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Sicily Itinerary for June 7th arrival, June 14th or 15th departure- advice

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Please offer perspective on itinerary for only about 7-8 nights total in Sicily. We have considered flying into Catania, staying for the first two nights in Syracusa (Ortigia) in part because I will not be able to drive a considerable distance on the afternoon of arrival due to exhaustion, then staying in the region Modica, Ragusa for about 2-3 nights, and finally to Palermo for the final two nights (perhaps would like a recommendation of a village/town of interest to stay on the way to Palermo). We fear that Taormina would be too touristy for our taste (and less “authentic Sicily”), and Palermo, despite its downsides (some chaos, a bit dirty, a bit crazy) may be very interesting. We only have about 7-8 nights and love countryside, generally stay away from overly touristy destinations and large crowds, and we will only have 7-8 nights, so thought it may be good to fly into Catania airport and fly out of Palermo (dropping our car off at the airport and transporting to hotel in Palermo to avoid driving in the city, and getting a quick taxi on the morning of departure. I understand that some people love Palermo, some dislike it (much like NYC), but it does seem to be an authentic part of Sicily not to miss. Traveling with me are my mother and 9 year old son. I will be doing all the driving. We like mostly high end masserias in the country side and 4-5 star boutique hotels or B&Bs in the city. So far considering hotel "Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel" or La Vie della Guidecca for Siracusa, either Tenuta Cammarana or Quartarella for Modica/Ragusa Scicli area, and for Palermo, BB22 Palermo, B&B Maxim, or Buttera 28 apartments (not a likely choice), but looking for any advice on Palermo hotel.
Questions:
any suggestions on a village/town to visit and stay one night en route to Palermo from Modica/Ragusa area?
am I on target with skipping Taormina?
Palermo-- do I need to see it? Think so, but want to validate. We love crazy markets-- think that would be an incredible experience!
Will I miss the crazy Palermo driving if we drop off car at hotel and taxi to hotel for our Palermo stay? I still have nightmares about driving in circles in Florence... Just want to make sure that the highway from countryside to Palermo airport is a little bit immune from the alleged crazy driving? Plus we have to be at airport by 5am morning of departure- so don't want to take risks

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