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Ancient Sicily SCS

Visiting: Italy , Sicily
Trip Duration 15 Days
 

Reviews for Ancient Sicily

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Ancient Sicily reviews verified by reevooReevoo

18 reviews

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Ancient SicilyScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 18 reviews
(9 out of 10)

Ann

The accommodation could have been better. The first week could have been less intense. Everything else was perfect
Confirmed traveller: 16 September 2017
Published on: 22 September 2017
(8 out of 10)

Di

Loughborough
This was a comprehensive trip covering a large area of Sicily. Highlights for me were the St Lucia procession in Syracusa, which I was lucky enough to catch, the varied architecture and history of Sicily, the people, the food and wine. The trip to Mount Etna was expensive but worth it.

There was quite a large amount of down time, which if you are a single traveller, can be an issue, but because this trip was very city based the free time meant that there was plenty of opportunity time to do 'one's own thing'.

Overall accommodation was fine, our driver was wonderful and Sue our guide did what she could to make the stay as enjoyable as possible. Th evening lectures were interesting and added another dimension to what was overall a fascinating trip.
Confirmed traveller: 22 May 2017
Published on: 13 June 2017
(9 out of 10)

Barbara

Northumberland
A great introduction to the historic sites on the island. The first week was quite hectic and might benefit from a slightly slower pace, with more time spent in fewer places, although I don't know what should be cut. It was all interesting
The three days spent in Palermo were a welcome chance to explore the city. The streets were always interesting and the Piazza Marina (for the trees), La Martorana (church) and the Palazzo Abatellis (regional art gallery) are worth a visit. The Botanic Gardens were not so interesting.
The tour leader, guide and driver all worked very hard to ensure the success of the trip, getting us to popular sites early to avoid crowds and making sure the visits went smoothly.
Go in Spring to see the wild flowers before they are 'tidied away' at the archaeological sites.
Confirmed traveller: 20 May 2017
Published on: 09 June 2017
(10 out of 10)

Mark

Broadstone
Overall a fantastic tour and the most enthusiastic leader I've come across. The two Antonio's were excellent too.
My only criticisms are the standard of some accommodation and it would have been better to factor in a rest day here and there through the tour rather than grouping them at Syracuse,Palermo and Giardini Naxos.
Confirmed traveller: 20 May 2017
Published on: 08 June 2017
(8 out of 10)

Rita

Nottingham
The guest lecturer, Antonio, was excellent throughout. He was always informative and interesting and cheerful.
Our Explore leader, Mandy, was just amazing, she always had a welcoming smile and was interested to know how people in the group were getting on. Her organisation could not have been bettered and she always attempted to give her group a head start to enter the sites as early as possible before the crowds arrived. This made the whole trip a more pleasant experience.
Confirmed traveller: 01 October 2016
Published on: 19 October 2016
(10 out of 10)

Jacqueline

Bedford
Itinerary:
Mon 19th September Noto to Ragusa
It's difficult to see how this order of visits can be changed but it would be far more interesting to spend the longer amount of time in Noto rather than Ragusa, which is no where near as attractive or interesting as Noto.

Tuesday 20th September Piazza Armerina
After the visit to Villa Romana then Morgantina we were brought back to Piazza Armerina. The hotel was so close I would have preferred the option of going back to the hotel for a break rather than being left in the town, which is not particularly interesting, for the rest of the day.


Mon 26th September Palermo Cappella Palatina and Monreale cathedral
There is a real problem with the visits to these two sites as we experienced them, one directly after the other. Both buildings are exceptionally fine in their architecture and mosaics; each is a gem. However, they are too similar to be seen within such a short time scale. The differing sizes of the buildings make the mosaics in particular work well for each individual building but they do not bear comparison, comparison which is inevitable when viewing one then the other in rapid succession. Seeing them that way does neither any favours and detracts from both.

A far better arrangement would be for the whole Royal Palace to make up one morning's visit, and a visit to Monreale cathedral another. A guide is unnecessary for the cathedral in Palermo itself which is of little interest beyond the exterior which tour members can see for themselves. It was absurd to tag such a dull building on to the end of visiting the Capella Palatina and Monreale. Two mornings with a guide may cost more but it would be worth paying for.

The guide for these visits, Virginia, was most unsatisfactory. Primarily she talked far too much and in too much detail. I soon gave up and simply looked. In addition she was astonishingly rude to three members of the group. Mandy said this was unlike Virginia but that was our experience.

The mosaics at the Villa Romana was the most memorable visit (among many) and I appreciated Mandy's efforts to get us to the site as early as possible to avoid the crowds - which we did successfully.

The Italian guide, Antonio, was excellent. Clear information, enough but not too much; a sense of humour; accessible but not intrusive. His lectures complemented the tour perfectly.

Mandy was also first class at her job; efficient, discreet, full of information; aware, so far as one could tell, of each individual in the group. The tour ran smoothly and seamlessly thanks to her.

Practical points:

Getting round Palermo
I would have appreciated some information on paper about using the buses, taxis and subway in Palermo where many sites are beyond walking distance. Not everyone is an experienced traveller.

The sRe your Tips web page:
It would be useful to have the information in advance that boots and a light padded jacket can be hired for 3 euros each for the trip up Mount Etna.
You do NOT need a torch or 2ltr water bottle for this trip.
ame applies to Taormino where there is a variety of transport to different places in the vicinity.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 01 October 2016
Published on: 19 October 2016
(7 out of 10)

Hilary

Edinburgh
The itinerary was fairly hectic but we visited all the significant sites of interest. The accompanying archaeologist brought the history of the island to life and provided much local information - a decided plus.
Confirmed traveller: 01 October 2016
Published on: 10 October 2016
(9 out of 10)

Janet

Solihull
The tour leader was excellent. She was well organised and provided lot of information.
The highlights were Syracusa, Villa Romana and the churches in Palmermo.

Overall the accommodation was good, although the location of the hotels in Masarla and Piazza Armerina were poor.

The pre tour administration was extremely poor and confusing. Also the questionnaire to comment on that did not work.
Confirmed traveller: 03 September 2016
Published on: 14 October 2016
(8 out of 10)

John

Adelaide Australia
an extensive trip around Sicily highlighted by numerous historically interesting temples, theatres, mosaics, churches, (in particular the Royal chapel in Palermo), Greek/Roman amphitheatres, fascinating towns and cities. enjoyable food and wine - good mix of fellow Explore travellers and good tour leader and team
Confirmed traveller: 25 June 2016
Published on: 01 July 2016
(9 out of 10)

Jo

Warrington
The highlights for me were the island of Mozia, the mosaics in the Palatine chapel and the puppet show. The meals we shared and the friendship and support of the group were excellent. Coco was a caring, interesting and very efficient leader. Nothing was too much trouble.

My tip would be to pack something warm to wear for the Etna trip. As only breakfast is included it is helpful to have enough cash to pay for meals i.e. not a card.
Confirmed traveller: 24 October 2015
Published on: 05 December 2015