sicily, part one: palermo.
by victoria comment


architecture of palermo, italy. / sfgirlbybay

i’ve finally been able to edit all the many photos from my trip to sicily and i realized as i was doing this that my trip really should be broken up into two different posts: one part palermo, which we have here, and the second part my journey to scopello — the small coastal village we also visited. so that’s coming up next week, but first up here’s a look at beautiful if not somewhat gritty palermo, the capital of sicily. palermo is very charming and full of color and like any big city it can be somewhat rougher around the edges, but i never felt unsafe, and in fact wandered around all over the city by myself, when my friends were off doing other things. i loved it here, and we had such fun exploring the city’s souk-like marketplaces and just wandering, really. i like traveling like that — seeing what i see without any real agenda. we had a few destinations around palermo in mind, but mostly we just let the day take us where we wanted. Okay, here’s a wee tour of Palermo!

pink building exterior in palermo, italy. / sfgirlbybay

First up — the marketplaces. There are a few major markets, and we only had time for Mercato di Ballarò which is the oldest, and quite large and meandering for a few city blocks, located in the heart of the historic center of the city. with all kinds of food vendors, from fresh beautiful fruit (best plums i’ve ever tasted!) to vendors selling strictly olives, spices, or cured meats, it’s the ideal place to pick up picnic supplies, or if you’re like us and have an apartment or airbnb, gather loads of supplies for making your own apéritivo and italian meals at home. There’s also Mercato di Capo and Mercato delle Pulci, which is more of a small flea market. Bummed I missed that, but on sunday we did find another street flea market, Mercatino Antiquariato Piazza Marina which had some amazing deals! I found two vintage paintings for under 10 euros!

also — do not miss the Biblioteca Privata (just below) — an overflowing street library and book shop run by a lovely italian gentleman named Pietro Tramonte. we picked up some beautiful old ephemera and enjoyed our very broken italian chat with the very exuberant pietro!

Biblioteca Privata in sicily. / sfgirlbybay

street markets and cafes of palermo, italy. / sfgirlbybay

and now the restaurants! we were only in palermo for two nights, so we didn’t pack in as much eating as one might like while in italy but a couple of stand out places were Bisso Bistrot, a charming (and inexpensive!) cafe with typical Sicilian seafood and pasta dishes in a really charming atmosphere. it was hopping at 10pm when we arrived (hello european late-night dining) and we had to wait a bit but there was a cute wine bar, Taverna Dei Canti across the street where we had a quick glass while we waited.

another wonderful meal was had at Ferramenta, which was directly next to our airbnb (more about that in a moment) in a beautiful little courtyard with outdoor tables and a really quaint interior. the staff here was so nice, explaining all the dishes to us, since the menu was all in italian. we came back here for drinks outside one night and loved it again. a great place to eat and enjoy an aperitif. it was hopping, too with loads of locals arriving on their scooters and motorbikes. some excellent people watching to be had, for sure! note: wander back behind the restaurant for a lovely little area filled with outdoor cafes and a funky little open air Dada gallery i discovered by chance.

and the last cafe we tried and loved was Buatta Cucina Popolana, also delicious. we loved the appetizer platter with a mix of sicilian starters, like sardines, Foccacia, and delicious Panelle Siciliane (aka Sicilian Chickpea Fritters) and traditional dishes that change daily. besides these spots, you might like to try some of the street food in the markets, gelato everywhere and some very yummy granita — i had almond mixed with coffee and it was divine! and for a beautiful seaside view of the city, visit the Ambasciatori Hotel and have a drink on their rooftop bar (go to the very top!).

travel photography from sicily. / sfgirlbybay

plums on teal table in sicily. / sfgirlbybay

and last, but not least our incredible airbnb — Dietro San Domenico Apartment, a gorgeous villa with three large bedrooms and two bathrooms, a charming kitchen and a beautiful private terrace all to ourselves. it was simply stunning, with old tile floors, and simple but exquisite furnishings and lighting — all for 90 euro per night (split 7 ways!!). i highly recommend a stay here, and if you like, use my airbnb discount code. a few photos are just below, but view the airbnb listing for more.

Dietro San Domenico Apartment airbnb. / sfgirlbybay

inspiring interior of Dietro San Domenico Apartment airbnb in sicily. / sfgirlbybay

sicily airbnb: Dietro San Domenico Apartment. / sfgirlbybay

vintage tile flooring in sicily airbnb. / sfgirlbybay

lounge chairs in outdoor courtyard in sicily. / sfgirlbybay

garden courtyard in palermo, italy. / sfgirlbybay

green double doors with grafitti in sicily. / sfgirlbybay

cityscape of sicily. / sfgirlbybay

architecture in sicily. / sfgirlbybay

apartment balconies in sicily. / sfgirlbybay

10 responses to “sicily, part one: palermo.”

  1. These photos are GORGEOUS! I am drooling. Your trip has really inspired me to book one myself – I haven’t been to Italy in the 4 years since I lived there.
    One question – when I click on the link to the AirBnB listing, it just brings me to my own trip section! Maybe needs an update?

  2. hi! Anything different you would do …placed and locations you picked. We booked our flights for Italian honeymoon for this September and so far only have round trip to Rome planned…nothing else. Been toying with Sicily , Sardina, Amalfi or Cinque Terre. Fiance never been to Rome so we will stay there a few days (LOVE that apartment you posted about in Rome…tile heaven) but i get to pick the other location(s) and i am plagued by indecision. Any advice from you will for sure sway me for the better

  3. Victoria!
    Happened on yr Palermo blog and am keen to visit,too. I read about a woman named Maria, (natch) who grew up in a convent in the 1940s. She is one of the last old-style sweet-makers of Sicily. A book was written about her. So, with your words in my mind, I hope to find her wares one day
    Is there a cooler time of year you’d recommend?

    • Hi there! I was there in late May and it was beautiful and warm. I’m not sure about other times of the year, but I’ve been to other parts of Italy in late September and the crowds were gone and the weather still beautiful.

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