Sicily tips

This item appears on page 54 of the June 2011 issue.

My husband, R.C., and I celebrated our 40th anniversary in the fall of 2009 with a trip to Slovenia, Croatia (May ’11, pg. 12) and then to Italy for Sicily.

Greek temple ruins at Selinunte, Sicily. Photo: Pyle

In planning the Sicilian portion of our trip, I compared the itineraries of several tour companies and got advice from two traveling couples we know, to be sure we hit all the must-see places. We ended up following the Sicily itinerary in the guidebook “Karen Brown’s Italy B&Bs 2009,” and I would recommend that first-time visitors follow her Sicily plan.

A car is essential. We rented one from Economy Car Rentals (phone, in US, 845/764-4416). Driving off the expressways is quite challenging. Towns are old, clinging to hillsides, and have mazes of one-way streets. Don’t even try it without a GPS device with up-to-date maps. After the battery got drained in our GPS (because the rental car plug/cigarette lighter was not working), we were lost all the time.

Gas stations in Sicily are often unmanned, and these require inserting bills in a machine before pumping the gas. This caused us some problems, since another flaw of our rental car was a nonfunctioning gas gauge.

Finally, because Sicily’s archaeological sites are mostly from the period of Greek colonization (eighth to third centuries BC), reading up on that period in history would be useful.

This was certainly a fascinating and memorable trip

Boulder, CO