Virtuoso Chairman’s Event in Sicily

Recently, President of Sutton Planning Liz Sutton visited Taormina, Sicily for the annual Virtuoso Chairman’s Event and had the experience of a lifetime.

This annual event is designed to show appreciation for its top members bringing together the best agencies, travel advisors, and companies in the world! The Virtuoso Travel Network represents over 70% of the luxury travel market in the world giving our distinguished company the best resources in the industry. Personally, our company has been a member of the Virtuoso Network for over 12 years, so it was critically important that we attended this invitation-only event in 2023. This trip offered both unforgettable experiences and valuable networking within the industry. While it was a short, five-day trip, the itinerary was jam-packed with some of Sicily’s greatest highlights.


The village of Castelmola, just north of Taormina, designed an exclusive experience for Virtuoso guests. The whole village came together and crafted an evening of local entertainment, music, and local dining specialties. Guests walked through the town and enjoyed a progressive-style dinner. As guests departed, local store owners shared small gifts and mementos with the visitors leaving a lasting memory of this unforgettable and unique experience. To top it off, the evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate our experience!

Sicilian Cooking Class

What better way to experience local tradition than with a local cooking class? While in Sicily, Liz participated in an intimate, one-of-a-kind cooking experience at an 8th-generation family villa overlooking the Ionian Sea. Here, she made spaghettoni pasta from scratch and a fresh, herbaceous sauce full of locally sourced produce. Other courses included prawns and swordfish from the sea. Her biggest takeaway and tip was the importance of a good, aged parmesan cheese 24 months or older – quality ingredients make all the difference! Liz enjoyed the experience so much she returned home to reenact the cooking experience with her adult children!

Mount Etna

Another remarkable experience Liz participated in was a train ride up Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily. Typically, the train is not normally on the tracks but kept in a museum until it is chartered by a group (talk about an exclusive experience). The old-fashioned-style train transported this group up the mountain to a winery where the grapes are grown in the volcanic region. The exclusive train ride paired with wine and a private lunch at the winery created a once in a lifetime experience for all of Virtuoso’s guests.

Greek Theater

The Greek Theater of Taormina is an open-air amphitheater built in the 3rd century B.C. that still contains its original, gorgeous columns. During Liz’s visit, there was a three-piece female orchestra serenading the guests for their own private concert. Between the ambiance of the Theater, the music, and the starry night sky, Liz thought, “What a blessing to be here!” It was that beautiful.

This trip was an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience and we were honored to have been selected. Here’s to another decade of being a part of the exclusive Virtuoso Travel network!

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