MY HOME IN PALERMO
Dear Guest, Welcome!
I have lived and worked around the world and know what it is like to look out the window and feel the need to want to get away to a beautiful, exotic (but not too), sensory filled, interesting, sunny, place. I learned to appreciate renting a flat rather than staying in a hotel. However, I was often disappointed with the decor, the quality of the linens, the style.
When I came to Palermo I decided to create a ‘home’ as I would like to have it: elegant but not overstated, with a good kitchen, good quality crockery and linens and good art on the walls. I wished for it to be quiet, full of light and airy. And I wanted to be able to eat outdoors, under the sun or the stars, with a view of the city before me.
I hope to have achieved that, for you.
Please consider this as your home during your stay. Feel free to use the library, the CD’s, the DVD’s etc. And, as you would do in your own home, please be certain to return the item to its rightful ‘home’. Should something break, please let us know right away. It is easier to replace things and sort things out before the next Guest’s arrival (please call John at (+39) 389 122 1887 or send an email to ‘email@example.com).
For those of you who might be fans of Francis Coppola films and have a vivid imagination, rest assured, I have ‘been there’: when I first arrived I thought I had to have ‘special antennae’ in order to deal with my concerns about ‘safety’, ‘mafia’ and everything else I had read about and seen in films. The truth is that it is unnecessary. Palermo is a calm city of about 1.0 million inhabitants. It was, and still is in many ways, a multi-ethnic, poly-cultural, capital that is over 3,000 years old. It is laid back and as safe, as in any large city in the world. There is less random crime in Palermo than New York, for example (and I have lived all over the place as I am a theatre director and photographer).
Our neighbourhood, ‘Al Capo’ is ‘popolare’ – -which means its inhabitants are simple people who tend to the market below the apartment (think Portobello Road about 60 years ago). It is also a family neighbourhood – -there are children all over the place as well as the wandering dogs who belong to no one and are cared for by all. I tend to joke and say the dogs are to Palermo as the cows are to Calcutta.
You will find, hereafter, a series of local addresses as well as a few contact numbers. For those of you who do not speak Italian, know that the Palermitani will bend over backwards to help you with a problem or directions.
Enjoy your stay.
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John: (+39) 389 122 1887
Mokbul (Cleaner who speaks some English): 328 473 1307
Aktar (Cleaning person, speaks broken Italian): 380 789 8486
Gabriele Dainotti (COOK, speaks English): 3206120933**
Masino (Handyman, speaks only Italian, smart): 340 304 0489
**NOTE: Gabriele, an excellent cook, is a young man, early 30’s, grew up in America hence speaks perfect English and owns a little food and goods supply store half way up, on the right, as you walk toward Porta Carini. He also has a few tables and chairs where one can have a wonderful home cooked meal for a few Euros. Anthony can also help you with having groceries (bought at any stand) or other goods brought to the flat. Stop by, introduce yourself as a friend of mine and organize your needs with him.
The apartment is WIFI.
The server is: STILL COMING
The password is: STILL COMING
TELEVISON/DVD PLAYER INFORMATION:
– TV REMOTE:
TURN ON by pushing top CENTRAL BUTTON; blue beam on TV will blink to RED and it will light up.
– SKY (CABLE) REMOTE:
– Push, ‘GUIDA TV’ and select type of entertainment (i.e.: Cinema, News, Sports etc). Scroll down and select.
use AUTOVOX REMOTE CONTROL
push ‘OPEN’, insert DVD and close
push ‘PLAY’. N.B. you might need to choose the country for viewing! If so requested choose: ITALY.
NOTE: you have exited the CABLE settings.
– TO GO BACK TO CABLE (SKY):
remove DVD and turn off DVD player
on TV AUTOVOX REMOTE control, push ‘SOURCE’ (directly below ‘MENU’ button.
Once pushed ‘SOURCE’, scroll down to HDMI1 and select. The CABLE/SKY menu then reappears.
Note: it might happen that you will see a warning superimposed on the TV screen; should this happen push ‘OK’ on TV AUTOVOX REMOTE and it will disappear.
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Once one has walked through the market and exits from Porta Carini, you walk (10 minutes) to the centre of posh Palermo (Via della Libertà) and the cultural Palermo (Teatro Massimo and Teatro Politeama – -both Opera Houses). And from there you can walk to all the amazing churches, museums, squares and admire the magnificent Arab-Norman architecture. Palermo is indeed a safe and amazing town – -a hidden jewel in the middle of an island that is in the middle of the Mediterranean.
Have you ever the seen Luchino Viscontì’s film The Leopard or read the novel by Tommaso Lampedusa?
The flat is located in the heart of Palermo. One can walk to Teatro Massimo (opera and music), the Salinas Archaeological Museum, the Teatro Politeama (also opera and music) the Modern Art Gallery, Piazza Pretoria & amazing fountain, the nearby old Martorana Orthodox church, the famous Palermo Arab-Norman Cathedral and the Norman Royal Palace with its gorgeous Cappella Palatina – -just to mention a few among the many nearby places of interest. Mondello, spectacular town and beach are 10km away.
YOU CAN PURCHASE CITY MAPS AT NEWSSTANDS.
GABRIELE will meet with you to choose the menu; then you will shop for the food together (unless you don’t wish to); and then he will bring it to your flat and cook it there with you. Once done, he cleans up. Price: €25 to €35. Let me know and I will put you in touch directly with him.
TARVEL INFORMATION TO AND FROM AIRPORT:
Palermo Airport Falcone & Borsellino (30’ by car) connects Palermo via a scheduled bus service. It also has good train and taxi connections as well as car rentals.
The bus leaves ¼ after and ¼ of the hour from 5am to 11pm and takes 45’. The cost is € 5.80. Piazza Politeama is your stop. From there it is a short walk to the flat. The ticket can be purchased on the bus. FYI: we, locals, all take the bus…
By Train (good if you are transferring to another city in Sicily before coming to us):
The Trinacria Express to Palermo Centrale, take 45 minutes and leaves every hour, from 5am to 11pm. The one-way ticket costs € 4.50 and can be purchased at the Trenitalia ticket offices and in many newspapers and cigarettes shops.
There is always the possibility of taking a Taxi from the airport. We have a deal with a taxi driver who can pick you up at the airport as you exit baggage claim and bring you to the door for €35. His name is Mr Caracciolo.
You will receive a separate document with detailed OPITONS AND DIRECTIONS FROM THE AIRPORT.
AVIS: (+39) 091591662.
If you use AVIS please use the following reservations code: 0136614L.
Easy Car +390916525013
Europe-car +39 091591688
Holiday Car Rental +39091591687
Italy By Car – +39 0916519813
Maggiore +39 091591681
Sicily by Car +39 091591250
SIXT +39 0916511393
ALFA CAR SCOOTER/RENTAL
Via Emerico Amari, 91
MANAGERS: Nicolò Vitale and Also Calamusa
MAIN NUMBER: 091 602 3455
NICOLO: cell – 340 374 9392
ALDO: cell – 340 682 4700
Make certain you say you are coming from ‘John Pepper/My Home in Palermo’ and they will treat you well.
For a 125cc scooter (regular car drivers licence is needed): 1 or 2 days: 40€ /€45 p/day + 90km free. Third or more days price drops to € 37 per day. If you rent weekly rates are better still.
For a 250/300cc scooter (a motorcycle licence is required): 1 or 2 days: 60€/€70 p/day + 90km free. Third or more days price drops to € 50 per day.
Giovanni Arrigo is a wonderful, talented, barber and men’s hairdresser who specialized for years on women. His shop is simple, unassuming,yet great. A unique experience to go and have an old fashioned shave and cut.
Women can get their hair died and brushed and permed…
It is inexpensive. And cool. Located 200 yards across the street and to your right when exiting from Porta Carini
Via Volturno 21B
Tel: 339 411 6668
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Palermo is a city of colours, flavours and tastes. The people are very friendly and the city is as safe as any large city. One can either walk or rent bikes or scooters. It can also be fun to rent a horse carriage for the day and see the city as they did in the ‘old’ days.
Food is a big part of everyday life. The open-air markets (very fresh produce) of Il Capo, Ballaro, Via Sant’ Agostino and Via Bandiera are all within walking distance. After the succulent pastas and special grilled fish dishes you will adore the amazing pastries, the ice creams, the rich, dense coffee, the unique bread with sesame seeds and the wide selection of Sicilian wines.
GYMS: are within walking distance. DAKAR is behind the Politeama but check with John as they change…
SHOPPING: posh shopping area: Via Ruggero Settimo and Via Libertà – -as well as older, more traditional shops of Via Maqueda. LA RINASCENTE is an upscale department store. It has lovely restaurants on the roof.
The restaurants I am suggesting, except where noted, are local trattorie – -family owned, cosy, ‘joints’ where the food is good and the service is nice but very simple in style.
Trattoria ai Cascinari, Via d’Ossuta, 43/45, Palermo. Tel: 091 651 9804. Walking distance. Lunch: Tuesday to Sunday. Dinner: Wednesday through Saturday (included). Closed on Mondays.
Kus-Kus, Via Virgilio, 9, Palermo. Tel: 091 586 525/393 578 7815 ask for Tony, owner –Chef. Amazing Sicilian couscous; pastas etc. Walking distance.
Uno e Pomodoro, Via Principe di Belmonte, 87, Palermo. Tel 091 508 4231.
ACANTO, Via Torrearsa, 10, Palermo. Tel: 091 320 444. Acanto is more posh but wonderful and not too expensive (circa €45 p/person). Also GREAT FOR COCKTAILS – -and wonderful free buffet. Ask for Mario, the owner.
Kursal Kalhesa, Via Foro Umberto I, 10, Palermo. Tel: 091 616 0050 for the cocktail bar and 091 6162282 for the restaurant. This is a wonderful, spacious, beautiful Wine Bar (cocktails) cum library, and restaurant. Set in old storage caves carved out of rock, with very high ceilings, this hip (but not too) destination-location, is an excellent spot for pre-dinner cocktails, post-dinner drinks, as well as for tea where one can browse through the books in the wonderful bookstore. The restaurant is in on a separate floor, in an open garden, and is quiet and relaxing in the summer evenings.
I CASCINARI, (ask for Piero or Vito and say John Pepper sends you), Via d’Ossuna 43/45, Palermo. Tel: 091 651 9804 or 388 181 2368.(This is one of my favourites!)
SYMPATY (at the beach, in Mondello): 091 584 060. Ask for Michele. (This is also one of my favourites!)
**Champagneria BUTTICE, Piazza San Francesco di Paola (which is at the end of via Carini – -go through PORTA Carini, past Bobuccio, on your left, walk straight about 500 meters and it is on the corner on your left. Reservations: 091 2515394 (ask for Salvatore, Maria Grazia, the owners, or Davide). Make certain to tell them John Pepper is sending you as they are dear friends. AMAZING FOOD AND GREAT WINE SELECTION !!
There is a culture of Wine Bars (Enoteca, in Italian) in the world and Palermo is right up there. I have selected a few that I go to…
ENOTECA PICONE, Via Marconi, 36, Palermo. Tel: 091 331 300. Ask for Vera who will steer you to great Sicilian wines. You can also purchase here wine and other spirits for your stay in Palermo. A longish walk but pleasant.
ENOTECA VINO-VERITAS, Via Sammartino, 29, Palermo. Tel: 091 609 0653. Ask for Giuseppe. This place is a few hundred yards from Picone. Although it is smaller it is a fun spot to pop in for a glass and a snack. Good selection of wines to purchase.
OLIVER WINE HOUSE, Via Francesco Paolo di Blasi, 2, Palermo (corner of Via della Libertà). Tel: 091 625 6617. Ask for Francesca (wine expert and Chef) or Nino, her partner. It takes either a bus, taxi or car to get to Oliver’s but it is worth it. There is a nice terrace on the outside as well as tables indoors. Is comfortable, contemporary, and has an excellent buffet to accompany the wide and interesting selection of wines they offer.
**Champagneria BUTTICE, Piazza San Francesco di Paola (which is at the end of via Carini – -go through PORTA Carini, past Bobuccio, on your left, walk straight about 500 meters and it is on the corner on your left. Reservations: 091 2515394 (ask for Salvatore, Maria Grazia, the owners, or Davide). Make certain to tell them John Pepper is sending you as they are dear friends. AMAZING FOOD AS WELL!!
The sun is also an important part of Sicily and one will want to go to the beach. The white sandy beach and port town of Mondello, with its lapis lazuli water to have the Gods of the Caribbean turn green with envy, is 25 minutes away. One can rent two beach chairs and umbrella at 20 €. There is a very good restaurant, Sympaty, at the end of the pier, past the main piazza. Caflisch restaurant (eat in/take out & easier with kids), one of Palermo’s most outstanding patisseries, is also one of Sicily’s undisputed best. They serve an informal lunch under pleasant, shady, trees. It is three minutes from the beach. In the summer, don’t miss the sublime gelo di melone (watermelon gel). Extensive wine list.
It takes 25 minutes via bus n. 806 (public transportation, cost circa €1.75 per person) leaves from Piazza Sturzo behind Piazza Politeama – -or you can catch the bus at the stop that is right near the Hotel Politeama, in Piazza Politeama. One alights right in front of the Beach Club in Mondello and a couple of hundred of yards for Caflisch.
INFORMATION (WHITE PAGES/YELLOW PAGES): dial 1254 and press 1. An operator will come and they often speak English.
ANYTHING ELSE: In Italy, as in the rest of the world, you can log onto the GRUPON website where one can find anything from a dentist to a restaurant to…almost anything…at a reduced, discounted price. If you need something and can’t find it, try GRUOPON.
Saturday is our changeover day on weekly rentals. As we agreed upon booking, you are kindly requested to depart by 10:30 am. This is necessary as the housekeeper only has a few hours to make the house as clean and ready for the next guests as it was for you.
We hope this information has proven to be useful. Please do not hesitate to leave remarks and appreciations in the Guest Book.
Enjoy your stay in Palermo and in our apartment.
MY HOME IN PALERMo team
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