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Summer is now over but, as predicted, many people have chosen to postpone their vacation period between September and October, because of the delay of most vacations during the summer season. As we had the opportunity to say at the beginning of June, in Italy and in Europe the entry rules for tourists and visitors in light of the safety regulations are constantly evolving, and there are some news for the autumn, useful to know for those who are planning a trip during these months.

In Italy the situation remains almost unchanged, citizens can move freely within the Italian territory except for Sardinia, which will require a mandatory registration until October 7th with a specific procedure for both tourists and Sardinians returning from other locations: in addition to registration, which can also take place in advance, an update on the state of health is also requested to be presented a couple of days before arrival.

The same thing is requested by Belgium, which is instead implementing a “traffic light” strategy in constant evolution, with the application of different protocols based on the origin place, if considered more or less at epidemiological risk: from the 2nd of September some Italian regions have been classified as “orange” requiring them to present the negative swab certification before entering the country.

France and Denmark, on the other hand, have loosen the restrictive measures undertaken during the summer period, now allowing citizens from the European Union to circulate freely with the exception of visitors from the United Kingdom, for which home isolation is still required, considering also the reintroduction in Great Britain of the quarantine for 14 days.

Going into the details of the situation in Sicily and, specifically, of the Palermo Airport, according to the ordinance n ° 34 of the 10th of September 2020, all passengers arriving from Greece, Spain, Malta, France and Croatia will have to undergo the rhinopharyngeal swab, within the special area set up in the airport structure itself (unless a swab was carried out within 72 hours before at a certified health facility), and register at special platforms in order to monitor any health updates. In addition, in a perspective of ensuring increased safety, a Gesap-Asp agreement was signed for swabs and serological tests on a voluntary basis for all the people that work at the airport.

In this autumn still “hot”, both for the climate and for the health emergency, a small positive note for our trips is introduced by Ryanair, which starting from the end of October will increase its Palermo-Memmingen routes and will offer its passengers discounted tariffs to increase travel to Europe.

News

“Mondi Imperfetti” (imperfect worlds) is the theme of the eleventh edition of “Una Marina di Libri“, now a historic annual appointment with independent publishers that for this year has been postponed to September, abandoning the classic early summer weekend due to the sanitary emergency. From 24 to 27 September, therefore, the new edition of the festival will be held at the Botanical Garden, with a theme particularly suitable, if not prophetic, for the period we are experiencing.

Imperfection as a pretext for enrichment, the beauty of differences and the possibilities for improvement that they offer are the fulcrum of the interventions and presentations that will be proposed to visitors, with great insight into dystopia, bringing up historical authors such as Orwell, Asimov and Bradbury and on linguistics, semiotics and communication, seen as an important tool for cultural evolution.

A big space will also be left to Sicilian authors, with the participation of Stefania Auci – author of the publishing success “I leoni di Sicilia” (The Lions of Sicily), a novel about the origins of the Florio dynasty – and the commemoration of Andrea Camilleri by the Sellerio publishing house.

For the first time, a space will be dedicated to books about music, with the section “Marina Rolls”, as well as the world of school and innovation, key topics of this season especially due to the link that has united the two aspects during the lockdown period.

Although the health emergency has put a strain on the organization of this new edition, the partnership with the University of Palermo and with other cities has made it possible to set up one of the most loved events of the city, held for four years at the Botanical Garden, a suggestive place particularly suitable for hosting the plastic-free structures of the participating publishers stands. Precisely following the safety rules, this year the number of visitors will be regulated in such a way as to allow a carefree fruition of the festival: the web will make it even easier to look at presentations and initiatives, as it already happend with “Smartina: a remote Marina di Libri”, a cycle of thematic seminars organized in June through the Microsoft Teams platform.

Although in a slightly different and “resized” form compared to other years, Una Marina di Libri offers independent literature to the inhabitants of Palermo again, inspiring them with always new inputs and offering them a way of coping with culture and initiative to an “imperfect period”.

Travel notes

Among the most important Sicilian turistic attractions in this particular Summer 2020, Agrigento definitely stands out, as we have already had the opportunity to talk about the initiatives promoted by the Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples). In addition to the archaeological park, however, the city itself has registered a positive trend, which at the end of the season demonstrates the tourist importance of the area.

As the mayor himself Lillo Firetto said, the large quantities in terms of presences and incomes deriving from the tourism sector proclaims Agrigento as a destination not anymore for “hit and run” holydays, but a real tourist center whose attractions have allowed a solid season, despite the Covid emergency.

The secret of the success of the ancient Akragas is in the mixture of culture, art, nature and pristine sea, reachable from Palermo Airport in just over 170 km. In addition to the Valle Dei Templi (Valley of the Temples), one of the most important archaeological site, Agrigento has other wonders dating back to past dominations, such as the Hypogea, dating back to 480 BC, which reveal the wonders that the city hides under its feet. These underground tunnels, dug into the calcarenite (typical stone of the buildings in the area), were initially conceived to guard the water reserves, but were later used to store food, different kind of resources and, in a much more modern era, as air-raid shelters.

Going back up on the ground, the historic center of Agrigento reveals to its visitors suggestive and typically Sicilian glimpses, where the sings of the past dominations are clearly visible. A visit to the Cathedral of San Gerlando, a majestic example of architectural mixes, and the birthplace of Pirandello, which has now become a museum entirely dedicated to the writer, cannot be missed during a tour of the city.

Between one visit and another, Agrigento also allows suggestive breaks by the sea thanks to the places nearby. The most popular is the Scala dei Turchi (currently closed to visitors), but in the immediate vicinity it is possible to enjoy the crystal clear waters of Realmonte or the unspoiled nature of the Torre Salsa Reserve, which alternates sea with typical flora and fauna of the dune environment of the area (distinctive of the reserve, the sand dunes of aeolic origin allow the growth and survival of some very specific species).

The summer in Agrigento is not over yet! Thanks to the hot climate, the city’s summer initiatives will last at least until the end of the month, with special openings, evening events and much more.

Gusti-Bus

One of the most popular dishes among Sicilian families and spearhead of the menus of the region’s typical restaurants, the pasta with sardines is a true symbol of Sicilian cuisine. Today our journey on the Gusti-Bus stops here, meeting some of the ingredients that we have already mentioned in the previous appointments of our gastronomic tour which, as we have already had the opportunity to say, represent the foundations of the Sicilian cuisine.

It is funny to think, and actually it is so, that pasta with sardines is one of the first experiments of “mari e monti” (literally sea and mountains, meaning the combination of sea and mountain related food) dishes in Italy: the recipe in fact is made of a tasty sauce based on sardines, fennel, raisins and pine nuts, a tasty mix with an affordable price, making it ideal to be to protagonist of most of Sicilian meals.

Also in this case, as in many other traditional recipes, the history of pasta with sardines is anything but simple, and indeed it is shrouded in mystery: the most accredited theories date this dish back to the 800, exactly between Byzantine and Arab domination in Sicily. At that time the Eufemio da Messina’s cook, during the advance of the Saracen in Sicily, found himself having to feed the troops with what the territory offered, and so he created a condiment based on sardines (abundant in Sicily), saffron, imported from the Arabs and pine nuts which, known for their detoxifying power, were present in many dishes of the time.

Over the years, the tradition of this particular sauce for pasta has continued from generation to generation, with many variations based on the area of ​​Sicily to which it belongs: if a “white” version without tomato is widespread in Palermo, in Agrigento it is instead used the tomato paste, for an even more decisive taste. Another greedy variant includes toasted breadcrumbs, or it is particularly known, especially for the funny name, “pasta with sardines at sea”, that is pasta with the same ingredients but without sardines (which are at sea, in fact) and therefore based on tomato, raisins, pine nuts and breadcrumbs. The presence of sardines is in fact very linked to seasonality: the most abundant and quality fishing takes place between March and September and, therefore, you have a month to try this tasty Sicilian specialty!

Bus tales

Two of the most popular symbols of the city of Palermo are the Massimo and Politeama Theaters, which characterize the urban center and give citizens and visitors a suggestive walk between the two large squares that host them.

As we have already mentioned when talking about some interesting things to know about Palermo, the city holds the primacy for the coexistence of two opera houses, an example followed only later by other important cities for culture in Italy and Europe. Both theaters, however, not only represent a place of entertainment, but rather tell the story of a city growing during the 1800s, and today are two very important symbols of the city, taken with affection as a point of reference by all the people that live in Palermo, thanks also to their central location (one of the stops of our shuttle bus is in fact right next to the Politeama Theater, so it is a point of reference for us too!).

Speaking of the origins of the two theaters, we cannot fail to mention the “dualism” that distinguishes them in every aspect, right up to their origins: if the Massimo Theater had the aim of becoming the hub of the recreational activities of the bourgeoisie and the nobility, the Politeama Theater had the one to be the reference point for the entertainment of all people, with shows and operettas during daytime, suitable for everyone.

Another dualism concerns the two areas where the theaters are located: Piazza Verdi (the square of the Massimo Theater) was already a central place at the time and particularly privileged thanks to its proximity to both the ancient walls and the urban center of the period, Piazza Castelnuovo instead, it was still a countryside area, where only the first hints of the future neighborhoods were visible. It should be specified, however, that the Politeama Theater should have been in Piazza Marina, but with the fall of the Bourbon empire the preliminary works were interrupted to start again four years later, with the indication of a new area for the construction.

Regarding the architecture that distinguishes the two structures, we can speak of “double”, with reference to the two great figures who took care of the construction of the two theaters: Giovan Battista Filippo Basile and Damiani Almeyda are two very important names in the history of architecture in Sicily. Basile, in the construction of the Massimo Theater, was able to overcome the contrast between architecture and engineering by creating a monumental and cutting edge structure, the young engineer Damiani Almeyda, on the other hand, managed to communicate the more usable and “light” nature of the Politeama Theater also with its external appearance, slender but elegant, with the recurring use of the shape of the arch, which recalled the circus structures.

Today reflecting on the differences between the two theaters is funny, especially regarding the reasoning underlying the urban planning issue: now the two structures are considered to be just a few steps away, not reflecting on how much those 650 meters of distance, at the end of the 1800s, marked a great cultural, urban and social difference. As for the soul of the two theaters, the type of shows offered still embodies the concept of the time: if the Massimo Theater is a stage (in every sense!) of national and international opera, the Politeama Theater mainly hosts concerts and prose shows, thus providing, together with the other theaters in the city, a varied and important program of events

News, Travel notes

As we had already seen from the statistical data of mid-July, Sicily is now confirmed as the flagship for this very particular summer of 2020, thanks to a mix of elements including the variety of offers both in terms of places and locations.

These two features are not mentioned by chance, as they well represent two of the Sicilian locations that recorded the highest number of visits in Italy, namely Agrigento and Taormina, closely followed by Selinunte, Segesta and Monreale. A peculiarity that unites these places is certainly, in fact, the possibility to enjoy both the beauties, among monuments and archaeological parks, and benefit from the surrounding bathing areas! Just think of the beach of Isola Bella or the entire coast adjacent to the Scala dei Turchi to be able to easily imagine how much these splendid and evocative places can only contribute to creating an extraordinary complete package for the visitor to Sicily.

The detail that immediately catches the eye is the triumph of archaeological sites: the Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina also contributes to complete the previously listed picture, thus confirming that summer is not only all Sicilian, but also characterized by a strong interest towards the historical-artistic testimonies.

Sicilian archaeological parks and sites of interest, it must be said, are well prepared for the arrival of this summer: if the Greek Theater of Taormina persevered in a dense program of musical events, started around mid-July, the Valley of the Temples was the first park in Italy to be certified “Covid-Free” and it also launched an official App designed to guide the visitor both before and during the visit to the site.

The Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina, on the other hand, a little less known but guardian of an inestimable heritage, will be open until 25 October also at night, thus giving a new perspective, under the moonlight, of the ancient Roman villa with its decorations still perfectly preserved. The night opening of monuments and points of interest in Sicily is a topic on the agenda, as the redistribution or extension of the scheduled time provides for a better organization of visitors throughout the day, a highly strategic choice to the present day.

Although in comparison with the past years the data are not entirely prosperous, compared to the prospects for March and April, traveling to Sicily was the most suitable choice for both Italians and foreign tourists, a choice that demonstrates the solidity of the region. within the tourism sector.

Services

The Prestia e Comandè computer or smartphone platforms allow you to book or change tickets and season tickets, manage your customer data, monitor buses in real time.c

As we have already seen, inside the reserved area each customer can access the services offered by Prestia e Comandè 24 hours a day, comfortably from the sofa or from his own mobile device. In addition to the features that we have already talked about, there are two very important elements dedicated to the customer, which allow frequent travelers to obtain advantages and … prizes!

By purchasing tickets for their route as registered customer, each passenger will have the opportunity to participate in points collection: 15 points are assigned to one-way routes and 30 for round-trips (although the cost of the round trip ticket has an advantaged cost of 10 € compared to 11 €). Once 300 points have been collected, the passenger can have a free ride, while with 600 points it will be possible to make a round trip. Through this system, therefore, the more you travel the more you accumulate points the more…you travel for free!

The routes won by collecting points can be monitored from the coupon section, where there are also the passenger’s other “credits”, deriving for example from a suspended or canceled ticket: managing and using your Prestia e Comandè coupons is quick and easy, as within the section you can easily identify the amount of coupons won by collecting points (Appy Gifts field), those still valid and therefore to be used, those which have already been used and those that have expired. From the same section it is also possible to convert your paper coupons issued by physical ticket offices.

Using this system, the platform becomes a real tool for users who regularly use the Prestia e Comandè services, such as the routes to and from the Falcone e Borsellino airport in Palermo and the extra-urban routes.

Gusti-Bus

This month our tour through Sicily’s traditional food stops in Piana degli Albanesi, a town connected to Palermo thanks to our fleet.

Those who are passionate about sweets must have already guessed what we are going to talk about: Piana’s cannoli! Cannoli, a specialty of the whole island but local pride of Piana degli Albanesi, boast a centuries-old history whose real origins are cloaked in mystery.

As we have already discussed in other “stops” of our Gusti-Bus, the tradition of sweet ricotta derives directly from the Arab domination, therefore it is assumed that cannoli also draws its origins from the same era. Certainly there is already proof from around the year 70 BC, when Cicero himself says he tasted a cake with the appearance and filling similar to that of cannoli.

Tradition has it, with a hint of malice, that the shape of cannoli derives from a playful double meaning, reason for which it has long been considered the typical Carnival dessert. Nowadays it is found on our tables at any time of the year, but in particular between December and May, the best time for the production of sheep’s ricotta.

From province to province, Sicilian cannoli change slightly in their composition, but the bases remain the same: the zest, wrapped around a “cannello” (a metal cylinder) and fried, contains strong flavors such as cinnamon and bitter cocoa, while the ricotta is worked with sugar and sometimes topped with chocolate chips. What changes from area to area is the final garnish, which can range from candied fruit to pistachio grains or other types of dried fruit. The contemporary tradition also includes the variant with a chocolate coating of the zest, to keep the outside more fragrant.

The variant from Piana degli Albanesi, one of the most famous, is mainly characterized by its size (according to the recipe it should be at least triple the traditional version) and for the chocolate garnish and candied orange peel. But the real protagonist of Piana’s recipe is the ricotta, coming directly from the pastures of the area and processed in such a way as to have a consistency and a flavor that is still “raw” and genuine.

Services

As we have already seen, online ticket offices are the easiest, fastest and most convenient service to buy tickets of any kind.

With the new Prestia e Comandè platforms, it will be possible to buy the ticket for your seat directly from the website or from the app, a service that was already available but that the new features make even simpler and more fluid, more and more handy and functional.

Prestia e Comandè tickets can be purchased both for the routes to and from Palermo Falcone e Borsellino Airport and for the extra-urban stops of the fleet, allowing you to easly organize your trips even before leaving home.

Through the new platforms it is possible to purchase your ticket both as a guest, proceeding quickly without registration, or as a registered user, a possibility that also allows you to monitor and manage the purchased routes simply and quickly.

Once you have paid for your ticket by credit card, the ticket will be sent to your mailbox together with an A4 label, that you can comfortably print at home and hang to the handle of your luggage: in this way it is easier to recognize your own baggage when getting out of the vehicle, thanks to the QR Code which contains the personal data of the owner of the suitcase.

And what if, once the ticket has been purchased, there are some changes in your plans? No problem! If the ticket was purchased as a guest, you can contact the Prestia e Comandè customer support. If, on the other hand, you have your own reserved area, you can easily change or suspend your ticket: from the “tickets” section, in fact, you can change the date or time or suspend the ticket, automatically generating a coupon corresponding to the spent amount, to be used later. The acquired coupons can also be monitored and managed from the reserved area.

With the Prestia e Comandè website and app, traveling with the company vehicles is even easier and faster, with just one click!

News

After a couple of months of preparation, the Italian summer can finally take off, with the first data relating to the trends of the Italian people for this peculiar 2020 season available.

Although the precautions taken by the various European countries have proved themselves not to be very binding, as we already have had the opportunity to see, the Italians expressed their intention to stay in their country making short or medium-distance vacations.

Just in these weeks, an ENIT (National Tourism Agency) report came out based on the number and type of reservations in hotels and accommodation facilities, which helps us make an identikit of this year’s Italian travelers.

Regarding destinations, in these holidays according to the ENIT the least chosen areas will be the large cities of art, much more dependent on the international tourism than the coastal areas, preferred instead by the Italians.

Even the chosen travelling-periods are slightly more unpredictable than in the previous years, with reservations until September and October, thus describing a tendency for Italians (but not only) to plan for stays until the autumn. Going instead to a demographic survey, it emerges that most of the Italians traveling this summer cover an age group ranging from 36 to 55 years, suggesting that family vacations are predominating: university students, who generally choose European destinations, are instead penalized by the situation.

Taking a look at travelers from the rest of Europe, the data confirm that Italy remains one of the most sought-after destinations, for a combination of factors including budget and pleasant climate even in the autumn, also thanks to the loosening of restrictive measures.

Positive indications also come from the airports: Palermo Airport, directly connected to the city with our fleet of shuttle buses, registers a resumption of activities with its 51 international and 19 national routes. Furthermore, in order to incentive flights to the city, the airport is starting a project through which the purchase of a plane ticket to Palermo grants a free night in one of the hotels that join the initiative.

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