Sicily's BEST tour guides and tour services.

See a secret side of Palermo.
Palermo's Judaic heritage is carved in stone. See it with an exclusive tour of Jewish Palermo.

Come to Sicily and meet your ancestors.
Personalized escorted visits of Sicily, with a special emphasis on family history in ancestral towns. Read about our Sicilian family history tours.

Take a great tour of Sicily!
Great tours of Sicily with small groups at good prices. Read about our Sicily tours.

Find a Tour Guide, Tour Leader or Interpreter
Guides divided by geography.Guides are listed based on general historical and cultural knowledge, linguistic competence and ability. (Hiring a guide, and advice on rates, is discussed below, and a few Sicily travel links follow.) For rates, based on a full or half day, please email the guide. While we recommend these guides, we don't have any commercial connection with them. For more comprehensive services (including drivers for shore excursions, week-long tours, etc.) see Best of Sicily's tours and travel page. While guides are licensed to work throughout Sicily, in practice they usually focus on the east or west. (Malta is indicated following the Sicily listings.)

Palermo, Monreale, Cefalù, Segesta, Erice, Mozia

Jacqueline Alio.Jackie Alio (aliojacqueline@yahoo.com) has worked in this field for over a decade. A leading historian, she has authored a book and written popular online articles. Jackie has worked with, among other media, The Discovery Channel, and lectured university classes. In addition to her exceptional insights into the history of the Fatimids and Normans in Sicily, her knowledge of Palermo's Jewish history reflects the kind of arcane scholarly (original) research that fosters an exceptional expertise. Jackie specializes in personalized tours as well as tours for larger groups. Visit her Palermo tour site for more information.

Francesca Lombardo.Francesca Lombardo (lofran07@libero.it), a native of Palermo, has worked in tourism for over twenty years, and has been a licenced guide for most of that time. At university she majored in foreign languages and literature, with a concentration in art history. As a professional educator, Francesca brings a special talent to her profession as a guide. She speaks German and French as well as English. Francesca is the kind of guide familiar with all kinds of fascinating details, and a "go to" expert for highly specialized tours like "winemaking and the English families of Marsala."

Siracusa, Ragusa, Taormina, Catania, Piazza Armerina

Rosa Rizza.Rosa Rizza (rosa_rizza@hotmail.com), who also works in the Taormina area, was raised and educated in Italy and in the United States. Over the last two decades, her vast experience as a guide and group leader has made the "Sicily experience" of thousands of visitors memorable and interesting but also extremely informative - and highly educational. In addition to her work as a guide, Rosa's experience includes organizing weddings and events in Sicily. The depth and breadth of Rosa's knowledge is remarkable, and as she explains the history of ancient Syracuse you sense that Plato and Archimedes were people she actually knew. It's almost as if they had come back to life and were speaking to you themselves.

Diana Mazza (trinacria2000@hotmail.com), who might be described as "Anglo-Italian," speaks German as well as English and Italian. Spanning two decades, her experience as a guide is extensive. She works across eastern Sicily, including the Catania and Siracusa areas.

Family History Tours (Genealogy on Best of Sicily)

Rosy Bartolotta (rosybartolotta@yahoo.it), who was educated in the United States, is a specialist in 19th-century vital statistics records in Sicily. Her expertise is discovering family history in ancestral localities around Sicily, something she has been doing for over ten years.

Malta

Joan Sheridan (joansheridan@touringmalta.com) has many years of experience as a licenced guide on the Maltese islands which, like Sicily, boast a multicultural heritage necessitating a guide's highly-refined knowledge of peoples, cultures and faiths.

How to Hire a Tour Guide:
The Martorana (tower at left) and San Cataldo (with domes) churches in Palermo • Whether you find the name of a guide on this list or another, determine which languages the guide speaks. If you actually speak to him/her you'll be able to get some idea about fluency in your language. The guides listed on this page all speak foreign languages well; sometimes the advantage of native ("mother-tongue") speakers is that, being from (for example), the United States or Japan, they better understand the culture, interests and "touring style" of foreigners (non-Italians) visiting Italy.
• Try, either via email correspondence or a telephone conversation, to get a feel for what there is to see; there are plenty of ideas for sightseeing on Best of Sicily. A good tour guide will try to determine what you (or your tour group) want to see and do. For example, if your Sicilian visit has a culinary theme you'll want to see the street markets of Palermo or Catania.
• Inquire about rates and the guide's availability on a certain day. It's important that you feel comfortable with the guide you hire. If you get a guide's name from this page, mention that you found it on Best of Sicily.
• Guides are, by nature, specialists in a particular aspect of travel. If you require lodging, transportation or itinerary planning, the right service is a competent travel agent, tour operator or "travel concierge" with staff based at your destination. Several are listed on this page.
• Italians are too often inclined to rely almost exclusively on paper "credentials" rather than actual quality of service, and some travel professionals use "certifications" as a substitute for listening to, and then meeting, your needs as a traveler. Scheduling, for example, is important because your time in a certain destination may be limited and Sicily's historic and archeological sites have fickle open-hours, so concentrate on the practical elements of your visit.
• Rates may vary based on factors such as the season, but (speaking very generally) the cost of a guide service is typically slightly over 100 euros for a half-day (4-5 hours) walking tour and slightly more than 200 euros for a full-day (7-8 hours), not including transportation such as a car or minibus and driver. As a point of reference, this is the minimum you should expect to pay. We seriously question the approach and pricing of agencies, organisations, websites or other "middle men" who publish rates much higher than this; we know of two that charge double! The advantage of this page is that you can contact a guide directly instead of using an intermediary. Tipping is always welcome, but especially appropriate with a "larger" group of at least six adults.
• Remember that even if the focus of your trip is primarily cultural and historical, you're coming to Sicily to have a good time. Enjoy your discovery of the world's most fascinating island!
• Dozens of travel agents and tour operators, and hundreds of "independent travelers," have found guides and travel-related services by consulting this page. Contact us to suggest a guide, indicating your name, address and daytime telephone number.
• The editors wish to acknowledge that this page was suggested by a travel agent's experience with tour guides in Italy. He brought to our attention the vast differences between good guides and great ones.

Sicily Links

Sicily Concierge. Offers a wide range of customised travel experiences and even organises conferences and incentive holidays in Sicily.

Sicily Tours. Week-long tours around Sicily as well as shore excursions for cruise passengers at Palermo, Messina and Trapani. Also a good resource for travel agents.

Best of Sicily Guide. The web's most complete, and most popular, travel guide for Sicily, with a monthly magazine featuring original articles on hundreds of topics.

Sicily Moto Rent. Motorcycle rental based in Palermo. One of the few such agencies in Sicily.

See Palermo. A detailed destination guide for Palermo, Sicily's largest city, and other places in northwestern Sicily.

Palermo Tours. Personalized tours of Palermo.

©2011 Best of Sicily Travel Guide