Durham, United Kingdom
September 22, 2004
I would not say the reviews were misleading: Giorgio is a genuinely nice guy who goes the extra mile for his guests, rooms are basic but comfortable and clean, and the ratio of two bathrooms to three rooms is not bad either. Breakfast is juice, coffee, fresh chocolate croissants, fresh bread and jam, and french toast, which Giorgio makes at about 8:30 am (he does not live on the premises). Towels and basic toiletries are supplied and the kitchen has a gas stove and a large fridge. What I would say is that the reviews may lead you to overlook Palermo's (not Giorgio's) downsides, and, maybe, spend longer in Palermo than you should.
The location of Giorgio's House can scare the first time visitor, especially if you arrive at night. The streets hardly look safe, and its not until you can get out in the daytime that you realise that you are just 50m from the Palazzo dei Normanni and the main police headquarters. Its a 10-minute walk from Palermo Orleans Train Station. A ticket to/from the airport will cost 4.50 euro. Trains from the airport leave 40 minutes past the hour; trains back to the airport leave 17 minutes past the hour. Giorgio will collect you from the station when you arrive.
Giorgio's House is on the second floor of a block of flats. You get a key to get you in the secure front entrance and a second key to get you in the flat. As well as the kitchen, there's a TV room for guests to use (all channels are Italian), and a bakery/pizzaria just downstairs (closed Sunday).
During our stay, Giorgio took us to Erice for an evening in is own car. This was a lovely trip, especially since the peacefulness of Erice contrasts so starkly with the raucousness of Palermo. All we had to do was chip in for the gas.
I find it hard to recommend Palermo for an extended trip, but if you do find yourself there, then Giorgio's House is a good place to stay. Check out his chaotic website. Giorgios House. Credit cards are not accepted. You have to vacate your room by 10am on your day of departure, but he's a good guy and will let you stay in the house for as long as you need if your flight or train is not until late. He'll give you a key to get in and out of the house. This is actually quite a bonus as you can rest up in the TV room and shower before you depart.
From journal Sicily - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly