Palermo is actually a beautiful city, filled with culture and history and beautiful buildings and fountains that would rival any other city in Italy. It only took me about 2 days to really explore though because everything is pretty close together and the city is easily walkable. The only tours I did were the catacombs and the Teatro Massimo. The catacombs were interesting, but something about it just rubbed me the wrong way, as if the city was putting these poor souls bodies on display for profit. Some of them even seemed posed. I have been to catacombs twice before in Rome and Naples and didn't get this feeling. What was interesting was that the bodies were completely uncovered and in different levels of decomposition, some very well preserved even though they are centuries old. Not for the faint of heart, its actually a bit creepy. The Teatro Massimo is the largest Opera House or theatre in Sicily and absolutely beautiful. I thought the 8€ fee for the 25 minute tour was a bit steep, but in the end I couldn't complain. The theatre has an interesting and lengthy history that I would rather not detail here, but follow the link to find out more if you are so inclined.
In my last post I also mentioned how the hostel owner, Giuseppe, sat me down and told me what there was to see around the city, and more importantly where to eat :) I visited every place he recommended and he was dead on, the food was fantastic. Of course, I had to try a cannolo, which I believe originated in Sicily, but he also turned me onto Setta Veli, a layered chocolate dessert also born in Sicily. In fact, he sent me to the place where it apparently was first conceived. I don't know if that's the truth, but damn it was good! Another Sicilian specialty is the arancina, which is a fired ball of rice and savory goodness. I didn't think I would like it since I hadn't been eating much friend food lately and the thought of it turned me off, but it was pretty delicious. I even went back to the caffe 3 times and tried 3 different varieties, meat, caprese, and funghi, all good, but I think the funghi was my favorite. Then there was a restaurant that served really good pasta for only 4€-5€ a plate. Giuseppe kept trying to get me to try this pasta topped with anchovie paste\sauce, but I just couldn't do it. Instead I tried the seafood or marina pasta which was amazing! For anyone visit Palermo, I included the street names where these resturants and caffes can be found under the pictures below. Enjoy!
Thank god I do not live here, I would be so fat in no time! Good thing I have been walking a lot touring around :)