Vucciria: Your Mother’s Nightmare, Your Jersey Shore Cousin’s Dream

What do you get when you cross hundreds of macho tank top guys, disgusting street food, broken glass, and giant speakers? Vucciria. Palermo may be all beautiful cathedrals and crystal clear waters by day, but by night it’s a whole new world out there. Crowds flock to Vucciria, a neighborhood encompassing two squares joined by a narrow street and lined with bars. On Saturday nights it’s a madhouse. Allow me to immerse you in the scene.

Your eyes are watering. Steam from sizzling sheep organs assaults them. Your clothes are damp, a mixture of warm spilled beer and perspiration as you stumble into the square. Glass crunches at your feet, but you don’t look down. Smashed beer bottles and cigarette butts are the floor to you now. You’re accosted by the tank tops. Loud neon colors, bulging muscles, hair that’s short on the sides and slicked back on the top, warm bodies jumping. 

A movement catches your eye. Up there, above the mass of heat and skin is a small girl, out on her balcony. But oh it’s obscene: graphic dancing, body moving far too seductively for such an innocent age, and the parents slowly dragging on Marlboros beside her. A French bachelorette party averts their eyes in shame. You are drawn back into the mass. The tank tops are angry now. Hurt pride drives the pulsating testosterone beings, and they butt each other like rams. Next to you, a former male stripper practices his seduction. “What are you doing tonight?” the girl breathes. “Drinking your beer,” he replies. You notice a bar called The Different. Yes. This is different. You are different now. 

You think of how simple life would have been if you had just stayed in Oregon. Maybe ran a Swiffer over the floor before turning in early. If you were feeling adventurous you could have taken a family vacation to Indiana and looked through the Skymall catalog on the plane. But alas. Vucciria has you now, and she is a harsh mistress.

Emily Corrigan

Emily prepared for her travels in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands this summer in a Rocky-esque training montage: speed-eating croissants, running up hills wearing comfortable walking sandals, and bench pressing her 30-liter Osprey travel backpack. However, she realized the intense training may be getting to her when she drop-kicked a box of macarons off the Eiffel Tower, injuring three. For the rest of the summer, she recovered by playing chess with nice Flemish people. She ate frites. She took a silly yet endearing picture intentionally missing the point of the Louvre pyramid with her finger. She is now fully rehabilitated.