mercoledì 23 settembre 2015

Impressions of Sicily: Palermo

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Unlike the  other travels I have done, carefully planned and organized in advance, this one to Palermo has been unexpected. Sure, it has been proposed to me a couple of weeks earlier than the actual departure, but then I did not know if I could really go yet. Certainty arrived a week later, 7 days before the departure. Someone might say: "A week is more than enough to get organized". No doubt. But a week was not enough to prepare myself to what I would have met.

The old and the new next to each other in the same picture

But let's go in order.

When I was leaving from Germany to come back in Italy, my boss at that time told me that he would have gone to Palermo for an ice cream festival and we could have met each other there. Those who follow my social channels might have seen a photo during the VII international ice cream festival. That is the reason why I left for Sicily: to go to a fair and meet a person who is not the "boss" any more, but a friend.

Obviously, I combined business with pleasure and also organized the visit of the town and its outskirts, as it was my first time in Palermo. During this delicate phase, some people who had already visited the town told me that I would have found a bad, dirty and unliveable place. Well, it seemed I was going in the worst place in the world. On the contrary...I have sound arguments to make all those who turned up their nose change their mind when I mentioned Palermo.

Let's start from an absolute truth: Palermo is a town of contrasts, where squalor and splendour coexist next to each other. Streets are crowded by foreigners and suspicious people, but then you talk with a local who is ready to give you all sort of information, either about traditions of Palermo, of which they are particularly proud, and about where you can eat the best ice cream of the town. This human component is the added value of Palermo: ugly things of the town are compensated for by the kindness of the inhabitants.

Speaking of things you must admire, there is a plenty of them in Palermo! But, as I have already written above, splendour and squalor coexist and it is detectable in the most beautiful attractions too. The true problem is that it seems to be little care for the maintenance of the state of them. At this point I could just make an appeal to the inhabitants of Palermo, to take a little bit more care of what they have, to not thrown on the ground rubbish and other things, to love their heritage in their own small way, which is something unique and extraordinary. Well, in which other place can you find three cultures that lived and worked together and peacefully leaving to us such a beauty as the Martorana?

If someone would ask me now: "Did you like Palermo?", I would answer with no doubt "Yes".  It is true, there has been things that got me dumbfounded, such as traffic and a complete indifference about the existence of the rules of the road, which are indescribable, but surely I have a good memory of the town, of the experiences I lived, of the kindness and the warmth of the inhabitants of Palermo.

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