2 weeks in Sicily

Old Mar 31st, 2010, 01:54 PM
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2 weeks in Sicily

Looking for suggestions of high points to see for a week before staying in Taormina for another week. Will fly into Palermo and out of Catania. What are the 'do not miss' areas? We don't want to be on the run every day.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 02:41 PM
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Both Fodors and the Michelin Green Guide for Sicily give a good idea of what are the main sights. I would start there and also decide on the mode of transportation, which may affect accessibility to some sites.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 03:05 PM
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look at my 2005 trip report http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 03:46 PM
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Click on my name above for my 15 days trip report from 2005.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 04:39 PM
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Cefalu is wonderful -- not to be missed. Great food, great seaside, great view. It's about an hour drive from Palermo. It was our favorite part of Sicily.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 06:30 PM
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My three top candidates would be:

1. The Valley of the Temples, near Agrigento, which contains some of the best-preserved Grecian temples outside of Greece.

2. The Villa Imperiale del Casale, a beautiful 3rd or 4th century Roman villa.

3. Siracusa, including the Archeological Park and the island of Ortigia, with the Temple of Apollo and the cathedral built over the runis of the Temple of Athena.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 01:38 AM
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In addition to looking the Green Guide for Sicily, I recommend that you consider basing for a week somewhere other than Taormina proper, either in Castelmola just above it or an agriturismo near by. Taormina is packed with tourists and toursty restaurants.

http://www.castelmola.com/
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 05:05 AM
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We have friends who own a 300 year old family villa on the Corso Umberto where we have our own 8 room apartment (with parking) looking out to the Greek theater, so this is the best place for free that we could have for the second week. The first week is for exploring, the second week for relaxing.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 05:39 AM
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Before you leave Palermo:

Monreale is a cathedral whose interior will "blow you away". While there, walk up the hill to a taverna on the right (don't have the name) and have a great lunch.

Duomo in Palermo and Cappella Palatino in the area are stunning.

Four Corners area was being restored when we were there but it is an area of interest. We didn't get to the area on the water.

The Villa Imperiale del Casale mentioned above would also be on my list.

And where you are staying sounds wonderful! Please let everyone know how it goes.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 05:44 AM
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The Villa Imperiale del Casale is under restoration and has been for some time. Access is limited to those areas *not* under restoration, and they are not clearly defined anywhere.
You can perhaps judge how much access has been restricted from the fact that admission has been reduced from 6 Euro to 3 Euro.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 07:31 AM
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I stayed in Cefalú for a week, and thought it a great little town in which to stay and relax, but probably would not recommend it to visit if I were staying in e.g. Palermo. The Cathedral is quite good, but pales into insignificance next to that in Monreale. I would recommend Monreale as a must see even to people who normally avoid churches - it is simply breathtaking.

I liked Agrigento, but preferred both Selinunte and Segeste.
it is a pity there is limited information on the restoration of Villa Imperiale del Casale. The mosaics are probably the best Roman remains I have ever seen.

The unexpected highlight of my trip to Sicily was a traditional puppet show - I wasn't keen but got dragged along, and it was brilliant in a "Tom and Jerry violence" way.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 08:04 AM
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If you don't want to be on the run every day, and your villa in Taormina has parking, you can see some of Siracusa and Ortygia on a day trip during the week you are in Taormina, rather than try to cram everything into your first week and then simply stay in Taormina for your second.

The drive to Siracusa from Taormina is about 90 minutes, all on good modern highway. My strategy would be to head to the outdoor monuments of Siracusa early in the morning, see the museum and then have lunch in Ortygia, and see its Duomo, maybe also have a swim depending on what time of year you are going.

I have never been to the outdoor market in Catania but I have heard it is one of the most exciting in Italy, even if the city repels some people. You might make that another morning jaunt from Taormina, heading back with food for a great lunch at the villa.

You can google it up on the web, but the town where much of the Godfather was shot is near Taormina.

It can be find to drive around Etna, where you can see scars of eruptions past, and it's not crazy to make a pilgrimage to Bronte, home of the famed Sicilian pistacchio, especially if you are during the time of the pistacchio festival, but you can get great pistacchio products there all the time.

I mention all these things because you might find it irresistable once you are in Sicily to sit still in Taormina during the day. You can take easy drives to nearby destinations and still be back in the early afternoon.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 08:21 AM
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I haven't seen it myself, but there is another Roman villa with floor mosaics that are said to be spectacular near Noto.

This is the Web site (in Italian; the English version does not exist):
http://www.regione.sicilia.it/benicu...D=53&IdSito=83
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 08:41 AM
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If floor mosaics are of interest, the archeological site of Tindari is close to Taormina, and has its own amazing views. Among its treasures is the oldest Sicilian medusa known to exist:

http://www.thinksicily.com/guide-to-...y/tindari.aspx

http://siciliamo.blogspot.com/2008/0...donna-and.html

Here is more about pistacchio from Bronte:

http://lostinsicilia.blogspot.com/20...vers-only.html

And there is the villa of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton near Bronte, said to be one of the loveliest on the island:

http://www.thinksicily.com/guide-to-...in-sicily.aspx
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 11:47 AM
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We traveled in Sicily last October. Though the Roman villa at Casale was partly closed, we still saw lots of very good mosaics.

We also stopped at the villa at Tellaro near Noto and were disappointed. Very few mosaics not nearly as good as those at Casale. Now the town of Noto or rather its not-so-historic center is all in warm sandstone Sicilian Baroque and was very worth seeing.

Also there's a nice train from Taormina to Siracusa. But you have to get down to the Taormina station on the coast, a long way below the town.
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