The best place for beginning...
The best place for beginning your trip through Sicilyis Palermo. Seeing Palermo the first time, I really hated ! But after a while traveling through Sicily, you´ll miss this place.
The touristic places are in the old city (and it´s a really prity one, alltough sometimes you feel the poorness)
Palermo is a mix of diverse architectural styles from Arab to Renaissance.
Take your time and spent about 3-4 days. I love the italian way of drinking a coffee (it´s normaly an espresso). Walking around go into a bar, drink your coffee and eat an sandwich, or something else (panini) but do not sit down, it will costs dobble, and you won´t here the italian guys talking about football (calcio)
Spend a nice day in a beautiful natural spot...
When you wanna go to swim or just sunbathe... usually everybody goes to mondello... but if you don't like the crowdy beaches then you can go to "Addaura" or "Capogallo"... the sea water is cleaner and you can swim......
Palermo is the fifth Italian...
Palermo is the fifth Italian city by number of inhabitants. It's incredibly rich in life and signs of cultures left by the many populations that have dominated Sicily in the course of history. The best seasons to visit the city are spring and autumn, while summer is much too hot to go around and visit monuments, if you have an eye for architecture. Winter is usually not so cold, with temperatures very seldom going below 10 degrees Celsius. The list of things to see includes: the Cathedral, an awesome masterpiece of XIII century. Particularly rich when looked at from the road, it's a bit poorer when you step indoors. You can't miss the traditional markets of Vuccirìa and Capo, where they sell vegetables, meat and fish. Colours made immortal by the Italian painter Renato Guttuso in a famous picture of his, the shouting of sellers, the people swarming to and fro, the smell of the goods will compose an unforgettable image of Sicilian life, a sort of icon that must not be taken as the only specimen of life in the place. Piazza Marina (Marina Square) and the Kalsa are one of the beating hearts of the old city, with narrow stone-paved streets and the ancient palaces of noble families towering with their baroque architecture. Many of them have been abandoned since the World War II bombing of the city that destroyed the buildings well beyond the possibility of repair of noble but, by then, poor families. Skeletons through which you can see the sky...sort of moving, some feeling of past glory coming from those holes. The church of the Gancia is very close, the only sample of Romanic architecture in the area, dating back to XII century when the island was under the Arabian influence. Palazzo Abatellis hosts the National Gallery where you can, among others, admire pictures by Antonello da Messina, Mabuse and many others. You can also find the incredible Trionfo della Morte (Triumph of the Death). But by now you'll be hungry, of course. A very nice stop is the Focacceria S. Francesco where you can find the traditional 'sfincione' (sort of pizza, but softer and thicker, with tomatoes, anchovies, pecorino cheese, onions, breadcrumbs), the 'pani ca' meusa' (bread filled with veal spleen and lung fried in lard, you can eventually add ricotta or lemon juice), the 'panelle' (small deep-fried sqaures of chick-peas flour) the 'crocchette' or 'cazzilli' (deep fried small rolls of mashed potatoes with parsley and garlic) and much more... After that it would be nice to try a traditional ice-cream at Gelateria Ilardo, along the Foro Italico. Only two hints: the 'pezzo duro scurzunera e cannella' and the 'gelato cassata'. The first is a block of ice-cream (not creamy at all), the white half tastes the jasmin flowers, the red one tastes cinnamon. No more comments. The cassata is composed by a layer of pistachio , one of almond and a very thin of strawberry...then comes the chantilly cream. But it's time to go and visit the Cappella Palatina. Then the beautiful church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti with its pale red Arabian domes and palm trees around. Then down again to see the Martorana (same style as S. Giovanni) and the beautiful Piazza Pretoria with its fountain and the statues (the square was called Shame Square because of the nudity of the sculptures). On the square you can see Palermo Town Hall. Then head for the Teatro Massimo, one of the most beautiful theatres of Europe, recently re-opened to the public after a 25-years-long restoration. Walk down the Via Ruggero Settimo towards the Teatro Politeama and enjoy the sight of Piazza Castelnuovo and the second theatre of the city. A quick look at the sea and Via Liberta', with its trees and its shops, is your new scenery!
Along the route you'll feel the differences compose themselves in a picture of unique beauty. Old palaces, stone-paved narrow streets open up on modern sights of boutiques and everything the progress has given our society. A contrast that shows many of the paradoxes of Sicily.
The Monreale “Duomo”
This charming and great Duomo located on the top of a hill about 10 km from Palermo. From there you can see hole Palermo very clear. This cathedral is very special because its the harmonious mix of architectural styles, Byzantine, Arabic and Romanesque. Monreale Cathedral is one of the greatest works from the Sicilian Middle Ages
Palermo was a city I have always wanted to see. Like many people I had preconceptions of what I would find, due to news coverage and too many Mafia movies. Alas when I arrived I was not enchanted by the city. The primary feelings that hang in the air are ones of suspicion, depression and poverty. It would be easy to blame this on the years of, what is basically gang warfare that has afflicted the region. Or could it be the centuries of oppression by invading tribes. One gets the impression that the latest tribe to invade Palermo, the curious tourist, is as unwelcome as the Normans and Moors that have gone before them. If you compare this to Naples, a city that has endured similar problems, the contrast is quite shocking. Having endured years of terrible press creating the perception that tourists will be basically ‘Robbed, beaten, shagged then eaten’ the reality is a totally different proposition. The Neapolitans in general are warm and welcoming and delighted to show off their city. There is a feeling of hope in the air, that they have turned a corner and the world is welcome. The air is one of vibrancy and change.
Certainly Palermo has a number of beautiful buildings, but the condition of majority of it’s architecture has gone form what was faded grandeur 50 or so years ago, to the sad and neglected ruins, evident of many cities that have had both their infrastructure and people bled dry by corrupt regimes.
I would love to be shown around the ‘real’ Palermo by a local. I get the impression that underneath the very thick protective shell of suspicion and self-protection there could be a warmer, friendlier Palermo. Sadly on initial inspection, this is certainly not in evidence.