One of our favorite destinations for a summer trip was Palermo, Sicily. We arrived in late June, and were thrilled to have found an incredible Airbnb across the street from the Orto Botanico di Palermo, Palermo’s stunning botanical gardens.
The 3 bedroom apartment we had booked came fully furnished with antique decor, and had a professional kitchen as well. The garden outdoors looked into a magnificent historical site called Santa Maria Dello Spasimo, and was covered in both vines and morning glories.
While grazing in Palermo, we found the street food was by far our favorite. We had the pleasure of experiencing babbaluci, Sicilian slang for snails, on Via Torremuzza 28, which we stumbled upon while on a walk to buy fruit. After purchasing a plate, Ramsey, Astrid, Dimitri and I all slurped them up, straight from their shells, sitting on plastic chairs outside a bar across the street with a large group of men drinking Sicilian beer on tap. We were so excited to have the chance to try them, as we heard from locals that we had arrived just in time for the season.
Dinner that same night was exceptional at Da Salvo, where we feasted on fresh oysters, fish and prawns that were grilled for us. Ramsey and I sipped on the house wine while we all enjoyed our seafood bounty. For dessert, we were gifted humongous cold watermelon slices on the house. This restaurant is al fresco, and it seemed to have been connected or at least next door to the babbaluci spot.
Afterwards, we strolled down the street and discovered Santa Maria della Pietà. This location is a Sicilian Baroque Catholic Church painted in the most beautiful variation of lavender blue that you may ever see. The ceiling is painted in vivid frescos that drip down onto the walls, depicting people in robes standing on pink clouds. The church is filled with hand painted brass statuettes, and the smell of myrrh incense is an unforgettable touch.
Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel
Salita Belmont’s, 43, 90142, Palermo, Sicilia Italia
The perfect spot to enjoy a Negroni on their outdoor patio. The view is absolutely breathtaking, and their garden is filled with sculptures of goddesses wearing diaphanous puffed sleeved gowns, dawning incredible hair accessories, holding olive branches. The sights and beverages are not to be missed! One can request a picnic, and a basket and blanket will be laid out for you followed up by sandwiches and small pastries.
The Palazzo Branciforte
Largo Aulenti 2, 90133, Palermo, Sicilia Italia
The palazzo houses an impressive Sicilian Archeological collection of jewelry, ceramics, glass and sculptures. The location also hosts a historical library, preserving well over 50,000 books. Our family’s favorite, and most splendid element that we admired while touring the property was the rare surviving wooden architecture in the 19th century. While touring, make sure to also visit the Giacomo Cuticchio’s Sicilian Puppets collection- they are quite intriguing.
Via Merlo 2, 90133, Palermo, Sicilia Italia
The Palazzo Mirto was the incredibly decadent home of the Filangeri family for four centuries. The walls are covered in stunning silk panels, tapestries, and intricately glazed tiles- a true sight to behold. The craftsmanship in every detail, from embroidered silk curtains to elaborate furniture and mirrors. If you’re an appreciator of things equestrian, be sure not to miss the most impressive horse stables one could imagine. Even the troughs for the horses seemed to be right out of a fantasy, as they were made from marble to look like elegant shells for feeding.
Via Lincoln, 15, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy
+39 091 616 7242
The local pastry and coffee shop. You can find caffe shakerato here served in beautiful glassware, an aperitif of your choosing, and the local almond meal pastries, delicately shaped as tiny fruits, are feast for both the eyes and mouth.
Recipe for a Caffe Shakerato
1. Shake together a shot of espresso with ice cubes in a cocktail shaker with simple syrup
2. Once a frothy consistency has been obtained, strain into a glass (usually a martini glass)
3. Add Baileys for an alcoholic twist
Gelataria La Kala
Piazza Fonderia, 8, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy
+39 329 004 6071
The best place in Palermo to enjoy local granita. It was the first time we had seen a gelato sandwich- a brioche bun filled with as many flavors of gelato as you wish, and topped with panna. We admired old men enjoying these epic gelato sandwiches as their lunches.
Places and Addresses mentioned:
Santa Maria Dello Spasimo
Via Dello Spasimo, 10, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy
Via Torremuzza, 28, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy
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