Palermo is a real puzzle, a city full of contrasts, where beauty and neglect often share the same spaces. The Sicilian capital, however, remains one of the most fascinating cities in Italy: it is a mix of peoples, cultures and traditions. Palermo has a thousand faces: here people from distant countries have met and mixed together, leaving indelible signs in the architecture and souls of its inhabitants. Visiting Palermo is an unforgettable experience and in this article we will suggest those 5 things that, in our opinion, you absolutely must do in the city!
1. Taste the Street Food
Let’s start with the most delicious part: if you are going to visit Palermo you must absolutely taste the street food of the city.
Among the market stalls and on street corners, in fact, street vendors prepare some of the delicacies born from the contamination of the kitchens of the dominators who have followed one another in this land. Arabic, French and Spanish influences mingle with the local gastronomic tradition in delicious dishes to eat on the go during a stroll through the old town.
Among the most famous dishes of Palermo’s street food are, for example, ca meusa bread, crocchè, panelle, sfincione and the famous arancina. Obviously it doesn’t end here: there are really a lot of dishes to taste. Our suggestion is to wander around the markets and participate in our Palermo Street Food Tour. During the tour, thanks to the local guide, you will have the opportunity to discover curiosities about the city and taste the best Sicilian “street” dishes.
2. Taste the city’s desserts
Those who visit Palermo cannot absolutely miss the opportunity to taste the excellent desserts of the local confectionery. Among the best dishes to eat in Palermo, in fact, there are also many desserts!
So, keep some space between one arancina and another, because you can’t leave the city before you’ve tasted a cannolo, cassata and the excellent Sicilian granita!
Our tours, for example, all end with a delicious taste of a dessert, even our traditional gastronomic tour of Palermo.
Have we already told you that even a couple of days in Sicily can ruin an entire year’s diet?
3. Walking around the markets
One of the most beautiful experiences to live in the Sicilian capital is to walk among the stalls of the many markets around the city.
The best time to visit them is in the morning, when everyone is open and full of life. Here you can find all kinds of goods: from fish to meat, from fruits and vegetables to cheese, up to the excellent street food.
The markets of this city have something magical in them: you get lost, you are fascinated by the dialect of the sellers, you want to buy everything! The colors and scents are vibrant and reflect the warmth of the Sicilian land.
Among the most beautiful markets in Palermo, we suggest you to visit the following ones:
- Ballarò: the oldest in the city.
- Il Capo: here you will find everything you need, from food to household items.
- Vucciria: a time dedicated exclusively to meat (the name comes from the French word boucherie, i.e. slaughterhouse).
4. Visit the Norman Palace and the Palatine Chapel
Whether you have decided to spend several days in the city or you only have a weekend to visit Palermo, there is one place you absolutely must go: the Norman Palace.
The Royal Palace of Palermo is located in Piazza Indipendenza and is the emblem of the history of the Sicilian capital. The residence was built by the Arabs, enlarged by the Normans and then became the seat of Spanish power.
The Norman Palace has always been a sumptuous palace, full of decorations and magnificence. Every corner of it tells the story of the city and the dominations that have followed one another here: the architecture still shows the signs of Arab virtuosity, Norman embellishments and Spanish touches.
The courtyards and gardens are magnificent, as are the historic apartments, but there is one place that leaves one’s eyes open most of all: the Palatine Chapel.
This masterpiece was built in 1130 at the behest of Roger II of Sicily and is a basilica with three naves decorated with beautiful golden mosaics. The most famous of these mosaics is the pantocrator Christ.
To visit the entire palace with calm and tranquility calculate at least a couple of hours.
5. Going to the sea
Finally, among the things to do absolutely in Palermo can not miss a dive into the crystal clear waters of its sea.
Mondello’s beach is only 30 minutes by car from the centre and is the favourite of the city’s inhabitants. Here the water is crystal clear and the sand is very fine. In summer it is always very crowded, but in Spring and between September and October (when temperatures in Sicily are still warm), the situation is different and the atmosphere more relaxed.
The town of Mondello is perfect to spend a few days at the beach: there are many accommodation facilities and the promenade is full of bars and restaurants where you can taste the local delicacies.
We told you what to do absolutely in the Sicilian capital, now you just have to choose to visit Palermo and join us on a gastronomic tour to taste all the goodness of this city. We are waiting for you!