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3 days in Ortygia Sicily

Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 10:16 AM
  #1  
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3 days in Ortygia Sicily

Getting back to planning details for our trip to Sicily.

We have 3 full days in Ortygia, at Easter time (Sat, Sun and Monday - April 17). On the 18th we will drive to Piazza Armerina. I know that one can spend many days probably in many places but obviously that's not possible. Since we have a car, we can do day trips. I am considering spending maybe 1 day in Ortygia/Syracuse and driving to Noto, Modica, Ragusa for the other 2days.

I'd appreciate advice about using these 3 days and where else to stop (we will not have luggage in the car), what itinerary to consider. On April 17 everything will be closed and I was reading about many road closures due to processions. Where would you spend this day: in Ortygia or on a day trip?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 10:27 AM
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This may help
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...cioccolato.cfm
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 10:32 AM
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I would spend the 17th in Ortigia.

When are you visiting the historic sights and museums in Siracusa?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 06:12 PM
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kja
 
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It really depends on what you want! I spent 2.5 full delightful days just in Ortygia / Siracusa. I was also glad to spend an afternoon and night in Noto, but didn't try to visit Medical or Ragusa. Your trip, your priorities!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 06:28 PM
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Thanks. I didn't yet have the time to look at maps in Ortygia and Siracusa. I do not have a sense for distances. As much as possible, I would like to avoid using the car there. Can one easily walk from Ortygia to the main sites in Siracusa? We will be staying at L'Approdo dell Sirene in Ortygia. Is there some public transportation between Ortygia and Siracusa or in Siracusa? How does one get around there?

I was trying to get a sense for how much is too much for a day. Is Noto, Modica, Ragusa too much for a day? They are all baroque cities. While I am sure that each of these towns has its own charm, does one of them offer more (and justifies maybe dropping the other)? We will not be able to see "all of it"...

I am trying to take some "short cuts" building on the experience of those who have been there as I am drowning in too much information and I have only limited time due to family obligations. So your suggestions matter.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 06:56 PM
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kja
 
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I loved L'Approdo delle Sirene! If you enjoy it half as much as I did, you will have a great time.

When I was in the area, I walked everywhere, but I know that some people chose public transportation for the archeological sites. I believe it's about 2 km from L'Approdo delle Sirene to the archeological park in Siracusa and a similar (or shorter) distance to other sites you are most likely to want to see in Siracusa proper. It's less than a kilometer to most sites on Ortygia itself (e.g., a half kilometer to the Duomo). As I recall, there were buses for the sites in Siracusa itself, but most of Ortygia is pedestrian only.

You might look at google.maps -- it's usually pretty good at identifying routes and times.

As I recall, I spent 2 or 3 hours exploring Noto while sites were still open, and then -- after lingering over a glass of prosecco -- I spent another hour walking around again (on the same roads) to see the facades in the light after sunset. Again, it depends on what, exactly, you want to see and experience.

Since I haven't visited Modica and Ragusa, I really can't say how they differ from Noto. What I read -- and what made me choose Noto -- is that Noto's Baroque is a bit less traditional (and far more humorous) than that of the other Baroque towns; it's stone is a far warmer yellow color -- shown to best effect after dark; and while parts of Noto are up a steep hill, and most of its buildings can be entered only by stairs, the main street is flat. I can certainly say that what I read about Noto matched my experience; I can't speak to either other city.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 10:25 PM
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Certainly you can walk, there are urban buses (amazingly narrow ones) or you take a taxi.

Ortigia is not ped only but driving is pretty difficult.

Modica is really for its Chocolate

Long summer days you could do all three cities.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 10:49 PM
  #8  
kja
 
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When I visited Ortygia, it was pedestrian-only -- meaning that vehicles were allowed in to service residences and businesses, and to provide emergency services, but were not allowed in just "because". Things could have changed.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 11:21 PM
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Buses are a bit undependable in Siracusa; we chose a taxi arranged by our hotel to get to archaeological park. Ten euros, well spent. You can walk but the heat can get to you, although in April might not be so hot yet.

Where will you be headed after Ortygia? You npmight be able to see Ragusa on your way to the next destination; it is the farthest away from Siracusa.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:08 AM
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Ortigia has a time dependant traffic free zone which can be confusing. It means from roughly midday friday to sunday midnight (times may vary) the zone is inforce. To get around the zone you have to get your hotel to book you in as a "resident" which they tend not to do in high season.

Since you may need to use GPS etc probably best to know now that Italian does not really have a "y" in it. I know Americans spell Ortygia with one, but you will find local sat nav etc may have an issue. Hence also Siracusa not Syracusa.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_orthography
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:09 AM
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Oh yes and Sicilia
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 11:13 AM
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The hotel we stayed at on Ortigia provided parking ie they parked the car for us in the free zones. Perhaps your hotel has this feature available? If not, it's a very well reputed hotel, and I'm sure will advise you on dropping off your luggage without getting a ticket from the ZTL zone.

If I were you, I would email the hotel and ask about what is going on locally on Easter weekend. I have tried to look for you, but cannot find any info on what's happening in Siracusa at that time.

Modica is more than a chocolate center. I don't care for the chocolate myself, but we stayed there for 2 nights, and enjoyed the town. The baroque sites require some clamboring around the streets and alleyways and are not all clustered together like they are in Noto. However, I liked the town; it's less touristy feeling than Noto. We were just there this past May.

For a day trip it might be a little hard to get around there with public transportation. Just depends how good you are with stairs.

Another thing you should consider is the afternoon closings in Sicily, which are roughly from 1-4 pm. We finally gave in and started having a nice long lunch and smaller dinners, since not much is happening during the afternoon hours anyway. But it could affect how much you can see on a daytrip if you're trying to do 3 towns in a day.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 11:35 AM
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Thanks a lot for the good suggestions, I will take them all into account. They are very helpful.

After Ortygia, we are going to Piazza Armerina and w. the luggage in the car I am reluctant to stop on the way. Since we will be there on a weekend, I will get back to the hotel to make sure that we know how to drive into town and avoid fines and to ask them about what's happening in town for Easter.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 11:58 AM
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Yes, Ragusa would be out of the way to stop on the way to Piazza Armerina anyway. If you want to go straight there, I would recommend the highway towards Catania, then branch off on A19 towards Enna. Will be much faster than the little roads going south. We haven't got to Ragusa yet, but it has good reviews, so maybe you will get there as a daytrip from Ortigia.
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 03:24 PM
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At this time I could not yet figure out if the Easter weekend will be different than others. I asked the hotel and the Tourist Office and hope for some answers. I believe that we will spend Monday, April 17th in Ortygia & Siracuse and maybe Saturday, April 15 we will go by car to Noto and Modica or Ragusa. Supposedly there are some buses that connect Ragusa's lower part with its upper part, if these buses are reliable and function on Saturdays, as I would not want to deal with 250 + steps.

I would still have Sunday, April 16 and will decide based on what's open and what's happening in Ortygia & Siracusa. We love markets and the one in Siracusa seems to be open on Sunday too. Otherwise we might switch day to catch the market in Ortygia or Siracusa.
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 05:17 PM
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kja
 
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I'm sure it's frustrating to be unable to find information about Easter, but it sounds like you have a very workable plan for an enjoyable stay.
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Old Jan 26th, 2017, 02:39 PM
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You are right, kja. I have what I hope it is a manageable itinerary, reservations for all accommodations. The rest is still to be worked out.

So back to planning the details. I am finding that providers of services (like the hydrofoil, parking places, etc.) and websites for local government/tourist info offices do not reply to a question sent via Email (despite the fact that they provide Email addresses) and some do not even have phone numbers. It is many times hard to figure out reliable opening hours, etc. I am trying not missing out on what I care to see due to lack of information since we will be only for a short time in each place and also to avoid needless driving related frustrations. But such is life.
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Old Jan 26th, 2017, 06:20 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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You're staying at L'Approdo delle Sirene, aren't you? They were very responsive when I stayed with them some years ago. I wonder if the family that runs it might be on vacation? You might try again in another week or so....
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Old Jan 26th, 2017, 07:43 PM
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I will be calling them tomorrow as I sent 2 Emails (mid- December & Jan) and maybe they went to they spam folder...
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Old Jan 26th, 2017, 08:04 PM
  #20  
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Good luck!
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