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Two questions on Sicily itinerary

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We have worked out much of our two-week stay in Sicily in fall '16 but I have two remaining questions:
1. We were thinking of getting a driver from Palermo to take us to Segesta and then to Erice where we would stay two nights. Everything I read says that the drive into Erice is a bit scary and neither of us likes driving a stick shift on mountain roads. We also hear that finding the hotels in Erice is a challenge.(My travel companion insists on bringing two large suitcases and the prospect of having to park far away from the hotel and lug the bags isn't alluring.) For all these reasons, we thought getting a driver made sense. I have no idea how expensive it is, but couldn't be awful could it? In any case, after the two nights we would then rent a car in Trapani (getting there by taxi) and take off south for Selinunte/Agrigento. Is this just a stupid idea or does it make some sense? Any other suggestions?
2. We will be staying in Siracusa for 3 nights and are at loggerheads about whether to then go to Catania or to Taormina. We do want to do a day trip to Mt. Etna so which place is best for that? I think Taormina sounds awful (beautiful but packed when we will be there early October?). We do fly out of Catania and for that reason also I thought Catania made more sense.
Thoughts please?! Thanks

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