Sicily - culture, walking, active, local food

  A couple visited Italy in April 2017

“We are experienced European travelers and very comfortable driving on mountain roads. We love to sight see and dive deep in terms of culture and history but also like to be very active and move a lot. We like to stay 2-3 nights per location typically and like to drive en-route to the next place versus turning around. We will be flying from Rome and then flying back to the US. We're wondering about flying in and out of Palermo and Catania to be more efficient but does that work with a rental car drop off and flights? Also, it looks like we'll be there during Holy Week - arriving in Sicily around April 10. Love to see the processions, etc. but concerned things will be closed. We like to stay in special inns and hotels - we're not afraid to spend one. We also appreciate guided walks with local experts and are willing to pay for a a guided experience if it's something we can't do on our own. We love great, simple, local food. Here are some of the destinations that intrigue us: Taormina (+trek to Mount Etna), Ortygia, Noto or another baroque town, Piazza Armerina, Agrigento, and Palmerno. Also interested in places such as Scopello (and the Reserve for walking), Selinunte, and Erice. Open to other ideas.”

Giorgia Carraffa, a local specialist from Italy, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on Volcanoes of Sicily: Exploring Mt Etna and the Aeolian Islands - 9-Day Itinerary.

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Trip planning highlights

85 messages exchanged
5 trip plan versions shared
Travelers completed their trip! Read traveler review

Spectacular self-drive tour around Sicily

Day 1: Arrival in Palermo
Day 2: Palermo and Monreale
Day 3: Palermo
Day 4: Scopello and the Zingaro Natural Reserve
Day 5: Trapani
Day 6: The Salt Road
Day 7: Agrigento
Day 8: Villa Romana del Casale
Day 9: The Sicilian Baroque
Day 10: Noto and Marzamemi
Day 11: Syracuse
Day 12: Syracuse
Day 13: Riviera dei Ciclopi
Day 14: Mt Etna
Day 15: Departure

Summary of the trip planning conversation

Below are some useful excerpts from the trip planning conversation
I'm Giorgia your Italy travel specialist. What a nice request! I come from Sicily and I can guarantee that my Island in April is a great destination to visit. If you like cultural visits, hikes and gastronomy choose the best place ! The holy week is also very important here and in many towns there are celebrations and religion processions . For example the one in Trapani on Friday 14th called " La Processione dei Misteri". So i will send you a good proposal considering a drive round trip including the best places for cultural deep visits and beautiful hikes. Mt Etna, Riserva dello Zingaro ( the one in Scopello) and few days at the Aeolian Island will be certainly inn!
I think we will skip the Aeolian Islands - just not enough time to do it all.
Giorga- we are interested. We're still trying to get our head around the itinerary. We like the neighborhood in Palermo but could you recommend a higher end hotel? Also, we'd love to stay 2-3 nights in Ortygia - can we work it out with the car? We travel with a lot of luggage so parking far away isn't really a good idea. I saw that some hotels allow one to drive into the restricted zone and then they park for us. Thoughts? Do you think we would be mistaking a mistake to not stay right in Modica (the hotel looks great though) but I was trying to collapse locations and maybe stay in Ortygia plus Masseria degli Ulivi. Thanks!
so another nice spots in Palermo is Palazzo Brunaccini ...have a look and tell me what you think! About Modica, yes Palazzo Failla is a beautiful hotel and has a great restaurant too. Actually if you like nice food shouldn't miss the area of Modica and Ragusa. However I understand you can't do everything! What about cancel your visit at Piazza Armerina? is this a must for you ?
Regards Ortigia there are some lovely hotels with private garage like Algilà Ortigia Charme or the Antico Hotel Roma 1880. If you like them, I think we solve the problem! you can sleep 3 nights there and in case drive to ragusa and modica from Ortgia. The Masseria degli Ulivi is very close from Ortigia so if you want to sleep there, have no sense to book also at la Masseria.
Is this sounds good? If you are happy with these new option, I will update the program with the discussed change and send you a new proposal.
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Traveler Review

Great experience with the website and working with Georgia. She was great. The package of materials was excellent. I loved all the maps and they saved us a few times - I couldn't have gotten the Sicily road map on my own but not all the local maps she sent us. Also loved the driving directions and suggestions with details for optional tours. She worked with us to create our itinerary and her knowledge was so good. We never would have done what we do without her help. I loved all her suggestions for options on our transition days. Lodging was great as well. I really liked having the resources of her office - she sent us stuff that was important during the trip as well - for example, revised driving directions to a hotel because of road construction. The team she works with backed her up and someone always answered the phone and responded to our messages. Joost was great to work with as well.