Sicily is known to be a relaxed and slow-paced island, just off the toe of the boot of Italy, but for a sample of urban city life on the historical island, a visit to the vibrant and unique Palermo is a must for your holiday itinerary. Considering the island is separated from the mainland by just a slither of ocean, the two destinations couldn’t feel further apart, with variations in culture, food, language, celebrations and history, a holiday to Palermo will be enriching and full of surprises.
Claimed by many to be one of Palermo’s best attractions, the bustling markets in the city centre will provide an experience like no other. With the noise of stall holders, the smells of fresh spices and bread and views of a rainbow of colours, the markets captivate visitors with their charm. So, whether you just want to grab a cup of Italian coffee and simply sit and observe the everyday life of passers-by at the markets, or, you want to get stuck in and browse the many intriguing and differentiating stalls, the Palermo food markets will not disappoint. Each stall is full of curiosities, everything from artisan chocolate, fruits and vegetables, to souvenirs, handmade leathers and pottery.
Palermo is a city facing the sea, and you won’t have to wander too far to find your way to a dreamy shore to spend a couple of hours or a day, relaxing and unwinding to the sound of the ocean. There are regular buses and taxis that will take you to the well-known beaches such as Mondello and Aspra, but if you’re feeling up to a day of exploration, the quieter, untamed coves either side of Mondello are worth the extra journey and peace and quiet when you get there.
Cathedrals, Churches and Palaces
The bustling city of Palermo is the regional capital of Sicily, and this title means the city walls are home to a collection of fascinating historical structures, including cathedrals, churches and palaces. The Palermo cathedral is one of the most imposing and dramatic structures in the city, built in 1184 the building has had a range of purposes throughout its history. The structure features several styles, from Gothic, Medieval to Arabic, all of which hint at the diversity the city of Palermo has embraced and experienced.
The Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace of Palermo features on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List and both inside and out, there is an overwhelming demonstration of craftsmanship, skill and beauty. Intricate carvings, delicate and detailed paintings and historical artefacts offer visual delights to all visitors.
Opera dei Pupi (Puppet theatre)
A remaining and celebrated part of Sicily’s cultural identity is the Opera dei Pupi, and Palermo is one of the best locations to witness first hand one of the entertaining and traditional performances. The puppet theatre originates from as early as the 15th century and the tales presented have had minimal alterations since that time, with the underlying theme of the performances focusing on historical events and fables. The International Puppet Museum in Palermo houses one of the largest collections of marionettes and puppets in the world, and there are regular workshops and performances that visitors are encouraged to attend.
We would love to hear about your experiences in the stunning city of Palermo via our social media channels! Did you get to do any of the day tips mentioned here during your stay in your luxury villas in Sicily?
Image credit: Rolf Dietrich Brecher