There's a Party in Palermo

Saturday, 13 July 2013


I won't deny that there is a certain roughness to Palermo. As we walked out of Palermo Central Station, I was already in caution mode and clutching my handbag tightly. Pubescent teenagers were out on their Saturday night beat and some of them looked decidedly dodgy. However, like most good things, once you give it the benefit of doubt, it quickly proffers up one of the coolest travel experiences you will ever have.



Thanks to the unreliability of Sicilian public transport, we got into Palermo later in the evening than what we would have liked. We were ravenous and I was keen on exploring the Palermitan street food markets around Mercado Vucchiria. Whilst heading towards the food market through Via Roma we found little hubs of activity around the side streets. One such exploration led to the discovery of a rather cool nightlife arrangement.  Not far from Vucchiria is a little area surrounded by five or so market stalls where vendors sold panelle, frittula, stigioloa and other deep fried Palermitan food. There were a few rundown looking bars around these stalls that served dirt cheap alcohol. You really can't complain when its €1 for a large pint of beer!

 

We eventually strolled down to Vucchhria which had pubs and cafes with yet another interesting arrangement. You paid a flat fee for a glass of beer or cocktail (€6) and you could eat as much snacky food as you like: pasta salads, couscous, an assortment of Sicilian fast food, you get the picture. We'd already eaten to our fill at the street food stalls so we didn't take full advantage of what was on offer. Nevertheless, it was interesting to sit down and watch the locals enjoy their version of a night out. Age didn't seem to matter and people socialized in ways unlike what you would see in the UK. And whilst it was all very relaxed and civilized, there was a real buzz about the place. That night out in Palermo was possibly one of the most interesting nightlife experience I've had. I think Ed would concur.


As we had very little time in Palermo, we needed to carefully think though our exploration strategy. We decided to do a little walking tour of Palermo's historic centre in the morning and then head to nearby Monreale later. Just as we started our walk, we came across a tourist couple whizzing past in horse and carriage. Intrigued, I asked a horse & carriage rider nearby for the price. It was €85 in the brochure but as we werent really bothered, he offerd an hours tour for €30 total. It seemed a no-brainer offer especially as he also offered to drop us off at the Monreale bus stop. We had a lovely and relaxed tour of the Palermo's finest offerings including the city's famous cathedral, Teatro Politeama, a quick glimpse of the Arab Norman church, Teatro Massimo. I loved taking in  the beautiful baroque architecture and the cosmopolitan offerings on every street.



After a quick tour of Monreale, we were back in Palermo for a more relaxed exploration of the city's culture. We watched the locals join in a church procession for the feast of St. Francis and I explored the little Italian boutiques and stocked up on fabulous yet inexpensive little treats at Kiko Milano. Eventually, we found a little Trattoria to wind down with some simple Sicilian dinner and wine.

Have you been to Palermo? And, are there any other cities you've enjoyed exploring? Ann x


 Wearing: H&M Garden Collection dress (old), Givenchy sunglasses and hat from a little shop in Taormina.

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Photography by Edward Chandler

2 comments:

  1. Am just going through your blog - you're a veteran out here! Lovely!

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    Replies
    1. Ah not sure about veteran but thank you anyway ;)

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