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What to do in the rain and dry
These are well worth visiting if you're not easily disturbed or squeamish - very interesting and somewhat sad. The catacombs are situated at the side of a church, through a doorway where you pay your 3 euros to the monk in charge. Down some stairs to where the mummified remains of monks, men & women, soldiers and children have been perfectly preserved from the 1500s to the 1880s. Amazing to see them just lying there, or hanging from hooks on the walls - it was cool and quiet (but not smelly!).
We walked there (luckily it wasn't actually raining at that time) - take the road past the Cathedral, turn onto Via Cappuccini and keep walking until you reach a failry big crossroads, turn right and the church is opposite. Took us about half an hour to walk from the Cathedral, hoping that we were going in the right direction!
Ideal for those of with slightly macabre tastes.
Cost - 6 euros each. There are two beautiful courtyards with plants and statues, which would have been lovely if the sun had been shining. As it was, it was pouring with rain so we had to skip from arcade to arcade to avoid getting drenched.
Several floors with all the usual stuff - old bits of stone, sarcophagi (sarcophagusses?), statues, greek urns and thousands of little pottery heads. There was also a tiny coffee shop, but we gave that a miss.
Fab food market off the Via Roma or Corso Vittorio Emanuele, permanently lit by bare light bulbs, there are a host of little stalls selling fresh fish, fruit and veg, nuts and spices and meats. We bought giant walnuts and figs, and I was tempted by the oversized knobbly lemons called "cedro".
Take the time to explore on foot ... walk down to La Cala and admire the fishing boats, rest on a bench that looks like a polka-dot bed, by the sea on the Foro Italico. Discover the different piazzas ... Piazza Marina was my favourite with it's giant banyan trees (the fact that it's surrounded by restaurants and bars had nothing to do with my decision!). Stroll through the street markets and admire the diverse range of goods on offer. Find beautiful churches that aren't mentioned in the guide books. There's always somewhere you can stop for a delicious coffee and a yummy Sicilian cake or ice cream!
This was NOT easy to find - in the end, we had to ask for directions more than once! It's a little way along Via Butera from the La Cala end, but then it's down a side road on the right, and not signposted very well. The afternoon we went it was completely empty, which meant we could be as silly as we liked with the puppets, which for the most part are hanging in a huge store room. Slightly creepy. There is also a theatre but sadly there were no shows on when we were there (mind you, I suppose they'd have been in Italian anyway).