Wednesday, November 16, 2011


(includes Santa Venerina)


Antica Focacceria San Francesco – 64 Via Paternostro Alessandro; 011-39-91-609-0261;; bakery.
Antica Gelateria Lucchese – 11 Piazza San Domenico; Sicilian “breakfast of champions” is brioche and granita (like sorbet), such as granita alle mandorle (almond granita); also try jasmine and mulberry gelato.
Bread Forreria – 29 Via Bonacorso; old-fashioned bakery.
Caflisch Cafe – 2b Viale di Regina Margherita di Savoia; 011-39-091-684-0444; try pezzo duro (candylike gelato cone).
Gelateria Ilardo Giovanni – 11 Foro Umberto I; 011-39-338-749-9757; ice cream vendor on seafront, open until 2 am; try prickly pear and/or walnut.
Panelle Stand – at corner of Via Torremuzza and Piazza Kalsa (mornings only); chickpea flour crepes in morning.
Panificio Porta Reale – 17 Via Niccolo Cervello; 011-39-091-616-4128; baked goods, sandwiches, and pizzas; as well as sweets.
Pasticceria Alba – 7c-d Piazza Don Bosco; 011-39-091-625-6390;; half-century old institution with endless takeout menu and ancient staff; get “ice-cream burger” – brioche with gelato on it.
Pasticceria Bar Russo – 105 Via Vittorio Emanuele (Santa Venerina); 011-39-095-953-202;
Pasticceria Scimone – 18b Via Vincenzo Micelli; 011-39-091-584-448;; city’s finest pastry shop; order “apostles’ fingers” – filled with chocolate or hazelnut ricotta filling.

Extra Bar di Polizzi Pietro – 49 Via Mazzini; 011-39-091-898-3006; this may be bar that Lampedusa frequented daily.
Picone – 36 Via Marconi Guglielmo; 011-39-091-331-300;; wine bar.
Taverna Azzura – 15 Via Maccheronai (Vucciria); gritty bar; cheap wine and fascinating patrons.
Malu – 21 Via Enrico Albanese; 011-39-347-820-0870; grown-up bar with outdoor seating.
Villa Igiea – 43 Salita Balmonte; 011-39-091-631-2141;; outdoor, terrace seating; 180° view of Palermo Bay.

Atlante – 5 Via Cadorna; 011-39-091-214-777;; early 20th Century apartment on traffic congested street; clean and modest; pays no mafia money.
BB22 – 22 Largo Cavalieri di Malta (Centro Storico); 011-39-091-611-1610;; cute, designer B&B.
Butera 28 – 28 Via Butera; 011-39-333-316-5432;; 17th Century palace/apartment owned by Lampedusa’s adopted heir; 11 apartments, each with own kitchen; cooking classes.
Centrale Palace Hotel – 327 Via Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-336-666;; 18th Century palazzo.
Excelsior Palace – 3 Via Marchese Ugo; 011-39-091-790-9111;; renovated, 19th Century, lovely with specials on-line.
Hotel Garibaldi – 146 Via Emerico Amari; 011-39-091-601-7011;; modern and close to city’s shopping district.
Grand Hotel at Des Palmes – 398 Via Roma; 011-39-091-602-8111;; old world institution; French proto-surrealist Raymond Roussel lived here.
Grand Hotel Wagner – 2 Via Riccardo Wagner; 011-39-091-336-572;; slightly faded grandeur.
Hotel Villa Igiea – 43 Salita Belmonte; 011-39-091-631-2141; luxury hotel on Monte Pelligrino’s slopes; mentioned in Montalbano series.
Palazza Conte Federico – 4 Via dei Biscottari; 011-39-091-651-1881;; torchlit, antiques-laden castle from 1100s still inhabited, owned, and run by aristocracy.
Plaza Opera Hotel – 2 Via Nicolo Gallo; 011-39-091-381-9026;; “cosmopolitan.”
Hotel Porta Felice – 45 Via Butera; 011-39-091-617-5678;; renovated palace with modern décor and spa.
Hotel Ucciardhome – 34-36 Via Enrico Albanese; 011-39-091-34-8426;; boutique.

Antica Focacceria San Francesco – 64 Via Paternostro Alessandro; 011-39-091-609-0261;; wildly popular and seafood; avoid maritata (beef spleen); 176 year-old restaurant that is famous for not paying pizzo (protection money).
Bellotero – 3 Via Giorgio Castriota; 011-39-091-58-2158;; small formal restaurant; 10-tables in “new town”; draws nightly crowd of discerning and lively locals; spaghetti with stone bass, sea urchin and lemon zest, or lamb with oven-roasted pistachios and vegetable caponata.
Bye Bye Blues – 23 Via Dei Garafalo; 011-39-091-684-1415;; award-winning restaurant in beachy Mondello neighborhood.
Caflisch Cafe – 2b Viale di Regina Margherita di Savoia; 011-39-091-684-0444; try pezzo duro (candylike gelato cone).
Casa del Brodo – 175 Corso Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-321-655;; 121 years old; reputedly never serves bad meal; try sea urchin pasta.
Cin Cin – 22 Via Daniele Manin; 011-39-091-612-4095;; fancier dishes.
Franco ‘U Vastiddaru – 102 Corso Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-32-5987; fried meals, especially for lunch.
Kursaal Kalhesa – 21 Foro Umberto I; 011-39-091-616-0050;; separate restaurant and wine bar in magnificent Palazzo Forcella de Seta.
Osteria dei Vespri – 6 Piazza Croce dei Vespri; 011-39-091-617-1631;; delightful seafood and wine.
Pani ca Meusa – 62 Via Cala (Porta Carbone); 011-39-091-32-3433; sandwiches.
Panificio Porta Reale – 17 Via Niccolo Cervello; 011-39-091-616-4128; baked goods, sandwiches, and pizzas; as well as sweets.
Pasticceria Alba – 7c-d Piazza Don Bosco; 011-39-091-625-6390;; half-century old institution with endless takeout menu and ancient staff.
Piccolo Napoli – 4 Piazzetta Mulino a Vento; 011-39-091-32-0431; trattoria outside city walls; seafood and excellent Sicilian wines.
Pizzeria Bellini – 6 Piazza Bellini; 011-39-091-616-5691;; among Lampedusa’s regular haunts.
Ristorante Nabucco – 15 Largo Cavalieri di Malta; 011-39-091-58-4763; seafood and pasta.
Salvo – 30 Via Torremuzza; 011-39-091-616-8956; grill trattoria with street-side whiteboard menu and outdoor seating in sun.
Trattoria Da Toto – 5 Via Coltellieri; 011-39-333-315-7558; homey place for fresh seafood and local wine.
Trattoria Del Massimo – 25/26 Piazza Verdi; 011-39-091-326-155;; among Lampedusa’s haunts.
Trattoria Tipica Altri Tempi – 65 Via Sammartino; 011-39-091-323-480; classic Sicilian favorites.
Trattoria Zia Pina – 67 Via Argenteria (4 blocks from Tyrrhenian Sea); no sign welcoming diners, no written menus, no reservation book, no telephone; instead, half dozen tables, biblical paintings, and dented pots and pans gurgling and steaming on beat-up stove; you can’t simply walk in, if Pina doesn’t like your look, she’ll tell you trattoria is closed (and she’ll do it as she’s serving grilled swordfish and stuffed mushrooms to hungry fishermen); vegetables are crudely chopped, fish is served with head and tail, and everything comes under coarse sea salt veil; if you’re still hungry, you’re welcome to seconds, but don’t expect Pina to bring them, you can help yourself from cauldron on stove.

Alongi – 46a Via Ruggero Settimo; 011-39-091-582-927;; menswear.
Borgo Vecchio Market – in Borgo Vecchio district.
La Coppola Storta – 74 Via Bara all’Olivella;
011-39-091-324-428;; coppola are small, “snap-rimmed” hats, like berets.
Fecarotta – 103 Via Principe di Belmonte; 011-39-091-331-518;
Fratelli Battaglia – 12 Via Torremuzza; 011-39-091-617-0625; store for legumes, chick pea flour, and nuts.
Francesco Pantaleone – 25 Via Garraffello; 011-39-091-332-482;; owner formerly associated with Larry Gagosian gallery in New York.
Pescheria Isgro – 66 Via Porta Carini; 011-39-091-33-3775; fish market.
Pizzo & Pizzo – 1p-q Via XII Gennaio; 011-39-091-601-4544; food shop; place to shop for picnics and day trips; try piacentinu, local cheese with saffron.
Tasca d’Almerita – 13 Via dei Fiori; 011-39-091-645-9711;; make appointment to tour this winery on Mount Etna’s slopes.
Vucciria – Via dei Bambina; most famous food market.

Ballaro – city’s oldest, Arab-style market in Albergheria quarter.
Catacombe dei Cappucini – take 327 bus to city’s western outskirts; underground tomb with 8K corpses; has to be seen to be believed.
Cattedrale di Palermo – Corso Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-334-373;
Chiesa della Spasimo – Via dello Spasimo; 011-39-091-616-6480; bombed during WWII, this 16th Century church is now atmospheric music venue.
Chiesa di San Cataldo – 2 Piazza Bellini (next to Piazza Pretoria and Church of Santa Maria Dell’Ammiraglio); 011-39-091-616-1692; 3 Saracen, cardinal-red domes.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Dell’Ammiraglio – 2 Piazza Bellini (next to Piazza Pretoria and Church of San Cataldo; 011-39-091-616-1692; built in 1143.
Eglise de la Martorana –3 Piazza Bellini; 011-39-091-616-1692; 10th Century church with Baroque façade and mosaics.
Galleria d’Arte Moderna Palermo – 21 Via Sant’Anna; 011-39-091-843-1605;; modern art.
Loggia District – baroque architecture; single pass will get you into 5 “architectural treasures,” including: Oratorio del Rosario del San Domenico (Via dei Bambiani, 16th Century chapel with Van Dyck alterpiece, Novello fresco ceiling); and Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Citta (Via Valverde 3, with 15 statues representing Virtues and Mysteries in splendid Rococo setting).
Monreale – bustling hillside village west of city; jaw-dropping display of Byzantine and Greek mosaics at Duomo (Piazza Gugliemo il Buono).
Oratorio Rosario di San Domenico – 2 Via dei Bambina; 011-39-091-332-779; make sure to see Serpotta’s frescoes; founded in closing years 16th Century by Holy Rosary Society, 2 outstanding members of which were sculptor Giacomo Serpotta and painter Pietro Novelli, both of whom left artistic work in this oratory; at high altar is Anthony Van Dyck’s Madonna of Rosary (1628).
Oratorio Santa Cita – 3 Via Valverde; 011-39-091-332-779; small, beautiful chapel.
Palazzo Mirto – 2 Via Merlo (on Piazza Marina); 011-39-091-616-4751; former residence of Lanza Filangeri family, Princes of Mirto (town in northeastern Sicily); built on 13th-14th Century structures’ foundations, palace completed in 18th Century’s last years; most salons, furnished with original items owned by family, Baroque; Chinese Salon is similar to Chinese Villa rooms built for King Ferdinando of Naples.
Palazzo dei Normanni (Palazzo Reale) – 1 Piazza del Parlemento; 011-39-091-705-1111;; used as governance building for centuries; currently, Sicily’s regional government seat; construction begun in 9th Century under Islamic rule; expanded and renovated by Normans from 1072 CE; once abandoned by Normans, untouched until 16th Century when restored; among main attractions are Cappella Palatina and royal apartments; guided tours are only provided in Italian.
Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi – Piazza Croce dei Vespri; 011-44-20-7437-8553 (ask for Charles FitzRoy);; by prior arrangement only; ancestral townhouse 1st of Princes Valguarnera and then Princes Gangi; completed circa 1780; in Baroque style, although ornamentation more severe than that generally accepted as Sicilian Baroque; large circular and domed dining room with painted panels in dome by Giuseppe Velasco; in 1963, palazzo ballroom setting for Luchino Visconti’s film Il Gattopardo (The Leopard); house remains private residence.
Teatro Massimo Opera House – Piazza Giuseppe Verdi; 011-39-091-605-3521;
La Vicciria – Via dei Bambina; morning marketplace.
Villa Garibaldi Park – Piazza Marina; 011-39-091-740-7793; statue dedicated to Joe Petrosino, New York policeman killed in 1909 in connection with mafia investigation.

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