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Agrigento

***Valley of the Temples is a must see. Get a guided tour, you’ll enjoy it more, the area is not well signed.

*Hotel: http://www.cameraconvista.net. via Porta Aurea n. 4 – 92100 Agrigento – Sicily. We liked this place, run by a lovely couple, conveniently located. We also got bedbugs, so be careful.


Noto

Quite lovely. I’d give this a day and a night next time – stunning architecture.


Palermo

Palermo was fun. Easy to walk around, relatively compact, friendly, safe. Not particularly clean. My one complaint was the food – it’s VERY hard to find good restaurants. Everything is very casual, cafeteria style with florescent lights. The one exception was ***Ristorante Ferro – brand new (at the time) and excellent.

Hotel: **Best Western Ai Cavalieri Hotel, Via Sant’Oliva, 8, Palermo: quite nice and a good location.

We climbed up to the top of nearby **Mondello for the views (good). The beaches on the backside are quiet and not particularly crowded.

On the outskirts of Palermo, ***Monreale Cathedral is an impressive architectural destination – the mosaics in particular. The cathedral and cloisters are frequently cited as the island’s greatest Norman buildings. They date to the twelfth century, when the Norman ruler William II, known as William the Good, founded a Benedictine monastery here; this Duomo was its abbey. In competition with the great cathedral being built down down the road in Palermo, Monreale’s cathedral was finished rapidly and extravagantly; William wanted this to be an important royal church where he and his successors would be buried, though these plans didn’t last beyond his own burial.

The upper part of the cathedral’s interior is completely covered in gleaming gold mosaics; more than 6,000 square metres of mosaic. Next door to the Duomo is an entrance to the cloisters (chiostro) of the Benedictine monastery, also dating to the end of the twelfth century. The large quadrangle is lined with more than 200 twin columns, many of them fancily ornamented with mosaic or sculpture. 


Segesta

A minor, but well preserved temple.


Siracusa

Stay here two nights, there’s too much to see for 1 night, beautiful and charming. Our favorite town in Sicily.

***Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel was quite nice, centrally located.

***Neapolis Archaeological Park, in the hills above Siracusa, is grand in scale and very worth visiting.


Taormina

Taormina is a major tourist destination. It’s worth seeing, but I found it overwhelming after the relatively calm destinations we visited elsewhere. The Greek Theater is impressive and we enjoyed the hike to the town above.

We stayed at *ALBERGO VILLA NETTUNO: it was a bargain, but very run down.

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