We were able to find an apartment, using www.homelidays.it which was two floors up and with a balcony over the Mercato di Capo. And back windows looking through still not restored bombardment damage from WWII and beyond to the forecourt of the Ministry of Justice and the monument to the investigating magistrates assassinated in the war on the Mafia... though in the market below, we had stall holder assurance that still they have to pay the mafia to be there.
But this is a blink in history, this market was the Arab market before the Normans arrived around the time they conquered the English. And this market has every kind of local food. Without question, if you want to begin to understand any place in Italy, start with the eating the locals do, not the places where they feed tourists.
Expect here as in much of provincial Italy, that English is negligible. Also expect, if you think you speak Italian, that you and the Palermitano will both most likely be speaking foreign.
Do not do foolish and risky and provocative things (including in women's dress), perhaps do not come to Palermo in the crowded tourist seasons (too hot for me anyway, certainly not with money slung over your shoulder in any form. "Sta attento!" as old and concerned locals kept saying to us. But we did not feel threatened at all and by doing our best to fit in and be friendly this was an excellent base from which to see the city.
The city is not easy initially to find your way around, certainly not when you have a virus as I had, but when you get the hang of the geography and the bus system, all will flow for you... and you will find it an excellent place to visit and learn.
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