Sicily for 8 nights

Old May 7th, 2024, 12:16 PM
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mdn
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Sicily for 8 nights

We will be in Sicily for 8 nights in late May. It will be a fast paced trip, which is generally how we like to travel. We are not renting a car, but have booked a car and driver for transfers between cities and for a full day excursion of the baroque villages like Ragusa, Noto and Scicli.

CATANIA, 2 nights
Arrive late morning from London. Check into hotel and head to the market for sites and lunch at Osteria Antica Marina. Then an early evening walking tour of the city followed by dinner at Le Tre Bocche (1 Forchette/ fork from Gambero Rosso) and that was recommended to ekscrunchy on her last trip to Sicily.
As much as I would have liked to go to Stanley Tucci recommended Me Cumpari Turiddu, the TA reviews are giving me pause. Thoughts on Tre Bocche vs. Turiddu?

Second day in Catania to visit the sites and dinner at Vuciate Kitchen Market.

MODICA, 3 nights
Arrive late morning by car. Lunch at Accursio, walk off calories in afternoon and evening while exploring Modica. Dinner at Dabbanna Fischera 7117, recommended on these forums.
second day in Modica: morning pick-up by driver to tour the baroque towns of Ragusa, Scicli and Noto. Back in evening to relax and then dinner at Fattoria delle Torri.

Day 3 in Modica for a day trip to Ortigia. Lunch there either in the fish market or at Don Camillo, a Michelin recommended place. My partner has celiac and so food in the market like sandwiches, breaded fried food etc. pose a challenge. Perhaps a vinoteca back in Modica for a light bite before bed.

Modica to CEFALŔ for 3 nights:
Next day car and driver to transport us from Modica to Cefalu with a lunch stop in Licata at La Madia, a highly acclaimed restaurant thatís said to be the best in Sicily.

Arrive Cefalu in late afternoon. Walk around town.
Next day, day-trip to Palermo thatíll include a walking tour, top sites and return to Cefalu in the evening. Maybe lunch at Quattro Mani in Palermo thatís recommended by Katie Parla?

The following day will be our last full day and itíll be to slow down and relax before flying out from Palermo the next day.

Questions:
1) Are non self-service laundromats easy to find for next-day wash and fold laundry service? Will likely need them in Modica and Cefalu.
2) Not sure what the drivers charge in Sicily, but does Ä430 for trip from Modica to Cefalu with a lunch stop in Licata sound right? Iíve driven in northern Italy and in Umbria, but Iíve also heard parts of Sicily can be difficult. I suppose itís the cost of buying us some relaxation time during the transfers on such a fast paced itinerary.
3) Original plan was to use Palermo as a base for 3 nights, until some friends suggested Cefalu as a more congenial choice.
4) Any recommended gluten free pasticcerias or pizzerias where my partner could enjoy a better quality version of a GF cannoli, or some of the renowned Sicilian desserts or even a GF arancini?

Welcome any other thoughts and thanks for the the gloriously rich trip reports to date that were so helpful. Grazie!
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Old May 7th, 2024, 03:09 PM
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I would not stay in Catania, rather in Ortigia. We spent a week in Ortigia and it was difficult to leave.
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Old May 7th, 2024, 05:33 PM
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1) Are non self-service laundromats easy to find for next-day wash and fold laundry service? Will likely need them in Modica and Cefalu. Haven't been to Cefalu, but I would think you could find laundry service somewhere off the main drag in Modica. Google shows Lavanderia Bluservice on via Tirella 19. I would think there are others, but they may not be in the center of town. Not sure where you are staying; if in a hotel, I would ask them to arrange. Modica was one of our favorite stops in Sicily.

2) Not sure what the drivers charge in Sicily, but does €430 for trip from Modica to Cefalu with a lunch stop in Licata sound right? I’ve driven in northern Italy and in Umbria, but I’ve also heard parts of Sicily can be difficult. I suppose it’s the cost of buying us some relaxation time during the transfers on such a fast paced itinerary. Sorry, no idea, we hired a car and drove ourselves.

3) Original plan was to use Palermo as a base for 3 nights, until some friends suggested Cefalu as a more congenial choice. Again, haven't been to Cefalu, but we absolutely loved Palermo, which is a rich and intoxicating city. It's intense, but not Naples-levels of intense. But if you like smaller places and your focus is more R-and-R, then maybe Palermo isn't the right choice for you this particular trip.

4) Any recommended gluten free pasticcerias or pizzerias where my partner could enjoy a better quality version of a GF cannoli, or some of the renowned Sicilian desserts or even a GF arancini? Sorry, no idea, but there are many GF options throughout Italy.
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Old May 7th, 2024, 07:37 PM
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The Modica to Cefalu prices sounds a bit high; Who did you check with?
Are you dining at La Madia, while the driver waits?

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Old May 7th, 2024, 08:22 PM
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The worst experience and meals we have ever been served in many trips to Italy was at Don Camillo in Ortigia. Avoid dining there!
Lack of any decent service, in fact rude, and forgettable food.

Last edited by HappyTrvlr; May 7th, 2024 at 08:25 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2024, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mdn
1) Are non self-service laundromats easy to find for next-day wash and fold laundry service? Will likely need them in Modica and Cefalu.
No personal experience, but online searches show some options. Youíll find more options in bigger towns, of course.

2) Not sure what the drivers charge in Sicily, but does Ä430 for trip from Modica to Cefalu with a lunch stop in Licata sound right? Iíve driven in northern Italy and in Umbria, but Iíve also heard parts of Sicily can be difficult. I suppose itís the cost of buying us some relaxation time during the transfers on such a fast paced itinerary.
I donít have experience with private drivers anywhere. Driving yourself would be perfectly fine (not driving around Catania and Palermo, but driving between the cities and to the smaller towns yes); only you can decide if the extra comfort of being driven around is worth it.

3) Original plan was to use Palermo as a base for 3 nights, until some friends suggested Cefalu as a more congenial choice.
Congenial for what? Cefalý is a small town; you can see all of it in one afternoon. It is very popular with tourists, and for good reason as it is lovely. Palermo is much bigger and interesting and full of things to see and do. You can easily travel between the two by train (one of relatively few routes in Sicily that are well served by rail).

4) Any recommended gluten free pasticcerias or pizzerias where my partner could enjoy a better quality version of a GF cannoli, or some of the renowned Sicilian desserts or even a GF arancini?
No direct experience, but it really shouldnít be hard to find gluten free options, especially in the bigger cities.

Edit: I havenít been to Me Cumpari Turiddu, but honestly Iíd trust the Gambero Rosso and Michelin guides over random Tripadvisor reviews.
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Old May 8th, 2024, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mbrevitas
No personal experience, but online searches show some options. Youíll find more options in bigger towns, of course.


I donít have experience with private drivers anywhere. Driving yourself would be perfectly fine (not driving around Catania and Palermo, but driving between the cities and to the smaller towns yes); only you can decide if the extra comfort of being driven around is worth it.


Congenial for what? Cefalý is a small town; you can see all of it in one afternoon. It is very popular with tourists, and for good reason as it is lovely. Palermo is much bigger and interesting and full of things to see and do. You can easily travel between the two by train (one of relatively few routes in Sicily that are well served by rail).


No direct experience, but it really shouldnít be hard to find gluten free options, especially in the bigger cities.

Edit: I havenít been to Me Cumpari Turiddu, but honestly Iíd trust the Gambero Rosso and Michelin guides over random Tripadvisor reviews.
MI CUMPARI TURIDDU was excellent. I wrote about it on this site, on my trip report, and on a food site. I also ate, alone, at VICIATA KITCHEN MARKET and that was fun as well, with good food. Not fancy but really good and they treated me very well.

Funny about DON CAMILLO because I loved that place but we were there maybe 15 years ago. It has many accolades and it was my first time trying spaghetti with Ricci di mare I never forgot the place. But again, a long time ago.

https://www.hungryonion.org/t/sicily...-2023/34398/76. (MI CUMPARI TURIDDU comes after La Madria in Licata; the order is messed up but the restaurants should all be there--both of the ones I ate in in Catania)



The order should be better in this report and it talks a lot about food, and private drivers:

Sicily..three weeks in may with temporarily handicapped partner



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Old May 8th, 2024, 05:18 AM
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Thank you!
I had not mentioned that this week in Sicily will cap a month of travel that starts tomorrow and will take us from the US to Asia and to Sicily on the way back. Intense.

HappyTrvlr My wife and I keep vacillating between the first two nights in Catania or Ortigia. After your comment advocating for Ortigia, Iím back second guessing our Catania decision. It seemed as though people were choosing Ortigia as a base from which to tour the baroque towns.

Good to know about Don Camillo. Resting on their laurels perhaps? The other option is to eat at the market in town as Cortile Spirito Santo may be a long 1 Michelin star meal.

ekscrunchy The driver is your fav Dario. The price seemed high to me too, especially since we are using him for Catania to Modica transfer (Ä130) as well as the tour of baroque towns in a day (Ä280 for Ragusa, Noto and Scicli in 7-8 hours). So it adds up fast. But renting an automatic car from Avis, Hertz etc. isnít cheap and it works out to a few hundred Ä more for the driver.

Tre Bocche is a seafood place and Turiddu is a more general menu. Will read more details and decide. Have booked both for now.

2 questions here:
- Should we skip one of the baroque towns if theyíre similar and may feel like more of the same? Our base will be Modica. If skip and just choose two, which one to skip?
- Lunch will likely be in NOTO as the plan is Ragusa in the morning, Noto around lunch and Scicli after. Iím considering Trattoria Dammuso, 2 Gamberos from Gambero Rosso.

Leely2 and mbrevitas Hotels in Modica and Cefalu sent us a few laundry options. Thank you. Wife is leaning towards Cefalu as it could allow for a couple of days of rest on the coast at the end of a very hectic month.
Grazie!
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Old May 8th, 2024, 05:57 AM
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mdn, Ortygia is a little gem and perfect for the baroque towns, we loved our stay there two years back. But we also found a lot to see and do in Catania over 2.5 days and enjoyed our time there.

Unfortunately Sicily has so much to offer and Catania is often overlooked. I suggest you review the Catania sites and activities before taking a call. Whatever you decide thereís no doubt youíll have a fabulous time, Sicilyís extra special!
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Old May 8th, 2024, 07:02 AM
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As far as GF desserts in Italy our two favorites are panna cotta and fresh fruit. The latter sounds mundane but we found fruit in Italy to be very special. Two of the best desserts we have had were fresh pear in Firenze and wine poached pear in Bologna.

BTW, today we lunch at our son's favorite Italian restaurant in Baltimore and if they are serving panna cotta today we will order it. Yum.
I'll bring along plenty. of lactase.
​​​​​​

Last edited by basingstoke2; May 8th, 2024 at 07:10 AM.
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Old May 8th, 2024, 12:33 PM
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I did not eat at Le Tre Bocchi but I suspect I may have mentioned it because Dario recommended it as local place the he likes and by this point, I trust him. Now I might investigate.You mention you are visiting Licata..is this for a long lunch at La Madia?

If you are TripAdvisor reviews I would recommend reading those posted by Italian which you can see translated.


There are so many innane reviews in all countries, where the reviewer gives a "nay" because they were charged a cover charge, or because they did not like a fish and were not offered a free replacement, or because they waited for the check when they were ignorant that this is the style in Italy.........be sure to understand who the reviewer is and read carefully their reasons for giving a poor review. Some of them are so silly that it becomes laughable and so many seem to be from the Uk, maybe because Sicily is so much closer and easier to access from that country...
The minute the reviewer begins with a question of overcharging, I already take what follow with a grain of sand..

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 8th, 2024 at 12:36 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2024, 01:08 PM
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Crunchy,
yes, La Madia will be a lunch stop as that was the only way we could pull it off on this trip where we are covering more ground than many would like.
totally agree on TA reviews, which is why I take your word and the word of some of the other veterans here as the gospel! We still dream of La Fagurida the hills above Tremezzo by Lake Como; your recommendation! One of our best meals in Italy ever! Maybe La Madia will surpass thatÖ

Also, thanks for the panna cota and fruit (❤️) dessert recommendations. After many years of living with Celiac, she misses pizza the most, but luckily there are a couple of great gf pizza places where itís hard to distinguish much of a difference between the real deal and gf. In NY, Kestť pizza and in Miami La Leggenda are two such places. Hope to find one in Sicily!

Geetika: indeed, so many places and so little time!

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Old May 9th, 2024, 05:44 AM
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I remember La Fagurida so well!

I trust Dario and the prices. It was a delight to not have to think about driving, or parking last year. And since would have needed an automatic car, the price difference was not that vast.

This year we have booked Dario for some trips but will have a car in the beginning.

Please say "Hola!" for me; tell him its from erica, the American from NY who speaks Spanish who traveled with the partner who used a cane. (Dario speaks Spanish well because he lived somewhere in Spain once)

Here is a bakery that I thought was well worth the very long, very hot, walk to the Upper Part (less touristy but really nice) of Ragusa from Ibla.
Dario will know it since he lives in there Upper Town. They excel with the savory dish of Ragusa, sciaccia. (It's amazing how every town has different food specialties). But they also sell sweet things though I'm not sure about cannoli. The name is GIUMMARRA. Either on your way in or on your way out of Ragusa you will drive near there; ask Dario to stop and you can pick out some snacks. No one will speak English but that's not a problem here.




exterior of GIUMMARRA IN RAGUSA UPPER TOWN

SAVORY MENU INCLUDING. SCIACCIA

BISCOTTI, ETC AT GIUMARRA

INSIDE BAKERY



And in Modica they sell these amazing pastries made with chocolate and pork!!!
And the chocolate!!! Remember that their chocolate is grainy, more like Mexican chocolate than other European types. And there are a hundred flavors like red pepper, vanilla, mulberry (try those; they will be in season now)

You have some fantastic trip ahead of you!!!!!!

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 9th, 2024 at 05:47 AM.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 11:40 AM
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We are here now, in Siracusa, and have spent 2 days with Francesco, a guide arranged through [email protected]. One day we hiked in Mt. Etna and today, we went to Ragusa, Modica, and Noto. He is knowledgeable and thoughtful.
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