The Silver Travel Forum – important update

Our Forum is now only available to read rather than to contribute to discussions. You can still access all threads, but you will no longer be able to add your own comments. If you would like to write a review instead, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]

Sicily

10 Posts

The cathedral at Monreale looks tremendously impressive. Sicily is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but from what you’ve said it sounds like 2 weeks, or a better organised trip, sounds more appropriate. Hurried or not, you have some lovely photos. I’m not long back from the Algarve, again, and trying to get up a head of steam to post a few on here.

Hartlepool

Great report – as always Eleanor.

Thoroughly enjoyed your review on Sicily. Been to Naples and stayed with friends but never felt brave enough to drive… all looked a bit frantic.

Thank you Hunter. I’d agree with you about time and also having a car to explore and get to the places not on the tourist itinerary.

ESW
Lincolnshire

Great photos and review, ESW

It brought back memories of the places I visited in 2012. I think our tour was called ‘Highlights of Sicily.’
I just wished we had had more time and, if returning, would like to have car hire to spend more time exploring.
I rather like watching Inspector Montalbano (the older one) on TV and it always reminds me of this wonderful island.

Chichester

I really enjoyed reading this interesting review and your photos are great.

North Northumberland

Absolutely brilliant @ESW thank you.

London
Many thanks for these, Eleanor – some years ago I spent part of February in Sicily – it was cold, but beautiful, so these pictures are a great reminder.

As you can see I am out of practice and the links and bold aren’t working properly. I also ran out of time editing to finish adding all the pictures…

Day 4 for Villa Romana del Casale

Day 5 pictures for Taormina


Day 6 pictures for Ortygia


Day 7 pictures for Mount Etna

All the information and pictures can be found here.

ESW
Lincolnshire

It has taken me a lot longer to write this than intended, but better late than never…

It was October half term and I was wanting to go somewhere warm before the rigours of the English winter set in. Not wanting to spend too long flying to somewhere exotic, I decided on the Mediterranean and Sicily, an island I’ve not been to.

I chose to go with Riviera Travel, a company I had used earlier in the summer and had been impressed by. The dates were right and they also offered flights from Manchester Airport.

It was a good holiday hitting the high spots of Sicily. Sicily is big so there was a lot of driving some days. I would have appreciated longer in both Palermo and Monreale as half a day wasn’t long enough. I can understand saving Etna for the last day but the weather forecast was not good and it was a pity the itinerary wasn’t flexible enough to allow us to swap the last two days round.

I also felt there was a lot of Sicily that we didn’t see. In many ways this was very much a whistle stop tour of the highlights.

The guide Rosario was knowledgeable and provided us with detailed maps for each of the places we visited. Places of interest were highlighted and he briefed us daily about the itinerary and suggested places we might like to visit when exploring by ourselves.

DAY 1 – Arrival
It was a late morning arrival at Catania Airport and a long drive across the island to Kaos Hotel, a large modern and minimalist style hotel set in large grounds on the outskirts of Agrigento . We were booked in here for three night

DAY 2 – Valley of the Temples and Agrigento
This was a full day spent around Agrigento, starting with a visit to the Archaeology Museum, which has an incredible collection of Greek pottery. We had a guided tour of the Valley of the Temples. The temples were built between 500-450BC on a ridge with views of the sea and surrounding countryside. This was followed by a brief visit to Agrigento, with free time to explore. Unfortunately being lunch time the cathedral was shut.

DAY 3 – Palermo and Monreale
It was a long drive north across the island to the capital, Palermo where we had the morning to explore by ourselves. Having seen the queues for Cappella Palatina, I decided to give this a miss and concentrate on the cathedral and the churches as well as wandering through the narrow streets and alleyways. The Church of St Mary of Gesu is a marvellous example of over the top Baroque work.

In the afternoon we drove to Monreale for a guided tour of the cathedral and cloisters. The cathedral which is described as one of the most beautiful churches in Sicily with walls covered with covered with gold mosaics which included a visit to the cloisters.

DAY 4 – Piazza Armerina and Taormina
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_four/index.html”
Leaving Agrigento we drove back across Sicily to Taormina on the east coast just north of Catania. We visited Villa Romana del Casale near the small town of Piazza Armerina. The villa was covered by a massive mud slide in the C11th which preserved all its mosaic floors. This is the largest collection of mosaics still in situ in the world, and include the famous ‘Bikini Girls’. They are also of the highest quality suggesting the high status of the original owner.

We booked into Hotel Excelsior Palace, just outside the old town of Taormina for the next four nights.

DAY 5 – Taormina
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_five/index.html
We had a free day which gave us plenty of time to explore Taormina with its network of narrow streets and alleyways as well as Vila Communale Gardens which are a wonderful place to drop out in the heat of the midday sun.

The highlight of Taormina must be the Greek Theatre with its views across Taormina to Mount Etna. This is always busy, unlike the much smaller Roman Odeon behind St Catherine’s Church, so it makes sense to visit as soon as it opens and before the tour buses arrive.

Some of the pillars were recycled to build the cathedral. The Church of Varo reached by narrow alleyways off the main street, isn’t the easiest to find but is a wonderful example of flamboyant Baroque architecture.

DAY 6 – Ortygia
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_six/index.html

It was a short drive down the coast to Siracusa, where I decided to miss the optional boat trip around the bay and explored the island of Ortygia, with its network of narrow streets and alleyways lined with tall buildings. This was once the largest and most important city in the ancient world.
The cathedral was originally a Greek temple that later became a church. The original temples can still be seen on the north wall and arches were carved through the walls of the cella to form the nave. It is an incredible building with a very different feel to any of the other churches I saw. The west front is a complete contrast, having been rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake which destroyed many of the buildings. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

DAY 7 – Mount Etna
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_seven/index.html

A trip to Mount Etna was planned as the highlight of the holiday. After a week of full sunshine, the weather let us down and it was a dull damp day with the top of the volcano covered by cloud. It was decidedly atmospheric, with the cloud swirling around. I took the cable car up to 2500m but decided there was little point in taking the unimog to the rim of the crater.

We made a brief stop at Zafferana Etnae, one of the small towns on the flanks of Etna.

We arrived back at Taormina early afternoon. Annoyingly by then, the cloud had cleared and the top of Etna was again in the sunlight.

Day 8 – Departure.

We left Taormina after breakfast for the short drive back to Catania for the lunchtime flight back to Manchester.

It was a good holiday hitting the high spots of Sicily. Sicily is big so there was a lot of driving some days. I would have appreciated longer in both Palermo and Monreale as half a day wasn’t long enough. I can understand saving Etna for the last day but the weather forecast was not good and it was a pity the itinerary wasn’t flexible enough to allow us to swap the last two days round.

I also felt there was a lot of Sicily that we didn’t see. In many ways this was very much a whistle stop tour of the highlights.

Last Edited by ESW at 28 Feb 19:29
ESW
Lincolnshire
10 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top