Sicily-Driving from Taormina to Cefalu

Feb 18th, 2017, 01:39 PM
  #1  
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Sicily-Driving from Taormina to Cefalu

Part of our trip to Sicily in June will be driving from Taormina to Cefalu. We would like to spend some time in the interior of Sicily and have heard that the drive to Cefalu via Florestra, Ucria and Sinagra is scenic. Does anyone know if that road is safe and in good condition? Any other ideas of seeing some countryside as opposed to coastal towns? We're also visiting Syracuse and Palermo. Thanks.
bev88 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2017, 03:00 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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I have not driven that road, nor have I visited Florestra, Ucria, or Sinagra.

Of the interior towns, I did visit Enna -- which offers spectacular views.

If visiting Siracusa and Palermo, you have a wide variety of options. Are you not planning to visit the magnificent Greek ruins of Sicily? Or the Villa Romana de Casale? Or any of Sicily's Baroque towns?

I must admit that I don't understand your itinerary -- and maybe I don't need to! -- but it seems that you are planning a trip that skips most of the things that many of us consider to be Sicily's gems...

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Feb 18th, 2017, 11:01 PM
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As above: visit Enna and the villa of Casale. You may include a side trip to Agrigento too.
neckervd is offline  
Feb 21st, 2017, 11:27 PM
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If you want to see an unvarnished real Italy seriously consider adding Palermo to your list and a half day venture from there to Monreale. The cathedral at Montreale is honestly just as impressive as Notre Dame and unlike any other cathedral we saw in Italy.

Also ortiGia is absolutely charming and the food is both wonderful and reasonablyou priced
trailandtide is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2017, 04:20 AM
  #5  
 
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Bev88, I'd suggest you check in with the TripAdvisor Sicily forum. The locals, Vagabonda in particular, are likely to have up-to-date information about road conditions.
bon_voyage is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2017, 05:16 AM
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One of my guidebooks describes the SS116 from Randazzo to Capo d'Orlando as one of the main scenic highways through the Nebrodis. The others are SS117 from Nicosia to Santo Stefano di Camastra, SS289 from Cesaro to Sant Agata di Militello, and SS185 from Francavilla to Terme Vigliatore.

You might find some info here:

http://www.parks.it/parco.nebrodi/Earr.php

Go to google maps and do street view of the highway. It looks like a pretty good 2 lane highway, but with lots of twists and turns.

We would love to drive through the Nebrodis one day, but not too much info is available. If you do this drive, we would love to hear a report on how it goes.
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2017, 05:31 AM
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Go to google maps and do street view of the highway. It looks like a pretty good 2 lane highway, but with lots of twists and turns.>>

Based on our experiences, driving in Sicily can be challenging. [and we are both experienced drivers in Italy and other "foreign" places]. We did drive part of the route you are planning to take - the stretch from Randazzo to Taormina, [we were driving from Piazza Armerina to Taorimina] and you may find that the time estimates on Google maps or similar are not very accurate. We also encountered parts of roads that had simply fallen way, other drivers who, looked upon charitably, had a loose acquaintance with the normal rules of the road, poor signage, and roads that were simply hard going.

I echo what others have said about the Villa Casale, the Baroque towns of eastern Sicily, and Ortigia.
annhig is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2017, 05:49 AM
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"We did drive part of the route you are planning to take - the stretch from Randazzo to Taormina....We also encountered parts of roads that had simply fallen way"

annhig, seriously? That's not too encouraging. We encountered one road in very bad condition in Calabria, but at the end we realized the road had been closed...no wonder the weeds were overgrowing and there was no other traffic, lol. We made it through nonetheless, and thankfully got back on the highway.

I also recommend Enna. It's a bit of a challenge to drive into, but I think worth the effort. The views from the castle are amazing, like a moonscape with Etna in the background, and another cool hilltown just across the valley. I think I would stay in Enna and visit the Villa Romana del Casale from there, as it's not that far of a drive.
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2017, 12:50 PM
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annhig, seriously? That's not too encouraging. We encountered one road in very bad condition in Calabria, but at the end we realized the road had been closed...no wonder the weeds were overgrowing and there was no other traffic, lol. We made it through nonetheless, and thankfully got back on the highway.>>

yes, seriously, sundried. I've been trying to remember where it was - it wasn't the Randazzo to Taormina stretch, but I can't answer for what happens after Randazzo. I think that it may have been between Palazzolo Acreide and Ragusa - I've worked that out because when we left Siracusa, I drove the first stretch [DH having driven there from the airport and not wishing to repeat the experience] to P. Acreide, and he drove when we left there, and complained bitterly when it turned out that he'd drawn the short straw again. [Don't worry, it evened itself out by the end of the trip]. This was clearly a route less travelled - plants growing out of the potholes, and parts of the road entirely fallen away. But it was still open - we met some other sufferers [not many] coming in the opposite direction. I suppose that there was about 20kms of it, but travelling at about 10kms an hour for a good part of it, it took a long time.

Bev - if you look at google maps and break the journey down into its constituent parts, you'll see that the stretch from Taormina to Randazzo is given as about an hour, Randazzo to Gangi is another 2 hours 20 mins, and Gangi to Cefalu is another 90 mins. Altogether about 5 hours plus stops. Alternatively you could take what is shown as the quickest route i.e. the motorway south to Catania, then across to Enna and up to Cefalu.

You would still drive across the interior of Sicily but probably arrive less tired and grumpy. plus you would have the chance to see Enna where you could have a leisurely lunch or you might squeeze in a visit to the Villa Casale if you left reasonably early.

I think that knowing what i know now, that would be my choice.
annhig is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2017, 03:49 PM
  #10  
kja
 
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I agree that the drive to Enna was not for the faint of heart, but that Enna is worth it, and staying there can be a treat, as it is far less touristed than much of Sicily (or at least, it was when I was there).
kja is offline  
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