Despite living for less than three months in the everlasting inspiring, gorgeous Florence, the capital of Tuscany, I can’t help but feel as though my wandering instinct had been under the city’s skin for a very long time!
For me, Italy invokes the best feelings we can have in life: the pleasure of food, of a conversation among friends, of the union in a family, of the moment when our skin prickles when we first look at Santa Croce in Florence, of the streets full of clotheslines in Palermo, or the splendid color of the Lago di Como.
There's some certainties no one can deny about Napoli: they make the most authentic pizza in the world; they proudly showcase one of the richest street markets of Italy; they are blessed by being surrounded by a hypnotic turquoise sea coast and preserve their centuries old archeological sites and ancient ruins to make us dream about the past.
Cattedrale di Palermo: I could be content by just observing its façade. It has a rich architecture with different shapes and techniques that represents all the cultural diversity that Palermo is made of: Roman, Norman, Greek, Arabic, and even a touch of Sicilian Baroque. A great mix that could not have been more successful.
This city has either an ugly beauty or a beautiful ugliness. Many people consider it ugly. I consider it more beautiful than ugly. I think this is because I was able to see it beyond the abandonment and negligence much seen in its old center, the ravaged buildings and deep marks of long-gone conflicts: in other words, the neglect from its rulers…
It would be a sin to visit Sicily and not taste the real Sicilian gelato. Like the rest of Italy, that makes exceptionally good gelato, such as the San Gimignano region itself - a medieval village near Firenze - in Palermo there are unique pistachio-flavored gelatos that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
I have a certain obsession with visiting street markets. But I confess that I only do it when I travel. Perhaps because it is an efficient, fun and wonderful way to get to know the local culture better. In Italy, because of the favorable climate and soil, and because they have a very serious food culture, it is a perfect place to find the freshest and most tasty varieties of vegetables, fruit, delicacies, fish, spices and other food.
Sicily has a long-standing tradition of pastry making whose heritage was left by Arabs, Greeks and also Spaniards. That's one of the reasons of which Sicilian desserts are so rich, diverse and commonly made with sweet ricotta and almond paste. I particularly love two of them: the cassata and the cannolo.
Palermo doesn’t have a large offer of hotels. There are all types of hotels in the city, but I can’t recommend any because I have never stayed anywhere else other than a Bed & Breakfast or at a friend's house. When I first went to Sicily, it was a pleasant surprise to find a charming B&B named BB22, whose owner became a great and dear friend.