It was SICILY for our special trip

Old Jul 26th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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Yes, those breakfasts at the Villa Carlotta are likely to be right up there in our reminiscences with the ruins at Selinunte and the mosaics in Palermo. The Aeolians were very alluring...
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Old Jan 12th, 2011, 10:20 PM
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Great report. I am just nailing down flight details to get a short trip to Sicily off the ground--soon. What you've written is very helpful.
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 04:17 AM
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Know you had a wonderful time. Thanks for the super TR. Glad you saw some of the amazing mosaics and gold leaf in Capella Palatina. Monreale, if you can believe it, is even more spectacular. If only "they" had spent all that money in education.
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 05:42 AM
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Thank you both! Leely, looking forward to hearing more about your trip as your planning proceeds.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 10:35 AM
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Hi bon_voyage,

I've just about settled my (unfortunately far too brief) Sicily itinerary for late March. It seems likely that Villa Romana del Casale will not be reopened while we are visiting. So I am toying with where to stay for our one one-nighter. Itinerary so far is: 2 nights Palermo, 1 night ?, 2 nights Modica, 2 nights Ortigia.

I cannot decide whether the spend the free night in/near Agrigento or Selinunte or to add a night either to Palermo or Modica. Our sightseeing goal for that particular day is Valle dei Templi and/or Selinunte.

I'm wondering if my itinerary is going to be too heavy on major sights and too light on charming atmosphere. There are buckets of things I want to see in Sicily but I don't want to run us all ragged--and of course we can always return.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 12:23 PM
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Leely, I appreciate your struggle. Sicily makes it very hard to choose and the difficulty with leaving luggage in the car while sightseeing doesn't help.

While we had to give Agrigento short shrift (in part because of nagging worries about the car in the lot, even though there was an attendant) and I did find the experience somewhat marred by the presence of the new town, I would give it the nod for that open night. Lots there plus the museum which we didn't get to. Staying overnight at the Villa Athena would add to the experience.

Although I loved our time in Modica, because you'll have an opportunity to see baroque architecture in other places and in the interests of not feeling like you're running yourselves ragged, I'd eliminate the stay in Modica. I'd add one night to Palermo and one to Ortigia. I think you could book an excursion from Palermo to Segesta and/or Erice depending on your group's interests/time or take the train to Cefalu. I think you'd have good variety and balance with these three stops.

Ortigia has charm and is easy to get in and out of. The archeological park at Siracusa was my least favorite ancient site so I'd be inclined to use Ortigia as a base. A baroque cities excursion could include some combination of Noto (apparently at its best at sunset, we were there midday), the Villa Tellaro, Modica, and Ragusa. Taormina could be another daytrip by public transportation.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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Thanks very much for your suggestions, bon_voyage. I suppose I should share them with my traveling companions and hear what they have to say.

Yes, I am trying to combat my inner Travel Tyrant.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 06:07 PM
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If your Travel Tyrant is telling you to see everything, her clone resides with me, also. The Villa Romana, Monreale, more of Palermo, Erice, Cefalu, the salt flats--all and more on my list for a return visit.
Keep a eye out for salt from Trapani. The upscale food shops will sell it, and you can also find it in grocery stores.
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Old Apr 9th, 2011, 10:12 AM
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somehow I had missed your excellent trip report! I've taken lots of notes because our itineraries are similar and i"m also planning to stay at Casa Talia and was considering Algila in Ortigya, but now I'm not so sure. You sounded underwhelmed. For Taormina, I had planned two nights. Is that enough to see the sites and enjoy the ambience? We'll probably stay at a lower priced hotel than Carlotta though. I'm planning one night at Agrigento at Villa Athena, but we won't have time for Selinunte or Segeste.... ruins aren't our priority, anyway.
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Old Apr 9th, 2011, 11:01 AM
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bon_voyage, I will do some sort of write-up within the next few weeks, but I wanted to thank you personally here for all your advice and this excellent report--which made my trip to Sicily very special as well.

(Of course all the other Fodorites and the incredible resources on tripadvisor were of enormous help too!)
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Old Apr 9th, 2011, 12:50 PM
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Thanks very much, barefootbeach! The Algilà did have a lot of elements that I liked--a tasteful, aesthetically pleasing renovation with authentic materials, a very good location with sea views, easy parking, breakfast with local products in a pleasant space to start the day, helpful staff. There was, however, a certain corporate feel and a sense of scrimping around the edges--complimentary wine not very good, stale cake the second day at breakfast. While our corner room had a lot of pluses, the combination of the Bulgari bath products and having to live out of a suitcase because there was no drawer space didn't compute for me. If I'd been staying in my sons' room which was priced the same as ours, I'd have been one unhappy camper. Obviously, we were there just two nights almost a year ago and many other tripadvisor travellers, including those whose reviews I read before booking, have loved it. Bottom line, I'd look elsewhere before re-booking the Algilà.

Re Taormina--yes, I think you can get a good feel with a two-night stay. You'll want to see the Greek theater even though ruins aren't a priority on this trip. I did enjoy the tucked away places that I mentioned in my report. We happened to have been there during the film festival when many hotels were completely booked. If the Villa Carlotta appeals, you might be able to get a more favorable rate for your stay than we had for ours.

I would have loved to have stayed at the Villa Athena for its view of the ruins, but I was strictly limited to five stops by my group, and I wanted to stay somewhere near the sea on the western part of the island.

Leely, grazie mille! I am delighted that my advice and trip report helped to make your trip a special one for you. I'm looking forward to re-living parts of my journey whenever you're able to tell us more about yours.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 05:02 PM
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Thanks so much, bon_voyage, for ALL your excellent hints on traveling in Sicily! We will be doing mostly the reverse trip to yours, but plan on hitting many of the same sites, so your tips will be invaluable. Altho I am sure it would be MOST helpful, we found the additional cost of the NAV system in the rental car prohibitive so will make sure we have good maps. We are still a tad nervous about driving, but we have navigated SoCal many times so will keep your thoughts on our mind.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 07:31 AM
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Prego, freedom 2011, I hope you have a terrific trip! Autoeurope told me they couldn't guarantee a car with a navigator, and I'd gone to the extra trouble and expense of renting one from them. I know that we were lucky that the car's nav worked well because this is not a universal experience. Having maps and three human navigators also increased our chances of finding the right road. The Sicilian freeways have two or at most three lanes and, except for the stretch between Taormina and Siracusa, were relatively uncrowded. The Sicilian drivers were very assertive but also very precise. They knew within a nanometer how close they could get. We took the maximum insurance for peace of mind.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 04:07 AM
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booking marking
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 05:03 AM
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DreamOfItalia: Instead of topping all these ancient Sicily TRs -- why not e-mail them to yourself? See the little symbols up top? Click the orange <orange>+</orange> to see all the options.
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