What to see in Palermo: A guide to Art, Culture & Street Food

07 May 2024

Are you wondering what to see in Palermo in few days during your stay? Keep reading our official guide to discover our suggestions!

Arab-Norman Palermo

Nestled on the northern coast of the captivating island of Sicily lies a city steeped in history, culture, and culinary delights: Palermo, the Sicilian capital. With roots tacing back to Phoenician origins, Palermo’s history is a vibrant mosaic that includes the Romans, Arabs and also Normans. This rich cultural heritage is evident at every turn so you can’t miss it, starting from its majestic Cathedral – a UNESCO site marrying Arab and Norman influence – to the Norman’s Palace with its stunning Palatine Chapel, Zisa’s Castle and Martorana’s Church.  

Not only Arabs and Normans: Liberty and the Opera

Beyond the Arab & Norman influence, Palermo’s architectural heritage is enriched by so many different styles, such as the elegant Liberty Style, also known as the Italian Art Nouveau. This style flourished in the late 19th century and its most idyllic piece is the Villino Florio: prime example of Palermo’s Liberty elegance.

No exploration of Palermo would be complete without mentioning the iconic Teatro Massimo. Dominating the city’s skyline with its imposing presence, this architectural masterpiece stands as the symbol of Palermo’s cultural richness and artistic legacy. Built in the late 19th Century in the Neoclassical Style, the Teatro Massimo is not only the largest opera house in Italy but also ranks third in Europe, after Paris and Vienna.

Markets and Street Food

In the heart of Palermo, through art and architecture, lies also a culinary paradise waiting to be discovered. The city’s populated street markets, steeped in history and traditions, offer a feast for the senses that is not to be missed. Among the must-visit markets are Vucciria, Ballarò and Del Capo, each offering a vibrant atmosphere and a treasure of local delicacies.

Indulge our thaste buds, from the iconic Milza Sandwich to the beloved Pane & Panelle, a savory delight made from chickpea flour. Don’t miss out on Palermo’s signature Arancine, a culinary masterpiece filled with rice and savory fillings such as sauce and meat or ham and butter. And remember, in Palermo  they are called Arancine and not Arancini, as in the east side of Sicily.

No culinary journey here would be complete without some typical sweets as Cannoli or Cassata, both filled with sweet ricotta cheese. In Palermo, every market has a story to tell, a tale of centuries-old traditions and culinary craftsmanship passed down through generations. So why wait?

Relax and green spaces

If you’re wondering how to relax and take a break from the chaos of city life in Palermo, look no further than its lush green spaces. Foro Italico, Palermo’s beloved waterfront promenade, beckons with its tranquil ambiance, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a refreshing jog, or simply basking in the warm sunshine.

For nature enthusiasts and curious travelers alike, a visit to the beautiful Orto Botanico (Botanic Garden) is a must. This verdant oasis is home to a diverse collection of rare plants and exotic flowers, set amidst tranquil pathways where you can unwind and reconnect with nature. Don’t miss the chance to discover the city’s tallest tree while exploring this botanical gem. Also a famous writer has been to the Orto Botanico, describing it as the spot in which you can fully understand the sense of life!

Mondello and the seaside

Framed by swaying palm trees and rugged cliffs, Mondello beach offers a perfect escape for sun seekers or just adventourous souls. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, Mondello has something for everyone., swim or just have a walk. For those craving adventures, Mondello provides ample apportunities for water spotrts from windsurfing to kayaking! As the day draws to a close, be sure to witness the breathtaking spectacle of sunset, as hues of pink and gold paint the sky, casting a soft glow over the tranquil sea.

Have you ever visited Palermo? We’d love to hear about your experience! Share your tips and recommendations in the comments below to help fellow travelers make the most of their time in this amazing city.

And if you’re planning your trip to Palermo, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for practical advice and insider tips. Click here to get in touch with our Tour Operator, Sicily Travelling and start planning your adventure in Palermo today!

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