The Maltese bombard Catania. Yes, regular flights and the familiarality help. But having recently discovered Palermo, I need to share with you the reasons it deserves a visit.
- The culture and history. Being the capital of Sicily, it obviously has more to offer. In the hours when the shops are shut, visit the Palatine Chapel (you may be less smug about St John’s Co-Cathedral once you do). the Casa Professa, the Palazzo Normana…
- The shopping. A great mix of high street, high end and my favourite, artisnal and ‘small’ international designers. Try Etic for local designers and there are a couple of Rotary projects – one makes clothing for the most exquisite fabrics and the other makes bags that, well, take an age to choose from, but ae absolutely unique in their design. Do yourself a favour, book the extra suitcase.
- The food. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But Palermo Street Food is wowser. Pane con la Milza (don’t ask, just try) Panelle for the vegetarians, Panelle in a bun for the vegetarian gluten tolerant, and the 7 veli chocolate cake for anyone that breathes, cous cous with fish which is a nice change from the normal fish pasta…..
- Pupi. Yup. I’m talking puppets. There is an incredible museum near the Cala and two puppet shows; the Teatro Argento is run by a family who have 5 generations working the theatre. Your Italian doesn’t have to be brilliant. You will be amazed at what these 100 year old (plus) puppets can do. You don’t have to be a child to enjoy.
- Accomodation. SO much cheaper than Catania. We stay regularly at The Plaza Opera, a 4 star hotel close to the Politeama for 80 ish euro night. The surrounding streets full of boutiques and restaurants. If you opt for Airbnb, shop at the 24h Carrefour on Via Liberta or better still, the Prezzemolo & Vitale on Via Villa Franca. You’ll ask yourself why Malta doesn’t have such a store. Anyway, get your goodies and head to Spazio Cooking – a concept that allows you to cook with friends and eat there, and leave the clearing up to someone else. Genius.