The capital of Sicily, Palermo is a fiery, authentic city and a cultural powerhouse on the periphery of Europe. Juicy lemons weigh down the branches of its tree-lined streets, while treats like cannoli tubes, filled with ricotta-blended cream, provide a sweet taste of the local cuisine. Oozing layered character, explore this incredible city at leisure, or head out to nearby villages, which offer preserved medieval charm.
Stacked markets spill out onto Palermo’s souk-like streets, while grand piazzas host elaborate fountains and sculptures, below the watch of baroque church domes. Many cultures have clashed and combined on this island’s shores, - since the days of antiquity - giving the city the dubious honour of being the world’s most conquered city. A genuine patchwork of influences, Palermo’s triumph lies in somehow combining it all into one fascinating whole.
Palermo is a delightfully dishevelled city. Wander bomb-damaged streets of neglect, which suddenly open out to the grandest of cathedrals and most majestic of stunning palaces. The 12th-century Palermo Cathedral is a glorious domed structure – rise to the top, to look across the city’s restaurant-filled alleyways from above. Next, encounter the Norman, Arabic, and Byzantine fusion of the Norman Palace and the incredible golden mosaics and sweeping archways of the adjacent Royal Chapel. Visit Europe’s third-largest opera house, or Mondello’s beach, which offers relaxation on a beautiful arc of white sand. Stop in at the selection of restaurants, which serve up fresh fish, and refreshing granita al limone.