Help with Sicily Itinerary

Old May 23rd, 2020, 02:04 PM
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Help with Sicily Itinerary

My husband and I are planning a trip to Sicily in mid September (if the flight is not cancelled). These are our thoughts and I would appreciate any opinions or suggestions on our rough draft itinerary. We are not beach people but enjoy museums, castles, palaces, architecture, culture, and ruins that aren's similar to the Coloseum and we may stop by a couple of churches or cathedrals, but not many. We've seen enough of them to last us a life time.
I am hoping to find lodging that would have free parking in each of these towns.

9/19: Fly into Palermo and explore Palermo for 3 days. Pick up car and spend the other couple of days exploring 2 of the following: Corleone, Segesta, Cefalu, Monreale (not sure yet which ones we will go to)
9/25 - 9/27: Agrigento
9/27 - 9/29: Syracuse
9/29 - 10/1: Taormina
10/2: Fly from Catania to Assisi

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Old May 23rd, 2020, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pichulita430 View Post
and we may stop by a couple of churches or cathedrals, but not many. We've seen enough of them to last us a life time.
This made me chuckle. And I agree.

I will let others with more recent trips help with suggestions, but definitely do go to Segesta. The setting is incredible. The one hole that I see is one of the baroque towns Ė Ragusa, Modica, Nota. Personally I would chop a night off of Palermo (I am not a city fan & we didnít warm up to Palermo) & another off of Agrigento & include Ragusa or Modica as a 2 day & plan a day trip to Caltagirone (pottery mecca) & the nearbyish Villa Romana del Casale outside Piazza Armerina. Of course, you could always see these as a day trip from Agrigento as well.
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Old May 23rd, 2020, 04:47 PM
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You might want to take a look at my trip report, skipping the medical adventure; click on my name to find it.

Or these pictures will let you know what we saw: https://www.flickr.com/gp/mksfca/2bvJb2
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Old May 24th, 2020, 04:36 AM
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You also might want to watch the 3-part series called Italy Unpacked on BBC 2 - the Sicily series.

I had a trip planned to Sicily this coming October, which I have happily canceled for the time being, but that series really informed my planning enormously.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 06:43 AM
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Ian, thank you for your suggestions. We are trying to keep our day trips from home base to within an hour, so I'm not sure my Honey will think Ragusa, Modica or Nota will work for us, but we'll see.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 06:45 AM
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Michael, I read your report and it was interesting. We got back from a month trip to Asia in January (just in time!) and I got a baaaad lung infection (Covid?) and fractured my knee cap.
StCirq, I have noted the 3 part Sicily series on BBC2 (if I can access it) and plan to watch it. Thank you.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 07:28 AM
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Looking back, the real highlights for us were our 3 nights in Modica. It is an inverted hilltown (?) & it was lightly touristed. It gave us a real feel for Sicily. It was also a good base for day-tripping. The atmosphere of the island of Ortygia was also great. Stay on the island. Parking is difficult but your hotel will have an option. Taormina is a heavily-touristed hotspot. We stayed at Villa Ducale above town with an amazing view & we were very happy that we were not in the thick of it. They had parking as well, although the drive up was . . . well . . . like driving in most Italian hill towns. Palermo was vehicular insanity. Just drive in or out & even that is a test of nerves. We stayed at the Villa Igiea on HH points when it was a Hilton property. It was an elegant old hotel & a sharp contrast to the gritty city outside the grounds.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
You also might want to watch the 3-part series called Italy Unpacked on BBC 2 - the Sicily series.

I had a trip planned to Sicily this coming October, which I have happily canceled for the time being, but that series really informed my planning enormously.
thanks for the recommendation, I'm also looking to go to Sicily soon
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Old May 24th, 2020, 08:07 AM
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Monreale is so close to Palermo, that it doesn't need a dedicated daytrip. You can visit it during your 3 days in Palermo. You don't need a car, take a local bus.

You don't need a car for Cefalu either. There are frequent trains from Palermo. For Corleone or Segesta it's better to drive.

Think twice before staying in Agrigento. Many travellers didn't feel well/safe in Agrigento, because of its strange atmospehere.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 08:55 AM
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Oh for goodness' sake, what is the "strange" atmosphere in Agrigento?

If you 're seeking 'strange atmospheres" these days, try your home country, Hungary. Talk about strange.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 09:49 AM
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We spent two nights in Agrigento in 2017. We liked our hotel a lot and the service was great. We wandered around a little, found a nice restaurant overlooking the valley and had a good meal. Didn't see or feel anything strange at all. What did we miss?
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Old May 24th, 2020, 11:10 AM
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pichulita430, fwiw, here's a copy of my 2002 scrapbook tr of Sicily. We missed the harbor in Palermo--did anyone else go there?
Sicily 2002 - A Trip of Miracles

Also, we visited Asissi from Spoleto in this TR:
Turin, Spoleto, Bologna and Bellagio TR

Have a great trip and please report back. Everything crossed that you can do it this year.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 11:53 AM
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"Didn't see or feel anything strange at all. What did we miss?"

Don't take my word for it. I'd be happy to travel to Agrigento tomorrow, but than I was happy to travel around countries like Iran and Pakistan as well, but it was on this very forum where I discovered last year that some travellers found Agrigento gritty and didn't feel comfortable there.

Seeking advice about transportation mostly

"The “contact” in Sicily said Agrigento is gritty"

"Agrigento is not especially gritty, though it is famous for corruption and the Mafia."

"Regarding the grittiness of Agrigento. That is correct for the city way up on the hill. We did not feel comfortable there. Lots of aggressive panhandlers, shuttered stores."

"Agrigento is not more and not less "unsafe" than other Sicilian cities."

"We have more feedback from a native Sicilian who encourages us not to stay in Agrigento and says it can be unsafe."

"Agrigento, as I wrote before, the city itself up on top of the hill, is gritty. We are used to cities and homeless people. But these were aggressive, and we finally turned around, skipped walking to the cathedral down a lonely alleyway as we didn’t feel safe, and that is very, very unusual for us to do."




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Old May 24th, 2020, 01:34 PM
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We also spent three nights in Modica and really enjoyed it.

You can see Monreale during your stay in Palermo. It's a half-day visit, I'd say. Segesta is also half-day. I'm not sure you need three nights (am I reading that right?) for Agrigento. I'm a city person and loved Palermo, for what it's worth.

Anyway, if you are actually do this trip this year, I'm sure you'll enjoy your visit. Sicily is amazing.
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Old May 25th, 2020, 09:09 AM
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BDKR - Thanks. Ever since our visit in 2017 I've been recommending Agrigento as a fantastic place to visit. I was wondering if I missed something in my research or if we just got lucky by not seeing or feeling anything strange.

Anyway thanks for posting a link to that thread. I guess I just interpret things a little differently because when I discount what the the two travel agents said, I did not see enough in the thread to tell people to "Think twice before staying in Agrigento. Many travelers didn't feel well/safe in Agrigento, because of its strange atmospehere."
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Old May 25th, 2020, 09:17 AM
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I was just thinking about how much I enjoyed Sicily, and wondering why I haven't been back. My TR is dated, but might give you some ideas.

Crumbling Palazzos and Creamy Cannoli - Savoring Sicily

Even if you have OD'ed on cathedrals, do consider Monreale. The mosaics and the cloister are stunning, and it's an easy bus ride from Palermo. In that area I really enjoyed Erice and Trapani, and would visit them in preference to nights in Taormini, although it will no doubt be less crowded than usual if you actually go this year. And I agree that you can do say, Noto, from Siracusa as a half day trip.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 01:56 PM
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We enjoyed our time in Sicily too. Since we spent two nights in Agrigento, we had time to drive up and into the actual city of Agrigento. It was run down, we were hassled by beggars and were happy to return to the area near the Valley of the Temples below.
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