Palermo, the capital of the autonomous region of Sicily, is one of the cities that boast very distinct ambience with the reality often exceeding imagination and rooted stereotypes. It is a Mediterranean centre full of the typical southern hustle and bustle. Visiting Palermo can often turn out to be a great adventure as it is definitely not one of those cities that would conform to tourist expectations at any cost. Quite contrary, it keeps its distinctive character.
The Arabic origin of the markets in Palermo is still apparent; their hustle and bustle, smells, colours as well as narrow streets full of miscellaneous market stands make you feel like being in the Orient. By all means, do not miss the food market in the quarter of Capo, which is probably the biggest one in the city and is notable for its unique atmosphere.
In order to see the entire historical part of Palermo, you will have to spend there at least a couple of days. You will definitely not regret it if you do so. Wherever you go, you will always feel the spirit of history materializing itself in the form of historical monuments and unique landmarks. The unique feature number one are the buildings combining both the Christian and Arabic architecture styles. One such example is the San Giovanni degli Eremiti church known for its five red domes and beautiful exotic garden. Capella Palatina, one of the most famous structures of entire Sicily, is part of the royal palace and is famous for its glorious golden mosaics. Once at the crossroad of Via Maqueda and Via Vittorio Emanuele streets, you will surely be captivated by another unique landmark – the San Giuseppe dei Teatini church . Its gold, marble, stucco decoration, and paintings will take your breath away, indeed.
Other travel tips
Taking the children with you? Then do not forget to visit Museo Internazionale delle Marioanatte, the biggest puppet museum in Sicily. If you are lucky to be in Palermo in the period between 10th to 15th July, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the most well-known feast called Festino di Santa Rosalia, which annually takes places to celebrate the patron of the city. It includes parades as well as fireworks.
If you wish to make a trip out of the city, you can hop on a boat from the port to take you to the Ustica island, which is 9 kilometres distant and boasts beautiful nature, caves, and beaches. Located in the south of Palermo, the little town of Montreale with its monastery and world-known 12th century basilica is undoubtedly a must-see for every visitor of Palermo.