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Italy : Palermo - September 2010

Country Code: Dial ++39 for Italy

September is the perfect time to visit Palermo, a vibrant city with its mix of infl uences refl ected in its diverse attractions. Throughout this month the Kals’Art festival brings music, theatre and other cultural events to the Arab Kalsa, the oldest district. Kamin Mohammadi is our city guide

Getting around

Palermo International Airport

Bus: The Prestia e Comande bus service runs to and from Palermo. It takes about 50 minutes and tickets cost €5.
Train: A bus to the central station runs every half hour. Tickets cost €5.
Taxi: A taxi to the city centre costs about €40.
Tourist information: The main office is at 34 Piazza Castelnuovo (tel. 091 605 8351, palermo tourism.com).

QUATTRO CANTI

Palermo’s traditional heart, the Quattro Canti (four corners) is located at the intersection of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda. The buildings have diagonal baroque façades, so the square is almost octagonal.

Sleep soundly – Housed in a former 16th-century palace, the elegant Quintocanto Hotel and Spa (310 Corso Vittorio Emanuele, tel. 091 584913, quintocantohotel.com, rooms from €140) has 21 wonderful rooms, a great restaurant and spa, all right in the centre of town.

Culture vultures – A street or two away from the Quattro Canti is another world. Step into the Vucciria, the old butchers’ quarters, which is still home to a lively daily market. Medieval Sicily awaits you.

Must eat – You must visit Antica Focacceria San Francesco (58 Via A Paternostro, tel. 091 320264) for the divine Sicilian pastries. There are also sandwiches and meals on offer in the beautiful square.

Shop til you drop – The jewellery shop Hall Shop Gallery (97/99 Via Emerico Amari) uses traditional techniques to work with pearl and coral. The coral pieces are stunning, as is the traditional Sicilian jewellery.

KALSA

The crumbling medieval Kalsa is Palermo’s oldest district, with buildings dating from the 9th century. The area still has a distinctly Arab flavour and bags of atmosphere, embodying more history in one district than many whole cities.

Sleep soundly – Enjoy wonderful views from the two terraces of penthouse apartment Kalsuite (41 Via Vetriera, tel. 393 901 2412, kalsuite.com, rooms from €85), which sleeps four and is housed in an 18th-century palazzo near Piazza Marina. Bathrooms are marble, colours are vivid, and there’s even a fireplace.

Culture vultures – The splendid Baroque church Santa Teresa alla Kalsa (Piazza della Kalsa) was constructed between 1686 and 1706. If it’s open, visit the luminous interior to see the impressive stuccoes of Giuseppe and Procopio Serpotta.

Must eat – The delicious fresh pizzas at Le Pergamene (48 Piazza Marina, tel (0)91 616 6142) are served outside in the summer months. Other specialities include sea-urchin spaghetti, and the lively neighbourhood makes this a great spot for people watching.

Must drink – Beers are the thing at Mi Kalsa (27 Via Torremuzza), although the opening times are a bit hit and miss – don’t get there before 9pm.

MAQUEDA

The Via Maqueda spans Palermo’s historic centre, as well as some of its 19th-century districts, and includes the train station and one of the city’s most wonderful outdoor markets.

Sleep soundly – Located on the second floor of a building right opposite the market, there’s a lift to take you up to the Maqueda B&B (10 Vicolo Gaffi, tel. 347 653 2821, maquedabandb.it, apartments from €40) and a handful of apartments decorated in bright vibrant colours along modern lines.

Culture vultures – Palermo’s grandest theatre, the Teatro Politeama Garibaldi (Piazza Ruggero Settimo), was built in the late 19th-century and has a beautiful palm garden that features a music stage in the summer months.

Shop til you drop – The Ballarò Market is 1,000 years old and has been run in much the same way for centuries. With strong Arab influences, it’s reminiscent of an eastern souk; expect to find fresh fish, vegetables and cheeses on offer amid plenty of hustle and bustle.



Compiled by Kamin Mohammadi

Previous issues for Palermo
 
   
Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy,
please confirm event/venue details in advance.

 

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