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#16: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: JamesBiancoLocation: Westfield, MA. PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:34 am
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My last trip to Italy was to Sicily. We went to Palermo, Monreale, Mondello and of course Carini. This was my third trip to Italy and I have to say Sicily is VERY primitive, both it's people and technology is a world apart from what I experienced on the mainland. Palermo itself appears ancient and unchanged in the past 100 years, even though it is the largest city on the island.

I did find the people very warm and welcoming (apart from the Gypsies which seem to be everywhere!).

I planned my trip roughly through expedia.com. What I mean to say is I booked my hotels and airfare through them. Sightseeing can be tricky if you are not prepared, especially if you wish to visit remote places. Guides can cost a fortune, our guide that took us to Carini charged 300 Euros a day to drive us from Palermo and stay with us. That didn't include his tip, which he kindly reminded us of.

If you are hitting major towns on major railway lines you should be fine, but as I said if you plan on visiting remote areas, be prepared to shell out a considerable amount of money because you will need a guide to take you there and even the cheapest are very costly.

Just my two cents....

#17: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: stevenspringerLocation: Port Jefferson Station, NY PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:01 am
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Carole wrote:
johnlabarbera wrote:
Carole where is your neck of the woods???

I'm in a valley in the north called the Valtellina - it runs from the top of Lake Como right through the heart of the Italian Alps.
>The Valtellina<

Lake Como is 1 mile from me and Switzerland is 25miles.... all in all it's a nice place to live and to visit.

WOW CAROLE, I might be up there by you in June! Can you see the mountains in switzerland from where you are?

#18: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: johnlabarberaLocation: Katy Texas USA PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:14 pm
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My cousins plan to be our host during the trip and actually take us places so I am hopeful this will make things easier for us!

#19: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: CaroleLocation: Valtellina - Near Lake Como PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:42 pm
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stevenspringer wrote:
Carole wrote:
johnlabarbera wrote:
Carole where is your neck of the woods???

I'm in a valley in the north called the Valtellina - it runs from the top of Lake Como right through the heart of the Italian Alps.
>The Valtellina<

Lake Como is 1 mile from me and Switzerland is 25miles.... all in all it's a nice place to live and to visit.

WOW CAROLE, I might be up there by you in June! Can you see the mountains in switzerland from where you are?

This was taken from my terrace last month. Switzerland is just behind that mountain you can see in the far distance...
Looking towards the Val Chiavenna

Where are you going to be visiting in June?

#20: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: dvaccaroLocation: Minneapolis, MN PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:37 pm
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as others have suggested i would recommend doing it on your own vs. a tour. this will allow you the time you need in the towns you'd like to visit (which most likely wont be on a tour).

i went for to sicliy two weeks in 2005 with a small group (4-5 people)-- flew into Palermo and rented a car. the first week, we rented a villa in Petralia Soprana (in the center of the island) and took day trips shooting out to the east (Taormina, Piazza Armerina, Cefalu, Polizzi Genrosa, etc.) in between spending days around Petralia. the second week, we rented a villa near Palermo (between Mondello and Palermo) and focused on the western region and visited the towns where our families were from (Santa Ninfa, Calatafimi, Erice, etc.) in between spending a couple of days exploring Palermo. this worked really well.

this western part of the island is where your towns are (Gibellina and Salaparuta are south and west of Palermo -- very close to Santa Ninfa - Bagheria is just east of Palermo).

we really enjoyed doing our own thing - wandering hill towns and finding family trattorias etc., but i would also highly recommend taking the time to see Taormina and Erice - you will run into tourists, but you will understand why -- the views are jaw-dropping. shouldn't be missed.

the villas we rented were through thinksicily.com, and i will use them again when i can afford to go back... the dollar sucks right now!!!

hope this helps a little.

Dean

#21: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: JamesBiancoLocation: Westfield, MA. PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:56 pm
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Dean was there anyone in your group who could speak Sicilian? Or at least Italian? I was leary of renting a car because neither me nor my friend would be able to communicate. Nobody we encountered in Carini spoke any English (a city of 15,000 people) without our guide we would definitely had a less productive trip.

#22: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: dvaccaroLocation: Minneapolis, MN PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:51 pm
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nobody could speak sicilian and the only italian we knew was from a crash course on Plimseur CDs. maybe we were stupid for trying, but we got by fine.

after a few days you start to learn the things you need to know how to say (like what you're ordering for lunch or which is "left" and "right").

thank god for sicilians using their hands, huh?!

#23: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: johnlabarberaLocation: Katy Texas USA PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:33 am
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i can't wait...

#24: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: nucciaLocation: Toronto, Ontario, Canada PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:48 am
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I was in Italy in 1990 (seems like a life time ago) and I was able to get some wonderful pictures. I was lucky enough to at least speak a dialect and so we were able to get by. I also have lots of family through out Italy which made things much easier. Be careful as Jim says of the gypsies. They are not very nice and the sad part is that many of them are children. They will rob you blind if you're not careful.

I agree...Toarmina is a must. Here's one of it that I took..

www.calabriaexchange.c...lia%20.jpg

And Carole and I made this little photo gallery with pictures we both had..

www.calabriaexchange.c...llery.html

Hope you enjoy them.

#25: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: CaroleLocation: Valtellina - Near Lake Como PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:56 am
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What a nice surprise... photos of our roots and our favourite places make for great albums don't they!
Thank you Nuccia... kiss

#26: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: Poipu04Location: Connecticut PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:46 pm
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Since this is a travel related thread, can I ask Carole or Nuccia, what the women wear in the summer? I read on one forum that wearing shorts is not as common as it is in the US for ladies. I recall that when my friends visited last July, only one out of a group of thirty wore shorts in the middle of July. I am hoping for a summer visit myself, and that is why I ask.

#27: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: nucciaLocation: Toronto, Ontario, Canada PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:31 pm
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Oh I wore shorts..although they were walking shorts. I also wore skirts and linen pants. Mind you, I spent quite a bit of time on the beach so I brought lots of swim wear, too.

#28: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: CaroleLocation: Valtellina - Near Lake Como PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:17 pm
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Yes shorts are worn, though it is my impression - Shocked just the thought of ME wearing shorts is.... is...
(well I usually hide in the pool I'm afraid when I do....)

So maybe I'm not the best person to ask.

But joking apart - shorts are accepted in the normal places and are still - to 'some extent' - frowned on in other places. Obviously it's a definite 'NO NO' in churches or holy places. Most restaurants might not like it, though the age factor might come into play here.

Certaily up here in the mountains they are popular though the really short shorts seem to be OK for the really young girls, can't say I've seen older people wearing anything but normal length or bermuda's.

#29: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: johnlabarberaLocation: Katy Texas USA PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:36 pm
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I have a friend from Sicily who told me that men typically do not wear shorts and that the fashion there is a little more important than it is here where we are usually very casual. I was told the men normally do not wear tennis shoes unless they are working out and that the dress is usually nice shoes, slacks and colorful shirts. Of course, if it were not for being with my cousins and not wanting to embarrass them, I wouldn't care if I looked American! Anyway, the fashion issue has me wondering what I should pack.

#30: Re: Best Travel Plans - USA to Italy/Sicily - Advice??? Author: nucciaLocation: Toronto, Ontario, Canada PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:11 pm
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Believe it or not John, they weren't lying! Fashion seems to be very important ..even in Southern Italy. I was constantly being told that I should make sure I put my lipstick on before I left the house (my mom tells me this same thing was communicated to her when she first visited my father's father in his town). And I also had my clothes pressed, etc. My cousins never wore sneakers either. The always wore nice sweaters even if they were wearing jeans and dress shoes. I always thought it was comical, actually. If I were you I would bring some casual dressier pants, jeans and two pair of shoes (sneakers and dress). Of course, I would also think about buying shoes there..I came home with a dozen pair! They were amazing. Bring some nice Polo Shirts too. Can't go wrong with a collared shirt, right? One suit or jacket and dress pants would be a good choice too just in case of a special occasion and remember, they dress nice but they don't wear a different outfit for every day. Usually they dress "decent" to go out and then change into comfortable clothes when they get home. Sometimes they wear the same thing a few times so travel light and smart.

This was just my impression of course. I was not smart..I brought too much and had to leave things behind to carry all my gifts home. I really miss my husbands nice Harris Tweed Sport Jackets but it was a sacrifice I had to make... lol lol lol



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