Magna Via Agrigento's Valley of the Temples
Magna Via Agrigento's Valley of the Temples

Magna Via Francigena, in Sicily

Level
3
Distance
121 km
Duration
8 days | 7 nights
period
Mar Apr May Jun Jul Sep Oct Nov
price from
€ 870
CO2 footprint
112 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSW410

The Magna Via Francigena is not a trip or a holiday, it’s a “journey” of discovery that, like a budding wild flower, slowly opens up to reveal a vibrant, colourful and scented heart. Leave behind the bustling art-filled cities and archaeological sites that line the coasts of Sicily and step by step, village by village traverse one of Italy’s last frontiers. Leave your comfort zone aside, welcome the casual, unexpected and unorthodox. Stand in awe as this little-known but beloved, controversial island shows itself to you.

The strength behind the Magna Via lies in the vast open landscapes and the people that live here. So, let me tell you about the people you will encounter: Young Totò, who will captivate you with his enthusiasm and philosophy, Giuseppe’s charisma and energy are so contagious that you won’t want to leave. Francesca will delight your senses with her famous “crostata” home-made jam tart and, of course, the “Professore”, as he lives and breathes the town’s history and will tell you all her tales and secrets.

This historical route is the connection of the two major harbours of the past: Agrigento and Palermo, a system of “Trazzere” (old gravel roads) that linked every village of the backcountry. It is a human adventure where we, the travellers, have to sneak in, knock on the door, ask, and then take time to get to know the genuine character of this land.

Highlights

  • Cannoli: pastry filled with ricotta, pistachios and candied orange
  • The enthusiasm, hospitality and pride of the Sicilians
  • The artistic meltin’ pot of chaotic “Balarm” (Palermo in Arabic) and the perfect magnificence of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
  • All the young people you meet that instead of leaving are taking the challenge to remain and make a living in their hometown
  • The villages full of history, from the hometown of the famous writer Leonardo Sciascia to the Arabic maze of alleys in the historic center of Sutera
  • The pure natural landscape of the backcountry

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Palermo

Arrive in Palermo

Once you have settled into your accommodations, step outside and breathe in the incredibly fresh, crisp air of this multicultural city. In the evening, allow yourself to feel the excitement of the adventure ahead of you.

Day 2

From Santa Cristina Gela to Corleone, 19 or 25 km

From Santa Cristina Gela to Corleone, 19 or 25 km

You start the day being transported 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 its faith here. After a stroll and a 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. According to legend, in 1800, two shepherds found a rock with the sacred image of the Holy Mary. In the same place, while digging, they later discovered a miraculous spring of water that is said to have healed King Ferdinando I of Bourbon. The Sanctuary, erected in 1841, constitutes a must-stop along the pilgrimage route.

The path takes you to Corleone, a town renowned as the birthplace of several Mafia families; it was immortalized by Mario Puzo's "The Godfather". While here, it is a must to visit the CIDMA: Mafia and Anti-Mafia Movement Museum.

Distance: 19 or 25 km

Elevation gain: +872/-769 m

Day 3

From Corleone to Prizzi, 21 km

From Corleone to Prizzi, 21 km

While exiting Corleone, take your time to admire the waterfall “delle due rocche”, 10 mins out of town. Then the path takes you through vineyards and open fields, passing by dry-stone masserie (country farm) where you may encounter farmers who want you to try their freshly made ricotta!

From Lake Prizzi a steady climb takes you into town, the perfect opportunity to grab a cannolo with pistachio and candied orange! Yummy!!

Distance: 21 km

Elevation gain: +885/-466 m

Day 4

From Prizzi to Castronovo di Sicilia, transfer to Cammarata, 24 or 19,5 km

From Prizzi to Castronovo di Sicilia, transfer to Cammarata, 24 or 19,5 km

The majority 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 what remains of the abandoned village of Riena, with its old-world charm and the unaltered symmetry of its cross design.

Explore the rural houses, barns, the cozy manor homes and the small stone churchs. In the last part inside the Bosco Comuni (Comuni forest) you encounter the typical “pagliai” (hay)farmers.

When you arrive in Castronovo, you get transferred to the hotel in Cammarata (20min). You can shorten today’s walk of 4.5 km with a transfer on request.

Distance: 24 or 19,5 km

Elevation gain: +602/-894 m

Day 5

From Cammarata to Sutera, 15 km

From Cammarata to Sutera, 15 km

Before starting your walk energize yourself with some local delicacy in Bar Sicilia. You then begin your walk through a path that lines the old railway line, climbing gradually uphill to Acquaviva Platani. The last part of the path to Sutera, a little gem on the other side of the rock face you see 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.

Distance: 15 km

Elevation gain: +650/-700 m

Day 6

From Sutera to Racalmuto, 23,5 km

From Sutera to Racalmuto, 23,5 km

You descend to the bed of the Platani River, ford it 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 valleys nearby.

Racalmuto, the destination of the day, is the hometown of the famous writer Leonardo Sciascia.

Distance: 23,5 km

Elevation gain: +896/-1096 m

Day 7

From Racalmuto to Aragona, 11,5 km, train to Agrigento

From Racalmuto to Aragona, 11,5 km, train to Agrigento

Today, the last day of the walk, you will pass through through the village of Grotte, where life slowly follows the rhythm of the seasons.

A "must do" is to taste the local arancini (fried rice balls filled with ragù, spinach or ham). When you reach Aragona you take the train to Agrigento where you enjoy a free afternoon to explore the old town or the Valley of the Temples.

Distance: 11,5 km

Elevation gain: +225/-332 m

Day 8

Arrivederci Agrigento!

Arrivederci Agrigento!

Our services end after breakfast (unless you have booked extra nights)

Arrivederci! We wish you a safe trip home

Details

Is this for me?


One of our favorite trips through a lesser known side of Sicily - its countryside, small villages and the communities inhabit them and make them alive. You start from Palermo and arrive in Agrigento, two beautiful cities, but the most memorable moments are to be found along the way. Some hotels are very simple, but comfortable. THe paths can get really muddy when it rains. 

Included


What is included

  • 7 nights in double room in ***/** hotels/B&Bs with breakfast
  • 1 dinner in Cammarata
  • Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • Transfers as described in the day by day program
  • Pilgrim Passport
  • Maps and detailed description of the itinerary in digital form, App
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.
  • official camino guidebook, shipped to the first hotel
  • travel documentation in printed form (maps and detailed description of the itinerary), shipped to the first hotel

Accommodation


Hotel Tonic - Palermo

A *** 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. 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 relax 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, our dear friend Totò, will be happy to welcome you and introduce you to his hometown. 

Casale Margherita - Cammarata

A very quiet rural residence, nestled between the Sicani mountains.

You will enjoy the extremely relaxed atmosphere, the slow pace of country life, the spacious swimming pool. An ideal rest on your away to Agrigento!

https://www.casalemargherita.eu/

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 on the surrounding peaks.  

Hotel Regalpietra - Racalmuto

Right in Racalmuto's centre: the owners have renovated an ancient noble building reconverting 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 on the Valley of The Temples (some rooms have a view on the archeological site). Enjoy their local food, you have deserved it!

When to travel


Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with very hot long summers and short, mild winters. During the summer you can rarely experience some rainfalls, but weather is quite stable from the middle of  June until the middle of September. In this period the average daytime temperature near to the coast varies from 28° to 34°C, however, this can rise to between 38° and 40° C for example when the Scirocco wind blows from North  Africa. It is a very dry wind which makes the temperature feel slightly lower than it actually is. In the hilly and mountainous internal areas of the island the daytime temperature may be similar to or slightly higher than the temperature in the coastal areas, while at night the temperature in the internal areas is much lower than in the coastal once which benefit from the sea breeze.

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


The train station nearet to Palermo is Palermo Centrale.

The train station nearest to Agrigento is Agrigento Centrale - connected to Palermo with direct trains, 2h ride 

For further information visit www.trenitalia.it 

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486
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