A Trip to Bagheria

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Occupying a bluff fifteen kilometers east of Palermo, Bagheria enjoys a privileged position with views of both the Mediterranean and the capital. Its name either descends from the Phoenician Bayharia (“land that descends toward the sea”) or the Arabic B?b al-Gerib (“windy gateway”). Both descriptions are apt.

In the 18th century, the elite of Palermo chose Bagheria as the place to escape city life and erect their villas. These remain into the present day, and give the town of 55,000 a peculiar feel. Gorgeous Baroque and Neoclassical villas with poetic names like Palagonia, Spedalotto and Serradifalco are spotted throughout the town, hidden among ugly newer constructions thrown together in the post-war years.

The fantastic Villa Palagonia is the big touristic draw in the city, and we’ll be writing about it soon. Just outside the town is the Villa Católica, which houses a museum dedicated to the painter Renato Guttuso. Besides that, though, there isn’t a lot to see in Bagheria, and a walk around the town doesn’t require more than a couple hours. Still, we enjoyed ourselves. The street life was lively, and we particularly appreciated the pedestrian-only zone: something Palermo itself is in desperate need of.

In Sicilian, Bagheria is called Baarìa, which is also the name of an excellent film by Giuseppe Tornatore. Baarìa opened the 2009 Venice Film Festival, and was nominated for a Golden Globe. Following the life of a man from Bagheria from youth through old age, the film provides an interesting lesson on Sicilian politics and history.

Bagheria on our Sicily Map

Buy the movie Baarìa here

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Peter Witton

    What an excellent blog.  I look forward to reading more of it.  You have convinced us to stop in Bagheria.

  2. Le Roy

    En voyage en Sicile, j’ai passé ma dernière journée (avec 6 autres personne) (le 26 09 2014) à Bagheria en attendant d’aller à l’aéroport de Palerme.Visite très agréable de la ville, De belles façades, de belles villas (hélas entourées de grands murs)de petites rues encombrées, colorées, de belles églises très décorées dont une tout en haut de la via Umberto I.Nous avons mangé à la “Taverna”3 via Largo Maggiore. Accueil très chaleureux, la propriétaire parle un français correct et fait beaucoup d’efforts. Elle nous a préparé un repas de chiffonnade de charcuterie avec de la salade, un bon pain cuit au feu de bois et du raisin d’Italie très goûteux.Le rapport qualité/prix est on ne peut mieux, 97 € pour 7 avec vin et eau compris.Le restaurant est dans une rue très typique avec beaucoup d’agitation. Il faisait très chaud mais sur la terrasse à l’ombre, nous avons bien profité de ce repas.Restaurant à recommander.

  3. Robyn

    Fantastic photos! I have in-laws that live there but I’ve never explored the town, just been to their place! Next time for sure!

  4. Bernardine

    We took the train from Palermo to Baheria last spring and had a very nice day there. Lunch at Don Ciccio, which is highly recommended. A fun experience, to be certain

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