Palermo, Sicily

Old Jun 7th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Palermo, Sicily

My husband and I are planning to be in Palermo for a few days as a tourist. In what area should I book our accomdations? We will not have a car.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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Palermo is not that big, and has good public transport, so it doesn't make that much difference. I would probably avoid the port area. I stayed at a great B&B (Sky Sleeping) that was a bit out of the center, but you may prefer a hotel.
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Old Jun 12th, 2009, 12:55 PM
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Thank you. I have read so much about "be aware" "be careful" - we always like to stay in the middle of things, but I do not want to stay in an unsafe area. I wondered if 'old town' was a good area in which to stay or should I just plan to visit there in the day time.
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Old Jun 12th, 2009, 01:07 PM
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I never felt unsafe in Palermo, but based on what I've read I might avoid staying in the La Kalsa and Vucciria quarters.
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Old Jun 16th, 2009, 04:06 AM
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I am leaving for Sicily next week, and will be several days in Palermo. I will report back on my impression of "safe" and unsafe neighborhoods in Palermo.

I have heard Palermo has changed over the past few years, with greatly "improved" safety issues.
But, anywhere, any city, one should always be careful.
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Old Jun 16th, 2009, 04:22 AM
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In any case, do not miss the Duomo in Monreale (2 miles out of Palermo).

On of my favourites in Palermo are the Catacombe dei Cappucini - expect some 6,000 mummies in their finest dresses.
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Old Jun 16th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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Palermo is a fantastic, real city with great people, and lots to do and see. If you go expecting a Disney version, you won't be happy. Like I said, it's REAL. In the historic center there are 2 main streets that run NW-SE. Via Maqueda (from Politeama theater it is called Vis Ruggero Settimo for a while, and to the NW it becomes Viale della Liberta) and there is Via Roma. Both are crossed by the other main street, Via Vittorio Emanuele. The best places to stay are along these streets, or a few blocks off of them. Great areas are near the Massimo opera house, Politeama theater and Quattro Canti. There are also nice places to stay on Viale della Liberta up to the English Garden. The only places I avoid are to the sides and in back of the main train station ( a policy I use in all large cities) this means don't look much past Via Lincoln and Corso Tukory. I also avoid staying near the main port (again a general policy.) Palermo has great bus transportation, and these streets are main bus routes.
As far as safety: I can't count the times I've wandered around Palermo, and have never felt unsafe. Of course I use common sense. But I've found the areas I mentioned to stay in are very safe even at night. The botanical garden is safe, but I wouldn't wander in ANY public garden at night. The only problem I see for people staying in the historic center of cities that are REAL and BUSY, like Palermo and Naples, is you have to expect some street noise. I always come in late and sleep like a rock, but for most people, it can be a problem. When you make hotel reservations check reviews online for noise, then ask for a quiet room. Many hotels have rooms on the inside "court yard". If it's street side, ask for an upper floor. Many of the very large hotels right in the center (Quattro Canti area) have wonderful roof top areas, and the views of Palermo and environs are wonderful.
Palermo does have a wonderful bus system, and if you are staying a few days and want to bus around the city like a pro, check out:
www.amat.pa.it Under the english flag you'll see accesso veloce, and under that mappa trasporto. click on mappa. then on the green arrow next to visualizza formato flash. It's a fantastic interactive us map. It takes a while to load, but is well worth it to really enjoy your stay.
Don't miss the Archaeological Museum and the Capo street market. For the best food, ignore most guide books. The best food is at small places a few blocks off the main streets. They will be busy and full of fun locals, but that's where the best food is.
Enjoy Palermo, the good, the bad and the ugly.
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Old Jun 16th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Re: Safety

For our family of six, we hired a limo with driver in Palermo. All limos/taxis are operated by a certain sssh! organization. They have a monopoly and are pretty expensive. But their service is impeccable. MIL even got kisses from the driver (half her age) at the end of the day.

When DW and MIL exchanged a few words in French for some reason, the driver immediately stepped in with immaculate French. He told us that he had worked in Marseille. Marseille is a logistical centre of the sssh! organization which is strong in the trade with white powder.

In Monreale, he told us that we could leave all our valuables, handbags, cameras etc. in the taxi while we were visiting the cathedral. In fact, he spent the time sitting in a café without bothering to lock the car. Can you imagine that a petty thief would dare to touch the sssh! organization's vehicle?

In our whole life, we never felt safer than in the hands of the sssh! organization. You just need to know with whom to take sides. When in Rome...
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