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Sicily Itinerary

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Jul 2nd, 2012, 02:46 PM
  #1
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Sicily Itinerary

Hi all,

I decided to start a new thread now that I am pretty much set on Sicily. I hope that's ok etiquette for this forum! Now that we know we want to go Sicily, we are trying to figure out the itinerary. We want to maximize natural beauty, outdoor activities, and relaxation. Not as interested in ruins/museums. I am very interested in seeing the Aeolians, but am worried we may not have enough time, so I would love your thoughts on the following itinerary:

Fly into Catania
Ferry to Salina that day, if possible
3 nights in Salina
2 nights in Taormina
1 night in Modica
3 nights near Agrigento (we want to relax in the countryside, maybe take a cooking class at Azienda Agricola Mandranova)
then fly out of Catania, maybe spending one additional night there if necessary.

How does this look to you? It seems the driving distances are not very long so I am not too worried, but I wonder if it is enough time for Taormina. What about the feasibility of catching a ferry to Salina the first day? We will be there in mid-September. Thanks for any and all help!
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 02:50 PM
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As I said on your other thread, I would put Ortigia ahead of Taormina.
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 07:13 PM
  #3
kja
 
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> I wonder if it is enough time for Taormina

IMO one day is enough for Taormina itself, and maybe even enough to include Castelmola and Isola Bella if you want.
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 09:04 PM
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I too would put Ortigia/Siracusa ahead of Taormina. I think one day is more than enough for Taormina - apart from the Teatro Greco, Taormina is a pretty shopping stop, filled with tourists shopping, with some beautiful views. And Castelmola is most beautiful and interesting when viewed from afar. Unless you're interested in tourist shops. IMHO.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 05:18 AM
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I agree about Taormina - actually a few hours there is enough. It's not only about the Greek Theatre, there's the beautiful public garden which I thought was more worthwhile.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 06:47 AM
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Another vote for Ortigia.

Taormina is a cruise ship stop off, great views but little atmosphere. We gave it 3 hours.

Loved spending 5 days in Ortigia and using it as a base.
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 06:54 AM
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@adrienne - I liked the garden too, but partly as an escape from the streets!
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 08:49 AM
  #8
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Thanks! Taormina just looks so beautiful (the cliffs and the ocean), even though it is touristy. But, if we are doing the islands, you're probably right that we don't need Taormina for the views so we'll just pass through. What is Ortigia like? We aren't that interested in ruins. More in natural beauty. Thanks!
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 08:57 AM
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We found a beautiful nature reserve south of Ortigia.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ven...w=1024&bih=672
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:29 AM
  #10
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So I am confusing myself because I just learned about Scopello and the Zingaro Nature Reserve. Is that worth it for the hiking/beaches? I am wondering if we should skip the Aeolians and do this instead. I understand now what everyone means about Sicily having so many places to see that 10 days is not enough!!
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:30 AM
  #11
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Thanks belted, that reserve looks gorgeous. Is there hiking there?
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Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:58 AM
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I posted about Zingaro on your other thread. I didn't have long enough there, but I enjoyed it. Plus, if you're on that side of the island, you can take in Erice, which was second only to Ortigia for me. I posted the link to pix of it on your other thread.
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Jul 5th, 2012, 11:32 AM
  #13
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Thanks thursdays! I looked at those pix, and it does look gorgeous. There is just so much to see it's hard to choose! I'm wondering what people love about Ortigia? I am feeling more interested in Taormina because of its beautiful location, but I can probably be persuaded. We have 2 nights we could spend in Ortigia if we choose. Thanks!
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Jul 5th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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Taormina is similar to other geographic locations I have encountered. The Bahamas and Nassau for example. Like Sicily, you take a beautiful area of the world, make a name for it on the world tour, swamp it with short stay visitors and to many it loses its beauty. Sicily, just like The Bahamas, has some incredibly beautiful corners which are relatively untouched by mass tourism. Some prefer that, some don't.

Ortigia has an unspoilt feel about it as modern developement is very restricted. It is an awful term but is shabby chic, more chic than shabby but has a very relaxing feel. Key to this is the absence of cars and their maniac Sicilian drivers.
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Jul 5th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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From my TR:

"The more time I spent on its back streets, the more I liked Ortigia. Yes, there were tourists around, but not that many. Yes, there were tourist shops, but not whole streets of them. Yes, the buildings were often baroque, but not aggressively so. Mostly, I think I liked the town because of the variety. Greek ruins here, a Spanish church round the corner, modern apartment blocks down the street. It had the feel of a place that had just grown over the centuries, rather than being designed and built all at once."
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Jul 5th, 2012, 03:10 PM
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I'm a fan of Ortigia as well. However, in Taormina the ancient theater is absolutely stunning. Take a look if you can. Don't know where you'll find that in the Bahamas.
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Jul 5th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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Ortigia has a beautiful location on the sea. And the sublime Piazza del Duomo is, in my opinion, on of the most beautiful public spaces in all of Italy. When I was there in April Caravaggio's 1608 altarpiece 'The Burial of St Lucy' was hanging in the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, with no admission charge and no queues or crowds of people waiting to file by. I sat in a front pew and contemplated it and absorbed it into my memory for 15 minutes or more. Delicious!
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Jul 6th, 2012, 09:22 AM
  #18
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Thanks--this is helpful. I think we would like to see Etna, so that is also part of staying near Taormina, but perhaps we will find a place more in the countryside. In terms of towns, I find myself more interested in Modica/Noto than Syracuse, not sure why but maybe we can make a day trip to Ortigia.

On another note, does anyone know anything about the ferries to the Aeolians? Is there a high probability of cancellation?

Also--if anyone has an affordable car rental agency to recommend I will take that too. Thanks very much!
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Jul 6th, 2012, 10:09 AM
  #19
 
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Car agency

The best way is usually to use a broker who sell on behalf of the agency.

Autoeurope usually have good rates, just be careful of add ons or scams at the local office. Sicily is clearly famous for its financial games. We had an attempted charge of e50 for cleaning a clean car, simply shook out the mats and they waived the charge.

I would base in Ortigia. Modica and Noto are beautiful but have a more local feel and are smaller, they are both easy day trips from Ortigia.
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Jul 6th, 2012, 11:34 AM
  #20
 
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IMO Ortigia is not a city like Florence, where you can rush around and see the sites, but more of a town that needs time to just soak it all in, walk leisurely around the sea wall, sit in a sidewalk cafe in the Piazza del Duomo,observe the pace of life for Sicilians who live there, walk the Passegiata, cheer on the fishermen in the evening while watching a spectacular sunset over the Porta Grande, contemplate the Fontana of the nymph Arethusa. Combine that with what one should learn about the history before travelling there, and to me that cannot possibly be absorbed in a day trip.
Do it if that's what you fancy, but otherwise, I would advise to choose one or the other.
Taormina has an entirely different feel to it, instead of watching locals, you are much more likely to be watching streams of tourists. The town is undoubtedly very photogenic, though, and it's lively. Just different from Ortigia.
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