Recently elected the 2018 Capitale Italiana della Cultura, Palermo is more than simply the capital of Sicily or a pit stop on a tour of the Mediterranean. The city is a melting pot of historical culture; the shining crown of the island at the tip of Italy’s boot. The traditional souk-like markets are one example of the mixed cultural influence on the city, with highlights such as the Vucciria market — an ideal place to practice haggling with local merchants. The architecture and layout of the city is also a reflection of Sicilian history. A fusion of Arabian arches, classical art, and Italian style takes center stage; UNESCO has honored Palermo with more than eight cultural heritage sites. Open piazzas, chiesas, catedrales and more are protected by UNESCO because of their irreplaceable value to the history of the region. Fascinating art is on display citywide, most famously at museums like the Galeria del Arte Moderne (or GAM). The Museum of Tiles in the heart of the city is an incredible one-of-a-kind attraction, featuring the largest collection of Italian tiles in the world.
Although the artwork is unparalleled, one of the most exciting things featured in Palermo is the food. Distinctly different from the rest of Italy, Sicilian gastronomy is a unique combination of international influences that shines a light on the history of the island. With a variety of the best restaurants and street vendors in Sicily, this city is the perfect place to sample Sicilian cuisine. Winding streets and alleys add charm to the Mediterranean paradise, affordable English language tours are offered in tons of permutations with different focuses of interest - everything from biking nature tours to walking eating tours to art history tours are accessible through the city tourist office. Palermo is a must visit destination of exceptional allure and a culture that has to be experienced.