05 January 2017

Sicily: Not your Godfather's Palermo

J looking out from our balcony
Before we got to Sicily, we heard a lot about driving there. To be careful, that drivers were a bit crazy... but for most of our trip, the driving was pretty sane and the roads mostly country.

Until we got to Palermo.

Palermo is what folks are talking about when they mention the insanity of driving.

We were headed from Cefalu to the Kalsa neighborhood of Palermo. It was a bit harrowing, to say the least. As is often the case when you go to a new big city, we didn't know the rules of the road that locals follow, so we basically just followed what the cars in front of us were doing.

Our AirB&B was a nice one -- a big one bedroom with a lovely balcony that with a view of the nearby church. The weather was nice, so once we arrived and parked, we relaxed. There is always a point on a long trip where I need a day to not be a tourist, not do anything...this was that day. We hung out and watched movies, drank some wine, and eventually got ourselves together to get out of the house.

The first thing you must eat while in Palermo is arancini. These things are huge, and delicious. They are usually filled -- with meats, cheeses, and sometimes both -- and a wonderful snack while walking around. And, in my opinion at least, walking is the best way to see Palermo. This is a big city, and as such, you should take the same precautions you would take in any big city. My understanding is that there has been a concerted effort to rid the city of the mafia, and other than the Godfather souveniers, I didn't see any overt evidence of it. So there is nothing to fear there. But while there, like in other cities, be smart.

Quattro Canti
We walked towards the Quattro Canti, an important corner with beautiful artwork on each side of the street. This was the first but not the last time we visited this area -- you can spend quite a bit of time wandering the streets, following a parade, and checking out the various churches and monuments...you can also pop into a bar when you need a drink or to hear some locals shout about their families.

Eventually we made our way towards the Teatro Massimo, which takes you through the main pedestrian area. These streets are lined with shops, people, and food vendors.

Stop by il Siciliano to have a few drinks. Arrive early enough that to get some seats...then sit and watch the local nightlife unfold around you. The drinks came with some appetizers -- enough to hold us over for quite some time.  Eventually stumble out and over to get some proper Sicilian food -- it'll be filling and delicious and just what you need before you go pass out!

We spent our last night in this neighborhood, surprised how busy the restaurants were on a Sunday night. We found ourselves at Ciccio Passami l'Olio. The bar here was particularly great -- and had several local, Sicilian beers; I'd highly recommend.

Palermo is ideal for wandering around, eating until you burst, and drinking granitas. I also loved that I didn't feel like I was running into too many other tourists, especially in the neighborhood where we were staying (that was what you would describe as "up and coming").

il Siciliano
Via Orologio, 37

Ciccio Passami l'Olio
via 90133, Via Castrofilippo, 4

No comments: