My travel vice – buying books in Palermo

I can do without 5* accommodation, fine wines and Michelin starred food. I like to shop on markets, take the cheaper and infinitely more interesting bus rides and I’m happy to sleep wherever as long as I can get some kip. That said I’ve realised that there is something that I cannot do without. And that is books. I finished my last book 4 days ago now. As I arrived in Italy I was reading On the road by Jack Kerouac to get me that spirit of adventure, maybe just a bit less destructive and wild. 

As I was in Italy I decided to re- read the amazing Anthony Capella’s Food of Love as it is set in Rome and easily one of my favourite books. With its dark humour, passion, and the stunning descriptions of Italian food and the pleasures of eating it’s a firm fave that I like to dive back into every so often. It’s beautifully written with an engaging story and a running theme of food that always leaves me lusting after my next meal.  I then got on a bit of an Anthony Capella spin and downloaded The Empress of Ice cream and The Wedding Officer both of which involve Italy and food in great measure.  The Food of Love is set in Rome and The Wedding Officer in Naples so I thought that to read them in Italy would be perfect. I love Anthony Capella and would wholeheartedly recommend all three of these books although The Food of Love is still my favourite. 

   Buy The Food of Love on Amazon

I had a couple of book vouchers so I downloaded all three of those for free but then I was at a loss. The book exchange in my hostel has two English books and I had absolutely no desire to read them. Visiting other hostels with other book exchanges also failed to deliver any good finds. I was getting desperate. I began accosting strangers for English books, but still to no avail. I didn’t want to pay to download more books on my iPad. I’m still a purist and like the feeling of paper under my fingertips. Also using the iPad limits the places I can read. While I feel safe in Palermo whacking out my iPad in the middle of the street or park isn’t the wisest choice. 

Then I found a beautiful bookshop, La Feltrinelli on Camillo Benso Cavour 155. Past the Marina and just off of Via Roma. I was happy, I felt comfortable, I wandered around picking up arms of books. Guidebooks, translations, Italian workbooks, poetry, stories and then I bounced over to the till with my four carefully selected books, stepped out the door with a crisp paper bag bulging with treats and realised I had just dropped €48 on books. When I had allotted myself €70 for the week.


I’m trying to feel bad about it, I really am. But then I see those four crisp paper spines just waiting to be cracked open and I can’t get too mad at myself. 

How the purse is looking

  • Arrancina for lunch – €2
  • Beer & dinner last night at Qvivi -€5
  • Ridiculous splurge on books -€48

TOTAL: €402

Definitely going to be eating plain rice and spaghetti for the next week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s