Quick Guide to Palermo
Palermo is an excellent place for those who seek adventure and discovery, because it has chaotic, beautiful amalgamation of varying architectural styles, its bubbly population and bustling lifestyle.
During its long and storied history, the capital of Sicily has been ruled by everyone from the Romans to the Spanish, Moors, Normans and, of course, Italians. The legacy of this chequered history is seen in the range of architectural styles around this ancient city - Baroque, Byzantine, Roman Gothic - and its winding streets and bustling markets ooze the vibrancy of the medinas of its Northern African heritage. Its grandeur might be crumbling, but it's a truly beautiful world city.
Sicily is littered with churches and cathedrals, palazzos, museums and squares - in Italy, the country that boasts the highest number of world heritage sites in the world, it has the most in the entire country. Try and time your visit for 2018, when Palermo becomes Italy's Capital of Culture.
Fab holidays for:
Layers of history, unique Sicilian food, sunshine
Did you know?
The sonnet was invented in Sicily!
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Top 5 Things to do in Palermo
In a city of such an advanced age, it's no surprise that there's a huge amount to see and do. Unless you spent a year among its crumbling buildings and chaotic streets, you'd struggle to see anything on one holiday. Here are some must-sees to get you started during your Palermo city break.
- Explore a Palace
- The streets of Palermo are studded with palazzos of former Sicilian noble families. While some of these families still occupy the same palazzos they've called home for the past several hundred years, many are now hotels or museums. The Palazzo dei Normanni is the oldest royal residence in Europe, and from Friday to Monday visitors are welcome to explore its extravagant apartments. Le Stanze al Genio Museum is housed in a former lavish palazzo, while Palazzo Comitini, Palazzo Sant'Elia, Palazzo delle Ferrovie and Palazzo Jung all display styles of various eras.
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- Like any self-respecting European city, Palermo has a spectacular cathedral. Theirs, which was begun in the 12th century, reflects the various architectural influences of its many conquerors.
- Indulge in Street Food
- Palermo's bustling markets are worth a visit, even if just to see the locals go about their daily shopping. But get amongst the chaos with a street food feast - Forbes named Palermo one of its top cities in the world for street food. And we can see why: trays stacked high with arancina (not arancini as in the rest of Italy!), tables of sfincione (Sicilian-style pizza), piles of crocchè (Sicilian croquettes) and sweet cannoli with every filling imaginable.
- Go to the Opera
- Palermo's Teatro Massimo is Italy's largest opera house. Opening in 1897, it took cues from ancient and classical Sicilian architecture, Neoclassical styles and the high Renaissance. You might recognise it for its appearance in the final scenes of The Godfather III, but it's renowned for its near-perfect acoustics, ballet productions and opera season.
- Join La Passeggiata
- This Italian tradition sees locals take to the streets in the evening for a slow stroll around the city's piazzas and pedestrian strips. They gossip and stop for wine, show off new babies and new loves. It's a great way for visitors to see the city on foot.
How To Get To Palermo
To make cheap holidays to Palermo possible you might consider taking a flight into the Falcone-Borsellino Airport, which is 31 kilometres away from the city itself. To follow up on cheap flights to Palermo you will probably want to take advantage of Palermo car hire options, although it is worth noting that the rules of the road and driver behaviour are very different here to those in the UK! Alternatively, you can get a ferry from mainland Italy, or take a train from Rome.
What To Do In Palermo
The stamp of great historical events is visible throughout this city, with ongoing restoration work having rectified the splendour of some areas, whilst others showcase how time and various conflicts have taken their toll. There are markets and shops galore, and the cuisine and nightlife is enough to keep you sated throughout your stay. The influence of Middle Eastern conquerors from centuries past is visible in some of the architecture and culture. This city is a true melting pot that wants to make you a part of it all!
Where To Stay In Palermo
Palermo holidays give you plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation, with high class hotels situated in the renovated modern heart of the city, whilst smaller bed and breakfast arrangements or rentable apartments can help diversify your options during holidays in Palermo.
When to go to Palermo
Palermo turns the heat up to 10 during the summer months - temperatures in the high 30s aren't unusual. What's more, many businesses shut up shop during this period. On the flipside, there are fewer crowds to contend with. May, June, September and October offer more bearable temperatures. However, prices do rise during this time. You'll find the best deals during winter - cold days aren't unusual, however; expect temperatures in the low to mid teens.
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