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Eight days, nights in Sicily

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My wife and I are planning a late-May '13 trip from the US to Sicily, via Milan. Flight plans call for us to arrive in Palermo late Friday afternoon, and we depart Palermo on the following Saturday on a noon flight back to Milan.

Our trip will focus on sights-not -to-miss, people, food, and a bit of time at the beach, we hope.

We plan to rent a car, and the loose outline of the trip thus far includes time concentrated mostly in the rough triangle from Palermo to Siracusa (probably via Catania) to Agrigento.

We'll be reading several of the great trip reports, but we need to make some decisions soon on hotel night options, and guidance would be appreciated that would help us understand where we might best spend our nights in places to explore, take a day trip or two or move on to the next town.

A big question, too, is whether this amount of days is enough to make a trip to Malta worthwhile. Ideally, we'd spend a day there, arriving in the morning and leaving in the evening if ferry schedules cooperate. Any thoughts on that idea and how it might work? Caravaggio's Beheading is one of the main reasons we'd want to go, so if there's any insight into whether that would not be on display for some reason, it would materially affect our interest in going there.

Could we get insight from you as to which towns, say Siracusa or Agrigento, one might chose to stay more than one night in and use as a base for morning or day trips to nearby places? If you had a choice, which of those two towns would you spend more time in. Less is probably more for us.

Thoughts, comments, referrals to particular Trip Report posts that might be helpful would be gratefully appreciated. Thank you!

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