A city with a long tradition which also extends to its port and maritime life in general, Palermo manages to atract numerous tourists due to its size and importance on the island of Sicily. Coming here is not a question of "if", it's a question of "when".
Palermo is not only the biggest and most important city in Sicily, it’s also the capital of the autonomous region that bears the same name and has been a key location in this part of Italy and the Mediterranean for 2700 years, ever since it was first founded. For sailors traveling to these waters it’s a must-see.
The name comes from the ancient Greeks which named it Panormus, something that translates into “all-port”. Even today, on the north shores of Sicily, you’ll find that the port still plays a crucial role in the development of the whole region, not just for holidaymakers.
Travel & Arrival
Such a great city had to have its own airport, with Palermo International Airport being located just 32 km from the urban center. sailors will find flights from other cities in Italy, including Rome. Among the operators here are Air Berlin, Air Malta, Alitalia, EasyJet, Luxair, Ryanair, Transavia, Tunisair and Wind Jet.
An important transportation node, the city is connected by railway with Rome and Naples, passing on the train ferry over the Messina strait, thus linking Sicily with the Italian peninsula. This is also where the A3 highway meets the E90, in case any of the adventurers out there want to arrive by car.
The port is home to a number of ferry companies that make regular trips to other Italian cities such as Genoa, Naples and Cagliari, but also other destinations such as Malta in the central Mediterranean.
Avant & Apres Sail
There is a lot of culture in Palermo and it shows in the impressive number of museums, art galleries and historical landmarks. Among the most preferred by the holidaymaekrs are the Cathedral, the Quattro Canti, the Museo Archeologico. The Catacombe dei Cappuccini, the Palazzo dei Normanni, the Zisa and the Cuba and the Piazza Pretoria.
Since Sicily is one of those parts of Italy famous for its cuisine, dining out is not only an option while on a trip here, it’s a prerequisite. You’ll find lots of restaurants, but also kiosks out in the streets and squares which sell the panelle (fried chickpea pancakes) and the crocchette (croquette potatoes). Local famed recipes that stir up any tourist’s taste buds are the pasta con le sarde, cassata and the frutta martorana.
Of course, you’ll have to set aside some time and money for shopping, but don’t just go to the malls and expensive fashion boutiques. Try to make it to a market day where you can purchase almost anything from fruit and vegetables to pottery and CDs. visitors often tend to get lost in all that variety, but keeping a cool head and a firm hand on your wallet often does the trick.
Also, a special breed of shops are the “Pizzo free” shops, which are owned by a couple of shopkeepers that refuse to pay racket to the mafia. As you might know, Sicily is famed for being the birthplace of the mafia, but with the support of the locals, these shops have managed to survive.
Though a beautiful place to behold during the day, the city becomes even more alive at night, especially the waterfront which on warm summer nights becomes a tourist magnet. Keep in mind that even if some areas of the city such as La Kalsa or Alberghiera are packed full of bars and pubs, they’re not the safest places to wonder out at night. You can head to plazas such as Piazza Castelnouavo or Piazza Verdi for a wicked good time.
Events & Actions
Among the most famous events in Palermo are the Palermo Estate which is basically a continuous series of concerts, travelling theater shows and live entertainers living up the city’s squares every night during summer, the Teatro di Verdura, the Festino di Santa Rosalia (in July), the Festival di Morgana (November), and for the aficionados, trhe Merit Cup Windsurf World festival in May.