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Surprise trip to Sicily for my mom!

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Hi Everyone,
Recently my father, sister, brother-in-law and I surprised my mom for a big birthday with a family trip to Sicily. She has been doing a lot of family ancestry research (her mom was born in Messina and her father's family is from Montevago) so she is more than excited to go, especially with all of us!
I had posted before at the very beginning of planning, and now that I have a better idea of our schedule, I was hoping you might be able to look it over for us! Nothing has been booked yet, so any suggestions about where to stay, where to eat, or what to see would be greatly appreciated!

Here is a little bit about us...
-4 out of 5 of us are teachers, so we have to go in July, I know it's not the best time, but it's our only option!
-we'd like the hotels and restaurants to be moderately priced, we will need 3 rooms and want to stay in safe, clean and relatively cheap hotels, nothing fancy necessary
-we are interested in history, culture, taking pictures and wandering, we are not at all into clubs, bars, etc.
-we are into good, traditional food and gelato!!! any suggestions?

I can't begin to tell you how much we truly appreciate your help and ideas. This is going to be a family trip we will really treasure forever! Here's what I have so far!

July 8- fly from JFK to Palermo
July 9-11 Stay in Palermo- Maybe a train ride to Cefalu? I'm looking at Butera 28, looks like a great place to stay!
July 11- Rent a car (for the rest of the trip)-there seems to be an autoeurope office pretty close to the hotel, so hopefully we can pick up a car there

and here is where I dont know how to time things and could really use some help!

July 11-17, We'd like to visit castellamare del golfo, montevago, agrigento, porto empedocle, syracuse, taormina, and I'm sure there are places I'm missing!
Any suggestions on where to stay and how many days to stay there? I'm thinking two hotels during this time and lots of side trips?
July 17-20 Messina, Torre Faro-my mom has family here and she would like to visit them and explore the area
July 20- depart from Catania airport.

I truly truly appreciate your time and suggestions! Thanks so much in advance!
:0)Joanna

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