My family (4 persons) is planning a holiday to Southern Italy & Sicily in the 1st 2 weeks of Dec13. We like it to be a relaxing tour, where the family can enjoy some bonding time together, while also experience Italy off the beaten track. We hope to experience the culture, the cuisine, the people & we intend to rely on public transportation. We have done some research & planned the following itinerary :
Day 1 - arrive Rome (likely about 2pm), train / flight to Bari, then bus to Matera (Overnight)
Day 2 - Free & Easy Matera
Day 3 - Free & Easy Matera
Day 4 - Free & Easy Matera
Day 5 - Free & Easy Matera
Day 6 - Bus to Aberobello, Locorotondo (overnight)
Day 7 - Bus to Grotte del Castellana, then Ostuni (overnight)
Day 8 - Bus to Bari, then train to Naples/Sorrento (overnight)
Day 9 - Train / bus to Pompeii, Naples / Sorrento (overnight)
Day 10 - Train / Ferry / Flight to Sicily
Days 11 - 14 - to be confirmed
Option 1 - Palermo, Monreale, Cefalu
Option 2 - Taormina & surrounds
Day 15 - Flight From Sicily to Rome
Like to seek the following advice :
(a) is above realistic ? We hope not to have to 'rush' around.
(b) safety is paramount to us. Are the above places safe ?
(c) is it advisable to rely on public transport totally ?
(d) attractions, shops, accommodations, eateries & restaurants open in the 2 wks of Dec ?
(e) need help with the Sicily leg. Is Taormina a better choice than Palermo ? What are things near or around Taormina ? We are not into ruins so Agrigento would not be our cup of tea.
Any other advice also deeply appreciated. Thanks.