If you follow me on Instagram then you probably would’ve seen that Mark and I visited Sicily earlier this month. It was the last proper holiday for us before our impending arrival and so we wanted to make it count. We flew into Palermo and stayed in the most incredible Airbnb right in the centre of the city before taking a train out to Cefalù.
If you have read my previous travel posts then you’ll know that I am a huge fan of taking photos. (Mykonos and New York a prime example!) I came back from this trip with just over 600 on my camera and my phone so with that in mind I’m going to split my Sicily posts into two parts.
Where We Stayed
We stayed in the capital for three nights in an Airbnb apartment that had been recommended to us by some friends who had stayed there on their trip last year. I had seen photos of it online but they didn’t do it justice to just how amazing it actually was. It was reached by entering a private courtyard and climbing a grand stone staircase. The apartment itself was huge with 2 levels and a small balcony overlooking the mountains surrounding Palermo. We felt like royalty the entire time we were there!
The apartment was located on one of the main streets of Sicily, Via Maqueda which leads up to the infamous crossroads Quattro Canti. It was the perfect location to explore everywhere we wanted to as it was right in the centre. The apartment has it’s own hashtag on Instagram, search #casabaroccacuto to follow along!
What We Did
Walked lots!! With all cities, the best way to see it is to get out and explore. We discovered many quaint Sicilian streets and restaurants this way too.
We also managed to visit Cappella Palatina which is located inside Palazzo dei Normanni which was simply breathtaking inside. Made up entirely of mosaic this is definitely something I would recommend if you are in Palermo. We stayed inside gawking at it for a good 30 minutes with every turn of our heads finding something new to look at. Well worth the entrance fee.
I love a botanical garden and when I heard that Palermo had one I had to go and explore. We spent an hour wandering around taking photos of the beautiful trees, oranges and cacti.. If you love your flora and fauna then this is somewhere that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in Palermo.
Ballaro Food Market
This market was right next to our apartment so we wandered through it one morning. It was the most colourful, vibrant place with stalls offering everything you could want at a food market. Fresh fish, meat, fruit and veg were in abundance. The smells and noises were incredible – a great place to people watch!
Where and What We Ate
This pizza place was recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts and was hyped up as the best pizza in Italy. I have to say with the first bite I was in agreement. We visited Pizza Frida on our first night in the middle of a huge storm and were welcomed warmly. They have so many different pizza options on offer, I didn’t know which to go for but in the end opted for a classic Margherita. No fuss. The pizza dough was soft, melt in your mouth and the toppings so fresh. I didn’t want it to end!
Franco u Vastiddaru Street Food
Franco u Vastiddaru was another place recommended to us by our hosts and also the Lonely Planet. We were able to eat al fresco and each had a panini. I went for their signature one with chickpea fritters and aubergine and it was SO good. This place was great if you want a cheap, no frills lunch.
Ferro di cavallo
We stumbled upon this restaurant but ended up finding out that it was also included in the Lonely Planet guide. It was full up with locals and tourists so knew we’d picked a good spot to eat. After a ten minute wait for a table, we were seated inside surrounded by Sicilian decor and pictures that local children had drawn. We decided to go ‘all out’ with this lunch and eat as the Italian’s do with Primi and Secondi courses. I opted for a bowl of the Sicilian dish ‘Pasta Norma’ followed by some delicious calamari. Both absolutely mouth watering. I had a big waddle on when I left from being so full up!
Cannolis and Arancini
We were told before we went that we HAD to eat cannolis and arancini in Sicily and my word it was the best advice. With most places serving arancini balls the size of your fist they were a mini meal in themselves! We managed to squeeze down a delicious cannoli one afternoon too – these cream cheese filled delights were seriously mouth wateringly good!
Until Next Time…
After 3 days of lots of walking and eating we were seriously ready for some relaxation and so took a train out of the city to Cefalù, 50 minutes away along the coastline… I’ll leave that for another blog post though.
Have you ever been to Palermo? What did you enjoy when you were there?