Palermo was once the intellectual capital of the whole of Europe and has always been at the crossroads of civilisation. This gorgeous city has attracted almost every culture, situated at the foot of Monte Pellegrino; this city has touched almost every culture in the Mediterranean world. Palermo has Arab, Christian, byzantine, roman, Norman and even Italian descendants. All of this diverse culture has created some of the best works of art and best food the world has ever seen. The architecture in Palermo’s chaotic vitality, on display at some of Italy’s most vibrant outdoor markets, public squares, street bazaars and food vendors.
Coming ashore – Palermo’s port has only recently been adapted to accept cruise ships and other larger vessels. It’s a lovely little port with a nice café and a small shop selling magazines and snacks etc., a bit like a small wh smiths. It is possible to walk straight to the city, but I wouldn’t recommend it, Palermo is known to have a large amount of pickpockets so I suggest using a taxi or a more traditional horse drawn carriage.
What to do in Palermo- whilst in Palermo I must urge you to visit san caldo, three striking saracenic scarlet domes mark this beautiful church. Built way back in 1154 when the Normans took over Palermo, the church now belongs to the knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Another place that you must visit is Riserva Naturale Orientata Di Capo Gallo, possibly had the clearest water in the whole of my med cruise, this rocky beach is an awesome place to relax. Just be careful not to slip on the rocks as they are rather jagged. Awesome scenery though.
Where and what to eat- there are only 2 places that you must go to in Palermo for food. These are Pizzeria Ai Comparucci and Trattoria Altri Tempi. Pizzeria Ai Comparucci is possibly the coolest pizzeria in the world, doubling as an art gallery, see what I mean, Palermo is just about food and art! The pizzas are just divine from here, the Neapolitan pizzas coming out of the huge oven in the kitchen gives the most awesome smell in the world. The genius is definitely the crust, which is seared in the oven in a matter of seconds. The only problem here is you cannot wait around too long, its just so busy, but worth it. Trattoria Altri Tempi is the best restaurant, hands down. The reason I say this is because the amount of Italians eating there, you know it’s a good restaurant if the locals are eating there. The food is a true, rustic example of their Sicilian ancestors, the scenery is lovely with knick knacks covering the walls making it homely. You are greeted with the house red wine without even being asked and some of the best antipasti you will ever eat. The dishes have old palermitan names such as fave a cunigghui (fava beans in olive oil, garlic and oregano) but if I was you I would try the vampacia c’anciova a gorgeous lasagne made with tomatoes, anchovies and grapes. The meal ends with scrumptious free house made herb or fruit liquors and excellent cannoli.
Overall I feel Palermo is a beautiful and culturally diverse city that thrives on its unique artwork and food and I a must visit for anyone wanting to get the true taste of Italy.