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New Sons of Italy® Travel Bureau Launches Trips to Ancient Sicily

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

Washington, D.C. - February 27, 2008 ­ Tours to Ancient Sicily for less than $1,900 per person including airfare, hotel, guided tours and most meals are now available through the Sons of Italy® Travel Bureau.

The new travel program was launched earlier this year by the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's biggest and oldest organization for men and women of Italian heritage.

"Passport to Italy: Touring Ancient Sicily" features a series of one-week trips to eastern Sicily, first settled by the Greeks 2,700 years ago.

"We chose Sicily because one of every three Italian Americans can trace his or her ancestors back to this island," says OSIA National President Alfred Affinito. "But even if you are not of Sicilian heritage, a visit to Sicily and its many treasures is well worth making."

Starting in September, 2008, the Sons of Italy® Travel Bureau will offer weekly all-inclusive tours of Sicily that include round-trip airfare via Alitalia, seven nights in a four-star hotel, all breakfasts and dinners and escorted tours with an English-speaking guide.

"Home" for the week is the Sant Alphio Hotel and Spa in Giardini Naxos, near scenic Taormina and the beach. From there participants tour the region's most important sights in Tindari/Messina; Siracusa;Noto; and Catania.

There will also be a visit to the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna of Tindari, the Greco-Roman Archeological Park of Siracusa, Mount Etna, Sicily's tallest peak and a farewell luncheon at an agriturismo farm.

Along with the escorted tours, travelers will have free time to shop and sight-see on their own. Breakfasts are continental style while the dinners feature Sicily's unique cuisine and wines.

Special Features

Participants can extend their visit either before or after the tour for a maximum of 10 days and will be assisted in finding hotels, auto rentals and airline reservations. Such arrangements, however, must be made at the time of booking the tour and are subject to availability.

Clubs, groups of friends or families can reserve a "members-only" tour for a specific date. However, all reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis and require a minimum of 25 people. Trips with fewer than 25 participants will be offered alternate dates.

All tours depart from New York's JFK airport, but other cities of embarkation are available at an additional charge subject to availability and scheduling.

The price of the tour varies according to the season. The least expensive tours are November through March at $1,849.00 per person. The tours in September, October, April and May are $2,049.00, while the last three tours in June cost $2,459.00 per person. A single-occupancy hotel room is available for $250.00 extra.

When To Go?

Eastern Sicily has a Mediterranean climate with relatively mild weather year-round. Winter temperatures average in the 50s F. and often reach into the 60s. (See chart below.) Occasional rains are followed by long periods of sunny weather. Spring comes early and temperatures are mostly in the 70s F.

"When choosing your dates, keep in mind that in Sicily the almond trees bloom in February and people start swimming in May," says Affinito.

The Sons of Italy® Travel Bureau has prepared a brochure and application form for the trip, which can be downloaded by clicking here or mailed. To request a printed copy, write to: Sons of Italy® Travevl Bureay; 219 E Street, NE; Washington, D.C. 20002. (No telephone requests, please.)

Average High and Low Temperatures Year-Round in Cantania

High: 59 / Low: 42
High: 60 / Low: 42
High: 63 / Low: 44
High: 68 / Low: 48
High: 74 / Low: 54
High: 82 / Low: 61
High: 88 / Low: 67
High: 88 / Low: 68
High: 84 / Low: 64
High: 76 / Low: 58
High: 67 / Low: 50
High: 61 / Low: 44