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Solo trip to Sicily in December

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I plan to spend 9 nights in Sicily, arriving on Saturday December 13 and departing on Monday, December 22. I'd like some guidance on an itinerary. I'm thinking Palermo and Syracuse but would like insights and also any additional overnight stops or daytrips. I haven't purchased my airfare so I can fly open jaw if necessary (into Palermo and returning from Catania for example).

A little about myself: I've visited Sicily once before (in 2000) but very briefly for just 3 nights. It was a tour and we just visited Palermo as a daytrip along with Monreale. Then we spent 1 night in Agrigento and 2 nights in Taormina visiting Mt Etna as another day trip. This was way too fast paced for my style these days (after I discovered the joys of independent travel). I prefer to not be too rushed in my travels and get to know each city I visit having time to just randomly stroll and explore without worrying about having so much I need to see in a short time. I travel twice a year to Spain spending 5 weeks in total and travel about half the time solo. My Sicily trip will be a solo trip and I'll be relying on public transportation. I love good food and wine. A visit to an Italian winery would be wonderful (but I don't know how difficult given public transportation). I also love history and culture - I'm hoping there may be some local festivities as this will be the week before Christmas. When I travel to Spain I particularly enjoy local festivals where you can get a glimpse into the culture you normally can't see in guidebooks. I'm generally not a fan of huge cities unless they have a nice compact city center. I can spend a couple of days in a small city where many people just visit as a daytrip. I like warm weather so a trip to the colder regions may not be as appealing to me. I know it's December so the islands and coastal resorts may also not be very happening.

I'd appreciate any help. When it comes to Spain I am well informed but I'm at a bit of a loss on where to start for Sicily. Thank you in advance for your responses.

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