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Itinerary advice needed--19 days in Sicily in Oct.

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Does anyone have any itinerary suggestions for my last minute trip to Sicily next month? We’re lucky in that we have 19 days on the ground, but I still am finding it difficult to narrow down my choices.

We are in our 60s, moderate budget travelers who prefer smaller more intimate lodging like B&Bs, don’t like super duper touristy, enjoy nature and the outdoors and being active, love to just wander soaking in the ambience of places, enjoy interesting architecture, want to do some not super strenuous half day + hiking, would love to take some boat excursions or kayak, love colorful local markets, don’t necessarily follow the typical beaten path, aren’t shoppers, enjoy seafronts and harbors, are too old for nightlife, and don’t want to spend all of our time running around frantically trying to see everything. And, we’ve been to both Greece and Turkey and have seen a lot of temples and ruins, so these aren’t big on our itinerary.

Our normal preference is for slow travel with extended stays in bases, and we believe in the less is more philosophy. I’ve figure out this isn’t going to work too well for Sicily. For stays of 3 nights or more we generally prefer apartments.

I think I have read every Sicily trip report on Fodors and have developed my itinerary based on some of the things I've read in those. And, I think I now have every guidebook published on Sicily (fabulous library system in my city).

Here is what I have so far as far as an itinerary, and you’ll see where I have a big gap. We’ve decided to take a self-guided cycling trip, and that, along with only wanting to do one period of car rental, dictates some of my date choices. But, I haven't confirmed dates on this yet and could rearrange my itinerary if there is some other place it would fit in better.

I am currently researching apartments in Modica, Ortigia and Palermo so I can reserve those. On the one hand, I am thinking I need to fill in the blanks and make some reservations (especially since we prefer apartment-type lodging). On the other hand, it may be kind of nice to just wing it for our open days.

Day 1—arrive in Catania from US at 09:30. Take bus from airport to Modica.
Day 2 & 3—Modica (wander, sightsee and recuperate from jet lag)
Day 4—leave Modica and bike to Pozzallo
Day 5—bike Pozzallo to Marzamemi
Day 6—bike Marzamemi to Noto, cycling through Vendicari park
Day 7—bike Noto to Syracuse and stay in Ortigia
Day 8 & 9—Ortigia
Day 10—pick up a rental car and leave Ortigia for I don’t know where. But, I absolutely need to include Villa Romana del Casale.
Day 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 ??????
Day 16, 17, 18 & 19—Palermo (drop off our car prior to arrival)

Questions:

1. For the places I’ve already decided upon, do I have about the right number of days?
2. I’d like two locales for my empty 6 nights. What are your suggestions? If you think I could fill all of my time with just one locale, we’d be up for that too.
3. I’ve thought about perhaps 3 nights in Cefalu and 3 in Trapani area. Thoughts on this?
4. Are there any great places you know that I should be sure to fit in my empty days?
5. I’m looking for a colorful, safe to walk around after dark, not in the middle of a tourist ghetto neighborhood for an apartment rental in Palermo. Any recommendations?

Thanks much.

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