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Feedback on Trip Itinerary - Sicily & the Amalfi Coast - Help!

Feedback on Trip Itinerary - Sicily & the Amalfi Coast - Help!

Aug 26th, 2010, 11:57 AM
  #1  
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Feedback on Trip Itinerary - Sicily & the Amalfi Coast - Help!

I've gotten such great advice for almost every trip I've taken - I'm hoping some of you will have thoughts on this one! What do you think? This is a trip for the end of September...

3 nights: Palermo (could do a day trip to Cefalu, either add a day or do it within the time period mentioned)

On the 4th day, go to Agrigento in the AM, spend the day and rent a car to get to the next 2 stops (terrified of driving there, but will have to get over it as I think public transport to the next stop will be difficult and time consuming)

1 night: Piazza Armerina / Ragusa Ibla (staying in Marina de Ragusa).

2 nights - Siracusa, or Syracuse. Possible day trip to Noto if there's time

3 nights - Taormina - Day trip (I think they do them at dusk) to Mount Etna.

Then we're flying from Catania to Naples; we have 4 nights for the Amalfi Coast. I was thinking, after reading advice here, of maybe going straight to Capri and spending a night there, then get based in Sorrento for the remaining nights.

Any thoughts on complications that could arise? A better way to do it? Things to watch out for/avoid? Nice/safe places to stay that are reasonably priced (less than $140/nt US)? Thanks in advance!
RobinBinNYC is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 12:01 PM
  #2  
 
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I think that 3 nights in Taormina is at least 1 night too many.
dutyfree is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 12:09 PM
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I agree with dutyfree (hi, dutyfree!). The more time you can give to Siracusa (and stay on Ortigia, not in the main town) over Taormina, the better. Also, I would recommend a day trip to Erice (even better to spend a night) over Cefalu.

For my Sicily TR see http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ing-sicily.cfm and for photos of Erice see http://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/South-Italy-2008
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 01:10 PM
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I agree...less time in Taormina, or even Taormina as a day trip, unless you do not mind tourist-choked streets and overpriced restaurants. This is less true in the off season, but late September will still be close enough to high season to insure tourist crowds.

Taormina is undoubtedly a beauty spot but I do not think you have to stay there more than a night...unless you are looking for beach time.

One problem that I had when I visited in the spring a few years ago was that quite a few hotels in that town required a minimum of three night's stay except in the off season..

Maybe look into staying in the tiny town of Castelmola:

http://www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art122.htm


A well-located moderate hotel in Palermo:

http://www.hoteljoli.com/
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 01:33 PM
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Check the schedule for the Villa del Casale--www.villaromanadelcasale.it. It has abbreviated hours in September and will be closed in October.
Do you have a particular reason for staying in Marina di Ragusa? I might stay in Ragusa Ibla or Modica (thought Modica was more of a real town)that night because the Baroque towns have a different feel from your other destinations. Given that you'll have a car, you could stop at Noto on your way to Ortigia. If you're not able to see the mosaics at the Villa del Casale, there's another site, the Villa del Tellaro, very near Noto. Much smaller than the site at Piazza Armerina (which we weren't able to see) but easy to access and gives a glimpse at that time period.
bon_voyage is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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Don't miss Monreale while you are in Palermo. I am one who loves Taormina but 2 nights is probably enough especially since you are going to Amalfi and Capri. We took exactly the same trip a couple of years ago and it was wonderful.
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 01:14 PM
  #7  
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Thank you so much everyone for the information!! In particular, it's good to know that Villa del Casale will be closed (thanks, bon_voyage! We were going to stay in Marina di Ragusa as I read that it was more lively in the evenings, and thought we might like to go to the beach there)- I think in that case we may go straight to the Siracusa/Ortigia area, or add another day to Palermo.

I'm also thinking of nixing the car rental - I'm not sure we'll need it if we're going straight to Siracusa from Agrigento. What do you think?

Thanks also, ekscrunchy for the advice about Hotel Joli, it looks great but unfortunately it's booked! Has anyone ever heard of or stayed at Hotel Letizia in Palermo? http://www.hotelletizia.com/homepage.asp
RobinBinNYC is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 01:18 PM
  #8  
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Oh! And another question - our flight leaves from Catania (to Naples) at 10:40 a.m.. To catch that flight, coming from Taormina, do you think we'll need to get to Catania the night before?
RobinBinNYC is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 01:48 PM
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There is a bus from Taormina to the Catania airport, but I don't know its hours. We splurged on a taxi.

I liked both Ortigia and Taormina very much. If you do Taormina in a daytrip, get off the main drag and look for the city park. Oh, and don't miss the Greek Theater.
Mimar is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Robin -

we found driving in Sicily to be quite easy. In fact,we had some of our most memorable moments on the drive from Palermo to Agrigento. We drove "counterclockwise," passing through Marsala's vineyards during harvest season and then by Trapani's salt pans where we could watch the windmills and the salt workers.
drbb is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 03:10 PM
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Robin: You most certainly can spend your last night in Taormina and then drive, take a taxi, or take the bus to the airport in Catania. (We took a taxi)
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 03:12 PM
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Bus timetables, and other transport info:


http://www.gotaormina.com/en/how_to_...transport.html
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 03:22 PM
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Too bad that you cannot spend more time in AGRIGENTO. We hired a tour guide to take us through the temples, and it was amazing... especially if you can see them lit up at night!!

I agree with others that TAORMINA can be trimmed. Also, WE LOVED STROMBOLI and would have loved to spend more time on the volcanic islands.

Have fun!
bettyo70 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 03:24 PM
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Also agree that driving through Sicily was easy. There were no tolls and the roads were very smooth.

Being a pedestrian in Palermo was kind of stressful, though! If the restaurant CIN-CIN is open, definitely pop in for a meal. One of the greatest meals I've had in Italy, and that's saying a lot!
bettyo70 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 03:31 PM
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If you would consider a B&B instead of a hotel for Palermo, I really liked this place: http://www.bed-and-breakfast.palermo.it/eng/

The photos are accurate, and the owner has a lot of info on Palermo. It's not right in the center, but the street it's on is like a little village.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 07:16 AM
  #16  
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Thank you all for your input! Based on some of the recommendations, I think we'll look to add one day to the Palermo part of the trip, and one day to Siracusa/Ortygia. Now for the hunt for lodging! I'm sure I'll be back with more questions at some point
RobinBinNYC is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 10:24 AM
  #17  
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thursdaysd, I've just had a chance to finish reading your trip reports - thank you so much for posting them! Very helpful for both this leg and the AC leg of my trip.

2 further questions, all - if we arrive in Agrigento as a day trip on our way to Siracusa (that's assuming the train schedules and heavens align!), do you know if the train station has lockers (and if they're safe?).

If we decide to rent a car for a portion of the trip, when do you think it will be most helpful?
Palermo - Agrigento
Agrigento - Siracusa

...and if I rent a car, should I keep it in said city, or drop it off and revert to public transport? I'm assuming I will not need one for my stay in Palermo - or just rent one for a day trip if needed? I also want to be sure, in Agrigento, that we can go see the ruins via public transport?
RobinBinNYC is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 11:22 AM
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The schedule for the Villa Casale has changed once again and states that it will be open limited days and hours in October:
http://www.villaromanadelcasale.it
Re the car: We found it relatively easy to get in and out of Siracusa/Ortigia by car, but I would not recommend having a car in Palermo.
bon_voyage is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 09:20 AM
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I'm so glad I visited the forum today. I was so disappointed the last time I looked at this thread and saw that the Villa Casale would be closed in October. I removed it from our itinerary, but now I see that I can put it back on. Thanks, bon_voyage.
DickPatterson is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 01:08 PM
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Your welcome, Dick. I have a friend who'll be in Sicily in October and was checking the Villa del Casale's website periodically for her.
bon_voyage is offline  

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