Sicilia 2010

In Spain 2008 we decided to meet again 2010. The nominees for a decision: Turkey, Croatia and Sicily.

The venue chosen: The island of Sicily, Italy.
Time to meet: October.

 

A. The top 10 of Sicily (?) -
a mixture of cities, historical sites and nature.

B. The Sicily Pretour 2009 - Report from the organising committee.

C. Have a look at pictures from the Sicily pretour 2009.

1. Taormina -
a lovely situated town above the sea
2. Selinunte -
old greek temples from 600 BC
3. Segesta -
an old greek temple and theater from 400 BC
4. Mount Etna -
an active volcano with several craters
5. Palermo -
with a rich Norman heritage
6. The monastery Monreale -
with it's magnificant cathedral and mosaics
7. Cefalu -
with it's sandy beaches and Norman history
8. Catania -
destroyed by an earthquake 1693 when our friend Christopher was on his expedition to India, but rebuilt in the 18th century in the baroque style
9. Siracusa -
a peaceful, modern city with visible greek roots from 700 BC. Birthplace of my dear old friend Archimedes.
10. Agrigento. -
and the Valle dei Templi with mostly ruins of greek temples from 500 BC
a. Noto, which also was destroyed in the 1693 earthquake
b. The Aiolian (Liparian) Islands - with Stromboli as the (perhaps) most famous one.
c. Villa Romana del Casale - an old Roman villa (AD 200-300) with exceptionally well preserved floor mosaics.

The top 13 of Sicilia?

Breaking news!
The organising committee has now completed it's research.
The Sicily Pretour 2009
Report from the organising committee.

At the end of September/beginning of October we explored the island from the west to the east - via the southern part, and had to skip the northern shores. Time did not allow a deep and full investigation.
After a thorough study of many of the options tourists to Sicily have to consider, both in the Internet and guidebooks, we ended up with some preliminary conclusions. We found some hotels in the vicinity of some of the island's attractions, hoping that both the hotels and the sights to see would correspond to our expectations. We checked out the quality of the hotels and explored the possibilities of excursions. We considered the options, made some choices and settled for a Tour of Sicily.

It was quite a task. We hadn't been to Sicily before, therefore, starting at scratch, we hoped to find solutions to all of our numerous questions - solutions that were supposed to please and satisfy our group.

Fairly soon we realised that we had to compromise. We soon skipped the possibility of finding a suitable Agriturismo - something like San Donato in Tuscany. We found them mostly too remote situated. Also hotels, the towns/cities and the sights did not fit together as we could have wished.

Two main results are pretty clear: The most attractive part regarding old, greek culture ist the western part of the island. On the other hand, the most attractive towns and touristic highlights are situated in the eastern part. We also had in mind to avoid too much driving around. The roads are not too well.

Of the top 10 - or 13 - above mentioned highlights of Sicily, we decided to focus on the following:
Old, greek temples: Segesta and Selinunte.
Old, greek theatres: Segesta, Siracusa and Taormina.
Old Roman sights: Villa Romana del Casale, Taormina and Siracusa.
The island itself: Mount Etna, Siracusa, Taormina and Erice.
Beaches (?): Castellamare del Golfo, Selinunte and Taormina.
Agrigento and The Valley of Temples/Valle di Templi was in our minds rather disappointing. Having first seen Segesta and Selinunte, we advice the group to skip The Valley of Temples.

Palermo, Monreale, Cefalu, the islands off Sicily and Catania were places we did not have or take time to explore. Therefore we cannot give any advice on those places. We simply have to rely on the possibility to visit those places and cities before or after (or during???) our week together.

We will suggest the following schedule for the group:
You may wish to fly in to Catania and return from Palermo. That will save you from a long drive on a rather bad autostrada back to Catania. A rental car will also be cheaper delivering it on the same place as pick up.

NB!! We advice you to avoid a too large car. The roads, and especially the streets in the cities/towns, are mostly pretty narrow! We were very satisfied with Hertz. They were the only company offering cars with automatic gearshift.

Starting at the Catania airport, we first stay 3 nights in Taormina. Then we move on to Siracusa southeast on the island and stay there for 2 nights. The last 2 nights we stay in Castellamare del Golfo on the northwestern coast close to Palermo.

After a lot of doubting and considering, we ended up choosing these hotels:
In Taormina:
Hotel Villa Schuler
, wonderfully situated high above the sea. Happy hour possibilities in a lush, nice garden. Check the Hotel in the internet:
www.hotelvillaschuler.com

In Siracusa:
Hotel Domus Mariae Benessere Per Te
. Check the internet www.domusmariaebenessere.com.

In Castellamare del Golfo:
Hotel Cala Marina***
, 14 rooms with ensuite bathrooms, TV and aircondition, at the seaside, no in-house restaurant, bar, continental breakfast. Drawback: No terrace with tables/chairs for our happy hours. I am, however, sure that we will find a solution to that problem. Have a look in the internet: www.hotelcalamarina.it.

We wish you luck - and advice you to start preparing by reading the old greek history!
For general information about Sicily, we recommend visiting this website
.

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