Giorno 2 – Gli occhi sulla città

La sveglia a Palermo suona senza fretta e la colazione la si può scegliere tra i forni e nelle pasticceria della città, a base di cannoli, cassatelle, granita o brioche col gelato.

Una volta raccolte le forze necessarie si può iniziare immergendosi tra i vicoli dell’Albergheria, tra il vociare dei venditori del Mercato di Ballarò; qui passano davanti agli occhi velocemente la storia e le tradizioni della città, i colori e i profumi cambiano ad ogni angolo, sui banchi si trova qualsiasi prodotto, nel mercato tutto sembra essere rimasto immutato nel tempo e ciò che vi sorprenderà di più sarà scoprire che qui ancora si fa la Riffa: si vendono i biglietti numerati estraendo a sorte il numero che verrà premiato, con denaro o beni alimentari.


Non perdetevi la Chiesa del Carmine, sembra scomparire tra le bancarelle ma emerge con la sua splendida cupola maiolicata che domina i tetti della città; mettete in conto di perdervi tra i vicoli, a noi è capitato diverse volte, lasciatevi però guidare dai sapori e assaggiate tutto ciò che vi attira e vi incuriosisce: ostriche e cozze fresche, da mangiare crude, cardi, zucchine, cuori di carciofi fritti in pastella, stigghiole, interiora di maiale avvolte intorno al cipollotto e cotto alla brace, formaggi locali di vario tipo.

Andate a visitare la Chiesa del Gesù in Piazza Casa Professa e infine sbucate su via Maqueda, che incrociando Corso Vittorio Emanuele spacca in quattro la città. Proseguendo sulla strada raggiungerete Piazza Pretoria, conosciuta anche come Piazza della Vergogna, in riferimento alla nudità delle statue che la circondano. Imboccate la stradina che porta alle spalle del Palazzo Pretorio, che oggi ospita il comune,  e vi troverete di fronte due degli edifici più belli e storicamente rilevanti della città.

La Martorana, costruita nel 1143, conserva una serie di stili e opere che ne risaltano la bellezza ormai decadente. Consacrata al rito greco-ortodosso e nel passato gestita dalla comunità albanese della città conserva i mosaici tipici bizantini,  su due delle colonne ci sono anche iscrizioni arabe che testimoniano la forte impronta medio-orientale lasciata sulla città. Uscendo dalla chiesa ci si trova di fronte un altro edificio, meno imponente, ma che attirerà di sicuro la vostra attenzione: la Chiesa di San Cataldo. Esempio massimo di fusione tra arte araba e normanna, costruita nel periodo di Ruggero II, è sormontata da cinque cupole che le danno le sembianze di una moschea; anche l’interno è semplice e costruito con una pianta molto simile agli edifici di culto islamico, con tanto di Miḥrab.


Se il tempo vi sembrerà passare veloce non potete trascurare un’ultima visita prima di guadagnarvi il meritato riposo. Proseguite su via Maqueda, ai Quattro Canti svoltate a sinistra su Corso Vittorio Emanuele e proseguite verso Porta Nuova. Dopo poche decine di metri rimarrete incantati da uno spettacolo che lascia a bocca aperta: la maestosità della Cattedrale. Fu eretta nel 1184, e per un breve periodo fu anche trasformata in moschea. Le forme goticheggianti la rendono ancora più imponente e si riafferma il forte significato temporale oltre che spirituale conferitogli dai re normanni; nel 1600 il culto di Santa Rosalia viene introdotto nella Cattedrale, con la costruzione della cappella dove sono custodite le reliquie, e con l’istallazione della statua della Santa nel piazzale.

Oggi nel piazzale è conservato anche il carro di Santa Rosalia; durante il Festino, come viene detta la festa patronale, l’apice è raggiunto con l’uscita del favoloso carro trainato da Buoi o altri animali (nel seicento addirittura erano Elefanti) che portano in trionfo la statua della Santa ed i suoi resti lungo lo storico percorso che va dalla Cattedrale di Palermo al Foro Italico.

Dopo la visita alle Cattedrale andate verso Porta Nuova, superatela e raggiungete Testagrossa (Corso Calatafimini, 795 – 091425315), un banchetto con le prelibatezze a vista, qualche tavolo e qualche sedia nella saletta interna e sul marciapiede antistante, prezzi contenutissimi. L’esperienza dello street food palermitano qui la si può vivere a 360°; da assaggiare pane panelle e crocchè, e il pane ca’ meuza (panino con la milza) per i più temerari, noi l’abbiamo provato e lo consigliamo con una spolverata di caciocavallo o ricotta.

Il pomeriggio, se siete a Palermo d’estate, prendetevelo comoda e programmate una passeggiata a mare. Ad una trentina di km dal centro della città c’è il borgo di Trabia, il nome viene dall’arabo Al Tarbiah (La Quadrata per la conformazione urbanistica), con le sue spiagge rocciose e il mare cristallino è il luogo adatto per trascorrere qualche ora, aspettando il tramonto; un bicchiere di vino bianco e un po’ di frutta fresca di stagione renderanno perfetta l’attesa della cena.

Poco prima del tramonto riprendete l’auto e andate a Sferracavallo, un borgo marinaro ricco di ristorantini di pesce; fermatevi da quello che più vi piace, noi abbiamo scelto la Spaghetteria Ai Frutti di Mare (Piazza Marina, 10) e abbiamo trovato pesce fresco, piatti cucinati splendidamente, un buon vino bianco della casa e un ottimo servizio.

Per il dopo cena, se avete ancora voglia di stare in giro tornate nella zona della Vucciria o all’Olivella, le zone del centro che non dormono mai.

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