George and Jean's trip to Sicily

March 2004

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Even though Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, it surprised us by its variety of history, architecture and landscape. Amongst the highlights were the archeological museums in Palermo and Syracuse, the array of Greek temples at Agrigento, the historic centre of Syracuse on the island of Ortygia with its cathedral constructed by converting a Greek temple in the 12th century and the mosaics in the cathedral at Monreale.

Another highlight was the cuisine - some of the best we have encountered in Italy, it included excellent Antipasto al buffet, excellent seafood including spada (swordfish), the famous Cannoli cake/pudding, small almond cakes with embedded fruit and other delicacies.

The traffic in towns was a problem - parking is almost completely unregulated, resulting in serious obstruction not only to traffic but also to pedestrians, since parking on the pavement is frequent. Crossing the road is an acquired skill, requiring negotiation by eye contact with any oncoming drivers.

Our short sight-seeing trip started in Palermo and we used public transport to visit several towns - first to Agrigento by train, then we had to use buses to reach Syracuse, Noto and Catania before returning to Palermo for our Ryanair flight back to London. Syracuse and Palermo seemed the most worthwhile places to spend some extra time and we recommend the Hotel Ambasciatore in Palermo on via Roma in the old part of the town close to the station and the hotel Gran Bretagna on Ortygia Island in Syracuse.

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George and Jean, April 2004