Returned from 12 days in Sicily

May 5th, 2002, 08:43 AM
  #1  
Ray Golli
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Returned from 12 days in Sicily

First I want to thank those of you who posted messages regarding Sicily in the last 12 months. Your comments were most helpful in determining an agenda.
We rented a car at the Palermo Airport so we able to virtually circle the island, expect for the northeast area. We had no hotel reservations so we able to be flexible in our destinations and length of stays.
From the airport we drove directly to Monreale to see the cathedral....stunningly beautiful....and continued to Erice for an overnight stay. As someone posted, Erice is the Taormina of the west coast. Enough said. From Erice we stopped to see the temples, theaters, ruins, etc in Segesta and Selinunte (both must sees) and ended the day with an overnight in Sciacca, east of Agrigento. From Sciacca we drove directly to the Valle of the Temples, another must see, and ended the day with an overnight in Piazza Armerina. The next day we visited the Villa del Casale, the Roman estate, with its 51 rooms of stunning mosiac tiled floors. From Piazza Armerina,we drove to Caltagirone to shop for pottery and then continued to Syracusa for two nights. Besides the cathedrals and Greek and Roman theaters, there is much to see in Syracusa especially on the isle of Ortygia. From Syracusa we drove to Taormina for two nights. Can't say more of Taormina than has already been posted. While at Taormina, we visited Mt Etna and the hill town of Castelmollo. We revisited a bar in Castelmollo that is intriguing to say the least... if your not easily embarrassed,check out its website: www.turrisibar.it. From Toarmina, we drove to Enna (worth the stop) and finished the day in Cefalu. Cefalu and Mondello are nice seaside resorts worth a stop for lunch, but if your pressed for time and only interested in antiquities, don't bother. From Cefalu, we stopped in Caccamo, my grandparents hometown, and then continued to Palermo for two nights. A great deal to see in Palermo. If your driving, try to find a hotel with parking that is centrally located so that you can walk to the many, many interesting and beautiful sights. Traffic is horrific. Sicily is a great vacation destination. You'll love it as much as we did. I can provide the names of hotels where we stayed along with a comment. Ciao.
 
May 5th, 2002, 09:00 AM
  #2  
Dayle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks, Ray!

I would love to hear more details about your trip. Sicily & the Aeolian Islands will be my next Italy trip.

If you only had 1 week, what places were your favorites? Hotels? did you find Palermo safe, aside from the traffic? Did you fly in/out? Was much English spoken or did you need more Italian than in the north?

Grazie!
 
May 5th, 2002, 02:39 PM
  #3  
Ray Golli
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Dayle

After thinking about 1 week in Sicily, I have 3 suggestions which each would allow enough time to take in the sights. One, fly in and out of Palermo and stay west visiting Palermo, Monreale, Erice, Segesta, Selinunte and back to Palermo. Two, fly in and out of Catania and stay east visiting Taormina, Mt Etna, Castelmolla, Siracusa and possibly Enna. And third, fly into Palermo and out of Catania (or vise versa). Taking the major highway out of Palermo, you could drive to Enna, see Piazza Armerina, get back on the highway to Catania; then up and down the east coast highway to Taormina and Siracusa. English is good in the hotels but little is spoken elsewhere but the people are very helpful. Roadsigns are excellent. If you determine where you are going, I might be able to help with a hotel or two. If some of the above needs further explanation, please let me know.
 
May 5th, 2002, 03:33 PM
  #4  
Maddy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Ray,

Can you mention which hotels you chose for your stays in Palermo, Siracusa, Piazza Armerina, and Taormina? We'll be in Sicily for a week and plan to stay in those cities. Any details would be great on whether or not you would recommend them and why.

Thanks very much!
Maddy
 
May 6th, 2002, 01:17 PM
  #5  
Angela
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ray,
Also interested in hotel in Erice.

Thanks,
 
May 6th, 2002, 02:34 PM
  #6  
Ray Golli
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Maddy

Keep in mind that we had no hotel reservations for the entire trip. We used fodor's forum info and several guide books to "wing it". Locating hotels in a town is fairly easy because directional signs are posted below street signs. But anyway, in Palermo, we arrived on the weekend and weren't able to get a hotel in the old town. We found a very adequate Hotel Ponte just a 10-15 walk from the old town for $70 with parking on the street. The hotel was very popular with tour groups which is a good sign. In Piazza Armerina we located fine hotel Park Hotel Paradicio about $90 with free parking. In Siracusa we got there late in the day and couldn't find accommodations in Ortygia. Checked both the Kowolski and Domus Mariae (run by nuns)...the Domus could be expensive. We decided to splurge and ended up at the Grand Hotel Villa Polizi for about $160. This was the Polizi estate 100 years ago and now a really grand hotel. For the ambiance, an excellent 4 course dinner was only about $22 each. In Taormina, we returned to the hotel we stayed at 10 years ago, the Villa Fiorita, for about $100 and $12 for the garage. This is a picturesque hotel just a few minutes walk from the Corso Umberto (main street) and the Greek Theater. After seeing the Theater, stop for a drink on outdoor patio of the Grand Hotel Terme. A moment in time. The prices I have quoted are of course for April. I don't know if they change in the high season.
Enjoy.
 
May 6th, 2002, 04:07 PM
  #7  
Maddy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ray thank you for the feedback. One follow-up question regarding the Hotel Ponte. Was it located near the Piazza Castelnuovo and if so, how did you find that area? Are there coffee bars, trattorias, and local shops to make the area lively or would we be better off staying closer to the center? We will have a car so the parking sounds good. Thanks!
Maddy
 
May 6th, 2002, 04:13 PM
  #8  
Diana
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Dear Ray,
We are planning a honeymoon with about 5-6 six in Sicily (a week in Amalfi coast and 5 days on Sardinia) I looked for Villa Fiorita on the Net but only found a phone number. Do you happen to have their email?
Thanks
 
May 6th, 2002, 07:04 PM
  #9  
Ray Golli
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Angela, Maddy, Diana

First, Angela....The Hotel Elimo in Erice is just excellent at about $115. Two thumbs up! The owner/chef speaks English and is fun. The restuarant is expensive but a culinary delight.

Second, Maddy.....You would be better off staying in the old town. There are no real amentities in the near vicinity of Hotel Ponte. About 15 minutes to get to the Piazza.

Third, Diana.....I don't see an email address on the Villa Fiorita statements. There is a fax number however: 0942/625967. You have the telephone but to double check it is: 0942/24122.
The Amalfi coast can't be beat for a vacation (or honeymoon) location. Spectacular to say the least. Don't miss Positano; there's nothing like it. Also may sure that you get up to Rivello. Have fun.
 
May 7th, 2002, 08:49 AM
  #10  
gac
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Maddy: I would not stay at the Hotel Ponte in Palermo. It is an ugly concrete block (built in 1958) right on the main road overlooking the port: convenient if you arrive by ship, but in an uninspiring area (10 minutes on foot from Piazza Castelnuovo). Much better to stay at the Grand Hotel des Palmes (on Via Roma 489), the Massimo Plaza Hotel (in front of the Opera House in Piazza Verdi) or the Hotel Centrale Palace, near the Quattro Canti and the Cathedral. For budget accommodations, try the Joli (Piazza Balsamo) or the Gardenia (Via Mariano Stabile).
 
May 7th, 2002, 02:03 PM
  #11  
Angela
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks, Ray for your recommendation on Hotel Elimo in Erice. Since we'll be there in high season (1st week in Sept.) we thought we should make advance reservations. I'll look for a website for this hotel.
 
May 8th, 2002, 08:07 AM
  #12  
Maddy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
GAC your advice is noted and we now have it narrowed down to the Joli or the Posta. (I tried Gardenia after seeing it in Frommers and your mention here but I felt uneasy with the way they were handling the reservation process and decided to scratch them)

Prices are comparable between Joli and Posta and both are 3 star; comes down to location. The Posta is just off Via Roma near the post office...closer to the old section. Joli is closer to the port and the more modern section of Palermo. We'll be leaving by ferry at the end of our stay in Palermo(in part thanks to your good advice) and will be taking our rental car on, so getting to the port isn't really the issue.

I know the Posta is well-situated but Joli looks quite nice on the website. Just wondering about the Joli location though..do you know if the Piazza Balsamo area has bars and local shops (tabacchi etc)? I don't mind a 10 minute walk to the main sights but don't want to have to do that for a coffee or gelato too.

Thanks for any input!
Maddy
 
May 8th, 2002, 08:41 AM
  #13  
gac
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You'd better confirm whether the Posta has air conditioning! In terms of location, they are close by. The Joli is on a fairly quiet (and dull) square, one or two blocks from Via Roma (towards the Port). Via Roma itself is very noisy and should be avoided. My recollection is that there are tabaccai and cafes nearby (certainly along Via Roma), so this should not be a factor.
 
May 8th, 2002, 10:30 AM
  #14  
Maddy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks GAC. From your description Joli's area will be OK too. For the record, the Hotel Posta says they do have a/c and it's controlled in the room.
 
May 8th, 2002, 11:02 AM
  #15  
meg
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ray's account of his trip brought back lots of good memories of our trip last November. We flew to Palermo and stayed at the Casena dei Colli Hotel- it's out of the centre (airport side) near Parco della Favorita. Free parking and good bus service nearby into centre.
On to Erice- stayed at Hotel Moderno (excellent restaurant and friendly service) Visited Segesta on the way. Then we went to Agrigento-would not recommend Hotel Tre Torri. Heard that Villagio Mose Hotel much nicer. Valley of the Temples is awe-inspiring.
In Siracusa we stayed at the Hotel Domus Mariae on Ortygia Island (fabulous) and in Cefalu we stayed at Hotel La Calette (very nice people but a little too close to the railway line)
Hope this helps. Do go to the Villa Palagonia in Bagheria (on outskirts of Palermo) a bizarre villa designed in 1715.
 
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
judilie
Europe
9
Apr 14th, 2011 09:55 AM
marybethcl
Europe
8
Jan 10th, 2008 06:20 AM
tripster
Europe
12
Nov 16th, 2006 12:01 PM
discojim
Europe
8
Nov 17th, 2004 05:25 AM
DonB
Europe
14
Dec 26th, 2002 08:34 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:09 AM.