What I did and saw:
Mount Pellegrino is a nice place to hike through and it offers some absolutely beautiful views of Sicily. A city bus runs up to the cathedral, and from there you can take your pick of different hiking paths.
Mondello Beach is one of Sicily’s many nice, sandy beaches. City busses run from the center of Palermo to Mondello Beach, and they take about 40 minutes.
Catacombe dei Cappuccini-
The Catacombe dei Cappuccini house a number of eerily well preserved dead bodies. Capuchin monks began mummifying bodies in the catacombs in the late 1500’s after they ran out of room in their cemetery. After initially only preserving friars this way, it soon became a status symbol to be preserved by the monks in the catacombs. The bodies are usually preserved in clothes owned by the deceased, and some bodies are preserved so well that it looks like they just went down for a nap. It is a very interesting place in a very macabre way.
Museo Archeologico Regionale-
The Museo Archeologico Regionale offered free entry while I was there. For a free musuem it was very nice and very interesting.
Palermo has a plethora of beautiful buildings and fountains throughout the city. Some are free to visit while others charge an entry fee, but all are free to admire from the outside. The famous Teatro Massimo opera house, the largest opera house in Italy and 3rd largest in Europe, was featured in The Godfather trilogy.
Where I ate and drank:
FUD is a nice place to get “new Sicilian” food. It is not necessarily traditional, but it is extremely tasty. They also had a nice selection of craft beers.
Antico Caffè Spinnato-
Antico Caffè Spinnato is a nice place to grab an espresso based drink and some Sicilian street food or pastries.
Brioscià may not serve healthy food, but they do serve a gelato sandwich on brioche bread that is possibly the tastiest thing I’ve ever eaten. If I am going to eat unhealthy food I want it to be worth it, and the brioche gelato sandwich certainly was.
The “authors of arancine” specialize in the Sicilian street food “arancini.” It means “little orange,” and is basically a round croquette, usually with rice and something else inside, and looks a bit like an orange.
Cannoli & Co. and Cannolissimo-
I’m not normally a fan of pastries, and as I mentioned above, if I’m going to eat unhealthy food I want it to be worth it. For me, a legit Sicilian cannoli is worth it (in moderation of course). I especially liked the Sicilian pistachio filling.
Antica Focacceria San Francesco-
Having been open since 1834, Antica Focacceria San Francesco offers many different options of traditional Sicilian street food.
Ferro di Cavallo-
I really enjoyed my meal at Ferro di Cavallo (which means horseshoe in English). The food was excellent and surprisingly cheap.
Antico Focacceria del Massimo-
Antico Focacceria del Massimo offers some excellent Sicilian food at very good prices. It is well worth it to brave the crowds at this popular place.
Pani Cà Meusa Porta Carbone-
The “pane con la milza” sandwich I had at Pani Cà Meusa was on of the more interesting things I’ve eaten. It is cow spleen stewed in lard then thrown into a sandwich roll. It is not the tastiest thing I had in Palermo, but it is probably the most unique.
Where I stayed:
A Casa di Amici-
I had a nice stay at A Casa di Amici. It was very walkable to the center of and many sites in Palermo. They offered breakfast, but it was basically just a croissant. A handful of musicians were staying there and would have jam sessions in the common area.
How I got around:
I walked from place to place during most of my time in Palermo, which allowed me to enjoy the beautiful architecture. I used the city bus to get to and from places like the airport, Mondello Beach, and Mount Pellegrino.
My favorite thing:
My favorite thing about Palermo is the food. There are a nice number of incredibly tasty, inexpensive food options.
My least favorite thing:
Palermo may not have all the offerings of some major European cities, but that quaintness adds to its charm in my opinion. However, due to its location it can be challenging (and at times expensive) to get to.
For next time:
Next time I would like to go to Palermo in the warmer months so I can fully enjoy the beaches.
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