While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.
On 20th July 2007 I was in the classical Italian City of Palermo in Sicily…
A couple of years ago I suggested to some regular travelling pals that we should go to Naples in Italy for a few days. They were horrified by the suggestion because of the city’s reputation as being rather dangerous. They said that they would prefer to go to Barcelona in Spain even though I pointed out that the Spanish city is the pickpocket capital of Europe and had recently suffered a terrorist attack.
I couldn’t persuade them to reconsider so we travelled to Naples by ourselves. We thought of ourselves as intrepid adventurers stepping out boldly into a dangerous Italian city. For us this completed a trio of visits to so-called risky Italian cities because previously we had stayed in Bari in Puglia which enjoys a similar reputation and Palermo in Sicily, the home of the Mafia.
I have often wondered where all of these crime stories come from and are they true? It seems that they are linked to a web of crime syndicates that operate across all of southern Italy. Sicily has the Cosa Nostra, Naples the Camorra, Calabria has the ‘Ndrangheta and Puglia the Sacre Corona.
In preparing this post I did a little research and was surprised to find that not one of these cities is in the top ten hazardous places in Italy with the top three spots being taken by Milan, Bologna and Rome all of which are all further north.
I think it is fair to say that a tourist is at more risk from a street pickpocket attack than an organised crime syndicate.
A year later we went to Madrid and my friend, who thought Naples was dangerous, had his wallet stolen in the street.
Click on an image to scroll through the Palermo Gallery…