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Palermo, Sicily, Italy
The Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa is an upmarket hotel located in the heart of Sicily's capital in a quiet area just off of Via Vittorio Emanuele and steps from the Baroque square of Quattro Canti. The hotel was opened in 2010 after an extensive renovation having serving previously as both a convent and a bank. With 127 rooms and suites, the hotel offers the perfect combination of a grand atmosphere, comfort and modern facilities. The ancient cloister and modern spa are highlights of the property and a seasonal roof garden with shaded tables and chairs allows you to enjoy views of the city from atop the hotel. WiFi is complimentary throughout the hotel.
Number of nights: 4
Built on the side of a bluff overlooking the Ionian Sea and the Gulf of Naxos, Eurostars Monte Tauro Hotel provides a place to relax after a full day of touring while enjoying remarkable panoramas. Its convenient location near Taormina’s historic center enables you to discover the allure of classic antiquities that the town embraces. Take advantage of the seasonal outdoor pool for a refreshing swim. The bar and restaurant offer a delightful atmosphere where you can enjoy a drink as well as freshly prepared Mediterranean specialties and Sicilian wines. The hotel is designed so that all guest rooms are welcoming with a full array of modern amenities including complimentary WiFi. Each room has a terrace or balcony with splendid sea views.
Number of nights: 4
Activity Level 2: Moderate
Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring two cities and hotel stays. Full-day excursions outside the city but well paced. Walking tours of museums and outdoor sites, including archaeological sites, which can be over uneven terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Hotel in Palermo centrally located for easy access to shops and restaurants while hotel in Taormina is ideally located and is convenient for time at leisure, including the final day.
Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).
Special Air Rates/Services
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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
- Stephen B.
Spending two weeks staying in two sites was really good... it meant far less packing and repacking and less fatigue. Our group was very congenial, and that was one of the high points if not the high point of our trip.
Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History
Critically acclaimed author John Julius Norwich weaves the turbulent story of Sicily into a spellbinding narrative that places the island at the crossroads of world history.“Sicily,” said Goethe, “is the key to everything.” It is the largest island in the Mediterranean, the stepping-stone between Europe and Africa, the link between the Latin West and the Greek East. Sicily’s strategic location has tempted Roman emperors, French princes, and Spanish kings. The subsequent struggles to conquer and keep it have played crucial roles in the rise and fall of the world’s most powerful dynasties.Yet Sicily has often been little more than a footnote in books about other empires. John Julius Norwich’s engrossing narrative is the first to knit together all of the colorful strands of Sicilian history into a single comprehensive study. Here is a vivid, erudite, page-turning chronicle of an island and the remarkable kings, queens, and tyrants who fought to rule it. From its beginnings as a Greek city-state to its emergence as a multicultural trading hub during the Crusades, from the rebellion against Italian unification to the rise of the Mafia, the story of Sicily is rich with extraordinary moments and dramatic characters. Writing with his customary deftness and humor, Norwich outlines the surprising influence Sicily has had on world history—the Romans’ fascination with Greek civilization dates back to their sack of Sicily—and tells the story of one of the world’s most kaleidoscopic cultures in a galvanizing, contemporary way.This volume has been a long time coming—Norwich began to explore Sicily’s colorful history during his first visit to the island in the early 1960s. The dean of popular historians leads his readers through the millennia with the steady narrative hand of a master teacher or the world’s most learned tour guide. Like the island itself, Sicily is a book brimming with bold flavors that begs to be revisited again and again.Praise for Sicily“Suavely readable . . . The very model of a popular historian, [Norwich] writes to give pleasure to the common reader. And what pleasure it is.”—The Wall Street Journal“Entertaining on every page . . . There is something ancient and sorrowful in Sicily, ‘some dark, brooding quality,’ just as captivating as its spellbinding history or its beautiful and varied landscapes, from beaches to lemon groves, pine forests to volcanoes. . . . The most amiable and freewheeling of guides, Norwich will always find time for the amusing anecdote.”—The Sunday Times“Utterly engrossing . . . written with passion about the art and architecture of this magical island, filled with gossipy tidbits and sweeping historical theories.”—The Daily Beast “Dazzling . . . Norwich is an elegantly graceful and entertaining storyteller.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch “Charming . . . richly nuanced history relayed with enormous fondness.”—Kirkus Reviews “A brisk and always-lively tour.”—Open Letters Monthly“Norwich is deeply in love with Sicily. [His] boundless affection has inspired a determined effort to understand its painful past. The result is impressionistic, as love often is.”—The Times“Norwich sketches personalities vividly. . . . He does the island and the reader a generous service in providing such an amiable introduction.”—The Sunday Telegraph “Norwich tells [Sicily’s] long, sad but fascinating story with sympathy and brio.”—Literary Review
Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the YearA New York Public Library Best Book of the YearFrom the author of M and A Death in Brazil comes Midnight in Sicily.South of mainland Italy lies the island of Sicily, home to an ancient culture that--with its stark landscapes, glorious coastlines, and extraordinary treasure troves of art and archeology--has seduced travelers for centuries. But at the heart of the island's rare beauty is a network of violence and corruption that reaches into every corner of Sicilian life: Cosa Nostra, the Mafia. Peter Robb lived in southern Italy for over fourteen years and recounts its sensuous pleasures, its literature, politics, art, and crimes.
DK Eyewitness Sicily (Travel Guide)
Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History
Tourists, armchair travelers, and historians will all delight in this fluid narrative that can be read straight through, dipped into over time, or used as a reference guide to each period in Sicily’s fascinating tale. Emigration of people from Sicily often overshadows the importance of the people who immigrated to the island through the centuries. These have included several who became Sicily’s rulers, along with Jews, Ligurians, and Albanians. Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Hohenstaufens, Spaniards, Bourbons, the Savoy Kingdom of Italy and the modern era have all held sway, and left lasting influences on the island’s culture and architecture. Sicily’s character has also been determined by what passed it by: events that affected Europe generally, namely the Crusades and Columbus’s discovery of the Americas, remarkably had little influence on Italy’s most famous island. Maps, biographical notes, suggestions for further reading, a glossary, pronunciation keys, and much more make this unique book as essential as it is enjoyable.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary
Eat Smart in Sicily: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure
Find the heart of Sicilian culture through its sumptuous cuisine Rich with seafood, citrus, olives, and almond sweets, the cuisine of the sun-drenched island of Sicily reflects the influence of Greeks, Norman French, Tunisians, and Italians, among others. Unlike guidebooks that sweep Sicily into an overview of Italy, this latest addition to the award-winning Eat Smart series focuses solely on the cuisine of Sicily. Eat Smart in Sicily provides an historical overview of the peoples who have lived there and their contributions to Sicilian cuisine, with attention given to the fare distinct to the villages and urban centers of Sicily's four regions. A helpful guide to Sicilian menus, with English translations of Italian (or Sicilian) words, makes ordering food in Sicily an easy and immediately rewarding experience. Highlighting regional recipe mainstays, Joan Peterson and Marcella Croce provide tips to shopping for traditional ingredients in Sicily and at home. The book also includes a comprehensive glossary of foods, kitchen utensils, and cooking methods to prepare authentic Sicilian specialties at home or abroad.
Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily, 1943
Bitter Victory illuminates a chapter of World War II that has lacked a balanced, full-scale treatment until now. In recounting the second-largest amphibious operation in military history, Carlo D'Este for the first time reveals the conflicts in planning and the behind-the-scenes quarrels between top Allied commanders. The book explodes the myth of the Patton-Montgomery rivalry and exposes how Alexander's inept generalship nearly wrecked the campaign. D'Este documents in chilling detail the series of savage battles fought against an overmatched but brilliant foe and how the Germans—against overwhelming odds—carried out one of the greatest strategic withdrawals in history. His controversial narrative depicts for the first time how the Allies bungled their attempt to cut off the Axis retreat from Sicily, turning what ought to have been a great triumph into a bitter victory that later came to haunt the Allies in Italy. Using a wealth of original sources, D'Este paints an unforgettable portrait of men at war. From the front lines to the councils of the Axis and Allied high commands, Bitter Victory offers penetrating reassessments of the men who masterminded the campaign. Thrilling and authoritative, this is military history on an epic scale.
Palermo: Travels in the City of Happiness: Art, Architecture, and History in Sicily's Ancient Capital
'Palermo: Travels in the City of Happiness' is a captivatingly personal account of a week of urban adventures in Palermo. Written with a profound love for the history of the ancient Sicilian capital, Langdale takes us on a succession of journeys through the city’s colorful neighborhoods and varied historical periods. In these pages Palermo’s streets, piazzas and architecture become eloquent witnesses to eras past; everything from the palaces of the medieval Norman kings to the modern apartments built during the mafia’s ‘Sack of Palermo’ in the late twentieth century. The centerpieces of the book are the glorious remains of the medieval Norman kings, such as the Palermo cathedral, the Palatine chapel, the Church of the Martorana, and the cathedral and monastery of Monreale, on Palermo’s outskirts. This economical little book provides insights no cursory guidebook could ever attempt. In short, it is an incomparable introduction to Palermo and its art, architecture and history; a perfect companion for anyone interested in Sicily’s capital.
Seeking Sicily: A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean
"Keahey's exploration of this misunderstood island offers a much-needed look at a much-maligned land."―Paul Paolicelli, author of Under the Southern SunSicily is the Mediterranean's largest and most mysterious island. Its people, for three thousand years under the thumb of one invader after another, hold tightly onto a culture so unique that they remain emotionally and culturally distinct, viewing themselves first as Sicilians, not Italians. Many of these islanders, carrying considerable DNA from Arab and Muslim ancestors who ruled for 250 years and integrated vast numbers of settlers from the continent just ninety miles to the south, say proudly that Sicily is located north of Africa, not south of Italy.Seeking Sicily explores what lies behind the soul of the island's inhabitants. It touches on history, archaeology, food, the Mafia, and politics and looks to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Sicilian authors to plumb the islanders' so-called Sicilitudine. This "culture apart" is best exemplified by the writings of one of Sicily's greatest writers, Leonardo Sciascia. Seeking Sicily also looks to contemporary Sicilians who have never shaken off the influences of their forbearers, who believed in the ancient gods and goddesses.Author John Keahey is not content to let images from the island's overly touristed villages carry the story. Starting in Palermo, he journeyed to such places as Arab-founded Scopello on the west coast, the Greek ruins of Selinunte on the southwest, and Sciascia's ancestral village of Racalmuto in the south, where he experienced unique, local festivals. He spent Easter Week in Enna at the island's center, witnessing surreal processions that date back to Spanish rule. And he learned about Sicilian cuisine in Spanish Baroque Noto and Greek Siracusa in the southeast, and met elderly, retired fishermen in the tiny east-coast fishing village of Aci Trezza, home of the mythical Cyclops and immortalized by Luchino Visconti's mid-1940s film masterpiece, La terra trema. He walked near the summit of Etna, Europe's largest and most active volcano, studied the mountain's role in creating this island, and looked out over the expanse of the Ionian Sea, marveling at the three millennia of myths and history that forged Sicily into what it is today.
Sicilian Odyssey (National Geographic Directions)
A blending of art and cultural criticism, travel writing, and personal narrative, Sicilian Odyssey is Francine Prose's imaginative consideration of the diverse cultural legacies found juxtaposed and entangled on the Mediterranean island of Sicily. She writes of the intensity of Sicily, the "commitment to the extreme," where the history is more colorful, the sun hotter, the cooking earthier, the violence more horrific, the carnival more raucous, the politics more Byzantine than other places on Earth, and how much the island can teach us about the triumph of beauty over violence and life over death.Prose examines architectural sites and objects and looks at the ways in which myth and actuality converge. Exploring the intact and beautiful Greek amphitheaters at Siracusa and Taormina, the cathedral at Monreale, the Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina, and some of the masterpieces of the Baroque scattered throughout the island, Prose focuses her keen insight to imagine them in their own time, to examine the evolution and decline of the cultures that produced them, and to deconstruct powerful responses each evokes in her.Illuminated by the author's own photographs, Sicilian Odyssey brings exotic and enigmatic Sicily to life through the prism of its past.
Palermo, City of Kings: The Heart of Sicily
Palermo - the capital of Sicily - is a destination with a difference. The city is a treasure trove of original monuments and works of art, combined with architecture of grand proportions. Yet it also has a grittier side, exemplified by its mafia connections. Jeremy Dummett here provides the first concise history of Palermo, together with a survey of its most important monuments and sites.Palermo became the capital of Sicily under the Arabs in the ninth century. Until this time Syracuse had been the leading city of Sicily. Palermo blossomed under the Arabs and the Normans and the influence of both can be seen in the city today. Later it became the scene of the Sicilian Vespers when the island rose against the French. In 1860 Sicily was freed from the rule of the Spanish Bourbons by Garibaldi and went on to join the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. Many prominent writers have fallen for the city and those that left accounts of their travels include Goethe, Henry Swinburne and Maupassant.Palermo's monuments are striking and unusual, from the Byzantine mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in the Palatine chapel located in the Norman palace, to the sculptures by Giacomo Serpotta in the oratories, the decorative piazzas Pretoria and Quattro Canti, the Arab-Norman style Cathedral and the Norman complex of buildings at Monreale. Palermo has also produced world class writers and artists, including in modern times the writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and painter Renato Guttuso. In addition to being an essential companion for visitors to Palermo, this book can be equally enjoyed as a standalone history of the city and its place at the heart of Sicily.
Sicily: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories)
Sicily was the jewel of the Mediterranean, and Sicilians were the first civilized people of the Western World-here is their rich and diverse history in crisp prose and lively illustration. This concise history relates how Sicily rose to become the first independent, civilized nation of greater Italy, as well as home to many of the world's most distinguished philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, and artists. The narrative subsequently recounts the region's millennium-long decline at the hands of foreign invaders, its hard-won battle for freedom in 1860 under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi, and its current status as a center for art and tourism.
A House in Sicily
This is the captivating memoir of a resourceful woman who started life anew in the "most beautiful house in Sicily." For fifty years, at Casa Cuseni in the small Sicilian town of Taormina, Daphne Phelps has extended her English charm and warm hospitality to seasoned travelers and professional escapists as well as to writers and artists like Tennessee Williams, Bertrand Russell, Henry Faulkner, and Roald Dahl. This memoir tells their story, and hers. It begins in 1947 when, thirty-four years old and war-weary, a modest Englishwoman arrived in Taormina with little Italian, less money, and a plan to sell the property she had unexpectedly inherited. Instead, she fell in love, not just with the airy quarters of the golden stone house on a hillside but also with a community and its way of life. To save Casa Cuseni from certain demolition, Daphne converted her enchanting inheritance into the wondrous pensione that for nearly half a century she has run with the blessing of every Taorminan from the local silk-shirted godfather, Don Ciccio, to Concetta Genio, her steadfast cook, housekeeper, and friend. "A loving portrait ... of a vanishing way of life." - New York Times Book Review; "The often humorous clash of cultures ... [and] the stories of the ordinary Sicilian men and women who populate the pages that make this book, and this place, so special,... so thoroughly alive." - Chicago Tribune.
On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal
An American woman residing in Sicily for the past twenty years portrays the Sicilian landscape and customs—both rural and urban—from the perspectives of both a “foreigner” and a resident.
Palermo (Armchair Traveller)
Palermo’s heart lies hidden under its many outer layers. In this unusual guide to the beautiful Sicilian capital, Roberto Alajmo uncovers each stratum to reveal its true character. Although disguised as a tourist’s handbook, Palermo has much more to offer than ordinary recommendations for the intrepid traveler—it gives an insight into the city from a lifelong resident’s point of view, showcasing its hidden cultural and culinary jewels; portraying its people and their secrets; touching on its politics and contentious mafia involvement. Seeing Palermo with one’s own eyes is an ineffable experience, even for Alajmo; the essence of the city, its beauty, is the only aspect left to the reader to discover.
Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (At Table)
Inspired by a deep passion for wine, an Italian heritage, and a desire for a land somewhat wilder than his home in southern France, Robert V. Camuto set out to explore Sicily’s emerging wine scene. What he discovered during more than a year of traveling the region, however, was far more than a fascinating wine frontier. Chronicling his journey through Palermo to Marsala, and across the rugged interior of Sicily to the heights of Mount Etna, Camuto captures the personalities and flavors and the traditions and natural riches that have made Italy’s largest and oldest wine region the world traveler’s newest discovery. In the island’s vastly different wines he finds an expression of humanity and nature—and the space where the two merge into something more. Here, amid the wild landscapes, lavish markets, dramatic religious rituals, deliciously contrasting flavors, and astonishing natural warmth of its people, Camuto portrays Sicily at a shining moment in history. He takes readers into the anti-Mafia movement growing in the former mob vineyards around infamous Corleone; tells the stories of some of the island’s most prominent landowning families; and introduces us to film and music celebrities and other foreigners drawn to Sicily’s vineyards. His book takes wine as a powerful metaphor for the independent identity of this mythic land, which has thrown off its legacies of violence, corruption, and poverty to emerge, finally free, with its great soul intact. Watch the Palmento book trailer on YouTube.
The Four Corners of Palermo
A noir and sensual page-turner that cracks open the Mafia’s secret world through the stories of four livesPalermo in the 1980s is a perfect place for a young crime reporter to get his start. The Sicilian Mafia is at work, threatening, wounding, and killing anyone who dares to defy their orders. Our protagonist is himself no angel, hardly compassionate, a bit macho and egocentric, but candid in his recounting of what has unfolded in front of his eyes both on the job and in his private life.Di Piazza, who is also a Sicilian journalist, tells his stories as if he were reporting actual events. His description of the tense bravado of a youth growing up in the midst of Mafia terror is strikingly acute.
The Leopard: A Novel
Set in the 1860s, The Leopard tells the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution. The dramatic sweep and richness of observation, the seamless intertwining of public and private worlds, and the grasp of human frailty imbue The Leopard with its particular melancholy beauty and power, and place it among the greatest historical novels of our time.Although Giuseppe di Lampedusa had long had the book in mind, he began writing it only in his late fifties; he died at age sixty, soon after the manuscript was rejected as unpublishable. In his introduction, Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, Lampedusa's nephew, gives us a detailed history of the initial publication and the various editions that followed. And he includes passages Lampedusa wrote for the book that were omitted by the original Italian editors.Here, finally, is the definitive edition of this brilliant and timeless novel.(Translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun.)
The Shape of Water (Inspector Montalbano, Book 1)
“You either love Andrea Camilleri or you haven’t read him yet. Each novel in this wholly addictive, entirely magical series, set in Sicily and starring a detective unlike any other in crime fiction, blasts the brain like a shot of pure oxygen...transporting. Long live Camilleri, and long live Montalbano.”—A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window The Shape of Water is the first book in the sly, witty, and engaging Inspector Montalbano mystery series with its sardonic take on Sicilian life. Silvio Lupanello, a big-shot in Vigàta, is found dead in his car with his pants around his knees. The car happens to be parked in a part of town used by prostitutes and drug dealers, and as the news of his death spreads, the rumors begin. Enter Inspector Salvo Montalbano, Vigàta's most respected detective. With his characteristic mix of humor, cynicism, compassion, and love of good food, Montalbano battles against the powerful and corrupt who are determined to block his path to the real killer. Andrea Camilleri's novels starring Inspector Montalbano have become an international sensation and have been translated into numberous languages.
The Wine-Dark Sea (New York Review Books Classics)
Leonardo Sciascia was an outstanding and controversial presence in twentieth-century Italian literary and intellectual life. Writing about his native Sicily and its culture of secrecy and suspicion, Sciascia matched sympathy with skepticism, unflinching intelligence with a streetfighter's intransigent poise. Sciascia was particularly admired for his short stories, and The Wine-Dark Sea offers what he considered his best work in the genre: thirteen spare and trenchant miniatures that range in subject from village idiots to mafia dons, marital spats to American dreams. Here, in unforgettable form, Sciascia examines the contradictions—sometimes comic, sometimes deadly, and sometimes both—of Sicily's turbulent history and day-to-day life.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Paper Folded)
Swiftmaps is proud to partner with Smithsonian Journeys to bring a new and exciting World Map series to the American marketplace. Featuring eye-catching bold and vivid colors complemented with rich vintage tan ocean tones that will make this the perfect reference piece --- sure to stand-out and highlight any home or business wall. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching visual shaded 3D relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Now printed on high-quality 80 lb. paper and professionally FOLDED in a compact 8x10 inch size. FEATURES: 1) Africa centered allowing viewers to see continents complete and intact 2) Clearly labeled country and city names for easy location 3) Latitude and longitude indications 4) Shaded relief of ocean and land topography 4) Desirable Miller Projection. The Smithsonian Journeys wall map series serve not only as a handy reference piece, but as an eye-catching accent for any room or office. NOTE: each map is professionally folded to 8x10 inches and when unfolded the map is 24 inches high and 36 inches wide.
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