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Focusing on a few stops in Sicily -- HELP!

Focusing on a few stops in Sicily -- HELP!

Dec 5th, 2015, 01:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 191
Focusing on a few stops in Sicily -- HELP!

We will not have time to see everything (who ever does) on our trip to Sicily -- and we do not want to be moving every day. So we are looking to focus on a few places and do day trips to surrounding spots of interest. Here is the first draft -- would definitely appreciate feedback:

--Fly Rome-Catania and drive (or be driven) to Taormina 2 NIGHTS TAORMINA
--SYRACUSE: 3-4 nights with day visits to Ragusa, Noto, Modica
(Can we also do a day visit to Piazza Armerina from here easily?)
--Agrigento or Selinunte: 2 nights? Which is better to see temples, etc?
--Segesta: one night? (Is it easy to get to Trapani/Erice in a day?)
--Palermo: 3 nights and fly back to Rome
Will this just drive us crazy? Any other suggestions about seeing Agrigento/Selinunte?
losaltos is offline  
Dec 5th, 2015, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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hi losaltos,

2 nts in Taormina would give you time to recover from the long flight, looks good

3-4 nts in Siracusa - be sure to stay on Ortigia, the tiny island, not in the city. Ortigia on its own is worth a good 3 days since there is much to see, including the Arch Park and museums in Siracusa.

I don't think you really need to see 3 Baroque towns. Pick 2 and call it good - unless you are a huge fan of the architecture.

Agrigento and Selinute are two very different sites and both worthwhile. Agrigento seems busier because every bus tour and practically every tourist goes there. It's still incredible. I liked Selinute because the scenery is quite nice and the ancient city area out on the acropolis above the sea really gives you an idea of the wealth and importance of the city. It's such a big, open area that it doesn't seem crowded.

I believe there is an agritourismo near Segesta, but it's out in a very beautiful countryside setting so I think you would end up staying either IN Trapani or Erice. Segesta is only about 25 min. drive from either.

Click on my name for my TR from 2013 in case it gives you some ideas. Happy to answer any questions if I can!

Happy planning
Dayle is offline  
Dec 5th, 2015, 03:05 PM
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It's essentially our itinerary, but in reverse. You might want to read my trip report; click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
Dec 5th, 2015, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You are looking at an awfully long day and probably 4 hours of driving round trip if you want to go Piazza Armerina from Ortygia or from Taormina. Maybe a little bit less from Agrigento. But, whatever you do, make sure to fit in the mosaics.

We drove only to the outskirts of Agrigento and saw the temples from afar, so I can't give you any advice on the actual site itself. This was a urban setting. We spent many hours at Selinute and loved it because, as Dayle has mentioned, the scale of it is really impressive and makes you appreciate what a large size town this was. IMO from what we saw in Agrigento, the setting itself is much, much better.

I am hoping to finish up my on-going trip report on our October visit to Sicily in the next few days.
julies is offline  
Dec 5th, 2015, 06:18 PM
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You've already gotten some great advice! I'll just add a few comments:

I wouldn't try to drive from Catania to Taormina -- a car won't do you any good at that point, and could be a detriment. And if there is ANY chance that you will have jet lag, then it is down right dangerous to drive. Wait until having a car will be of use.

I agree that there is plenty to see in Ortygia and no need to visit all of the Baroque towns unless that is a particular interest. FWIW, I loved Noto, which is easily reached by bus or train from Ortygia.

I, too, enjoyed both Agrigento and Selninunte, and agree with the comments already offered. I would add the the best preserved of the temples at these sites is at Agrigento.

Unfortunately, the Villa Romana del Casale is not easily visited as a day trip from Ortygia -- but it is, IMO, a highlight among Sicily's many highlights, so do try to find a way to visit it!

Another highlight, IMO, is Monreale's Cathedral (with cloister), which is easily visited from Palermo.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Dec 5th, 2015, 06:55 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,519
I would stay overnight in Modica or Ragusa and cut the overnight in Segesta. If you have four nights in Ortigia you could cut that to three, do two nights in either Modica or Ragusa Ibla, and drive to Piazza Armerina for the day from there.

Just my thoughts, not necessarily good ones.
Leely2 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2015, 07:14 PM
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Oops! I got distracting while typing and forgot to finish a thought. "...the best preserved of the temples at these sites is at Agrigento, in part because it was converted to a church at one point, and so has some unusual features."
kja is offline  
Dec 5th, 2015, 11:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
The itinerary you are outlining is a fairly typical trip to Sicily for a lot of people. It depends on how you feel about road tripping, and how much you enjoy sightseeing ancient and architectural sites. Some people plan out such itineraries thinking these are "must-sees" when they actually don't enjoy visiting ruins all that much. I happen to like it, and I rather enjoy road tripping, but if you are worried you are burdening yourself with too much sightseeing or too much time on the road, Sicily is quite enjoyable and interesting in itself, so adjust accordingly.

I drove from Catania to Taormina and had no problem at all, and it was a dark and stormy night, although I was not jet lagged. There are parking garages in Taormina. You might want to rent or bring your own GPS.
sandralist is offline  
Dec 6th, 2015, 03:10 AM
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I thought it was special! LOVED that town.....and had the best SWORDFISH LUNCH at a small restaurant along the water front.
TrendGirl2 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2015, 04:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
Sandrallist makes a really good point. Just because many guide books list the ancient ruins as must-sees, make sure that is how YOU really want to spend your time. If you are not super into such things, do one or two and then just have fun enjoying the ambience of Sicily. There is a whole lot more to Sicily than just ancient Michelin Green Guide ranked ruins.

We too really enjoyed the ambience of Ortygia.
julies is offline  
Dec 6th, 2015, 06:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I would drop Taormina altogether and take the train or bus straight to Ortygia. The views are nice, and the Greek/Roman theater is good, but otherwise it's a tourist trap, and it would free up time for other places. Like staying in Trapani or Erice.

Click on my name for my TR. It's is getting pretty old, but the sites won't have changed.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 9th, 2015, 10:47 AM
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@losaltos - you posted a thankyou on my TR I think you meant to post here. But either way you're welcome.
thursdaysd is offline  

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