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Is Sicily Safe?

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Sep 20th, 2009, 02:43 PM
  #1
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Is Sicily Safe?

Probably a dumb question, but what's the crime rate in Sicily and are there concerns for traveler's beyond the usual beware of pick pockets variety? After many good train suggestions the other day we are looking to go to Italy using public transport next month.
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Sep 20th, 2009, 03:51 PM
  #2
GAC
 
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Yes, Sicily is safe for tourists. Just be careful when in the large cities, as you would be in New York City. If you're going out at night, avoid dark, lightly travelled streets, just as in any large metropolitan area. When riding the city buses in Palermo, be careful for pickpockets. When on city sidewalks, look out for "scippatori" (young thugs on motorbikes who will snatch your purse and throw you to the ground). A money belt is safer than carrying a purse, at least in the large cities. Otherwise, Sicily can be an extremely rewarding tourist destination indeed.
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Sep 21st, 2009, 02:15 PM
  #3
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Thanks. We've not usually wary but I keep reading about the heavy mafia presence and didn't know if it was a problem. We will take extra precautions regarding pickpockets. We've had that experience in other countries.
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Sep 21st, 2009, 03:15 PM
  #4
GAC
 
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The Mafia loves tourists. They bring lots of money into the Island!!!!
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Sep 21st, 2009, 06:15 PM
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You've read the usual warnings. Friends of ours lived in Catana for awhile and toured the island and had no problems. They were impressed with the Greek influence and some festivals.

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Sep 21st, 2009, 07:14 PM
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We spent part of our honeymoon in Sicily - Catania, Palermo, Taormina, Agrigento, etc. We felt very safe - the place we were most aware of our surroundings was in Palermo. It is a big city, lots of traffic, and you just need to be aware like in any major city. Sicily is beautiful and well worth a visit (or many)
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Sep 21st, 2009, 07:27 PM
  #7
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Okay. We are feeling better about it. We are thinking we would like to travel to Modica, but are unsure if we'd need a car. Has anyone gone there? It sounds like if we take the usual safety measure and get out of Palermo quickly we'll be fine.
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Sep 21st, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Palermo is a beautiful city, so unless you're allergic to cities, there's really no need to get out of there fast. I loved it, there are lots of beautiful buildings around, and I found it a great walking city. But then again, I'm from NYC, and I've always been aware of my surroundings.

Make sure you check out the cathedral in Palermo, and the Opera House, at the very least.
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Sep 21st, 2009, 08:10 PM
  #9
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Thank you for the tip. We will try to spend some time at those sights. I'm orginally from the San Francisco Bay area so not allergic to cities but now live in a rural area and have to remind myself to be aware. Did you go on to Modica?
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 12:07 AM
  #10
 
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The Mafia does not care at all about ordinary tourists. You will not notice a thing of their activities.
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 12:22 AM
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We didn't go to Modica but went to Noto by train from Siracusa and came back by bus. Noto is a beautiful place.
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 01:36 AM
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we are going to Siracusa for a week in October - staying at a new hotel - Il Parco - any suggestions for good restaurants - is the price of eating out similar to the rest of Europe? - we fould Kefalonia very very expensive in May - 16 euros for a pizza! as we are English and the £/euro rate is getting worse - that was expensive.

Any suggestion for day trips?
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 02:37 AM
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The Mafia have far better (or rather, worse) things to do than encourage - or even tolerate - pickpockets or petty muggings on their own doorstep.

Go to Caltanisetta, their spiritual home, and you'll find, on the surface, a model of law-abiding citizenry, with restaurants of impeccable standards and service for somewhere so ostensibly dirt-poor.

Sicily is spectacularly unsafe if you want to live there full time and behave normally, doing ordinary things like running a business without paying protection money, seeing a crime and reporting it to the police or expecting politicians to act on your behalf without a bribe.

For a tourist, though, it's close to being the safest place on the planet. Petty crime gets the place a bad name: and the men of "honour" don't like that.
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 07:52 AM
  #14
GAC
 
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You can get to Modica from Siracusa by either train or bus. You can also get to Modica by bus from Catania.

www.ferroviedellostato.it ("Trenitalia")
www.aziendasicilianatrasporti.it ("AST")
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 01:00 PM
  #15
kja
 
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I did not worry about safety during my wonderful travels through Sicily a few years ago.

mcnyc wrote: "Make sure you check out the cathedral in Palermo". IMO, the exterior of Palermo's cathedral was more impressive than the interior. On the other hand, the nearby cathedral in Monreale is spectacular, particularly the interior and cloister. It is very easy to get to by bus from Palermo.

markrosy asked about restaurants in Siracusa. I'll top my report on restaurants in Sicily (including Siracusa) and other parts of southern Italy for you.
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 02:01 PM
  #16
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Sicily is safe. There are Mafia there (but they don't wear badges). They live there. Maybe thats why its safe!
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 02:53 PM
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markrosy: Driving in and out of Siracusa is an ordeal. There is a big parking place called Tallete in Ortigia which is free during the day and cost €1 a night last October.

if you go to Noto and take the bus back to Siracusa, get off at the bus stop near the Neapolis Archeological Park (Roman theater, you'll sava a lot of time.

Prices are the same as in other Italian cities. Plenty of nice restaurants overlooking the water in Ortigia.
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 05:27 PM
  #18
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Thanks everyone. We're feeling safe. I've also been reading about Taormina. I understand it's not too far from Siracusa which from this thread sounds like a good place to stay. Any thoughts on including Taormina to our trip?
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 06:52 PM
  #19
 
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I would recommend Taormina. It is a beautiful hillside city that was a favorite of Goethe and D.H. Lawrence, among others. Google "Taormina" to see why. It is also very safe.
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 08:09 PM
  #20
 
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Unless you're part of the Mafia, Sicily is a pretty safe place.
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