Sicily Itinerary

Old Jan 21st, 2011, 07:36 PM
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Sicily Itinerary

My husband and I are planning a 2-week trip to Italy for our 5-year anniversary. We would like to spend the first week in Rome (with a few possible day trips) and the second half in Sicily. I spent several years living in Rome back in the 90s, so I have lots of ideas for that half of the trip, but I'm less sure of how to break down the week in Sicily so we can see the sites we want to visit without feeling like we are rushing from one place to the next (it doesn't help that our top interests are on opposite sides of the island!).

Here are the sites we want to see the most: Mt. Etna, Siracusa, Roman Vialla at Casale, Agrigento, Selinunte or Segesta, and the Cathedral at Monreale.

I am wondering 1) In what order should we travel? 2) Can we base ourselves in two or three locations, and if so, where? 3) Should we rent a car for the whole week, or can we get away with public transport for part? and 4) Ferry or fly to/from Rome? I'm assuming we'll either come in Palermo and out Catania or vice versa.

Thank you so much!
tessa701 is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 05:22 AM
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We followed a similar itinerary in Sicily but in 11 days. We flew into Palermo and spent 4 days, visiting Monreale as a day trip. We loved Palermo and Monreale. We then rented a car and drove to Agrigento where we spent 1 night, to Villa Casale where we spent 1 night, to Siracusa where we spent 2 nights and to Taormina for 3 nights (We could see Mt. Etnafrom our hotel room). We dropped the car upon arrival in Taormina. We did not visit Selinunte or Segesta. I think it would be very difficult to enjoy everything on your list in a week.

Check some of the Sicily trip reports on this forum - they helped a lot in our trip planning. Sicily is a fabulous place and trying to rush through it will not do it justice.
mamcalice is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 05:47 AM
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Also consult Vagabonda on the Tripadvisor Sicily forum. She's expert at crafting itineraries.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:05 AM
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Click on my name above to find my trip report for 15 days in Sicily in 2005
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:20 AM
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I requested help for a week in Sicily recently and have gotten some very good information. Also I echo the suggestion of Vagabonda on Trip Advisor who suggested a place in Siracusa/Ortygia that looks wonderful and I booked.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:25 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Bob, I really enjoyed your detailed trip report, although after reading it I am now afraid we will HAVE to cut out some of the things we want to see, and I just don't know what to cut!

A little more back story-- this is both our 5-year anniversary and our "delayed honeymoon" . . . we were unable to take a honeymoon after our wedding and have been saving 5 years to make this happen, which is part of why I struggle with what to cut . . . who knows when we will be able to come back?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 08:14 AM
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You might want to read my trip report. Click on my name to find it.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 08:15 AM
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IMO, definitely fly between Rome and Sicily, since you're not planning to stop anywhere in between. The ferry was a lovely way to enter Naples - the waterfront at dawn - but it is 10 hours, albeit overnight. Even if you decide to fly "open-jaw" into Rome and out of Naples, you can take a quick hop of a flight from Catania or Palermo to Naples first. Sure will give you some extra time to spend!

For Mt. Etna, are you interested in going up its slopes at all, or just seeing it from a distance? We had pretty views of the volcano from around Catania up to Taormina, but on our trip we didn't have time to get any closer.

Aside from a possible closeup of Mt. Etna, IMO you can see all the items on your list. It's less than 2 hours drive from Piazza Armerina to Catania. According to Google Maps, it's about 2 1/2 hours from Piazza Armerina to Siracusa by way of Caltagirone (and its gorgeous ceramics!). So couldn't you, for example, base in Palermo for 3 or 4 days, pick up a rental car and drive to Agrigento for an overnight, then go to Villa Casale on your way to Siracusa for a night or two, dropping off the car/flying out of Catania?

The mosaics at Villa Casale are truly amazing but don't take more than about an hour to see. There's a little restaurant near the road in where we had a pleasant lunch, then got on our way. (We went to Villa Casale and Caltagirone on the same day with plenty of time to "spare".)

And you know of course that just being there will be amazing. What time of year will this be?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:10 AM
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I m doing something very similar with two friends in late March/early April. I love Fodor's and have been on here for years, but as others have noted, there are a few Sicily-philes and Sicily natives on tripadvisor who are very helpful.

Anyway, what I've come up with, and no doubt it's far more of a mad dash than most would consider acceptable:

Day 1: Arrive Palermo a.m. o/n Palermo
Day 2: Palermo and visit Monreale. o/n Palermo
Day 3: Pick up car at airport, drive to Agrigento. o/n Agrigento.
Haven't decided whether to see things (Segesta and/or Selinunte) on the way or head directly there. I am waiting to see if Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina will be open, b/c if so I will alter these days a bit and just head straight to Agrigento.
Day 4: This is flexible as to where/what. Either Agrigento in the morning if I haven't visited the day before or perhaps drive to Piazza Armerina if I've managed to see la Valle dei Templi the afternoon prior. o/n Modica
Day 5: o/n Modica
Day 6: To Siracusa. o/n Ortigia
Day 7: o/n Ortigia
Day 8: Fly to Rome from Catania. Spend the next five days in Rome.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 01:53 PM
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As we also contemplate a trip to Sicily, in August (yes I know, hot and crowded), is the driving time from Taormina down to Siracusa/Ortigia about an hour and a half? Or, that is very optimistic and the time would be much more. We are trying to figure out if we can take a goo day trip there or really would stay a couple of days in Ortigia. We would love to stay down there but we can't find a hotel with a pool really and we would absolutely need one. Thanks.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 02:10 PM
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The agriturismo (Limonetto?) where we stayed had a swimming pool. It was 30 minutes from Siracusa. But I do not recall seeing an A/C units.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Michael, did you like Limonetto? I was considering that one, as others have had pretty favorable things to say about it.

Leely2, let us know how the trip goes . . . it sounds very similar to what we were considering, although we aren't going until early June. I wish we could go in April/May, but as a teacher, I have to wait until summer begins!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 04:54 PM
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Limonetto was convenient and very nice. You might want to read my trip report. I gave some description of the place, including the restaurant.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 07:51 PM
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tengohambre, I believe the drive from Taormina to Siracusa is closer to 2 hours, though we didn't do it all at once. From what I understand, it used to take longer but they have recently renovated the road between Catania and Siracusa. (Last spring it was beautiful new tarmac, well-lit tunnels, and lots of LED info signs spouting comical warnings.) Google maps is generally very helpful in time estimates, among other things, taking into account current traffic and construction.

If you can't stay in Siracusa but will have a car, maybe you could look at someplace to stay closer than Taormina for your time in Siracusa? Catania might be a possibility...

As for agriturismo, we met a woman who runs one; when I have subsequently checked their website, it looks like they have an apartment to let. All I can say is, she was very personable - and her products are amazing! Azienda agricola Infantino, not far from Catania.
Website: http://www.siculolio.ch
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aziend...71425342870356
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Old Jan 23rd, 2011, 06:30 AM
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Thank you for that information. Yes, if its 2+ hours to get to Oritigia from Taormina then that is a very long day trip. Catania looks interesting as a mid way point and someplace to stay before we fly out of the airport there.
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