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Visit our Home Page for links to every page on this site about travel to Palermo and places of interest nearby.
About See Palermo
Can people who have a profound passion for a certain place --people who live in that place-- write about it in an objective, unbiased way? We think so, and that's why we publish this website and several others.
The "world's most conquered city" boasts a multicultural European-African-Asian (and uniquely "Mediterranean") heritage which has left its mark in almost every way --on its art, architecture, language and cuisine. Palermo deserves a website that does justice to its past and present --and to the curiosity of anybody who comes to visit, whether for a day or a week.
This site was launched in response to the complete absence of a practical, easily-navigated website dedicated exclusively to travel and culture in Palermo and to the region of north-western Sicily around it which includes such places as Monreale, Cefalù, Erice, Segesta, Solunto, Himera and Caccamo. Our objective has always been to provide you with useful, realistic information. This site, like our "sister" sites (including Best of Sicily), is meant to be accurate without being in any way "ordinary" or boring. Our readers are among the web's most curious. We'll never insult your intelligence.
This web site is published privately and is not associated with any travel agency (all advertising on this site is a paid service). We believe that the private sector is the best place to publish travel guides. Here's why.
Not only are most sites published by publicly-funded tourism bureaux excessively "political" in their editorial perspective, they are actually required to promote various activities, places and sights of little genuine interest to visitors from outside Sicily. The implicit limitation imposed by the border of Palermo province with other provinces is also problematic; it seems ridiculous to us that a publication funded by a particular province-based tourism bureau can't even mention a major archeological site just across the border in the next province. (Erice and Segesta, for example, though in the Province of Trapani, are just an hour's drive from the city of Palermo, not much farther away than Cefalù, which is in Palermo province.)
What is far worse, however, is that a publicly-funded publication can rarely publish reliable (accurate) reviews or promotional information regarding hotels, restaurants or other services because, after all, such publications are intended to be "balanced" in their presentation of editorial content at public expense. We don't have that problem, so we can present you accurate information on topics of visitor interest --without a (usually corrupt) local politician or politically-appointed tourism bureaucrat telling us what to promote or how to promote it. (While we do accept some advertising, no restaurant mentioned in these pages pays to be reviewed here.)
Independence has its advantages. A good example is our faqs and safety page, which provides real information for real people. In response to queries from prospective applicants to the University of Palermo, we present the kind of "politically incorrect" but candid answer which no public agency based here in Sicily would have ever dared publish. That's because we're here for you, not for them. We'll gladly accept a public employee's (or university professor's) criticism of us as "negative" as long as the information we provide helps you to make an informed decision --in this case about attending a mediocre university.
This is not to suggest or imply that all privately-published destination guides are accurate or unbiased. Most of the (hard copy and web-based) destination guides for Sicily published beyond our island's shores lack the insightful knowledge facilitated by actually living here. That's one reason why, for example, they always seem to review the same restaurants and repeat the same tiresome clichés, failing to inform you of helpful facts in a timely way. (As I write this, in May 2008, Palermo's Regional Art Gallery in Palazzo Abatellis is closed for a major structural restoration, at least until January 2009, but --at least until the "competing" on-line guides imitate us-- I have yet to see this information published anyplace else.)
While the city of Taormina boasts several exceptional "localized" websites, it seemed amazing that there was nothing similar available for Palermo, Sicily's largest city. We hope to have addressed that need in these pages.
That said, See Palermo is not meant to be a substitute for a good travel guide book --even if much of our information is more current (and correct) than theirs. A good example of this is our Monreale cloister chart, actually far more accurate than those of the printed guides we've seen, which incorrectly describe the bas-reliefs of several capitals. In one case even the number of columns in the map is wrong!
No website (not even Best of Sicily) can include everything about a complex topic, and we'll be adding more pages to See Palermo as time goes by. In the meantime, enjoy your visit!
© 2008 Best of Sicily Travel Guide. Used by permission.