A Sicilian holiday


Crossroads of Civilizations, Sicily has since time immemorial attracted the covetousness. Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians and Arabs are bitter is no thank you to seize the island. His troubled past, Sicily today is very pretty footprints left by these civilizations sites and Greek temples, Arabic architecture, Romanesque buildings, Phoenician palace, etc. A mix that also reflected in the habits of the Sicilians.

Leaving so Sicily was for me the opportunity to experience many cultures and civilizations. If you want to share my experience follow me.

All about Sicily:

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, its area stretches over 25,460 km & sup2 ;. It is divided into 9 provinces namely: Enna, Trapani, Catania, Palermo, Messina, Agrigento, Ragusa, Caltanissetta and Siracusa. Its capital is Palermo.

Triangular in shape, the island of Sicily is bounded to the north by the Tyrrhenian Sea. On the east side, it is separated by a strait of 3 km from Italy and the west side, there is the Sicily channel located between the island and Tunisia.

The climate of this volcanic island is Mediterranean with hot summers and winters means. At the southern coast of Sicily, the climate is affected by winds from Africa and it makes very dry coast in summer.

The economy of Sicily based on the tertiary sector, agriculture and tourism. The island has everything to be one of the fastest growing destinations of Italy, but the Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia controls many sectors and hinders its development.

Sicily is home to many World Heritage sites by UNESCO such as the Aeolian Islands, the archaeological area of ​​Agrigento or the cities of the late Baroque of the Val di Noto located southeast the island.

Now that we have an idea of ​​Sicily, leave without undue delay to its discovery.

Palermo and culture:

For this first trip to Sicily my choice fell on the capital Palermo. A city of contrasts. She is very attractive and if by repressing time. A city plagued by mafia shenanigans and trafficking of all kinds, but its people seem used to it. Do they really have a choice?

Palermo is these cities that know satisfy the tastes of everyone. If one is in search of culture, the city has something for us with its monuments, archaeological sites, temples and buildings. If one is in search of nature, with its gardens and parks Palermo offers us a great breath of fresh air. And if we want to live moments of joy and good humor, the atmosphere is right.

Now place to culture. The city has many monuments worth visiting. If you had to choose just a few, choose the Cathedral of Palermo Palace of the Normans, Castello della Zisa, Chiesa San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Quattro Canti and Teatro Massimo.

The Cathedral of Palermo:

A magnificent religious building in Arab-Norman style dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. Its construction dates from the twelfth century. The beauty of this cathedral is its exterior architecture and its location in the middle of palm trees.

Even the tourist least warned not fail to notice that the facade has several architectural styles reflecting the many occupations and functions of the building: Roman basilica, Arab mosque before being converted into a Norman cathedral in the twelfth century. Inside the Cathedral there are tombs of kings and emperors, including that of Henry VI and his son Frederick. My heart inside shot of the cathedral is the silver urn containing the remains of Santa Rosalia, who saved Palermo from the plague in 1624.

Palace of the Normans where Norman Palace

The palace is located in Piazza Indipendenza in Palermo. Over time, it has changed many times vocation: Punic fortress, Roman fort, castle in time and finally the Arab palace of the Norman kings. It reflects so well the mixing of Arab and Norman influences of the city of Palermo. Take time to visit the inside, you will discover frescoes narrating the life of Jesus and stories related to Christian worship. We also admire there the magnificent wooden ceiling labor of Egyptian workers. The Palace of the Normans is open to visitors every day during the following hours: 8:30 am to noon and 14 hours to 17 hours from Monday to Saturday and from 8:30 to 12:30 on Sundays and holidays. If you want to visit the Chapel Platinum, do not go there Sunday between 10 hours and 11 hours.

Castello della Zisa:

The palace is located in Piazza Zisa. As the majority of monuments in Palermo, the palace combines the Arab-Norman architectural styles. Its construction was ordered by King William 1 of

Sicily called the Bad and it was to make a harem.

This palace was built so that even during heavy hot days a breeze circulates continuously. I have experienced and I can tell you it is very nice to visit when heat is suffocating. Address: Via Guglielmo he Buono, 1 - Tel: +39 091 652 0269 .

Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti:

The Church of St. John of the Hermits or Chiesa San Giovanni degli Ermiti is located in the historic center of Palermo. It is one of the jewels of the city. It is the monument me most intrigued in Palermo for its architecture. By far, the church sets the tone with its five magnificent domes of Arab red-pink color. As you approach, you will not fail to notice the square shaped face minaret which suggests that it was once a mosque. Getting to the Church of St. John of the Hermits is also an opportunity to make a walk in the gardens that surround it. Address: Via dei Benedettini, 16 Tel: +39 091 651 5019 - Visiting hours: Monday from 9am at 13:15 and Tuesday to Sunday from 9am at 13h15 and 14h to 18h30 .

Quattro Canti (four-sided):

This is the nerve center of Palermo. It is the junction of two main avenues: Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda. In every corner of this great place is a building facade dating from the seventeenth century. Each one has a fountain symbolizing a season. Today, Quattro Canti It is one of the most fashionable places in Palermo, a place to give the appointments of Palermo. We also come here for shopping, including Via Roma shopping street for excellence in Palermo.

Teatro Massimo

If you have watched the film Godfather III, will feel a familiar look when you visit the Teatro Massimo. Indeed, the last scene of the film, that of the killing was filmed in this theater. What intrigues when the first visit, it is its size. It is the third largest theater in Europe after Paris and Vienna. The interior of the theater is decorated with blown glass chandeliers from Murano. Do not miss to make you the Pompeian room, its decor is just beautiful. Address: Piazza G. Verdi Tel: +39 091605311 Transport: bus Amat n & deg; 101, 102, 104 and 107 stop Piazza Verdi .

Palermo side museums:

They say that Palermo is an important museum center. If like me you are a lover of museums, you'll love Palermo. The city is home to a dozen museums. Failing to visit them all, here are the most interesting in my opinion:

Regional Archaeological Museum:

Located Piazza Olivella, this museum houses one of the most important Greek and Phoenician art collections in the country. prehistoric collections are found there, Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman, Punic and Phoenician. As the discoveries of archaeological underwater. The Regional Archaeological Museum of Palermo is part of a large complex that includes Ignazio church and oratory. So enjoy your visit to the museum to visit both buildings. Address: Piazza Olivella Tel: +39 091 66 20 220 Visiting hours:. 9h to 14h on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 14h and 15h to 18h on Tuesdays and Fridays

Regional Gallery of Sicily:

This gallery is located in the Palazzo Abatellis. It houses a rich collection of paintings and sculptures of Sicilian art. The & ldquo; Our Lady of the Annunciation & rdquo; Antonello da Messina, the & ldquo; Deposition & rdquo; Jan Provost and & ldquo; Triumph of Death & rdquo; which one does not know the master, are undoubtedly the most beautiful works of the gallery. In addition to his paintings, the Regional Gallery of Sicily fascinated by the beauty of its interior design. Take the time to visit, you will learn a lot about the architectural style of the fifteenth century. Address: via Alloro 4 Tel: +39 091 62 30 011 Visiting hours: 9 am to 13:30 and from 15h to 19h30 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am to 13:30 on Mondays and Tuesdays .

Palace Museum Mirto:

By visiting this museum, it seems to make a trip back in time and live the aristocratic era. You'll no doubt the same feeling I had. In rooms of the museum, everything is traced to the same: furniture, decorations, objects, stables, carriages, etc. The palace Mirto is one of the few open to the public in Palermo. Moreover, it is often overrun with tourists. Address: Via Merlo, 2 - Tel: +39 091 6164751 .

International Puppet Museum:

If you are accompanied by your children, do not miss the International Museum of Puppetry. not included is less than 3000 Palermitans puppets, puppets and figurines of all kinds. The museum also houses the scene of material collected from around the globe. By visiting the International puppet museum, we understand that this popular art holds an important place in Sicily. The museum is open daily at the following times: Monday to Friday from 9h to 13h and 16h to 19 pm on Saturdays only 9am morning to 13h and Sundays from 10h to 13h. Address: Via Butera, 1 - Tel: +39 091 328060 .

Palermo garden side:

After growing up with nature and know that Palermo was called Garden City for the many green spaces that housed. Today, although the Sicilian capital has not kept many, many of them are well maintained and are conducive to a trip. Those most marked me are:

Orto Botanico di Palermo Palermo Botanical Garden

This garden is located in Via Lincoln. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful garden and most varied in the whole city. There are no less than 12,000 different species of vegetation: European, Asian, South American, African and Australian. The botanical garden of Palermo also has a large aquarium located in the bottom of the aisle. There are water lilies, Egyptian papyrus and aquatic flowers beautiful colors. And not far from the aquarium is a beautiful small lake, which gives us the impression of being elsewhere. The garden is open to visitors from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 17 am and from 8:30 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Garden of the Villa Garibaldi:

This garden is located in the Piazza Marina. It houses the largest Ficus magnolioide throughout Italy. It came also find many exotic species are all over the planet. Its fairways are beautifully dotted with statues, fountains and small cottages. The setting is just beautiful. Do as I do, take the time to visit and especially well relax in this peaceful place.

Villa Trabia:

By visiting the Villa Trabia, it makes one stone. We start by getting inside this sumptuous 18th century and end the visit with a walk in his beautiful garden. With a little luck, you might find a petanque competition or other event organized in the park of the Villa. Address: Via Marchese Ugo, 3 - Tel. +39 091 740 5905

beach side Palermo:

Palermo is also known for its beautiful beaches. And how ! Here we find the warmer waters of Sicily. The most exclusive beach of Palermo is undoubtedly Mondello which is ten kilometers from the city. It is much more than a beach, this is a resort very popular. The beach is dotted with palm trees and it gives the impression of being far, far away. The only small problem is that it is overrun with people from April to September. For a little quieter and more wild landscape setting, you have the beach of Capo Gallo and Daura beach. To get there, take bus & deg; 806 that runs from Piazza Struzo. Departures are every half hour.

Palermo side gastronomy:

The mixing of Sicily feels up plates. Indeed Sicilian cuisine is a blend of recipes and culinary traditions of all the civilizations that have inhabited its lands. And contrary to what one might think, in Sicily are not the pasta that take the main square, but the rice: shellfish risotto, arancini (rice balls with meat, cheese and vegetables). The fish is also very present in the food habits of the Sicilians. If you're a big fish lover, you will enjoy in Sicily. Fried, steamed, in soups, cooked with raisins and pistachios, the choice is very wide. Personally my favorite was the fish couscous, a true delight. And if you are more meat than fish, I advise you to try the stuffed veal called farsumagru to polpettoni (meatballs).

To eat typical Sicilian Palermo Here are some good places:

Osteria dei Vespri This restaurant is located in the historic center of Palermo. It serves typical Sicilian cuisine with a modern twist. I recommend you to taste its casareccia (paste stew of tuna), a real treat. Address: Piazza dei Vespri 6 Corce Tel: +39 091 617 1631 .

Gusto Divino is where you eat the best torta sette veli whole city. His pasta with tuna eggs and lemon zest are a real delight. Address: Corso Pisani 30 Tel: +39 091 645 7001 .

Antica Focacceria di San Francesco: this traditional bakery offers the best hot sandwiches Palermo. Address: Via Alesandro Paternostro 58 Tel: +39 091 320 264 .

In terms of dolci (desserts), I suggest you go to Mazzara. You eat the best ice cream served in buns, typical Sicilian specialty. The bar-patisserie is located not far from the Teatro Massimo.

Palermo side market:

If you want to really enjoy the daily of Palermo, off the beaten track and head towards the markets of Palermo, they will tell you a lot about the city, its people, their habits and way of life. The markets of Palermo are many and those not to be missed are: Capo (tissue market and various products of the house), Borgo Vecchio, Ballar & oacute; (Spice market and food), and the Vucciria (the most tourist market of the city. In the markets of Palermo, we hear loud, they hustle, and it is happiness. These markets-like souks remember so well the souks of North Africa.

Palermo Convenient:

Getting there by plane:

Palermo is served by eight airlines from Paris (Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris Orly and Beauvais). The low cost airline Ryanair is one that offers the cheapest prices, they range from 50 € to over 100 € depending on the time.

After 2:30 from Paris, your plane will land at Falcone e Borsellino International Airport which is 35 kilometers northeast of the city center. The taxi ride is between 20 and 40 minutes depending on traffic. The fare will cost you around 40 €.

Buses are also available at the airport exit. They are 6:45 service at midnight. The duration of the bus ride is 30 minutes or so.

Accommodation in Palermo:

The prices of Palermo hotels are not cheap, especially when aiming hotels located in the center of the city, the historic district. If you do not bother to choose your hotel, the bulk of your budget go to accommodation.

If you have enough budget, it would be best to opt for a hostel, so you can stay in the heart of Palermo without having to pay a high price. For this type of accommodation it will take a budget of 20 30 € per night. Here are a few well located Address:

Casa di Amici This inn is located behind the Teatro Massimo. Address: Via Volturno, 6 - Tel: +39 328 317 2205 .

Hostel Firenze: This hostel is located in the historic center of Palermo. Address: Via Candelai 68 Tel: +39 091 7847645 .

Student's Hostel San Saverio: also located in the historic center of the city. Address: Via Giovanni Di Cristina, 9 Tel: +39 091 757 4540 .

If you're targeting a higher category of accommodation that you have plenty of choice to find your happiness in Palermo. Side tariff, prices range from € 50 to over € 100 depending on the location and amenities offered. Here are some examples:

Hotel Ambasciatori Hotel is located in one of the busiest avenues of the city center. Address: Via Roma 111 Tel: +39 091 616 6881 .

Hotel del Centro: as the name suggests this hotel is in the center of Palermo. Address: Via Roma 72 Tel: +39 091 6170376 .

Grande Albergo Sole: ideally located in the city center. Address: via Vittorio Emanuele 291 Tel: +39 091 6041111 .

where to shop in Palermo

If you plan to shop during your stay in Palermo is at Via Roma need to go. There are many fashion boutiques.

For luxury boutiques such as Armani, Versace and go to Via Maqueda, via Freedom and Via Ruggero Settimo.

As for gifts and souvenirs, they are found everywhere in the city especially on the side of the historic district.

The price of the items in Palermo are often advertised in the customer's head. When we do not speak Italian where the sellers will detect even a slight accent, prices go from single to double. Tip: prefer the shops where prices are displayed .

Vehicles most suitable transport in the island:

To visit Sicily, the best way is to be in the car if you wish to travel to several cities.

But in Palermo it is better to be on foot. With its chaotic traffic, city driving is a real ordeal.

To move from one city to another, the bus or the train is the most economical way.

Best time to visit Sicily:

Sicily has a Mediterranean climate which gives it mild temperatures throughout the year.

For the beach and sun, the ideal period is from May to October. Sicily however had a great invasion of tourists and vacationers in August.

In spring and autumn the island is ideal for hiking and water sports.

In winter, rarely records temperatures below 8 & deg; C. It's the perfect time if you want to discover the island in peace.