Thursday morning we drove from Selinunte to Palermo, a city on the northwest coast and the largest in Sicily. The city seems lively, but a bit dirty (especially the air at times). After checking in at our hotel we found some cheap pizza for lunch, then took a long walk into the older part of the city to see the Cathedral. I spent the afternoon exploring the city, checking out a local garden and walking near the harbor to a park where you can see the cruise ships leaving. I then headed back in the direction of the hotel via some shopping along the busy main street. For dinner, we had penne alla parma (obviously this is a Sicilian specialty), chicken with almonds, potatoes, a spinach ball, and chocolate cake.
Friday we flew from Palermo to Rome and checked back in to the Santa Chiara. You really notice the difference between Palermo & Rome seeing them on back-to-back days! Derick and I went for lunch at Dar Poeta, then I went on a long walk through the city to Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Piazza Quirinale (where the President’s palace is), and Palazzo Barberini—one of my favorite museums (highlights include Raphael’s La Fornarina and Caravaggio’s Judith, among others). For dinner, we had gnocchi in white cream sauce and penne pomodoro, a really tasty eggplant lasagna, salad, excellent red wine, and pineapple. After dinner Derick and I headed back out to see the Campidoglio and Forum at night, then got some gelato at a new location of Gelateria del Theatro (after sampling about 7 flavors, I went with Sicilian Almond and Pure Chocolate). We walked up to Girabaldi, where I fulfilled a dare to get a picture with a rose-seller, then walked back to the hotel via Piazza Navona. Excellent night (despite the rain) in Rome—sorry to be leaving tomorrow, but very happy to be heading home!