Rome's attractions are undeniable. But why not venture further south next time? Palermo is a favorite destination of Europeans and offers the opportunity to enjoy high-quality musical performances alongside Sicily’s fascinating, complex history and a trove of art and architectural treasures spanning 2500 years.
Some of my favorite Palermo cultural tips:
Teatro Massimo: This spectacular theater presents performances of all kinds. Its most notable historical association is with the art of opera and it's the largest opera house in Italy. You may also recognize the theater from the final scenes of The Godfather Part III. If not attending a show, do consider a tour.
Temple of Segesta: Sicily can boast ruins from the many civilizations who have claimed this island as their territory: Greek, Carthaginian, Norman, Roman, and more. The Temple and Theater of Segesta are among the most important Greek ruins on Sicily but it's a mystery why the temple was never finished. An easy one hour drive from Palermo but a private guide will always add to your experience at historic sites. You may wish to visit the Archeological Museum in Palermo for an overview before venturing to Segesta or other ruins on the island. Sant'Anna Gallery of Modern Art: In this case we're talking about art from around 1900 onward, much of which was exhibited at the Venice Biennale. The collection is arranged around historical themes.
Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum: This globe-spanning historical collection of puppets and marionettes (below) is an unexpected treat. The museum is listed in UNESCO's "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" and seeks to preserve a traditional but endangered art form on the island.
Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita: This tiny chapel is a Rococo masterpiece. It can't compete in size with large cathedrals, but for sheer beauty it is simply not to be missed. Local sculptor Giacomo Sarpotta spent much of his life creating this stucco stunner. It was miraculously spared from damage in World War II Allied bombings.
Street food: Palermo is known as the Italian street food Mecca, so a walking tour focused on this cuisine is a wonderful way to delight your tastebuds and learn about Sicilian food culture. Sicily's also famous for its lemon production, especially on the eastern end of the island, so if you plan to spend a few days on the Catania side, a lemon tour is another fine foodie outing. Don't forget to enjoy a shot of limoncello!
Mon Voyage is French for "My Trip"--and your trip is all about you: your travel style, your interests, your budget.
I plan customized travel itineraries for history, arts, and culture enthusiasts to destinations in Europe and beyond. I also offer escorted Small Group Trips, where you will engage with other curious travelers as we explore the world together.
Let's make that dream trip to Sicily come to life. Italy's appeal never wanes and I spend as much time there as possible! Contact me today if I can help you with Palermo or any other travel planning, domestic or international.
Last but not least: never forget that looking forward to travel has been scientifically proven to be good for your mental health!
Click the images below to access tips on some of my other favorite culture hubs: