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bineba Palermo - A travel report by Sabine
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Palermo,  Italy - flag Italy -  Sicilia
9265 readers

bineba's travel reports

Sicily in January

  14 votes
Page: 1 2
January might not sound like the best time to visit Sicily, but it was brilliant for a long weekend. We flew to Palermo and then took the train to Taormina near Mount Etna, where we stayed for two days before returning to Palermo.


Boats in Palermo Harbour
Boats in Palermo Harbour
Palermo is quite a gritty, hard working Italian city, not a place of picture postcard views like Rome or Florence. At first glance it doesn't seem to have much to offer, but just walk through the narrow alleys and many piazzas and you'll discover its charms. The train journey between Palermo and Taormina (you'll have to change trains in Messina) is really beautiful. You'll have the Mediterranean on one side of the tracks and steep mountains topped with perched villages on the other. And the trains are cheap and comfortable. You'll arrive in Taormina, in what must be one of Italy's prettiest train stations. It has lots of Art Deco details and you almost feel you have travelled back in time.

Favourite spots:
Taormina, Sicily
Taormina, Sicily
Taormina has an absolutely stunning setting, high on a mountain (the bus ride up there is not for the fainthearted!), with views of Mount Etna as the backdrop. DH Lawrence lived there for many years and you can see why. I believe the place gets very busy during the summer season, but come here before the hoards descend on this tiny place and you are in for a treat: beautiful architecture and a very well preserved amphitheatre. The main drag, the traffic-free Corso Umberto I, has loads of little shops, cosy restaurants and classy bars. But the real highlight is Mount Etna.It dominates the skyline and is still active. You can see a wisp of smoke coming out of the top if it isn't shrouded in clouds. Next time I'll visit, I'd like to take one of the trips up the mountain.

What's really great:
A local speciality: marzipan fruit
A local speciality: marzipan fruit
Temperatures in January are around 15C, so quite warm compared to England in the middle of winter. The daily food market in Palermo, Mercato della Vucciria, is a feast for the senses. The Italian, or more specifically Sicilian, food: the pastas, pizzas, fish and the delicious gelato. And try the local red wine, the Etna Rosso!

Sights:
Mount Etna seen from the Teatro Greco
Mount Etna seen from the Teatro Greco
The amphitheatre, or Teatro Greco to give it it's proper name, in Taormina is very well preserved and the setting is simply stunning.

Accommodations:
The coast near Taormina
The coast near Taormina
The 2* Hotel Letizia (Via Bottai 30, www.hotelletizia.com) in Palermo near the piazza Marina and the harbour is situated in a (relatively) quiet street in the old town of Palermo. The hotel is up the stairs on the first floor and has large, beautifully furnished rooms and big, sparkling clean bathrooms and ours had a small balcony, too!

The 2* Hotel Elios in Tarmonia (via Bagnoli Croce 98) has basic, but clean rooms. What makes up for the lack in luxury is the view you get. Our room was on the 5th floor and we were overlooking the whole of the bay and Mount Ertna. Fantastic! There is also a roof terrace. The staff is friendly and a basic breakfast is included. The coffee is strong and good, though.


Restaurants:
Traditional hand-painted carts in Palermo
Traditional hand-painted carts in Palermo
In Taormina:

For coffee and people watching: The Caffee Mocambo on piazza IX Aprile.

For, allegedly, the best woodfire oven pizza in town: Vecchio Taormina, just off the corso Umberto I. Try the wild mushroom and buffalo mozzarella pizza washed down with a glasss of Etna Rosso.

In Palermo:

Bellini on the piazza Bellini for typical Sicilian dishes.

A nice place for breakfast al freso is is the Caffe San Domenico on the piazza San Domenico.

Published on Wednesday July 7th, 2004


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Wed, Jan 05 2005 - 09:56 AM rating by davidx

Fine stuff. Did you gat to Monreale? If not, next time make it No 1.

Sat, Sep 18 2004 - 03:34 AM rating by saleha

Nice work Sabine (Y)...Keep sharing you reports...they provide an opportunity to refresh and have a vivid imaginative tour to unseen places...

Tue, Jul 13 2004 - 11:53 AM rating by whereisliz

Nice details, and loved the photos! Hurray for travel in the off-season!

Sun, Jul 11 2004 - 10:46 AM rating by britman

Hi Sabine,

Welcome to Globosapiens! A great start with a great report of Sicily which I loved reading - super pictures illustrate it.

Cheers Brit

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