Sicily with David H. Wells (Travel Workshop)
April 9, 2017 - April 20, 2017
Sicily: A Photography Journey on the Island of Light – 2017 Trip over Easter
April 9-20, 2017
Join us in Sicily, an island of light, on a meticulously crafted itinerary during Holy Week, in the middle of the spring bloom!
April on Italy’s largest island is a time of great vitality. Winter has receded: the almond trees blossom, the scent of orange blossoms fill the air, and fields are alive with pink and purple clover, yellow mustard, blue flax, and bright red patches of poppies. Sicily has woken. The energy is palpable: in the fields, in the cities, and in the incredible warmth of the locals. Tiny plums, cherries, and delicate paschal lambs appear in the display cases of pasticcerias. And in the old quarters of the island’s medieval cities, a week of processions and reenactments culminates in the bright festivities and folk dramas of an Easter Sunday inflected with ancient traditions.
Experience the light and warmth of this cultural melting pot of an island on a tour especially designed for the photographer’s eye.
– Discover beautiful, historic, energy-filled Palermo where we’ll stay for three nights in the old Arab quarter, with photo walks in the markets and port, plus key sights in town and travel to nearby Monreale to marvel at and capture its incredible mosaics.
– Explore the northwestern corner of the island and photograph the Greek city of Segesta in its stunning setting, hilltop Erice (often shrouded in a mysterious veil of fog), and the Marsala salt flats in late afternoon light.
– Experience and photograph the famed Good Friday procession in Enna, a beautiful off-the-beaten path mountaintop town in the center of the island. (See description below).
– Partake of and photograph Easter celebrations with Sicilians in the beautiful Alcantara Valley, after an exciting afternoon exploring imposing Mount Etna and its lava fields off-road by 4×4.
– Enjoy and capture the essence of the dolce far niente (sweetness of doing nothing) in enchanting Taormina which Goethe called “a corner of paradise” with its spectacular views of Europe’s largest volcano.
– Absorb the beauty of historic Siracusa on our three final nights, one of the most powerful cities of antiquity, with its archeological treasures and lovely old town.
– Stay in deluxe hotels throughout the itinerary, chosen for their ambiance, high standards, and location (all within walking distance from the top areas of photographic interest, giving us ample freedom of movement).
– Learn from travel photography veteran and photo instructor David H. Wells, via one-on-one guidance and a series of photography workshops throughout the trip.
– Travel with veteran tour leader and Sicily expert Alex Ros, the owner of boutique tour company Open Sky Expeditions, who is fluent in Italian and a photographer himself.
– Absorb the knowledge of local experts, traveling with some of the top English-speaking guides on the island for most tours and joined by a local Sicilian photographer who’ll show us her insider spots on select days.
– Savor amazing, delicious Sicilian food, enjoying carefully chosen restaurants, avoiding the big tour crowds.
– Relax with logistically seamless, hassle-free travel, tipping included, and much more (see tour inclusions).
– Book confidently on an itinerary developed over months to find the correct pace and balance, with an eye toward the best light and photography opportunities.
Please fill out the inquiry form at the bottom of this page to receive a more complete day-by-day itinerary.
April 9: Depart Home
April 10: Arrive in Palermo | Transfer to our hotel in the old Arab quarter
Welcome Dinner at an insider’s restaurant in Palermo
April 11: AM Photography walk of Palermo, highlighting the markets and key city attractions
PM Outing to Monreale for its incredible mosaics | Sunset in special spot in town | Independent evening
April 12: AM Visit to the majestically set Greek archeological site of Segesta (temple and theater)
PM Visit to hilltop medieval town of Erice | Marsala?s photogenic salt flats in late afternoon light
April 13: Optional sunrise walk in Palermo | Drive to scenic seaside Cefalu (possible stop in Castelbuono en route)
PM Leisurely tour/photo walk in Cefalu | Independent evening in scenic port town
April 14: Early AM Flexible in Cefalu | Scenic drive to Enna in the interior, arriving by midday to get ready for a highlight:
PM Fully available for the fascinating Good Friday procession in Enna, with option to stay through late night
April 15: AM At leisure after yesterday’s full day (sleep in, download photos, meeting with David, or independently explore)
PM Exploration of off-the-beaten path hilltop towns southwest of Mt. Etna | Late transfer to Taormina
April 16: AM Photo walk in Taormina, including guided tour of Greco-Roman theater with Mt. Etna as its backdrop
PM Special 4×4 excursion off-road on Mt. Etna, including the Alcantara Valley and Easter with the locals
April 17: AM At leisure in Taormina, enjoying the dolce far niente (sweetness of doing nothing) in its beautiful setting
PM Transfer via Catania to stunning Siracusa | Sunset photo walk in Siracusa’s old town, Ortygia
April 18: Full day to discover gorgeous Siracusa at a photographer’s pace:
Option of sunrise and sunset walks on either side of Ortygia, guided walk in old town, option for cooking class.
April 19: AM Outing to charming port town of Marzamemi and gorgeous Baroque town of Noto
PM Back in Siracusa for final afternoon at leisure | Final dinner at specially-chosen restaurant
April 20: Transfer to Catania for flights back home
$6,485 per person, double occupancy
(Single room supplement is $590)
A $900 deposit secures your seat.
Rates apply with 10 travelers participating. Trip limited to 13 participants.
If the group is below 10 travelers, a small supplement applies, with a minimum of 6:
$200 with 8 or 9 participants; an additional $200 with 6 or 7 participants.
CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY:
A deposit of $900 per person is required to reserve space on the trip, with final payment due 90 days before departure.
Full terms and conditions will be included on the official Registration Form, but for a preview of the cancellation policy:?
Cancellations received 90 or more days before departure = $250 per person administrative fee
Cancellations 61-90 days before departure = Fee is 25% of the total program cost
Cancellations 46-60 days before departure = Fee is 50% of the total program cost
Cancellations 31-45 days before departure = Fee is 75% of the total program cost
Cancellations within 30 days of departure = No refund
PROGRAM INCLUSIONS FOR TRAVELERS:
– A complete program of tours and excursions, as described in the detailed itinerary (full details on request)
– Stays at carefully selected four-star hotels on the island (full details on request)
– Photography workshops and one-on-one teaching by internationally acclaimed photographer and photo instructor David H. Wells, who will accompany all of our outings
– All meals as noted in the detailed itinerary (full details on request)
– Baggage handling and airport transfers in Sicily on arrival and departure
– Gratuities to all guides, drivers, porters, and wait staff for group meals
– Open Sky Expeditions owner Alex Ros as your personal host and tour leader
– Excellent English-speaking guides throughout
– Bottled water on all excursions
– A detailed and useful Destination and Travel Information Packet – including a recommended reading list – to assist with pre-departure planning
– A complimentary travel wallet and personalized travel notebook with final documents
A PREVIEW OF THE ENNA PROCESSION ON GOOD FRIDAY:
Shadows lengthen, the air is cooling; the strains of a funeral march begin. Crowds gather along the narrow cobblestone streets; they peer from the windows and balconies of the stone buildings that line the way. It is Good Friday in the ancient city of Enna, in the very center of Sicily, and soon these streets of its historic center will be animated by a tradition that can be traced back to its 17th-century Spanish occupiers.
Pale yellow robes and white hoods mark the Confraternity of San Salvatore, 60 of whom shoulder a weighty platform that carries the Urn of the Dead Christ from the Church of San Leonardo. From the Church of Addolorata, 80 men of another confraternity, clad in black robes and white hoods, sway from side to side with the weight of another statue, this one the six-foot-tall Madonna of Sorrows. She is mourning the loss of her child. As the evening progresses, these men will be joined by nearly 3,000 others from the city’s 15 confraternities, each distinguished by the color of their robes. Early on, the bright red vestments of the Confraternity of the Passion will appear, bearing on red cushions the Mysteries, or symbols of the crucifixion: the nails from the cross, for instance, the dice thrown by the Roman soldiers.
It is a mournful, majestic procession, and it will, finally, begin the longest leg of its slow march at the 14th-century Duomo, wending its way to the cemetery on the edge of town and then, just as slowly, just as majestically, back. Colored lanterns light the way as darkness gathers. The slow beat of a snare drum guides the procession up the hill and into the town center once more, crowds still lining the streets, where at last, near midnight, the Urn of the Dead Christ will be returned to the Duomo and the Madonna of Sorrows to the Church of the Sant Antonio.
Our hotel is nestled in the historic center of the city, where the procession begins, allowing us the best flexibility and access to the events of the day. We’ll be able to capture the colorful marchers from several sites that we’ll have staked out along the route, and you’ll have the opportunity to follow the procession at your own pace, pausing at whatever scene of this theatrical ritual catches your eye.
ABOUT DAVID H. WELLS:
David H. Wells (www.davidhwells.com) is a freelance documentary photographer and photo-educator based in Providence, Rhode Island. He specializes in inter-cultural communications and the use of light and shadow to enhance visual narratives. David?s “Light Studies” have appeared in a wide range of exhibitions and publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine and Rhode Island Monthly. He has received two Fulbright Fellowships, a grant from Nikon/N.P.P.A. and a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His work has been shown around the world in over fifty exhibitions and publications including American Photographer, Camera and Darkroom, Camera Arts and Zoom. He has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and the Maine Media Workshops. David launched an online educational tool with video podcasts and other useful information for photographers called “The Wells Point” (www.thewellspoint.com).
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