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visit palermo urban city guide

How to get to Palermo

Getting to Palermo has always been rather complicated and costly.

However in recent years the situation has brightened thanks to the various low-cost airlines which are dedicating themselves on the island.

Today you can travel to and from Sicily by different means, choosing from the following options.

> by plane
by train
> by ship or ferry
> by car
> by coach

By plane

Useful information

Falcone-Borsellino International Airport – Punta Raisi (Palermo)

info - Società Gesap: tel 800.541880, 091.7020409 Fax 091.7020394

Filippo Eredia International Airport – Fontanarossa (Catania)
info - Società Sac: tel 095.7306266-7306277-7306288

Vincenzo Florio Airport – Birgi (Trapani)

Lampedusa Military Airport (open to public flights in the summer)
Info: tel 0922.970006

Pantelleria Airport (open during the summer period)
Info - Società G.A.P: tel 0923.911398- 911817 Fax. 0923.913295


By train

During a train trip one gets to look around which is obviously the best way to get to know a country. Getting to Sicily by train (and by ferry from Reggio Calabria to Messina) can be an interesting experience as long as the extreme slowness of the Italian railway connections does not bother you: for example, the trip from Milan to Palermo takes between 17 and 21 hours and from Rome 10 to 12 hours, excluding delays.

For timetable information, destinations and prices consult:

By ship or ferry

If you like the sea, have time at hand or are travelling by car or campervan the following companies offer connections to Sicily:
From Cagliari to Palermo and Trapani, and from Napoli to Palermo
From Napoli to Milazzo and the Eolie Islands (Messina). (website only in Italian)
Grandi Navi Veloci:
From Genova and Civitavecchia to Palermo
Ustica Lines:
From Napoli to Milazzo and all of the minor Islands
From Civitavecchia and Napoli to Palermo. (website only in Italian).
From Salerno to Palermo

By car

If you are car lovers you can comfortably reach Palermo’s port by some of the ships mentioned above. Otherwise you will have to cross the length of Italy as far as Reggio Calabria (do not forget- Reggio Calabria does not have a motorway, it is a nightmare) where you must take a half-hour ferry trip (which can triple in time depending on traffic). And then? Now you are in Sicily! At this point, be careful of the traffic. The behaviour of Sicilian drivers is not exactly like that of the Scandinavians…
The road situation is quite variable. There are both efficient connections as well as road axes in terrible condition. Besides various state, provincial and communal roads, the Island has four main motorway connections.
A18 Messina-Catania
Approximately 90km long, this is the busiest motorway on the Island connecting the tourist and industrial zones of Catania with the agriculturally advanced zones of Ragusa and Siricusa. There is motorway fee.
A19 Palermo-Catania
Approximately 200km long, this section of motorway connects two of Sicily’s main cities. There is less traffic than the A18, making it somewhat faster and safer, if not for its habitual road works along the way. There is no sea view, but to make up for it in spring, autumn and winter you pass by very green fields and hills.
A20 Palermo-Messina
Covering a distance of approximately 215km, this stretch of road has many tunnels and is travelled by many heavy vehicles. It has taken a long time to complete the road and there are still lots of road works along the way. There is however a breathtaking view of the Tyrrhenian sea. There are motorway fees and the general road condition is not good.
A29 Palermo-Trapani-Mazara del Vallo

This is a fast motorway covering 115km from Palermo to Trapani it takes just an hour. At a distance of 30km is the Falcone-Borsellino International Airport.

By coach

A modern and well-equipped means of transport. The coaches do however have the same defect of slowness as the trains mentioned above. The trip from Milan to Catania takes about 21 hours.

Sais Trasporti - Daily connections from various towns in Sicily to Rome.Information: tel. 095/536 201 - Website only in Italian

Autolinee Segesta - National connections from Sicily to Puglia, Rome, Milan, Bologne, Urbino and Mestre and international connections to Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany. Information: tel. 091304106. Website only in Italian


Airport Coach Palermo (Prestia e Comandè Company)

Palermo - Airport h 4 am to 11 pm (from 5 am every half an hour)

Airport - Palermo from 5 am to midnight (from 6.30 every half an hour)

Ticket (one way) € 6,30

Stops from Palermo Central Station

1. Piazza Giulio Cesare (Central Station)

2. Via E. Amari n. 5 (Harbour) after 5 minutes

3. P.zza Ruggero Settimo n. 19 after 15 minutes

4.Via Libertà n. 45 (P.zza Croci) after 15 minutes

5. Via Libertà n. 95 (dopo P.zza A. Gentili) after 20 minutes

6. Via Libertà n. 171 (ang. Via Rutelli) after 20 minutes

7. Via Libertà n. 203 (ang. Viale Lazio) after 20 minutes

8. Via Croce Rossa n. 125 after 25 minutes

9. Via Alcide De Gasperi n. 187 after 25 minutes

10. Via Belgio n. 25 (last stop in Palermo after 25 minutes

11. Airport (arrival scheduled after 50 minutes)

Stops from the airport

1. airport

2. Via Belgio n. 2 after 20 minutes

3. Via De Gasperi n. 82 after 23 minutes

4. Via Croce Rossa n. 56 after 25 minutes

5. Via Libertà n. 106 (ang. Viale Lazio) after 30 minutes

6. Via Libertà n. 80 (ang. Via D’Annunzio) after 30 minutes

7. Via Libertà (di fronte al civico n. 89) after 30 minutes

8. Via Libertà n. 42 (P.zza Croci) after 30 minutes

9. Via E. Amari n. 170 after 35 minutes

10. Via E. Amari n. 8 (Harbour) after 40 minutes

11. Piazza Giulio Cesare (Central Station; arrival scheduled after 50 minutes)












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teatro ditirammu palermo














> The town
> The Climate
> Cultures
> The Sicilian and his culture?
> Society
> Theatre
> Music
> Gastronomy
> Practical info & useful link


Palermo (Mondello/Addaura)
Mondello is the elegant seaside area of Palermo, well known for tropical colors beach, liberty villas, sport activities

Palermo traditional markets
Every guide on Palermo states that Vucciria is the most important historical market of the city, and this legend attracts crowds of curious visitors to it...

Swimming in Palermo
For a long time swimming has been prohibited in the waterfront of Palermo city but don't be discouraged, the sea is in Palermo even if sometimes you can't see it!

Parks and Natural Reserves Near Palermo
The surroundings of Palermo are dotted Blogger blogger with parks and reserves...

Creative and contemporary Palermo
Discover Palermo Design, Fashion and Creative projects and workshops

The Diocesan Museum of Palermo
The diocesan museum is displayed throughout 15 rooms and offers visitors a look at more than eight centuries of history of the Church in Palermo.

The House-Museum Stanze al Genio
The biggest collection of Italian tiles in the historical centre of Palermo, located in the Palazzo Torre Piraino

The Pietro Doderlein Museum
The Pietro Doderlein museum is the most important zoological museum of Sicily. The museum has over 5000 examples,

The G. Gemmellaro Geological Museum
The G. Gemmellaro Geological Museum is one of the most important Italian museums of geology and palaeontology.

The San Domenico Architectural Complex
The San Domenico Architectural Complex is made up of the San Domenico church and the old Dominican friary. The church is one of the most important examples of Sicilian baroque.

The Church of Jesus or Casa Professa
The Church of Jesus or Casa Professa was built on a site traditionally considered a refuge for hermits.

The Church of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Caterina in Piazza Bellini
Adjacent to a Dominican Monastery built in 1310, the church of Santa Caterina has two façades; the principal one faces Piazza Bellini whilst the other faces Piazza Pretoria.

The Church of Saint Mary of The Chain
The Church of Saint Mary of The Chain is a Catalan Gothic style structure, built in the 16th century by the architect Matteo Carnilivari

The Church of Saint Cataldo
The Church of Saint Cataldo was once the chapel of a palace built in the 12th century by Majone di Bari, admiral of King William I.


MICRO - Tourist Information Centre Palermo
A cosy and welcoming tourist information centre in the historical centre of Palermo, Via Alloro 19, near Palazzo Abatellis and Piazza Marina

Palazzo Dato: A Palermitan Art Nouveau Gem
There is a palazzo, washed in a warm earthy colour just a block or two from Via Dante on Via XX Settembre that is Gaudi like and worth a long look

Palermo in a day. What to see
What to see in Palermo in one day. If you have only one day to visit the city, We suggest you to enjoy the city by having a walk from...

5 days in Palermo What to see
Not to be missed in Palermo. What to see in 5 days or more in Palermo

Palermo shopping: the best places in the city
There are a couple of shopping centres in Palermo, but they are out of the city centre and to be honest with you, In Sicily you still do the best shopping walking along the main streets!

Teatro Libero Palermo
Teatro Stabile d’Innovazione della Sicilia, founded in 1968 by Beno Mazzone, is housed in the ex-loggiato of the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Palermo, in Piazza Marina...

500 reasons to visit Palermo
Fiat 500 is an institution in Sicily...

Art and photography courses in Palermo
Good addresses for those who want to paint, draw, photograph...

How to reach Mondello, Sferracavallo, Monte Pellegrino from Palermo

Favourable Piazze for a foolproof nightout in Palermo
Where to spend a night out in Palermo? Which square (Piazza) should you head to...? Best places for a drink in Palermo!

Palermo nightlife
What to do in Palermo by night. Our selection of the nicest Aperitivi, bars and live music in Palermo. Places where locals go for a great nightlife in Palermo

What to do in Palermo in Autumn

Tourist Information Palermo
Tourist information centres in Palermo are located nearby the main attractions and offer free city maps and flyers

Where to sleep in Palermo. An insider Guide to areas and Neighborhoods
Sleeping in Palermo: our guide to discover the best spots and the best neighborhoods to book your stay in Palermo for vacation, work, study.

Best Low Cost Accommodation in Palermo
Palermo is a very popular destination both for lovers of comfort and the most expensive solutions, as well as for travelers who enjoy cheap travel: where to stay...

The best homes for your Christmas holidays in Palermo
If you are thinking to Sicily as a destination for your Christmas holidays, Palermo is a great choice, especially if you want to feel the Christmas spirit, made of lights, markets, religious celebrations and good food.

International Museums of Puppets Pasqualino Palermo
The Museum showcases objects from lots of European countries and the Far East, including marionettes, marottes, hand puppets, shadow puppets, theatrical machines and playbills

Palazzo Branciforte
Palazzo Branciforte a unique place combining identity and innovation!

GAM - Modern Art Gallery of Palermo

How to move around in Palermo like a real Palermitan?

Gay Friendly Palermo GLBT
GLBT TOURISM in Palermo? Visit Palermo offers GLBT friendly accommodations and services. Please feel free to make an enquiry!

Sicily against Mafia

Palermo Tourism
Molti pensano che per visitare Palermo bastino un paio di giorni. Nulla di più falso!

Discover what they say about Palermo...
They say a lot about Palermo:

Why it is a good idea to visit Palermo with a local Guide
Palermo might not impress you on first sight. As many visitors say, it might seem not a really attractive town but hidden behind its corners are world class sights.

The best bookshops in Palermo

Palazzo dei Normanni
Palazzo dei Normanni is the Royal Palace of Palermo

Palermo Capitale Italiana della Cultura 2018

MANIFESTA 12 Palermo
Manifesta 12 Palermo from 16 June 2018 to 4 November 2018

Massimo Opera House
A long staircase lead to the third biggest opera in all of Europe, after the Opera National of Parigi and the Staatsoper of Vienna.

Palermo: a human smart city...
Palermo is known for bad public transport. I had the opposite experience:

Palermo as seen by Qandeel
"Palermo, and Sicily generally, was simply an AMAZING experience!

politeama palermo

palermo turismo

palermo turismo

mercato del capo palermo

Genio di Palermo

The town

You won't sweat to find standard itineraries and description of Palermo on paper guidebooks and dozen of other websites. So we don't hammer in on it... On the contrary, we asked people who love/know/live Palermo to suggest their personal top five place, things, persons not to miss in the city

(if you got one please send it to us at info[at]

Top Five in Palermo

Streets and alleys of Palermo:

can’t get enough of walking in Palermo. Staring at the varied architecture, listening to the clips of conversations (just the tone of them), smiling back to curious and friendly faces… and suddenly – a flash of green wings and a scream of a parrot!

Market places:

just dive into a real dealing and get ready for making a fool of yourself – and don’t get it so seriously if you put your fingers to the wrong places and get some strict looks from the market salesmen.

Bar Touring

in Piazzetta Porta Reale (Via Lincoln): very friendly staff and 10+ Sicilian style “snacks” like arancinos and pepitos etc.

Panineria Focacceria

close to Piazza Marina (Via Vitt. Emanuele 102): excellent food and very reasonable price.

the public health care

This might come as a surprise… the public health care in Palermo and especially Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Policlinico Paolo Giaccone, Via del Vespro, 129. What a service and nice people! (picture taken in 2009 when I broke my angle)

And the ranks from 6 to 10 goes to sicilian beer;)

by Sinikka Huttunen (

sinikka huttunen

Inquisition prisons

Steri Palace in Piazza Marina. Thousands of tags, drawings, poems cover the walls (first floor of the Steri Palace) of the Philip's prison and of the penitenziati prisons (prisons of penance) in the building next to the Steri. These signs tell the most mysterious and fascinating story of the city, when in Sicily the Steri Palace hosted the Saint Inquisition (1600-1782)

Beati Paoli Square

Behind the Santa Maruzza dei Canceddi Church the entrance point to the Beati Paoli underground hideout is hidden. No sign or poster shows it. But if you walk along the narrow alley of the Orphans (vicolo degli Orfani) you can notice a small walled-up hole. From this point, a long underground way stretched under the palermitan surface, up to Monreale and beyond

Repentite Crypt

Via Divisi n. 82. The last trace of the Repentite Nunnery, a convent hosting repentant (ree pentite) prostitutes who turned to a saint life. Few years ago this crypt containg their tombs has been discovered.

Art Gallery La Guilla

Via Sant’Agata alla Guilla. The owner is Claudio Pezzilo, a real palermitano from the Capo area, with an immense love for arts. He opened this art gallery in a former stable and here his friends have the opportunity to exhibit their works. The best place to discover the real aspect of the Capo people. Claudio will tell you a lot of funny, interesting and fascinating stories.

Ditirammu theatre

Via Torremuzza n.6, at Petrulla Palace. A small 52 seats theatre. A gem of art and folklore set in one of the more intersting areas of Palermo: the Kalsa.

by Alli Traina

alli traina

Top(shopping)Five + 2 in Palermo

Saturday lunch at the Ferro di Cavallo

Old Trattoria in via Venezia (next to the Theatre Biondo) my favourite dish is polpette di sarde (sardins balls)!

Ice cream at Ilardo

Afternoon. Chocolate and strawberry “cono gelato” at Ilardo in via Foro Umberto I…to enjoy sitting on a seafront bench


clothes, things and accessories via Ugdulena, 22 (it crosses via Libertà) a small bazaar in a groundfloor old apartment where you find every sort of thing– “from sardins to airplanes” (as I read once on a sign)

Home made bread (Pane casereccio)

Home made bread at the bakery in via Ugdulena, 1 – delicious!

Looking for bargains

Bargains hunting or the dress of dream at Torregrossa in via Gaetano Daita, 9 (close to the Politeama Theatre) small outlet for clothes and accessories (Marras, Watanabe, Comme des Garçons, Marni, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Lanvin and so on) and, once found a bargain, not always buying it...


Vuedù, via Sperlinga, 32 (nearby the Theatre Massimo) even just to give a look to vintage things design, clothes, jewels and - a couple of times a month - vernissages;

Coffee (and brioches)

Coffee at the Spinnato Cafè in via Libertà, 10 (off Via Simone Cuccia). Summertime? “caffè freddo”! Delicious brioches, as well!

by Anna Maria Caronia



The “stucchi” of Giacomo Serpotta at the Oratorio del Rosario in Santa Cita, opened in 1686 by the rich Compagnia del SS Rosario.

Piazza Marina and the Church of Saint Maria della Catena

The area of Piazza Marina and Villa Garibaldi. Do not miss the corner in which is located the Church of the Catena and the harbour of the Cala.

Spaghetti cozze e vongole

I love pasta with mussels and clams. Among my favourite, the pasta made by the chef of Calogero's in Mondello, the seaside area of Palermo.

Friday night at the Candelai club

Do not forget to pay a visit to the club I Candelai, in a former whorehouse. If you're able to get through the crowd in the Candelai street packed with teenagers and youngsters, on friday nights from 11pm you can dance. Immersion in the typical Palermo nightlife.


The coast seen from the Addaura, its rocks going down a sea with turquoise waters.

by Andrea Monica Garcia Dante

S. Maria dello Spasimo Church

one of the most beautiful places in the old Palermo, a magic place with trees inside and from where you can see the sky, where you can find concerts, shows and exhibitions.

"Renzo Barbera" Stadium

(Viale del Fante), Rosanero football team 'temple', a mix of sport, passion, wonderful goals and a bit of folklore!

Al Quds”

(Via Garibaldi), Palestinian and vegetarian restaurant owned by Fateh, familiar atmosphere, delicious Kebab and Falafel!!

Franco u' vastiddaro”

He's the king of "panino e panelle" in Corso Vittorio Emanuele few steps from Piazza Marina and the magnificent trees of Villa Garibaldi.

Gli Amanti

a restaurant located in Piazzetta Colonna, nice place, warm hospitality and good dishes.

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The Climate


Films and novels often represent Sicily as a very hot, arid land. A piece of Africa in the Mediterranean.

This image is only partly true for some areas during the summer months.

In reality things are a little more complex. Experts define our climate “Mediterranean sub tropical with partial summer aridity”.

For the profane that means Sicily boasts one of the nicest climatic conditions in Europe.

Winters are short and temperatures are relatively warm for the most part of the year. You can go to the sea from May until November.

Very often however, it happens to take a last swim of the season on December…

Should I bring an umbrella? Yes, it could come in handy for some days between November and March..

If you are looking for intense cold and snow, you will have to search hard. However, in January and February there is snow in some areas inland, on Etna and on the Nebrodi and Madonie Mountains. Here the temperatures drops below zero and in some places you can even practice winter sports such as skiing. On the rest of the island however, we can confirm that extreme cold does not exist but don’t be surprised if you encounter people on the street wearing typically alpine clothing when the temperature is around 15°!

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The Sicilian and his Culture...?

castello di maedolce palermo

On Sicily and its inhabitants you will find a very rich production of literature, essay writing and cinematography, often however, superficial and neglectful of finer details. And at times Sicilians themselves are convinced of being (for better or for worse) the only people in the world – which only contributes in increasing stereotypes about ‘Sicilian-ness’.

There are many descriptions of Sicilian culture that flatten in one single image centuries of civilisations that are very different one from the other, a variegated geography and millions of inhabitants. Those things which remain imprinted in the mind are human warmth and hospitality, jealousy and sweets made with ricotta, passionate crimes and the Mafia, the sea and the blinding sun, the ruins and misfortunes.
We prefer to think of a ‘plural’ Sicily, richly layered with both traditional and innovative elements and with movements and contradictions. A Sicily not easily reduced to one dimension.
This section is dedicated to detailed information and experiences had on the Island and its multiform cultural expressions.
This is where your voyage begins from cinema to literature, music and social movements, gastronomy and art…

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Jolts and movements periodically shake Sicilian society during its attempt to free itself from the Mafia’s hold, a criminal organization that has conditioned for years both the Island’s development and its attempts towards change by its inhabitants.

The Mafia is a complex and multiform phenomenon. To begin to understand more about it we propose Umberto Santino’s thorough examination as founder of the Sicilian Documentation Centre Giuseppe Impastato, the first Mafia study centre of its kind in Italy…

link: >

Critical consumption against the Mafia
Territorial Mafia control undertakes various forms. One of these is ‘il pizzo’, a kind of ‘tax’ that the Mafia imposes on commercial traders and businessmen in exchange for ‘protection’ (from itself).
The Mafia’s message is simple: “If you pay you’re safe. If you don’t pay, something serious could happen to you and your company…”.
Many obey; others lose their lives for refusing to give in to the racket.
During the summer of 2004 hundreds of mysterious stickers appeared in the centre of Palermo on which was written: AN ENTIRE POPULATION THAT PAYS THE RACKET FEE IS A POPULATION WITHOUT DIGNITY.
It was the birth of the ‘Addiopizzo’ Committee…

Link: >


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Emma Dante

emma dante
If anyone has talked to you about Sicily, they have told you that there is a water shortage, that family is the most important thing, that women are victims of their fathers, brothers and their husbands and that the Mafia does not exist even though it is everywhere. They have told you the truth, but they have not told it quite as she does, Emma Dante, a thespian who from a workshop in one of Palermo’s former prisons has given life back to Italian theatre.
Emma Dante sets out to recount her own city, Palermo and its surroundings by liberating the drama from its congenital folklore. Sicily’s immobility and in particular Palermo’s, is the main point of action in M’Palermu. This show is a declaration of poetry that has gained her national fame around which her company ‘SudCostaOccidentale’ was to be formed. To follow there would be the violent ‘Carnezzeria’ , the ongoing death of ‘Vita Mia’ and the Mafioso revolution of ‘Cani di Bancata’, which would go on to tour Europe and the world, spreading the idea that telling the truth is really about revealing the act of faking.
Emma Dante’s belief is that theatre is a game, a disguise, a time to focus on reality. Theatre is mostly composed of bodies that move in scene, giving into the need to gesticulate. “Any one of your mistakes is worth more than any justice”, says the director to her actors, to teach them that the body often knows instinctively that which the mind wants. Her stage rules are wisely befitting for daily living: “Listen and denounce your own needs in order to connect yourself to the needs of others”, “Do the right thing at the wrong time or the wrong thing at the right time. Be creative.”
Seeing one of Emma Dante’s shows is highly recommended for those who want to discover the insides of Sicily and consequently to those who have a strong enough stomach for the voyage!

Now she's got a new space (!!!


> Lars Riing - Uppskruvat som i en Fellinifilm - Svenska DagBladet 2004 



We suggest:

PALERMO DENTRO, Il teatro di Emma Dante, di Andrea Porcheddu ed. ZONA 2005 - pp. 198, Collana PEDANE MOBILI, EURO 19

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Gianni Gebbia - Sperimentale / Jazz

Akkura - Folk rock / Jazz / Alternativo

Mario Crispi - Ambiente / Elettronica dal vivo / Downtempo

Mario Incudine - Folk / Roots Music / Acustico

Massimo Laguardia - folk/acustico

FOLKALAB - Elettroacustica / Sperimentale / Corale

'Nkantu d'aziz - Folk Rock /Ska

Orchestra In-stabile Dis/accordo - Jazz /alternative

WinterCase Festival Festival Internazionale di Musica Elettronica Palermo



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Just one recipe...

> The Caponata

Caponata, or rather ‘capuana’ named after the tavern that prepared the dish during the early Latin period to feed the sailors that took rest on the Sicilian coast.
Caponata is the embodiment of Sicilian cooking, sensual, fried, refried and very intercultural.


8 Tunisian eggplants, tapered and dark skinned, not too big otherwise they will be full of seeds;
400g of tomato sauce, Sicilian-American tomatoes;
250g of preserved white olives from Castelvetrano, the sweetest that exist;
1 bunch of celery (the smaller variety is more tender), which comes from the night of all times;
150g of salted Pantellerian capers;
Two white onions;
40g of sugar;
½ glass of vinegar;
Extra virgin olive oil.


Cut the eggplants (unpeeled) into cubes, leave in salted water for an hour. Drain, dry and fry the cubes in a pot with enough olive oil to cover them. Remove from the oil and leave them to rest on a paper towel.
Finely chop the celery and parboil in salted water.
Stone the olives and put them in hot water for about 10 minutes.
Wash the capers in warm water, taking off the salt.
In the meantime, you will have cooked the sauce with 400g of ripe tomatoes, two small onions and basil.
As you may have noted each ingredient in the caponata must be cooked so that releases its individual flavour, odour and consistency. When each ingredient has reached its cultural maturity it is ready ‘to fall in love’ with the others in a large frying pan. Add a little oil; throw in the olives, the capers and the celery, the base ingredients of this Mediterranean dish.
Mix the tomato sauce with the vinegar and sugar, this is the American component which can be diluted by adding more sugar if the result is particularly fierce or by adding more vinegar, if the flavour is not fierce enough.
Finally, add the eggplant, in part Arabic, in part Indian, which gives the caponata its characteristic imperious consistency.
Leave the dish over low heat to its own slow lovemaking, allowing a real work of cultural intermediation between the ingredients.
When you think each ingredient has taken on the flavours of all the others, leave to cool down and garnish with basil leaves just before serving.
Remember during the preparation phase, to set your thoughts on those moments in your life in which you have reached maximum physical and emotional fusion with other human beings, in this way you will help the caponata to omit an optimal, unique and variegated flavour.
BE AWARE. According to the Arabian Doctor Ibn Botlan, eggplants generate “melancholic moods” and ungovernable lust and since caponata is rich in eggplant, it is advised that one partake of it wisely.
ADVICE from “una vecchia Pentola Senzacoperchio” – an old Pot without a lid: in order to comply with the nature and seasons of the ingredients, Caponata should be prepared exclusively in the summer but it is possible to enjoy it all year round, if in August you roll up your sleeves and contentedly fill as many jars as ones individual stamina allows.

Pentola Senzacoperchio



Sicilian G.astronomy

Effectively, one cannot speak of gastronomy, the art of regulating the stomach, when making reference to Sicily. We are in ecstatic contemplation of the heavens, three star Michelin perhaps and of other glittering stars, which leads us to believe it is more correct to talk about Sicilian astronomy, putting aside the G spot or the G. for an art capable of bringing into being the most emotional dishes that mankind has ever produced, consumed and digested.
The history of Sicilian gastronomy is a fairytale which has its beginning with the classic “Once upon a time”.
Once upon a time there were the Greeks, whom, around about 734 BC, disembarked onto Sicilian ionic shores bringing with them olive trees, spelt and the art of making wine. Their knowledge and these ingredients soon mixed in with the local cooking, developed by the ancient inhabitants of the Island: Siculi, Sicani and Elimi. Spelt began to be used not only in bread but also in course noodles in order to maintain flavour and for an invention not to be undermined: Short pastry.
In the IV century BC, Archestrato di Gela in his “Fragments of gastronomy” claims to have visited every land and sea, but to have found ‘good taste’ in Sicily. The secret of Sicily’s cooking success from the IV century BC until today still remains the same: natural cooking, pure and authentic without sophistication and which only avails of oil, salt and if necessary vinegar and aromatic herbs.
That which has changed over the centuries is the variety of ingredients and the stratification of the culture of foodstuffs. After the Greeks, in fact, it would be the Arabs turn, when in the year 827 they were to disembark at Marsala, introducing us to the variable epicentre of Sicilian cooking: sugar cane, rice, jasmine, cotton, aniseed, sesame and the drugs: cinnamon and saffron.
The so-called Muslims of Africa were agile pastry makers and were to hand on the skill of making many sweets such as those which are still world famous today: cassata and sorbets.
To the Arabian pastry maker we owe: Cubbaita (Qubbayt) an extremely sweet nougat made from honey, sesame seeds and almonds; Nucatuli, from the Arab Word “Nagal” (dried fruit, confectionary, sweet dry); the Cupita or Copata: very hard nougat confectioned in large cloths with a base of hazelnuts, egg whites, sugar, honey and starch. Lovers of essence, the Arabs created sweets perfumed with fruit, cinnamon and even with floral odours such as jasmine which is still used today to flavour ice-cream in Trapani known by its Arabic Name “Scursunera”.
They would go on to invent jellies made from melon, must, cinnamon, jasmine and retorts and stills for distilling grappa liquor which out of respect for the Koran, they would only use to disinfect wounds and that we changed into rosoli.
To these tasteful ‘invaders’ we owe other typical Sicilian dishes such as Panelle, dried chickpeas and dried salted pumpkin flowers not to mention ‘pane con la milza’ – bread with cow spleen, of which today Palermitans still have a weakness for.
You are also partially responsible for Sicily’s culinary destiny, that’s to say the Arabs were to be defeated by the Normans of Roger II of Altavilla in the battle of Cerami in 1063. A Scandinavian population of good tempered sailors and warriors, besides the construction of magnificent cathedrals they were to bring: rotating spits, smoked herring and dried cod (Piscistaccu and Baccalà). Fredrick II’s love for hunting and game gave birth to delicatessen specialties in Sicily. At this stage the paradigm of Sicilian gastronomy was well written, it lacked only that touch of class which couldn’t come but from France, thanks to the reputation of ‘il Falsumagru’, who was first known as Rollò, from the French, Roullè, who filled the common people up with omelettes and vegetables and the nobles with fine selected meats.
The only thing missing was a touch of the Spaniards flowering baroque style, which however, was eventually to arrive. Thanks to this culture we recognise the evolution of the Arabian Cassata from the moment in which the new dominators brought in an important base ingredient: Sponge cake; and once more we must thank our Iberian cousins for introducing sweet and sour pumpkin and other various “mpanate”.

Undoubtedly, considering the dishes that are cooked and eaten nowadays, it is our duty to talk about Sicilian gastronomy, but not from the point of view of the historical evolution of our dishes, it would be more correct to talk of the history of wars and dominations as it is well-known - in cooking and in war, all is permitted!

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Practical info & useful links

Driving & Parking

While driving, you should pay attention to thousands of motorbikes and car choosing their own favourite lane (anarchically). It’s not Bangkok but it gets close, sometimes…

Parking is quite difficult (not impossible) in the centre.

You’ll find blue-lined parking spaces (from € 0,75 to € 1,50 an hour). Tobacconists’ and bars (sometimes also unofficial parking ‘helpers’) sell the parking tickets you will need (scheda parcheggio). Scratch out the date and time and leave the tickets on your dashboard.
Early afternoon around 3.00pm, or on Monday morning or Sunday (the shops are closed) .

Do not try Saturday afternoon! Everyone does it!

Car parks in the city center

If you want to walk around the city center, you can park in Piazzale Ungheria, just off Via Ruggero Settimo, the main street between Piazza Castelnuovo and Piazza Verdi. Price is €1.50 per hour to be paid at the Bar Mazzara (just before you leave) showing the ticket from the machine on entering. It's quite busy in the morning from about 8.30am to 11.00am and in the afternoon from about 4.00pm to 5.30pm. Usually, not so many problems at Lunchtime.

A good alternative in the same area is a Multi-level underground parking in
Phone: 091/333139 Website:

Open all time; Spaces: 627;Short-term parking prices

Hourly rates

- Each hour or part thereof - € 1.50
- Maximum daily rate (24 hours) - € 12.00
- Rechargeable card worth € 50 - € 45.00

Prices including statutory VAT. Modifications and errors excepted.


Vegetarian and Vegan Palermo

Palermo has finally got a great resource for vegetarians and vegans visiting Palermo: “La Palermo Vegetariana” is a no-profit project that was born on Facebook and is now on the web – a project everyone can take part in.

This site lists all useful places for vegetarians who live – or are passing through – Palermo (Italy) in a Google Map, using information provided by users of the Italian-speaking Facebook groups Vegetariani e Vegani Sicilia and Vegetariani di Palermo, but also by any user who e-mails us.

You will find restaurants and take-aways with vegetarian meals and menus, organic food shops with tofu and seitan-based products and, last but not least, bakeries and pastry stores that do not use lard – an ingredient that is usually found in bread, pastry and sweets made in Sicily.

Vegans will find an additional resource: ice cream parlours that produce ice cream with soy or rice milk, and shops that sell vegan pastry and sweets.



> Teatro Massimo
> Teatro Libero
> Teatro Biondo
> Teatro Nuovo Montevergini
> Teatro del Canto Popolare Ditirammu

Art Galleries

Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, via Vittorio Emanuele, 303 – 90133 Palermo

Zelle Arte Contemporanea Via Matteo Bonello, 19

Nuvole incontri d'arte, Vicolo Ragusi 35 (angolo via del Celso 14)

Spazio Cannatella Via Papireto 10


Monuments, Churchs and Museums

> La Cattedrale di Palermo
> Il Museo delle Marionette
> Palazzo Abatellis
> Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Palermo
> Riso Museo di Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia
> Casina alla Cinese
> Società siciliana per la storia patria
> Casa Museo Stanze al Genio

> Museo del giocattolo
> Museo Gemmellaro
> Palazzo Asmundo
> Orto botanico



Wiki links More tourist information about Palermo and Sicily on our website visit palermo urban city guide





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