Weekends in Sicily are not rare for me. I know Ragusa better than my home town and Catania is one of my favourite places.This past weekend, we had a conference in Palermo, a trip I was not looking forward to, since our last visit was a bit flat with the exception of the discovery of the Museum of Marionettes.
We stayed at Palazzo Brunaccini, an elegant, light and spacious hotel one alley way away from the bustling market and less than a kilometer from the designer stores. The hotel has an amazing restaurant with a cerna and rizzi risotto which comes highly recommended, a varied breakfast served by friendly staff and a bar that makes you wish you had one at home. Room service isn’t on offer – but you never go hungry in Sicily. Crisp white bed-linen, a power shower and balcony and car parking – all vital for a city break!
Palermo is rich in architectural beauty, the occasional Mussolini-style building standing to attention in between ornate, the Quatro Canti prettier than Rome’s if you don’t mind me saying so. A shame that the walls of most buildings are decked with graffiti – and not always of the artistic kind – a shame that the economic climate makes for a crime ridden culture – though thankfully we had no experience of it.
The Teatro Massimo as a venue is magnificent; not as pretty as our Manoel, but gave the massive choir enough space to stand whist backing the ‘stars’ of the night.
The shopping is what you would expect, plus a wonderful flea market close to the port on a Sunday morning where I was tempted (but my sensible self stopped me) to buy the back of an old Sicilian cart, and some astrological paintings. Next time. La Rinascente is open on Sundays as are most of the high street shops, you know, for that time killing one has to do before the flight home! A quick stop at the Sicily Outlet village (a mistake on a Sunday afternoon) and on to the airport to wait an extra two hours for the flight – which had we known, would have made the outlet shopping less stressful and last a teeny bit longer…..