Sicily independently

This item appears on page 58 of the May 2009 issue.

My wife, Joan, and I usually travel by car or rail, with vaguely planned itineraries and seldom with prebooked accommodations.

For example, we spent 23 days in Sicily in September-October ’07 with a “smart fortwo” rental car from Thrifty. This is a 2-seater minicar with room for two 22-inch carry-on bags behind the seats. The “smart car” is nimble, parks practically anywhere, gets 45 miles per gallon, has automatic transmission and air-conditioning and, perhaps most importantly, does not identify one as an American tourist.

We picked the car up at the Palermo Airport and deposited it at the Rome airport. The rental cost was $924.

Our mistake was driving back to Rome. We should have stayed a few days longer in Sicily and flown back.

We prebooked only our first two nights (at a Palermo B&B). It was our first visit, and we were assured by other travelers that three weeks was more than sufficient time to see “all” of Sicily. However, trying to circumvent the island and its mountainous interior villages, we found ourselves rushed to the point that we never got to relax for any significant amount of time in any of the Atlantic or Mediterranean villages.


Tulsa, OK