Sicily, Palermo, Italy discussed on Travel with Rick Steves
Shoe here on the show with us, our Email addresses radio at Rick steves dot com. We're heading to one of Europe's most interesting islands next and taking your calls for our travel experts on visiting Sicily, where at eight, seven, seven, three, three, seven, four to five on travel with Rick steves. It took me seven trips to Italy before I discovered the warmth end delights of the island of Sicily. I'd say the silliest tie with Irish as the friendliest people I've met in Europe, help us get acquainted with the highlights Sisley we're joined now by two certified tour guide experts to the island local boy Tomas o. Punti and seven Murdoch welcome John. Thanks for joining us to my. So if you were to describe for an American or Canadian hidden off to Sicily the best twelve days to enjoy your homeland, what would you do very quickly in twelve days. So stop the first from Palermo when you see this sixteen different domination that dominated Sicily, it's all a concentration, all of the cultures, layer cake and Palermo. And then I will go to trap any and then from three panel will go to agree gin and then I of prep is on the far west. And what do you like Trapani? I mean, trop any for many reasonable one because they have the billable salt flat ban. Okay. This is where they would harvest the Saul evaporated from the sea and everybody get that very important. Then from there would go to agree Genta Agrigento gentle. Ya fo the volley of the temples. Those beautiful temple sedating back to the faith, six century before Christ imperfect condition you go, there you said the temple concordia this about this temple was built yesterday two thousand that new looking and from five hundred before Christ. Absolutely. It's reminder that Sicily was a very important part of Greek culture onum. Yeah, it was a Greek colony. I mean, the Greeks arrived in Sicily in seven hundred thirty four beef or cry. Some of the greatest cities of Greece. Ace, five hundred BC were insistently. It'll caso from Gento. Where do we go next? Okay. From ugly, gentle, avid. Go to pizza are marina at the Roman villa Cazalet. So this is different. This is not ancient Greek. This ancient Rome. Remember the layers, the layers, this ancient Roman layer. Yeah. So we go to a beautiful villa that basically was built between the third fourth century Roman time. So three or four hundred after Christ is a Roman and this is a villa. What's so famous about this? The mosaics. I mean when you see those floor mosaics you know shining in the call that beautiful, bring caller or read cholera black color. You know this human figures. This was the home of like a man who sold exotic animals. Yes, exactly. Was probably we don't have evidences, but probably was the family of the emperor of family of them. So was an handing lodge or social function because of the expedition's we have a from Rama Tunisia. So we have many. About that. Okay, but there's all sorts of crazy animals showing in the mosaics. And then from our marina you would go to see it Coosa severed. Coolest Syracuse is the big city is a big seed into south and east part of the island of Sicily were basically we have crate grins because remember Sierra Pusa was in competition with ATMs. Remember the peleponnesian wars that so we have these Palermo too big city, but this has many impressive Greek ruin creek and also am barrack style. And then from there I will go to Catania from Catania tower. Meena telling me not the gem of Cecile and that sort of the romantic resort. Absolutely set on a bluff with the beautiful view over the sea with a famous glee Roman fee of her, it's just beautiful. Yeah. And then finally, and finally, of course, my homeland, the alien islands. This is something that you should not me senior tour of Sicily, especially if you have twelve days. So I would visit the first of all of the island of Selena what the movie the postal was filmed who came or right, and then would visit for sure. The island of Stromboli, which is an active volcano. These are little islands, just a short boat, ride north of east of Sicily. Yeah, and you go there by boat from my from Milazzo. There is a port of Milne's. So you embark? I mean, you bought your both from there and you visit, you can do even daily cushioned from there. Okay. So tomorrow that's a good itinerary. Now, several Murdoch. These are the places to see. What would you say as a tour guide are the most important experiences for a traveler to really appreciate Sicily, as opposed to Italy zone? I think the important experiences are getting to know the people of Sicily. I think the people of Sicily have a really different character and understanding the dominations Tamaz spoke about and the colorful sort of mixture of cultures. I think player Maza great experience even if it's a little bit of a scary cities little intimidating. Once you actually see elegance of it in the combination of the culture. That really adds a lot to your experience. So understanding the melting pot aspect of Sicily in multi-culturalism there, it's a really multicultural society. So the people are definitely a highlight for me. What about organized crime? Because we, we think of the godfather and everything for a traveler today. How does that impact your experience? Not at all. You don't see it at all. It's not something that you will encounter as a tourist, not even a little bit. Does it still survive as they're still sort of absolately sort of like territory isn't a different families have different territory or what? What's the behind if you understood organized crime actually, right now what's going on? Well, it still exists. Definitely. A lot of the organized crime has sort of gentrified in a sense where they've turned themselves into more things like construction companies, or they've invested their money and other kinds of corruption. Instead, it's corruption keping and the real drug kind of mafia that you hear about on television on the radio and so on is more centered around Naples. Actually the Cillian mafia is something that's not as centers that used to be. And really the only place that tourists will encounter the vestiges. Of the Cillian mafia. You'll see in Palermo is really big monument and a mural of fell Conan Bassolino the judges that were assassinated. But that was a turning point in nineteen Ninety-two for Sicily where the population decided that they were done. So when the population turned on the mafia, that really was the beginning of the end for the mafia, dominating the culture. Absolutely. And until then was sort of like Robin Hood and Sisley was ruled for centuries by stupid colonial powers, and this was just a way to survive basically, too. I think there was a sense of hopelessness in a way that there was no way to get rid of that problem, but but the people were galvanized after those judges were assassinated. And so this is not to muscle. You've grown up in Sicily. What change have you seen from a law and order point of view and from just an economy point of view in Sicily, big changes. I mean, I think in these luster, Tennessee, this last decayed. The conham of the island is improved a lot. I mean, we have a big improvement. Okay. We have a lot of the young people that want to emigrate won't to go, especially to impart. To Europe for a better job. But if we consider this point of view, I think that insistently they could work. They could work, especially in the recall -ture in a deadly culture is one of the main economical activity for us. But as you know, young generatio- young people, they don't want to be farmer. So that's why most of the people, you know, they prefer to city. So the, they find a better a better condition of life. I was just in Palermo and I remembered being covered with dirt and grime on the buildings and dark walls. And today it's pedestrian only it's well lit, Walzer clean. There's an energy, Damon, feeling exactly. The big change actually happen when Palermo petitionary was declared UNESCO world, Eric wedge. So the historic centre was given a special protection, the United, the nation at this was up -solutely the moment when that city change it a lot. I mean, you see by you go by night there. That is a lot of passage outta there. The passage in Sicily. His way to do it Sarah when you're in Palermo, how do you make a point to enjoy the passage outta? Oh, the passage to I love going out and enjoying the street food scene. That's one of the things I really enjoy doing either by tour just on my own hopping from place to place in trying a lot of the nibbles. I love the area around TI trauma Cima via Makita, which is the street with all the shops and they've really lit up the streets Palermo. I've been going there for maybe ten years now and I can't even believe it's the same city. Even the last five years I couldn't do their because my memory was so different from what I experienced this year. And when you're thinking about this new relative fluent insists, it feels like good times to what degree is that subsidized by taxpayers from northern Italy, probably quite a bit. And also I think that more and more money is going to Sicily from the European Union, especially as more attention is focused on it. Palermo is a cultural capital. This shared, it's being supported by funds from the EU. So it's a, it's a wonderful time to go to Sicily this travel excuse for talking with several Murdoch, and we're talking to us, oh, Punti. About Sicily or phone number's eight, seven, seven, three, three, three, seven, four to five Lorenzo is calling from Boise, Idaho the Renzo. Thanks for your call. Yeah. Do you have a comment or question about Sicily. I would love to never been into Italy a few times. I've just never made it that far south. Once I get down there is a pretty good transportation to get around. Always. I'm not a big car renter, so I need a way to get her out of these places. And what is the transportation like? And I get trained buses? What? How do people get around on their? I'm writing a book on Sicily right now in this topic, I was just discussing and Sisley can be a little challenging without a car. A car is a lot of fun and it's actually less intimidating than you may think that if you want to go car free, you absolutely can. And I have a really elegant solution for you. If you start on the far west in Trump any fly in there, you can use that as a home base for doing little day-trips in the area there. And that's a little bit more countryside. It's not really urban, then you can head to blame on the bus from Palermo. You can spend two or three days there to Montreal, which is a beautiful cathedral with mosaics. And then from there, it's an easy to our best connection to Catania on the far east. Eastern side, which has an easy airport that's only fifteen minutes from this. Our connection by bus to three hours. Cillian. Our impressive thing I was. I was on a twelve day tour of Sicily, ten or twelve days, and I was struck by how how short the drives are. It's an easy to get around in part because of the tax revenue or the money for infrastructure that comes in from the north that feels like the roads are overbuilt for the traffic. I mean, you've got great freeways for a little island with not a lot of traffic. I never noticed any traffic temps. You can get around easily. And Sarah said, if you don't mind driving, it's a great place to drive. I'd recommend doing it by car. But if you insist, of course there's public transit, you'd wanna let the existing transit routes probably help dictate. I think you're turnaround and I would definitely suggest you change the train system does not connect enough and it slow that's important in a lot of countries, Portugal, Ireland, Sicily. We a lot of times, think of train because we traveled in France, Germany, but no buses really work much better to agree. I mean, I agree. I totally, of course there are areas of Sicily where the train connection, good, fully sense. If you go from. Palatable to chief Olu. I mean, we have a when I went ride by train and the trainees about every half an hour when our that's grateful that I mean some aerial Cecilia very well covered because cheifs Lou is a wonderful complements, the bigger cities, and that I have beautiful memories of Jeff Liu as a wonderful, small fishing town basic. Yeah, it is still officiant down. Of course, the tourism is increasing. Still has this kind of beautiful medieval atmosphere of restaurant, fish restaurants. You eat your fish just on the water. Lorenzo. I hope that gives you some ideas on getting excited about booking. Thank you so much for your health. I'm getting excited talking about. Thank you for calling. Happy travels. Thank you. This is traveled, Rick. Steves we're joined by tomorrow Ponti and several Murdoch. We're talking about Sicily. Our number's eight, seven, seven, three, three, three, seven, four to five and garett is calling from Chicago internal Garrett.