Cheap Flights To Palermo
For centuries Palermo lay at the crossroads of different civilisations leading to its flamboyant mix of Byzantine, Arabic and Renaissance architecture and influences sprinkled with a little 20th-century Art Noveau. You'll find souk-like markets sitting alongside ornate Baroque churches while Gothic palaces have date palms in their gardens and noisy streets give way to quiet citrus tree filled courtyards. Palermo is also home to Italy's largest opera house and a food scene that's becoming increasingly hip and modern. Originally called "Ziz" by the Phoenicians the city was later named "Panormas" by the Greeks, a name that means "large port". Its heydey was reached under the Moors between the 9th and 11th centuries.
Things To Do in Palermo
Although a large capital city its historic heart is fairly compact and can easily be explored on foot especially if you take time out to relax and enjoy a coffee or chilled drink in its charming squares such as Piazza Croci. The area around this square showcases the city's Art Nouveau architecture.
- A monumental yet risqué fountain
Piazza Pretoria is at the heart of the city and is a splendid square with a monumental fountain constructed when the Spanish Inquisition was at its height. It's surprising that these Catholic taskmasters allowed the depictions of nude nymphs, mermaids, satyrs and humans to be seen.
The Palazzo Abatellis is a beautiful building housing fine collections of art, sculpture and artefacts from the late medieval to the early Renaissance.
- Shop to a backdrop of song
Shop like a local in the city's heart at the Capo outdoor market. It's been here so long no one knows when it actually started. Whether you're tempted to buy or not you'll enjoy a wander around this colourful market where singing vendors will offer you samples of their wares.
Calendar Of Events
The city's annual festivals provide the ideal opportunity to sample local food and wine and see traditional island costumes and handicrafts. Many festivals are religious in origin while others see historic monuments hosting concerts and plays throughout the Summer months.
Festino di Santa Rosalia: This is the city's biggest festival and takes place at the height of Summer in July. It celebrates the patron saint Santa Rosalia who saved the city from a plague in the 17th-century. During this colourful event, her relics are paraded on a chariot and the festival culminates with fireworks at the waterfront.
Palermo Food Fest: Taking place in September, this is a week-long celebration of the island and city's gastronomy. International chefs are also invited to give cooking workshops while dining can be enjoyed to a backdrop of cabaret and musical performances.
Christmas Market at Piazza Peranni: Christmas is a special time in the city with plenty of yuletide cheer shared around. This Christmas market is ideal for buying gifts with handcrafted items, toys and jewellery on sale along with seasonal food specialities.