Palermo, Italy – Bad Food, Good Food, the Mafia and the Beach

This was my second visit to Sicily but first time to Palermo, on the other side of the island. My first visit was to the city of Taormina. One of the most gorgeous picturesque towns on a cliff overlooking the most beautiful deep blue ocean water. This second visit was a bit different. The city of Palermo is an old city covered with history, antiques, and Italian street food.

Our hotel was pretty nice. A breakfast was included, so each morning we would visit the roof top terrace and fill our plates with sliced cheeses, deli meats, dried fruits, and the most amazing pastries.

After breakfast we threw our camera into my bag and hit the streets. Wondering down any alley that appeared to have life.

Is this not such a fun fountain!?



We saw plenty of statues, fountains, beautiful buildings and small markets.

I love Bellinis!





Beautiful roof work

Even a beautiful church filled with history.

Beautifully detailed columns
Interesting entrance into the Cathedral
Looots of silver


Wide view from the church

Many people are unaware but the mafia actually started in Sicily. Italians are not proud of the mafia or find their cartoon image cute. The mafia did a lot of damage to communities and killed a lot of innocent people. For example, Giuseppe Puglisi was a priest murdered by the mafia. He was an activist for the poor in the community and because the mafia felt he was becoming to powerful or looked up too, they killed him. He has been memorialized in this church and people still pay their respects to him. He was murdered in September 13th, 1993.


After visiting the church M and I stopped for an Arancini, Spritz, and beer. And later a Cannoli.

We returned to our hotel to rest. Included in our hotel package was admission to their spa. Originally advertised to us as a free couples massage but it really just turned into 7 different ways to shower.

We were guided to their spa and shown their variety of shower heads. They had shower heads coming out of the ceiling, the walls, and even a bucket attached to a rope you could pull, then a burst of freezing cold water would be dumped on you. Fun.

There was also a jacuzzi and some lovely tea we got to enjoy.

After we went out to dinner and it was terrible. We ate at a restaurant called Gulu. Only to read some of the reviews after we ate there, which just proves you should always do your research first on where to eat. The seafood was frozen, my pasta tasted weird, and I am pretty sure they gave me something I did not order. O well…


We returned to our hotel for drinks (a bellini of course) and some fried calamari. A favorite appetizer we have been craving the entire trip.

We had been spending a lot of time in museums and sightseeing so we had our breakfast and took the day off. We boarded a bus and headed for Mondello. A small beach town just down the coast. There we found an excellent private beach and purchased two chairs right in the front.

It gave us some great views of the water but every other minute an illegal vendor would stop by yelling into the gated off area, asking people if they would like to buy coconuts, water, sodas, beer, sunglasses, bracelets, floaties, and whatever other cheap items they could sell.


For lunch we munched on some more arancini and drank a few beers before going back in the water to cool off.


A little while later a woman with a giant speaker stood at the edge of the water and started to workout. She was offering a workout class while people in the ocean followed along! It looked like such a fun way to work out M had to join!

We both had our fill of the sun so we got some lemon granites and another arancini for the road.

Back in Palermo we picked up some groceries for the train ride back and enjoyed one of my favorite dinners at Buatta.


My eyes are bigger then my stomach…so I attempted to devour savory eggplant parmesan and a sweet fried zucchini pasta that will forever be in my heart.



Our Hotel: Hotel Porta Felice

Review: We stayed at a lovely hotel with a fantastic breakfast on their rooftop terrace, a beautiful spa, and friendly staff. When we booked our hotel we were originally told that there would be a 30 minute massage included but it turned into free admission to their spa which was nice but nothing we would have paid their market price (30 euros) for. Our room was clean but the bathroom was a bit dingy and could use some TLC. Location wise it was pretty far from the center of town but not terribly far. I would recommend this hotel to a friend.


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