you enjoy your stay to its fullest, we have arranged
several daily tours for Participants and
Accompanying Persons to places of local interest.
Costs and details will be announced during the first
day of the Congress. The Tours can be booked at the
Tourist Desk directly at Astoria Palace Hotel. Each
tour will start with a guaranteed minimum number of
is rich in treasures of all kinds, art, folklore and
tradition; its origins
far back in time. Its original name was that of a
flower, the “ZIZ” like the Phoenicians called it,
when they first colonized it. It was a prey to be
fought over for long years; after the Phoenicians
came the Greeks, who saw the wide bay and called it
“Panormus”, (all harbour). Then the Romans,
Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans. They brought art,
costumes and languages, all very different.
Different styles of architecture were fused and the
Arabian-Norman Palermo was born. This style
characterizes Palermo even today. A visit to
Palermo is like a journey in history.
city’s traditional cuisine is worldwide appreciated.
Among the major specialties
are the pasta ‘cche sardi (pasta with
sardines), panelle – sort of pancake made
with chickpea flour –, seafood, fish and vegetable
specialties; the sweet sfince, torrone
and ice-creams close this delicious menu.
a splendid position high above the Conca d’Oro,
the Monte Reale in Norman times was a royal hunting
lodge and residence. It was not until William II
decided to build the famous cathedral with a royal
palace and monastery attached, that a town developed
in its own right in the area. The city’s heart and
soul is still represented by the area radiating from
the cathedral. On the north side lies Piazza
Vittorio Emanuele with its fine Fontana del
Tritone. The main front, however, overlooks the
smaller Piazza Guglielmo, that gives access
both to the cloister and a small public garden.
Beyond a large courtyard is a fine garden with a
magnificent view over the Conca d’Oro. The
warren of streets around are all lined with charming
cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops.
a splendid position and clearly visible from the
road running north from Palermo, Cefalù is a fishing
village, now a small town, perched between the sea
and a craggy limestone promontory, landmarked by a
cathedral and a maze of narrow streets. Of Greek
origin, it saw its heyday under Roger II who in 1131
decided to initiate work on the cathedral.
Corso Ruggero is Cefalù’s main thoroughfare which
bisects the town on a north-south axis. The two
resulting halves have quite different character: to
the west lies the medieval quarter, a labyrinth of
narrow streets dotted with steps, arches and narrow
passageways; to the east, a network of
perpendicular, regular streets. The difference can
probably be attributed to the two different social
classes that lived in the two quarters.
has forever depended upon the sea, rallying herself
around the island of Ortygia, overlooking a
wonderful bay on the east coast; its name is
synonymous with an ancient Greek past, a series of
valiant tyrants, the rivalry between Athens and
Carthage; a past which has left a number of vestiges
for the modern day visitor to see and enjoy.
Alongside this dramatic historical background, there
exists another less obvious past that can be
explored among the streets of the island, where time
seems to stand still somewhere between the medieval
and Baroque eras. Just behind Ortygia stretches a
flat area called Akradina – yet another name
inherited from Antiquity.
district of Neapolis, literally meaning the ‘new
town’, is one of the most evocative quarters
claiming the theatre, the Ear of Dionysius
and the Latomia del Paradiso.
on a rocky spur at about 200m height, Taormina
occupies a fabulous position, overlooking the sea
and right opposite Etna volcano. It has been a
popular destination for travelers since the 18th
century, although only in the last decades it has
developed into a well-known tourist resort. Many
foreigners, notably British and German, have decided
to build villas in the town and many illustrious
figures have sojourned there, including Emperor
William II and King Edward VII, and such famous
families as the Rothschilds and the Krupps. A mild
climate, a splendid landscape and serene outlook
have made Taormina famous worldwide. The town
centre, now reserved for pedestrians, radiates from
the main thoroughfare Corso Umberto I, from which it
is possible to reach all, or almost all, the main
sits directly opposite the Egadi Islands providing
them with regular communication links with the main
island. Beside the ferry traffic, the well-protected
harbour handles large consignments of salt gathered
in the saltpans just south of the town and tuna fish
processed at the important local canning factory.
exciting time to visit Trapani is undoubtedly over
Easter when the old town is thronged with multitudes
of people participating in the processions and
festivities held during Holy Week.
– about 32,000 inhabitants – occupies a memorably
beautiful site. Developed as a Phoenician and
Hellenistic town, it sits at a height of 751m.
Enclosed within defensible bastions and walls, the
town is a veritable labyrinth of little cobbled
streets and passages wide enough to accommodate one
person at a time. The houses, packed one upon
another, have each their own charming,
carefully-tended, inner courtyard.
is two faced: there is the bright, sunny face that
smiles during the long hot summer days, when light
floods its tiny streets and distant views extend
over the valley and far out to sea; there is also
the mask of winter when, shrouded in mist, the town
seems to hark back to its mythical origins, leaving
the visitor with a feeling of unease and the
impression of a place removed from time and reality.
Enveloped by its medieval atmosphere, cool mountain
air, beautiful pine woods, pervading silence,
combined with its rich local craft traditions, make
Erice a highly popular destination for tourists.
is one of Sicily’s most ancient city. Agrigento is
one of the city with the highest tourism importance,
boasting inestimable historical, naturalistic and
archaeological attractions. Notably, it has managed
to take advantage of its resources also thanks to
promoting and supporting initiatives such as the
Mandorlo in Fiore festival (almond blossom
festival), a long-awaited event recurring every year
in February in the breath-taking Valley of the
is a series of temples which were all erected in the
course of a century (5C BC), as if to testify to the
prosperity of the city at that time. Having been set
ablaze by the Carthaginians in 406 BC, the buildings
were restored by the Romans (1C BC) respecting their
original Doric style.
city is also renowned for being the birth-place of
illustrious figures such as the Greek philosopher
Empedocles and the writer Luigi Pirandello.