In June of 2016, I arrived at Palermo's International Airport late at night. This was my second time in Italy, as I had been on the northern side of the country long before.
The airport is 40 minutes away from the city, so I took the bus to get to the hostel. The ride was about 40 minutes long and the price was $8.I slept at the Sunrise Hostel for $30 a night. The following morning I woke up, and I went for a walk through the narrow streets to a pizzeria to have breakfast.
After my hunger was satisfied, I went to check out the classic Old Town. The Quattro Canti square. It's a beautiful place located right in the middle of the Old Town at the intersection of the two main streets, with staggering pieces of architecture, such as the Fontana Pretoria and the many churches in the proximity. Church of San Cataldo was my favorite. What I like about Palermo is that many of the attractions are on the same street and it's a very walkable city.
My next destination was the Mafia Museum. This was one of the reasons for which I went to Sicily. Even though it's a bit clicheic, I am a huge fan of Mafia movies, so coming to the birthplace of the Mafia was very exciting to me. The museum offers a very vivid representation of the history of the Mafia, and there was no admission fee. I donated a little sum though because the museum could be even better.
I spent the rest of the day sampling different fast food items and shopping for souvenirs in the Old Town
On my second day in Palermo, I had some leftovers from the night before for breakfast, and I continued my visit by going to the Cathedral of Palermo. It's the main landmark of Palermo, and it looks astonishing from the inside and the outside. The church was built by the Normans on the site of a former Byzantine church, and then it was turned into a mosque by the Arabs when they took over in the 9th century. That pretty much sums up the history of Sicily and the architectural style of the cathedral. The entrance fee to the inside was $8 and it was well-worth-it, as the cathedral has an elaborate design on the inside as well.
My next destination was the Palace of the Normans. The entrance fee was $17, which is kinda high but it lives up to the expectations. The mosaic work is awesome, and it tells a very interesting story about the Norman occupation of Sicily.
Finally, my last point of interest in the capital of Sicily was the Capuchin Catacombs. It's a pretty macabre place, but full of history and interesting nonetheless. The entrance fee was $5 and it's a very unique experience. The visit was only an hour-long. It's a pretty unusual experience, but the corpses are all dressed in clothes from the era in which they lived, and it tells a simple story: rich or poor, good or bad, we're all the same after we die.
In the evening I had a nice plate of pasta with red wine to top up my visit to Palermo, before going to get a good night's rest.