3 WEEKS IN SICILY - ITINERARY HELP

Sep 1st, 2014, 06:24 AM
  #1  
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3 WEEKS IN SICILY - ITINERARY HELP

my wife and i are veteran travelers but have never been to sicily - everyone tells us that it is great. i few things to know: 1. although i taught history for 35 years, historical sites are 4th or 5th down the line, 2. "we travel to eat", 3. "put down the map and get lost" - wandering is what we enjoy, 4. have driven all over the world but bus would be great.

ideas:
PALERMO AREA - 3-4 DAYS
then AEOLIAN ISLANDS 3-4 DAYS
OR
TRAPANI & EGADI ISLAND 3-4 DAYS
SCIACCA (3 DAYS)
PIAZZA ARMERINA (3 DAYS)
RAGUSA/MODICA (3 DAYS)
SIRACUSA (3 DAYS)
CATANIA (2 DAYS)

fly out of catania to naples then bus to our favorite rural italian village CAILTRI for 10 days.

thanks in advance for your help.
toledodd is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 06:32 AM
  #2  
 
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I like your itinerary except for the ending. I would spend the last 2 days in Taormina before traveling to the Catania airport. The trip to the airport is about an hour from Taormina.
mamcalice is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 07:04 AM
  #3  
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have heard the taormina was very nice but very touristy, but then again, probably not in early june.
toledodd is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 07:34 AM
  #4  
 
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Try to fit in Erice.

I visited Taormina (day trip) at the end of May and there were few tourists.

Sounds like a great trip.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 08:20 AM
  #5  
 
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You have heard correctly about Taormina and if you travel to eat you might want to stay outside the town in an agriturismo or in Catania to get better food and just visit Taormina as a day trip. If you have been to other beauty spots in Italy than Taormina may not rock your world but the Greek theatre there is a truly great 5* sight and very much worth popping in and out to see.

The food of Palermo is unique to Palermo so read up before hand to learn about it (and I suggest a lunch at Piccolo Napoli). It can be worthwhile to visit Palermo's food markets -- which are not like the boutiqued food markets of other tourist towns of Europe but a still-vibrant part of the city. (I hear the same is true of Catania.) The Vuccaria is the most touristy and the Capo the least touristy. The earlier you get there in the morning the more you will experience the actual rhythm of the market (especially the fish market of the Capo).

You need to be a teeny bit careful just wandering in Sicily. If you are driving you can easily tire (it is not like getting lost in Tuscany) and if you are in the cities not every neighborhood is easy to ready or savory looking.
sandralist is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #6  
 
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Sorry for that last typo. I meant to type "not every neighborhood is easy to read." I don't wish to paint a false picture of Sicilian cities as unsafe. But there are neighborhoods in the cities that really have no tourism at all and just a maze of alleys where I am not sure how advisable it is to go looking to get lost in them and pulling out your cellphone GPS to find your way out.
sandralist is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 09:33 AM
  #7  
kja
 
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I was in Taormina in mid-May of 2007; it was packed with tourists during the day. But it was lovely after they left!

Don't miss the cathedral in Monreale or the Villa Romana del Casale.

When in Siracusa, stay in Ortygia.

I can't imagine you'll have any difficulty finding good food or wine!
kja is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 12:20 PM
  #8  
 
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What time of the year will you be visiting, or did I somehow miss that information?

I highly recommend the Aeolian Islands. You can get there by train to Milazzo and then hyrofoil or ferry to Lipari or one of the other islands. Four days would be OK; a week or more would be better. (On my last visit I spent three weeks and could have stayed longer.) I wouldn't recommend them in high season though--July and August can be really busy, especially on Panarea. My favorite islands are Salina and Panarea. Salina is bigger, with mountains and more to explore; Panarea is tidy and compact and gorgeous (no cars--just walking or golf cart taxis for transportation). The main commercial island, Lipari, is a good base for daily boat trips to the other islands, and it has its charms.

For "mainland" Sicily itself, I would think you would want a car, which will make exploration much easier. Otherwise, I'm not sure 3 nights in Sciacca and 3 nights in Piazza Armerina make sense.
aprillilacs is offline  
Sep 1st, 2014, 06:36 PM
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I would skip the Egadi islands and stay in Erice instead.

I believe Taormina is touristy any time of year, but you should at least visit the Greek theater and go up to Castlemola.

Not sure what you would do with three days in Piazza Armerina.

For my TR see: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ing-sicily.cfm

I used a tour for part of my time, but would have no hesitation in going back and using public transport (it's definitely on my go-back-to list!)
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2014, 03:41 AM
  #10  
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"Not sure what you would do with three days in Piazza Armerina"
when we travel we like to spend a little time getting to know an area a little better - hanging out in town piazza, being as local as possible. we don't just run from one historical site to the next without attempting to savor the locale. we often spend 5 days or so in a remote mountain village with nothing special to do.
toledodd is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2014, 05:13 AM
  #11  
 
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I would check distances to see if you can base in fewer places at the end of the trip. While in Palermo, please don't miss Monreale. Capella Palatino in Palermo also special for mosaics. No doubt you have googled these already?

I'm with you in spirit!
TDudette is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2014, 05:47 AM
  #12  
 
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You don't mention anything about Agrigento and the Valley of Temples but I'll assume you're going there since you'll be on the southern coast. Modica is a wonderful city. If you like chocolate you have to visit Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. If you're looking for a place to stay in Modica look into Casa Talia. If you like ceramics visit the town of Caltagirone. Trapani is well worth the visit but I would stay in Erice as others have suggested. Check out Hotel Elimo. Erice has some of the most beautiful vistas in all of Italy.

Also, the interior of Sicily is very beautiful and worth exploring by car. While I drove in Palermo I would not recommend it for the faint of heart. Also, never leave anything in your car parked in Palermo. You'll see the carcasses of stolen suitcases all over the place. The markets in Palermo are well worth the trip. I would pass on Taormina. Yes it's very nice but it's more like Tuscany than Sicilia.
His_Dudeness is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2014, 05:41 PM
  #13  
 
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Ah toledodd,
I see you have joined the Fordorites.
Most of the posters above inspired my trip and answered many questions for me. I am forever in their debt for getting me to Sicily!

If you might like a completely untouristed Baroque town look at Scicli. I really enjoyed this absolutely Sicilian experience.

Spent less than 24 hours in Taormina May 3 and it was jammed with cruise ship tourists. Could have skipped.

Stayed IN Erice at Erice Pietre Antiche apartments. Highly recommend, but hurry there are only 4. Massimo, mrg, is fabulous.
Dayle is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 05:37 AM
  #14  
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interested in spending 5 days or so in the baroque region of southwest sicily. thinking of doing 2 days in ragusa and 3 in piazza armerina or vice versa. we will have a car and would it be better to spend 5 days in one location in between the 2? thanks
toledodd is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 12:03 PM
  #15  
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this will be my final posting for about 2 weeks. heading to toronto for the film festival. i want to thank all for the wonderful advice. you have helped me plan what looks like a very interesting 3 weeks in Sicily. here is our PRELIMINARY final plans:

1. Fly Detroit to Naples

2. Bus Naples -- Avelino --- Calitri

3. 7 days in Calitri

4. Bus Calitri -- Avellino -- Naples

5. flight Naples to Catania

6. CATANIA area (3 days)

7. SIRACUSA - ORTYGIA (3 days)

PICK UP CAR

8. CALTRAGIRONE (5 days)

day trips to: RAGUSA, MODICA, PIAZZA ARMERINA

9. SCIACCA ( 3 days)

day trips to Agrigento, Caltabellotta

10. PALERMO (3 days)

drop of car ASAP

11. one of Aeolian Islands (3 days)

12 ISLANDS TO NAPLES - ferry

13. overnite NAPLES

14. FLIGHT HOME
toledodd is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 12:23 PM
  #16  
 
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Pity to miss Trapani and Erice. Day trips from Palermo (bus)?
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 03:07 PM
  #17  
 
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Again, what time of year? It matters.

The ferries and hydrofoils from Palermo to the Aeolis and from the Aeolis to Naples may or may not be running, depending on the time of year and weather. (One May we had to wait two days in Milazzo because a storm in Spain made the Med too rough.) Ferries are more likely than hydrofoils to run in rough weather, but you can't necessarily count on even them. I would not recommend scheduling the islands so close to your departure date from Italy--if the boats aren't running, you are stuck and miss your flight.
aprillilacs is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 04:06 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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You might want to add a day to Palermo, more if you take thursdaysd's suggestion.
kja is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 04:47 PM
  #19  
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going in may 2015. plan to do the islands during the first week in june. all of the ferries are supposed to be running by then.

thanks for info
toledodd is offline  
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