For information on weather in Sicily, take a look at these websites below. We will monitor the weather as we get closer to our trip and keep you posted. Normal April weather is warm, not hot, during the day, and a bit cooler at night.
What to pack
We encourage you to travel as lightly as possible. We strongly encourage you to take only carry-on bags and a day pack. That avoids losing bags and potentially long waits at baggage claim. We will not be flying anywhere in Sicily, so once we get there with all our bags, we'll put them in the bus for travel days. You will be able to get laundry done everywhere. For sightseeing, you will want comfortable clothes such as hiking pants and shirts. Sicily is pretty casual, so don't bring dressy clothes--we won't need them anywhere. And please do not bring expensive jewelry or watches.
If you do check a bag, which we hope you won't, please make sure you have everything you need, such as medications, in your carry-on bag. Please do not pack anything valuable in a checked bag. Pack 2 days of underwear and 1 change of clothes in your carry-on bag. At the risk of being overly repetitive, much better to have carry-on!
Here is a suggested list of what to take:
- 1 pair casual, very comfortable, shoes for sightseeing--strong enough for hiking on Mt. Etna and walking on cobblestones
- 1 pair sandals or lightweight shoes
- 2-3 pairs hiking pants or similar
- 1-2 pairs slightly dressier pants or a skirt for evening
- 3-4 T-shirts or short-sleeved hiking shirts
- 2 long-sleeved shirts, also lightweight (hiking shirts are perfect)
- 1 fleece jacket (good for the plane if it' s cold on the flight)
- 1 down sweater or lightweight down jacket or similar for evenings and cool weather on Mt. Etna
- 1 pair lightweight fleece gloves (also for Mt. Etna)
- 1 lightweight sweater for cool days and evenings
- fleece ski hat for Mt. Etna
- Gore-tex rain jacket
- plastic poncho (optional, but nice if you have the backpack variety that folds into a tiny pack)
- underwear and socks
- travel alarm clock
- small flashlight
- prescription or reading glasses if you use them, plus an extra pair
- all your standard medications
- Imodium or similar in case you get a stomach bug
- standard toiletries (hotels will have hair dryers, so you don't need to bring those)
- hand wipes and hand sanitizer
- 2 to 3 small packages of tissues (most hotels will have tissues)
- mosquito repellant--may not need it, but just in case
- several zip lock plastic bags
- sun hat with broad brim
- camera with extra disk and batteries and battery charger
- adaptor kit for cameras, phones, laptops or iPads (see below for information about electricity)
- whatever you like to read
- small travel pillow if you like a soft pillow (here's a website:http://www.royalpillow.com/travel-pillow.asp Amazon also has them.)
- copy of passport information page)
- 2 passport photos
- phone and charger-buy an international phone and data package from your wireless provider before you leave
- iPad or tablet if you use one for internet access (available most places for a fee)
- day pack or similar for taking in the bus
Books on Sicily:
Sicily: Culture and Conquest, 2016, by Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs
The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has been continuously inhabited for millennia. Its strategic position and fertile soil, enriched by the fires of Mount Etna, made it alluring to successive waves of settlers and conquerors. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans vied to stake their claim on the island. Periods of decline, exploitation, and neglect alternated with those of enlightenment and prosperity, during which the arts flourished. This book contains full-color images of more than two hundred remarkable objects drawn from the collection in the British Museum and from museums across Sicily and around the world.
Seeking Sicily: A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean, 2011
by John Keahey
Sicily is the Mediterranean's largest island. Its people, for three thousand years under the thumb of one invader after another, hold tightly onto a unique culture. Many of these islanders carry considerable DNA from Arab and Muslim ancestors who ruled for 250 years and integrated vast numbers of settlers from the continent just ninety miles to the south. Seeking Sicily explores what lies behind the soul of the island's inhabitants. It touches on history, archaeology, food, the Mafia, and politics and looks to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Sicilian authors to plumb the islanders' so-called Sicilitudine.
The Peoples of Sicily: A Multicultural Legacy, 2014, by Louis Mendola and Jacqueline Alio
Sicily is the world's most conquered island. Home to Normans, Byzantines, Arabs, Germans and Jews, 12th-century Sicily was a crossroads of cultures and faiths, the epitome of diversity, where Europe, Asia and Africa met. The introductory background chapters begin in the Neolithic, continuing to the history of the contested island under Punics and Greeks. Every civilization that populated the island is covered, including Romans, Goths, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Angevins, Aragonese and Jews, with profiles of important historical figures and sites. Religion, law, geography and cuisine are also considered.
The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily, 2003, by Theresa Maggio
Theresa Maggio takes us on a journey in search of Sicily's most remote and least explored mountain towns. Using her grandparents' ancestral village of Santa Margherita Belice as her base camp, she travels to the small towns surrounding Mt. Etna, the volcanic islands of the Aeolian Sea, and the charming villages nestled in the Madonie Mountains. Whether she's writing about the unique pleasures of Sicilian street food, the damage wrought by molten lava, the ancient traditions of Sicilian bagpipers, or the religious processions that consume entire villages for days on end, Maggio succeeds in transporting readers to a wholly unfamiliar world, where almonds grow like weeds and the water tastes of stone.
Blue Guide Sicily (Ninth Edition,)2017, by Ellen Grady
Another highly recommended guidebook.
The Rough Guide to Sicily, 2017, by Rough Guides
Popular guidebook to everything to do and see in Sicily.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Sicily, 2015, by DK Travel
A third highly recommended guide book with a different format.
Italy, including Sicily, has safe food and water. We ate everything and used tap water when we were there with no problems. We will have bottled water in the bus. Most hotel rooms have bottled water and you can always take a bottle from our bus supply if you wish. We encourage you to be current on all your vaccinations, especially Hepatitis A and B. Here's the Centers for Disease Control website for Italy:
We did not worry about our personal safety while in Sicily and walked everywhere day and night. We are never complacent about our safety, though, anywhere in the world, and always are watchful and protect our belongings. Best thing it to leave your expensive watches and jewelry at home and not call attention to yourself (not that Sicilians won't know you're a tourist.) Sicily is a welcoming part of Italy, probably still controlled by the Mafia, but not obviously so.
Frommer's guide has this advice: https://www.frommers.com/destinations/sicily/planning-a-trip/health--safety
See this website about plugs and electricity in Italy: https://www.tripsavvy.com/electricity-in-italy-1548048