Located in the historical center of Palermo, these two markets are the most well-known of Palermo and it is essential to take as long as you need to visit them.
They are, in fact, an unspeakable mixture of magical colors and smells.
The market Ballarò of Palermo is the oldest and biggest among the markets of the city of Palermo, with fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, fish and even more.
A stroll among the stalls of these market can be a time travel in the City's past. The road is literally overrun with wooden boxes containing goods, vendors constantly screaming and some of them almost singing to advertise the good quality and good price of their products.
Ballarò is integration
Together with St. Chiara neighborhood, Ballarò is a good example of cultural integration and the area is home to a large number of new “palermitanos” originally from Africa.
The night, and not just on the weekend, Ballarò square is filled with young people on wooden tables chatting and sipping Forst beer.
Since 1948, Forst beer is one of the symbols of Palermo, although it is produced in the vicinity of Bolzano and on the tree on its label is not really Mediterranean.
For an authentically local experience we recommend a lunch at the Bersagliere: excellent dishes from the traditional cuisine of Palermo at very popular prices. Everything really good: pasta all’anciova col tritato in bianco la pasta con le zucchine la parmigiana lo spezzatino il bollito...
Sunday morning in the early hours of dawn the neighborhood turns into a huge open-air market where they sell used items of all kinds, television sets, pots, old record player, furniture, tables, paintings, shoes, clothing, antiques, movies, music boxes, sofas, chairs, plates, cups, antique phones. If you arrive in the early hours of the day you can make a good deal of very beautiful and old objects (but beware many thing might be stolen!). The main rule is the same as always ... haggle on the price!
Il Capo of Palermo, characterized by the colors and abbanniate (shouts) of sellers, is the ultimate fish market, although there is also so much more, including fragrant spices and splendid churches to visit, among which the Church of the Immaculate Conception with its frescoes, paintings and polychrome marbles.
You'll find lots of stalls for the sale of fish, some are full of noble fish, others only sell poor fish. In any case it is essential an expert eye to see if the fish is really fresh (the same eye of the fish is a good indicator of its freshness and then the color of the gills which should be bright red).
Entering through the door Carini, after a hundred meters, on the left, a window on the street exposes fritters, "croquettes" and fried eggplant; the room inside is a perfect place for a lunch with excellent cheap express dishes which change daily according to the availability of seasonal produces. Good brown bread of Piana degli Albanesi is sold by a street along the main road.
The road connecting the Cape market with that of the Vucciria is beautiful and it's a path to the hidden city stretches, crossing angles, churches and ancient buildings. Via Sant'Agostino which crosses the street Via Maqueda and then changes name into Via Bandiera, houses one of the permanent market of clothing at reasonable prices.
After all this talk about the markets, you may be wondering to visit them led by a local person and an expert.
If that's the case we recommend:
- Streaty Tour: Visit the historic markets and taste the typical street food of Palermo with this fantastic walking tour.
- Palermo Bike Tour: Bike ride is also a way to visit the markets. An unforgettable experience on two wheels!