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Getting excited - a month to go!

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Getting excited - a month to go!

We are starting to get excited about our week in Sicily at the end of May. We are staying at the Villa Carlotta, which sounds great, and hoping to spend a relaxing time in Taormina with a trip to Etna and possibly one or two more excursions, but it will be mainly about chilling out and relaxing from stressful jobs.

If anyone could help us with up-to-date suggestions about likely temperature, whether it is worth hiring a car, best places to visit in the Taormina area and nice restaurants in Taormina itself, we would be very grateful.

Lastly, we do like to read a good novel about the locality when we are on holiday - any suggestions, apart from "The Leopard"?

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1. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Ah...we leave in a month also, but we will be going back to Tuscany and Rome! When we visit Sicily I always take a few of Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano mysteries...the first of which is "The Shape of Water"...great fun reads, and of course Andrea is a Sicilian and all of his Montalbano books are set in Sicily...but alas not Taormina. They are fast reads....take 2 or 3 and of course read in the order they were published!

We stayed in Taormina for 5 nights a few years ago...I would not want to drive in that town! It took our Sicilian driver many stops and many conversations with locals for him to find our hotel! Basically the town is on the side of a cliff. It will be overflowing with tourists...but it is amazingly beautiful and well worth the hassle. Take lots of pictures...it is that lovely. And of course do not miss the GrecoRoman Theatre...oh my god, the view is the best in the world!

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2. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Round about the beginning of June the three month-ish settled spell begins - which day is the last with cloud or rain is anyone's guess.

The temperature usually is late 20s to early 30s C degrees with intense midday sun.

A book I enjoyed to read - 'A House in Sicily' by Daphne Phelps

Another one about the whole of the island of Sicily, entertaining - 'Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons' by Matthew Fort

I can't help with restaurants, but may be able to help with places to visit knowing a bit about your interests?

If I think of any other books I'll post again, presuming here you prefer English translation of Italian books?

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3. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Ciao ChiefWeasel,

Your time in Taormina at the pampering Villa Carlotta will be delightful!

The end of May generally bring lovely, usually dry and warm to hot weather, and you’ll find Taormina’s beaches beckoning - http://www.bestofsicily.com/weather.htm

Whether you would hire a car would depend on your intended destination and your willingness to take public transport or excursions.

You can easily take Interbus up to Castelmola and there are many excursions to Etna. Catania or Siracusa is reached by bus or train, and Interbus runs service to Gole Dell'alcantara. Savoca is more challenging to reach via public transport, but excursions run from Taormina to Savoca.

There is free street parking around Villa Carlotta, even if a bit challenging to find should you decide to hite a car.

And you may also consider hiring as needed by the day - http://www.californiarentcar.com/

If you were to hire from California, California also parks their cars free of charge, a terrific bonus!

californiarentcar.com/generalcondition.htm

Taormina enjoys a wide range of restaurants, trattorie, and osterie - Rosso Peperoncino, Osteria Nero D’avola, Trattoria da Nino, Osteria Da Rita Di Bille’ SAS, Ristorante L'incontro, Ristorante Le Naumachie, Al Melograno (formerly Ristorante Licchio's), Villa Antonio, Hotel El Jebel’s Ciampoli, Grand Hotel Timeo Restaurant, Restaurant Oliviero at Villa Sant'Andrea by Orient-Express, Hotel Metropole’s Bellevue, Al Saraceno above Taormina on the road to Castelmola, Il Barcaiolo at Spiaggia Mazzarò, and Gallo Cedrone in Castelmola.

This thread discusses books and movies about Sicily that you might enjoy - Suggestions for reading or movies about Sicily before trip?:

tripadvisor.com/…45266488

Best wishes!

Vagabonda

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4. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Thanks, folks, those are really helpful. I am a great fan of Camillieri and have saved one unread one for Sicily. Thanks, MoltoBeneItaly for the advice about driving - you've confirmed our feeling that we won't attempt a hire car on this trip. But we will certainly take in the GrecoRoman Theatre, that sounds right up our via!

Thanks, catarina16, for the tip about the weather - sounds like we should take pullovers in case the settled spell hasn't started. We recently came back from visiting a son in Madrid and it was still pretty chilly. Thanks as well for the reading recommendations: both sound great. Could I in return ask if you have come across "Casa Nostra - A Home in Sicily" by Caroline Seller Manzo? I came across it by accident on Amazon and have really enjoyed it. It's about an English woman who married a Sicilian and fell in love with his island - we are looking forward to doing the same. Sadly we are definitely talking English translation here if the original is in Italian, though I am hoping to add to my meagre stock of Italian phrases while we are there.

By the way, our interests cover books, history and anything Italian, as well as the odd nice sweet pastry! Any further suggestions would be appreciated.

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5. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Thanks Vagabonda, your advice is excellent, as always! Your other posts have been a great help in doing our homework on this trip.

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6. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Prego ChiefWeasel,

You would especially enjoy Best of Sicily’s comprehensive compilation of book about all things Sicilian -

http://www.bestofsicily.com/books.htm

Prior to deciding about the car, perhaps consider that Villa Carlotta is located on via Luigi Pirandello, which is on the way to Taormina, so you would never have to drive in Taormina.

Click on “Map” -

hotelvillacarlottataormina.com/taormina-vill…

Kind regards,

Vagabonda

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7. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

An extra "thank you", Vagabonda, for putting me on to the booklist on the bestofsicily website - it's excellent. I am now the proud possessor of a small library on Sicily; it's a good thing that BA are fairly generous with their baggage allowance. Goodness knows when I will have time to read them, but it's all part of the fun of looking forward to the trip.

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8. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

It’s truly my pleasure ChiefWeasel - The Best of Sicily website is excellent!

Like you, I have never been able to walk away from any book on Sicily!

Wishing you fun in your planning and a glorious holiday – All the best!

Vagabonda

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9. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Hi ChiefWeasel

Apologies for the delay in replying - I have not read the book you mention but I admit to owning quite a few from the comprehensive list on the 'Best of Sicily' website!

Another of my favourites is 'Sicily through writers' eyes' by Horatio Clare.

Visitors to our house always enjoy 'Tyrant' a novel by Valerio Massimo Manfredi loosely woven around Dionysius and Siracusa/Sicily.

High pressure from the Sahara is present over the island which is a good sign!

catarina16

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10. Re: Getting excited - a month to go!

Your holiday is quickly approaching ChiefWeasel - Buon viaggio!

Vagabonda

Edited: 10:10 pm, May 09, 2013