The TA Forum, (shout out to Vagabonda - you're beyond awesome!!!) was so invaluable to the Sicily portion of my trip planning that I felt compelled to share the Sicily piece of my trip report to thank those who offered so much advise and to help those in the future who plan to travel to Eastern Sicily.
My Sicily itinerary was somewhat aggressive for 3 nights. I was traveling with my sisters who are 70 and 73 and I'm 20 years their junior. I realized they probably would not have the opportunity to return to Italy much less Sicily.
They flew Portland Oregon to DC where they picked me up and we did Economy Plus to Geneva then Geneva to Catania. Managed to get some ZZs and enjoy the BClass lounge at Dulles and Geneva due to my Gold Status. No view of Etna on the Catania piece :(
Day 2 arrive Catania at noon.
After a 30 minute walk that should have taken 10 minutes (eldest is in bad shape), we cue up for a 30 minutes wait only to find out AutoEurope lost our reservations even though the car rental was prepaid. It took another 60 minutes to get them back, I used this time to calibrate GPS. So at 2 pm we're on the road to Ortygia. We find Hotel Gutkowski relatively easily, get a free parking space in front of the Hotel that we don't have to move then check-in to a rather small triple room with no view of the sea but quiet. At 4 pm sis and I proceed to do a 3 hour self guided walking tour of this historic section of Siracusa. We see the square Melinda walked through, the famous fountain and the beauty of this quaint little Sicilian town than in retrospect deserves at least 2 nights. We have a tastey dinner at the hotel and I proceed out around 9:30 pm to see Ortigia at night and play a little foos. So I visit B&B Itica, walk back through Melina's square and later, on the way home around midnight, stumble upon a bar about 100 meters to the left of Hotel Gutkowski which had a foosball table and 4 girls to play against! Hotel Gutkowski failed to give me an entry door key so I was locked out when I got home just past midnight. I found an Italian policeman and explained my problem...within about 30 minutes 3 other policeman were calling phone numbers and using their sticks to knock on the entry door. Quite a scene for midnight in Orytigia..I should have taken a picture...finally I get in my room around 1 30 am!!!
DAy 3: late morning...we don't wake up until 9 am and nearly miss breakfast! I wolf mine down grab a bike from the hotel and head to the Greek Amphitheater, I pass some amazing structures on my way. I did not enter the Theater as we needed to check out by noon but I saw the outline of it. I get back to hotel around noon...check out and say hello to a Dutch B&B owner near the hotel (and really close to the foosball place) that I befriended but could not accommate us because she only has one room in her well decorated B&B. WE leave for Taormina round 12:30 and arrive at the Godfather 3 train station about 2:00...do a quick observation and photo shoot and proceed to find Mamma Maries B&B. Unfortunately our GPS wasn't much help. A nice parking lot attendent showed us via motor bike where MM's was...I slipped him 5E for his efforts. Checked in and got ready for our 7 pm walking tour of Taormina which was fantastic. Late night dinner at the recommended place of Vito the manager of MM B&B even though we had a 9pm reservation at A-Zamma and wasted an hour trying to find the entry street to our B&B. It was very good restaurant and it started with a G like the train station. It was across from the Gardens next to the expensive parking garage that held the car (17E a day ouch!).
Day 4: first thing: Got tickets to the Film Festival activities for final night of the festival. Fed the cats at Congressional Plaza with catfood I brought from US . Got the car and headed to Savoca. Found Bar Vitrelli where we had Gelato and walked the walk of Micheal and Apollona to the Church. Bought a Godfather shirt and played foos with one of the employees of the snack shop across from Bar Vitrelli. Then headed to Forgia D Aggreia for a late fish lunch recommended by Vito (difficult to find this town). Fantastic meal for 35E each, tons of fish...left overs were brought home and fed to the cats of Taormina the next morning before we left. We headed back to B&B around 6 and relaxed then one sister and I went to the Greek theater for the show...fantastic venue...we saw the awards, a preview of Planet of the Apes and finally the movie Belle. We capped off the night with a wine and snacks at Grand Bellemond Timeo.
Day 5: check out and head to Messina to see the clock strike by noon. We leave Taormina at 10 am with and find a street spot 100 meters from the square with 10 minutes to noon to spare! Watch the clock do it's magic as well as a procession into the Church. Head to the ferry to catch the 1:00 pm to V San G. That's our Sicily portion....wish i could post pictures!