10 days in Sicily without a plan

Old Apr 10th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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10 days in Sicily without a plan

Next October 2015, my wife and I are planning to spend 10 days in Sicily. We have travel through much of Italy and just want to see what Sicily is like. We want to stay in interesting towns/cities and are open to traveling through out Sicily, but not adverse to staying in one area if it seems right. With this vague plan, can you advise, "if you had 10 days in Sicily for your first visit"
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 04:45 PM
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I would visit Palermo, Agrigento, and Siracusa/Ortigya.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 04:56 PM
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If you have previous experience of Italy, then you know that just because places are close by each other when you look at a map they may not

(a) be anything like each other culturally or scenically


(b) be easy to get to public transportation or even by a speedy car trip.

Sicily is a "multicultural" island and even in 10 days you will only get slices of it. Palermo is a shockingly different in terms of its culture than other parts of Sicily -- until you remember that New York or Miami or Phoenix is shockingly different from other parts of America. (If you come from America and know what I mean).

So that is a long way of saying that there is no authentic way of understanding Sicily in 10 days. A better approach might be to pick what really really personally interests you most -- whether that is greek ruins or volcanoes or great food or beautiful views -- and make sure you experience that first, and whatever else you can along the way.

Sicily is almost a world unto itself -- very different from much of Italy -- so even when you only get to see a slice, it is really worth it. The only time I visited Sicily without a car I stayed in Palermo the whole time (and loved it!) but if you want to see as much as you can of Sicily then I highly recommend getting a car.

There is a poster on the TripAdvisor message forum for Sicily who lives in Sicily and knows every square inch of the island (and its satellite islands) by heart. When you get to the nitty gritty of your logistics, or even before, she is an extraordinary resource (but don't let her talk you into more than you want to take on!). She calls herself "Vagabonda" online. There are other natives of Sicily on that forum who can help as well. Very much worth checking out.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 04:58 PM
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PS: Please buy a guidebook for Sicily.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 05:28 PM
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I agree that TripAdvisor is much stronger for Sicily than Fodor's, no offense to the posters here. I did most of Sicily research on that forum, and I'm a diehard Fodor's person.

If we're just randomly naming places that we think are great in Sicily, I'll shout Palermo (yes, it's fantastic and different), Modica (but I love Baroque), Ortigia/Siracusa, and the sites of Villa Romana del Casale and Valle dei Templi (not necessarily the towns attached to them, though those are good too).

Have fun.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 05:39 PM
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Hi John,

It's been a year since I left for my long-planned Sicily trip. I was able to go for nearly a month and it wasn't enough time!

I chose spring because I wanted to see the island beautifully green and full of wildflowers - gorgeous!

Of all the places I visited I think my favorites were Erice and Segesta, Selinute, Villa Romana, Ortygia and the Aeolina Islands. If you would like to read my trip report, just click on my name. I would not return to Taormina (too touristy resorty crowded for my preferences) or to Scicli (enjoyed it but saw enough in 1.5 days).

With just 10 days, I would choose an area of the island and concentrate there. Sicily has so much of everything to offer that you need to decide your own priorities.

I drove for 9 days of the trip and had no problems at all.

Buon viaggio!
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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I think adrienne has given you a good starting plan -- Palermo (don't miss the cathedral in Monreale!), the Valley of the Temples (Agrigento), and Siracusa/Ortigya. I also agree with Leely2 that you should consider including the Villa Romana del Casale. As several people are noting, you WILL need to be selective, as 10 days is not nearly enough for even the highlights of Sicily.

If your timing is flexible, May is a wonderful time to be there.

Of the half-dozen guidebooks I used when planning my trip to the area, I found the Rough Guide most useful.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 06:42 PM
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I also wanted to make clear in case it wasn't clear in my first post that I was also in Sicily with a car and I road-tripped. I think it would be hard to enjoy Sicily from just "one base".

I have seen lists of Sicily "Top Ten" tourist sights but I highly recommend going your own way and being guided by your primary interests rather than official WOWS or the textbook history lesson . Maybe the majority of people are satisfied with lowest common denominator tourism for Sicily (or Italy) but Sicily has so much fascinating variety and history that it is really impossible to say for someone else that seeing this or that famous site or view is more "Top Ten" than seeing a volcano or the salt flats or ex-mafia sites or the Lord Nelson sites or the Arab sites. Or the puppets! Go for what interests you to see and experience.
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