Palermo – Italy Information
Extravagant and vibrant, Palermo invites you into an array of flavors, colors and bustling streets. Set in a peaceful bay surrounded by Sicily’s fertile basin Conca d’Oro, named for the golden color of the orange groves, the city bears traces of historic invasions by the Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Spanish and Normans. Head to La Vucciria market to sample almonds, marzipan, spices, peppercorns and candied fruits. Then, explore the historic center — visit the Cathedral, which dates back to 600 AD and features Gothic, Moorish and Baroque architectural elements. Then, take the short drive to Mt. Pellegrino, where you can trek up the granite cobbled hiking path and take in the refreshing greenery of the natural reserve.
THINGS TO DO IN SICILY (PALERMO)
THE PULSE OF PALERMO
Get a real feel for the character of the city strolling through the stands of the Vucciria market. Sample the fresh citrus and tomatoes, and take in the rich smells of oregano and porcini mushrooms. Stop at a food stall for arancini, fried spheres of saffron-infused rice with meat, tomato sauce and cheese.
DRAMA AT THE OPERA
The Teatro Massimo is the largest opera house in Italy and combines Neo-Classical, Greek and Renaissance architectural styles. It also appears in a few key scenes in “The Godfather.” Take a guided tour to learn more about the theater’s history and architecture.
BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN
Take the half-hour drive to Mount Pellegrino, and hike the cobbled path to the top, where you’ll meet breathtaking views or the Bay of Palermo, the mountains and the Tirrenean Sea. Visit the shrine to the Patron Saint Rosalia — the inner sanctuary is a unique mix of ornamental icons and roughly hewn rock.
Sicilian cuisine is a delightful blend of Middle Eastern, Spanish and Italian flavors based on fresh vegetables, seafood, spices and nuts. Seek out local specialties like pasta con le sarde — pasta with fresh sardines, onion, fennel, raisins and pine nuts — or sfincione, Sicilian focaccia with tomatoes, onions and anchovies. For dessert, try cassata, an Arabic-influenced dish of pistachios, candied fruit and sweetened ricotta cheese.
For hand-stiched leather goods, visit Via Volturno. Nearby on Via Maqueda, you’ll find some fantastic deals on genuine pearl necklaces and traditional ceramics. The pulce market is a fun flea market. Browse the stands and find some unusual items from antique to vintage, including traditional Sicilian puppets.
The port of Palermo, a buzzing Mediterranean Cruises destination, is the regional capital of the island of Sicily. This cosmopolitan city is known for its heavenly architecture, serious street food, and outrageously beautiful beaches.
Cruises excursions offer plenty of exciting things to see including:
Palermo and the Palatine Chapel
Archaeological Site of Segesta and the Town of Erice
A Cruise excursion to Palermo will have you marvelling at the city’s wealth of landmarks. See Politeama and Quattro Canti squares, the Palazzo d’Orléans and the remarkable Palatine Chapel. A fusion of Norman, Byzantine, and Fatimid styles, this 12th-century masterpiece features shimmering mosaics, Arabic arches, and a magnificent Muqarnas ceiling. Next, see the Norman Palace and Casa Professa, a breathtaking Baroque church. Finally, wander the Capo, the most frenzied of fish markets, before glimpsing he exterior of the Teatro Massimo opera house.
Immerse yourself in Italy’s rich history on a Cruise excursion to Segesta, one of Sicily’s revered archaeological sites. Visit the unfinished Doric Temple and the 3rd-century Greek amphitheatre before stopping at the medieval mountain township of Erice. Discover charming houses on cobblestone streets, a Norman castle, and the 14th-century Mother Church. Heading back to Palermo, marvel at the impressive defensive wall protecting this historical town.
Tour the charming coastal town of Cefalù, on a Cruise excursion. You’ll begin with a visit to Duomo di Cefalù, an astounding Arab-Norman cathedral. Dominating the surrounding old town and adorned inside with impressive mosaics, this religious location is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 12th-century. Enjoy a guided tour of the medieval washhouse, masterfully carved out of rock. Finally, explore the atmospheric streets of Cefalù where you can shop local wares at the craft shops.