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Palermo: An Introduction to the Sicily You Don’t Know

What do you know about Palermo -the capital of Sicily?? I’m guessing if you’re a seasoned traveler to Italy like I am, you probably know a little but not a lot. I’ve often felt that Palermo is often overshadowed by other Italian cities and even not traveled as much to Sicilian cities such as Taormina or Catania. But there is so much to see and do in Palermo that it’s a pity people miss visiting the Sicilian capital! That’s why VisitPalermoa company owned by Sicilians comes into play! Maurizio Giambalvo, the Founder and Owner of the Company, aims to promote tourism in the region of Sicily through Visit Palermo. And now here’s an introduction to the Sicily you don’t know.

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Visit Palermo: Cathedral of Palermo

Visit Palermo constitutes a fantastically professional team who are super passionate about their region and culture. Maurizio’s Company offers day tours, airport transfers, cooking courses, workshops, cultural visits, adventure activities and much more! If you book through them you are in the best of hands! To be honest, they gave me a big push for my trip to Sicily! Had it not been for them, I wouldn’t have made the effort of visiting Sicily at all. A big thanks to them!

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The Premises of Visit Palermo

Palermo- the Sicily you don’t know

Ruled by the Normans, Romans, Byzantines, Spanish and the Arabs, Palermo has had its fair share of history. A city like no other, Palermo has unique architecture which is part Gothic, baroque and part Arabic and Norman that simply leaves you in awe! I found Palermo to be very much like India – chaotic and beautiful at the same time especially because it is also very raw.

Palermo has a subtropical temperature so when I visited in April the temperatures hovered around 15-18°C. The city is surrounded by the mountains and only a stone’s throw away is the sparkling water of Tyrrhenian Sea! The city has such panoramic views that its a shame that few travelers visit here!

The food is exceptional and by food I specifically mean the street food! I wrote all about it here.

Where to Stay in Palermo

Palermo has hundreds of options for staying but I’d recommend staying in the city centre. Visit Palermo offered me a gorgeous an apartment which was a mere 7 minute walking distance from some of the main sights of Piazza Politeama and Teatro Massimo. My duplex apartment had a kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a balcony. It was quite huge for me to be honest but the five nights I spent in Palermo were five nights of pure comfort and bliss! To know more about the stay options in Palermo visit here.

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Visit Palermo

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Visit Palermo: Piazza Politeama

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Visit Palermo: Teatro Massimo

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Visit Palermo

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Visit Palermo: A shrine on the street

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Visit Palermo: Ape’

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Visit Palermo: Local vendors, much like India

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Visit Palermo: A view from La Rinascente

Final Thoughts on Palermo

Palermo is a unique city that needs to be seen! …..it is everything you don’t imagine an Italian city to be. It is crazy, beautiful, wounded, colorful and magnificent. It is the Sicily you don’t know! Make a visit and don’t forget to contact Visit Palermo for all your needs. I took my Sicilian trip in April 2016 (post updated in 2020).

Further Reading on Palermo and Sicily:

Sicilian Mafia

Palermo, The City of Kings

Midnight in Sicily

Crime Fiction by Andrea Camilleri

Disclosure: There are “affiliate links” on my blog . If you purchase something from these links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks for supporting Italophilia!

51 Comments

  • […] I traveled to two different areas of the region- one that included Southern Eastern Sicily mainly the Val di Noto and another that included Western Sicily mainly Palermo with its deep enriching history of being ruled by different civilisations. You can read many of my Palermo posts here. […]

    Reply
  • Anne Skyvington
    September 3, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks for this. So much more in-depth than my taster.

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    • Ishita
      September 3, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      You are most welcome. Thank you 😃

      Reply
  • enjoytheadventures
    August 27, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Great post, lovely photos!

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    • Ishita
      August 27, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  • poeticlyric
    August 24, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Nice one..I am originally from Sicily, and I relocated to this sacred land last year. You may like what I write about it in my new blog. It is in Italian…unadonnasiciliana.wordpress.com

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    • Ishita
      August 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      many thanks! 🙂 I’m going to have a look now.

      Reply
  • babypalms
    August 20, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Great article. Saw Palermo back in the 1960’s.

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    • Ishita
      August 20, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks so much. Been a long time for you then.

      Reply
  • rosemaylily2014
    August 7, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Fascinating post – your photos are lovely! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ishita
      August 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Thank you Rose 🙂

      Reply
  • This is Palermo | Eating With Ziggy
    August 5, 2016 at 6:32 am

    […] but it feels different here.  Emphasis on different, which is essentially why we travel.  This blogger compares it to India, and I can understand why.  Strangely, some of my favorite moments in Palermo came […]

    Reply
  • Kathy Gates
    August 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    My novella, Juliet’s Journey, is available now as an ebook — let me know if you’d like a copy, happy to email one for download. The novel is called Keira in Rome: I will let you know but fear it’s a long way off just yet!

    Reply
  • Kathy Gates
    August 3, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    So jealous, your photos make me want to go back straight away. I was there in December and it wasn’t really too cold.

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    • Ishita
      August 3, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Haha its okay if you are jealous 😉 When do you plan next?

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      • Kathy Gates
        August 4, 2016 at 5:35 am

        Unfortunately won’t be anytime soon, but saving my pennies. In the meantime I’ll concentrate on writing fiction about Italy. I’ve one novella, set in northern Italy, under my belt and am in the final stages of a novel set in Rome and Tuscany.
        And of course reading blogs like yours!

        Reply
        • Ishita
          August 4, 2016 at 12:48 pm

          Wow that is so impressive! Please let me know when those are out? N thank you I feel fortunate to have met people like yourselves through this blog 🙂

          Reply
  • stellalucentellc
    August 3, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Love your pictures and the way you really captured the heart of Palermo. It is chaotic on the outside. But so much beauty on the inside. The most stunning works of art are all in the interior of the churches, and there are so many of them. One after another, so spectacular!

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    • Ishita
      August 3, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Thank you Stella 🙂 I haven’t got the chance to see all of them but loved what I saw in those 5 days. Great city indeed, over shadowed by places like Taormina though.

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      • stellalucentellc
        August 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

        Yes, Taormina is beautiful, of course, but I like to see how people really live. That is when you really know a place, in my mind.

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        • Ishita
          August 7, 2016 at 6:11 pm

          Yep. I liked it a lot <3 that's why I loved it. People need to give it time to Palermo.

          Reply
  • karenincalabria
    August 2, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Ha, ha! “Much like India” – well, I haven’t ever been to India, but I’ve been to Palermo, and I didn’t see any cows in the street. Of course, my only vision of India is through friends’ photos and films, but I do understand the chaos you’re referring to, although you managed to snap a nice bunch of very orderly photos!

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    • Ishita
      August 3, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Yes since I am Indian I know cows in the street are not everywhere 😉 And also it is chaotic and beautiful just like my country. There is order in the historic side of Palermo but otherwise it is crazy! 😉

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      • karenincalabria
        August 3, 2016 at 9:43 am

        Yes, I was in Palermo on New Year’s Eve a number of years ago. People were letting fireworks off in the streets all day and then at night it sounded like a war zone. The explosions lasted for hours. Crazy scary!

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        • Ishita
          August 3, 2016 at 10:54 am

          Haha then you would be surprised in India 😉 But you will end up loving it. Do you stay in Calabria?

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          • karenincalabria
            August 3, 2016 at 12:45 pm

            I visit often, but after living there for 4 years I returned to the US. I’m in Las Vegas.

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            • Ishita
              August 3, 2016 at 6:05 pm

              Nice!! 🙂 When is the next trip?

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              • karenincalabria
                August 3, 2016 at 11:35 pm

                In the fall – I start out in Switzerland in Sept. and then will head down to Italy.

              • Ishita
                August 4, 2016 at 12:48 pm

                Absolutely fun itinerary. Not been to Switzerland yet.

  • Debra Kolkka
    August 2, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    We didn’t get to Palermo on our Sicily trip, but we will certainly go there next time. It looks interesting.

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    • Ishita
      August 2, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      You will without a doubt love it. And also come to India 😉

      Reply
  • TravelsWithRae
    August 2, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    You do get around Ishita, and I mean that in a good way 😉 Such wonderful travels you have. Love reading about it all and seeing the pictures.

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    • Ishita
      August 2, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      You made my evening, Rae 🙂 Thank you. I hope you visit Italy sooner than you know. Hope your health is good. Many thanks.

      Reply
      • TravelsWithRae
        August 2, 2016 at 10:22 pm

        Ha ha..glad I made your evening 🙂 Yes, hoping to visit next year. In the meantime, making a few trips here in the US – 1 knee is good, 2nd is on the mend. Hope you are well too – but then, how can you not be well when you are in Bella Italia right? Stay cool 🙂 🙂

        Reply
        • Ishita
          August 2, 2016 at 10:53 pm

          I am glad you are better 🙂 Where are you off to? I am currently in India. I went to Italy in April. I hope to go again soon! Stay cool yourself 🙂

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          • TravelsWithRae
            August 2, 2016 at 11:11 pm

            Thanks 😚
            I am going to Santa Barbara and San Diego, CA.in 2 months. I was in Boston, MA and New Haven, CT last month. I hope you get to return soon , I envy you and those that are able to travel to Italia so often. I must live vicariously through you all.

            Reply
            • Ishita
              August 3, 2016 at 8:59 am

              Wow that is a lot of travel list! Super! I know I think life is short and we must do what is possible. even when it looks impossible 🙂 I hope you love the next post too.

              Reply
  • MyBookJacket
    August 2, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Those vegetale stalls look so lovely. And unlike india, it is all so neat and clean. Your pictures always make me want to travel

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    • Ishita
      August 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Yes well that’s the difference 😉 Thank you babe. I hope someday you can venture out by yourself.

      Reply
  • georgefebish
    August 2, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    It is on my list to visit.

    Reply
  • Tanja
    August 2, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    looks interesting;) and real!

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    • Ishita
      August 2, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      That is an interesting comment too. Yes it is real. Not the glamorous Italy that everyone knows.

      Reply
      • Tanja
        August 2, 2016 at 1:24 pm

        we forget that places are for people to live there not just for tourists to visit:)

        Reply
  • Francesca
    August 2, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Did you go to the Vucciria Market? So good and all those wildly decorated churches. I loved Palermo. I think we may have stayed in the same room as you, it looks so familiar.

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    • Ishita
      August 2, 2016 at 11:16 am

      I did 😀 It was so much fun, love the colors. So much like my country. What a coincidence! Check your photos 🙂

      Reply
  • Milanka's Fine Food
    August 2, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Bella Sicilia. How I miss walking through the streets of Palermo! It must be very hot there. Looking forward to more gorgeous photos.

    Reply
    • Ishita
      August 2, 2016 at 11:18 am

      It was hot but not as hot as India 😉 I went in April and it was just the right time. Thank you. Stay tuned!

      Reply

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