The island of Sicily is where I first flew into to start my visit to this country. Palermo is not what I expected. There are the usual things to see here like palaces, castles, and churches. Crazy drivers abound everywhere like there are no road rules and there is relentless noise and pollution. The noise goes on to the wee small hours. There are crumbling buildings and then there are nice fountains. Lots of shopping and markets for tourists. I only spent the one day here and to be honest, that’s all to see Palermo. There is no actual bus station to speak of, just a square where all the buses park up.

AGRIGENTO

Built on a hill as lots of other Sicilian towns. The city itself has modern shopping. It also overlooks a fabulous beach and a small harbor full of colorful sailing and motorized sea craft. There is a magnicent cathedral built in the year 1000 and the Museum of Archaeology. All in all, just cruise at the pace of the locals. Relax on the beach and enjoy Italian food. I liked it here and it’s a very friendly enjoyable place to visit.

SIRACUSA

This is another lovely town which has an old and new part to it with archaeological ruins. The old quarter is an island known as Ortygia. This is an interesting little place to wander and see some impressive old buildings and an ancient Greek Temple. Then there is the archaeological site called Neapolis with a huge amphitheater. This whole site is large and takes a lot of time to get around. Great photos from here of the site and town and a great view out to sea. There are also heaps of visit outside of this town. This is not a place where you will be lost for things to see.

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ROME

A large city, crazy drivers and noise but with the added advantage of Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, Vatican City, Roman Forum and something at every corner. Wow, where to start! Bars, cafes and restaurants. Great metro system and buses to get where you want. A good excursion to do is the Vatican Museum Walking Tour. I love Rome and found it very riveting. It’s on my list of ‘must go back’ places.

VENICE

It’s so easy to get lost in the streets here but that’s half the fun of Venice. Wind down the narrow streets, cross a bridge, take photos. Visit the many plazas and basilicas. Shop or just browse. Venice attracts tourists like it’s going out of fashion. If you are located in Venice Mestre then there is a good bus system into Venice itself. I think I will settle for my photos telling the story. Go, enjoy and reminisce, it truly is a remarkable and adorable city.

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Travel Tips for Italy

If you can avoid it don’t take a train in Italy. It took me 12hrs to get from Siracusa in Sicily to Rome. All the time I was sitting in the corridor. You don’t have to buy a ticket, you can just get on and pay when the ticket man comes along.

Take a bus for sure on the island of Sicily as they are much quicker than the trains. Be careful crossing the streets as pedestrians don’t have right of way. They’re worse than Brazilians and I thought they were bad!

You pay for your bus tickets on the bus and have to load your own backpack. Buses are comfortable. Look on the front window for where the bus is going and just hop on. They tend to pull out before departure time so get there earlier than the leaving time stated. (This is on the island of Sicily)

If you go to a cafe for a coffee and wonder why they all stand to have it? Oh yes! and it’s not hot. I assume that’s so they can have it quick and get on. Don’t actually like Italian coffee.

In Agrigento, you have to buy your tickets before hopping on the bus to go to the beach. When in the town you ask at the tourist information center and buy several at the other office the beach in a cafe that’s got no sign telling you can purchase them there.

In Siracusa go walking and go to the south side of Ortegia to get great sunset photos. Again your photos will be so different. It’s very safe in Rome. Pack in as much as you can as there are lots.

The number one thing destroying the Colosseum is acid rain. They did start to clean off the black from the huge blocks but this was halted when scientists realized that acid rain was making them break down at a quicker rate than the uncleaned ones. See if you can get photos of both the cleaned and uncleaned, there’s quite a difference.

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