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Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Canada
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Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

We just returned from Sicily, driving for 10 days. We took many back roads, drove into large cities, and didn't get lost or have any accidents! Here's my advice on maps and directions..

Long Distance / Country Driving

We took a GPS app which we never used, and both the Italian touring club 1:200,000 Sicily (map 14) and the Michelin 1:200,000 Sicilia (map 365).

Although the touring club map was highly recommended, and appears clearer, with larger print and bigger roads, we quickly put it away and used only the Michelin map. Turns out the reason the Michelin map is a little harder to read (smaller print, looks busier) is because it has twice the roads on it! We would not have gotten most places we went with only the touring club map. Driving anywhere in the countryside was easy with the Michelin map - the smallest of roads were accurately shown, and the width of the line reflected the relative width of the roads. Road numbers are rarely shown on signs, so directions (such as goggle maps) using road numbers are useless. You need to follow signs for where the road ends, not where you are going - a good paper map makes this easy. We had no problems.

City / Town Driving

Again, street signs are not dependable - sometimes they are there, many times they aren't. Directional signs to museums, attractions, and hotels are also hit and miss. I took every Sicily book there was out of the library before we left home, and photocopied ALL of the city and town maps. I also had several guides books with me (I cut them up and take only the relevant chapter with me each day), so I had those maps too. We studied the maps before heading out each day, and were able to follow the street signs easily when they did exist, and use landmarks (churches and parks) and make informed guesses about which way to go when there were no signs. Having maps, however crude, of towns is particularly important when you encounter the inevitable one-way street maze, OR street closures - which are common. I can't imagine how a GPS would help in these situations.

Driving in Sicily certainly isn't for the meek or faint of heart, but it can be fun and safe with a little preplanning!

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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1. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Welcome back and that you for an excellent report euromarch!

Best regards,

Vagabonda

Canada
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2. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Thank you Vagabonda for all of your insightful knowledge and generous advice - we benefitted immensely from it.

Our itinerary and accommodation choices, both of which you offered advice on, turned out wonderfully, and my husband, 15 year old son and I all LOVED Sicily. Inspiring sights, delicious food, and the friendliest and kindest people you could imagine - perfect!

los angeles
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3. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

thank you so much. I purchased the TCI map and now will have to decide whether we should get the Michelin one as well. You are the first person who has said they didn't get lost at all!!

I, too, copy the maps from library books. We will have GPS, but sounds like you didn't even use it.

Thanks again!

UK
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4. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

We, too, have just returned from a 10-day holiday driving through Sicily, and absolutely agree about the good Michelin map, Euromarch.

We did actually find that the road numbers were sometimes marked on road signs, and occasionally at the sides of the roads; not always, but it was very helpful when they were. Most disconcerting was when there were diversions in force, which were clearly marked at the beginning and then the signs would peter out and it was hard to know if you were on a road that was on the map or not. Roads - not just the smaller ones - often had potholes, or sunken bits that you could only see at the last minute, which added spice to the driving!

I did take my satnav, but we discovered that the rental cars' cigar-lighter was not charging it, so it was only used on Day 1. After that I was glued to the trusty Michelin map! Driving into Monreale, I did switch the satnav on in the faint hope that it would have enough juice left to get us to our hotel - and thank goodness, with its dying breath, it managed to get us there via the town's complicated one-way system.

My partner is interested in Norman remains, so we seemed ever to be negotiating the tiny streets of hilltop villages to reach some spectacular ruin or other.

We drove the small roads from Catania to Enna, where we stayed three nights; then across the mountains to Monreale for two nights. We had a night of luxury in Agrigento, then two very pleasant nights near Siracusa. The hotels worked out wonderfully.

Thank you, Vagabonda, for all the useful advice on the forum!

Angela

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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5. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Welcome back as well Loiseau and thank you for your report!

Map preferences are personal alison18losangeles, so perhaps take a look at the Michelin map and see which you prefer.

Could one of you kindly please provide the ISBN and publication date for the Michelin map? Thank you!

Vagabonda

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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6. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Thank you kindly euromarch– It was truly my pleasure!

Perhaps you would submit reviews for the hotels – Thank you in advance if you do! :-)

All the best to you!

Vagabonda

UK
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170 posts
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7. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

I've already done the hotels, Vagabonda! :-)

Oh, that's funny, I can't see them in my list of reviews...

I did them several days ago, and I think TA emailed to say they were up.

Edited: 21 March 2013, 21:12
Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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8. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Thank you for all your wonderfully informative reviews Loiseau - They have all posted!! :-)

Vagabonda

wagga
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9. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Thanks Euromarch.

I have the Michelin maps and was tossing up whether I should have got the touring club ones instead, and also debating on the GPS issue.

I also liked the tip of preparing town maps from a variety of guide books etc to find your way around towns, to hotels etc in order to be able to overcome road closures, 1 way streets etc

UK
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10. Re: Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?

Yes, I thought the town maps idea was brilliant, Euromarch!

I had an iPad with me, which has a good map and route-planning facility and shows one-way streets etc, but of course it has to be connected to the internet to work - and mine isn't 3G. In the end, as the satnav was not usable, I would study the iPad the evening before a move, to see exactly how to get to the next place, and sketch the final approach out on a piece of paper. Isn't that quaint?!

Actually, I found that if I closed the iPad with a bit of map showing the final bit, I could still see THAT bit of map whenever I next turned it on, without being connected. Sorry if that sounds complicated, but it was helpful.

Angela

Edited: 21 March 2013, 22:33