Sicily in March, itinerary thoughts?

Old Dec 4th, 2022, 07:44 AM
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Sicily in March, itinerary thoughts?

We (husband and I) are planning a nine-night trip to Sicily in March--first visit. We can go in or out of Palermo or Catania (and can do one way at each). We like strolling old neighborhoods (villages and cities alike), food, people-watching, quick (but engaged) visits to historic sights, churches and museums. We are equally interested in city, seaside and mountains. I thought I had a good itinerary: 3 nights each in Palermo, Siricusa and Ragusa (or Modica), flying into Catania and out of Palermo. However I am really interested in the Moorish influence and am rethinking. Should we go to Trapani, Cefalu, and Palermo instead? I hate to miss the Ragusa area--we love mountain villages. All ideas welcome!

Thank you--this forum has been a great help to me in the past.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 09:04 AM
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are you going to hire a car or use the Pullman/buses? I ask because the sites you are aiming to visit would work well by bus.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 09:24 AM
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We can rent a car., though good public transport is always welcome!

Now I'm looking at the Medonie mountains--it looks like there are wonderful small villages such as Petralia Sottana and interesting food. So maybe:

Fly into Palermo, rent a car, drive to Cefalu. 2 or 3 nights in Cefalu.

Drive to the Madonie mountain villages. 2 or 3 nights.

Return car to Palemo. Palermo 4 or 5 nights. Day trips to Monreale and maybe salt flats?
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 09:25 AM
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We can rent a car., though good public transport is always welcome!

Oops sorry--accidentally posted twice.Now I'm looking at the Medonie mountains--it looks like there are wonderful small villages such as Petralia Sottana and interesting food. So maybe:
Fly into Palermo, rent a car, drive to Cefalu. 2 or 3 nights in Cefalu.

Drive to the Madonie mountain villages. 2 or 3 nights.

Return car to Palemo. Palermo 4 or 5 nights. Day trips to Monreale and maybe salt flats?
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 09:53 AM
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with 9 days [or is that nights?] I think that you are going to struggle to see much of each venue you pick on if you try to see both sides of the island.

So much as I enjoyed our stay on the east of the island [a no-brainer for me as I love Montalbano] your idea of concentrating on the area around Palermo is a good one. If that is what appeals to you most, that is an excellent reason for that choice.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 09:56 AM
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I'd avoid having a car in Palermo
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 10:34 AM
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Briyt607-- thanks for your thoughts on Catania--I do love neglected cities.

It would be nine nights. We would only rent the car at the airport to drive outside of Palermo. Aargh so much to see, so little time
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 10:58 AM
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We stayed in Palermo, Agrigento, Modica, Siracusa/Ortigia; I think we allocated nights this way: 2/1/3/3. We were driving, and so stopped in Segesta on our way to Agrigento. Visited Monreale from Palermo and Villa Romana del Casale and Caltagirone from Modica. In retrospect we would have stayed longer in Palermo and Modica area. Ortigia, though beautiful and relaxing, felt very touristy relative to Palermo and Modica. This was in March ten years ago so of course much has undoubtedly changed, although I imagine the distance between places hasn't.

We were originally planning just six nights in Sicily, but after researching sites, we added a few days. Maybe you can do the same?
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 02:44 AM
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We stayed in Ortigia , Ragusa Ilba, Trapani and Palermo. 4,4,3,4. We enjoyed each town as they offered different views. Ortigia in October was busy yet manageable with tourists. Lovely spot to get lost in the shops and great restaurants.
Ragusa allows you to see many of the other areas hill towns. We were glad to have a car for that spot.
Trapani felt more lived in and less touristy. A visit to Erice, maybe Segesta and local salt flats would be enjoyable.
We loved Palermo. We stayed in the Palazzo Natoli hotel. Fabulous place, great people and location. Tons of museums, restaurants and like others shared many close by sights, Monreale Cefalu are reached without a car.
Ortigia would be my second choice as it has the nearby Siracusa Archeological Park and you can get to a bunch of the other hill locations.
Which ever you will have a great experience
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 03:55 AM
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I have no advice for your trip, except to watch White Lotus 2nd season. With every episode my desire to immediately book a flight to Sicily increases.
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 08:07 AM
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Leely2 Did you fly in and out of Palermo? I wish I could add more nights but 9 is probably the max (up from my original 6).

mcsles Sounds perfect--those are all the places I want to go! Where did you fly in and out of and for what part did you have a car?

Tulips Haven't watched it but have a feeling tourism there will be increasing! I read that Lorraine Bracco renovated a house (maybe one of those one euro houses?) and it's on HGTV or some other channel. I want to track that down.
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 08:31 AM
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We flew into Palermo and out of Catania (we spent several days in Rome at the end of the trip). Picked up the car at PMO at the end of our time in Palermo and then returned it upon arrival in Ortigia. We booked a car service to take us to the Catania airport.
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by flwrjen View Post
Leely2 Did you fly in and out of Palermo? I wish I could add more nights but 9 is probably the max (up from my original 6).

mcsles Sounds perfect--those are all the places I want to go! Where did you fly in and out of and for what part did you have a car?

Tulips Haven't watched it but have a feeling tourism there will be increasing! I read that Lorraine Bracco renovated a house (maybe one of those one euro houses?) and it's on HGTV or some other channel. I want to track that down.
Apparently the Four Seasons where it is filmed is booked solid until April or so. I'd think other places shown in the series will get additional visitors too.
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 10:05 AM
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Leely2 That's very helpful--thank you!

Here are four possibilities to spread over 9 nights. We want a combination of city, coast and mountains. We are slow travelers.

A
Palermo 3 nights, then rent car
Modica/Ragusa 3 nights
Ortigia, return car 3 nights
Fly out of Catania

B
Not sure in what order:
Palermo 4 or 5 nights (day trip to Monreale and possibly Cefalu)
Cefalu or Trapani 3 or 4 nights
Monreale villages 1 or 2 nights (or could make a full day trip there from Cefalu)
Fly in and out of Palermo

C
Stay in Palermo and the mountain villages and do Monreale, Cefalu and maybe Trapani in day trips.

D
Catania 1 or 2 nights
Ragusa 3 or 4 nights
Ortigia 3 or 4 nights
(fly out of Catania)

Thoughts? Thank you!



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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 12:02 PM
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Has anyone here spent time in Catania? I am thinking of flying into that city this spring, and wonder if I should spend a few days before heading to Ragusa....

Thanks!!
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 12:32 AM
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We flew from Naples to Catania and took the bus to Siracusa. Walked to our b &b. Rented car at end of stay from Avis on Ortigia. So we drove to Ragusa. Visiting several hill towns from there and loved visiting Villa Romana del Casale. We visited The valley of the Temples in Agrigento and eventually dumped the car in Palermo. We flew from Palermo to Rome to end our trip.
We had 3 weeks on Sicily and missed out on Taormina and the whole East coast which several Fodorís folks loved that area. We had read about how touristy that town was and opted to go south to Ortigia. Read the TR from Whitehall on his trip this past May. He spent 30 plus days on the island. From my travels Monreale and Segesta made sense as day trip but did not warrant a overnight stay.
IMO I would fly to either Palermo or Catania and connect the two. From Palermo you have tons of things to see and do, then visit Cefalu. Visit Taormina and Mt Etna and eventually fly out from Catania or flip in the other direction.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 12:42 AM
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Flwrjen, You could opt to drive from Palermo and visit the Villa Romana del Casale en route to Ragusa. You will spend the whole day to reach Ilba. We spent 2 hours at the ruins and could have spent 3 plus. It is 3 hours easily from Palermo by car to the ruins and then 2 plus to Ilba. You have ztl issues on Ortigia and would not need the car there. Plus several of the neighbor villages like Modica and Noto are available via public transport from Ortigia/ Siracusa
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 05:50 AM
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We spent two nights in Catania in 2019 and really liked it. The first night was our arrival day in Sicily so we didn't get to see too much (so we really had one full day there). It's "grittier" than Palermo but does not feel touristy which we enjoy.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 06:52 AM
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This is my favourite [but only because we never got to the east of the island so I have no experience to draw on]

D
Catania 1 or 2 nights
Ragusa 3 or 4 nights
Ortigia 3 or 4 nights
(fly out of Catania)

Thoughts? Thank you!

But [depending on arrival time] I would go straight from Catania airport to Oritiga, spend 3 nights, then pick up hire car and drive to Ragusa, spend 4 nights, and then return car at Catania Airport and get bus to Catania to spend 2 nights before flight home.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 06:54 AM
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Catania has some nice gardens...that's it
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