Taking on Sicily with a stop in Palermo

horse-drawn-carriage-in-palmeroOutside a scene from the Godfather, planning a trip to Palmero, Italy had never been on my radar.  The blessing about a cruise itinerary, however, is it can force you to explore parts of a country that previously were not at all on your map.  After getting a little of a late start from a full day of exploration in Rome, we hopped off the boat and on to a Palmero adventure.

As with many cities that have an active tourist influx, there was an assortment of choices of what to do in Palmero right off the boat.  Of course with research you can have a pretty good idea of what is a highlight on your list.  As I had not gotten around to that part my hopes were to grab some good food at best and make the most of it.  What caught my eye upon exiting the boat was the horse drawn carriage tours.  My daughter has a mild horse obsession and I thought it would be a great way to make some ground in exploring Palmero under the guidance of a local.

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Of course with this being Italy negotiation is key and the optimal time for that is before you agree to anything.  This was a lesson in retrospect for me, though and after hearing the price we hopped in and off to our tour.  palermo-12 palermo-3Palmero is an old town and the balance between the old and new results in a busy city patiently waiting for the stream of horse drawn tours all through the city.  These tours offer several city highlights that you can choose to hit or miss during your tour.  We started with a stop at an old opera house that looked relatively interesting.  After getting locked in and a small panic attack at the thought of being locked in this Italian opera house we thought pass bys were just as good as full time exploration.  I got to see the Theatro Massimo stairs of the famous Godfather scene which covered what I knew of Palermo before I went.  Churches like the Oratorio di Santa City are always breathtaking and a good way to slow down parts of your trip and just enjoy and be thankful.

Probably what we like best about this type of tour option is the ability to customize it to just what you want, when you want.  If I say the Fontana Pretoria that struck my fancy I was able to say yes I love it stop or nope I’ve seen 5 keep moving.  One of my favorites stops was the tree garden, Orto botanico di Palermo, within the city.   orto-botanico-di-palermo-3Something about trees that have lived from hundreds of years put in in total awe of Mother Nature.  The fact that I got to combine this with hop offs in stores, churches, and landmarks alike put this tour pretty high on the top of my list on how to get around Palmero.