Photo: Amfiteatro Romano.
For my last getaway I chose the wonderful island of Sicily. I visited two of the largest cities of the island, Catania and Palermo, which is also the capital of the region.
Further on I would like to give you some suggestions and tips:CATANIAThe most important tourist attractions:-Elephant Fountain situated in the Piazza del Duomo, where the unofficial mascot of the city of Catania can be found: an imposing elephant sculpted in volcanic rock.
-Cathedral of Santa Agatha
-Palazzo Della Universita-Amfiteatro Romano-Teatro Greco-Palace of the Elephants
Photo: Via Etnea.
After visiting all these places, you will surely need a moment to rest. I highly recommend Savia Dolcezze Siciliane, an old pastry shop dating back to 1897, very well known and appreciated by locals and tourists alike. Here you can try the best “cannoli alla ricotta”,a delicious wild strawberries tart or marzipan fruits. The address is : Via Etnea 302-304
In Catania, shopping heaven bears the name of Via Etnea, where you can find the famous department store Rinascente and Coin. On Via Corso Italian you can find another well known department store, “Papini”, with brands like :Dolce and Gabanna, Gianvito Rossi, Gucci, Mulberry, Marc Jacobs and so on. Here you can also find Stefanel and Furla.If you are looking for brands at discounted prices, you can go on a 30-40 min car trip to Sicilia Outlet Village. Find details on www.siciliaoutletvillage.it
Photo: Teatro Greco.
Photo: Palace Of The Elephants; Rinascente; Piazza Del Duomo.
The city of Palermo is so full of life . It has an old quarter which is full of history, and also a modern city with seductive shops, mass-market ones or high end brands.When visiting the old quarter of the city, with various street markets, crumbling palazzi, old churches and impressive cathedrals, I would recommend you the following:
1. Piazza del Carmine ( Ballaro), where the oldest street market and an imposing church( Chiesa del Carmine Maggiore) are situated. Capo is another similarly old market.2. Palazzo Reale or Palazzo dei Normani where the Sicilian Parliament congregates. The castle is only partially open for tourists, there you can see the Cappella Palatina decorated in an unique Norman-Arab-Byzantine style.3. Palermo’s Cathedrl4. Quattro Canti, officially known as The Piazza Vigliena is a Baroque square and one of the foremost tourist attractions.5. Orto Botanico, Italy’s largest and Sicily’s most beautiful botanical garden ( which I didn’t have the time to see)6. Catacombs of the Capuchins ( Catacombe Dei Cappuccini), which I missed seeing as well, a creepy place with over 8000 well preserved mummies.7. Teatro Massimo8. Teatro Politeama and Piazza Castelnuovo, where the city’s main events are being hosted.
If you go to the modern Palermo you will find a variety of shops. The main shopping streets are the following: Via Roma, Via Ruggero Settimo ( with brands like Zara, H&M, Stefanel), Via Della Liberta ( for Prada, Giglio, et), Via XX Settembre ( for Frunsal).
Extra Store is a multibrand store with a very interesting design; at Terregrossa you can find Chanel; while at Visiona an impressive selection of shoes like Miu Miu, Isabel Marant, Chloe, et. awaits.
If you go on Monte Pellegrino you will enjoy the most beautiful view over the city. That’ s where you will also admire the Utveggio Castle, but which , unfortunately, is closed for the public. On Monte Pellegrino, at 429 m altitude you will also see the Santa Rosalia church, beautifully built into the side of the mountain. If you drive up there, the road is full of curves and bends, but the view is amazing.
Photo: Chiesa Del Carmine Maggiore; Mondello.
At 20 kilometers away from the city centre you will find Mondello, a resort- village surrounded by Monte Pellegrino. The way to the beach is full of trees on the sides, and it feels like you’re going through a tunnel of trees.
For accommodation I would recommend NH Hotel : good services and prices and a wonderful view of the marina.
For eating I can recommend the Antica Focacceria San Francesco restaurant, located on Via Alessandro Paternostro 58. There I enjoyed some delicious typically Sicilian dishes : Sicilian aubergine pasta, the local pizza- ” Sfincione” and the famous ( but different from the ones in Catania) cannoli.
Photo: Santa Rosalia.