On our first day, we walked nearly 20km and saw most of the city's sights by foot. Our hotel was around 2.5km from Politeama, in the heart of the city. This was our first stop of the day, where we sat and admired the piazza and teatro. Going down any of the side roads, you're not short of cafes, restaurants and shops - although the high-end brands are all down Via della Liberte. The buildings and architecture was truly beautiful and the day's highlights included Teatro Massimo, Catedrale di Palermo, Quattro Canti (a beautiful baroque square, octagonal in shape, with facades and fountains in four of the diagonal corners) and San Giuseppe dei Teatini (another church). We even went out further to the port, along the front - although there weren't any cruise ships docked, mainly freightliners.
Although we had already seen the majority of the sights on foot, we jumped on the 'Hop On Hop Off' tourist bus today. For €25pp, we had 24 hour access to two routes, as well as the option of visiting neighbouring town, Monreale. We decided to sit on the bus the whole way round - no need to get off as we'd seen everything! - from the central point of Politeama, before switching to a different bus to visit Monreale. It was a beautiful little town and very quiet (possibly as it was Sunday), with narrow, steep cobbled streets and more examples of ornate architecture. Here, we saw the Cathedral and although we didn't go inside, from the outside, it was spectacular. The views across the city were also incredible and it was nice to look out, take some panoramas and get some air. We spent two hours here, but it's easy to spend longer - just getting lost down the winding streets, or relaxing with an Aperol in one of the bars.
Today, we walked further out from the city centre... I wanted to see Palermo's football ground, which was actually really underwhelming - on a main road, it looked quite run down and we didn't enter the gates. Ashley also wanted to see the Statue of Liberty, on Piazza Vittorio Veneto. We'd gone past it en route from the airport to hotel and although it's a bit out-the-way, it's worth a glimpse, for the sheer magnitude of the obelisk. Later on in the day, we took the metro to the Catacombe di Cappuccini, following a recommendation from one of Ash's clients. Now, here's where I sound really ignorant - but I had no idea what a catacomb was, so didn't know what to expect. Going underground was certainly an experience, but it's the sort of place you can't really spend more than half an hour - I found it very eerie.
Of course, we ate and drank a lot and my next three posts will reveal which restaurants we went to.
Have you been to Palermo before? Share your recommendations below.
Love, Lucy xx