Stories by the “Creative Curious Travellers 2018” about the city of Palermo. A project by CCT-SeeCity. Thanks to: CLAC | @Igers.Palermo | MINIMUM | PUSH. | SeeCily Tourism Services – InfoPoint Palermo | USE-IT Palermo | ALAB | SAM! | Pasticceria Cappello | Caffè Letterario Teatro Garibaldi | Good Company Sicily | Addiopizzo | Addiopizzo Travel | Visit Palermo | Wonderful Italy.
Palermo, three special places to visit
1. Catacombe dei Cappuccini
Unfortunately we have no images of this incredibly and chilling tourist attraction. No photos or videos were allowed within the catacombs which I find quite peculiar because I saw a promo video on Facebook just the other day and of course there are countless images online. However, these burial catacombs in Palermo are magnificent, they lay host to bodies more than 200 years old. ‘The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar. Some of the bodies were embalmed and others enclosed in sealed glass cabinets. Monks were preserved with their everyday clothing and sometimes with ropes they had worn as a penance’ – Wikipedia, 2018. To all the faint of heart, don’t worry, there’s lights inside!
More about from USE-it MAP | About 8000 mummies of people from the XVI to the XVIII century and divided by gender and social class: men, women, virgins, children, priests, monks, and professionals. Among army officers in uniform and virgins in wedding dresses, lies the little child Rosalia, dead at two years-old: she’s so well preserved it looks like she is asleep. It’s macabre but worth it. Address: Piazza Cappuccini 1.
2. Mondello, the belle époque beach
Surrounded by Mounts Pellegrino and Gallo, without a doubt, Mondello is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. I didn’t get to swim much as I was busy photographing different looks against the picturesque backdrop, however the shore stretches on for 1 mile and a half! This was definitely one of the most recommended by the locals and did not fail to disappoint. I can confirm that the photos do actually do it justice but you definitely have to see it for yourself! A little tip: during summer, if you can, avoid to go to Mondello on weekends (when the beach is definitely too crowded).
More about from USE-it MAP | Take bus 806 (straight to Mondello) or 833 (goes through the seaside villages) from Piazza Sturzo, just behind the Politeama Theatre. Both buses reach Piazza Valdesi. Your walk begins: on the right, Mounts Pellegrino and Gallo frame the gulf of Mondello, on the left is a residential area. Keep walking till the bathing establishment Charleston, built “on the water” at the beginning of the twentieth century by local administration in partnership with a Belgian company. In that time, Mondello was made into the bourgeois beach of Palermo and many luxurious art nouveau villas were built. At the end of the walk, you’ll find the old part of the village, gathering around Piazza Mondello; after that, a small tower and the traditionally coloured fishing boats, suggest how this village might be in the XV century. Water is mostly crystal clear from May to October, not so much from July to August when the beach gets overcrowded. By the way, it is always nice to go for a walk and have an ice cream in the main piazza of Mondello. And then, if you want to escape from the crowded beach or you don’t like sand, just get to the very end of the waterfront walkway till the square where all buses stop. Then go down the narrow street on the right until you see a gate. After that, there’s a beautiful quieter rocky coastline. At the end of the path you’ll find a lighthouse: a romantic place to enjoy the sunset!
Located on the slope of Monte Caputo, this little town is easily one of the most delightful and intriguing day visits. The biggest tourist attraction without a doubt is the Monreale Cathedral. After that you might find this a lovely lunching spot with mist clouding over the gaps in the high rise flats, the mountains peak in between the buildings making this a beautiful view. Overall, we found this one of the friendlies towns we had visited!
More about from USE-it MAP | The story of the town of Monreale, 15 kilometres from Palermo, begins in 831 with the Arab conquest. At that time, the Bishop of Palermo was banished, so he settled in Monreale, strategically overlooking the Conca d’Oro (the Golden Shell, the fertile valley around Palermo). Here, he built a modest church. In 1174, after the Norman conquest, King William II ordered a new more spectacular church. He employed the very best Arabic, Byzantine and Norman craftsmen, so the Monreale Cathedral is a stunning fusion of architectural styles. Inside, 6.500 m² of golden mosaics tell the stories of the Bible. And from the top roof you can enjoy a 360° breath-taking view of Palermo and its surroundings! How to get there: bus 389 from Piazza Indipendenza, near the Royal Palace. The trip takes about 30 minutes, depending on the traffic jam.
Palermo, one fundamental tip
Talk to the locals!
One of the scariest things about going abroad is having a huge language barrier and having to converse with locals. From my experience travelling, having minimal conversational skills in another language is okay and completely understandable as long as you try your best. A quick Google search of words like – Hello // Ciao, Goodbye // Arrivederci, Thank you! // Grazie! and Please // Per favore – are all you need to unlock your very own local tourist guide, your winning holiday shot and possibly a friend for life.