Palermo is a historic city situated on the north west coast of Sicily. The city was founded 2,700 years ago by the Phoenicians and by this time, its name has changed several times as well as its rulers. If you like food, hot climate, mess, and exotic places, this city is the perfect place for you.
Palermo is situated on the north west coast of Sicily. The city was founded by the Phoenicians 2,700 years ago. When the Ancient Greeks arrived, they gave it the name Panormus; the current name of the city is actually a mixture of this and the name that the Arabs gave to it later on: Balarm.
A lot of people have ruled in Sicily – Phoenician, Greeks, Ancient Romans, Normans (who arrived in Sicily in 1061). Under the Normans, Sicily became a kingdom, making it the first melting pot of history. There were mosques, synagogues and churches and no ghettos for non-christian people. Cathedrals and churches were built by the Arabs, Jews etc. This lasted until Sicily became an area of Spanish influence and everything was modified to become a church. So there are a lot traces in the buildings, the food, the mess, and in the behavior of this city.
Today, it is the fifth largest city in Italy; in some ways it is a dirty city, in some ways poor, in some ways exotic, decaying, but also amazing.
The climate is warm or hot even on the 25th of December it was like 25°C and in the summer it’s like 40° with 80% humidity, and here summer lasts from June to October, so it’s like 120 days of hell. The first thing that people ask me when I go abroad and I say that I’m from Palermo is: Where’s the mafia? Maybe I’ll be disappointing you by saying this but you can’t find such people on the streets and that is a safe city like Milan or Paris, I think even safer than Milan and Paris.
Food: one thing that people like to do day in and day out is eating. There are lots of street food sellers here so you can try Sfincione (which is similar to pizza), Panelle (fried sieved chickpea) and even octopus. But if you are really adventurous when it comes to food, then you have to try the spleen sandwich. It’s a sandwich filled with spleen and lung fried in lard but if you are a very delicate and cool person you have to try bowels (stigghiuala), they sell roasted bowels even on the highway around the city, and obviously they are literally on the street.
If you are not into exotic food, you can still try the sweets. Typical sweets are filled with ricotta cheese and you can also find every kind of of ice cream that we use to put into crepes or brioches. I think I should stop talking about food because it’ll fill up like five pages.
Monuments: there’s plenty of monuments, churches – everything. If you like visiting such sites then I advice you to go to the Cathedral of Monreale (10 minutes from Palermo), it’s an awesome site.
Night life: if you don’t want to spend too much then just go to Vucciria and Ballarò which are areas where you can also find a historic market during the day.
Trash: if the mayor disappears and goes to Ibiza or seriously, nobody knows where he is, or if they assume 4,000 more workers are doing nothing or the garbage dump goes mad, you will find junk in every corner of the city but people throw everything on the ground all year long so this is not really surprising.
Transportation: for tourists who do not have a problem with waiting, then the transportation here is bearable.
Beaches: there are some nice beaches around the city.
Crossing the street: always pay attention because drivers won’t really stop, they might even try to go faster.