Sicily Map

If you have already decided on Sicily as your new home, the best thing to do would be to rent a villa for a week. The past decade has seen countless ancient properties renovated, and prices for this kind of luxury are relatively affordable. Near Taormina, two- to five-bedroom villas start at ‚1,000 to ‚2,000 per week. If you’re only here for a couple of days, use Palermo as a home base to explore the northern half of the island. The Ambasciatori Hotel (Via Roma 111, tel. 091/616-6881, www.ambasciatorihotelpalermo.com, ‚100 d, ‚60 apartment) is an excellent choice. The hotel is right in the downtown, but its rooftop terrace is an oasis of calm, overlooking the skyline of domes, bell towers, and mountains in the background. FOOD Palermo is overflowing with wonderful trattorie, serving the gamut of Sicilian specialties from seafood to couscous, all with a touch of citrus. One of the better choices downtown is Ai Cascinari (Via d’Ossuna 43 45, tel. 091/651-9804, 12:30 3:30 P.M. and 7:30 10 P.M. Tues. Sun., ‚6 10). It has a simple, country-style menu with a mouthwatering variety of seafood in season: from red snapper and swordfish to stuffed calamari and sardines. Just down the road is another favorite, Trattoria Mamma Ciccina (Via d’Ossuna 15, tel. 091/212-011, www.trattoria-palermo.it), also serving typical seafood dishes, such as the classic pasta with sardines and fennel, but also an array of meat dishes, such as veal involtini and an excellent spezzatino, a stew of mixed meats.

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