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Please Advice : Southern Italy & Sicily Itinerary (Dec 2013)

Singapore, Singapore
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Please Advice : Southern Italy & Sicily Itinerary (Dec 2013)


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.

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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1. Re: Please Advice : Southern Italy & Sicily Itinerary (Dec 2013)

Welcome to Sicily llamo!

If you were to decide on Palermo, then use the same precautions and street-smarts you would in any large city worldwide.

You would appreciate a car in Puglia.

Although Matera is lovely, you might find four nights in winter a bit long, and you might also reconsider 1-night stays in Locorotondo and Ostuni, especially via public transport, and especially if you don't want to feel rushed, and you'd like some to time to see these towns.

Fly or take the ferry from Naples to Sicily - Getting there:


Taormina closes in November, but then reopens in December for Christmas.

Palermo is Sicily's largest city, and so always bustling, but it's not relaxed.

From Taormina, you might visit Mount Etna, Catania, Siracusa.....

Have you considered basing in Siracusa?

Best wishes!


Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: Please Advice : Southern Italy & Sicily Itinerary (Dec 2013)

Thank you, Vagabonda, for your advice. There are so much to do in Sicily but so little time. We have decided to defer Sicily to another time & to plan 2 wks to cover the key landmarks in future.

The adapted itinerary is as follows, taking into account Vagabonda's advice that 4 days for Matera would be too much during winter, & also to make provisions for travel time by public transport between towns (we are not confident with driving in Italy).

Day 1 - Arrive Rome, train to Bari, then bus to Matera. Overnight in a Matera Sassi.

Days 2 to 4 - Matera free & easy.

Day 5 - bus to Alberobello; Free & easy Alberobello. Overnight in a Trulli.

Day 6 - day trip to Grotte del Castellana

Day 7 - Alberobello free & easy / day trip to Locorotondo or Ostuni

Day 8 - Train / Bus from Alberobello to Salerno. Overnight Salerno.

Day 9 - Day trip to Pompeii;

Days 10 to 12 - Salerno free & easy, Day trips to Sorrento, Capri etc

Day 13 - Train from Salerno to Rome. Depart for home.

Would deeply appreciate advice whether above itinerary is ok, & also whether attractions / public transport / restaurants etc at the above places operates during the 1st 2 weeks of Dec.

Much thanks.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Please Advice : Southern Italy & Sicily Itinerary (Dec 2013)

For those few days and your desired day trips (Sorrento and Capri) - I'd suggest staying in Sorrento; not sure if ferries run that time of year to Capri from Salerno. Sorrento seems to be better situated for your choices of places to visit. Also, it is easy to reach Pompei from there as well.

4. Re: Please Advice : Southern Italy & Sicily Itinerary (Dec 2013)

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