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Hidden Gems
Via Francigena in Sicily: Palermo to Agrigento

Via Francigena in Sicily: Palermo to Agrigento

Overview

The Magna Via Francigena, the great road of the Frankish knights, follows the ancient route between Palermo and Agrigento, the two major harbours of the past that were used for millennia by pilgrims and travellers. Walking the Magna Via is a unique experience, out of the common touristic routes.

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Palermo

As soon as you get settled in your accommodation, step outside and breathe in the incredibly fresh, crisp air of this multicultural city. In the evening, let all your senses be delighted as you prepare for the walking adventure ahead.

  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Palermo (Hotel Tonic or similar)

Day 2: Santa Cristina Gela to Corleone | 19-27 km

You start the day with a transfer (~1 h) to Santa Cristina Gela, by the Lake of Piana degli Albanesi. This town is home to a historical community of Albanese people (the largest Arbereshe community in Italy) who still lives and professes their faith here. After a stroll and tasting the local delicacy “cassatella” (fried cannolo), you will start your walk towards Corleone. You climb along the “antica trazzera” (old route) towards the Santuario Maria S.S. del Rosario di Tagliavia. The Sanctuary, erected in 1841, constitutes a must-stop along the pilgrimage route. The path then takes you to Corleone, a town renowned as the birthplace of several Mafia families; immortalized in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. While here, it is a must to visit the Mafia and Anti-Mafia Movement Museum.

  • Walking for the day: 27 km, 6-7 hrs ↑872 m ↓769 m (shorter option: 19 km, 4-5 hrs ↑520 m ↓720 m if you ask the driver in the morning to take you further)
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Corleone (Hotel Ristorante Leon d’Oro or similar)

Day 3: Corleone to Prizzi | 20 km

While exiting Corleone, take your time to admire the waterfall Delle due rocche, 10 minutes out of town. Then the path takes you through vineyards and open fields, passing by dry-stone masonry (country farm), where you may encounter farmers who may offer you to try their freshly made ricotta. From Lake Prizzi, a steady climb takes you into the town, the perfect opportunity to grab a cannolo with pistachios and candied orange.

Day 4: Prizzi to Castronovo di Sicilia/Cammarata | 19-24 km

Most of today’s walk is within the peaceful Carcaci Natural Reserve, home to numerous species of birds of prey. Between the trees, you can see the ruins of the abandoned village of Riena. Explore the rural houses, barns, cosy manor homes and the small stone churches. Continue through the Bosco Comuni (Comuni forest). When you arrive in Castronovo, you get transferred to your Agriturismo in Cammarata (20 min). You can shorten today’s walk by 4.5 km with an earlier transfer on request (not included, payable on-site).

  • Walking for the day: 24 km, 5-6 hrs ↑602 m ↓894 m (shorter option: 19 km, 4-5 hrs ↑620 m ↓660 m)
  • Accommodation: Agriturismo in Cammarata (Agriturismo Casale Margherita or similar)

Day 5: Cammarata to Sutera | 15 km

Your journey begins along the railway, gradually proceeding uphill to Acquaviva Platani. The last part of the path to Sutera, a little gem on the other side of the rock face in front of you, is along a stunning ridge. Get lost in the maze of alleys and chalk houses of the Arabic neighbourhood called Rabato, and visit the rich ethnographical museum.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 4-5 hrs, ↑650 m ↓700 m
  • Accommodation: B&B in Sutera (B&B Piazza or similar)

Day 6: Sutera to Racalmuto | 23.5 km

You descend to the Platani River’s bed and then climb up the other side to Milena; here, the path goes up into the hills that surround the village and gives you a panoramic view of all the surrounding valleys. Racalmuto, the destination of the day, is the hometown of the famous writer Leonardo Sciascia.

  • Walking for the day: 23.5 km, 6-7 hrs, ↑896 m ↓1096 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Racalmuto (Hotel Regalpetra or similar)

Day 7: Racalmuto to Aragona/Agrigento | 12 km

Today you will pass through several nice villages such as Grotte and Comitini, where life slowly follows the rhythm of the seasons. A “must-do” is tasting the local arancini (fried rice balls filled with ragù, spinach or ham). When you reach Aragona, you take the train (fare not included) to Agrigento where you enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore the old town or the Valley of the Temples. You can also book an optional private car transfer to Agrigento.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 3 hrs, ↑225 m ↓332 m
  • Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Agrigento (Colleverde Park Hotel or similar)

Day 8: Departure

Departure on your own or extension upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in a mix of characterful B&Bs, agriturismo** and 3-star hotels. All rooms have en-suite facilities. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotel

  • Hotel Tonic, Palermo – a 3-star hotel located within walking distance from the main sights and attractions of the city that will allow you to make the most of your time in Palermo. The hotel has a pleasant vintage feel, a very welcoming staff and very clean rooms. Air conditioning will freshen even the warmest days, and a rich breakfast will make you start your adventure in a good mood.
  • Hotel Ristorante Leon d’Oro, Corleone – a recently renovated hotel with finely decorated interiors and wide common spaces. In the middle of the structure lies a big courtyard lined by palm trees. The swimming pool will offer some relaxation during the warmest days. All rooms have a balcony and have been decorated by a local artist.
  • Ospitalità Diffusa La Casa di Kokalo, Prizzi – this “Ospitalità Diffusa” accommodation allows you to sleep in apartments located right in the ancient Norman town centre. The owner, Totò, will be happy to welcome you and introduce you to his hometown.
  • Agriturismo Casale Margherita, Cammarata – this agriturismo is appropriate for walkers and offers the opportunity to stay overnight in a place surrounded by nature, on the Sicani Mountains, in the central-southern area of ​​Sicily. There is an outdoor swimming pool.
  • B&B Piazza, Sutera – just outside the town centre of Sutera, this is a small B&B (five simple, bright rooms). Some rooms might have their private bathroom just outside the room. Different kinds of breakfast available according to traveller’s preferences. Do not miss the view of the surrounding peaks.
  • Hotel Regalpetra, Racalmuto – right in Racalmuto’s centre: the owners have renovated an ancient noble building converting it into a hotel dedicated to the town’s most famous person: Leonardo Sciascia (writer). The staff is used to hosting walkers and pilgrims and will welcome you in the friendly, familiar atmosphere of this place, relaxing before resuming your walk.
  • Colleverde Park Hotel, Agrigento – a 4-star hotel that will reward you after your long walk. You will be able to rest in an oasis of tranquillity with ample green spaces, with a view of the Valley of The Temples (some rooms have a view of the archaeological site). Enjoy their local food; you have deserved it!

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

**What is an agriturismo? A combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in Italian — It is a farm-stay, but it’s also much, much more. Typically, an agriturismo is an independently-owned farm that the owners have decided to use partially for accommodation purposes, in a way similar to English or American bed and breakfasts. One of the best parts of staying in a traditional agriturismo? The food. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve guests food that was prepared from raw materials – vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and often wine and olive oil – produced on the farm or from other local merchants.

Meals

Breakfast is included every day as well as 1 dinner on day 4. Packed lunches can be pre-ordered at the accommodations or you can by food from the village shops. Throughout the trip, there are plenty of opportunities to taste both the great local food and a wide range of the prestigious wines of the region.

Difficulty & terrain

The route is graded moderate; on average, you will walk 5-6 hours, 18 km per day. A good level of fitness is required for enjoying the walks to the maximum (read more about difficulty grades). The terrain is various: tarmac secondary roads with little traffic, paths along fields and forests and gravel roads. There are a few streams to cross, some with very little water; others can be more difficult in case of rain. When it is possible, we provide an alternative route in case of heavy rain. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

You can start your holiday every day between 1 March and 25 July and between 1 September and 30 November. It is too hot for walking in August. Late spring, the early summer and the entire autumn are beautiful in Sicily. In Sicily, the climate is Mediterranean along the coasts and on the smaller islands, with mild, moderately rainy winters and hot, sunny summers. In inland areas, on the other hand, the climate is slightly more continental on the hills, where winters become moderately cold and summers are still hot (and often scorching), while in mountain areas, it is colder.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended arrival and departure airport for this tour is Palermo.

By train or bus

From the airport, you can take either a taxi or a bus to Palermo city centre. On departure, you can take a train from Agrigento to the Palermo train station and then a bus to the airport. You can check the train schedules on the Trenitalia website or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in characterful B&Bs and 3-star hotels
  • 7 breakfasts and 1 dinner on Day 4
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days (only 1 piece per person up to 15 kg; there is a supplement for each additional bag)
  • Private transfers on Days 2 & 4
  • Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route notes and maps (digital copy sent by email and a hard copy delivered at the first hotel)
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and 6 dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Local tourist tax & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights
  • Private airport transfers
  • Private transfer Aragona-Agrigento on Day 7 at 16:00 h

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