Palermo

4:50 PM

"Night falls in Palermo" is a very famous greek card game. It is a deduction game in which each player takes a secret role: two become the murderers, one is the spy, one the policeman and all the rest are the victims. It is very funny as you try to speculate who is who by reading the eyes and the mind of the co players, making funny questions. It is actually an elaboration over "The Art of Lying". So by the time I stepped on Palermo all my friends were making jokes about that game.
On the other hand, people know Palermo for the mafia, also known as Cosa Nostra, which is a criminal syndicate in Sicily, Italy. The mafia history is big and quite interesting. Even today there is mafia around the city "protecting" the restaurants and shops.
In other news, Palermo is the capital of Sicily, a buzzing Mediterranean centre with 1 million inhabitants. 

I visited Palermo on a very rainy day in the mid-February this year. The best way to really see Palermo is on foot, so despite the rain, holding an umbrella and wearing boots, we walked through the old town, as all the gems are concentrated there. Wandering around the pebbled streets and corners you discover palaces, churches and great street art that you may otherwise miss. I only had a day there but we actually made it to see quite a few things despite the rain and the cold.
The "Quattro Canti"
The “Quattro Canti”  is the center point of the old town center.
Your route will inevitably get you there as you walk around. You have to look up at the buildings surrounding it: the sculptures on every corner show a variety of themes, like the four seasons, four Spanish Kings and the four patron Saints of the old town areas. It is really impressive and makes you feel so small. They were commissioned by  the Spanish Viceroy in 1611. 
Piazza Pretoria
Walking down to via Maqueda we suddenly came across to an amazing place, Piazza Pretoria.
The fountain in the middle of the square, called "Fountain of Shame" was built in 1555 for a Tuscan villa. Being a little edgy and maybe shocking, the owner of the villa sold it to the city of Palermo. The fountain is decorated with sixteen nude statues of nymphs, humans, mermaids and satyrs. The City Hall is located in this square.
Church of San Cataldo
The Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (La Martorana)A little bit further down Piazza Pretoria and behind the City Hall, there is Piazza Bellini where you see two very interesting buildings that you cannot imagine they are churches. Those two anticonformist Churches are  the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio (more commonly known as La Martorana) and the Church of San Cataldo, instantly recognizeable thanks to its trio of red domes.
Palermo Cathedral
Talking about Churches, here we are at the Cathedral, just down Corso Vittorio Emanuele on your left. Its exterior is a masterpiece, however  the interior is rather plain in comparison. Emperor Frederick II, "Stupor Mundi" is buried here.
Vucciria Market
There are three open markets in Palermo. We visited the most famous one, Vucciria that had from clothes to fresh food and spices. It runs from via Roma to via Vittorio Emanuele, an arabic section of the city.
Rather old houses in the old center
Street art is everywhere!
Beautiful picturesque Sicilian streets
Mercato di Ballaro offering fresh food


The remains after 2 o'clock and rain
What to do:
- Do not leave Palermo without trying a gelato at gelateria Brioscia. It is the best ice cream in town and very cheap! http://www.brioscia.it
- Try the famous cannoli, a pastry stuffed with ricotta cheese and pistachio.
- Go for an aperitif, an early-evening drink. Go at Antico Caffè Spinnato (Via Principe di Belmonte) and have a chilled Corvo white (€4.20) or granita di gelsi (€4.50), an ice drink flavoured with black mulberries. 

A festival fan?
Palermo celebrates its patron Saints: San Giuseppe on March 19, Madonna della Catena on mid-August and San Nicola on December 6-9. But the main Saint festival is for Santa Rosalia (Festa di Santa Rosalia), celebrated every year on July 10-15 with music, parades and food all around the city. 

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2 σχόλια

  1. I always wanted to visit Sicily and I'm ashamed to say that even if I'm Italian I've never been, I know that's silly! Palermo looks beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really?! That's funny but expected since we know that our own country is always there for us, so it is almost sure we'll visit one day :) Italy is amazing but sicily is something else!

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