Join one of Britain's best historians on this fascinating journey, uncovering the story behind one of the most pivotal moments in World War Two

The Battle for Sicily is an extraordinary story and one that involves breathtaking action at sea, in the air, and on land. The conquest of Sicily involved the largest airborne operations ever witnessed up to that point, daring raids by special forces, the harnessing of the Mafia, attacks across mosquito-infested plains and assaults up almost sheer faces of rock and scrub.

On this eight-day tour you will follow in the footsteps of the Allied forces as they invaded continental Europe from the Mediterranean Sea. Accompanied by acclaimed World War Two historian James Holland, you'll be at the heart of the action, tracing the Allies' struggle to gain control of Sicily.

The Battle for Sicily featured an astonishing array of colourful characters, from commanders like Generals Montgomery and Patton, to a host of lesser-ranked officers and soldiers, such as 'Jumpin'' Jim Gavin and Philip Mountbatten, later to become the Duke of Edinburgh.

You'll learn all about these characters - and many more besides - as you tour this stunningly beautiful island. There are many visits to important historical sites on your itinerary, from the invasion beaches on the south and south-east coast, to the Plain of Catania to high, hill-top towns like Assoro, Centuripe and Troina.

Staying in stylish four-star hotels in Modica, Siracusa, Catania and Taormina, you'll experience all of this incredible island's beauty, from its rugged landscapes and unique culture, to its delicious local cuisine. You will also enjoy expert insights and guided visits, as well as receiving a complimentary copy of James' book, Sicily '43.

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Your expert guide

James Holland
Historian, writer, broadcaster

The author of Normandy 44, Sicily '43, and Brothers in Arms , James Holland is a best-selling and award-winning historian, writer, and broadcaster. He has written over thirty books, presented numerous TV documentaries, and co-hosts the hugely successful podcast, We Have Ways of Making You Talk, with Al Murray .

Mike Peters
Battlefield guide

Mike served in the British Army for more than thirty years. As an Army Air Corps Soldier, and later in his career as an Officer, he served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has maintained a lifelong interest in military history, working as a Battlefield Guide, an author, and recently as a TV Historian. Mike has published Glider Pilots at Arnhem, Glider Pilots in Sicily, and Bomb Group - a history of the 381st Bomb Group USAAF.

Price includes

  • Seven nights' accommodation in stylish four-star hotels
  • Seven breakfasts at your hotels
  • Services of an experienced tour manager for the duration of the trip
  • A welcome drink on your first night
  • Visits to several important battle sites with James Holland
  • A copy of James Holland book - Sicily '43
  • Audio headset system for all visits
  • Six packed lunches
  • Three three-course dinners in hotels' restaurants with soft drinks, wine and beer
  • A farewell dinner at a local restaurant
  • Entrance to Castello di Lombardia in Enna
  • Entrance to the Historical Museum of the Sicily Landings 1943 in Catania
  • Access to a 24-hour emergency line

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss flight and transfer arrangements (not included)


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  1. Day
    Arrive in Sicily
    Catania, Italy

    Today you'll arrive in Catania, if you have travelled on the group flights (not included) you'll take a coach transfer to your hotel, the four-star Hotel Modica Palace in Modica. If you have arranged your own flights, you will need to arrange your own transfer.

    Light refreshments (not included) will be available at the hotel bar.

  2. Day
    The American Landings
    Capo Soprano, Sicily, Italy

    You'll visit several important historic locations today, including Gela Beach and Pier, the site of a battle to repel Allied landings in July 1943. Next, you'll head to the Greek fortifications of Capo Soprano, the Castellucio di Gela, and the Niscemi German viewpoint which looks south across the Plain of Gela, where you'll stop for a picnic lunch.

    This afternoon, you'll head to the site of the Priolo Battle of US 505th Paratroopers and the Y-Junction, which was the scene of bitter fighting and where you can still see the remains of Italian defences. Ponte Dirillo was another scene of heavy fighting on D-Day. Here you can see bunkers and gun positions and visit a small museum of relics. Then it's onto Biazzo Ridge, site of the Battle between the 505th Parachute Infantry and Hermann Göring Division troops, before heading back to the hotel for a welcome talk and dinner with the rest of the group.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  3. Day
    The British and Canadian Landings
    Marzamemi, Sicily, Italy

    This morning you'll travel to Marzamemi, where you'll study the landings of 231 Malta Brigade. Then it's on to the Italian blockhouses on the road north, where the Malta Brigade halted Italian Mobile Group X. You'll revisit the 5th Division Landings , seeing the invasion beach and then on to Capo Murro di Porco, site of Paddy Mayne's SAS assault and capture of Italian coastal batteries.

    This afternoon, you'll visit Ponte Grande, scene of the British glider assault of Ponte Grande Bridge. Afterwards, you'll travel to your next hotel in Syracuse and spend the afternoon and evening at leisure.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch
  4. Day
    The Race for Catania
    Catania, Italy

    Depart from your hotel this morning for your visit to the site of the Battle of the Gorge between Schmalz Group and the British 15th Brigade. You'll then drive north through Lentini and visit Primosole Bridge, where a ferocious battle took place. Another interesting stop will be at Lemon Bridge, where a battle took place between the British 13th Brigade and men of the Hermann Göring Division.

    Before lunch, you'll visit the Catania Plain and learn about the death of legendary England cricketer, Hedley Verity, examining the 15th Brigade's attack on the night of the 19th/20th. A packed lunch will be provided.

    This afternoon visit the beautiful and deeply moving German War Cemetery at Misterbianco and admire the view from the German side of the Catania Plain, before continuing on to Catania. On arrival you will have a couple of hours free time before a group dinner later this evening. Overnight in Catania.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  5. Day
    The Bloody Mountains
    Troina, Sicily, Italy

    This morning you'll visit Castello Lombardia, a castle in Enna with wide views over the island. Next, you'll visit Assoro, studying the Canadian assault of this ancient hilltop town and Agira, home to a particularly beautiful Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. You'll then move onto Troina, the highest town in Sicily and scene of a particularly brutal week-long battle between the American and German defenders.

    The visit to Troina will include the Monastery of Santo Michele and its ruins. Stay overnight in Catania.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  6. Day
    The Etna Battles
    Taormina, Italy

    This morning, you'll visit Catania Museum, which provides fascinating insights into the Sicily Landings. Afterwards, depart Catania for Gerbini, where you'll learn about air power in the Sicilian campaign. Next, it's on to Sferro, site of the 51st Highland Division's attack. After lunch, you'll head on to Centuripe to visit the Chiesa di San Nicola with moving war memorials in its side chapels.

    Later this afternoon, you'll head to Pedara, the scene of bitter fighting around Tre Monti, then drive through the main piazza in Trecastagni. You'll travel to Taormina this evening, to check into the four-star Hotel Caesar Palace Hotel.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch
  7. Day
    The Conquest of Sicily
    Ganziri, Sicily, Italy

    This morning you'll head to Ganziri to visit one of the main evacuation points. You'll then travel on to Messina to visit the Sacrario di Cristo Re panoramas and learn about the conclusion of the Sicilian campaign. Tonight, you'll return to the four-star Caesar Palace Hotel in Taormina.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  8. Day
    Catania, Italy

    After breakfast you'll transfer to Catania for your return flight if travelling on the group flights (not included). If you have made your own arrangements you will depart at your lesiure.

    Meals - Breakfast

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