When we finally made the decision to go to Sicily on a tour organized here in New York, we had to figure out how to take a side trip to the town where our family was from. Thru our genealogist Giovanni Montani, we were put in touch with Ciro Grillo of sicilyroutes.com
. We were met by Ciro at our hotel in Palermo and he drove us to the town of Resuttano, located in the center of the island. Thru research completed by Giovanni, Ciro was able to show us the two streets where our family lived, and later drove us up to the local cemetery for a quick walk around. Ciro is very knowledgeable, a great conversationalist, a safe driver and he made us feel right at home on our day tour. On the way back to Palermo, he took us to an amazing restaurant, Trattoria Don Giggio in Bagheria. The food was delicious and the setting was amazing. Before heading back to our hotel, Ciro suggested we take a look at the seaside town of Mondello. We are very glad we took this little side trip. What a beautiful seaside setting. If it hadn't been ready to rain, we would have stayed longer and we know its a place we will return to. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been connected to Ciro and have him as our driver/guide for our family trip to Resuttano. We would recommend him highly, and look forward to seeing Sicily again, with his assistance.
Janine, John and Maureen M. ( NY)
We missed you, but Enrique (spelling??) did a great job and we had a wonderful day! Alcamo was terrific as was every other stop we made. Trapani and the salt museum was absolutely fantastic! We never knew that salt could be so fascinating! Ned kept repeating for an hour or so after the tour, "I never knew salt could be so interesting!!". We loved the girl who did that tour (the granddaughter of one of the original owners if I'm saying that correctly). She was terrific! Very informative, as were you! Erice was amazing, the drive up a bit scary, but we made it! Unfortunately, we were fogged out about 5 minutes after leaving the car, so the view was not possible for pictures of the coast, but we snapped a few on the way up. The medieval feel of the city was just incredible. The cannoli in Dattilo was the best cannoli I have ever eaten in my life and the staff there was lovely. Please tell Mario thank you again for treating us to the cannolis. That was not necessary, and we we truly appreciate his generosity. This entire trip was made so very special by you and Mario and Enrique (spelling?). It was really the trip of a lifetime for me. I appreciate all you 3 did to make it so special. Ned is the best to have made this possible for me. I will be posting some pics once we get home and I have a chance to get unpacked. If my mom sends you too many messages, please let me know....she means well and loves Il Volo very much, some times she doesn't realize she may send too many messages.
Oh...and how could I have forgotten to mention Segesta? Another amazing area of Sicily! I could tour ruins all day long and never get bored. I will be telling everyone I know that they must put Sicily on their list of places to visit and that they must use you and Mario to get around! I am so glad to have come here and so glad to have seen all that we did and have learned so much about where my family is from. I will never forget this trip and cannot say thanks enough!
Lisa Modica FL
Ciro is a wonderful driver and guide. He knows and loves Sicily, which is quite beautiful. Our hotels and the food were excellent.
You definitely want Ciro doing the
driving in Palermo!!! And Ciro knows the absolute best place in Palermo for gelato!!! I warmly recommend Ciro for your vacation in Sicily. He is very accommodating to your needs.
Patricia Sherk TX
Ciro and his team gave us a marvelous 10 day trip to Sicily in the Fall of 2017. He
planned and executed it brilliantly; everything--hotels, food, sightseeing-- went off beautifully. We look forward to returning with him.
Ira and Andrea J--New York
Everything went very well. Guides were great! Thanks!
Just wanted to tell you that Marco did an excellent job.
If I come back to Sicily or know anyone in need of a guide, I will recommend you.Thank you
Thank you Ciro Grillo, aka "Mr Sicily". You overwhelmed my sister & I again with your knowledge & scenic tours of this magical land you call home.
Sheri Grasso Pagano FL
Peggy Stark Pagano CA
Erica and I are used to planning things on our own when we go somewhere new, but a family member recommended Ciro to us and told us he would show us things we’d never be able to find on our own. Even though we only had 5 days in Sicily, Ciro brought us to so many wonderful and beautiful places! We had the best cannolo in Sicily at a small shop in a small town, we saw Taormina from the even higher mountain town of Castelmola, and most amazingly, we were able to get in touch with, and meet, relatives of mine in Sciacca! Ciro really loves Sicily and knows so much the history of the island and things to see and do, and it’s very apparent when traveling with him. It was so worth it to tour with him, and we really hope to be able to do it again someday.
Grazie mille Ciro! All our best,
Mike + Erica PA
Sicily, August 2017. Special thanks to Ciro Grillo and Rosario for a fabulous tour of Sicily. Also to Michaelangelo D'Michelangelo D'Ambrisi for putting this trip together for us. Everything could not have been more perfect.
Andrea Parinisi Tippet PA
A big thank you to Ciro for planning such a wonderful trip in Sicily for my sister and I!! He took our ideas and his own suggestions and put together a trip we will never forget!!He shared his beautiful Sicily in a way that we could not have done on our own!!We highly recommend using Ciro as your guide to see as much of Sicily as you can get to!!Ciao for now ,Ciro – hope to see you on our next trip!!
Karen Springer - Chicago
e mille per i tour in Sicilia. Our family had a wonderful time, it could not have been better. We enjoyed seeing the ancestral towns as well as Trapani, Segesta, Mondello, Monreale, Cefalu' and the rest. My personal favorite was wandering through the Mercato il Capo in Palermo camera in hand. It was great meeting Giovanni for lunch in Trapani. And the food at Cantina Siciliana was fantastic. In fact, all the food we had was great.
Jay Morreale NY
MAY /JUNE 2017
2 beautiful days of spectacular exploration in Sicily. Thank you Ciro, we will be back!!! ❤
Andrea e Robert Orlando - Phoenix
If you are looking for the most authentic experience of Sicily I would highly recommend Sicily Routes by Ciro Grillo. If it wasn't for him we wouldn't have gotten a chance to see Sicily for what it truly is. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to touring all the beautiful towns from coast to coast. You can't ask for a better tour guide he is great with communication and translating for you especially if you are going to meet with friends and family like we did! So to say the least Thank You Ciro for everything we truly appreciate! Until we meet again Ciao!
Stephanie & London Frazer
Ciro was a wonderful guide that took us to villages my husband's family have lived in for centuries.
The car for the 6 of us was comfortable and his driving was wonderful. He called a woman in Licata who knew the town and she found the priest to lunlock the church where relatives were baptized and married. Then Ciro helped us when I spoke to men in the Cerda town square inquiring about people in photos I had brought along that were taken by my husband's aunt in 1977 and discovered one woman was still alive. Ciro then took us to her house and translated for over an hour so we now know two more LaMonica's and Angelina was able to put names to most of the people in the unlabeled photographs. We had a wonderful day with Ciro.
We wouldn't have those memories without him.
North Bend, Washington
Ciao, mio amico, Ciro,
Thank you so very much for the countless acts of kindness you showed to me and Beth while we were in Sicily. Please let me know if you would like me to add anything to the testimonial below, or if there is something that you would like me to change.
My wife and I were fortunate enough to be put in touch with Ciro Grillo, a truly exceptional tour guide. While in Sicily, Ciro took the stress out of seeing the sites we wanted to see by driving us to various locations and expertly sharing details about the history of each location. Ciro's services were absolutely indispensable when he drove us to meet our family in Sicily and acted as our interpreter since he is fluent in English and Italian.
Ciro will customize your travel based on what you request to see. Whether it is going to any location in Sicily, bringing you to the place that serves the best street food, or giving you a recommendation on a hotel or restaurant, Ciro will amaze you! I give Ciro the absolute highest recommendation since he is a wonderful tour guide, who becomes a very dear friend!
---Whether in Sicily, or in the United States, Beth and I look forward to seeing you again!
We were thrilled to have the chance to visit Sicily and meet our long lost relatives but apprehensive about driving there.
Our children arranged for Ciro to meet us at the airport and be our driver and guide.
He arranged our family meeting and was our interpreter for the visit with the relatives. That was a wonderful day and will be long remembered! Ciro consulted us about our likes and then skyped with us before the trip which truly helped to put us at ease.
The accommodations he arranged were also outstanding.
With Ciro as our guide, we didn’t waste a minute and felt that he truly shared the beauty and history of Sicily with us.
Backy and Jim Pumo (Chicago)
Wanted to let you know I saw Sally Toran yesterday and gave her your gift. She was thrilled you thought about her.
We are finally settling down after our great trip. Can't believe it is over after the many months of planning. We have you to thank for working with us with such patience as we tried to get all the details worked out. The planning is always part of the fun and you made the process very easy.
We all will remember for many years to come, the wonderful scenery, fabulous food, super accommodations and very kind people we met in Sicily. Thank you for walking/ driving us through this journey.
Ann and Bryan Carlson (MA)
We are back home again after our wonderful adventure in Sicily. For our flight from Catania, we needed all the time at the airport - the check in lines were long and slow. Thank you again for showing us and the Carlsons your beautiful country. We appreciate the arrangements you made, your punctual pick ups, your expert driving, and most of all your company and commentary. Attached are some photos. I am sending them in several emails. Ciao!
Chris and George Hoffmeisters (MA)
My friends and I have just returned from several days spent in Sicily under the wonderful guidance of Ciro Grillo. Ciro is a true professional, who makes every effort to understand the desires of his clients. He provided both transport and commentary on many important areas of Sicily, and included much information on local culture, history, architecture, and of course, the food! He demonstrated great care and concern for our safety, happiness and comfort at all times. He is also a genuinely kind individual - molto gentile.
I would strongly recommend his services to any traveller seeking to learn about the richness, beauty and majesty of Sicily!
With best wishes,
Joe Annecharico (IL)
We had a small group that spent 9 days in Sicily. Our tour was organised by Ciro Grillo. He was thoughtful and attentive in organising everything before we arrived - email correspondence was very effective.
During the tour he always had excellent recommendations for restaurants - we ate very well!
The highlight was undoubtedly La Madia - well worth the effort to get there.
His hotel recommendations were very good.
Nothing was ever too much trouble.
He was great when we went to Palazzo Adriano to meet family relatives.
He really helped make the family reunion fun and enjoyable.
Ciro was excellent company and we all very much our time together.
We highly recommend him to anyone planning a visit to Sicily.
Mike Adams (TX)
Words can not express the wonderful time I had in Sicily. We would never of had a good time without your services.
Your associates and you were very professional and informative.
You planned a great itinerary for us.
We also were very greatfull for all your help in finding our grandfather's birth certificate and the home where he lived.
The people in Ventimiglia were so welcoming to us and we now consider them part of our family.
We look forward to visiting again and using your services.
Now that I'm feeling myself again, I want to thank you and the fabulous guys for showing us so much beauty in the sights and people of Sicily.
What you did for us in Ventimiglia is beyond words.
You enabled us to have the experience of a lifetime and introduced us to so many wonderful people. I will treasure my visit forever.
Myself and a friend have just completed a tour from
Palermo to Taormina and many points in between with Sicily Routes.
The entire tour was amazing and Ciro Grillo (our guide) was a pleasure.
If you want to see the best of Sicily and have a wonderful time doing it, contact Sicily Routes.
Joan Long (CDN)
I want to sincerely thank you for the great tour of Sicily you provided us (Joan Long and myself) early September. I know that Joan sent you an e-mail but I wanted to thank you as well.
Sicily far exceeded my expectations in every way. I can’t explain to you just what my expectations were but they were definitely met. It was great to tour with someone that was so knowledgeable of the area and all the places we visited. The Valley of Temples were exceptional – rivaled the Temples in Greece. Ragusa and Modica were wonderful with Ragusa being an example of Baroque architecture and a joy to visit and see all the history that is Sicily. Ortygia was great – the market exceptional. Taormina and Castelmola – two treasures not to be missed on any visit to Sicily. Mt. Etna – an experience to be treasured.
The hotel accommodation arranged was great – from the old (Marsala) to beachfront (Agrigento/San Leone) to very modern (Ragusa) and then on to Taormina with a view of Mt. Etna from our balcony.
Again, the trip would not have been what it was without your kindness, your knowledge of Sicily and your attention to all the little details. If I ever get back to Sicily, I will definitely have you arrange my tour.
Jean Stirling (CND)
Thank you Ciro Grillo for a wonderful tour of Ciminna today. Friends, if you are going to travel to Sicily, reach out to Ciro. Good guy and fun.
Adam Mussomeli (CT)
Ciro was an excellent guide for our visit to Sicily.
His itineraries were always interesting and we were able to see as much or as little as we wanted.
It was a stress-free experience tailored just for us, and so much better than being in a group.
Ciro, we send you best wishes for a happy holiday season and a profitable 2017.
Cary and Nobu (NY)
Ciro planned a wonderful trip to Sicily for our family. It was a pleasure to be with him, as he was not only warm and friendly, but extremely knowledgable and flexible in terms of our family's specific needs.
In planning our trip, Ciro was helpful in every element of the process, from planning the itinerary, to finding beautiful hotels, to choosing phenomenal restaurants.
We fell in love with Sicily and recommend Ciro most highly!!
All our best,
Lauren Levine and Jim Spound (NYC)
We had an awesome time. Mom keeps telling everybody that "she wish she had spent the whole time in Sicily". Your service was exceptional, hope to do it again... Thanks.
The Lightfoot IL
Ciro - we had no problems whatsoever in our travels and accommodations, thanks to you.
You did a fantastic job and we appreciate your willingness to help us even after your work was done.
Thanks for arranging the meeting with Sebastiana and the Ribaudo family.
Thanks again for your friendship,
Neil Aymond FL
Let me start by saying that the tour of Sicily that you put together for me was spectacular and exactly what I asked for.
When we first spoke via Skype I mentioned that my thought was to hire you for 2-3 days and then spend the rest of the week driving myself around Sicily.
You told me that would work, but encouraged me to think about a week long tour as there is a lot to see and a fair amount of driving. I am so glad that I took your suggestion! I would not have seen nearly as much.
As well, your knowledge and information on history, culture, food and everything Sicilian was excellent and just what I was looking for.
The tour was a great mixture of seeing all the sights that I wanted to with plenty of leisure time to myself.
The hotels/B&Bs were just what I asked for in great locations.
Your associate Marco was also an excellent guide. The lunch we had at his and Carla's house in the mountains was something I never would have experienced and one of my best memories of the trip.
I feel that I made 2 great friends in you and Marco! I can't wait to come back to Sicily.
Grazie! Grazie! Grazie!
Ciao for now,
Ron Vincent (WI)
Ciro, We had an awesome time. Mom keeps telling everybody that "she wish she had spent the whole time in Sicily". Your service was exceptional, hope to do it again...
Thanks. The Lightfoots (FL)
Ciro - we had no problems whatsoever in our travels and accommodations, thanks to you.
You did a fantastic job and we appreciate your willingness to help us even after your work was done.
Thanks for arranging the meeting with Sebastiana and the Ribaudo family.
Neil Aymond (FL)
We are home from the most wonderful vacation ever! I am Italian, hailing from Sicily, wanting to meet my relatives still living there. I found Ciro online and read the reviews. He sounded perfect; helping me find my relatives (I had names/addresses), acting as our drive and interpreter during our stay. He picked us up from the Palermo airport, took us to our hotel, drove us to Caccamo for the entire day of visiting. None of my relatives spoke English, so he was a jewel and even seemed to enjoy the day himself. (He had spent so much time in communicating with the relatives there, that he felt like he knew them and he enjoyed the visit, too!). Then, he returned us to the airport.
We could NOT have made this happen without Ciro. He was the glue that held this whole meeting together. My husband and I would highly recommend him if you are looking for someone who knows Sicily well, speaks Sicilian (different from Italian), and doesn’t mind the constant contact in order to make arrangements.
When we return to see Mi Familia again, we will most certainly contact Ciro Grillo first thing. Thanks, Ciro.
Ciao, Greg and Sandy Crable (Kansas City)
We recently visited the island of Sicily touring Palermo, SerraDiFalco and Cefalu. We took a day tour to SerraDiFalco and Cefalu which was enhanced because of our tour guide Ciro . He showed us many highlights of the area in both towns.
We were delighted when he took us to the City Hall in SerraDiFalco to search for information regarding the birth of my Maternal Grandparents. He even helped us to find the actual home my Grandfather was born in back in 1899.
In Cefalu he showed us points of interest we would not have found on our own. He was a wealth of information regarding the history and culture of the area. He spent an entire day with us which was wonderful and more than we expected. Thank you.
Tony and Marcy DiPasquale Grand Island New York.
My wife and I just finished our first overseas trip, first time in Sicily, and first experience with a personal driver and tour guide. We came with our son, and he’s been overseas before, to the UK for work. However, we were all new to Sicily.
All my grandparents were Sicilian immigrants, but as part of their assimilation strategy, they discouraged us from speaking Sicilian/Italian. I speak Italian a little bit because I have worked on it, but I needed practice.
The mission of our trip was primarily to trace my roots, but also to observe Holy Week festivities, and became acquainted with Sicily directly, especially its history. We were very frugal about our agenda. We committed only 10 days for all those missions. Ciro, our tour guide, was nothing less than a Godsend.
The flight process led us in increments from the familiar into the unfamiliar, until we were completely submerged in an alien world. And yet, the fingerprints of my family’s culture and social habits were everywhere, as though everyone was related to me.
Ciro had someone there to pick us up at the airport in Palermo. He met us personally at the apartment he’d arranged for us. So spacious! So restful! And hospitable with a ‘Sicilian’ charm. There was food and wine waiting for us in the kitchen. Everything domestic was elegant in its simplicity and thoughtfulness. There was a hall that adjoined the separate rooms: the bedroom for my wife and I, the kitchen, the bath, the living room… We procrastinated over submitting our down payment too long, so our son slept in the couch’s large fold-out bed instead of getting his own room, but he, too, slept very privately and comfortably
That first night, Ciro walked us through the neighborhood, introducing resources: a nearby grocery store, several restaurants, shops, post office, and even an ATM.
We have traveled as a family before. Unexpected challenges, decisions, and the general fatigue of driving and navigating can make it very stressful. The family is too isolated and dependent on each other. We sometimes got into power-wars or ‘need’ wars. Ciro’s presence removed almost all stress factors. We were able to focus almost entirely on Sicily, and our mission.
I had been privately researching strategies for this trip all my life. I have many relatives and friends who’ve been to Sicily. Standard tour packages are popular, but there is a ‘price.’ You don’t get to visit remote villages of your distant relatives. The focus is always on popular resorts or historic sites. Period. My mission for this trip was too specialized and multi-facetted for standard tour packages, and I wanted to cover it in minimal time to save money. (Plus, we have lives back home that must be resumed, like work…) My personalized Sicilian Ancestry, Holy Week, Historic Site Pilgrimage would never have enough tourists signed on to justify a standard tour package.
My four grandparents immigrated here from four different towns: Lucca Sicula, Lercara Friddi, Villa D’Oro, and Cefalu. I also wanted to see authentic St. Joseph’s Day tables, Good Friday Procession, Easter Service mass… Then, mix that in with famous and historic sites: Mount Etna, the Catacombs, ancient Greek temples and theatres, Teatro Massimo, cathedrals in Palermo and Montreal… We probably saw more ancient cathedrals than any other site.
Everything was so amazing; I was asking to stop to take pictures every few miles. (And Ciro graciously accommodated my whims because he respects photography. He, too, does some photography.) While traveling, I often ‘grilled’ Ciro for the Italian words of English equivalents. And at every site, I practiced my Italian with the natives. Ciro sometimes introduced me, just to enable more practice for me. Inspiring landscape to photograph, social opportunities for practicing Italian… And the food?
The food? Sicily deserves its reputation. Completely. I can only say: it raised the bar on my own cooking ambitions. (Because I love to cook, too. It’s apparently in my genes.) Sicilians eat extremely well.
Everything I saw in Sicily broadcast deep historic roots, and nature in great bounty. It is truly: the land of the sun.
In spite of mesmerized interruptions, we managed to visit an average of three big sites daily. Nobody but an expert on Sicily could’ve orchestrated such a feast of Sicilian culture.
Ciro was always extremely patient, informative, flexible, accommodating, and in every way the “rock” of our 10-day Sicilian adventure. He expressed both wisdom and humor. He enabled my dreams as though we were elite, and shepherded us like a gentle father.
The memories we take away fill a lifetime void in me I am eager to share with more family and friends. The trip’s intent was completely gratified.
Frank Dolci and Jane Carrol
We have arrived home safely after a long day of flying. I am sending you the most recent Italian Heritage Society of Indiana newsletter for your review. We appreciate all you did to make our trip special. Most importantly the ancestor information and meeting relatives.
Joe and I drove to Segesta and really enjoyed the Greek ruins there. Then drove up to Enrice. Sadly when we arrived in Dattilo they closed the shop and I didn't get to taste the best cannoli made with sheep's milk. I was disappointed.
When you looked at a photo of fabric that was in the binder of my grandmother's you said your mother did that kind of work. If you know what you would name that type of work I would appreciate it if you would send it to me.
Cathy Dezelan , INDIANAPOLIS
We’d like to thank Ciro for his attention and for sharing his passion for Sicily. His knowledge of the culture, history, geography, and people of his island truly added depth to our visit. From the onset when we contacted him with ideas of what we’d like to see, he suggested itineraries. He included food tastings, seasonal cultural activities, local sites to visit, and asked what we were interested in doing. He customized the itinerary for us. When in Sicily, he was attentive to our every need. His fees were inclusive of car, gas, time, and his expertise. We met local people, ate local food, and experienced local culture (La Fiesta on New Year’s Eve in Palermo) which no tour book had included. He treated us to the “best” cannolo in Italy (they’re made with sheep milk ricotta) and we tasted regional Marsala in Erice. We loved all of the very beautiful, yet different, churches and Ciro’s historical narration. My husband’s favorite was the cave on the mountain dedicated to the patron saint, Santa Rosalia. It was a very spiritual experience for him. We highly recommend Ciro as your personal tour guide. We plan to arrange our next tour to Sicily with him.
Marlene &Jim Kukuzke - Detroit
Loving our visit to Sicily! We highly recommend Ciro as your tour guide while here. Don't do it any other way!
We had such a good time in Sicily and in Roma too! My only wish is that we would have found some records of my ancestors. That would have made the trip so perfect!!!! Thank you for everything! Your Island is so beautiful!!!! But it is nice to be home too.
Janet Travis - Houston, TX
Marirose & Rosemarie
Wonderful experience visiting Sicily with Ciro as our guide!
Ciro Knows all the best places to visit and will take you where ever you want to go.
My dream is to visit again with Ciro as my guide!!
Thank you so much.
I must give you some background for this testimonial. I am an avid Il Volo (Gianluca Ginoble, Ignazio Boschetto, and Piero Barone) fan to say the least and have been following them since 2011. In 2014, I traveled solo to Italy to fulfill one of my dreams to attend an Il Volo concert in Italy. I actually attended two last year – one in Pescara and one in Naples. During that trip, I also visited Montepagano, the hometown of Gianluca. I had wanted to visit the hometowns of Ignazio and Piero in Sicily, but I thought it might be a little ambitious for a woman traveling solo and I had other plans on my agenda. While at the Naples concert, I met a British woman, Diane, who shared my interest in Il Volo. We decided to meet up and vacation in Italy again this year, spending some time in Sicily.
I had been looking into drivers when I came across Ciro’s name on a website I follow. He had planned a similar trip for another group, so I was certain he would know exactly the things we had in mind, which began in Palermo and ended up on the east coast of Sicily. Ciro and I began emailing and speaking on the phone. He immediately sent us an itinerary, which included the towns, sights, and places we wanted to visit – the hometowns of Ignazio (Marsala) and Piero (Naro, Agrigento), and the Ragusa area (where Commissario Montalbano is filmed) were musts. However, it included so much more than what we had asked for – Erice, Punta Secca, Scicli, Modica and even a couple other unexpected stops. Our trip was chock full of out-of-the-ordinary things which we could never have planned on our own. I can’t even begin to tell you the people we met and all the things we did to make our trip so memorable. Ciro must have some connections! We were really impressed! Although we couldn’t have Ciro as our driver for the entire trip, two of his colleagues, Rosario and Marco, also made our trip most enjoyable and fun.
We knew what we wanted to do; but, if you don’t, you can leave your trip in Ciro’s hands and be certain it will be absolutely wonderful! Our trip was a dream come true and very personal for us!! I doubt it would have been so without Ciro’s help. I would not recommend anyone else for your trip to Sicily. Kudos e grazie mille, Ciro!!
Joanne D’Angelo - Philadelphia, PA
I just wanted to let you know how happy I and the rest of the group were with your superb travel service.
I could not have imagined a more perfect experience in discovering our Sicilian roots and connecting with the culture and beauty of Sicily. You were very adept and conscientious with arranging our meetings with our Sicilian cousins and were invaluable in providing the translation and personal advice to make everything turn into a most comfortable and joyous occasion.
You were right on target with the hotels that you arranged for us and the beautiful places that you took us to, including the areas in Catania and Castronova (? spelling) where our other relatives once lived.
You (and Rosario) made our trip into the dream that I had always imagined it would be. You are the best.
Thank you so much for taking care of and looking out for us while we were in an unfamiliar land (especially with all of our "peculiar" problems). We are all very grateful and couldn't be more pleased.
Enjoy your "off season". Be well, be happy and please look me up if you are ever in Florida.
dr.Filippo (Philip B) MIAMI
AnnaMarie, RoseAnn and I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful time we had during our two weeks in Sicily. The individual attention you paid to us was so enjoyable. It really gave us a chance to experience Sicily on a personal level. The planning and information you provided us prior to our trip was immeasurable.
We would never have been able to have the experience of researching our Sicilian roots without having you and Rosario driving us into the small mountain towns and translating with the local city offices and churches. Your experience in searching for ancestors and family lineage was exceptional. Anyone who is looking for their family heritage would be best served to travel with you and Rosario.
I can honestly say this was the best vacation I have ever been on. It was our first trip to Europe and to Sicily. We definitely want to come back. From the planning prior to leaving, the planned trips to the mountain villages of our family, to the trips to Erice and the salt pans of Trapani and the special trips for lunch and dinner-it was all so amazing.
Thank you so much for everything you did and being so conscientious to every detail of our trip. I hope we have a chance to see you back in Kansas City some time.
The Inzenga Family - Kansas City
Recently my wife and I joined with Ciro on a tour through central Sicily to see the hometowns of two of my great great grandparents. We were met promptly at the Palermo airport by Ciro and his good friend and part time driver Rosario. They showed us around Palermo and it was just perfect. Palermo is a big city with the typical big city issues (traffic, parking, etc) but these two guys were masters at getting around. We were able to see all the big sights and they made it 100% hassle free.
The next day we headed to the towns of my grandparents. We had a very enjoyable ride and upon arrival Ciro and Rosario did all they could so that we could get the “feel” of the city. They showed us around, introduced us to townspeople, found a great restaurant to eat lunch at, and even found the lady who had the key to open the church. It was awesome.
I highly recommend Ciro and his services. We will for sure be using him on our next trip back to Sicily.
Tony and Laura Fidelie
Wichita Falls, Texas, USA
Ciao! My friend we are home in the states. We had such a wonderful time with you. Thank you again for all you do. I have a friend who is thinking of coming to Sicily next year and I recommended you as their tour guide. When (if) the trip is booked, i will be sure to connect you to each other.
Maria Vanderkleut (PE)
The next time to I go to Sicily, which will likely be this year, my first call will be to Ciro to make sure he’s going to be available. It seems like Ciro knows everyone in Sicily. With only twenty-four hours notice, he arranged two completely different experiences for our film crew in two different parts of Sicily: a tour of the earthquake ruins at Poggioreale and Gibellina and a tour of Palermo’s harbor, given by the retired harbormaster. For this American, Ciro is indispensable. He speaks perfect English and served as my translator. He knows the main roads and the back roads of Sicily, what to see and when. He understands the special connection between the United States and Sicily. When I went to Sicily for the first time I was looking for family roots. Ciro helped me find them.”
You made our trip special and for that I cannot thank you enough. You are fantastic!
A heartfelt THANK YOU to Ciro . We hired Ciro to be our tour guide. He created a custom itinerary specifically designed for our family needs. Our family trip to Sicily was a journey to meet living ancestors. The experience we received was beyond our expectations. While our memories of the vacation may fade with time, our newly found family and friendships, will not! We
traveled from the North to the South of Sicily with Ciro leading the way with his expertise. Not only did he arrange our family meeting but he exposed us to the true essence of Sicily. With all the many beautiful sites and tastes of Sicily waiting for us to explore, Ciro's knowledge of Sicily opened up for us the entire Island. His intimate knowledge of the many places of interest, its people and food tied it all together, making our trip wonderful and totally enjoyable. We were a group of 11, ranging from 19
to 85 years of age. He was very patient and accommodating even after us continually losing and misplacing things (eyes glasses, camera, and hats, leaving behind clothes at one of our hotels). His attention to detail and his going above and beyond were exceptional to make sure we not only had the best meeting with our relatives but the entire vacation. A special thank you to Rosario, our second driver, for also making our trip special. We would, without hesitation recommend Ciro to be your tour guide in Sicily.
Jean Whitcomb, New York
Ciro, I can't say enough about the service you provided us
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful vacation I experienced in Sicily. Having never been there and not knowing what to see and do, your guidance enabled us to experience the most wonderful cities, absolutely breathtaking views, extraordinary meals, and so much more.
You assisted us in selecting hotels that were well appointed and convenient to the squares where all the action is in each city, explained the history of everything we saw and every town we were in, and basically, you were there with us for our entire 10 days in Sicily.
Your services come highly recommended by me and my travel companions, and if I ever plan another trip to Sicily, you will be the first person I contact before making plans!
Grazie mille, Ciro!
Madeline Vitella, NJ
Debora (TX) , Maria (PA) ,Joan (FL)
My husband and I do not usually go on tours, let along hire personal tour guides, but we found the perfect person--Ciro --to make the best use of our brief time and to guide the exploration of my Sicilian heritage in the beautiful Palermo countryside. An alumnus of the region's tourism bureau, Ciro is passionate and knowledgeable about life, history, and the diverse cultural charm of Sicily. He immediately seemed like an old friend when we met and he drove us from the airport to our hotel. Hearing our travel plans, Ciro was quick to suggest sites, restaurants, and places to stay both in Palermo and throughout our trip across Sicily. Having spent time in the States, his spoken and written English language skills are excellent.
Initially, my husband and I planned just one day with Ciro to see the countryside, some small villages, and to get an appreciation of the Sicilian culture. He planned the whole day's activities that led to discovery of quaint piazzas where old men smoked cigars and played cards, breathtakingly-narrow and winding Sicilian-Arab streets, and a savory sampling of authentic Sicilian food. We trekked the towns of Corleone, Ventimiglia, and more, enjoying homemade cannoli, gelato, and wine. It was such a delight to eat lunch prepared by his long-time friends in his home town, but the real treasure was receiving a small bottle of Ciro's home-pressed Ventimiglia di Sicilia olive oil.
Prior to our travel I had researched family and came across an online phone directory for the small town of some of my ancestors. From that research I recognized two names, but my common surname made finding the right family a long shot. Ciro agreed to contact and try to determine whether they were the "right" family. I couldn't have been more surprised when he called to tell me he'd found my distant relatives. Ciro coordinated the meeting, and of course, since we didn't speak Sicilian and they didn't speak English, graciously agreed to join us and translate. We were so blessed to spend a day with nearly 40 "cugini" and our new family made our trip more memorable and special than we could ever imagine. We are extremely grateful to Ciro for making it all possible.
From the remote heights of Troina to the glimmering seascapes of Siracusa, there is one guide who can show Sicily to you intelligently AND also be an enjoyable and engaging lunch companion—Ciro . Our group of four people engaged Ciro for a week’s visit of Sicily on the impeccable recommendation of a friend. Ciro is professional, reliable, insightful, and has a great sense of humor. He developed an itinerary that balanced our time in Sicily to be as productive as possible, without running non-stop. He worked with our timeframe, and desire for more depth than breadth, to show us wonderful sights and enjoy great food. His wit and in-depth knowledge of the island and its culture were critical to making our short car rides to and from various points of interest, interesting and informative. Need I say another benefit of his services is fluency with the Sicilian language, essential for those nuanced situations where “buona sera” or “grazie” won’t suffice (especially if, like us, you don’t speak much Italian)? That was particularly the case when Ciro arranged for us to meet the mayor of Troina, and facilitated a conversation with him about our forefathers. Our recommendation for Ciro as a guide for your travel plans to the beautiful island of Sicily could not be higher.
"My daughter and I recently made a trip to Sicily to visit the towns of our ancestors. We had never travelled before to Sicily. We had limited knowledge of Italian and no knowledge of Sicilian. Fortunately for us, I heard about Ciro from a distant cousin. We hired him for two days to help us navigate the towns and the government bureaucracy. We were able to obtain birth and marriage certficates for my ancestors. Without Ciro's help we would not have been as successful. He is very knowledgeable of Sicily and its culture. We highly recommend his services and would use them again if we ever get back to Sicily."
We hope to get back to Sicily soon. It was a great trip. Thank you again for your help.
Joe Weisenburger , Minneapolis
Ciro, just wanted to thank you again for the great trip, Mark and I had a wonderful time. I look forward to our next trip and working with you again. Hopefully meeting you at that time.
Thank you so much for the outstanding and well researched tour of Ventimiglia. I can best sum up our our trip by saying that almost every direction I pointed my camera I got a great picture. Sicily is beautiful.
And thanks for driving.
Jim Teft , Chicago
Comment coming soon
Debbie Malarkey, Chicago
Hi Ciro! The balance of our trip was wonderful! Thank you so very much for your assistance in making our time in Sicily MOST enjoyable! It was our pleasure to meet you.
Sincerely, Val & Greg
Joe Sciara, Washington DC
To anyone thinking or planning on visiting Italy, the trip will not be complete without visiting Sicily.
And if you want to visit Sicily, you should not do it without the guidance of Ciro of "Sicily Routes"! We 1st met Ciro via email and had the usual anxieties of scheduling a guide without prior personal experience with the guide. We were so happy when we met Ciro. We could not have asked for a more informed or personal guide. Ciro planned tours of several sites. However, we slightly derailed the plans by asking him to assist us with translation during a visit to Tony's Grandfather's town of origin. Ciro helped us communicate with people in the Municipality building, facilitating our obtaining birth documents of Antonino Viscardi (b. 1872.) He also was very patient with returning to the church in Baucina, Sicily three times until we were able to catch the priest. After meeting and speaking with the priest (which wouldn't have happened without Ciro,) we were able to meet many Viscardi relatives, who welcomed us into their homes. Although Ciro claims not to be the specialist in family history work with "Sicily Routes", he was a fantastic guide who helped tremendously with our search.
Ciro is very informative, sharing formal and every-day culture and history of Sicily with us throughout the days. He drove us to many sites and stopped for wonderful foods. We cannot say enough about the services of Sicily Routes, and Ciro Grillo. His services made every moment of our trip to Sicily worthwhile. Although we were only able to spend 2 full days with Ciro, we will forever consider him a friend, and will definitely enlist his services when we return to Sicily.
Thank you so, so much for your guidance and friendship. Our trip was wonderful and we feel it would not have been so tremendous without you Ciro. We do hope to use your services again-
Our kindest regards,
Tony and Shari Vitale
Words can't express the awesomeness and gratitude of this very full and last day in Sicily. We found the hidden gem; la familia Siciliana in Bagheria! Words can't express my thanks to Margaret Sylvester and Ciro for helping make this happen. But more on this story later. After a day of connecting with family, exploring Greek temples and a 14th century town, visiting Teramina and eating and drinking good wine it's almost 1am . We need to sleep and make a 7:30am plane in the morning. Night all.....
Thank you Ciro for introducing me to granita!!! Amore!!!!!
Sicily Routes would be a good title for our vacation in Sicily with Ciro in June 2014. One of the first things Ciro mentioned to us when we arrived was that Sicily is a triangle. It struck me as very personally significant to our visit because Sicily was the third and final segment of my Italian heritage travels. I had previously visited two of the places of my grandparents' births and was ready to see Messina and to get to know Sicilia.
There is no better guide through Sicily than Ciro. He is thorough in his pre-planning and you can rely on him to suggest and reserve hotels that meet your requirements, whether it's an agriturismo or a five star hotel. He is very friendly, very knowledgeable about so many interesting facts and details, and untiring in his efforts to provide a full day of touring from morning through the evening. Don't miss the catacombs! You may never see anything like that anywhere else. In each place we visited, he always suggested excellent places to eat. Whether it's unique street food or fresh fish, the biggest cannolo, the best chocolate, or the best granita, Ciro knows where to go. I love Cefalu but can't wait to return to see the islands on my next visit.
I don't think a short review can really do justice to how good a guide Ciro is. We feel like we met a friend in Sicily who was proud and excited to show us his country. Every day was enjoyable and informative. Be prepared to walk a lot, learn a lot, and eat well. If you want to really see many Sicily Routes, hire Ciro. You will be very, very pleased.
P.S. If you are seeking information about your Italian heritage, you can also hire Ciro's colleague, Giovanni, to do family research for you Giovanni is also very thorough and efficient. Giovanni and Ciro worked together so we could visit the street where my grandfather was born.
Richard and Billi Bromer
We are back, rest and in our usual routine. We have talked a lot about how WONDERFUL our trip was. Sicily is beautiful, the food and wine fantastic. And, of course, meeting Silvana and Graziella was sensational. So many incredible memories.YOU were an amazing help and friend throughout the whole week---all the arrangements so that we could see and do all that we did. Monica and Roasario are special people and we enjoyed the day drive with them very, very much. We will ever forget travelling to Bivona and Corleone on our way to Trapani—so beautiful. I could tell you enjoyed the relatives too—we consider you an honorary member of the family!Thank you for all you did for us –it was a trip we will never forget.
With great fondness and appreciation,
JoEllen, Jim, Joe, Liset and Jil
Dear Ciro: I can’t say enough wonderful things about your support of my daughter Catherine’s and my genealogy trip to San Fratello, Sicily this past month. You were key to getting us to my grandfather’s very remote, mountainous, home town, birth street, and ancient church documents, and to give us a taste of the true Sicilian culture. After seeing the difficult terrain to get to the village and the incredible language barriers for such a project, I am so glad you were there. We simply could not have accomplished our objectives without your assistance. Thank you so very, very much for a deeply rewarding trip! Most sincerely,
MD, MPH , David McKenas
It was all wonderful (meraviglioso) / the fourth trip to Sicilia that you helped me to plan and acted as the Tour Leader for my group of 16 people. Sicilia is for certain the beautiful island (l’isola bella).
You have become a good friend over these last ten years that I have known you. If I might ever be of assistance in providing a recommendation or referral for your Services please let me know.
Robert G. Cotitta
Ciro provided myself and my mother with an amazing and unforgettable experience for our first trip to Sicily.He gave us a unique and custom tour , in which we were able to visit cities our ancestors lived, among so many others.Thank you !
Jennifer Sarkis and MaryJo Shoaf
Our Dear Ciro
Rosie and I arrived home safely. We wish to express our sincere thank you for watching over us as we traveled your beautiful Sicily. Thanks to you, we have a lifetime of memories to enjoy for ourselves and to share with others. Rosie is still asleep but I know she sends hugs and kisses to "her Ciro". We thank you and we love you. Sincerely, Doc and Rosie
Santa Cruz CA
Ciao! We have internet again! Thank you (and Marika) for a fabulous two days! Just meeting the mayor and former mayor made the trip all worthwhile! We hope you are well and not coughing! We are recovering but are not well yet! We love La Bella Vita!!!!! The young couple,Francesco and Luigia are wonderful and very helpful! I would recommend this place! A nice change after villa Splendore!!
Hello....Very sorry that I have not written to you before now as we have been back home for over 2 weeks...I really don't know where the time has gone.
I want to thank you for the fantastic way that you took care of Joan, Michelle, Nicole and myself from the time you met us at the Palermo airport the trips to the towns, the churches, the shopping, but most of all.....the finding of my Realitives in Belestrate and taking us to their home, my Grandfathers church, home, cemetery, etc.
Also my "Coppola" hat. Which I treasure very much.
I also want to thank you for taking us to the Restaurant, where I had one of my best meals in Palermo. The appetizer Caponata (eggplant, olives, capers, olive
oil,etc., was to die for.
If ever you would need anything from the United States, please don't hesitate to ask me.
I also would recommend you to any of my friends who might come to Sicily in need of your services.
Have a blessed Easter to you and your family, and we have enjoyed all of the pictures that you took and have placed them on Facebook.
Best to you,
Jerry & Joan Lo Piccalo
Thank you for taking such good care of us and for introducing us to your beautiful country.We will never forget our visit and the incredible Greek temples,theatres,coast lines and of course the food.
We wish all the best for you and your family.
Jill & Stu Tane
Susan& Chris Lockwood
Thank you very much for a fantastic day, Ciro. Things couldn't have turned out any better. Jimmy and I were very impressed with everything. You guys were great. Thanks again Ciro.
Jim Notaro ,Buffalo.
We really have a good time in Sicily we enjoy your company,and your son a lot, once again will be our plasure if you decide to visit California to be your host, I hope to visit your town again I was in heavens I LOVE SICILY the most because your dedication to us while traveling.
Hope you continue with this agency and the good guide you offer,all of you deserve that
Best of luck.
Hugo and Cecilia
What a fantastic adventure we had with CIRO on our trip to Sicily . Memories that will last a lifetime
We recently returned from a tour of Sicily with Ciro Grillo. We were completely blown away with the beauty, the history, the food, the people, and the culture of this amazing island. But more importantly, we couldn’t have had a better experience, discovering the real Sicily, without the aid and expertise of Ciro. He brought us to the highlights, and more. He listened to our needs and responded positively. Ciro is patient beyond belief; he is always cheerful and is a delightful traveling companion. He supplied us with computer links before our trip began and those links gave us the background information we needed to keep us well prepared. Ciro chose interesting hotels, great restaurants, and introduced us to Sicilian food specialties that were amazing. This was one of the best trips we ever took and we would not hesitate for an instant to recommend Ciro to anyone who would like to see Sicily as it should be seen.
ellen shugrue , NYC
We enjoyed staying at the ocean resort, we met up with Nancy Davis from my Italian class and her tour group for dinner.
I would highly recommend Sicily Routes, Ciro Grillo as tour guide for a trip to Sicily. He was very easy to communicate with from the states, you could tell him what and where you wanted to go and see and he would make arrangements. I asked how long a day he was willing to work and he said he had no time limit. He was very knowledgeable about the villages and towns we visited and did not rush us. He speaks very good English as well as Italian. The private tour is the way to go and the prices are reasonable.
I have recommended you to people in Kansas City that are interested in a tour of Sicily. So you may be hearing from them.
We wish you and your family a very happy holiday season, thank you again for the wonderful tour of Sicily, it will always be the trip of a lifetime.
Santa Mary Galate , KC
We want to thank you for your assistance both as a tour guide and interpreter during our stay in Sicily. Your help in locating our relatives exceeded our expectations. Because of your contacts, we were able to meet many cousins and reconnect with our family roots. We made friends with several Italian relatives on Facebook who have expressed a desire to visit us in America.
The photos and video you took during our family gathering were delightful. In addition your knowledge of the island, its culture, and the recommendations for hotel accommodations and restaurants have made our vacation a huge success.
We are extremely pleased with your services and highly recommend you to other families who are searching for their Sicilian roots, and who may need a tour guide and translator, and someone with a first-hand knowledge of Sicily and its culture.
Joe Angelica SC
As I leave Sicily, I reflect on an experience that was well beyond my expectations. I did a fair amount of research into the towns and culture of Sicily but nothing could have match the details and experiences I gained from you. From the insights at Mt Etna to the personal tour of the Palace in Catania .......lifetime memories. Our place in TAORMINA rivals my stay on the Amalfi coast last year which I thought could never be topped
When thinking of all the towns I visited, I'm particularly impressed with the amount of special sites they offered and realized that I enjoyed so much of the important features of the town because you focused our time on the most rewarding things to see.
The traditional foods of Italy are my passion and your impeccable choices of seaside restaurants were doubled because the views were so amazing
As I share my experience with friends I will always include my special thanks to you and our companion Rosario !
Grazie JOE SCANDONE , PE
When I first connected with Giovanni through someone I met on the ancestry website I was very suspicious. As he begin feeding us more information about Frank's family we became more comfortable. I asked if he knew of someone who could drive us to Sciara and Caccamo and he suggested you. How lucky we were to take his recommendation! When you met us in Palermo to discuss our trip you made us feel so comfortable. We enjoyed the drive and the conversation. Our experience with you and Giovanni exceeded our expectations and we will be forever grateful to you both. Without your accompanying us to Sciara it would have been a totally different experience. Your translations for us with Frank's family helped us so much. With you we at least got to know a little bit about each other. Without you we would have been lost in Frank's little Sicilian knowledge and a lot of hand signals.
Our only regret is that we planned and paid for our trip before we knew of you and Giovanni. We would have done things differently and would have had more time to spend with Frank's new found relatives. Time went by so fast. We are already talking about going back. Sicily is a beautiful country and Frank is very drawn to it. It has many towns that we would like to visit besides all the touristy ones. Please use us as a reference anytime. I still have to sort through the 2800 pictures we took on our trip and I will send you some from Caccamo and Sciara. I did take some pictures of the tiny little road we were trying to get down in Caccamo...you know the one you said was not made for cars but for donkeys! I don't know how to post on your website so feel free to copy anything. I checked your website and some pictures are upside down.
Rosario got us to the airport in plenty of time and we enjoyed his conversation on the way.
It was great spending time with you and thanks again for the great restaurant recommendation in Taormina. We hope to see you again in a future trip to Sicily
Your friends Barbara and Frank Badome , NYC
Hello Ciro,I want to thank you for making our Sicily trip so enjoyable. Without you we would not have known about so many incredible places to see. Your country is beautiful. Also thank you for trying to help me find my family in Sciacca and being our translator. I will have so many fond memories of our trip. I certainly will recommend you to all my friends.Ciao, my friend,
Joanne McManus , Pennsylvania
I forwarded your email to Joe( Don Peppino). He will be in touch with you.We had a wonderful trip with you! you certainly made it worthwhile. We loved every minute we were there. We would love to have some pictures. Send when you can.
Stay well. God bless. Ciao!!
Dollie Di Mino,Pennsylvania
Joe&Dollie Di Mino ,Joe&Joanne Mcmanus - Norristown PA
We want to thank you again for guiding us through what became a magical vacation. We have not been able to stop talking about it. We saw and experienced so much more than we had anticipated. With your help we experienced an authentic Sicily.
We appreciated your guidance in planning the itinerary to your driving us from one special location to the next. We also enjoyed learning about the country via your intimate knowledge of the special places to go to "taste Sicily" (the best authentic food, the best cannolis, granita, arancini, seafood cous cous and the introduction to Trapani pesto, Sfincione and more). You made us feel very comfortable, secure and in professional hands. You also have a great sense of humor.
Thank you for helping us arrange to send items home. The package with the olive oil from Trapani and the chocolate sauce from Modica arrived safely and before we got home ourselves. We fell in love with Cefalu and again would not have gone there (and had such a great lunch by the sea) had it not been for you.
The other members of your staff, Rosario, Marika were also lovely and so willing to be helpful.
We have already recommended you to our friends who will be traveling to Sicily this fall. We shall reach out to you again on our next trip to Sicily or ask if you can help through your contacts when we travel to other parts of our favorite country. Linda and Ann
Linda Brady, MD
President and CEO
Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center
Brooklyn, New York
Ciao Ciro and thank you for a wonderful reunion with cousins of both my mother's and father's families. My heart is full.
I hope you enjoy my comments about both you and Rosario and I meant every word. You guys were awesome and wonderful. Everyone should have guardian angels like you two to make life run smoothly.
“Thank you Ciro for the gift of Rosario and Cindy. I couldn't imagine two better travel companions. Rosario is a blessing from God. His is an incredibly informative historian, a driver beyond all expectations, and has the charm and grace of an angel when dealing with people to get things done. Cindy has a great command of both Italian and English, always seemed to be right behind me to assist me going up and down steps, graciously listened to my endless stories, and captured the beauty of my trip at every opportunity by taking photographs with both my camera and hers. She and Rosario are a well matched team who's special gifts complement each other perfectly. Thank you for sharing them with me. I will always remember them.” Phillip Giambri , NYC
We recently spent two weeks in Italy and Sicily for our honeymoon andhad a wonderful time. We can't wait to go back. My ancestors on both sides of my family are from Sicily so we were really looking forward to spending time there. At first we really didn't know how to go about planning our trip to Sicily. Lucky for us we were put in contact with Ciro.He was fantastic from our very first email. With the wedding we didn't have time to really research everywhere we wanted to travel in Sicily. We told Ciro I had ancestors from Camporeale, and that we would like to visit there and any other cities they could recommend. We asked him to put together a schedule for the two days we would be in town. It was a perfect mix of historical sites, churches, beaches, wineries, cannoli and rice ball tastings in several different cities and towns. We couldn't imagine trying to see Sicily on a big tour bus and we never would have found all these spots on our own. Ciro and Rosario were our drivers, interpreters and guides from 9:00am until after dinner both days. Ciro helped arrange our hotel room and provided options for lunch and dinner, which we were takento and picked up from each time. They also picked us up and dropped us off at the airport. The service was impeccable, and our trip was nothing short of amazing because of them! Ciro and Rosario were so knowledgable, friendly, personable and fun to be around.
Tammy &Frank Sciara - Kansas City
I have recently become very interested in my family’s history and have returned to Polizzi Generosa in Sicily, from where my grandparents came. This is the mountain top town, which produced “Dolce” from Dolce & Gabbana, Martain Scorsese – the film maker, Vincent Schiavelli – the actor / author and many other noteworthy individuals.
I would like to know if your club has any records, pictures or any other information about my grandfather. And if your club would be interested in any of the information that I have, I would be more than happy to furnish it.
In my travels back to Polizzi, I employed the help, aid and assistance of two gentlemen who were experts – and without whom – I could not have succeeded in uncovering so much of my family’s past. I worked with a Genealogist, Giovanni Montanti (email@example.com) and a guide Ciro Grillo (firstname.lastname@example.org) – who is licensed by the Sicilian Tourism Administration. He knows all of the local dialects in Sicily and is very familiar with all of the towns on the island. Mr. Montanti is also a film maker and has published many documentary films on various towns in Sicily - perhaps from where many of your member’s families come. I cannot recommend these gentlemen higher, as they worked together to make my expedition as efficient and productive as it could have been. This might be helpful to club members who are also interested in discovering their roots.
Thanks for the opportunity to share this information with you.
J O H N S C H I M E N T I
Our Sicily Tour with Ciro Grillo from www.Sicilyroutes.com was PERFECT in every way! Our relationship began with his patience from the many e-mails and Skype calls for more than a year. This trip had to be perfect because my 85 year old aunt had been dreaming, since the age of 2, when her Mom died, to visit the village, church, cathedral, and the home her Mom and Dad left in 1911.
Mr. Grillo went over and above anything we expected. He arranged reservations at the best hotels, farmhouses and B&B’s and took us to excellent restaurants from traditional Street Food to Fine Dining. He was our constant Guide, Interpreter and Driver, from 9:00 A.M. until after dinner for 11 days. We were very comfortable in the spacious van with large windows.
With his background and historical knowledge, he took us to the most important places in Sicily. We stayed 3 nights in Palermo, 3 nights in Alia, 3 nights in Modica and 1 in Catania. This enabled him to escort us thru many of Sicily’s Castles, Ancient Ruins, Cathedrals, Farmland, Mountains, and Seaside towns. He also introduced us to many small local craft artist and food specialty shops along the way, my favorite being “The Best Cannoli in Sicily”.
Why anyone would take a bus tour is beyond me when you could have a private driver and make your own itinerary. Mr. Grillo’s suggestions were always somewhere I would not have wanted to miss.
The best surprise of all was his Photo Journal of our 11 fantastic days in Sicily!
Thank you Ciro Grillo, you surpassed our expectations!
We will be back with friends and relatives soon!
Sincerely, Margaret Sylvester (5 American Girls) www.blissfultravelwithmargaret.com
Thank you Ciro for all your kindness and assistance. Our family was blessed by God to have met you and for your help. You done an outstanding job helping us with this matter.
I hope the drive back to Palermo was easy for you. We were able to explore Siracusa a little and was beautiful.
We spent 2 weeks on a long awaited vacation to Italy and Sicily with our close friends. The day spent with you showing us Palermo and Termini Imerese will be the most memorable. Thanks again for helping us trace our family roots and for all the time you spent showing us the best of the area.
Ciro! I woke up early just thinking about the trip.
It was such a pleasure to be with you and Rosario. We loved the combination of family culture food fun and lots of laughs. You were part of the family (Lisa, give me a tissue).
We will absolutely be back. Next time my Italian will be better!
I'll be emailing Jim Greco today telling him about our time. I'll be sure to say hi for you.
Grazie mille! Ciao and a presto! Mark and Lisa
We had a great time and Rosario and Traci were wonderful. They went out of their way to accommodate us in every way. We all got to know each other very well in our 3 days and had a lot of fun together.
Thanks for your efficient scheduling of our visit and tour and your research on my family.
My Mom and I wanted to express to you how wonderful you made our trip to Sicily. Traveling with your assistance was like being with the family member who knows all the best places to go and everyone gets along with. We truly could not have made our way through Sicily and experienced the things we did without you. Your knowledge of your country and love of Sicily made us completely fall in love with Sicily and everything paled after that. We appreciated having your expertise with everything to navigating which restaurant to visit to simple price negotiations. We are so glad to have met you, found your services invaluable and welcome you to our homes should you visit us in the States.
Ps. We can't stop talking about the cannolis at Euro Bar!
Toni and Tia
We had a perfect day. It was more than we
were hoping for. Marika and Ettore were amazing.
Thank you for sending such caring,
wonderful people! We appreciate that they did
for us. Hope to speak to you soon.
Thanks for the most incredible tour and best
day ever! We truly appreciate all that
you did for us.
Lillian, Paul, Marisa, Joey, and Rosina
Thank you for an event filled day in Casteltermini and Palermo. I had wanted to visit the town of my grandmother’s birth to take photos, but you were diligent enough to ask questions of local citizens and learn many things for me. It was fun to visit the cemetery and meet some people who just might be my cousins. That was more than I was expecting. Your energy and patience and enthusiasm made a long day very productive.
Thanks again, Nick Simonelli
I wanted to take this time to write and thank you for the tour you arranged for us in Sicily. The olive oil press was a great experience. The owners were very accommodating in the off season and the tasting was terrific! The local cheese factory was unbelievable as well. The lunch provided was fantastic! What a great opportunity that was to experience two local and authentic Sicilian family traditions. Nothing beats getting to experience the local community outside of all the typical tourist spots. Finally thanks for being there to help translate the church documents in Caccamo. I am very happy that we found an additional generation of Giacchino’s that went beyond the scope of the civil records available. Take Care and thanks again!
John Giacchino (CA)
Just wanted to drop you a note thanking you and your company for the assistance we received in Sicily. Marika did a magnificient job and was a pleasure to work with. We certainly will contact your company again when we return hopefully in the near future. Thank you and your staff for an enjoyable time.
Larry Buccero lawyer in K.C.
Ciro, Marika and Tony (please pass this on to Tony),
I am writing this on behalf of my entire family... we wanted to let you know that we had such an amazing time in Sicily and couldn't have done it without you all!! The time and effort you put in to make this trip perfect was beyond appreciated. Seeing that van pull up in the morning let us know that we were definitely about to have a phenomenal day we could never forget (and I'm sure you knew the same)!
I like to think that we are not "high maintenance", but with all of the health issues, who can walk and who can't, two small children, etc, you really went out of your way to make this trip special for us. For that, I want to sincerely thank you. It was clear that you actually cared and that is not something you find very easily these days.
I also wanted to commend Marika and Tony on how easily they "winged it." There were many times that we changed the itinerary completely and you never once said a word, just made further suggestions on how to make the trip perfect. And I'm sure it's not very often you get tourists who want to go to a world-renowned author's home "just to say hello." =)
I have attached a few pictures of the trip. I am sending another email with some more (I took about 500 photos so if you want to see more, I can send you the link, let me know.) Our dinner with you on the last night confirmed what we already knew... that we made wonderful friends in Sicily. I truly hope we can stay in touch; Marika and Tony, I friended you on facebook. Ciro, are you on facebook? Ciro, please reach out if your son would like to see the World Trade Center site from 21 floors up like we mentioned. It is definitely a view he won't get anywhere else! And Marika and Tony, please let us know if/when you come to New York. We would love to take you around and show you our home like you showed us yours.
Grazie mille!! Ciao.
Best regards, Kristen Bykowski
JUNE 2012 ,
I am sorry for the delay in writing this. Please find my comments about our wonderful trip to Sicily below…
Where to begin? Seeing Sicily alongside the knowledgeable and charming Ciro was an experience never to be forgotten. My entire family was completely thrilled with every aspect of this wonderful day in Italy. Ciro and his colleague, Rosario, kept a perfect pace for the three generations of my family to see and enjoy all of the breathtaking sights of Sicily. The extraordinary shopping in Taormina, the amazing views of a tiny, mountain top village and all of the other stops along the way were made even more memorable with Ciro and Rosario leading the way. Ciro and Rosario filled our day with a balance of history, entertainment and leisurely sight-seeing. We could not have been happier to have them as our guides. It was everything we had hoped it would be and would highly recommend contacting Ciro to plan a future tour . We look forward to returning and connecting with Ciro again.
With Fond Memories,
Beth and Tony Daigle and Family
We want to thank you for, and let others know about, our great trip to Sicilia. Your help and good guidance contributed to our wonderful adventure. We knew we were in good hands as soon as you met us “right off the boat” in Palermo.
Your ability to find good connections in the towns of our grandmother’s ancestors made our visits to Termini Imerese, Camporeale and Valledolmo a wonderful experience. We knew we would not find any relations, but you made it possible for us to get to know some of the great people living in these towns. I appreciated your insight and thoughts about the land and geography of Sicilia as well as what you shared about the culture and food.
I’m glad our cousin recommended you to us and I would certainly encourage anyone planning a trip to Sicilia to contact you. Grazie.
Ciao from le tre sorelle: Joyce, Carol & Lori.
(Carol Scotton, Galesburg, IL)
Finding my roots seemed to be a good idea. Trying to find out where my Nonno came from and to determine if the stories my family passed along were remotely true.
So began the great planning for the adventure to Sicily. You’ll notice I say Sicily as even I, the Americanized version, know there is a difference between Italy and Sicily!
My business trip took me to Germany in early May then on to a house in Tuscany at the end of May. We really didn’t see a problem bridging the time in between! Seemed logical to me to spend some time in Switzerland and Sicily prior to Tuscany!
As the plan came together (courtesy of Rick Steves), it became obvious this was going to be a hectic and busy few days…..we needed help putting all of this together. All the while knowing Sicily was (in my mind) the most important part of the trip. The goal was to visit Alcamo, the quaint little village of my family! I wanted to see the countryside, experience the people, and taste the food and wine.
After spending a few whirlwind days in Switzerland, we begrudgingly left to Milano. A confusing time for an American…all these trains and people and cars zooming everywhere. Walking from the train station to the hotel in Milano was a bit much, but certainly not as bad as Germany! I knew at that time that, unless I wanted to continue my trip alone, I had better come up with a plan for Sicily that was better than “see the countryside and enjoy the people”! It was at that time I made one of the better moves of my trip! I took out the iPad and started searching for “Sicily Guides” and “Sicily Tours” and looking about blogs and web sites. Many names and sites materialized and many people presented their resumes for consideration.
As I continued my research, I kept coming across this name that was (for me) fun to say. The person behind the name seemed to be knowledgeable and, after reading a blog called the “Gelato Tour” I decided to contact Ciro Grillo. He of the little red Alfa Romeo and happy referrals from past clients.
Best. Move. I. Made. In. Sicily. (or anywhere near the “boot"!)
Turns out Ciro was not only a great guy and a local, he was also a history buff! A man who knew his way around Palermo and the entire island! In case you weren’t aware, Palermo is a sprawling metropolis and not a quaint little village! In fact there are 5 million people in Sicily and 1.2 million of them live in Palermo! (all facts I learned from Ciro) Very glad I made the decision to work with Ciro rather than walk from the airport to our hotel!
Ciro’s question for me was “what would you like to do” and my reply was, “I don’t know, but I want to experience Sicily and, without fail, see Alcamo to look up my family”. Simply, I didn’t give the guy much to go on! No worry, Ciro put together and itinerary on little information that accomplished all my goals….and SO MANY more! A true Tour of Sicily! From top of Mount Erice to the salt beds of Trapani and from the birthplace of my great-grandparents to Datillo, a tiny little village with best cannoli in all of Sicily! Thanks to Ciro I experienced Palermo at night, Mondello at dusk and the markets in the morning. We dined in true Sicilian restaurants where Ciro not only made arrangements with the owners, but also dropped us off and picked us up when the restaurant owner phoned him.
I can’t imagine having experienced Sicily in any other way than with Ciro Grillo in the Little Red Rocket! I left Sicily with an appreciation for the beauty of the island, an understanding of the real culture and having seen the baptismal font my family has been baptized in for hundreds of years! And with a friend. Not a “vacation friend”, but someone you welcome at any time and hope you get to spend time with again in the future!
If ever you find yourself fortunate enough to be planning a trip to Sicily and you do NOTHING ELSE, Contact and HIRE CIRO GRILLO as your guide. It’s a move you will not regret!
Todd and Sharee Ventura , California
We are fine. Hope you are the same. Thanks to you we had a most enjoyable time. My family have used guides all over Italy and none of them comes close to the job that you did. I would highly recommend your services to anyone who would like to visit Sicily. Your help in finding my relatives and translating for us while we visited was outstanding. The places you took us to, Mondello Beach, Termini, Bagheria and Santa Flavia were great learning and visiting experiences Hope fully we will get back there some day.If and when that time comes you will be the 1st one we call to guide us around. In the meantime I will write you with some questions that we have come up since we left. If you get back to Las Vegas please let us know and we can get together.
Again many thanks,
From Hawaii to Santa Ninfa Tour
60 people at the Palmeri family gathering in Santa Ninfa.
Thank you Ciro Grillo for helping to make this happen.
I am still feeling so much love even as I prepare to leave Sicily. Can't believe all that has happened in three days. Arrivederci Sicilia - Tornerò (I will return).
Diana , Hawaii.
We have been to Italy many times, but had never used a guide before. As our guide Ciro Grillo facilitated the BEST vacation of our lives! From the accommodations to the transportation Ciro took care of everything. We actually relaxed on our vacation—what a concept!
Our trip started on the Amalfi coast where we had always wanted to go, but never felt comfortable with the transportation logistics. Using Ciro’s services was the perfect solution for us. He expertly navigated the very scenic (but small and winding) roads while we soaked in the beautiful vistas…..the sea, the mountains, the terraced villages, the beaches and the miles and miles of lemon groves. It was spectacular. Over three days we visited Sorrento, Positano, Almafi and Ravello-- they were all unique and beautiful.
After the Amalfi Coast (which we heartily recommend!) we went on to Sicily (which we are now totally in love with!). We had been to Sicily before, but nothing compared to this trip. Ciro took us to Palermo, Taormina, Mt. Etna, Modica, Ragusa, Arigento, Castellamare del Golfo and places in between. We felt like we saw the real Sicily…..and it was incredible! If we had tried to take the same trip on our own, I am convinced we would have been lost and frustrated most of the time and would have only seen a fraction of the places that we visited. Having a knowledgeable and experienced guide/driver like Ciro made all the difference. (I have to say some of the Sicilian drivers-especially in Palermo- seem a little crazy by American standards…..but we always felt safe with Ciro.)
Ciro was a wealth of knowledge about the history and people of Sicily. Even though he had seen the beautiful and breathtaking sights many, many times, it was clear how much he appreciates and loves his island home, which makes him a superb guide. He is also very accommodating….although we had an itinerary we felt comfortable making small changes on the fly, like stopping at an adorable little fruit stand or getting just one more gelato. We never felt rushed or harried.
Anyone who has ever been to Italy knows the food is fabulous, but with Ciro’s help it was taken to a higher level. We had seven full days of culinary heaven! We mostly ate in small, local restaurants that we would have never found on our own and every one of them delivered!
It was a dream vacation! We are already planning our next trip to Sicily and we will definitely use Ciro’s services again. Two thumbs up for guide extraordinaire, Ciro Grillo!
Mr. and Mrs. B. Jones, San Francisco
comments from FB :
On to Sicily for me. Many thanks to YLTOUR and SICILYROUTES for making my dream a reality. Many thanks in advance for your support and I tour among my people!!! Looking forward to this journey more than anyone can imagine!!!Many thanks to you for your support while I was in Sicily.Margie Roelands
Ray & Charlene Cotitta January 2012
We had a wonderful experience in Sicily. It was the best vacation we have ever had. I highly recommend Ciro to everyone planning a trip to Sicily.
He plans the trip with you and gears it to whatever appeals to you. I traced my ancestry in Sicily prior to my trip with the help of an associate of Ciro’s Giovanni Montanti. Ciro took us to all my ancestral villages. He also showed us the best of Sicily
Ciro speaks English well. He is a gentlemen, cooperative, knowledgeable, fun and at your total disposal. You will have a spectacular experience.
Just sit back and let Ciro make your trip unbelievable.
Sicily is magnificent
CiroI just got off the phone with Vince Leone and his wife.He sent me an E-mail to inquire about your services.I told him how pleased Arlene and I were with you.Also that besides your service on our vacation,that we gained a friend in you.
I guess his grandfather came from Valledomo.He now lives in Texas,grew up in our hometown.
Dear Ciro and Giovanni,
Am sending this short note to both of you as I never would have found Ciro without Giovanni’s help.
I’m sorry I never got to meet you in person, Giovanni, but perhaps we can do so on my next trip (whenever that is). However, I do want to thank you for suggesting Ciro to be my guide to Campobello.I had a wonderful time - the best day of my entire 15 day trip! And to think I debated spending time with someone I didn’t know - what a waste of time that was. Ciro, you put me at ease within the first 10 minutes and I felt like I was leaving a friend behind, when you dropped me off at the hotel that evening! I could not have asked for anyone or anything better!Thank you both for taking such excellent care of me! How wonderful it is to have two such great friends as you!
Linda Terranova Adams
Ciro was so nice and helpful. I would definitely recommend him to anyone
who wants to go somewhere in the Palermo area. Ciao for now,
Thank you for your never ending help. I had a feeling you never received the article. And thank you for giving me Carmelo Vella’s email address. If you don’t receive the fax (as he promised) I’ll email him directly and see if I have any better luck.
As for referring you to others - I had a wonderful time that day, thanks to you! So I gladly will refer you to anyone who is interested in touring Sicily. If you have Americans who request a referral, please feel free to give them my email address and they can write me. (Just let me know ahead of time, as I usually delete emails from people I don’t know.) You are an incredible guide and went out of your way to make me feel comfortable. Believe me, I was very hesitant of going to Campobello, with someone I had never met, but you put me at ease within the first 10 minutes. I tell people that too - that I was alone.
If there is anything I may be able to help you with, let me know. I’d be very happy to try and help, as I think of you as a good friend. Perhaps, next year we can share the bottle of Gino’s wine.
Take care Ciro and my best to you and your family.
I don’t know who you are but let me say I used Ciro twice in 2003, first in March with just my Grandson and me, and then in September I took a group of 10 others and myself and Ciro and I designed the trip and all 11 can honestly say it was the greatest experience I ever have had, and I made over 100 trips to Europe during my 40 year career.
Ciro is fantastic. We used him as a guide, a driver, and a translator. He was superb in all three venues. It was my 3rd adn4th trip to Sicily so I knew where and what I wanted to see and do so that helped, but it Ciro who made all of the Hotel, and Restaurant Arrangements.
So recommendations .absolutely.
Lewis Shioleno, Sr.
We had a great time and can’t begin to thank you for all your help. I know we would not have been as successful as we were, if not for you. I do truly feel I have a friend in Sicily and am looking forward to planning my next trip with you. I have already sent your address to some of my friends who are planning on making future trips and I am sure they will be using your services. My family and I hope to make a trip probably next year, and will definitely be in touch.
made it back from sicily safe and sound. i want to recommend mr. ciro grillo our guide, interpreter, driver and savior extraordinaire.
ciro spent several days with me (an accomplishment of itself) while we toured virtually all of western and central sicily. we visited my grandfathers hometown of caltabellotta where ciro was successful in helping me track my family back two generations. he is extremely knowledgable regarding the history, politics, economy and geography of the island. he also became a great friend.
as many of you know i am handicapped and ciro’s assistance made my journeys to this remote town, the churches, public offices and trattorias possible. he met me each day at our hotel for breakfast and off we went on our excursions giving my dear family a derserved respite. we also visited ciro’s hometown where we toured an olive oil facility and shared a long afternoon luncheon with his friends who operate this facility. it was indeed spectacular.
in addition to helping me understand my heritage and the amazing history of sicily, ciro and i discussed numerous potential business opportunities which we are now following up. i met ciro through his friend giovanni montanti who is also assisting me in my family research.
when it was finally time to sadly leave sicily, ciro assisted us in returning our auto, changing our flights (which was very difficult) and otherwise keeping my lovely wife and daughter from having panic attacks. i will always look fondly on this wonderful experience and the opportunity it gave me to meet the acquaintance of this fine gentleman whose services i would heartily recommend to any traveller without reservation
1099 general knox road washington crossing, pa 18977
(215) 369-7630 Fax: (215) 325-1074 E-mail: email@example.com
I hope you are well, happy, and busy. It is a week since we returned. I want to thank you for everything you did for us and for the wonderful human being you are. Rather than repeat myself, (as I usually do), Iâ?™m writing it in g it in a recommendation below:
Before my husband and I, and our friends, met Ciro Grillo, our driver and guide for 10 days in Sicily, he had promptly responded to every question and email with knowledge, patience, and interest. When he met us at the airport in Palermo, Ciro took our luggage, had our car waiting, and drove us to El Celso, a farmhouse in Valledolmo. It was an extraordinary way to begin our tour at Ciroâ?™s suggestion. The owners of El Celso planned a birthday celebration for our friend, compation for our friend, complete with pitchers of wine from their vineyard, pasta with fennel from their garden, and a birthday cakeâ??
Ciro drove with skill and care from Valledolmo to medieval villages, seaside resorts, Greek and Roman ruins, and cities. His only fault was in knowing where to stop for the best cannoli, gelato, and pastries.
He was always there for us, whether running through a crowd of students for theater tickets at the Greek Theater in Syracusa, or parking at photographic stops for my husband. Trained as a geologist, he brought more than Mt. Etna to life. He gave his love of Sicily to all four of us.
Re: few days....a great friendship
Buon Giorno Ciro:
Our Sicilian Adventure was monumental and totally not reproducible ever.....Your guidance and mastering of the highways and the byways made the adventure very special......Thank You....Grazie per tutti....from Palermo to Valledolmo to Agrigento to Siracusa to Taormina to Ventamiglia to Mondello to Erice and finally Castellamare...Unbelievable!!!!!!!
Ciro - Ray and I want to thank you for the wonderful Scilian trip. We fell in love with the country and can’ wait to come back. You really made our trip enjoyable, and carefree. Your help in locating our ancestral towns and people was the highlight of our trip and means so much to us.
Please use us as a reference with any of your future clients. Look forward to seeing you again.
Mr & Mrs Ray Cotitta
This is a late but nonetheless very grateful “thank you” from Rosemarie and I for the terrific time we had in our new Country!! You were the perfect guide: a wonderful sense of humor and a very patient man, with four people who have many interests, questions and perhaps even relatives in Sicily. Surely our brother, Dr. Richard assured some very good friends and found much info for us to pursue even further. We still are amazed tat there are no Scibettas in Cala ... land! And is it Arab or Jew or Savoy or Norman or Roman?? I have shown the posters to many of my friends here in Vermont and told them of the many and varied experiences we had with our famous guide in control.
Also you should know that the flag of Sicilia hangs proudly on our home, perhaps waving to our ancestors and to our new found friends abroad.
I know that your family sacrificed by not having you there very often while you were guiding us, but please tell your son and your wife that you made four crazy Americans very happy and much better informed ... not to mention confused about our past.
Incidentally, the Hotel you selected was excellent: a nice “step up” from our Hotel in Taormina.
We will continue our quest for our ancestry and see what we can discover, with your help.
Thank you again Ciro, for your professional and pleasant services to the Scibettas.
The other ... Mr. Lou Scibetta
I want to take this opportunity to thank Ciro Grillo for the help and guidance he provided to me on my trip to Palermo. Part of my trip was to visit the town of Marineo where my grandparents were born and so see if there were any relatives still in the town.
Ciro accompanied me there and made inquires which resulted in locating some cousins. We met and had lunch and have kept in touch by email.
It was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend him
I want to thank you for the tour we had with you in September to Mt. Etna and Taormina. We really enjoyed ourselves. Also, we had a good time on our 2nd tour to Monreale and Agrigento with Rosario and Gino. They were both extremely nice. We will definitely contact you again when we go back to Sicily.
We truly appreciate all you did to make our trip to Sicily so wonderful. You were very patient with our slow walking. Those tortureous paths nearly killed us!
We are looking forward to another trip with you. Pray it happens.
Ciao, James and Valerie Mullally
Ciro, we have finally had a chance to settle down after returning from Sicily. We have been showing our pictures to everyone. In November, we will be going to Fredonia, New York to visit my dad and my brother. They are anxious to hear all about our trip. Nora and I still have trouble sleeping at night, because we keep dreaming about all the sights we saw and the food we ate.
The highlight of the trip, as far as I am concerned, was the stay in Valledolmo at Celso and the side trip to Mussomeli. I was moved by being able to walk on the ancient cobblestone streets and visit the churches of my grandparents. Also, it was special because we were able to look up the church records of my grandfather and great-grandfather.
We could not have done what we did without your guidance. Having you as a tour guide and interpreter was the smartest thing we did. As for the sights, we enjoyed the town of Taormina and the wonderful restaurants there, the ancient town of Cefalu and, of course, Palermo. We also enjoyed the rides through the countryside going to all the wonderful places, especially our ride up to Mt Etna.
It was interesting to talk to you about the old customs and foods that my grandparents talked about and fixed, and to discover you had a similar background and stories. I felt guilty that I couldn’t speak Italian, but lucky that you were able to be an interpreter for our trip.
Ciro, if you would like to use Nora and I as a reference, we would be glad to recommend you. We truly had a great time.
Vincent and Nora Leone
If you always do what you always did,
You always get what you always got.
Hello To All My Friends, Relatives, and Business Colleagues:
I would like to introduce each of you to a friend of mine in Sicily who conducts wonderful tours of the island. Ciro Grillo resides in Palermo. His attachments above tell you about his tour services for Americans. Would each of you kindly review Ciro’s two attachments. And please feel free to write directly to him. On our last trip to Sicily in September, we spent time with Ciro at two magnificent agriturismos ( Celso) – Heaven on Earth. These farms were converted and magnificently designed for bed and breakfast facilities. Ciro can organize your trip. They are absolutely wonderful. Ciro speaks fluent English, so please write to him in English.
Travel to Sicily is extremely inexpensive. The accommodations are outstanding and very affordable. Don’t hesitate to plan your next vacation through Ciro Grillo.
And please, would you forward this email to all of your friends, relatives, and business colleagues.
Best wishes to all.
About Ciro Grillo – By: Ronald Kurtz –
I first met Ciro for dinner on Oct 19, 2006 in Taormina, Sicily in preparation for meeting a friends relatives in Termini Imerese and the following day my own relatives in Rometta. Ciro was hired for his driving and translation skills. He was referred by Giovanni Montanti.
Ciro took us to a very nice restaurant in Taormine, helped select the wine and suggested menu items. The meal was wonderful. He then repeated the dinner sinerio the following evening at an even nicer restaurant again in Taormina.
Having been contacted by Ciro prior to arrival our relatives were ready for us and had offered a lunch. The visit began with introductions and review of ancestry/decendent relationships. A walking tour of the neighborhood followed, with Ciro translating as necessary, then a meeting of the family members at the residence and a bountiful lunch.
In a very short time Ciro blended in with the people as though he was a family member or long time friend. Ciro must have enjoyed the encounter as much as we did. In all it was a joyous and wonderful time.
In summary do not hesitate to hire Ciro Grillo for your touring or visiting needs while in Sicily. For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I just wanted to say thank you again for helping us reconnect to our heritage this summer. What a thrill it was to find Felicia and her family and review our common history. We returned to Lecara after staying in Taormina for few days. What a reception we received on the second visit. We sat in her Living Room and talked about my parent’s earlier life up until they immigrated to the US. I got a chance to ask most of the questions that I had about past family events. Felicia was truly amazing she had an excellent memory. She was very proud and had a lot of practical wisdom which impressed me a lot. My parents were a lot like that.
Ciro you helped make this an incredible experience for us in Lecara. Visiting the church where my parents were baptized and married, the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, the town that my family came from and Via Ortiegia has reminded me of the importance of things other than money. For this I thank you. What a life altering experience!
Best regards to you and your family.
Anthony, Patricia, Marcella and Gabriella Chibbaro
When my husband and I decided to travel to Sicily and to research family roots, a close friend, who had used Ciro Grillo as a guide, highly recommended him to us. This was our fifth trip to Italy, but our first time using a guide.
Ciro advised us what all our costs would be prior to leaving on our trip. He helped us choose all our hotels in Sicily, Amalfi, and Rome and made all our reservations. Our accommodations were excellent.
Ciro picked us up at our hotels in Sicily every morning and planned each day, however, he was flexible to whatever we wanted to do. He suggested and made reservations to various restaurants, and transported us to and from each of them every night. One afternoon, he took us to the best place in Palermo to eat panelles and gelato! He drove us to Agrigento and Taormina, stayed overnight to drive us to the interesting sites in both those cities and explained their history.
Knowing of my determination to research my family roots in Palermo and Trapani, Ciro put me in contact with Giovanni Montanti, a genealogist, who was very helpful. Ciro drove us to various churches in the Monte Pellegrino area of Palermo. He introduced us to church pastors and advised them of my desire to seek records of my ancestors. As I am not fluent in Italian, this was an invaluable asset to me.
We found Ciro to be a very a kind, helpful man who aimed to make our vacation in Sicily one that we will always remember and cherish. His attendance to us was beyond what we expected in a guide and we highly recommend him.
Dorothy and I want to thank you for your services in Sicily. Pasquale got us to the airport in Palermo in plenty of time - he’s a very nice man. I plan to talk to our travel agent about the trip and will certainly recommend you to anyone who needs a driver. Of course, you helped us in many ways, not just the driving! Maybe we will see each other again in the next couple of years.
Frank and Dorothy Strada
Overland Park, Kansas
Thank you for taking us to all of the beautiful places in Sicily. We really enjoyed it and it was a pleasure having someone who knows the area well to show us. The cannoli was the best we have ever had! We are talking about it to everyone here.
When my mother gives me the address of her house in Marineo, I will e-mail you so I could get a picture.
I wanted to take a moment to truly thank you for your services while in Sicily. Having traveled to visit relatives never before met, I cannot tell you what it meant to my family to have you there with us. From the time you picked us up at our hotel, we knew we were in good hands.
Your service as translator for us made our trip to Sicily the highlight of our lives. You were the bridge that allowed my family and my family that lives in Sicily to communicate! You were the vehicle that allowed a separated family to be rejoined. You never missed a beat in handling the the many conversations that were all happening at once. I was amazed at your skill in juggling the constant messages you delivered both in English and Italian. I take my hat off to you sir!
I hope that you share my contact information with anyone who may be interested in your service. I would be most pleased to let them know that they are engaging the services of a class act.
Russ F. Guzzo
UNICOM Systems, Inc.
Hi Ciro, its Jim Carollo. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner. It's really been crazy since we've been back. You made our trip so special. The two days we spent with you were remarkable. We can't believe there are one million people in Palermo and we strike gold having you as our guide. We feel so fortunate meeting you in helping us find my relatives in Palermo. We couldn't have done it without you. This trip was our best ever. Thanks to you for giving us directions and following up with everything I requested. My family in the states can believe we found our cousins. We have had conversations with some of my cousins in Ohio. They are planning a trip to Sicily this spring or summer. It would be great if you could help them locate our family for them. I will let you know as soon as they have made their arrangements. Donna for sure has a tennis friend who is going to Sicily this year. She gave her your number and e-mail address. I spoke to Al D'Amico and his wife JoAnne. They said to say Hi back and to thank you for all your help. The videos are exceptional. I will be making copies to send to all of our family members. Donna and I will be heading back to Europe sometimes in October of 2007. I don't know where yet but we got the travel bug.
Ciro, we wish you a great year in 2007. We hope you and your family are doing great so far. If you ever come to California especially Southern California. You and your family are welcome to stay at our home in San Clemente CA. I will pick you up at the airport and show you a great time. The invitation will always be here for you and your family. Keep in touch, have a wonderful year.
Yours truly Jim Carollo
we are back from our trip to italy and spain and are glad to be home safely.
We would like to thank you for the wonderful tour you provided us in palermo. it made viewing the city such a pleasure, since you had to deal with all the crazy drivers. (ha!ha!) you were so pleasant and helpful and we will recommend you to anyone we know who is going to sicily.I have copied my friend rina benton who owns amorosi travel in california and who set us up on our trip to europe. i know you and rina can work wonderfully together for future clients. she is also of italian descent as you can see from the name of her business. she, like you, is very efficient and very knowledgable about travel. Please feel free to contact her if necessary and she will do the same.
thanks again for a great time in palermo!!!
lorraine and ron darienzo
p.s. if you ever get to southern california, please don’t forget to contact us.
My husband and I cannot begin to thank you enough for the wonderful day you showed us in Cinisi. Everything was so much more than I had ever expected it to be.
My hope was that I would be able to leave Cinisi having seen everything I could possibly see to understand where my family had come from.
You and the twogentlemen your friend sent made all that possible. The memories I will havefrom that day will always be with me. And for that, I thank you. The rest of our trip was beautiful.
We are defintitely planning to come back to Italy again in the near future!If you could, would you please pass this email on to your friend who made the arrangements for the cemetery to be open and for the two gentlemen he sent toshow us around?
I would like him to know how grateful I am for all that he hasdone to make my Cinisi day a truly memorable one.
Once again, thank you for everything and I will definitetly give your name toanyone looking for a tour guide in Sicily. If you have any brochures on yourservices, please feel free to email or mail them to me and I will pass yourinformation on to whoever is looking for a tour guide.
Elbert H. Goodier & Catherine S. Goodier
Thank you so much for making our trip to Sicilia so enjoyable. We never expected all you did for us. From the time we arrived in Palermo, we felt we were with friends who helped us find our families, who brought us to the greatest restaurants and taught us so much about the people and land of our Grandparents. We saw so many things that would not have been possible without your help. Rosario, Francesca and Carlo were wonderful. We had many laughs together. I think about our trip often and all the pleasant times we had that would not have been possible without your help.
Whenever anyone asked me about my trip the conversation always goes to you and your staff and how awed I was at everything you did . I don’t know where you get the energy.
Tell everyone hello and Rosario I will be writing soon.
Thank you and God bless.
Jim and Sue Greco
Thank you so much for your assistance. We absolutely loved the Hotel Vello D’Oro in Taormina !! and also the Hotel Bouganville in San Vito lo Capo. They were perfect.
Thank you again. We had a wonderful time in beautiful Sicily and will cherish our memories!! Hello to Giovanni Montanti for us!!
ann marie mcintire 612.455.5187 asset manager
PPL Helping people help themselves
project for pride in living 1035 East Franklin Av. Minneapolis MN 55404
My wife and I had a wonderful time and as always you did a magnificent job. The mass in Alia and the mass in Aragona were very emotional for us. Thank you. We are so sorry you became ill. We both were sick the last two days in Taormina. I’m sure we will meet again and until then——Ciao
Ray and Charlie Cotitta
Anthony and Margaret Piazza
Sorry for the delay. Since my return, I have been involved in a number of family matters including a separate cocktail reception for my daughter, Maggie. The following can be added to your web site of my fine experience with you and your associates while traveling in Sicily.
“My daughter, Maggie, was married in the Amalfi Coast on June 19, 2008. Afterwards members of my immediate family, including thirteen (13) adults and two (2) infants traveled throughout Sicily with the assistance of Ciro and his associates. Ciro’s expertise in arranging transportation, lodging and itinerary was outstanding. Because of the various interests of the numerous travelers, Ciro and his associates were very accommodating in changing and refining our itinerary and assisting in our travels throughout Sicily. My family was able to move about in a large bus to accommodate the “Gruppo Piazza” from one end of Sicily to another. Ciro’s choice of cities to visit, accommodations and itineraries gave us all a good sample of “Sicilia”. We would recommend Ciro Grillo and his organization highly and we hope to visit Sicily soon.”
Very Truly Yours,
Tony Piazza and Family
We can’t thank you enough for your outstanding service provided to our family in both visiting our family towns and villages and in simply enjoying Sicilia Bella!
Your assistance in making the hotel and tour arrangements, your excellent driving through the mountainous and remote terrain, your knowledge of so many areas of Sicily and—of course, the ongoing translations to better understand the experience—all combined to make our visit the best holiday ever.
Your easy-going manner and ability to be flexible based on our needs was very helpful as we were able to continually make new decisions about our journey. That was what makes the difference between a group excursion where everything is pre-determined with no interest to your own needs and preferences and the personalized approach you gave us.
Your 24-7 attention was the best ever.
We can’t wait to return to our homeland!
All the best, Lou & Pat Myers and family
Thank you so very much for making our short trip to Sicily a fantastic one. All of your help is very much appreciated. The places we went to were so interesting, and the meeting with Rosario and Giovanni were special. Getting to go to the church Andreas was baptized in was very emotional for me, and I hope made lasting memories for Timothy (grandson) and Walter.
I have not downloaded my pictures yet, but will send you some of those we took with you when we do. Had some computer problems when I got home. We are slowly adjusting to be back home and back to normal after such a lovely trip. Leonard, Marge, Walter, Kristi, and Timothy
Leonard J. McCown, Irving, Texas —
McCown Family History
email@example.com — http://www.mccown.org
People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to
their ancestors. — Edmund Burke, 1790
Hope all is well.
Just returned from our vacation cruising Italy and Sicily.
Yours and Jim’s recommendation of Ciro was GREAT!
Ciro was everything and more what we had hoped. He assisted us in locating some family members, visited all the important and wonderful spots, had a great time.
Will definitely use again on our next journey to Sicily and recommend to others.
Al, again thanks for the recommendation.
When you get some time “let’s break bread.”
Rich Scandaliato (Rich@RomerosFood.com)
Thanks for your recent message on Facebook.
Rome, Firenze and Pisa were also delightful. However, our time with you and in Sicily was definitely the sweetest and highlight of our trip.
I want to thank Giovanni Montanti for introducing you to me. It was an extreme good pleasure to make your acquaintance and benefit from the services you provided me and my family during our recent vacation in Sicily. We really appreciate you being our guide and being so thoughtful about managing so many little details of trip, even some we forgot about you reminded us. It was such good excellent care that you provided. We felt that you treated us as a good family member. We appreciate that you really made sure that we made the best use of our time in Sicily and that gave us a reasonable and good price for everything you provided. It was not an easy task to guide us (with the help of your associate Rosario, too) to three corners of Sicily in only six days over the Christmas 2009 holiday! Yet we managed, with your guidance to see beautiful sights in the Sicilian cities of Palermo, Mondello, Cefalu, Grotte, Agrigento, Taormina, go to the top of Mt. Etna, visit Erice, and see the Christmas nativity play in Costanuci. Our only day of rest was on Christmas Day and even on this day, you managed to come to our hotel and deliver my favorite desert, cannoli. Wow! Thanks for making Sicily feel like home and making sure we got on our ferry to Naples on time. We were especially impressed that you guided us to the right office in my grandparents’ hometown of Grotte and helped us obtain their birth certificates and copy of their marriage certificate. We are definitely going to recommend you to our friends and family members and we look forward to visiting Sicily in the summer next time. No one treated us better in Italy than you did. So, thank you, again.
Next time you make it to San Francisco, please let us know, we would love to invite you to our home.
Take care and best wishes to you and family and Giovanni and Rosario for all through 2010.
and Tsering & Tenzin Vassallo
Hello Ciro, http://mymannina.blogspot.com/
I hope you had a good time in Chicago. If it was ha;f as good as our trip to Sicily, then it was something special. You were a terrific guide and I hope we can also call you a friend. You made us feel like we were part of the Mannina family and the Ventimiglia community.
We ate a lot of good meals during out 10 days in Italy, but we are still talking about lunch on Lina’s terrace. That was superb. If you could give me her address, we would like to send her our personal thanks. We also appreciated meeting Lydia and very much enjoyed our dinner with both of you in Palermo.
I have posted notes about our trip on your Sicily Facebook page and in the Ventimiglia mailing list where I found Linda Terra-Nova. I will also recommend you to me cousins and other Manninas and Tantillos when I see them in Chicago on July 17.
I will attach a couple of photos to this message and I would be happy to send more, by email or on a CD, if you want them. You can see more photos along with notes about our trip at this blog: mymannina.blogspot.com. And, since you are part of the extended family, I would like to invite you and any Manninas, Portuesis or Grillos to join us at ManTanCan.com, a networking website that I created for Manning, Tantillo and Cantrell family members.
I wrote to Caterina and to Mayor Mannina to thank them for their hospitality. I would also like to thank Mama Rosa, Giovanni Mannina and the parents of baby Michele if you or Caterina could tell me how to contact them.
Thanks again for making our trip one that we will always cherish.
(I will run this letter through Google’s translation service. If it does a good job, maybe you could try it if you write back to me.)
Ric & Jeannene Manning
Letter of Recommendation for Ciro Grillo
My family hired Ciro as a guide for a 5-day period in April, 2010. He showed us around Sicily, which was my mother-in-law’s ancestral home. Our family lives in Kansas City.
Ciro had an itinerary for each day, but was very open to changing our plans, which we in fact did more than once. He was an excellent guide and driver. His selections of places to visit were just right, including some excursions off the beaten path, including a beautiful winery and another restaurant in the Sicilian countryside. His recommendations were always reliable, including hotel recommendations.
He was helpful in tracking down my mother-in-law’s ancestors, and making arrangements for us to visit as long as we liked. He never minded starting early or staying late – he was always available.
Sicily itself is easily as enjoyable a place to visit as the rest of Italy. The countryside is even more beautiful. And the people extremely hospitable.
Ciro was always willing to go the extra mile. He repeatedly provided help on personal matters that really were above and beyond the scope of a guide and was a key part in making the trip a success. (I really don’t want to contemplate how the trip would have gone without him!)
Ciro speaks excellent English, is unfailingly charming, trustworthy, punctual, courteous, and generous. I have nothing but favorable things to say about him. He will help make your trip a memorable one and undoubtedly will become a friend as he did with us.
Eric and Cindy Swanson (maiden name Caresio)
Here's a "Testimonial" we hope works for you for your web-page.. if you want additional areas addressed..please let me know..
We were fortunate to utilize Ciro Grillo's services on two occasions -2005 (my husband,our adult daughter, and me) and in 2010 (my husband and me). Ciro is very fluent in English, friendly,
dependable and knowledgeable. His rates are reasonable and we relied on Ciro to establish
our itinerary and recommend accommodations. We were very pleased with the results and
enjoyed the sights in Palermo, Erice, Segesta,Trapani, Cefalu`, Agrigento, Mt. Etna and Taormina.
Ciro assisted nightly, making dinner arrangements in some great local restaurants, thus alleviating any language barrier.
Ciro is very adept and accommodating in searching family roots. We appreciated his zeal whether visiting small towns, church records or cemeteries.
After two tours, we consider Ciro as a friend. We would highly recommend him to anyone who
would want to have a wonderful, memorable visit to beautiful Sicily.
Tom, Becky and Kristi Swartz
(I can also be a reference via email firstname.lastname@example.org)
“We all had such an amazing time in Sicily. Whatever we had anticipated far exceeded our expectations, but I think it was the unexpected things that will make our visit most memorable. Thank you again for being such a great guide, translator, and friend. You introduced us to sights and experiences that we never would have found on our own.
The reunion with my wife’s family, the night in Palermo, all of our excursions, and the fabulous dinners contributed so much to the magic of our week. As I told you in Palermo, my wife and I take pride in being independent travellers, but we are so grateful that we made use of your services and look forward to seeing you on our next trip to Sicily.” Jay Hochheiser
You made my dream trip come true.Your knowledge ,willingness to explore and professionalism far exceded my expectations.
On Thu, May 5, 2011 Sandra J.Brex
Ciro took me on a trip to the birthplace of my Great-Grandfather who immigrated to America in 1901. I saw the mountain-top village of Tusa and, with Ciro's translation skills, was able to talk to some of the locals (who were very friendly!). We had a huge lunch at a local restaurant where I tried some delicious Sicilian specialties. We stopped in Cefalu on the way back to Palermo were I photographed the beautiful cathedral and wandered the medieval streets. Ciro was an amazing guide and knows everything about Sicily. I highly recommend his services. Thanks Ciro!!
May 2011 , Chad Ferrigno
Thank you so much, you made our visit to Sicily so wonderful and easy. We saw everything we planned on and more. Thank you for the explanations for our endless questions about everything Sicilian. Thank you most of all for making our vacation safe and helping us discover our Sicilian heritage. Ciao
June 2011 Carla Biondillo Millorn
Anthony &Stacie Totta
Thanks again for everything. Sicily was beautiful and your tours were awesome! We will definitely suggest you to our family and friends. Let us know when you come to Kansas City.
I asked Ciro to help us with our trip to Casteldacci. I wanted to
visit the town where my grandparents grew up. He made the trip so easy
for us. He had someone pick us up at the airport and return us there
when our visit was over. He was most valuable in arranging a meeting
with my grandfather's people in Casteldaccia. They didn't know any
English and we knew no Italian. Ciro took us to see them and stayed
all day. He interpreted for us, otherwise there would be no
communication. We had a wonderful time. He helped us make this
connection with our Italian family very special. I will definately
recomend him to any of my family that goes to Sicily. Margaret
Rodenbeck Alexandria, Louisiana
I have been working with Ciro Grillo since 2004. I have organized three different groups (2004 - 2007 - 2011) for tours in Sicily and Ciro has been our Tour Leader for all three groups. He also provided me with a substantial amount of help in planning the tour for 2007 and 2011. I have previously recommended Ciro to other friends who have toured Sicily and I have visited with some of his other clients. His knowledge of Sicilia and its history along with his attention to details has made all of our trips exceptional. In addition to his tour assistance Ciro has been very helpful in my efforts to research my family history in Sicilia. Everyone that I have spoken to has been very pleased and appreciative of Ciro's assistance and I would not hesitate to recommend his services to anyone. Robert G. Cotitta
Nov.8 , 2011 Hello Ciro,
First let me apologize for not writing you sooner.
Our trip to Sicily was fabulous. Sicily was far more than we hoped for. Much of the pleasure we experienced in your country was provided by your excellent planning. Phil and I loved the golf part as well as the touring and fabulous dining. Your selections were at the heart of our enjoyment. Our wives can't stop talking about the side trips you took them on. I have been talking to friends about our great experience. You may be hearing from a few of them. Thank you for providing us with such a memorable experience. We expect to see you again very soon.
October 28 , 2011
Bonjorno! Ciro, Well I'm back in the states Stuck in minneapolis My plane in new york was delayed Therefore I missed my flight in minneapolis.. Waiting to get last connection for home. Just wanted to say thank you for all you and paolo did 4 us. you made my trip such a memorable 1 and one I will never forget. I hope you keep me connected to sicily through your facebook messages. Ciao!
Wed, 30 Nov 2011 10:53:56 -0500
Hello from Vermont. Wonderful American Thanksgiving with
our family and a 10 inch snow storm! Trip to Sicily was fantastic
thanks to you. When we say Lou he was thrilled and sends his
best. Thanks. I'm doing our following up book keeping. Joanne
SICILYROUTES for ITALYTOURSONLINE by Michelangelo D'Ambrisi
group Seggio/DeSimone Sep.2011
Michelangelo D'Ambrisi :
"Ciro, what a beautiful picture of the driver/Paolo, guide/Lydia and my clients SEGGIO / DESIMONE great Sicily trip. Molto bene, Viva la Sicilia."
group BARON Oct.2011
We enjoyed our Sicilian vacation very much and appreciated your expertise in guiding us. Each place we visited had its own unique charm. Nunzia and Lydia added to the experience, as each was knowledgeable in her area. Although everyplace was great, Joe and I especially enjoyed Mondello Beach, Erice and the Prickly Pear Festival in Roccapalumba. I was sorry to not have sampled the available food at the stands. Seeing the fox on the road after experiencing Mt. Etna will always be a memory. Overall, the food, drink and atmosphere throughout our stay was enjoyable, however there was too much food and too high a price at the restaurant in Trapani. We would have preferred to order the sample menu.
We would highly recommend you as a tour guide in Sicily!