An assortment of vegetables for sale at a market in Palermo, Sicily
Get a real feel for the character of the city strolling through the stands of the Vucciria market. Sample the fresh citrus and tomatoes, and take in the rich smells of oregano and porcini mushrooms. Stop at a food stall for arancini, fried spheres of saffron-infused rice with meat, tomato sauce and cheese.
The Teatro Politeama Opera House in Palermo, Sicily
The Teatro Massimo is the largest opera house in Italy and combines Neo-Classical, Greek and Renaissance architectural styles. It also appears in a few key scenes in "The Godfather." Take a guided tour to learn more about the theater's history and architecture.
Take the half-hour drive to Mount Pellegrino, and hike the cobbled path to the top, where you'll meet breathtaking views or the Bay of Palermo, the mountains and the Tirrenean Sea. Visit the shrine to the Patron Saint Rosalia — the inner sanctuary is a unique mix of ornamental icons and roughly hewn rock.
Sicilian cuisine is a delightful blend of Middle Eastern, Spanish and Italian flavors based on fresh vegetables, seafood, spices and nuts. Seek out local specialties like pasta con le sarde — pasta with fresh sardines, onion, fennel, raisins and pine nuts — or sfincione, Sicilian focaccia with tomatoes, onions and anchovies. For dessert, try cassata, an Arabic-influenced dish of pistachios, candied fruit and sweetened ricotta cheese.
For hand-stiched leather goods, visit Via Volturno. Nearby on Via Maqueda, you'll find some fantastic deals on genuine pearl necklaces and traditional ceramics. The pulce market is a fun flea market. Browse the stands and find some unusual items from antique to vintage, including traditional Sicilian puppets.
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