, which lies on the same latitude as the city of Tunis.
We will arrive in Syracuse at around 8:00 o’clock in the morning, and we will have time until noon to discover the city.
Syracuse was first inhabited by the Greeks dating back to the 8th century BC, and it turned into one of the largest metropolises of the ancient times. The central part of the original town was a small island (Ortygia), which is considered a World Heritage Site today. After several sizeable earthquakes taking place in medieval times the city was rebuilt mostly in Sicilian baroque style. Unfortunately, World War 2 also took a huge toll on the town and when being rebuilt, it underwent industrialization and has changed a lot.
In the city, we will first visit the „Ear of Dionysius”, an artificial limestone cave carved into a steep cliff, which offers magnificent acoustics. According to legend, those who were captured by Dionysius got locked up up here, so he could eavesdrop on them and pick up secret information that otherwise they would not be willing to tell him. The place was named the „Ear of Dionysius” in 1586 by Caravaggio, who – after having a look at the entrance of the place – said it looked very much like a human ear.
Next we will visit the old town, where most of the architectural monuments can be found. We will take photos in the streets, all rimmed with astonishingly beautiful limestone houses, where another world famous movie by Giuseppe Tornatore, Malena, was filmed.
We will finish off our visit to Syracuse with an hour-long rest, so everyone can grab lunch and recharge a bit. Next we will go to Noto, the baroque style capital of Sicily. This town is the proud home to several beautiful churches.
Then we continue on to Marzamemi, a tiny little fishing village, where most of the residents earn their living from fishing. The characteristic houses of these fishermen, as well as two of the town’s churches are located next to the main square in the village. During our visit, we will check out the town’s tuna processing facility built in the 15th century; the most important plant in the Eastern region of Sicily. The Palazzo Villadorate castle is located in the center of the plant, where people often hold receptions and weddings, taking advantage of the magical atmosphere that the place has to offer.
Day 7 – Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes
We will meet you at the hotel at 7:00 a.m., so we can all take a trip to Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Similarly to the volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands, it is not its destructive power that Mount Etna is famous for either. Its activities are mainly characterized by long lava flows, lava fountains stretching far up in the air, and they tend to attract a lot of tourists, as volcanic activities can be observed safely from a fairly short distance here. Though Mount Etna is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world, there are tens of thousands of people living on its slopes and in its immediate surroundings. The main reason behind it is the fact that the volcanic soil is fertile and thus it is excellent for growing grapes and for producing wine. We will take the Southern road to get to the top of the „mountain” or „muntagna” as the locals refer to it, from the small town of Nicolosi all the way to the Rifugio Sapienza center (1910 meters). During this trip we will see a number of parasite composite cones, as well as plenty of hardened lava flows. Those who would like can have (another) breakfast at the „shelter bungalow”, and then we will return to the hotel, where you will be free to spend the afternoon hours as you wish. Our next meeting will be at 5:00 p.m. for the purpose of „studying” a bit together. As a closure to our trip, we will talk about your experiences, analyze the pictures and you will learn about ways you can compile the photos you took during this eventful week into one appealing album.
Day 8 – Departure
After breakfast, we will have to say our good-byes, so you can head to the airport finishing up your weeklong photo tour in Sicily. We hope to surprise you with a lasting experience, and hopefully we will see you in the near future again.