A few weeks ago, I started chronicling my press trip to Sicily, the almost mystical island off the toe of Italy. We started the week on the East side of the island, navigating around Mount Etna, the active volcano that influences every aspect of life.
On Day Two of the trip, we headed to Caverna Etnea, the Firriato estate that is just a few kilometers from the volcano.
My second day in Palermo, began much like my first had—I wandered about the city without any real plan or purpose. Like most European cities that I have visited, Palermo is a walkable town, not a sprawling megagopolis that we find here in the U.S.
There is also plenty of evidence of life in the town, that its residents are engaged daily in the life of the city. Although I had no particular plan, I was hoping to come across one of the many markets that have been a huge part of Palermo’s past.
I first made my way up to the Piazza San Domenico for the Vucciria market, which most websites cite as the best and most famous of the Palermo markets.
Not so much.
According to the locals, the market is far from what it used to be and now it is but a few people selling cheap goods that were no doubt made in China.
Not deterred, I headed across town a bit to the Mercato di Capo, which is located in the streets behind the Teatro Massimo.
There, after a bit of searching (and stalking a few of the locals whose large but empty bags seemed to indicate that they were heading for the market), I came across the main street for the market which was flooded with edible color: fruit, vegetables, and seafood.
After some time at the market, I headed over past the Cathedral to the Palazzo dei Normanni, which originally was the home of the kings of Sicily, then the Sicilian Parliament, and today houses the Sicilian Regional Assembly. It is the oldest royal residence in Europe, with its origins dating to the 9th Century.
The area just beyond the Palazzo dei Normanni is a vibrant area of the city, replete with floral shops and locals playing cards in the mid-morning sun.