Day 7. From Catania to Palermo, Sicily

We were up bright and early for our 9.35 a.m. train to Sicily's capital, Palermo. After checking out of our apartment we trundled our luggage along to Catania Centrale station and purchased two single tickets at a cost of €13.50 each. There is no need to buy the tickets in advance as the tickets remain …

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Day 6. Acireale & Catania, Sicily

It was our last full day in Catania and we decided to spend the morning in Acireale, six miles north east of the city. We travelled there by train taking just 10 minutes with return fares €5 each.  On arrival in Acireale station we discovered that it was located 3km out of town. I don't …

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Day 5. The Circumetnea Railway around Mt. Etna, Sicily

It was a short walk from the apartment to the small Catania Borgo station located near the main Via Etnea thoroughfare. A rack railway operates from this station taking passengers around the perimeter of Mt. Etna and we decided to travel as far as Randazzo, a small town nearest to the summit of the volcano. …

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Day 4. Syracuse and Ortigia, Sicily

It was back to the railway station again after breakfast for a train from Catania to Syracuse. Return tickets cost €14.50 return and are valid on any regional train services. We'd decided to take the 10.30 a.m. train and discovered that this was to be replaced by a bus due to weekend track maintenance. After …

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Day 3. Taormina, Sicily

After a leisurely breakfast of Parma ham and buffalo mozzarella on freshly baked bread we set off for Catania Centrale station, a lengthy walk from our apartment. On arrival we purchased return tickets from Catania to Taormina (€9 each standard return). Tickets are valid on any regional trains but need to be validated in the …

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Day 2. Exploring Catania, Sicily

After enjoying a leisurely breakfast on our apartment balcony we prepared to go out and made our way towards the main square (Piazza Duomo). The Giro Sicilia car rally was about to get underway so we admired some of the vehicles and spotted a Morris Minor Traveller which one of my elderly relatives used to …

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Day 2. Sightseeing in Rome

We woke at 8.00 a.m. and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant before catching the metro to Ottaviano S. Pietro station so that we could visit the Vatican.  Since 1929 the Vatican has been an independent state and is located across the Tiber river from central Rome.  It was a beautiful sunny morning …

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Day 3. Rome’s Spanish Steps and an afternoon in Bracciano

It was another bright, sunny morning as we made our way to Piazza di Spagna to climb the Spanish Steps.  The square was already crowded with tourists around the fountain at the foot of the steps known as the 'fountain of the old boat'.  The fountain resembles a sinking ship and is thought to be …

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Day 4.  Gianicolo and Trastevere, Rome

On our final morning in Rome we started the day with a visit to the Gianicolo Hill viewpoint, one of the highest hills in Rome.  It's located above the Vatican and Trastevere districts to the west of the Tiber.  Our phone map suggested taking the train to S. Pietro station and following a path from …

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Day 1. Our first day in Florence

The first day of our weekend in Fllorence