I’m working my way through a pile of various travel questions about Sicily.
It’s taking me a while, but I’m getting there.
Be sure to send any of your general questions to: email@example.com
Don’t expect detailed travel itineraries; let’s keep it general.
I’m happy to point you in the right direction if you are planning a trip.
Here’s this week’s email and my reply.
My wife and I will return to Sicily in May/June this year. We have an apartment in Ortigia for May and one in Palermo for the first two weeks in June. Before heading to Rome for two weeks.
We will not have a car initially but will have a car for three weeks in Ortigia as we have a series of friends coming to visit, and we will want to share some regional highlights with them.
Since our last visit I know parking and access to Ortigia are challenging. Might you have suggestions for finding a garage or place to park on the Island? I have tried several private lots, but one doesn’t open until May and no response so far from the other.
Also, any suggestions for language classes while we are there as we are trying to learn.
Love your blogs and posts they are very useful, and we truly enjoy your perspectives!
J & L
Thanks for your question. I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner; I’ve been super busy. I hope I manage to catch you before you depart for Sicily.
To be clear, I live far away from Siracusa, so I haven’t any personal experience with parking there, but I have asked around for you.
Generally, people have said the best parking possibilities are at the Parcheggio Molo Sant’Antonio or Talete and booking at the Autorimessa di G. La Mesa on Via dei Mergulensi. Or even parking at della Marina, near Siracusa, and walking over the bridge to Ortigia.
As for Italian language schools at Syracuse, there are a few there. The Italian Academy on Piazzale San Marziano looks good. Also, the best schools for Italian are those run by the Dante Alighieri foundation, which has Italian government approval and exams with official qualifications. Luckily enough, the Comitato Dante Alighieri of Siracusa has a school on Via Piave.
Regarding some suggestions and highlights of the area around Syracuse, I’d explore the baroque towns of the Val di Noto, which make lovely day trips if you choose to base yourself in the ancient city of Siracusa. Most of the towns in the Val di Noto were destroyed in a massive earthquake in the 1600s, so most cities were rebuilt in the ornamental Sicilian baroque style. So the towns in this area are stunning, particularly:
Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Catania, Palazzolo, Ragusa, Modica, Noto and Scicli.
Also, it is easy to grab the autostrada and explore around Catania; driving up to Etna is breathtaking. The whole area surrounding Catania is filled with beautiful wineries, B and B’s and restaurants to explore.
I’d suggest a drive to see the ancient Roman Villa at Piazza Armerina with its elaborate mosaics.
That’s what I can think of off the top of my head for now.
A good website for some more ideas and information is Italy Magazine (https://www.italymagazine.com)
I hope these suggestions are helpful and find you well.
I have just started a weekly newsletter from Sicily, where I share a little postcard from the Island with other random things that come into my mind; there is a free version if you are interested over on Substack (rochelledb.substack.com)
I hope this is helpful; enjoy your trip.
Regards from RDB
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