We enjoyed our trip to Palermo so much that it took us some time to put together all the collected material for our articles. The first thing we want to talk to you about though is the place where we stayed. Usually, this is a topic we do not consider that much but in a sense, the place that hosts us is a metaphor for an entire city and its character. Our intention was to stay as much as possible in the heart of Palermo with the purpose of walking around as much as possible (the best way to get acquainted with a new place) and enjoy the somewhat small size of the city.
We decided for an Air B&B solution and attracted by the name of the apartment (Casa Barocca) we made our reservation. Once we landed in Palermo we left the bus that took us from the city airport to downtown (about 40 minutes away) and we had to walk not more than five minutes to find ourselves right in front of our building.
It was a 1700 palace that had certainly seen better times but had not lost traces of its old magnificence. I immediately connected the sight, the feeling and the cat scent to another city that I visited numerous times: Istanbul.
The courtyard was vast and imposing, while the worn out blue working suits of the housekeeper were hanging in the middle to get dried. Cat food bowl, residues of unfinished renovations, small and bigger plants vases piled up in precarious order were giving to the courtyard a certain sense of abandonment and denounced the fact that the large and proud palace had been inhabited for the various generations by people who were not able to live at its height.
The housekeeper indicated to us with a certain phlegm were the apartment was and we were soon climbing a wide and beautiful red marble staircase which was more or less the size of the National Library Braidense in Milan. Nazim and I could not believe our eyes: the late afternoon light was coming through three huge windows while a couple of flying pigeons crossed the immense staircase to reach their nest hidden between the baroque stucco spirals. We really felt we were in a movie.
Alessia and Andrea, who take care of the house and the booking, were already waiting for us on the second floor and we were immediately delighted with the first glance into our apartment: a spacious and cleverly empty room with only a few pieces of vintage furniture and two door windows on small balconies overlooking the Ballarò rooftops, one of the most famous markets in the Old Town.
An iron spiral staircase led to the second floor where a large and inviting grandmother’s bed together with a few other elements furnishes a spacious and bright attic with a wooden roof. Our young hosts explained to us that the actual owner used the two properties (there is another apartment just beside that can hold more people) as warehouses and they used to be completely stuffed with old furniture. They finally decided to fix them and rent them for short periods.
Palazzo Filangeri di Cutò was built by Prince Alessandro Filangeri Gravina, Prince of Cutò in the second half of 1700. The facade is 65 meters and through the Arco of Cutò, you can reach, as we mentioned before, the old market of Ballarò which derives from the old Suk al Ballarath: the market of mirrors or crystals. The decadence began around 1873 when the branch of Cutò’s princes family was extinct and the palace was bought by several owners.
Palermo is a fascinating city, overflowing with beauty and studded with secret corners to discover.Palazzo Cutò for us has been the perfect place to dive day and night into the incredible atmosphere of a city that it’s worth every minute you spend there and the perfect choice for anybody who would never swap a noble palace with a Holiday Inn experience.
Palazzo Cutò Rental info (AirBnb web site link): rental
Betti and Nazim