We meant to write to you immediately upon our return, so thank you for your email. We had a wonderful trip. We expected beautiful scenery, impressive archaeological sites, and excellent food, but truly it was spectacular. I don’t have time — due to work – to write at length now but I do want to say that almost all the hotels were magnificent and we would gladly return to most of them. We enjoyed the hikes very much. Perhaps the hike in Vendicare was less interesting than the others, as the landscape is not as varied, and the walk from Castelmola from Taormina was not really a hike, but the intermediate three days (Etna, the Alcantara Gorge, and the hike to Monte Venere) were amazing.
We would like to comment Francesco, of Easy Sicily, for the fact that everyone went smoothly. At no point did the arrangements falter; our luggage was always where we expected it to be, we were always picked up on time, and he really went above and beyond the call of duty, especially with regard to some unexpected baggage problems. When we arrived on the first evening on the Vueling flight from Florence to Catania, our luggage did not arrive with us. In fact, the airline had removed everyone’s luggage from the plane in order to lighten the weight, but we did not know until we landed. Then it was rather chaotic but eventually we learned that the luggage would arrive anytime within the next five days. Francesco took us to a mall so we could shop for the necessary items including hiking boots and bathing suits. The luggage finally arrived to our hotel on Sunday morning. Francesco was the one who kept in touch with the airport, went there to pick it up, and had it delivered by our Etna guide on Sunday morning. I don’t know how we would have managed this whole situation without him.
I would say that my favourite hotel was in Agrigento — Baglio della Luna. The setting was stunning, the rooms very comfortable, and the dinner delicious. They also helped us to arrange excursions to the Valley of the Temples and also the Scala dei Turchi. The least favourite event was the drive from Agrigento to Palermo. The driver was the son of the person who had originally been supposed to drive us, and the son was a very nervous driver who spent the entire drive with his finger on the “scan” function of the radio, so that for two or three hours we were subjected to hearing snippets of music, talk, etc, on a continuous loop. It was very unpleasant, but as he did not speak English and he was nervous anyway we did not say anything. This was the only part of the trip was that less than professional.
For restaurants we relied quite a bit on the recommendations in the materials that Francesco had given us. I will ask our children if they have any recommendations to make in addition to those. We did have a lot of gelato and granite, and also fish (except for Barry, who is vegan). We did not have very much pizza.
If we were to do this same trip again, we would ask to stay somewhere other than Nicolosi for the sabbath. There was not really enough to do there in terms of walks, nice churches and things to see. The sabbath in Palermo was excellent, as there are plenty of things to do that do not cost money. The hotel there, by the way, was outstanding. (Ibis Style). We highly recommend it.
That’s all I have time for now. We can’t say enough good things about Sicily, and about the organization of the trip, and we hope very much to be able to do another such trip in the future. I will also say the same on trip advisor!
best wishes and thanks for everything