This magnificient square is full of statues and a marvellous fountain. At night is wonderfully lighted too!!
It was created for the Florentine villa of Don Pedro di Toledo by the mennerist sculptor Francesco Camilliani in 1554. The Council of Palermo got the exorbitant price of 30,000 scudi for it. It was transported to Palermo in 644 pieces and it was reassembled in Pretoria square, which was
laid out in a different way in relation to the monumental fountain. It is a circular fountain and is decorated with allegorical statues. The surrounding railing was designed by Giovan Battista Basile and put there in 1858.
Despite the decidedly un-Sicilian name and the unremarkable location, this recommendation from our B&B hostess was another absolute winner. The discreet exterior opens into a long, elegant room, simply decorated - all very cool and calm. The welcome is quite cool and calm too, as is the atmosphere. The tables are all full however, and booking is essential - an evening at Bye Bye Blues is all about good eating and everyone hereabouts knows it.
Everything on the menu sounds delicious. It's the usual pattern of antipasti, primi piatti (pastas and risottos) and secondi piatti of meat and fish with a small selection of desserts to follow. What the menu doesn't mention is the succession of tiny, perfect between-course treats that are presented to everyone. First to come was a minute sfincione(something like a pizza), a trio of different marinated olives and a sliver of peppered pecorino. Between our antipasti and primi piatti came a wee scoop of minty sorbet and a couple of other delicious little morsels, and when another small serve of sorbet (melon this time) was served after the primi, we were rather glad we'd decided against a secondi piatti and gone for dessert instead. Just to finish it all off, after dinner coffee came with a selection of (again tiny) beautiful biscotti and chocolates.
The wine list was very extensive and packed with interesting wines. We opted for a delicious rose, recommended by out waiter and an excellent choice.
And, no, it wasn't cheap, but it certainly wasn't overly expensive either, just really good value for money. It's no wonder Bye Bye Blues has a reputation for being one of Sicily's best restaurants. The amuse-bouches stick in my mind, I know everything we ate was delicious. I seem to remember having a fantastic octopus risotto myself and a wonderful lemon and almond cake but I can't for the life of me remember what the others ate. I do know that when we go back to Palermo (and that is a must), dinner at Bye Bye Blues is certainly going to be on the agenda.
I've often heard this of Paris, but Palermo is also a great city to just walk. You will come across endless wonderful shops selling just about anything. And see things you need to look a little closer to see. Especially in the early evening when lots people go for an afternoon drink or bite to eat. Sitting outside in one of the many cafes or on ths steps of some of the grand buildings in the afternoon, is a good way to meet people and just watch the world go by. In general the northen end of the city is more up market and tidy and people seem to have more time for others. In the south, it is more rundown but it is not to say it's worse, it still maintains a certain charm which makes Palermo what it is.
Teatro Massimo, the famous...
Teatro Massimo, the famous Palermo opera house. I highly recommend the guided tour; they take you to a circular chamber known as the 'Echo Room', which has simply otherworldly acoustics. Stand at the center of the room and clap, and the sound that reaches your ears will sound like a waterfall. It's incredible. Oh yeah, and the opera house itself isn't bad.
Sicily 2 (2001)
"Day 6 Marinella/Selinunte"
I meant to go from Sciacca to Selinunte and back and then on to Palermo but I had not bargained for a long wait for the local bus at Castelvetrano.
Hence I stayed at Marinella which is the very small village outside the site at Selinunte. I think Selinunte was in some ways my favourite of the places in southern Sicily.
After eating a late picnic lunch looking into this photo, as it were, I returned by bus to Palermo.
I have already done a page on Palermo and so I move on.
I found the actual building of the Archeaological Museum, which was once a convent, most interesting and it certainly has some excellent stuff in it, including a Selinunte room with many relics.
CONTINUED IN NEXT TRAVELOGUE - SICILY 3
I shared a twin room with an Australian I had met in Castelvetrano to save a bit of cash. We made our separate visits to Selinunte (he is a professional photographer) and when I returned (first) the proprietors were cleaning up a mysterious flood in the room and we both had a lot of wet things.
It is hard to believe that there were ever so many temples in one place and, of course, most are now just piles of huge stones - with the odd bits still standing,
and on the top of this area, the Acropolis, there are the stones and rubble from residential areas as well.
This is taken inside the restored temple shown in the first picture above.
NEXT CHAPTER - MONREALE
"Days 7/8 Monreale and Palermo"
Left Marinella early and had breakfast while waiting in Castelvetrano then on to Palermo. Having found somewhere to stay I went straight away to Monreale by bus - a good short trip up a hill.
The cathedral is noted for its mosaics and they justify all that is ever said and more. Here is a view of the exterior taken from the cloisters
some of which appear in more detail here.
The dearth of any photos like this in the shops made me fear an even worse result but for the life of me I cannot get a decent image of Rebekkah bidding farewell to Jakob from it. Many Old Testament stories are told in mosaic all the way round. The overall effect of the interior is really awesome and could not be conveyed by any photograph.