Thinking of traveling for a weekend getaway in November?
November can be a gloomy month but not in Sicily! If you want an affordable and cultural weekend getaway, where it’s still warm and sunny in the Mediterranean, I suggest planning a trip to Palermo, the capital city of the beautiful island of Sicily. Palermo is an amazing Mediterranean city surrounded by the sea and mountains and rich in history.
Palermo’s geographical position in the middle of the Mediterranean sea has brought many powerful invaders throughout its history: Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, French and Spanish. As a result Palermo is a bold mixture of rich cultures, Architectures and delicious food. If you love history, architecture and food then start planning your trip.
What to expect from Palermo:
Palermo is not a common touristic town; most people don’t speak English and you don’t find the usual 5-language menu outside the restaurants so it’s perfect if you’re in the mood for adventure. During World War II the harbour and the surrounding quarters were heavily bombed and today you still see the ruins in the back alleys. Palermo like other Sicilian towns has the contrast between stunning and completely run-down buildings.
Palermo is a lively and buzzing Mediterranean city with lots of amazing sites to visit from Cathedrals, palaces, Opera house, and the famous outdoor food and vintage markets. You will be blown away by the magnificent palaces and churches as probably like me your not expecting such rich architecture. For me personally, it’s fascinating to discover the integrating range of architecture styles from Byzantine mosaics, Arabian domes and Baroque style.
What To Do:
You definitely want to visit all the highlights of the city, as they are all impressive.
Here are some the highlights of the city:
- Capella Palatina
- Cattedrale di Palermo
- Galleria Regionale della Sicilia
- Fontana Pretoria
- Palazzo Dei Normanni
- Teatro Massimo
- Mercato di Ballaro’
- La Martorana
You might want to visit one of Palermo’s busy open air markets (Vucciria, Mercato di Ballarò, or Mercato di Capo) true Sicilian market with fresh fruits, vegetables, pasta, fish and colourful spices and it’s fun to watch the locals.
If you have a car, it’s worth the short drive to Monreale, to visit the beautiful Cathedral with the stunning view of Palermo in the distance.
For people watching Via Chiavettieri comes to life from around 5pm, when bar owners put out their tables and start serving wine and olives. By 11pm the street is packed and electric – nobody here is going home any time soon.
If like music, watch an Opera or ballet performance at the Teatro Massimo, it’s one of the largest Opera houses in Italy.
Where to Eat:
Dinning will be serious part of your itinerary because everything is tasty here. I don’t think you can go wrong with any restaurants in Palermo since food is their pride and joy.
If you’re a food lover don’t hesitate to try the street foods, as it’s exceptional. I definitely suggest trying an Arancino with Ragu (fried stuffed rice ball with tomato, meat and Mozzarella); I must admit it was the best 1 Euro I have ever spent. You will be surprise how affordable and delicious the cuisine of Palermo is!
Let me remind you that Sicilian Pastries are famous worldwide; the famous Cannoli with Ricotta is also another one of my favourite deserts from Sicily. If you’re a sweet tooth like me then I recommend you visit the famous pastry shop of Palermo: Oscar www.oscarpasticceria.it Try also the ice cream, it’s really good.
If you’re a wine lover you want to check out Entoteca Buttice, they are famous for their wine selection: http://www.enotecabuttice.it/
Here are few great restaurants recommended by my local friend from Palermo:
Antica Focaccceria: www.anticafocacceria.it
Gagini Restaurant: www.gaginirestaurant.com
Bisso Bistrot on Via Maqueda, 172A, 90134 Palermo
Where to Stay:
I suggest only one place in Palermo as I absolutely love this place. Heima Suite is an exclusive apartment in a prestigious 18th century palace located in the ancient Arab part of the city centre. The apartment is elegantly furnished, very comfortable and quiet since it looks into the courtyard of the palace. It’s the perfect place to stay after a long day in the city as you can truly relax and enjoy amenities of the place. The owner is very nice and she will give all the information that you need.
If your interested in similar guide to Sicily check this page: http://lemoni.it/?p=41