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Sicily Itinerary for May-June 2016-comments please!

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Sicily Itinerary for May-June 2016-comments please!

Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 08:59 AM
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Sicily Itinerary for May-June 2016-comments please!

Based on reading trip reports and posts here and on Trip Advisor, I've come up with an itinerary and booked hotels for a trip my DH and I will be taking in May-June 2016. I know its 6 months out, but its so much fun to plan. We like good food, easy hiking, history and independent exploring...so Sicily seems perfect. Some of the hotels are higher than we would usually spend, but its my 60th birthday celebration. We would appreciate any suggestions or comments!

5/23 arrival @ Catania Airport, transfer to Taormina
5/23-5/26 3 nights @ Villa Ducale in Taormina without a car euro 879
5/24-long day trip to Stromboli from Taormina (we'd love to spend overnight, but not this trip---just want a taste...)
5/26-to airport, pick up car, tour Etna, overnight near Etna (any suggestions?)
5/27-on the way to Modica, tour Siracusa
5/27-5/29 2 nights Palazzo Failla in Modica
5/28 tour baroque towns- Ragusa, Noto
5/29 drive to Piazza Armerina, tour Villa Romana del Casale, one night @ Villa Athena in Agrigento
5/30 tour Valley of the Temples, drive to Menfi
5/30-6/2 3 nights @ La Foresteria Planteta in Menfi
5/31 tour Selinunte
6/2 drive to Palermo Airport, drop off car
6/2-6/5 3 nights @ B&B Della Vittorie in Palermo with day trips to Erice and Segesta, Monreale, maybe Cefalu
fly out of Palermo late 6/5

Any reactions? Thanks for all your great posts and trip reports...I've really enjoyed reading them.
auntieapple is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 10:24 AM
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Hi auntie,

I assume you have already researched your long day trip from Taormina to Stromboli? Are you going with a tour that starts from Taormina? Just want to be sure you know how long this day will actually be!

I think I would visit Villa Romana right after Etna, then head on to Siracusa. I loved Ortigia and think you would be much better off staying there for at least one night.

I only visited one of the Baroque towns, Scicli. I really enjoyed it, but didn't feel a big need to see the others.

If you have 3 nights on Palermo and plan to be away for 1 day to visit Erice and Segesta, plus another half day for Monreale, and another half or full day for Cefalu, you have no time left for the city itself. Maybe rethink this part.....and decide on your priorities.

Personally, I would choose between the Stromboli very long day trip and the Etna tour. Have you seen an active volcano before? Are you doing the Stromboli hike to the top, then view from a boat at night? If you are not hiking up, think about whether this will be a big enough payoff for the time involved. Also do you really need to do both on such a short trip? Your call!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 10:47 AM
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I second Dayle concerning the Stromboli trip. Spend 2 days for that or skip it.
There is much more to see at Siracusa than at Modica.
Noto is a Baroque town like Modica and has the big advantage that there is a roman villa similar to that of Piazza Armerina just a few miles away.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Romana_del_Tellaro
You can avoid a lot of backtracking if you visit Trapani/Erice, Selinunte, Segesta from a central point in Western Sicily (somewhere between Castelvetrano and Calatafimi).
Palermo/Monreale/Cefalu needs at least 2 full days.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 11:10 AM
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I still have to finish my ongoing trip report but have a couple comments for you.

We spent 3 nights in Modica and 5 nights in Ortygia (Siracusa). Overall, I'd say Ortygia was our favorite of the trip (Palermo close second). Your itinerary looks like you are devoting an afternoon to Siracusa. You are not allowing yourself any time to see Palermo. How are you planning to get into Palermo from the airport? Let's say you get a good early start, don't get lost, find a place to fill up your car before returning it, wait for the bus, bus into Palermo, find your B&B, get settled a bit, and get something to eat. IMO best case scenario is now about 3:00. When and how exactly are you going to fit in day trips to 4 different places (to say nothing of finding time to see Palermo)?

Unless I am reading this incorrectly, on 5/29 you are driving from Modica up to Piazza Armerina to see the mosaics and then back down to Agrigento to spend the night there. IMO this is waaaay overly ambitious. You do not seem to be taking into account the possibility of getting lost or having difficulty finding parking or any of those other things that can very easily eat into your time. As I recall, when we drive to PA (we spent 2 nights here) from Modica, it was somewhere around 2 to 2.5 hours. We spent over 3 hours at the mosaics. When we left PA it was probably close to 2 hours to get to Agrigento. Just saying you have around 7.5 hour commitment if nothing goes wrong, you don't need to stop for a bathroom break, you don't need to eat, and you don't see anything else you want to make a brief stop at.

Overall, I'd say it was not the top ten that made our trip to Sicily most appealing; it was taking in the ambience and just wandering about soaking up the atmosphere. Sorry, but IMO I don't see any time where you are giving yourself the flexibility to do just this. To me, this trip sounds like a forced march or a replica of a tour bus itinerary.

neckerved--We visited both Tellaro and Casale to see the mosaics. There is absolutely no comparison between the two.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 01:09 PM
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May is a lovely time to visit Sicily!

I trust you've seen the posts from several of us who found Taormina unpleasantly crammed with day-trippers during the day. The views are lovely, and it is much more pleasant after day-trippers leave. Still, I wouldn't stay there again for more than a night or two, unless you use it as a base for both the Aeolians AND Etna. JMO.

Others have noted the difficulties of a day trip to Stromboli. Without knowing what, exactly, draws you to Stromboli, I would note that if your goal is to see a bit of the Aeolians, then Lipari would probably be much easier and may have more to offer.

Is there a reason why you are going to the airport to pick up a car?

I trust you know that there are excellent day-tours of Etna from Taormina? One major advantage is that the tour will include having all transportation arranged for you and provided as a priority -- if you go on your own, you will likely face lines each time you need to switch modes of transportation, and that occurs frequently. But perhaps you just mean driving around the base...?

Only part of a day for Siracusa? Siracusa / Ortygia were among my favorites in Sicily, and with an interest in history, I would think you might have wanted more time there....

If I'm reading correctly, you have only 2.5 days in Palermo, during which you are planning day trips to 3 or 4 different places? That sounds very tight to me, and it would not leave very much time (if any) for fascinating Palermo itself -- which I thought easily worth 2 or 3 days just in itself.

By the way, I don't share julies's concerns about getting from Palermo's airport to the city or about visiting the Villa Romana del Casale en route to Agrigento -- but that certainly doesn't mean that her concerns aren't valid! Things could have changed since I was there....

Hope that helps!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 01:21 PM
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Another vote - a very definite vote - for much less time in Taormina, less time for the baroque towns, more time in Palermo and much more time in Ortygia.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 01:33 PM
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THANK YOU so much...I really really appreciate everyone's input! Its really exciting to get all this feedback. As we are still 6 months out, still in planning mode. I usually don't have the luxury of this much time to plan, so having fun with the planning!

Based on your comments, we're considering dropping the Stromboli/Aeolian Island haul, taking a day trip to Etna from Taormina or dropping a night from Taormina, adding overnights in Ortigia (probably at the expense of the stay in Modica and day trip there...thoughts on that?). I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your trip report, Julies...
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Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 01:39 PM
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"at the expense of the stay in Modica and day trip there...thoughts on that?"

I'm not particularly fond of Baroque architecture, and so found brief stops in Noto (delightfully playful Baroque!) and Caltagirone (for its ceramics) sufficient for my sampling of Sicilian Baroque. YMMV.

IMO, the changes you propose would definitely improve your plan.
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