Sicily: Palermo

Sicily’s capital Palermo is a very easy city to like. Central Palermo which is where we are staying for 4 nights heaves with narrow alleys full of life. There’s people talking, shouting, laughing, clapping each other on the back as they buy and sell their cherries, apricots and peaches, cheese, fish, olives, clothing and household items.  Our apartment in Via Volturno looks out over one of the oldest markets in Palermo – Mercato del Capo and in the morning, we lie in bed and listen to the market sounds before emerging for a wake up cappucino and Americano. Palermo might be dense but it is compact, and on foot it’s easy to navigate our way through the labyrinth of alleys to some fabulous sights.

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Our apartment on the first floor.

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Quattro Canti (Four Corners) is the centre of Palermo and the four corners feature facades dating from the early 1600s. Each corner facade lights up with the sun throughout the course of the day – a very clever design.

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Nearby is the stunning Piazza Pretoria.

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The Cattedrale di Palermo is another stunning sight.

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These pics are taken at various piazzas. The first pic shows the oldest restaurant in Sicily – 200 years old.

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The Cappella Palatina is the most visited attraction in Palermo and with good reason. It’s a spectacular chapel built in 1130. Precious stones and mosaics line the walls and marble covers the floor. The ceiling is a nod to Islam with its stalactite type motifs.

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The Teatro Massimo is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in Europe after Paris and Vienna. We took a guided tour here since it is the only way to see inside. It’s ornate and there is a room dedicated to costumes worn in the operas. Members of the Teatro’s ballet company were practising when we visited.

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The Dutch King and Queen were visiting Palermo during our stay. We didn’t see them, but police presence was strong. We read that the Dutch King thanked the Italian government for taking in refugees from Africa and encouraged Italy to stay in the European Union. Heavy political agendas for sure.

P1140746P1140750I have to confess that it’s been easy to adopt the Sicilian way of life during our brief stay – walking all morning, shopping for lunch in the markets, taking a siesta in the afternoons before setting out for aperitive in the evenings. Easy… simple…. love it.

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Tomorrow, we pick up our hire car and head west.

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