How to find a husband in Sicily


Yesterday was San Faustino Day in Italy, better known in the world as “The day after that disaster of Valentine’s Day“.
Yesterday was the Single Awareness Day.

For undismayed and committed singles, singles because of other people’s choice, singles who have forgotten why they are singles, singles that finally are singles and singles who hate all those who are not single because they think to be the only single.

And there are the spinsters.

A particular category of ladies who would wish a good guy, nice and hard worker, with which to raise a family, but, alas! , they are unlucky (ugly) and when you are unlucky the only thing to do is praying Saint Onofrio.

According to legend Onofrio was the Persian king Teodoro’s son but after his birth a devil said that he was a child of adultery of the queen. Since he emerged unscathed after the test of fire they believed the devil. Soon Onofrio decided to distance from humanity and become a hermit in the Egyptian desert, just wearing a loincloth of leaves and dedicating his life to prayer.


In Palermo San’Onofrio is a secondary patron and in 1568 a religious group dedicated a small church to him, in Via Panneria, litterally “the street of clothes” because in times past there were many clothes factories.
Obviously the church is very modest with some plasters and paintings, all dedicated to the saint. There are also a canvas painted by Giuseppe Salerno, named “The Clipped from Gangi” and a wooden sculpture created by “The Blind of Palermo“, both representing Saint Onofrio, named “Pilusu“, in sicilian dialect “Hairy“, because of the very very long beard.

This chuch seems a joke, I know, but Saint Onofrio is famous because has the power to find a husband for the spinsters! In ancient times (but maybe even now) there was a precise shamanic procedure to find this blessed soul mate in Sicily. Every evening for nine days, the ugl…ehm unlucky girl had to say a rhyme in sicilian dialect between a prayer and the other one to ask the grace to Saint Onofrio (who probably ruined when the first mad devotee found a husband indeed). During the recite she had to put a two-cent coin in the lock of any door. If the coin fell the request was satisfied!

Apparently Saint Onofrio is miraculous also if you lost something or for students who have to take an exam, because Onofrio helps to refresh the memory! 😀

Seriosly, even if in Sicily there are Facebook and Whatsapp, iPhone and PlayStation, for certain things Sicily is still an archaic place, lost in this disenchanted Western world, where you can still find who believe in magic.

This is part of the charm of this island and if it’s harmless it can’t become its condemn. I don’t believe in these things and even much more but when I listen the conversations of graduate and “normal” people, who talk about certain practices with tenderness and say that they work, without zealotry but with a blind confidence in these things, inscrutable for the reason, in this moments I don’t understand, with my reason, how two so different modus vivendi can coexist in a so fluid way. But my heart can’t despise them, it accepts and I think it’s comforting that humans sometimes preserve their humanity and find their reassuring practices, a bit childish, sometimes primitive, sometimes personal or traditional.

Decide you, for now I’ve written the practice to pray Saint Onofrio but I leave you with the words of the poet Kahlil Gibran:

“And think not you can guide the course of love. For love, if it finds you worthy, shall guide your course”

Happy Single Awareness Day (late)

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to

Tourist Cards in Sicily: the whole truth (+ list of all sicilian tourist cards)

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

[WARNINGS: THIS POST IS VERY LONG. In the beginning I chat like an old dumb but the useful part is further down]

Yes, I’m here…late. The original version of this post (in Italian) was written in February but I hadn’t time to complete the translation, all sorts of things are happened in the last month.

February was very cold in Sicily this year and we waited the snow on the coast again (fortunately not as in New York). In fact it was rather probable. This winter is totally strange and crazy, it’s snowing under the sea too. Usually it’s not so cold in Sicily, it doesn’t snow near the sea here, maybe the Apocalypse is coming…
During those cold days I thank to stay at my sweet home and do a big research for you. When I began to write this blog, I promised to give you also useful information for your holidays in Sicily, but I’ve got lost chasing the butterflies, as usual.

I noticed that the tourism season is coming (snow in June permitting) and remembered that a very popular question from who wants to come to Sicily is “Are there Tourist Cards in Sicily?”, the pass that allows to travel on the bus free or buy a disconted ticket for a museum.

Mmm, the services for tourists in Sicily are very inadequate because sicilians think that the attractions of the island are enough for tourists and they come in any case here. In this setting sicilians are often indolent and disorganized and all tourists notice that the island is beautiful but services are pathetic or non existent.

Attention, please! Appeal to IDontKnowWho, we want more Tourist Cards because the Tourist Cards are #VeryBello.

Who has more facilitations, wants to do more things durin the holidays because he/she has more money, can discover more (unless the rats in Palermo, I hope), spend more money. The feedback is simple, giving motivation. If you are a 20 years old tourist or a father with three sons or an university student, it could be hard visiting one, two or more museums. But if the ticket is discounted I could spend my time without excessive privations. We are late with services in Sicily, basic services too. Maybe these things are usual for other Europeans but they are extra-ordinary for us. The discount logic is never losing in my opinion. I make an example. There is a shop in Via Roma 178, in Palermo, tiny and busy of things, its name is Miele (Honey. They trade “metal and gothic stuff” (sorry, but my knoledge ends here). This shop is full of stuff, full of rings, full of sculptures, full of clothes but there isn’t the space to damage anything. And back the counter of stinking new truck tires a figure appeares, like a ghost, a little old man with white hair and a simple azure shirt, he’s the owner. The salesgirl is invisible among the exposed merchandise, too dark, too piercings, too laces but the owner stands out seraphic among the skulls. Some years ago I decided to buy the Christmas gifts fon my brothers in this shop, because is the most equipped one in the Western Sicily. I don’t remember the exact conversation but at a certain point I congratulated with the old man for his shop and said that I went purposely from Trapani, it was true. He looked up to me and said “Where do you come from, Miss?“, “From Trapani“, “And how much is the ticket for the bus from Trapani?“. It was about 8 euros, “Therefore I reduce the check of 8 euros, to repay your dedication” (my check was less than 30 euros). I still tell this episode and not because the shop is well equipped. Do IDontKnowWho understand?

[End of appeal]

I know you couldn’t care less about this economy tale, but I think that, sometimes, it’s sad renouncing to something that we would like to do because the money aren’t enough. I like to see works of art which I usually view in the books little like stamps, and I like to talk about them, for many times, to many different people. In this way you have high topics and win a package of “Aunt, you know everything!” and self-esteem from your niece 😀 . Anyway I think that other people have the pleasure to discover new things and all (could) have the pleasure to see happy and satisfied tourists 🙂
Beautiful things start beauty circuits, give ideas, light creativity and…and…I had to talk about the Tourist Cards in Sicily and I’m roaming like an old dumb! @_@


After this very very long introdution I can say that some Tourists Cards exist in Sicily (Hurrah!, Hurrah!) but their research is hard. Somebody gets a move on and many cards are very recent. I found these cards but I could modify the post sometimes, to add or change some information. I’ve written the general information considering the questions which I could ask to understand if the card is suitable for me and there are all links.


    – Trapani Area

      1.Trapani Welcome Card
      This Card lets you have discounts for services and visits in sites of naturalist interest in the areas of Trapani, Erice and Aegadi Islands.

        A. What it looks like? It’s a book of coupons
        B. Concerned AreaTrapani town, erice, Marsala, Salt Pans, Aegadi Islands.
        C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for 3 days starting from the date written on it.
        D. How much does it cost?If you buy it in the indicated points of sales, it costs 12 euro, whereas it’s 11,50 euro if you buy it HERE with Paypal. There aren’t time limits between the moment of purchase and that one of reclaim, you have to indicate the point of sale where you want to pick up the card. You have to exhibit the printed voucher and an identity document.
        E. Discount size From free entry up to 50% discount. You recover soon the expense for card, considering that a ticket with return for Erice cable car costs 9 euro for non-residents.
        F. How many people is it valid for? One card for one person.
        G. What is it valid for? Examples: all travels by bus are free and one ticket with return for cable car to go to Erice too. There are discounts for excursions to Egadi Islands or the entry for little thematic museums. The detailed list is HERE ( in the drop-down menu)
        H. Where can I buy it? In the points of sales indicated HERE or online HERE
        I. Is there the App? Yes 🙂

      2. Pantelleria Tourist Card
      It’s Pantelleria Tourist Card. It’s the sicilian Cards which offers the smallest discounts but it’s better than nothing, Pantelleria isn’t a cheap isle.

        A. What it looks like?
        You’ll receive:
        • The Card
        • A Pantelleria Tourist Guide with tips about what to do, itineraries, the best beaches and other sights. There are road indications too.
        • A detailed Map of Pantelleria
        B. Concerned Area Pantelleria Island
        C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for all duration of holiday. They write the expiry date back.
        D. How much does it cost? 10 euro
        E. Discount size From one free drink up to 20% discount for several purchases.
        F. How many people is it valid for? One card for all
        G. What is it valid for? Some restaurants and dress and typical products shops but there are also boating tours and free tickets for some pubs and bars. HERE the complete list
        H. Where can I buy it?
        • At the Policardo car rental desk in the Pantelleria Airport
        • At Policardo rental car in Via Messina 31 (in the village center)
        • At “Consorzio Turistico Pantelleria Island”, Piazza Messina 18 (in the village center)
        I. Is there the App? Yes, it’s detailed, easy and free. You can download it HERE

    – Palermo Area

      3. PMO
      It’s the Tourist Card of Palermo City

        A. What it looks like?
        You’ll receive:
        • The PMO Tourist Card (you can use it to benefit of discounts for visits in cultural sites, the exhibits, shows and purchases)
        • The City Map of Palermo It indicates to you all the museums, churches and cultural sites (look the list at Nota Bene in the description “Palermo City Guide” and at the point 3G), There are also 4 different walking itineraries in the old town and all the bus lines to be found
        Bus Ticket thanks to which any Amat city public bus will drive you “merrily” around the city
        Palermo City Guide. It includes the descriptions of 4 itineraries and the locations of cards selling point . There are also suggestions about private and public transportation and you can find all addresses and opening and closing time of all the museums and shops in town. (Nota Bene 1: you’ll receive also an additional update list of cultural sites and shops where you can have the discounts. They are less than those ones indicated in the printed map. They can’t throw away the old maps, paper costs much and we don’t understand the concept of recycling! Nota bene 2 Among benefits you can receive medical care by phone or outpatient medical aid in an agreed clinic. Good to know)
        Vouchers They can be used for free eating and drinking at bars and restaurants where you can taste typical Sicilian specialities. (But I prefer the nameless little kiosks but well known by citizens 😉 )
        B. Concerned Area Palermo Old Town (Do you really think it’s not remarkable? Therefore I say that it’s one of biggest in Europe)
        C. How many days is it valid for? There are cards valid for 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours
        D. How much does it cost? From €13 to €75 if you buy it at Palermo. If you buy it online, you can save from €2 to €5 ( Look HERE)
        E. Discount size From free up to 50% discount
        F. How many people is it valid for? There are cards valid for one person or two people
        G. What is it valid for? Churches, Museums, Theatres (Teatro Massimo and Opera dei Pupi (Sicilian Puppets Opera) included), Public Transport (Bus AMAT and the City-sightseeing Tour) and Private Transport (taxi, rental car and bike, Ape Tours and even a Theatre-Bus with a live concert show on the road), Medical Assistance, some tours and purchases in typical shops and pubs. The complee list HERE
        H. Where can I buy it? You can buy it at Centro Informazione Turistica (Tourism Info Point – corner between Via Maqueda and Piazza Bellini) and other points of sale, they are all HERE with addresses, opening hours and phone numbers. If you click on the pictures find a detailed info box.
        You can buy it online HERE by credit cards or your PayPal account and you’ll recive a voucher valid for 60 days, within which you must exhibit the voucher and an identity document to reclaim the card in one of the points of sale indicated. So don’t buy the card online 5 months before, because they won’t give back the money! Moeover if you change idea about your card you can revoke the purchase online within 14 working days if you want your money back.
        I. Is there the App? Yes, HERE

      4. Musei Palermo Card

      It’s an unique ticket to access 4 museums and 2 exhibition centers in Palermo. It lasts a long time so if you stay in Palermo for many days or live here, if you come often to Palermo or if you are a group of people with different interests or you like the shopping at museum bookshops this is the Card for you.
      I don’t know why they don’t create a page in english so use Google Translate from the italian page 🙂

        A. What it looks like? It’s a red card.
        B. Concerned Area Palermo city
        C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for one year starting the date of emission in the first museum.
        D. How much does it cost? 13 € if you buy it at the museum ticket office, €14,50 online.
        E. How many people is it valid for? One entrance for every museum, but the card is not personal.
        F. What is it valid for? One free entrance for following museums: Galleria d’arte Moderna “Empedocle Restivo” (the Modern Art Gallery), il Museo internazionale delle marionette Antonio Pasqualino (the International Museum of puppets. Only for the museum, the shows are excluded) , Palazzo Branciforte, Ecomuseo del mare (Ecomuseum of the Sea), the exhibitions at Palazzo Ziino and at Cantieri Culturali della Zisa (ZAC).
        Cooking class organized by Gambero Rosso, an important italian multimedia editorial group which is involved in all about food and wine.
        A 10% discount for the puchases at museum bookshops and cafés.

          NB 1. the Modern Art Gallery (GAM) is one of sicilian museums of the italian event “Domenica al Museo” (look at the point number 9 at the end of this post)
          2. The tickets for some of these museums are discounted with the PMO Tourist Card (look the preceding point). So consider the best card for your need.
          3. Before the purchase check if you can have other discounts for your age/nationality/job

        G. Where can I buy it? At the museum ticket offices or online HERE
        H. Do I have to book it before? No
        I. Is there the App? NO.

    5. Carnet for “Le Vie dei Tesori”
    “Le Vie dei Tesori” (Treasures Ways) is a wonderful festival born in 2006 thanks to a Palermo University initiative. It’s proposed every autumn, in October, and lasts one month by now, 4 weekends to be exact. Nowadays there are other institutions/partners, as Diocese, the municipality, the Federico I Foundation and the port authority. During the Festival many places and buildings, closed for much of the year, are open to the public, so unknown to most palermitan citizens too. NB Actually, over the years, they included other places in the list, that you can visit on other days of the year, to attract more people. The best thing of Festival is that the Treasures/Places are disclosed and experienced with guided urban walk tour (the guides are volunteers of Palermo university), in Italian and English language, with exhibits, concerts and shows. For the time being it’s only an autumn initiative (October) but the Festival is increased in these years and its duration will extend in the future. Here the link of Festival (you can read it with Google Translate)

    NB In the last few years other Treasures, outside Palermo, are added to the list. They are in isolated areas of Palermo and Trapani territories (but very far from the towns!).

    Below I describe the discounts with the Carnet of Coupons to visit many different “Treasures”

    1 – The guided urban walks are very valued but with a limited number of subscriptions so book it long time before the fixed date.
    2 If you want to visit a particular place, check if it’s open only for this event before. If you can visit that places in other days of the year probably it isn’t advantageous choose these days to see it because the row is very very long, above all during the last weekend. You save few euro but waste your time. To drain the row, often, they don’t open all floors in the villas but just one. So if you want to do a complete tour choose the other days. Sometimes they create surreal situations, for example to visit the Chiesa dello Spasimo. The visit is free for the rest of the year but during the Festival you have to waste a ticket.

      A. What it looks like? The Carnet of coupons is just a QR code. You can buy it online and they send the code to your email address. Print the code (or bring the smartphone) to avoid to pay the full price ticket at the site. The price for each coupon decreases if you buy more coupons. If you want to visit many places buy the Carnet and not the single ticket each time.
      B. Concerned Area Palermo City and some places outside Palermo and Trapani. Someones are very far from these towns.
      C. How many days is it valid for? The calendar of Festival was 5 weekends in October, last year. Obviously each event has a different duration. The urban walks last from 40 minutes to half an hour, for example.
      D. How much does it cost? The cost is variable. A type of carnet costs € 10 for 10 tickets to visit as much indicated places (there were more than 60 treasures last year); another one costs € 5 for 4 visits and then you can buy just one coupon for one visit spending € 2 . Each urban walk is € 3 whereas the events are free or cost from € 1 to € 6.
      E. How many people is it valid for? One coupon is valid for one person so if you are a group, divide a carnet! 🙂
      F. What is it valid for? The calendar is full of dates and it changes every year. Last year you could visit crypts, libraries and palaces, the Museum of Sicilian Puppets and the wings of Teatro Massimo and Teatro
      Biondo, various naturalistic museums, the catacombs and the Miqveh (Jewish Bath). HERE and HERE the complete lists of places and walks (Only in Italian), they are so beautiful that it turns heads 🙂
      G. Where can I buy it? You can buy all ONLINE, they will send a QR code to your email address. Don’t forget to show the code, printed or on smartphone! If you are more people and want to visit different place you can buy a carnet. Anyway you can buy it at the site but only to visit the places, you need a booking for walks.
      H. Do I have to book it before? The booking is NECESSARYfor the walks, there is a toll free number and an email (The website describes the last Festival so I wait for the new edition to write them in a revised version) to do it. The booking for the events is ADVISED if they don’t write different instructions or if the number of partecipants isn’t enough and you are in those parts you can ask for partecipating. The booking for visits ISN’T NECESSARY.
      NB You can’t book the day before but you have to do within the Wednesday preceding the concerned weekend. I suggest to book some weeks before for walks, to not find sold out.
      I. Is there the App? NO.


    – Catania Area

      6. Catania Pass
      It’s the Tourist Card of Catania City

        A. What it looks like?
        You’ll receive:
        • The Pass
        • A Ticket for Transport With this unique ticket you can use all the urban routes managed by AMT, the Alibus fast line
        (Airport-Center) and Ferrovia Circumetnea Metro line.
        • A Bilingual City Map with useful information about Catania and the museums.
        B. Concerned Area Catania City
        C. How many days is it valid for? There are Cards valid for 1 day, 3 days or 5 days
        D. How much does it cost? From €12,50 to €38
        E. Discount size For the time being all sites indicated (see the dots at point G) have FREE ENTRY, except the special exhibitions. In that case you have however the right to a discounted rate. For other places (for example shops and restaurants) there is from 10% up to 50% discount.
        F. How many people is it valid for? There are two types of Card, Standard just for one person or Family, designed for a family of two adults with one or two children under 13 years.
        G. What is it valid for?
        • Castello Ursino
        • Museo Belliniano
        • Museo Emilio Greco
        • Museo Diocesano
        • Terme Achilliane
        You cand find more activities and shops HERE scroll down, there is Discounts and Agreements. There are tours but I’ve found also an antique bookshop and a download mp3 audio-tour of Catania city center (Click on GUIDES)
        H. Where can I buy it?
        • Catania Tourist Info point at Vincenzo Bellini Airport
        • Catania Tourism Bureau (Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 172)
        • All Museums included in this program
        • AMT Subscriptions Office
        • AMT authorized retailers joining the initiative which expose Catania Pass logo
        I. Is there the App? No


    7. Onsicilycard
    It’s a Card that allows to have discounts and to access to a digital tourist guide. The Card is constantly updated both the partecipants list and prices of tickets and opening times. It’s a card/guide in English and Dutch language.

      A. What it looks like? It’s a Card (but there is the digital version) that allows to have discounts and to download an up-to-date file for navigator to find all partecipating places indicated. Moreover you can find many information about Sicily.
      B. Concerned Area Many different places in Sicily
      C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for a whole year.
      D. How much does it cost? It’s free for children younger than 12 years, €5 for children from 12 to 18 years and €10 per adult. If you buy it online there is a 25% discount. You can buy one card and add all people of your group/family.
      E. How many people is it valid for? All people added on the card.
      F. What is it valid for? There are discounts for B&B, restaurants, workshops, activities, shops and others. All partecipants are HERE, just select the category interests you.
      G. Where can I buy it? You can order it online HERE and they’ll mail it, so it’s better if you place the order at least 10 days before your departure. Anyway there is the option “I’m already in Sicily” with a list of places where you can buy the card

    8. Sicily Card App
    It’s a newborn App for various places in Sicily but on the website there are few information so far. When they’ll advertise more information I’ll write them here 😉


      A. What it looks like? It’s an App
      B. Concerned Area Many places in Sicily
      C. How many days is it valid for? There are versions valid 24 hours, 3 days and one week.
      D. How much does it cost? They’ll advertise the prices to the end of March (maybe the first days of April maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)
      E. Discount size They’ll advertise it to the end of March (maybe the first days of April. maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)
      F. How many people is it valid for? They’ll advertise it to the end of March (maybe the first days of April maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)
      G. What is it valid for? They’ll advertise it to the end of March (maybe the first days of April maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)

I’ve found other tourist cards but discounts are minimal so I decided to not write them here.

9. Extra Tip

There is a wonderful initiative in Italy, #DomenicaalMuseo, every first sunday of month there is FREE ENTRY in all national museums (not for private ones). You find the complete list of interested museums in Sicily HERE

Finally I’ve finished this post 😛

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here;
If you prefer to sleep at Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

But is Palermo safe? I lived there for many years but I never took a picture of this city. Because mi scantavo. A post dedicated to the search of freedom to walking.

One of the biggest trees in Italy, the Ficus of Giardino Garibaldi in Palermo

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

I left my house in Palermo two months ago and now I must to return there only to wave a form under the nose of a “sturduta” (dumb) secretary of maybe the biggest but surely the most disorganized university of the island, otherwise I can’t do the exam. No, no fax and no, not even an email…and if they don’t even answer the telephone it’s not because they haven’t that opposable finger thanks to which we did evolutionary jump but because of the lagnusìa, the laziness that makes bureaucracy in Sicily slow like a sloth, that hasn’t really the opposable finger so it does nothing but at any rate it’s justified. They’ll solve everything in two minutes but I must lose two hours to go and other two to return by bus, without counting the others lost in line in front of the only open counter among twenty others.

Seeing as I will lose half of the day I decide to lose the second half one and do a thing that I didn’t ever do during the many years olden in this city. I’ll walk with a reflex camera.

I didn’t ever do it because “mi scantavo“, I was afraid to do it.

So many times walking I would have it with me, there are so many beautiful things in Palermo, usual and uncommon. I knew that my time here would be limited and this city is very important for me, the memory sways, the age doesn’t help and I want remember, I would look and look again Palermo, always, also if my time there is ended for now. I haven’t only one photo of Palermo, whether of that one I lived or of tourist one, because I was terrorised, I daydreamed about poses and scenes but reflex remained closed in its bag at home. My camera is not precious, it’s a little reflex with a screwed piece of glass, but it’s one of the few things that I bought with my money just for me. I don’t like many things but during the shopping I didn’t remember anything of them and spent my money for the presents for others and when the memory came back I was flat broke. But the most important thing is being satisfied. For this reason I made few more concrete presents for myself: some low cost flight tickets to Rome and this little Canon Eos 1000D with a piece of glass of 18-55 mm. I adore it. It’s my little, my loved, my reserve of memories and little satisfactions, I can’t allow that any guy purse snatches it to sell it for just 200 euros after have thrown the memory card full of blurry photos of views and my niece in company of a different My Little Pony every time in a drain.This is no laughing matter.

When I enrolled at University my coming rommates, already broken in living in Palermo, had described the city like a sicilian far west, the more unforgettable warning was ‘Don’t walk near the doors, they draw you in when you least expect it!’ We went out all together only with a guy…we were FOUR girls!!! The guy would have to be our protect, the person would have to receive chivalrously a bunch of punches and offer his wallet. On one occasion my roommate became hysterical seeing me with the hood worn up to eyes because she had suffered a robbery at supermarket and the thief was dressed in that way, she hasn’t a good memory of hoods but didn’t remember that the prices of that supermarket were revised just for the university students, THAT was the real robbery. To prevent the purse snatchings ‘Put back the money in the bag when you are still in the shop!’


When I stayed alone at home for the first time it was because I would have to take the bus for Trapani at 7 p.m. and in winter there is dark and I was too afraid of going alone to the station, all looked monsters, criminals and killers, I imagined myself robbed and strangled under a tree, so I decided to stay one night again at home. Alone. The door closed with three turns of key. Three up and three down. And the chain. My fellow students (strangely only the men) were often blocked and robbed, they were terrorised. When I went to Palermo from Trapani to follow lessons I put the money in a secret pocket stitched on purpose. I’ve a friend who has be never stopped, he could speak a perfect palermitan dialect, it brought in goose bumps, a marked and unintelligible lullabye, where to say ‘Cosa’ (What or thing) you have to open the mouth like a hooven and say ‘Cuoasa‘ (untranslatable) and dressed black jacket with the hood up to the eyes, he seemed more criminal than some shady people circulating in those areas of Palermo. The universitary area was, is like this. This one intersects much with the most famous and accessible (because near the Stazione Centrale) tourist area, the triangle of Cattedrale, Via Maqueda and the Kalsa. The tourist area is in a very degraded area of Palermo but not the most degraded one.

It never happened anything bad

Palermo is leopard and you can see a parisian café near a dirty panellaro (who makes bread with panelle, often in the street) and universitary students walk among black kids, Pakistani guys and chinese women and turning the angle bump the nose into shaved eyebrows of palermitan hero of “New melodic” music of the moment and avoid tourists with red skin.

One day I was with a troupe to shoot a videoclip in Via Bara all’Olivella. Once this street was a little Bronx, full of rubbish and little reassuring faces but now, seeing as it’s the only street from which a beautiful glimpse of Teatro Massimo is visible, is full of little shops for tourists, restaurants, small tables and parasols, it’s so full that the glimpse is no more visible. There is only a really beautiful thing here, the “Teatro dei Pupi di Mimmo Cuticchio” (The Theatre of Puppets of Mimmo Cuticchio).
We shooted a video, there were many thousands of euros between lens, reflex cameras and sliders and among meddlers and storekeepers, by now become our partners of work, the warning “Look at mopeds” (Here there are snatchers) was inevitable.
Noboby stole nothing and our level of attention was normal, after all we had to work.

I was never plundered nor kidnapped and I walk serenely near the doors but I put the money in the purse before to exit the shop, I think that it’s a good habit everywhere, when you can do it. Sometimes a man “ti sconcica“, whistles and congratulates your mum, but you can ignore them and go on without lookin them, they will knock it off. I went back home also alone, also with dark but always when there is still somebody, workers who returned for the dinner, and I’m alive and without a bad experience to tell you. I went back home also by bike, at midnight, from Palazzo Pantelleria to Policlinico, with the terror up to my neck, because one never knows. Nobody stopped me, never, but the few pedestrians looked me like a fool.

Once a friend from Rome, Favetta, came and saw me in Palermo. His hotel was at Ballarò (one of the three storical markets of Palermo) and I reached him by bike. After a evening spent to dance tango in very degraded areas of the city, back Chiesa of San Domenico, that during the evening is inflamed of arts and beauty in some little places, we stepped towards home, me, he and the bike beside. “Come on!, run to home, it’s late and you are alone and with the bike, I’ll try to find the way to go back hotel, I think that it’s near, surely we’ll arrive in the same moment, go!”. Me: “Favetta, I went all the way many times. The other times wasn’t so late but I have a heavy chain and a shrill voice and no hesitation to use them (above all the chain). However strange it may sound but it’s more probable that they stop you because you are a man and not me, because I’m a woman (this is my personal statistic), with that face then!”. Which face? Imagine Woody Allen, but with mustache like inspector Jacques Clouseau, he fancies himself as Serpico but he’s really like Sam, he’s one of my best friends, how could I leave alone a so funny and sweet friend? I couldn’t. Also because during the return he tried to make way and even me almost was losing the way in the second biggest european old town. During 30 minutes of walking we met vagabonds and strange people, even an old man who asked cigarettes…from the balcony, he just lowered “‘u panaro“(the basket). But we are still alive and not traumatized.

I looked many tourists walking with the cameras hanging by the neck, quiet and smiling but I have heard of many bag-snatchings…

…therefore is Palermo safe or not?

There are many people, many foreigns and some delinquents. Like in every big city in the world.
Is it safe? More than New york and London surely, it seems more than Oslo, if you “te l’accolli“, risk to go there, why not to Palermo? Out of this city there are girls who believe that here people are kidnapped in the dark places, that there are shootings in the middle of the road and that the life is worth a cigarettes pack. But this is not “Il Padrino“! -_-‘
In reality the rules to stay good here are those of common sense, but those are valid everywhere there are more than 100.000 citizens. The petty crime is widespread here, it’s true, but in the morning there are so many people and tourists and students who walk quiet, also with the reflex cameras and if you are in difficulty you can shout, at least 200 turn in your direction and you are safe but it would be a unlucky coincidence.
The evening is more dangerous. Don’t defy the luck, I do many times but only because it was necessary and also if nothing ever happened maybe I’ve been really lucky, so I suggest you to walk in two and not alone. Alone is safe if you walk where there are light and some people but in two is better, at any rate you don’t walk with terror and relish more the stroll. Look out but without paranoias. The area of Magione is more thorny after the sunset because out of the squares of light near the places it’s desert and isolated and don’t underestimate also Via Roma/Via Maqueda in the evening. I don’t want to do psychological terrorism, my experience was absolutely positive for years but it’s always a big city, look out but without terror, Palermo is safe enough. Of course if you go to Brancaccio the situation is totally different, that area is dangerous also in the morning but it’s not necessary to go there, there’s nothing of interesting.

But therefore if all walk quiet with reflex camera, why are you afraid, Anna?
Because I’m only a human, though, and sometimes others wash my brain with their fears and worries and those times I doubt of beeing just lucky for ten years.
Some days ago they have stole the silver flower of Santa Rosalia. This sculpture is poor and it was the only precious ornament. Here they say “Viva Palermo e Santa Rosalia!“, “Long live to Palermo and Santa Rosalia”, so far I belived that Palermitans don’t love only their city but not even Santuzza, the little Saint, survived to insult, how can I survive?

che camurrìa, how inconvenience! Enough! Let’s take out the reflex, well hanging by the neck, relaxed, without problems. And voila! The first pictures of Palermo, at Kalsa and Casa Professa, timid and pathetic photos, it was he first time and…nothing happened, again! I held hanging by the neck, up the backpack put counter, forward like a infant, to support the arms and rest, to take pictures and make more difficult a bag-snatching, of backpack and reflex camera. Lo “scanto“, the fear, was passing and getting to like take pictures in Casa Professa, click,click,click, How many things I can immortalize now, I love you Palermo and I want to see you ever. You scared me and now no more. I was afraid to exit alone and now no more (not too at least). Now I see you with different eyes and I use the bike (because I know where to hide it). Now I can take pictures of you, finally! Click, click, click holy mackerel! It put out! I forgot to recharge the battery!

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