sicily in october

Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 06:54 AM
  #1  
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sicily in october

i will be in sicily the first week in october, accompanying my husband on a business trip. i have been to taormina, and really enjoyed the mix of shopping, lunching, people watching, beautiful views. any reccomendations for other areas to visit (day trips from excelsior in catania)that offer the same?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 07:45 AM
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Hi Joy - How about Siracusa?

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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:48 AM
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I completely agree with Steve: Siracusa !

Vincenzo
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 12:46 PM
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However, to be more specific, visit Ortigya, the old city of Siracusa. It's a beautiful place to wander around, shop, eat and people watch.
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 03:19 AM
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thanks to all, i reerenced your suggestions on line and am eager to go!
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 11:15 AM
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just did a litle more research. even tho i will be staying in catania, it seems that atania and palermo have been described as "filthy". hmmm. turn off. i think i like tourist destinations, as shallow as that sounds. what about ragusa ibla and modica?
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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LJ
 
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I don't know about others but I am confused...did you rule out Ortygia/Siracusa? Palermo does have its grittier parts, but it is not "filthy", but on the other hand I didn't see anyone suggest it as a day trip. Catania is where you are staying isn't it?-and your hotel is superb-you should be fine.

There are many other daytrips, for example Noto. But I am a little reluctant to go further if this is not what you had in mind? I don't know if Ragusa Ilba is a good day trip from where you are going to be.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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We will be in Catania the first week of October. We don't shop much and we love museums so we're skipping Taormina. However, to find things that suit you, buy an all-purpose Sicily guide from Frommers or Fodors and read their suggestions. We will do a tour of Mt Etna, and definitely go to Ortygia, Ragusa and Noto. I had fun planning the trip but I have friends who rely on travel agents and tours because they hate taking planning time. My guess is the concierge at the hotel will have many suggestions. Hope you have a wonderful time.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Despite the touristy aspect of Taormina, it is still worth a trip, if only to sit in the ancient theatre, looking across at the view. Despite it being on every tourist brochure ever printed about Sicily it does not disappoint in reality.

I did not expect to like Taormina, but I did.

happytraveler123 - I found the Paolo Orsi museum in Siracusa to be really really interesting - it is away from Ortygia, up near the Greek Theatre.

Noto was very beautiful.

As I am very interested in Roman history, I found the villa at Piazza Armerina superb. The best mosaics I have ever seen.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 04:44 PM
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So, Taormina is about shopping and museums huh. Who told you that?
Taormina is the most beautiful location in Sicily, and the Greek theater is world class and not to be missed. I will attach my Sicily gallery and you be the judge.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 04:44 PM
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Hi Willit, Thanks for suggestion re Paolo Orsi. I put it on my list. We will be in Sicily 9 nights and will go from Siracusa to Piazza Armerina, Agrigento, and 3 nights in Palermo, so something had to give and it was Taormina. Someday we might get back. When we started planning, we had no idea how many places we would not have time to see. We do fly into Catania and out of Palermo so that saves some backtracking. Fodor's is a great site and I've learned so much from reading the postings.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 04:47 PM
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Here it is--see Taormina on the first page.

http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=3828

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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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"Taormina is the most beautiful location in Sicily" - debatable. I'd put Erice up against Taormina and figure to get a tie! Whether to include Taormina depends on your interests and how much time you have. (But Erice is too far for someone staying in Catania.) My unedited Erice pix - kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/519560 - password erice.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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LJ, i will definately still be going to siracusa/ortygia by myself. i agree after your comment that palermo might be too far for a day trip. we arrive on wednesday morning, i will be going to taormina on saturday with my husband, that leaves one more day trip by myself as sunday we leave for ireland. noto/modica/ragusa?, bearing in mind my preferences for quaint towns, lovely views (for photo ops), good food and unique boutiques(not into the really high fashion stuff, more into arts and crafts).
bobthenavigator,i really enjoyed your pics, really looking forward to taormina.
thursdaysd, i was unable to open your pics past the screen that asked for a password?
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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joyce - did you use the password "erice"? It works for me when I'm not logged in.... I've also put my Taormina pix up, password "taormina".
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Old Sep 6th, 2008, 09:00 AM
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While in Ortigia, make sure to go into the Duomo. The beautiful Baroque facade encloses the magnificent Greek columns of the original temple there. Also, in the far left hand corner of the piazza (if you're facing the Duomo) is a movie theater in a handsome Baroque building. We didn't go in but it was such a surprise to find it there.

You might enjoy the CircumEtnea train trip that originates in Catania http://www.volcanoetna.com/en/culture/circumetnea.html. You can get off at a number of towns, including Adrano, Bronte (the pistachio center of Sicily), and Randazzo and catch a return train from there. You don't need to make the complete circuit.

As to Catania, I find it a fascinating city. I was very pleasantly surprised after also reading rather lukewarm descriptions. The Duomo and its piazza are stunning. The cleaning of it was completed within the last couple of years. The Pesceria is much more than a daily fish market; there are many vendors of fruits and vegetables as well as displays of meat, all types of poultry, cheeses, etc. It is definitely worth a visit.

The Castello Ursino is a massive medieval castle that is now the municipal museum. It contains many outstanding Greek and Roman sculptures as well as paper mache figures of Sicilian peasants. The second floor is used for temporary exhibits; a show of Renaissance paintings was there in April, 2008.

The pastry shops and cafes in Catania offer some of the finest pastries I've eaten. I plan to return to I Dolci di Nonna at 7 Piazza San Placido. I had a sample of a delicate pistacchio brittle that was better than any almond brittle I've ever eaten. I also bought a delicious pistacchio cream cannolo, filled on the spot.

We are returning to Sicily in October, spending two weeks on the outskirts of Catania in a charming little seaside fishing town of Aci Castello, which is on the municipal bus system of Catania (bus line 534 from Piazza Borsellino). We had an excellent lunch at Trattoria al Tubo, outdoors on the sidewalk overlooking the harbor. And I had the most delicious pistachio granita in Aci Castello at a cafe/pasticceria.

We expect to visit Catania several times on this trip. We hope to attend an opera there, too, and to visit the Bellini Museum.

We plan to return to the Botanical Garden there, too. We arrived just after it had closed. One of the guards kindly gave us a beautiful booklet to the garden and invited us back the next day.

Another day trip from Catania is Caltagirone. (There is good bus service between the two cities.) The scenery along the way is quite interesting and the town itself, set high on a hill, is very attractive. It has famous for been its ceramic production for centuries and continues to be so.

A centerpiece of the town is the staircase with the riser of each of the 142 stairs covered in a unique majolica pattern.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Sicily as much as we enjoyed our first visit (which led to many more).

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Old Sep 8th, 2008, 05:30 AM
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thursdaysd- of course your suggestion worked, and i overlooked it in your first post. the pics were beautiful, especially the clouds and the wisteria.

idyllicitaly- thanks for the detailed suggestions.

happy traveler 123- my last experience with the concierge at the excelsior left me feeling like i was bothering him, but will try again. btw, i am sensitive to my approach, and usually apologize for not speaking the language first as i have seen many tourists abroad be demanding and rude.
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 05:58 AM
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not sure if this should continue on the same thread or start a new one, but, does anyone know of train and/or bus schedules for sicily in english?
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 06:35 AM
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For the train both trenitalia.it and bahn.de have English options. Interbus.it only seems to have English for their excursions, rather than their regular buses, but it's pretty easy to figure out even if you don't speak Italian. On www.saisautolinee.it click on Servizi, Regionale, Prosegui, and select your start and end points.
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 07:09 AM
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joyce:

It's been a few years since we visited Sicily, but here's the URL of my web page about that trip. Maybe it will help you in your planning.

http://www.travel.stv77.com/sicily/sicily.htm
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