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walking in Palermo

I will be arriving in Palermo, Sicily three days before I join my tour group, and will be staying at the Central Palace Hotel. I am a single woman age 66, and would like to ask if it will be safe in the daytime to walk along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele to the Cathedrale and the Capella Palatina. I would also like to visit the Martorana. Please advise.

Posted by
8293 posts

I think you would be perfectly safe as long as all necessary precautions are taken to prevent pickpocketing. There is a hop-on/hop-off bus in Palermo which will take you to most of the sites. If you google it you can view a map of the 2 routes, one even goes to Monreale. If I remember correctly, the tariff was 11 euro for the route in red, a couple of years ago.

Posted by
425 posts

The Centrale Palace Hotel in Palermo is THE MOST CENTRALLY LOCATED HOTEL in town for a tourist. You could not have made a better choice in terms of location!!!

From this location, you will be able to WALK to ALL sites in central Palermo without needing to take the bus. The Cathedral is 6 minutes away; the Cappella Palatina another 2 minutes further on. It takes about 8 minutes to walk to the opposite end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele (by the seafront).

You can also walk from this location to the train station (8 minutes), along Via Maqueda, or north to the Opera House (7 minutes).

From the back side of the Palazzo dei Normanni (Piazza Indipendenza), you can take the No. 389 city bus to Monreale.

Palermo is perfectly safe, especially during daylight hours. Just be a little careful about your purse: either use a money belt, or keep your purse hanging on the OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE STREET. This is because a purse hanging on the "street side" becomes a tempting target for "scippatori" (young thugs/juvenile delinquents (all male) on motorbikes who may snatch the purse and cause you to fall to the ground with injuries). The best solution is to avoid carrying a purse altogether. Pickpockets are sometimes present on the buses, but this is certainly manageable.

I don't imagine you'll be walking in the dark, but if so, stick to the main streets and avoid the numerous dark and narrow alleyways, particularly in the Kalsa, Vucciria, Alberghiera and Capo districts. Walking along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Roma should be OK (but avoid this after 10 p.m., if possible).

Posted by
425 posts

I forgot to mention in my posting above of having read about a middle-aged female Belgian tourist who was injured, about one month ago, when a "scippatore" in Palermo snatched her purse while she was walking near the Quattro Canti intersection (just a few yards from the Centrale Palace Hotel), causing her to fall to the ground and lacerate her arm and shoulder. That is why I stress the need to be very careful about carrying purses on the streets of cities and towns. I have seen many women carry their purses on their shoulders OPPOSITE the street side, such that they are less of a target for these hoodlums.

Posted by
1540 posts

I was in Palermo by myself for 2 days and I walked all over - no problems. I even walked in the early evenings - but not late at night.
I'm 60 and travel solo.
Just use common sense and you will have a great time.