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Which side of Sicily to use as a base for exploring?

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Hello, I am planning a 9-day trip to Sicily with my parents and grandparents. The plan is to rent a villa for the week and use it as a base for exploring. However, most of what I have read on this forum and others sadly indicates that the island is too big to be explored from one place only. So what I am thinking is, we spend 7 nights in a villa, and then 2 nights in a hotel on the other side of the island, so we can kind of aim to cover both sides. The question now is, which side to stay on for the 7 nights?

We found an amazing looking villa just south of Catania and managed to negotiate a very reasonable price... However, from the research I have done it sounds like the West side of the island has a lot more to see. We're more interested in Greek ruins and medieval architecture (as opposed to Baroque), not so much into beaches/beach resort towns or very touristy spots (though it's fine to visit for a day). We're a little more interested in traveling off the beaten path. From what I have read Agrigento, Erice, Monreale, Piazza Armerina, Segesta, and Siracusa sound the most appealing. Looking at the map it seems like staying right in the center of the island would be best, however my family is very set on having a house on the sea.

Where would you recommend we base ourselves?

Many thanks for the advice!

mp413

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