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It's SICILY for our special trip--thoughts/suggestions on the first draft

It's SICILY for our special trip--thoughts/suggestions on the first draft

Aug 10th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 955
Galestorm, how exciting! It sounds like you've planned a wonderful trip. And, yes, the expertise and and generosity of spirit of this group is amazing.
bon_voyage is online now  
Aug 10th, 2009, 09:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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galelstorm, it sounds like you have just one night in Ragusa and one in Ortigia? If that's the case, you can skip Noto - better to spend more time in Ragusa, Modica and Ortigia. But if you do feel leisurely, Noto is totally worth a visit. Especially if you have a car and don't have to deal with all that bus hassle. All that baroque architecture - the visuals are pretty incredible.
I did find Noto to be strangely quiet. A few stray tourists, but it felt a little like when you get to a theme park right after it opens and you're the first ones there.
This was in mid-September.
Have fun! L'Ancora does take reservations, by the way. I just remembered that. I walked by and made ours in person but I'm sure your hotel can make them for you.

Another food tip: in Modica, people will probably recommend Torre d'Oriente - I think that's what it's called - Torre something - and I'm in the opposing camp. We went and found the food a) expensive and b) trying-too-hard-creative-fancy-modern-not-so-great. I'm telling you, don't be swayed.
lbelgray is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 02:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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As your trip isn't until next June, you have time to get a real taste of Sicily by reading the Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri. I think ten have been translated into English (brilliantly) starting with The Shape of Water. Camilleri is great on food, the people and the landscape, and will help you notice details of Real Sicilian life (not to be found in Taormina however.)
tarquin is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 04:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,174
I disagree with lbelgray’s negative take on Torre d’Oriente. It was our best meal of our 3 week trip (including Roma). Food quality (all local), presentation etc were excellent – although they slipped a bit on service when they got busy. Ravioli stuffed with eggplant & ricotta was superb. Modern ‘high end’ style but not expensive – it would be double the price in Roma. And some stunning views from the outdoor patio . . .

Other culinary highlights – all worth visiting:


Osteria dei Sapori Perduti (we went twice) – great food & quite cheap. Have the meatball/pasta soup – big enough for 2.

La Locanda del Colonnello – At the very crest of Modica Alta, so a looonnnggg walk up from Corso Umberto. Very good food but once again the service slid as the restaurant got a bit busier.


L'Ancora – very good. Seafood only. Very busy so reservations are a must.

Osteria da Mariano – you can eat out in the small alley if the weather co-operates. The owner takes the orders – very good & a fun atmosphere. Very busy so reservations are a must.


Licchio’s – not the easiest to find. The manager took the orders & was very helpful. Very good – mostly seafood menu. You sit outside in a covered patio area.

See my trip report – linked above for more detail.

Errata in my post above: the beach in Selinunte is east of the ‘town’ ruins . . .

Ian is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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Tarquin, the perfect suggestion for someone who still re-reads her Nancy Drews and loves mysteries/suspense novels that provide a sense of place. Ian, thanks a lot for culling your restaurant recommendations. Since restaurants often have ups and downs and good and bad nights, we'll be sure to scope all possibilities. So much great information in this thread--thank you all!
bon_voyage is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 355
bon_voyage - thanks for the well wishes. The planning part has been fun and exciting. Vagabonda on TA helped me quite a bit with my planning for the Sicily leg of the trip.
Ibelgray-Yes, we have only one night in Ragusa. I originally has two in Ortigia but our flight home through Orbitz was changed from 11:00 am to 7:00 am so I thought that spending the last night in Catania would be a wise idea. I still wonder about the two nights in Agrigento but we can travel and do day trips from there and the beach at San Palo is supposed to be great. I'm looking forward to chocolate in Modica. Did you taste at all? Any recommendations there?
Ian-thanks so much for all your restaurant tips. Wonderful trip report, Ian! I read and read some more, then just printed out the whole thing since we will be visiting similar areas. Great pics too! I hope the little Canon Elph I'm taking does Italy justice. I've been reading up on settings etc. trying to improve my limited knowledge
galelstorm is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 03:16 PM
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galelstorm, I would totally recommend switching out a night in Agrigento for an extra in Ragusa or Ortigia. You can see Agrigento in a day and there's not much to do there otherwise. We did it in an afternoon and were glad we hadn't chosen to stay - but of course everyone has different agenda. Our thing is beautiful towns and great food.
I did go to the chocolate place in Modica, loved the chocolate there. Definitely a must - for the product and the wonderful, old-fashioned store itself.
lbelgray is offline  
Sep 13th, 2009, 04:26 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Hi Bon_voyage - I've enjoyed reading all this thread! I'm planning a trip for 2010, and was wondering how your itinerary has "firmed up" - it is all very helpful, so far. Love to hear how it has developed.
VickyO is offline  
Sep 13th, 2009, 10:07 PM
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Hi VickyO,

Good to hear from a fellow Sicily traveler! Here's how our trip is shaping up.

Arrive in Catania and depart from Palermo

Taormina 3 nights Villa Carlotta
Ortigia 2 nights Algilà
Modica 4 nights Casa Talía
Selinunte 3 nights Villa Sogno
Palermo 3 nights Still thinking, leaning toward the Grand Hotel Wagner

Plan to have lunch in Noto on the way to Modica, daytrip to the Villa Casale and Caltagirone from Modica, visit the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento on the way to Selinunte, use Selinunte as our base for the southwest, and see Monreale from Palermo.
bon_voyage is online now  
Sep 14th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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Hi again, thanks for the update! At what stage will you geta hire car? Are you planning to do many day trips out of these bases?
VickyO is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 02:56 PM
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You're welcome, Vicki! We'll pick up the car on leaving Taormina. If we're feeling very energetic, we might go to Savoca from Taormina. Everything we're interested in seeing in Siracusa is close by. In addition to the Villa Casale, while in Modica we'll visit Ragusa and very possibly hike in the Cava d'Ispica area. From the Villa Sogno, we'll see the ruins at Selinunte and Segesta and seek out some beach time. Will also check out the olive oil and bread that the Castelvetrano area is known for. Other possibilities from this base are Mazara del Vallo, Erice, the salt pans/salt museum near Trapani, and the Zingaro reserve.
bon_voyage is online now  
Oct 21st, 2009, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1
Hi bon_voyage

Your planned trip sounds wonderful and all the information in this thread is helping me a lot.

I am also planning a trip (18 days) to Sicily for June 2010. I've been to Palermo before, so I will spend and a few days in Trapani (to visit the Egadi islands, Erice and Segesta) and then the rest of the time on the eastern side (Taormina, Siracusa, Piazza Armerina, Noto, Modica and Ragusa) I am still deciding which 2 or 3 of these towns to stay in and will then visit the others on daytrips. I will be travelling alone using public transport. I fly into Trapani and depart from Catania.
Nandi is offline  
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