My apologies Palermo.
I didn’t think I was going to like you.
But you have surprised me.
It’s a big city but at Quattro Canti (Four Corners) in the centre of the old city, pedestrian streets radiate out. It makes it very walkable.
Four identical buildings (except for the statues) surround the intersection.
And yes, more tourists but the intersection is the epicentre of action!
A few feet away from Quattro Canti I found a beautiful piazza. Just started taking photos and then had to figure out what things were!
Fontana Pretoria in Piazza Pretoria
Chiesa Capitolare di Sant Cataldo (1160), on the right with the domes, is an example of ‘Arab-Norman’ blended Western, Byzantine and Muslim architecture.
And another few feet away, Chiesa di Santa Caterina in Piazza Bellini
Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy, and second largest in Europe.
Cattedale di Palermo. Another Arab-Norman example. I took a peak inside, didn’t think it was worth €13!
I’ve seen more churches than most Catholics, but I liked the outside.
Porta di Vicari, next to the Palazzo dei Normanni which has the Cappella Palatina (very ornate chapel). Long queue and €18. I was going to go back but now it’s raining. I’m a lousy tourist….
Fountain had an interesting figure!
Chiesa di Santa della Catena (1490) looked abandoned from a distance in a lonely spot down by the harbour.
Ballaro Mercato (market) is crazy busy late morning to early afternoon. It’s a mixture of shopping and eating!
Palermo is famous for their street food.
First would be Arancini, saffron flavoured risotto balls traditionally stuffed with meat or cheese. Though I’ve seen some interesting choices!
Pane e panelle is a sesame bun stuffed with chickpea flour fritters. Adding deep fried potato ‘crocche’ is common because you can’t skimp on the carbs!
Then we get into offal territory which is very popular here, though I haven’t signed on yet😏
Stigghiola is grilled lamb entrails, supposedly delicious with fresh lemon squeezed over.
Pane ca meusa is the bestseller beef spleen in a bun.
I’ve taken one for the team by having a cannoli. Managed to finish half.
Then a nice meal at a bistro.
Fresh pasta with seabream, green beans and spicy tomatoes
Stuffed squid with ricotta and ‘sparacelli’, the green cauliflower
Then it was a two hour bus ride to Trapani.
I was impressed with Palermo having an actual bus depot with ticket offices rather than random ‘street stops’. Each company has different routes. And it’s right beside the train station. The airport bus is there too, so it makes for a seamless transition.
Trapani also has a long history of being a hugely important port. Now it has many ferries that go out to the Egadi Islands. I would like to come back again and explore them.
The streets of the old town are filled with beautiful buildings and churches.
Erice is 750 meters above sea level. It can be reached by cable car or a long and windy road.
The cars slow down but you have to hop in while they move!
Medieval Erice is perched on top of the rocks it is built from.
People still live and work here, and there places to stay and eat.
Castello di Venere (12-13th century)
The castle with La Torretta Pepoli
Torri del Balio
The most famous Trapanese dish is cuscus (couscous) which reflects its proximity to North Africa. It’s not a new fad!
And the most classical serving is with fish cooked in a spicy broth (delicious!). They also gave enough couscous for a whole family! Along with a jug of more broth.
I’m just going to post this and then finish packing for Marsala. It’s only a 30 minute train trip.