Sicily is famous as a melting pot of different cultures. The food, like the architecture and art which dominate the island’s capital, is a mix of Italian and eastern elements. It comes as no surprise then that Palermo has been named Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2018, with its many cultural offerings delighting tourists from all over the globe. Here are just a few of the attractions you you don’t want to miss.
Palermo’s markets are a delightful mix of Italian and Arab influences with delicious Italian cheeses and meats alongside hot Arabian spices and condiments. The most famous markets in the city are the Borgo Vecchio, Ballaro and Vucciria, all of which feel more like the bazaars of the east than the town markets of western Europe. Keep an eye out for colourful cloths and jewellery while feasting on Sicily’s famous street food specialities such as sfincione and arancina.
Venture deep beneath the city and explore the Catacombs of the Capuchins. These immaculately preserved tombs were the property of the sixteenth-century Capuchin monastery and have become one of Palermo’s must-visit sites. With a large number of mummified corpses on display, this might be one of the more gruesome stops on tourists’ holidays to Sicily, but it’s worth it for the extraordinary glimpse into the city’s medieval and early-modern past.
One of the first opera houses in the world, the Theatre Massimo is still putting on shows today. A mecca for fans of opera and the performing arts, this elegant cultural arena has hosted Pavarotti among others in its 121-year history. This is a treat you will have to book well-before the holiday, but this little bit of extra forward planning will be well worth it in the end.
Holidays to Sicily are not complete without a trip to Palermo Cathedral. Built around 600 AD, the cathedral is the jewel of the city. As the settlement evolved under different rulers from neighbouring continents, so did the cathedral, with small additions here and there as the years passed. The result is a structure which incorporates architecture from many of the movements of the last two millennium from Roman to Moorish, to Gothic and Baroque. For history nerds, deep within the cathedral you can find thirteenth century crown of Constance of Aragon, the Holy Roman Empress. The cathedral is a stunning introduction or a fitting conclusion to any Palermo trip, representing all that the city has to offer in art and culture.
The Right Hotel
A comfortable base with a central location is a necessity for any successful city-break. Prestige Holidays have a wealth of experience in providing holidaymakers with a large variety of classy, reasonably priced hotels. With expertise in holidays to Sicily and other destinations in the Mediterranean, Prestige should be your first port of call.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years he has been providing luxury holiday experiences around the globe. Whether you’re interested in holidays to Sicily, a luxury all-inclusive break to Croatia or a multi-centre holiday in Bermuda, John can provide you with expert advice about the destinations, hotels and experiences you should pick.