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Help me plan a two week trip to Sicily for September.

Help me plan a two week trip to Sicily for September.

Old Jun 1st, 2014, 04:42 AM
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Agree with thursdayd about less time in Taormina, add that time to Ortigia. I can guarantee you will want another day there especially if you are doing the day trip to one of the Baroque towns.

If you can get one more day, add it to western Sicily. Gorgeous! Do you want to see Lo Zingaro Nature Preserve? 20 varieties of orchids, amazing scenery. Marsala? Lots to see in the area.

I took the train from Ortigia (Siracusa) to Taormina. Very easy. I dropped my car in Ortigia, also very easy rental location.

Visiting Sicily can mean moving around a lot, but for me it was not a big deal. I have learned that I prefer moving more than backtracking every day, which for me takes more time. I travel light, usually solo and can check out/in quickly. I would rather do that than driving 4 hours roundtrip for "day trips".
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 04:58 AM
  #22  
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I agree with one less day in Taormina. And skip the day trip to the baroques & use that day as a relax day if needed. And from your ambitious itinerary, you will need it. Plan to stay in Ragusa or Modica & day trip Caltigirone & the Villa (and the town you don't stay in) from there.

Ian
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 05:54 AM
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Erice is well worth visiting and or staying there just for the view alone! We stayed at the Hotel Elimo which was very nice and enjoyed the town. We also stayed in Modica at Casa Talia which was excellent. Modica is a good base for visiting the surrounding towns. We got some of our most loved ceramics in Caltagirone. Agree with the trip to Agrigento...the temples are not to be missed. Hate to poo on Taormina but IMO while it is a lovely city, it's overrun with trinket shops and really not representative of Sicily. Agree also with Trapani. The evening passeggiata is fabulous.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 06:49 AM
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As an incentive to stay in Erice, here are my (unedited) photos:

http://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/S...ly-2008/Erice/
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 02:14 PM
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Like His_Dudeness we stayed at Casa Talia in Modica. It was a splurge for me and I really enjoyed it.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 11:50 PM
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<<Agrigento was a highlight of a number of trips to Europe! Absolutely breathtaking>>
All depends from what you have seen in the world. Agrigento was nice but very small compared to the temples along the Nile in Egypt. It was definitely not the highlight of a trip in Europe.
Tip: go as early as possible, before the tourbuses arrive.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 12:36 AM
  #27  
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I know I'm jumping in late (I've been away) and you've already gotten some great advice. Here's my 2 cents worth:

- Taormina offers great views (which you can see in a few hours) and some evocative streets if (and perhaps ONLY if) you can walk them after day trippers leave. It makes a good base for visiting Mt. Etna and the fascinating Gole Alcantara (a full day trip) and perhaps Castelmola (great views; I visited it after my day trip to Gole Alcantara & Mt. Etna, going up by bus and walking down to Isola Bella and then taking the funicular back to town). So if these things interest you, you can visit them with a 2 night stay in Taormina.

Ortygia + -- I thought Ortygia/Siracusa itself worth a minimum of 2 full days; 3 might be better depending on your interests. Add to that any time you choose to spend in the Baroque towns. I chose to visit Noto as an overnight because it was easy to access from Ortygia and I don't mind changing hotels every night (most people hate to do so for many good reasons); I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Noto and was glad to see its lightheartedly, if painstakingly, carved balconies and facades, before, during, and after sunset. I didn't visit the other Baroque towns, so can't comment on them.

Re: Caltagirone -- I didn't stop in Piazza Armerina itself. I spent a night in Caltagirone because it suited my itinerary. If your goal there is to see the Scala and maybe a few other sites, you can probably see the highlights in just a few hours. If you have a serious interest in ceramics and/or want to visit it's museum, you'll need (I'm guessing) 5 or 6 hours.

Re: the Villa Romana del Casale -- definitely give it several hours and do not short change it!

??? Drive to Selinunte ( spend night) and spend time in Agrigento visiting Valley of the Temples. -- I'm confused! As I recall, Agrigento is between the Villa Romana del Casale and Selinunte. But I could be wrong!!! FWIW, I thought Agrigento worth the better part of a day -- at least 6 hours (more or less) for the ruins themselves, another hour or two for its very good archeological museum, and perhaps another hour or so to get lost in the medieval lanes of its old town. But don't sacrifice Selinunte for the medieval lanes of Agrigento!

IMO/IME, Selinunte deserves at least 2 or 3 hours, depending on whether you want to see both major sites or just the site with the main temples.

I didn't make it to Trapani or Erica or Cefalu. I did visit Segesta, and thought it well worth my time (a few hours). The view from the amphitheater is IMO incomparable!

I loved my time in Sicily. I savored my time at Monreale. which remains in my top-10 list of the man-made sites I've been fortunate enough to see, and I've been very fortunate to see a LOT. I urge you to make sure you give yourselves at least a few hours there. If you don't like it, you can move on. If you are as moved by it as I was, you'll want to have the time there.

Hope these notes help!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 05:41 AM
  #28  
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Once again I am overwhelmed by the support I receive here on Fodors!!

thursdaysd: Our trip will be an overnight flight from NYC to Rome and a flight from Rome to Catania followed by transport ( haven't figured out yet ) to Taormina. The best scenario has us arriving by late afternoon/early evening so I do think our visit is more like 3 nights and 2 full days. I agree that I may not need 2 days in Piazza Armenia so will try to refigure that out. Thanks.

Dayle: I think we would love Lo Zingaro. Where should I base from to enjoy this? Trapani?

kja: Will definitely look into both Gole Alcantara and Castelmola? A few questions: How do we get to these locations without a car and how can I fit this into a 2 full day stop in Taormina that will possibly include a visit to Mt. Etna?

Also my original plan was to drive from Ortygia to Caltagirone and stop there for a few hours. Then go to a hotel/ B & B for the evening somewhere near Piazza Armerina. The following morning would be to explore the Villa Romana earlier in the day ( before tourist busses) and then head back to the B & B in the evening. The next morning we would drive to Agrigento and spend most of the morning/afternoon there and afterwards head to Selinunte for the night. My question is where to head after a night in Selinunte.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:30 AM
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One full day was enough for me for Taormina, but if you use it as a base for Mt Etna then you will indeed need two days. You can take a bus to/from Castelmola - it's just up the hill above Taormina. Don't know abut Gole Alcantara.

Unless you especially want to spend a second night in the agriturismo I would head for Agrigento right after the villa. Otherwise you will have an afternoon in which to do nothing in particular. Good on a long trip, but yours is short.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:41 AM
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Taormina is a nice place to get over jet-lag. You'll probably also be sleepy for a day or so. So just take it easy and enjoy the views. Don't miss Taormina's Greek Theater.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 02:29 PM
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So excited and relieved to say I finally booked our flights!!

I have to laugh because it takes me such a long time to make a decision ( over weeks) when my son decided last week on a Thursday to travel to Spain for two weeks with his wife and child and made all reservations including flights, hotels and rental car in a matter of hours! Oh and by the way he left on his trip 4 days later! Oh well...

Now I will need to refine the itinerary, select hotels, rent a car and start researching everything else. Hopefully, I will take after my son!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 04:20 PM
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There are day trips from Taormina that include both the Gole Alcantara and Mt. Etna in a single day. I booked through my hotel once I was there.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 05:18 PM
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allyboy, I have booked a flight departing July 2, into Bologna and out of Paris, and have not made one reservation. Not a single hotel, no trains, zip. Unlike your son, though, I'm starting to worry!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 07:13 PM
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Booked Villa Schuler in Taormina! Any comments on Palazzo del Sale in Orteiga?
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 08:05 PM
  #35  
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I don't know that place in Ortygia, but I loved L'Approdo dell Sirene:
http://www.apprododellesirene.com
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 08:09 PM
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I liked Palazzo del Sale. This was my room:

http://www.pbase.com/leelygoes/image/137346558
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 08:16 PM
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I should add that Palazzo del Sale is in a couple blocks from the water, so no sea views. Lovely staff, excellent breakfast, a quiet, understated small hotel with elegance. I would certainly stay there again.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 09:52 AM
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Had a few new thoughts on the itinerary :

1. Spend two nights on Ortygia ( instead of three). No day trips.

2. Drive through Noto and spend either 2 nights in Modica or Ragusa. Use either of these towns to day trip to Caltagirone and Villa Romana.

3, When leaving either Modica or Ragusa drive through Agrigento ( spend time here) and then onto Selinunte for two nights.

Also what do you think about NOT renting a car in Taormina and rent instead in Siracusa ( upon leaving) and dropping it off in Trapani before heading into Palermo?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 10:10 AM
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1. Yes, 2. yes, 3. yes, (4, car question) yes.

Not sure you need to see Noto if you are staying in either Modica or Ragusa. You could just drive directly to one of those towns. Spend one day enjoying Ragusa/Modica. The other day going to Villa Romana del Casale & Caltagirone. Leave for Agrigento the third morning.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 10:13 AM
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I think Ortygia deserves more time, but if you don't have it, you don't. Otherwise I agree with Leely. You can take a bus from Trapani to Palermo and from Palermo to Monreale.
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