Varied and multiethnic, the capital of one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, the city of Palermo has always been linked to the sea, a source of life, commerce and entertainment.
If the visit of the places of worship represents, yesterday as today, the starting point of any tour to discover the local baroque, the experiences to be done on the narrow and shabby streets of Panormos – from the Greek παν-όρμος, “all-port” – are many and varied.
There are artisan shops where you can buy classic or modernized majolica and moor’s heads, but also jewels and tailoring products of all kinds discovering the history of centuries-old craftsmanship, and the city markets in which to breathe the folklore of a land with strong colors, between “Virgin Mary street shrines” and “clothes hung out to dry in the sun” as in the song by two local songwriters.
There is the dark and noble side of Palermo – that of the Paleochristian Catacombs of Porta D’Ossuna (discovered in 1739, but dating back to almost two thousand years ago) and of the crypt below the church of Santa Maruzza dei Canceddi – and that of bright colours, like the emerald green of the almond paste decorating the sweets of traditional pastry or the exquisitely turquoise of the “Promenade of the Marina”, perhaps the best postcard on the Gulf.
There is the Palermo that serves sandwiches with the spleen and the one that sets up famous and sought after shows in over 10 theaters in the center, from the opera house of the Teatro Massimo – the largest opera house in Italy and the third in Europe after Paris and Vienna – to the experimental Free Theater, born from the ashes of the former Hotel de France.
Impossible not to be fascinated by this undeniably splendid city which, unfortunately, shows signs of neglect and decay on many of its monumental assets, which the mild climate, the liveliness of the people of Palermo and the extraordinary cuisine will soon make you forget!
On this page we show you 8 classic or less usual experiences to do in Palermo to fall madly in love with this city of contradictions and contaminations.