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Pt. 1 Catania | Pt. 2 Siracusa | Pt. 3 Palermo | Sicily news

Visiting Sicily (Part 3 - Palermo)

Palermo is actually Sicily's capital city. If you come by coach to Palermo from Catania, the bus will stop next to the Central Railway Station of Palermo. The coach from Catania to Palermo is run by the SAIS company. Make sure you don't miss the coach as it is some 100 metres away from the booking office on the opposing corner of the road. The trip takes 2 hours and 40 minutes and a ticket costs 15.20 euros. Although the return ticket costs only 24.20 euros they will refuse to sell one if the return trip is not on the same day. There is a bus every hour or every 1 1/2 hours, depending on the time of the day.

Beach at Mondello, 10kms away from Palermo
The magnificent beach and its adjoining mountain at Mondello, 10kms away from Palermo.
Alle Terraze restaurant at Mondello beach, Palermo
The facade of the Alle Terraze restaurant at the other end of Mondello beach.
Palermo's Pretoria Fountain, popularly known as the Fountain of Shame
The Pretoria Fountain, popularly known as the "Fountain of Shame", because of its nude statues.

It's easy to make a quick tour of Palermo if you have only a day. From the Central Station cross the big square and walk down Via Roma for less than a kilometre until its intersection with Via Vittorio Emanuele. Near here is the 700-year-old Vucciria market, already a hive of activity when dawn breaks. So turn right if you want to see the Vucciria market (closed on Sundays) and the adjoining Piazza San Domenica else turn left for the Pretoria Fountain with its unique nude statues. If you continue walking straight ahead after the Pretoria Fountain you will notice the spectacular Quattro Canti (meaning four corners) at its intersection with Via Maqueda in the Piazza Vigliena. You might think you are in a museum but actually you are in the middle of a busy intersection, such is the magnificence of the four facades on four different and opposing buildings. Continue walking and you will notice Palermo's famous Cathedral to your right. Leaving the Cathedral to continue walking along the same road you will not fail to notice the Porta Nuova at the very end of the road and to its left the Palazzo Reale.

Palermo's cathedral in Via Vittorio Emanuele
The much-visited cathedral in Palermo.
Vegie stall in Vucciria market, Palermo
A vegetable and fruit stall in the Vucciria market.
San Domenico church, Palermo
The facade of the San Domenico church.

While in Palermo don't miss the nearly 1km-long Mondello beach about 10kms away. It is really second to none. To go there take Bus 101 from near the Central Railway Station (Stazione Centrale) or at one of its stops along the Via Roma. Get down at Politeama and wait at the same bus stop for Bus No. 806 which will take you all the way to Mondello beach (the bus actually ends there).
Cannoli, Sicily's popular pastry dessert
Cannoli, a pastry dessert
Arancini, fried rice balls, is a Sicilian speciality
Arancini, fried rice balls
A single bus ticket costing 1.40 euros will allow you to take both buses (in fact the ticket is valid for 90 minutes). The promenade along the Mondello beach is a popular spot for joggers. After filling your lungs with sea air you might want to stop for a snack at Scimone (near the Alle Terraze restaurant), and try out typical Sicilian pastries such as the arancini (fried rice balls) or the cannoli, a tube-shaped dessert. Or on a hot day, why not ask for the universal gelato (ice-cream)?

Quattro Canti (Four Corners) in Palermo
Two of the four corners (Quattro Canti) at the intersection between Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda in Piazza Vigliena in Palermo. Looking skyward: What it looks like from the middle of the square at its beginning (photo below).

Part 1 Catania
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