Holiday life around our Palermo vacation apartment

This was a Palermo’s Arabic quarter, built close to the sea in an era of people’s riots, in order to allow the Emir to escape in the event of revolt.

 

It was named “al-halisah” that means “the elected one” in Arabic. Today it is a working-class area of the city, extremely picturesque, where it is still possible to capture a feel of the ancient Arabic-Sicilian culture and often smell the strong aromas of the food that is prepared in the several kiosks along the streets. The center of the Kalsa quarter is the square which carries the same name. The sixteenth-century gateway, Porta dei Greci, also known as Porta d’Africa, from where it is possible to glimpse the sea, is a sight worth visiting.



 

 

 

 

Just walking around our Palermo Vacation Rental. 1

What in the morning.

Start your itinerary in the heart of the old city center, at Quattro Canti, a square that has four magnificent eighteenth-century palaces with convex façades looking down onto it. From there you can walk to Piazza Pretoria where you can see the famous fountain and the Municipal building.
From here go on to Via Vittorio Emanuele and by bus or walking go to the Cathedral Square. After admiring this splendid piece of architecture and the treasures kept inside it, go on to (by bus or taxi) the majestic Palazzo dei Normanni and another time dedicate your attention to the Cappella Palatina, one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
When time for lunch arrives, have a rest and choose one of the restaurants in Palermo in this area. Try some local Palermo dish, such as 'pasta con le sarde', and then try some 'caponata' and finish off with a swordfish and mint roulade.


Just walking around our Palermo Vacation Rental. 2

What in the afternoon.

Dedicate this part of the day to discovering Arabic Palermo, mostly concentrated in our quarter, the Kalsa. The true heart of the Kalsa is the square that carries the same name, surrounded by splendid buildings such as Palazzo Abatellis and Palazzo Torremuzza and Palazzo Mirto. But don't forget to visit the wonderful Museo delle Marionette that is nearby, near Piazza Santo Spirito, that you can walk to from Palazzo Abbatellis.


Just walking around our Palermo Vacation Rental. 3

What in the evening.

An exotic cocktail in an Arabic-style wine bar, a fresh fish-based dinner washed down with good Sicilian wine, a romantic walk along the seafront (see our photo gallery) or a charming dip in the nightly atmosphere of a concert played in the Spasimo, in his large nave open to the sky and his large side chapels in Northern Gothic style.
And then a well-earned rest in our nice, cosi, confortable holiday apartment in Palermo to recover your tired legs.


The Foro Italico Seaside

A seaside (see our photo gallery) terrace with a grass lawn covering 40,000 square metres, plus pathways, benches, ornamental items, a cycling track, and its own illumination system (with 300 lights) and special night-time effects.

The Foro Italico lawn links the splendid view of the Gulf of Palermo with the surrounding city network of streets around the Kalsa, Palermo’s most ancient quarter, rich in historical and architectural testimonies.


The Botanical Garden in Lincoln Street

The Botanical Garden (see our photo gallery) was laid out in 1789, along the western edge of Villa Giulia. It is regarded as one of the most important botanical gardens in all Europe on account of the beauty, rarity, and rich variety of the botanical species it possesses, which come from sources near and far, in his area of some 10 hectares (250 acres).

At the end of the central pathway there is an aquarium containing a number of aquatic plants. Plants that require protection are kept in the Carolina Conservatory, a gift from Queen Maria Carolina - originally a wooden structure.


The Spasimo site

Spasimo is an highly evocative and romantic ruin, open to the sky, with lofty sumac trees towering within it.

The product of late-Gothic architecture with Renaissance influences, the church’s most notable aspects are its lofty, vertical apse, its broad nave and side chapels, and its numerous features in Chiaramonte or Carnelivari style that recall ancient Arab-Norman tradition. Today the Spasimo hosts a wide variety of prestigious cultural events(concerts, plays, exhibition projects, etc.).
This place has the special gift to fascinate and make people feel like they belong; this multipurpose building is home to the contamination of arts, so that time after time it can become a exhibition area, a venue for theatre, dance and music shows, a cinema or just a place where people can go and take a stroll, and meet, both at day and at night.


Vucciria

To truly see a cross-section of Palermo life, we suggest a walk round the Vucciria market, that spreads outs between Via Roma and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. This is one of the most characteristic places in Palermo, where there is a unique, strongly Sicilian atmosphere, that is made even more intense through the aromas of the typical local produce from the land and sea. This picturesque market was immortalized by Renato Guttuso, the famous artist who was born in Bagheria, in his painting entitled “La Vucciria”.


Palermo Street Food

The first trip to Palermo, is that Street Food in Palermo is another planet! Being halfway between Europe and Africa, and within sight of Asia, Sicily is the ultimate melting pot of culture and race. Palermo is a gastronomic Mecca, where diverse food culture is highly represented: In many street lanes and alleys, not just in the Centro Storico but also out in the "burbs", you will find street hawkers selling freshly cooked, authentic Sicilian food, often made from secret Sicilian family recipes. In Palermo you can taste on street, for example, Babbaluci (the common snail). Extra virgin olive oil, a touch of garlic, grounded pepper, some wild fennel for flavour and maybe some tomato. They are one of those things that you taste once for curiosity, and before you realise it you have demolished nearly 50 of them! Succulent boiled octopus and fried smelts in the main square of the Vucciria. In the Antica Rosticceria San Francesco you may eat the great Pane ca Meusa (schietta or maritata) is spleen thinly sliced served warm in side of bread and garnished with S&P, caciocavallo, spritz lemon. Just as wonderfully served at/ Porta Carbone (after the main Harbor) and also by U' Ballerino (near the tribunal). Or the delights such as 'Pane e Panelle' - bite sized snacks made from chickpea flour, 'Crocche' - special fluffy potato filled puff balls, ‘Pollanca’ - boiled corn (strictly speaking Pollanca is mainly sold on the beach which makes it beach food), Scaccio - very tasty tidbits made up of dried salted pumpkin seeds, chick peas and fresh pistacchios, Cedro (or Pipittuni in Sicilian) - oversized breed of lemon/limes with an edible, sweet skin combined with Sea Salt for taste, Panino con Salsiccia - not a German sausage such at Bratwurst but a very tasty... but wait until you try the herbaceous Sicilian sausage, an exotic balance of gentle spice, aniseed with wild fennel flavour supported by a squeeze of fresh Sicilian lemon. Add this delight to a bread roll (a panino), and there you have it, a hot dog that tastes like no other hot dog you have ever tried. Don't forget others ones such as sfincione, frittola (in front of the other large market U' Capo) and also the Lord of all "Cibo di Strada", the most representative of the streets of Palermo, the barbecued dish called Stigghiola. Anyone who appreciates the taste of charcoal meat will savour this delight... and if you are into wine try a glass of local wine by the local Tavernas goes well with the food you just had.

Festino di Santa Rosalia

For four centuries in the month of July, Palermo has celebrated Santa Rosalia, who saved the city from a terrible plague in 1600 and thus became the city’s patron saint. The festival lasts for a week, a period in which the city is invaded by traveling theatrical and musical shows, all linked to the life of the saint. The height of the celebrations is the charming procession of the monumental cart that crosses the Cassaro as far as the Marina. At the end of the religious procession, there is an amazing fireworks display.

 

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Merit Cup Windsurf World Festival

Every year, all the world famous windsurfing champions come to Sicily to take part in the prestigious Merit Cup Windsurf World Festival in Mondello. In the month of May, this wonderful beach near Palermo becomes the setting for these top-level exhibitions.