Seeking advice about Sicily

Old Apr 12th, 2011, 08:34 AM
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Seeking advice about Sicily

My husband and I are planning to spend two weeks in Italy the second half of May. We’d like to spend around a week in Sicily and around a week in the Amalfi Coast area. We will end up in Bari and take the ferry to Durres, Albania, where I have a two-week consulting assignment.

We are planning to fly into Sicily. Which city would be the best one to fly into? (This will be part of our plane ticket from Los Angeles. I presume that we’ll be able to fly into any airport that Alitalia flies to.) After our week or so in Sicily, we will be driving to the Amalfi Coast. This may affect the decision about the best place to start our stay in Sicily. If we could start in a place where we didn’t need a car, that would save us a few days on car rental.

I’ve studied some of the trip reports about Sicily on fodors.com, and will be looking at others, to decide how best to organize our time in Sicily. Nonetheless, I’d welcome suggestions. I was happy to see that the wildflowers should be out this time of year and would like to know where best to see them.

I’d also welcome suggestions of what there is to see between Sicily and the AC and between the AC and Bari. I will study trip reports about the AC area to decide where to stay and what to see and do there.

Will it be a problem renting a car in Sicily and dropping it off in Bari?

We are a bit concerned about the poor exchange rate at present and would welcome suggestions of moderately priced accommodations that won’t break the bank.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 08:44 AM
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You might want to take a look at my trip report on Sicily. I give the price of our stays, which you might or might not consider affordable. There surely were cheaper accommodations to be had, but given the circumstances, we were not about to look for them. Just click on my name to find the report.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 11:53 AM
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Are you flying into Rome from LA? Depending on what part of Sicily you want to visit, you can get flights to either Catania in the east or Palermo in the north. I don't suggest spending any time in Catania. We flew into Palermo and spent 3 days, then to Agrigento where we spent 1 night, to Enna where we spent 1 night, to Siricusa where we spent 2 nights and to Taormina for 3 nights. We rented a car when we left Palermo and turned it in on our arrival in Taormina. Where do you get the ferry to Bari? You will see wild flowers between Palermo and Agrigento and on the drive from Agrigento through Enna to Siracusa and lots around Taormina.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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You do not say what you want to see in Sicily, so it is difficult to advise something. Please give us more info.

For now, I would like to tell you that:
- public transportation between cities is very good. It is done mainly by buses. There are clean, in time, a lot of room for luggages, cheap.
- you can find B&B, they are cheaper than hotels, are nice, clean.. We stayed in Palermo, Taormina and Ortygia at very good pensions.
- you can post your questions in TA forum. There is a person there, Vagabonda, who helps and gives very good advices.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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I think you have the choice between Palermo, Catania and Trapani. Of these Palermo is easily the best for short range bus trips and places within the city. hence you can go some time without a car. On the other hand Catania, though having little that appeals to me in the town, is well situated for bus trips to Taormina and Siracusa. (I think you would probably feel frustrated at having to leave Siracusa so soon.)

Trapani is good for Erice, a really delightful village, and for Segesta but these can fairly easily be visited from Palermo.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 01:25 PM
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Here are your Sicilian wild flowers in May--we loved it.
http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=3828
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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I'd suggest flying into Palermo, and consider visiting Cefalu as a day trip, and Erice and Trapani perhaps with an overnight. Both can be done by public transport. With only one week I'd then head for Siracusa. I'd fly (check the prices on AirOne) or take the train to the AC.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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> I was happy to see that the wildflowers should be out this time of year and would like to know where best to see them.

In addition to the places already mentioned, Segesta. (BTW, bobthenavigator's wonderful pictures of wildflowers led me to choose to go to Sicily in May rather than in the fall, as I had originally planned, and I am so glad I did!)

> I’d also welcome suggestions of what there is to see between Sicily and the AC and between the AC and Bari

I'm not sure you have time to see anything between places - you already have quite a full plate. For example, one week is not very much at all for Sicily. If you find time to stop between the Amalfi Coast and Bari, you might consider Matera.
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Old Apr 13th, 2011, 08:33 AM
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Thanks very much, everyone, for your responses. I will follow up on the things you have suggested.

We plan to fly straight from L.A. to Sicily (with necessary plane changes along the way, in Rome or Milan). We had planned to rent a car to drive around Sicily, then to the AC, and then to Bari, where we will catch the ferry to Albania. However, several of you seem to be suggesting public transportation instead. I'd welcome other's opinions about that.

Our interests are broad -- we like to walk and hike, bike (if fairly flat and little traffic), kayak, swim (but not just lay on a beach), see flora and fauna (particularly gardens, wildflowers, and birds), visit museums of all types, eat good (but not expensive) food; we are interested in history, folk culture, and opera. Some ruins are OK, but I fairly quickly reach my limit on those and find I get more out of a good museum on the subject.

Looking forward to receiving more ideas from all of you. If you have any specific suggestions about lodging, I'd welcome those. Thanks.
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Old Apr 14th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Unfortunately, we have decided to postpone this trip, probably till the fall. I know that will mean no wildflowers, and am disppointed about that, but would like to know when the best time would be in the fall (or winter) and what changes in the recommendations that may suggest.

Many thanks.
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