Where to go and where to stay? What to see and what to do? When to go and how to get there? And why? Planning a trip involves answering all those questions and more. But the reward when, through all our research, we get the answers to those questions right, is a memorable trip what we can return to, in our hearts and minds, again and again.
Where to go? This would be our fourth trip to Italy. On our three previous visits, my husband and I had never traveled south of Rome, so we figured it was time for us to sample Italy from a different angle, starting in Sicily, then visiting the Amalfi Coast, plus Capri, Naples and Pompeii, before ending up in Rome.
Where to stay? We wanted to devote at least two weeks to Sicily, basing ourselves first in the western part of the island with at least 5 nights in a rental house before traveling to an eastern base for another 5 nights in an apartment. We had heard from several sources that Sicily does not lend itself to spoke-like travel from a base, so it was a challenge to figure out where we should locate ourselves for 5 nights at a time. However, we decided that it was worth it for us to try to do this. Our style of travel has changed over the years and as we get older we no longer feel it necessary to visit every site there is to see wherever we are going. For us now it is more satisfying to settle into an area, hit nearby highlights, but also spend time just wandering here and there, getting to know the village streets and country roads, visiting the markets and watching the people and just relaxing. Plus, we enjoy renting little houses or apartments where we can do some of our own cooking. We love creating meals using local ingredients purchased from markets and neighborhood shops. And we have discovered that we can save both money and calories by not relying on cafes and restaurants for every meal.
What to see and do? Because of our travel-style preferences, we knew we would have to eliminate some famous attractions and work out an itinerary that felt right for us not only in Sicily but in the week we had allowed for traveling north to Rome. The process of elimination was of course not an easy one. Pompeii must be included. We really wanted to see that special place. Also, Capri and Ravello. What about Naples? Some people seem to love it, but others not so much. Should we skip it?
When to go and how to get there? When it came down to it, the answers to the question "How to get there?" had a lot to do with how our itinerary developed. We wanted to keep the logistics of moving from place to place as simple as possible. And it turned out that the question "When to go?" should have carried more weight in our planning. Traveling in April, we carefully factored the Easter Holiday into our plans, but it turned out that Liberation Day (Italian Independence Day), which we unfortunately didn't pay much attention to, had a greater impact on us.
And why? Why do we travel? Because we love it. Simply love it. For so many reasons I won't go into here because I think if you are reading this, you probably love traveling too and know most of the reasons why.
April 09 - Flight via Kennedy Airport to Palermo, Sicily
2 nights - Palermo
5 nights - Scopello
1 night - Agrigento
5 nights - Ortigia
1 night - Taormina
4 nights - Atrani on the Amalfi Coast
2 nights - Naples
3 nights - Rome
May 3rd - Flight home
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Sampling Some of Sicily and Bits of Italy Beyond