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“Wonderful Day”

Sicily With Mario Day Tours
Ranked #1 of 18 Tours in Messina
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Sicily with Mario is a leader travel company in Italy, we operate in: travels, tours, shore excursions and transfers with highly qualified English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Chinese staff. Our vehicles are equipped with all the comforts and provided with all the requirements of law.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Stroller parking, Wheelchair access
Reviewed June 10, 2013

Thank you Ignazzio for an amazing day. My family and friends had a wonderful day with you.
We would definitely use Sicily with Mario again. Taormina and Castelmola were beautiful and the restaurant where Ignazzio took us for lunch was the best food we had all trip. Thank you again.

5  Thank Erin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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212 - 216 of 285 reviews

Reviewed June 4, 2013

I would like to say a big thank you to Ignazio. Not only did he answer all my questions in advance of our visit but also showed a great sense of humour during the day. Being travellers who like something different to organized coach trips, whilst on a cruise, I had searched the internet for things to do in Messina. By chance I discovered this tour company and contacted them. They offer to collect you from your ship, transport you to various locations and let you visit and discover them on your own. There were many to choose from but my lady companion is an open water diver and I have recently started a course in the UK. We only had seven hours on land, so wanted to make the most of the time. We were informed that we needed to show either certification or proof of being on a Padi or SSI course and in my case a medical being over 45. During our visit they used the Ecosfera diving centre and we had a instructor and divemaster with us. They have a large range of wetsuits, bcds and tank sizes to hire. Our day had quite a wind causing some wave movement and a early tide of 9.30am however they were still able to offer a wreck dive to my companion and a sheltered harbour dive for me. I admit that I ended up on the beach a few times but Ignazio has the patience needed to encourgage you to succeed. The water in May is a little cold beyond 12m but in the harbour area more than comfortable with a 5mm wetsuit. I gather that in Summer they have a better selection of dive locations and both of us would return again this year. There is an additional charge for equipment hire and instructor but even this was very reasonable and worth the cost.

After the dive, we went for coffee and local cakes in a village with views over the coast and islands. This was followed by a tour of the national park and into Messina. I had requested some non tourist locations and was more than happy at the selection on offer. Due to its past, Messina is not the most exciting of places to visit as much was destroyed during the war. Still we managed to fit in six places, some only from the outside, in the time allowed. We were back to the ship about 30 mins early but traffic in Messina is quite bad so I think this is a good policy. I agree with comments made by others here, Ignazio is the one you should try and obtain - he is very passionate about Sicily. Asking the right questions beforehand is key to making the most of your visit. We did and received exactly as requested.

7  Thank Dorian E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

Sciliy with Mario was amazing. He brought us to many sites from the Godfather movies and shared some history about all the places. We felt completely comfortable while Mario navigated the treacherous roads to the quaint little towns with so much beauty and history. We enjoyed our free time and getting lost in one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, Taormina. The food was phenominal and so was Mario. We can't wait to come back and visit you Mario. Lori and John St Petersburg, Florida

4  Thank Lori H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

In late April 2013 we had a very different experience from what we envisioned and we were led to believe by most reviews. We were part of a nine person group organized by someone other than us, who based her choice on the existing reviews.
We were met promptly by Mario at the Messina cruise pier, who took us to his minivan which holds only eight passengers. Four of the women in our group were able to squeeze in the last row made for three passengers and took turns being the one who sat leaning forward on the seat so all could fit somewhat comfortably.
Mario forgot to bring his PA system so his narrative was inaudible past the front row.
He drove us to the village of Castelmola, where indeed the view of Mt. Etna was spectacular and the village enticing. It was too early for the tourist shops to be open, so by the time he herded us back to the minivan we were unable to examine what seemed to be non-cookie-cutter items. We would have liked to wander through this small, friendly village a bit longer and also have the time to visit some of the nice shops, particularly since Mario did tell us the prices in this village would be the best we would find today. He did offer us all a local sweet along with a cooler filled with water and a variety of drinks.
When we arrived in Taormina, Mario pointed to the general direction of the main street, suggested that we find the tourist office and told us to meet him in 3 ½ hours. He could not be bothered to escort us there or provide any useful information or maps in English and even for lunch suggestions all he could say was “stay off the main street”. All we got out of Taormina was the impression of a town existing to sell merchandise to tourists.
When we met Mario around 1:30 PM he drove us directly to Messina, showed us the Astronomical Clock, and dismissed us before 2:30. When the tour was booked, it was supposed to last till 4:30 PM. When we questioned him, his response was that he did not want to prolong the uncomfortable ride in the minivan! He also charged the per person rate for six passengers rather than an adjusted amount.
We feel very strongly that this tour was nothing like what we expected and Mario should have shown more hospitality and care for his clients.

4  Thank Terra-velers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2013

I always try to give honest reviews and honestly I would not book this tour again unless (with much emphasis on the unless) Ignazio is your guide.
We booked Tour 2 : Mt Etna, Taormina with a few stops in Messina.
We started out our tour at the pier with Tano, who was extremely nice and courteous, however it did not take long to figure out his English was not so good and he did not have the charisma or enthusiasm that is the mark of a good tour guide. The van was clean and in good condition, but once underway we found the air conditioning was not cooling properly. The ride to the top of Mt. Etna was uncomfortably hot and boring. Our driver tried to describe the points of intrest to us but it felt very choppy, unnatural and forced. At this point we all think we are in for a very disappointing day.
BUT, this is where the review changes dramatically.
Our van met up with Ignazio and his tour, he quickly had our air conditioning working with many apologies. From that point on, at every stop we had, he made sure we were included in with his tour group. I can not praise this man enough, he loves this area and it shows, his knowledge and enthusiasm were so obvious and positively contagious that we could not help but enjoy our time with him. Someone asked to try the Almond Wine, and he made sure we stopped at a very scenic area for a tasting that he provided. Lunch was included in our tour and they provided us with some very tasty mozzarella, basil and tomato sandwiches. Then on to Taormina for some shopping and gelato. Ignazio told us the history and pointed out some stores and restaurants we might want to try. He gave us a time and place to meet up and set us off into the shopping district.
We then met up with Ignazio in the town of Messina where he explained some history and told us some interesting facts about the island. We moved to the Cathedral where Ignazio gave us a wonderful history of the mechanics and workings of the famous spectral clock. There were two weddings going on, so the day ended beautifully for us at the church watching the new brides taking photos with their wedding parties.
We were returned to the port safely and promptly.
My only regret is that we were not with Ignazio the entire trip. I do not like to give negative reviews, but your time in port is so short and costly, I felt I had to write this one in this manner. I would only book this tour if I was promised Ignazio was to be my guide. He could easily book a bus and keep everyone engaged.

2  Thank bargin gal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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