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2 weeks in Sicily in October

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We (two couples in our 60s) are heading to Sicily in Oct. We have 13 days, flying into Palermo and out of Catania. I've been reading trip reports, but am a bit overwhelmed. We'd like to have 3-4 locations to be hubs for side trips...we'll have a rental car. We know we'll start with 3-4 days in Palermo and environs, and end-up in Catania or Taormina for the final 3-4 days. The big question is which one or two places should we use as our hub (s) in the middle of our counter-clockwise circuit of the island. We want to minimize long or back and forth travel as much as possible. We are seasoned travelers and can put in full days of touring.

Another concern: Two of us are birders. We know about Zingaro Park but would like recommendations for other birding locations.

Thanks for your help.

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