Palermo is the capital of Sicily, the biggest island of Italy. It lies at the foot of Monte Pelligrino and faces the beautiful Tyrrhenian sea.
With a diverse and multicultural population, Arab-Norman buildings from the 9th and 12th centuries, baroque churches and a busy port, Palermo is the hub of the Mediterranean.
Rich in history and culture, the city is blessed with excellent weather and, of course, great food.
The must-see sights
Palermo can claim a beautiful artistic heritage due to the presence of the Arabs and Normans in the past.
The church La Martorana, the Cathedral, Palazzo dei Normanni (Normans Royal Palace), Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel), Palazzo Abatellis, Massimo Theater and Politeama are some of the must-see sights in the city.
The list of attractions is quite long, but the Cathedral, from the XII century, is certainly the most impressive architectural monument in Sicily.
In Palermo you can find examples of different types of architecture from art nouveau, like Villa Igiea, to Chinese style, like the Palazzina Cinese.
Unbelievable, isn’t it?
Street food and markets
Palermo is well known for its street food, a real gem. While strolling around the city you are likely to see many hawkers, selling ice cream, granita, pizza, panini and so on. Just give them a try, the food is also really affordable!
If you are looking for local markets, La Vucciria is probably the most popular one in Palermo, with its small alleys and picturesque street vendors. According to the Sicilian dialect, the word Vucciria, means chaos, noise, turmoil, due to the vibrant and lively atmosphere of the place. You can’t miss it! In the evening you might even have a few drinks and eat fresh octopus on the grill.
Another quaint spot in Palermo is Ballarò, a very large market with lots of local food, fresh vegetables, fruits and butchers' shops. With its loud and colorful ambience, Ballarò will give you a taste of Palermo's Arab past, for sure.
In Palermo art is everywhere.
If you are passionate about museums you can’t miss these places:
Museo Archeologico Regionale Salinas, which illustrates the history of western Sicily.
Museum of contemporary art called Palazzo Riso.
Sant’Anna Modern Art Gallery.
If you are delving into Palermo’s culture, you should visit a new museum called No Mafia Memorial dedicated to the history of the mafia and to its victims. A very interesting experience which will help you better understand Sicilian history.
One of the greatest things to enjoy in Sicily is certainly the food. Palermo can offer a huge
variety of food that will make you feel like a kid in a candy shop.
You can’t leave Palermo without having trying panelle (chickpeas fritters), sfincione (a traditional kind of pizza), panino con la milza (spleen sandwich), crocchè (potato fritters), brioscina con gelato (a fluffy bread bun filled with gelato), cannoli and sicilian cassata. There is much more to try, you will need at least a month to eat everything.
What else to say? Palermo won’t let you down for sure!