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Italy Ports Capri, Florence, Genoa, Naples, Palermo, portofino, Rome, Sardinia, Sorrento, Taormina, Venice

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  #1  
Old July 26th, 2009, 01:13 PM
romes romes is offline
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Default Palermo - recommendations on what to do?

We'll be in Palermo from 7am-6pm on MSC's Fantasia Aug 25th. We don't want to do a ship tour & my boyfriend gets bored w/ cathedrals & museums rather quickly. Where are the mummies? Is that at Segesta? Is there enough to see just staying in Palermo or should we take a cab/bus to Segesta - is that about 45 minutes away? How much would a taxi be? Can we fit both in - maybe a 1/2 day to Segesta & then 1/2 day in Palermo? I didn't see any particular place that I couldn't miss seeing here in what I've read about Palermo. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old July 27th, 2009, 11:00 AM
carlmm carlmm is offline
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Well, there is more than enough to see in Palermo itself. You could spend a couple of days there. The city was founded in the eighth century BC and is full of history from the last thousand years.
Yet, only you know how quick you or your boyfriend will get bored.

Generally, the minimum to visit are the cathedral and the Capella Palatina.
The cathedral hosts for example the tombs of several Sicilan kings including Frederick II (also emperor of Germany) who was buried in 1250.
In the impressiv 12th century Palazzo dei Normans (named after the Normans who enlarged and refitted the magnificent structure) you will find the splendid Capella Palatina, representing the apex of the Arabo-Norman genius and build from 1130 to 1140 when it was adorned with extraordinary Byzantine mosaic. Important, impressive and just beautiful.

With a good guidebook or map you can find many other gems im Palermo. Churches like San Francesco d'Assisi (1255-1277), ruins like those of San Giovanni degli Eremiti with its monastery and gardens, the Fontana Pretoria (mid 15th century) and the lively street markets are just examples.
Well worth to visit is also the Palazzo Mirto. This palace date froms the 18th century and remains as it was with its original furnishing. The last family member lived there until, if I remember right, something like 1970. While many buildings in old Palermo are almost destructed and even this looks from the outside quite badly, you can see how Sicilian noble families lived in better days.

Or,to avoid churches and museums, just stroll around, be surprised about the often sad outside state of the houses and the glimpses of the interior splendour you get, stop at some local market and some of the ackward shops, seat down and enjoy the Italian life.
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  #3  
Old July 27th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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dorijo dorijo is offline
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We are doing unknown Palermo which takes you to the Capuchin catacombs to see the mummys . It will also take us to piazza Pretoria and church of La Martorana, Zisa Castle and Bagheria to the villa of prince of Palagonia. We also want to viist the capo market in town.
you can email me at dcasa10 at comcast dot net if you want the tour company address. just put palermo in the subject. It is a 9 to 4:30 tour english speaking driver. It was the cheapest i have found and Michele answered quickly.
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  #4  
Old August 5th, 2009, 10:52 AM
tjone tjone is offline
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Default palermo

Dorijo We will be on the same cruise on Nov 18, Brilliance of the Seas. and are trying to book Michelle for one of the tours. Which one did you book for? We have been in touch with her and are looking at the Segesa and Erice trip.
We are having trouble finding anything out about Rhodes for doing a tour and for Cypress. What are you planning for those Ports.
tjone
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  #5  
Old August 11th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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mehartys mehartys is offline
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Thumbs up Palermo Tour - Silicy Travel

We booked a tour with Sicily Travel through Michelle (Michael) Gallo. There were 14 of us and we paid 460 Euro which included our driver and guide. They were waiting for us when we got off the ship. Our minibus was very clean, comfortable and air conditioned. Our guide was Marco, to put it mildy, he was TERRIFIC!! I was amazed at how much he knew, he far exceeded all of our expectations, taking us on little walking tours through Palermo and explaining everything. Marco also took us to a little Sicillian cafe for lunch, very inexpensive and delicious. I have included our itinerary below. Our entire group raved about the tour, it made Palermo a top on our list. A good guide makes all the difference, one of the people in our group told me the next day how he was speaking with a fellow cruiser who didn't enjoy Palermo because he hadn't planned anything. We had the exact opposite experience because we had this excellent guide who knew all these interesting facts about the city.

http://www.sicilytravel.net/

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/i...-catacombs.htm

Itinerary: We will start at Piazza Pretoria with its beautiful Renaissance fountain originally built for a villa near Florence: a piece of 16th century Tuscany in the center of an Arab-Norman city. Nearby is the Church of La Martorana where 12th century severe Norman architecture clashes with the frivolities of the Baroque style. Then on to the Capuchin Catacombs where you will be shocked by a macabre sight: 8,000 mummified bodies dressed in their best Sunday clothes and propped up against the walls! Next, we'll move on to the Zisa Castle commissioned by the Norman King William I, but built by his Muslim architects who used all their Middle-Eastern know-how. In the afternoon, we'll drive to the town of Monreale for a visit to the magnificient Duomo

Itinerary: We will start at Piazza Pretoria with its beautiful Renaissance fountain originally built for a villa near Florence: a piece of 16th century Tuscany in the center of an Arab-Norman city. Nearby is the Church of La Martorana where 12th century severe Norman architecture clashes with the frivolities of the Baroque style. Then on to the Capuchin Catacombs where you will be shocked by a macabre sight: 8,000 mummified bodies dressed in their best Sunday clothes and propped up against the walls! Next, we'll move on to the Zisa Castle commissioned by the Norman King William I, but built by his Muslim architects who used all their Middle-Eastern know-how. In the afternoon, we'll drive to the town of Monreale for a visit to the magnificient Duomo



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  #6  
Old August 12th, 2009, 07:25 PM
tjone tjone is offline
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Default palermo tour

I have sent 4 e-mails to Michelle and not got a reply. She replied to my first e-mail asking for a price for the tour but since then she hasn't got back to me. I have tried sending an e-mail on a return from her reply so I am sure the address is correct. I wondered if anyone else has had a response lately.
Looking forward to our cruise in Nov. as we have had a lousy summer in Toronto.

Last edited by tjone; August 12th, 2009 at 07:26 PM.
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  #7  
Old August 12th, 2009, 07:53 PM
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mehartys mehartys is offline
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Thumbs up Sicily Tours

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjone View Post
I have sent 4 e-mails to Michelle and not got a reply. She replied to my first e-mail asking for a price for the tour but since then she hasn't got back to me. I have tried sending an e-mail on a return from her reply so I am sure the address is correct. I wondered if anyone else has had a response lately.
Looking forward to our cruise in Nov. as we have had a lousy summer in Toronto.
I wouldn't worry, you have plenty of time. When I was doing my research for Palermo I read from some people that Michelle (pronounced Michael, he's a mister) was slow to respond. I however, was lucky and found he usually replied in a few days. If he is available in November, you should try to get Marco as your guide...our group was very impressed with him. We loved our time in Palermo. Good Luck!
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  #8  
Old August 12th, 2009, 10:00 PM
Actor62 Actor62 is offline
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Default Palermo

You can hire a guide if you like. You can also walk to the cathederel, Capo market and Capuchin Catacombs.
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  #9  
Old August 13th, 2009, 06:44 AM
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mehartys mehartys is offline
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Thumbs up Palermo

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Originally Posted by Actor62 View Post
You can hire a guide if you like. You can also walk to the cathederel, Capo market and Capuchin Catacombs.
Yes, you certainly could walk around, however our tour worked out to 33 Euro per person, included a luxury air conditioned van and guide. We paid our own way into the Capuchin Catacoombs 1.50 Euro and the Duomo at Monreale was 1.50 Euro. Plus, I would have had no idea of the importance and meaning of all the buildings and statues we walked and drove by without the expertise of a guide. Our experience was educational and fun, others I met who went without a guide hated Palermo. It was an inexpensive day for our pocketbooks. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I hope you enjoy Palermo as much as we did. The Sicilians are famous for their pastries, try the brioche (an egg bun, cut open and stuffed with gelato in a wonderful flavour of your choice) or the canoli. I had my first canoli while in Messina. Now that we are back home, I'm going on a mission to find a place in the Toronto area that makes a good one. Ciao!
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  #10  
Old August 13th, 2009, 11:09 PM
tjone tjone is offline
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Thanks everyone for your quick replies. I have since heard from Michelle and am booking the tour for Segesta and Erice. It sounds like great tour and I want to see as much as possible. This is my first experience on a board and find the information really helpful.
Do you have any ideas for Cypress and Malta? We are having trouble finding any private tours for those places.
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  #11  
Old August 14th, 2009, 08:06 AM
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mehartys mehartys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjone View Post
Thanks everyone for your quick replies. I have since heard from Michelle and am booking the tour for Segesta and Erice. It sounds like great tour and I want to see as much as possible. This is my first experience on a board and find the information really helpful.
Do you have any ideas for Cypress and Malta? We are having trouble finding any private tours for those places.
I would recommend that you go to the main page and search under the "Ports of Call". Once there you can search for the port you are interested in. I beleive that you will find many options to explore Malta. You can also subscribe to whatever thread you are interested in, that way, when someone posts a response you get notified via your email. Good Luck
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  #12  
Old September 6th, 2009, 02:53 PM
iluvbkk iluvbkk is offline
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Default Sicily Travel

Maybe I'm missing something but I'm wondering if you paid extra for the guide. Or was Michelle the driver/guide?
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  #13  
Old September 6th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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mehartys mehartys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvbkk View Post
Maybe I'm missing something but I'm wondering if you paid extra for the guide. Or was Michelle the driver/guide?
Our entire price included the driver and guide...I can't remember our drivers name, but our guide was Marco (incredible) Michelle (Michael) owns the company and he was the one I corresponded with through email. At the completion of the tour, we each contributed an extra 2 Euro and gave Marco a 28 Euro tip, but that was not required or asked for.
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  #14  
Old November 5th, 2009, 11:54 PM
emdust emdust is offline
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Also on 11/18 Brilliance. Trying to contact Sicily Travel (Mr. Michelle) for Segesta and Erice. It's hard to get a reply. Is Sicily Travel's (Segesta) tour pretty much the same as described in the shore excursion book?
Thanks.
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  #15  
Old November 7th, 2009, 05:52 PM
Excited to go crusing Excited to go crusing is offline
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we spent a few days in Palermo a few years ago ( no cruise involved) however, I'd recommend a trip to Monreale, its fantastic (IMO) I love the mosaics.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 03:58 PM
3beauvid 3beauvid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehartys View Post
Yes, you certainly could walk around, however our tour worked out to 33 Euro per person, included a luxury air conditioned van and guide. We paid our own way into the Capuchin Catacoombs 1.50 Euro and the Duomo at Monreale was 1.50 Euro. Plus, I would have had no idea of the importance and meaning of all the buildings and statues we walked and drove by without the expertise of a guide. Our experience was educational and fun, others I met who went without a guide hated Palermo. It was an inexpensive day for our pocketbooks. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I hope you enjoy Palermo as much as we did. The Sicilians are famous for their pastries, try the brioche (an egg bun, cut open and stuffed with gelato in a wonderful flavour of your choice) or the canoli. I had my first canoli while in Messina. Now that we are back home, I'm going on a mission to find a place in the Toronto area that makes a good one. Ciao!
I understand that the walk up to the terraces above the church is steep. But the views there make it a worthwhile trek.
How steep is it? Is it doable with a weak but functional leg?
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  #17  
Old August 6th, 2010, 05:04 PM
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mehartys mehartys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3beauvid View Post
I understand that the walk up to the terraces above the church is steep. But the views there make it a worthwhile trek.
How steep is it? Is it doable with a weak but functional leg?
I don't recall any steep climb, our driver took us up to a lookout point after the church tour but there was no climbing involved. Enjoy your tour
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