Sicily Suggetions

Old Mar 9th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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Sicily Suggetions

Hello!

Planning a trip with my 19 y/o daughter and 60 ish parents end of May to Sicily. I'm a little worried that our relatively active family might not have enough to do. It will be my daughters first trip to Italy, and Sicily is on the retired parents bucket list so I'm anxious about making sure its a good trip. I'm looking for some suggestions on an American style hotel, any organized tours that would be fun and informative, as well as a few off the beaten track day trips. On these vacations I like to mix up the local culture with the comforts so that I don't get complaints. Thoughts? The budget is pretty open at this point, but we are locked in to the middle two weeks of May. We will likely fly in and out of Rome, so adding a day two to each end there is also any option. Thanks in advance for your suggestions. And let me know what additional info would be helpful in giving advice!
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 10:34 AM
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Why American style hotels? The agriturismos where we stayed were quite comfortable. You might want to take a look at my trip report, skipping the medical section; click on my name to find it.
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 10:40 AM
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First, there is so much in Sicily, you could spend two or three weeks easily. It is a fairly large island and a week on each side would not be too long.

Would it not be easier to fly into or out of Palermo or Catania? You could also fly into Naples and take the ferry to Sicily. I would certainly not put a day in Rome at each end of the trip to Sicily. If you really want Rome, fly into Sicily for 8-9 days, fly to Rome for 4-5 days, fly home.

In Sicily, you might do better with an apartment or really nice local hotels than any "American style" places.

May is a great time to go.

Don't miss Agrigento - gorgeous Greek ruins.
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 10:51 AM
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Perhaps you could define "American style hotel." Does that mean indoor pool, fitness center, concierge service, room service?

Why go to Sicily to find an American style hotel?

I can't imagine that anyone will be bored or not have enough to do with 2 weeks in Sicily as there is diverse sightseeing and lots of locations. I was there for 12 days and only saw about half of what I wanted to see. The active folks can climb Mt. Etna. It's not beach weather so swimming in the ocean will not be possible but you can visit beaches.

Visit either the Catania area or Palermo area first and then do a loop around Sicily with a car. Siracusa/Ortigya, the Baroque towns, Agrigento, Trapani/Erice, and then Palermo would make for a good trip. If you can fit it in, the Aeolian Islands may be of interest (I didn't get there).

I'm also not sure what "local culture and comforts" means. Can you define this please. Sicily is not an emerging market country - everywhere you go will be just as comfortable as at home with better food.

Off the beaten track would probably require some fluency in Italian/Sicilian. You could read the book "The Stone Boudoir" by Theresa Maggio and then decide if this experience is for you. Or you could hire a guide and driver (your hotel could organize this) to visit interior towns. But there is so much to see and do that is on the main track you might not want to spend a day visiting villages that are not of interest to tourists.

In terms of day trips, it sounds as though you plan to stay in one place and experience the entire island from one location. That is absolutely not possibly. You'll need 3 to 4 bases to visit the main areas of Sicily.

Have you read anything about Sicily and do you have a preliminary list of places and sights you want to visit? If you can post your initial itinerary you can get feedback from folks who have been to Sicily.

I suggest:

5 days in Palermo (my favorite place)
3 days in Siracusa/Ortigya
1 day in the Baroque towns
1 day in Agrigento (2 nights with a stop in Trapani/Erice on the way to or from Agrigento)

The only way to avoid family complaints is to actively engage everyone in choosing what to do and see. There's no reason why everyone has to stay together every minute. If the others do not want to participate in the planning and choosing then they're not entitled to complain.

I really can't imagine anyone complaining about vacation. Even the times when everything doesn't go smoothly or according to plan makes a vacation more memorable and something to laugh about later.
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 11:16 AM
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Sicily in the middle of May should be lovely! It remains one of my favorite trips, and, as others have suggested, you will have barely scratched its surface in two weeks. There are world class attractions in every corner (and in the middle). Here's what we did with a time frame similar to yours:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ecial-trip.cfm.
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 12:13 PM
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Here is Sicly in May. You will need 2 weeks and 4 bases:

http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=3828
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 01:58 PM
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Another TR for Sicily:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ing-sicily.cfm

What bob said. And I can't imagine why anyone would want an "American style hotel" outside America... You don't need an "organized tour" either, if you mean a day trip. I did go with a tour group for part of my trip, but that was because I didn't want to drive. If you are up for driving all you need is a good guidebook.
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 06:33 PM
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As others have said, 2 weeks is a bare minimum for Sicily, so you WILL need to be selective. A good guide book or two should prove invaluable for your efforts to decide what most interests you and your family, as there is PLENTY to do -- more than you have time for!

I also don't understand why you think American-style hotels and organized tours are necessary, nor do I understand why you are flying into/out of Rome, but perhaps there is something I'm missing....

May is a lovely time to visit Sicily!
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 06:26 PM
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I'm flying in and out of Rome because I'd like to fly direct with miles, and thats not an option into Palermo. I prefer an American style hotel so that at the end of the day if its hot theres AC, there is restaurant on site with an English speaking staff if food has been an issue during the day, and finding rooms with two doubles bed can happen. I know will certianly offend someone, but unfortunately two weeks of magnificent scenery just won't fly. So while everyone is saying we will be able to busy, I still haven't found much to do.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 06:33 PM
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Stay home.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 07:10 PM
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"I still haven't found much to do." -- what sources are you consulting? Sicily does have some magnificent scenery, but also a great many things to see and experience.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 07:53 PM
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>>> I prefer an American style hotel so that at the end of the day if its hot theres AC, there is restaurant on site with an English speaking staff if food has been an issue during the day, and finding rooms with two doubles bed can happen.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 10:32 PM
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So while everyone is saying we will be able to busy, I still haven't found much to do.

Start reading guidebooks.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2014, 12:52 AM
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1. Just because the hotel has AC doesn't mean that it will be turned on in May. It most likely will not be available as it's not yet summer.

2. All hotels and restaurants dealing with tourists will speak English. I doubt that this will be a problem. English is the lingua franca in Europe.

3. Rooms with 2 double beds are not very common.

4. If you haven't found much to do on Sicily then it's not the destination for you. Don't go there.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2014, 04:51 AM
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I have found 2 McDonalds listed for Messina and 1 in Catania. Be sure your visit includes those cities.

I found no Sheratons or Marriott Hotels on Sicily. I did find a couple of Hilton hotels and many Best Western hotels. Please know that a Best Western in Europe is much different from those in the US. All you need to do is easily search via the chains websites or by using a site such as Booking.com. Very easy to do, I am sure your 60 year old parents can show you how.

As another frequent poster always finishes their post " Have fun as you plan."
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Old Mar 22nd, 2014, 05:25 AM
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I still think the OP should stay home: it is clear from his post that he will be miserable, and make everyone around him miserable. However, no reason his parents can't go - they should look at this: http://www.ricksteves.com/tours/italy/sicily - there's still space on the mid-May departure.

His daughter is old enough to go solo.

I thought Marriott had built/renovated a hotel on Ortygia (moving the bus station and the market in the process, ugh), but I don't see it either. Maybe not enough "must have an American hotel" type people go to Sicily...
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Old Mar 27th, 2014, 06:15 AM
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Hello vbarone,
I guess coming to Sicily for the first time and from such a long distance could be worrying. Even if there's plenty do to in Sicily is also true that most of the information one could easily find in in Italian.
Perhaps you could tell more about what kind of activities you and your family like to do and I could give you good advice.
As for accommodation I guess you should take a look to the high end offer around Catania and Taormina such as:
MONACI DELLE TERRE NERE, is small and beautiful, intimate and friendly. They have their own cook so you shall have a great meal every evening.
http://www.monacidelleterrenere.it/home/
VILLA CARLOTTA, boutique hotel in Taormina is one of the best of its kind. Their restaurant has a breathtaking view and their young chef is simply amazing.
http://www.hotelvillacarlottataormina.com/it/
WINE & RESORT VILLAGRANDE
Is a small jewel inside a beautiful land, with pool and personal services.
http://www.villagrande.it/en/wine-re...llagrande.html

As for things to do you can taste wine at Benanti Winery and at Tenute Delle Terre Nere. You can dive in Taormina or Giardini Naxos. You can discover Etna with a private excursion or on your own. You can have breakfast on a boat. You can visit a unique butterflies museum, see a Sicilian Puppets theater, ride donkeys etc. It's really up to you.

However if need more information I suggest you to take a look on Tripadvisor or on this new site with lots of information called www.onsicilycard.com

Sicily is amazing but you have to come and visit with the right heart and an open mind. People are incredibly friendly but I'm not so sure if you'll find a lot of places in American style.

Have a great Sicilian holiday!
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