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Italy / Sicily Combo --which comes first??

Now looking at a back to back combo of "Best of Venice, Florence, Rome," 10 days, and "Best of Sicily," 11 days in early fall. Likely in September into the first part of October time frame. The three city one starts in Venice and ends in Rome. The Sicily one starts in Palermo, and ends in Catania. Ample dates available where either could be done first. Looking at booking so to spend maybe two or three extra nights at beginning and the end -- "IF" that seems worthy of consideration. Curious if any see a particular advantage as to which order -- where any extra time is recommenced, and if connections to and from would be served better by doing in a certain order. To me, with my abundance of ignorance - both Rome and Venice seems worthy of extra time. I have even less knowledge in regard to Palermo and Catania. First thought is to go early to Venice, which can leave me with only one extra day in Rome , before going to Palermo. I could then stay longer in Catania if I wished -- fly back to Rome (stay additional if I wanted) for my flight back to the states . My guess is Rome is going to be the best, as in nearest, that I'll find in regard to international connections. Thanks for all suggestions. Rick -- if your listening a few offered combinations such as this, might sell. Okay --maybe not. I know, long and convoluted again; Sorry.

Posted by
154 posts

Hello! I think this sounds like a wonderful plan. If it were me I would spend extra time in Venice at the beginning of the VFR Tour and then travel on to Sicily after Rome. We did the Sicily Tour in February of 2019 and it was spectacular in so many ways - our tour group, the sights, the food and wine, our guide Karin and our driver Salvatore. We had beautiful weather - just note that at the time of year you plan to visit Italy may still be hot, particularly in Sicily. My husband and I loved Palermo - Catania not so much, so I wouldn't elect to spend extra time there. It was beautiful in its ancient glory, and while I wouldn't call it dangerous, I would certainly call it gritty. I would elect to fly back to Rome after the tour and spend a few more days there, taking in some of the things you didn't have a chance to see on your tour. We spent a few days in Rome before our Sicily Tour and also on the (now defunct) Best of Europe My Way Tour in 2015. It is never enough. The first time you're there you are running around to see the big sights you've heard about all of your life, the second time you slow down a bit and look deeper - I welcome the thought of a third time!

Posted by
14409 posts

I would do VFR first, hoping that Sicily wouldn't be as hot later in the year. I'm averse to heat, so I'd probably start in late September or even October.

You will definitely want to spend a night or two in Italy before the tour begins just to get over jetlag. Venice is really the best place to do that. I love Venice so I wouldn't have a problem with extra days there. When you get there, if you think that's too much, you could day trip to Padua or Verona for a day.

If you to straight to Palermo from Rome you could spend a night or two in Cefalu before the tour. There's a lovely beach and an interesting old town. Here are photos of my trip - the last 8 pix are in Cefalu. You could then fly from Catania to Rome and spend whatever time you have left there.

There is so much to see and enjoy that you can't really go wrong with any choices. Bear in mind that nobody seems to go to Italy only once.

Posted by
1658 posts

True enough, Chani (your final thought) - out of 19 European trips, we've included Italy on 13 of them!

Posted by
1025 posts

I would do the VFR tour first. We have never done back to back RS tours, but it seems sensible to have a meaningful break between the two tours in order to decompress. I would spend another couple of days in Rome, then fly to Palermo a couple of days before the start of the Sicily tour. After the Sicily tour, go back to Rome for at least one night before continuing home. Trying to get home from Sicily in one day would probably involve a grueling multi-stop itinerary that would involve leaving very early in the morning.

Posted by
11270 posts

Have you looked at flight connections from your home airport? Even coming from New York, with its plethora of flight options to Europe, Sicily is harder to get to than Venice or Rome. But from Rome to either Palermo or Catania, there are lots of flights every day; from other mainland Italy airports, there are fewer, but it's still not a problem.

I'd start with the VFR tour, then fly to Palermo. After the Sicily tour, I'd plan at least one day somewhere in mainland Europe before heading home, even if I weren't interested in further tour time, as it makes the connection home much easier. (I had to spend a night in Rome before returning to the US). You're not limited to Italy; for instance, if you want to spend a night or two in Paris or London, you can. And yes, there's always more to do in Italy. But, which place you will want extra time in, and which place you will feel you've seen enough of, is something you will know only once you've been there.

Note that while Palermo is a larger city, Catania has the larger airport with more options. Here's the list of destinations from Catania airport: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catania%E2%80%93Fontanarossa_Airport

Posted by
2788 posts

We did the RS 7 Day Rome tour and then went to Sicily for a few days before starting that RS tour. First time we have ever done 2 RS tours (out of 18) in one European visit but that one worked out well especially the Rome tour where we were able to avoid all of the tourist lines at all of the popular sites.

Posted by
29 posts

I have done both tours and agree with others, do VFR first. There is so much to do and see in Venice that is not included on the tour (Frari Church, Doges Palace and my favorite just hanging around the Rialto Bridge and watch the World go by. If you rise early on the first day as I did go for a walk and watch the city wake up, the markets getting stocked, the streets being swept. Venice is a favorite city of many travellers. I also spent extra time in Palermo and enjoyed it (catacombs, waterfront, parks) I would spend extra time in Rome on the way back. (walk along the Tiber, Ostia Antica climb a hill) I hope you have a wonderful time in Italy.